Tin Audio T2 Review: An IEM Gem

Updated 2/5/19

2,756 word post, approx. 5-6 min. read

Hey there friend, and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Tin Audio T2 Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

Here are 5 reasons to stop everything and purchase this IEM:

  1. Price to Performance Ratio. At under $100, this is such an easy purchase considering how great it sounds.
  2. Sound. It’s sound signature rivals much more expensive headphones and IEM’s. There’s a ton of balance here with around 3k receiving the only real presence boost.
  3. Balance. The presence at 3k is perfect and not in your face at all considering: The Bass is mostly a flat line with a tad bit of roll off. The treble is also very non intrusive and sounds super detailed while not being sibilant or harsh.
  4. Build. The build quality here is phenomenal. The braided cable, 3.5mm jack termination, and the ear buds themselves are extremely solid and rugged. This doesn’t feel like a $50 product. It feels more like something in the $200 range.
  5. Versatility. It pairs well with any genre, and can be used with your phone or a Headphone Amp/DAC should you want a bit of extra kick and an improved overall sound. You can easily take these on the go with your phone, Tidal, and something like a FiiO Q1 (More on that later).

Check it out:


For the official review, read on!


Table of Contents

Click to navigate the page!


Introduction
Specifications
Build
Comfort
Sound
My Video Review
Photo Gallery
Imaging
Amplification
Genre Pairing
Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!


Introduction

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been really into IEM’s (In-Ear Monitors).

For whatever reason, I much prefer the feeling of actually having headphone envelope my ears. I’ve always been that way.

A couple years back I bought my mom a pair of Shure SE215’s, which are another incredible set of ear buds especially for the price. Unfortunately, someone at her job stole them which is another story in itself.

Aside from that..

There’s a cool fella named Cory Tucker that frequents my channel on YouTube and really enjoys my video reviews.

One day he reached out to me and said something a long the lines of “I would love to send you some demo units for review. I want to keep seeing videos on your channel!”

This really made me feel good and that my voice mattered, and it’s much appreciated in such a saturated niche.

He ended up sending me the Superlux HD330 as well as these T2’s from Tin Audio.

Let’s first run down their specs.

Tin Audio T2

Specifications

  • Type: IEM (In-Ear Monitor)
  • Impedance: 16 Ohm.
  • Sensitivity: 104dB/mW.
  • Frequency Response: 12Hz – 40kHz.
  • Cable Detachable: Yes.

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With that, what about build?


Build


The build of the T2 is quite good, and for roughly $50 these don’t feel cheap at all.

I’m really loving the white braided cable. It feels extremely solid and durable, as if it could withstand some abuse.

It terminates in a standard 3.5mm jack, but the jack resembles something you’d find on a headphone way out of it’s price range.

I’m floored at how rock solid it is actually, and haven’t been this impressed with a 3.5mm jack since the original Audio Technica ATH M50.

Tin Audio T2 Review
Tin Audio T2 Review

Gently pulling on the other ends result in a snap, as they detach quite easily from each bud.

Design here is marvelous, as you can quickly discern the right side from left. They color coded it Red and Blue, but also if you look very closely, there’s a small “R” and “L” on each of the buds.

Tin Audio T2 Review
If you look closely, you can see the “R” right where the Gold is.

I have pretty good vision, but not everyone will be able to make these out on the Gold area of the termination.

The actual ear pieces themselves are made of aluminum, and have small rubbery caps that click into place on each for your ears.

Overall build is fantastic.

BUILD SCORE: A+

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How about comfort?


Comfort


I’m not going to sugarcoat it, comfort is a bit of a mixed bag.

On one hand, the ear pieces fit pretty well into your ears and don’t tend to want to come out most of the time.

On the other hand, for whatever reason I get a slight “burning” sensation from wearing them, and I’m not exactly sure why.

Perhaps I’m about to die. Lol.

As soon as I remove them, the sensation goes away. Other times when I’m wearing them I don’t feel the burn, and I can wear them for a much longer period of time without an adjustment.

It’s like a hot, kind of uncomfortable feeling that gives me the urge to take the buds out on some occasions.

Other than that, they are pretty comfortable and have the capacity to sit a bit further inside your ears with a gentle push. I find that this enables them to deliver a bit more bass.

I have them situated where they are pointing straight down. I find that this provides the cleanest and best sound.

COMFORT SCORE: B

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The best part?


