The last I heard from TRN was the BAX IEMs that I thought had a great sound for a great price. They have another model that has reached my desk, and the price may seem like it a knock-off, but it is actually the real price. This IEM, going by the TA1 Max is a budget-Fi earphone from TRN that goes for only $47. I’ve been reviewing a couple of IEMs recently below the hundred-dollar range, and the best ones sound too good to be true. Is it the same case for the TA1 Max?
What You Get
Inside the box are the IEMs and pop-off carrying case, with the 2-pin to 3.5mm cable laying within it. You also get two sets of ear tips in s/m/l, as well as a quarter-inch jack.
Look and Feel
I wasn’t expecting the size of these IEMs to be this small, especially for one labeled “Max.” Their main design reminds me of Fiio’s semi-open back models, like the FA7. They even have the same silvery finish to their housings, except the TA1 Max is less glossy. For its price, the build makes sense, and it doesn’t impact how well these earphones fit, which are comfortable and feel secure while wearing.
Underneath its housing is a beryllium driver system, consisting of a 10mm dynamic unit and one balanced armature made from Knowles. Specifically, it is a 33518 high-frequency balanced armature unit that helps shape the signal to favor the treble portion of the frequency response. This IEM has a semi-open design as well, helping eliminate pressure within the air cavity.
- Frequency range: 10-40000Hz
- Sensitivity: 118dB
- Impedance: 22Ω
When I listened to the TA1 Max for the first time I was immediately sucked in by its massive imaging. Its stretch from left to right will be pretty average, but the way sound elements move throughout its space will capture a feeling of an open staging. The half-open cover design helps with the overall size of certain instruments, like a real performance being played in front of you and all of the reflections are bouncing around the room and arriving at your ears all at once.
This is a sensation that is unheard of with an IEM at this price, making the TA1 Max a real specialty. One of the highlights for me was listening to Trevor Jones’s soundtrack for “The Dark Crystal,” specifically the Overture, where the Max is able to communicate this grandiose theme with exceptional clarity between its layers. It also adds incredible height to the piece, with high-end chimes and synths feeling like they’re sprinkling over you. For this price, it’ll be hard to find an IEM that displays its sound signature with such magnitude.
This bass response comes up from under you and then blows up in your jaw. This is a ferocious tone that keeps the timbre constantly engaging without resorting to bloat. Thankfully all of that power doesn’t go to its head, as the lows still operate with some sense of shape and evenness in the sound signature, even with its thicker presence. The bass is allowed to show you its gripping tone within its own space, making room for better clarity and articulation within the frequencies. It is impactful but also detailed and realistic with its level of purity, giving you a great dynamic between textured smoothness and hard-hitting bombast.
If there is a technical dip within the midrange, I don’t think it hampered my experience with the TA1 Max in any considerable way. For the most part, instruments feel like they take on a full-body, with vocals sitting on top of them with a forward position that helps pronounce their performance. There’s a similar richness in power as the bass has, but I don’t think I feel the same range between texture and realism. With that being said, the TA1 Max still offers an enticing midrange, giving you a hearty tone that makes heavy and cinematic tracks feel whole like justice is being done to its scale.
There’s a great emphasis is the treble that colores the sound signature with a fine gloss. Some of its tone can appear quite sharp, which some may not enjoy, but even someone who favors highs like myself can find this timbre a bit too distracting. At its best, the highs can resonate with a fine shimmer, texturing instruments like cymbals, timpani, and high synths. However, it can also brighten parts of the music that you might not want, like female vocals and pianos.
With an IEM like the TA1 Max you can never really go wrong considering its generous price point. When you hear its massive imaging and energetic bass, it will be hard not to fall in love with these IEMs, but the sometimes excessive treble has the possibility to detract from your enjoyment. Overall, this is a fantastic sound for the price, and it feels like a steal.
The TRN TA1 Max is available at Linsoul.