Sound


I’m at a loss for words in trying to describe how good these sound.

Let’s start with the bass.

Bass

The bass here has a lot of thump and great articulation, but never sounds bloated or clammy. I listened to these for a few weeks, and then emailed Cory to tell him how much I loved the sound signature as well as the bass.

I hadn’t seen a graph, but as soon as he sent me one I understood. It’s very similar to like an Audeze LCD-2 type of bass, or something similar to a HIFIMAN Sundara.

Note: The grey line is the original T2, while the blue line is the T2 pro.

Not too rolled off, not boosted. Just right.

In fact this entire sound signature is non-intrusive in a way that really enables you to appreciate the subtle textures of each frequency.

Mid-Range

The mid-range has a presence bump at around 3k, similar to an HD600. The difference is that it doesn’t really come across as shouty or in your face.

The reason for that is because the treble is darker, with no real apparent peaks. The bass is also less rolled off than the HD600. This ensures that the mid-range doesn’t stand out quite as much in actually listening to them, even though the graph would indicate otherwise.

Vocals and instruments have just enough zing and excitement to them, but I’m rarely (if ever) finding myself getting the urge to turn the volume down.

Ricardo Robecchi talked about this in his excellent Tin Audio T2 review: budget audio nirvana.

The T2 has this incredible knack for never getting out of line with regard to any frequencies. It’s especially impressive considering:

  1. The T2 is a very cheap IEM that sounds like it should cost a lot more than it’s priced at.
  2. It has a very low impedance and high Sensitivity. Usually pushing an IEM or headphone with these specs is asking for blowout or a headache. Granted, I’m using them right now with the FiiO Q1, which doesn’t have much power.

Still, if I turn up the volume it doesn’t get harsh. Like at all. And that’s something definitely worth mentioning.

Detail retrieval is also phenomenal.

Tin Audio T2 Review
At the beach!

Treble

You’d think that perhaps a darker sounding treble like this would result in lost detail.

Not the case here.

In fact, it makes them actually sound better because it’s not artificially trying to provide more, as in the case with a Samson SR850 or Beyerdynamic DT880. Those are both great headphones in their own right, but can get a bit hot at times (especially the 850).

No, the T2 handles treble in a way that it really has no business handling. It portrays this sensitive area a lot like a Sennheiser HD600 or Audeze LCD-3.

Relaxed but yet still detailed and revealing.

The only thing I can dock a point or two for is that the treble can sometimes get a tad fuzzy/metallic, but it’s almost not even worth mentioning because of how phenomenal the overall sound is. Still, you will notice it from time to time.

SOUND SCORE: A

Let’s take a break for a video review!

My Video Review

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to my growing channel! Any support is much appreciated 🙂

How about some pictures?

Photo Gallery

Click to see the T2!

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With that, let’s talk about Imaging.


Imaging


Imaging is sublime here. It’s a bit hard to believe that an IEM in this price range is capable of providing such great width and spacing, but the T2 handles both with ease.

Prepare to start hearing sounds in all directions.

Even the most minuscule and seemingly arbitrary sounds, utterances, instrument plucks, and breaths are all rendered with great precision.

There’s a revelatory quality about these that kind of does take that proverbial “blanket” off of the sound, allowing it to breathe and express itself in a very pleasant way.

The attack, sustain, and especially the decay of instruments and vocals is so incredibly revealing at times, that it makes familiar tracks you’ve heard all your life sound foreign.

“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac is a great example of a song that I’ve heard in nearly every circumstance, with pretty much every type of headphone, Amp, phone, CD Player, Stereo, iPod, etc. that you can think of.

I remember listening to this song on a Disc-man and some cheap $10 headphones (you know the ones with the cheap foam “ear pads”) back in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

It sounded nothing near as detailed, articulate, and musical as it does with these ear buds. Now you may say: “Well yeah, but you were listening on a Disc-man with a likely worse recording.”

True, but these are $50 ear buds over 20 years later, and they rival a lot of stuff I’ve heard for hundreds (if not thousands of dollars). No exaggeration.

Soundstage is equally as impressive for an IEM at this price point. What is Soundstage?

I wouldn’t call it incredibly wide, but it’s wide enough, dare I say out of your head sounding at times. It will have you turning your head on occasion wondering what that sound was that you heard.

Another mark of a great headphone or earbud.

On John Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice” at around 7:57, there’s a loud sound that I thought was coming from inside my apartment or outside. I rewound the track a couple of times and the same sound startled me. I realized that it was coming from the song. It’s the type of sound that kind of makes your heart drop for a split second, as you pause the music, making sure that you’re not about to get obliterated by Jason Voorhees. 😛

All in all, instruments and vocals just sound incredibly realistic, lifelike, and natural with these, and it’s something that really did catch me off guard upon first listen and pretty much every subsequent one thereafter.

IMAGING SCORE: A+

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Will you need an amp?


Amplification


The short answer is no.

At 16 Ohms and 104dB Sensitivity, these can be driven straight from your phone to loud enough levels. They will however sound better with an amp like the FiiO Q1 Mark II.

Recommended Reading:

I would recommend the Q1 amp only for people with lower impedance, high sensitivity headphones or IEM’s like the T2 because of it’s lack of power. At 300 Ohms it only outputs 7mW. Even at 33 Ohm it only outputs 62mW. Check out Audio Science Review’s great article on the Q1’s measurements and relationship to the Topping NX4 DSD.

Even with something like a Philips SHP9500 at 101dB, I found myself using gain and turning up the volume quite a bit.

Another cool option you could go with is the Oppo HA2, which I used with the T2 as well. Another great pairing! The HA2 pairs well with pretty much anything though. It’s just an extremely solid all around investment.

Paired with the HA2.

I wouldn’t go crazy with an amp here, but you’re going to want one regardless when you’re starting out. The Q1 is perfect for this type of IEM because you can:

  1. Use it with your phone. It comes with both a lightning cable for Apple products, a 3.5mm interconnect cable for everything else, and two rubber bands.
  2. Use it with your laptop. It comes with a standard USB to micro cable as well.
  3. It’s very compact, and comes with a plush drawstring carrying bag for on the go.
  4. It’s got both a gain switch and bass boost to color the music a little if you so desire.


With that said..

What genres are best?

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Genre Pairing


It’s not too surprising how well these will do with multiple genres when you consider the excellent sound signature that they possess.

I listened to them with just about everything, ranging from Jazz, Rock, Hip-Hop, Indie, & Pop.

The way they also render instruments is particularly stunning. There’s this lush warmth to them that never seems forced or unnatural.

On John Coltrane’s “Summertime”, my absolute favorite Jazz piece right now, the spacing between instruments is spot on. A lot of headphones have a tough time portraying Jazz because they tend to make everything sound really congested and cluttered.

The T2 does a fantastic job of separating sounds so that it makes sense to your brain.

Aside from that, it’s an extremely nostalgic piece to me for some reason. It evokes the spirit of summer so effortlessly and the T2’s really bring it to life.

On “A Chase of Sorts” from TTNG, I love how the vocals and instruments never get out of line. I never feel like the vocalist is shouting at me, and instruments are on their best behavior, never abrasive or harsh.

Further, Bonobo’s “7th Sevens” sounds so lush and full that it simply blew me away. There’s so much impact and weight to the tracks, but it never feels overwhelming.

In a quiet environment at night you’re going to notice these come to life and it’s really quite breathtaking.

Tin Audio T2 Review
Emo day.

I would say be prepared to enjoy these with anything and everything you may like or desire to listen to. They’re going to render the music with an accuracy and excitement that’s hard to beat, especially at this price.

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What’s the final grade?


Final Grade


I’m going to give these a solid A.

The comfort factor (at least for me) holds it back somewhat, and the slight fuzz in the treble as well. Even with that said, I don’t think either issue is enough to drop it down to an A-.

For instance, comfort was a bit off yesterday but today I’m not getting that burning sensation.

Go figure. Again, I’m probably dying. Lol.

It’s hard to put into words how good these are, but I tried my best. Resolution, dynamics, accuracy, timbre, clarity, detail retrieval, Soundstage, build, and the overall sound signature are almost perfect. What is Timbre?

Stunning when you, again, consider the price.

This could be the only IEM you’d need for quite awhile before an upgrade. Maybe forever, but we all know that’s not possible if you’re an audiophile. 😉

Interested in learning more?

SEE THE T2 FOR YOURSELF ON AMAZON!!

Well that’s about it for today my friend. I do hope you’ve enjoyed this Tin Audio T2 Review, and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

So would you consider investing in these IEM’s? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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