I am a little behind on the latest and greatest but yesterday I received the Tin T2 that I ordered at some point in the past (no idea how long ago). I do remember that they cost me 24€ (less than $30) so I thought I would share my opinions as they fit the “Ultra Cheap IEM” category very well.
I don’t have a huge collection of IEMs, I have some old sets of Shure’s and Sennheisers (no idea what models without going and looking for them) but I have been trying out chinese brands for the last year or two and have lately been using the KZ ED16 mainly and sometimes the KZ ATE. I am not one for swapping around cables but I did put a silver braided cable on the ED16s and hated how sibilant it got, so I moved back to the stock rubber cable and these replaced my ATE as my walking the dog IEMs (3 times a day) as I really need the mic and button when out with the dog.
Anyway, I have sort of rambled on a little there but I think that probably proves that I like my bass and I am a treble sufferer, at least as far as IEM’s go.
So, the T2’s…
My first impressions when I put them in was that I did not like them. I had no problem with the seal, it was the cable draping over my ears that I found much too light. I suppose I have gotten used to the memory wire on the ED16’s and I just felt like these were going to float away! After about 8 to 10 hours of use (I used them all day at the office today to test them) I have gotten used to the feeling, however, I would still prefer a little tiny weight on each cable, like the ones found on the ATE’s. To be honest, I think the ATE’s are probably top of my list as far as comfort.
Another thing I am not keen on is the connector. Don’t get me wrong, the connector seems like a decent 3.5mm jack, with good strain relief, but I find the choice of a straight jack strange for a set of IEM’s. When I plug them into my phone (Xiaomi Redmi Note 4) the connector actually pokes out of the top of my pocket, which I can see being in danger of getting banged and pressured (if I sit down) which could damage the socket on the phone.
I will say that the T2’s are the first IEMs that I haven’t changed the stock tips on.
My first listen was direct from the Xiaomi and straight away I felt the amazing amount of clarity this has over the ED16’s. At first I felt it was lacking in bass in comparison to the ED16. The treble however was much smoother while being a lot clearer at the same time. The ED16, even with the stock cable that has less treble, still had the odd sibilant part, the beginning of “Violent Crimes - Kaye West” is probably a good example as the female voice can become quite uncomfortable very quickly.
Anyhooo, I felt that the T2 was better than the ED16 but I didn’t think it would replace it as my “Dog Walker” due to the lack of the button/mic and the straight connector.
On my next walk, I decided to use the T2 with an MPOW BT receiver. To be exact it is one of these:
I wear this on a lanyard around my neck when I want to go wireless (sort of) as it can be under clothes and still have easy access to the buttons due to them all being on the front.
With the BT device, the difference against the ED16 increased a little. When pushed, the ED16 got a little muddy around the bottom end, whereas the T2 had less bass but a lot more clarity. This walk convinced me that I would most definitely be replacing the ED16 with the T2 as the “Dog Walkers”
Finally, this afternoon I got chance to try the T2’s incorporated into my portable/travel set up. Depending on where I am travelling to and for how long (which means how many gadgets I need to fit) my travel rig is either a Lenovo Yoga laptop or a Lenovo Tablet into a Topping NX4 DSD. These power either a set of M40x (if space allows) or an IEM of choice (I have mostly been taking my Sennheisers) if I am tight on space.
I plugged the T2’s into the Topping NX4 DSD an proceeded to listen to my test track playlist on Spotify. The first song on the list is “Long After You’re Gone - Chris Jones” and there is a beat that is a hand striking a hollow body acoustic guitar (at least that is what I think it is), this was so bassy that I could actually feel the strike not just hear it. I was very suprised as I had thought the bass was a little light on these, so I skipped to another track that I use for bass which is “Bury a Friend - Billie Eilish”. This track was bassy to the point of being painful
Still not understanding how these could suddenly have so much bass, I switched to a less bassy track and still there was a heck of lot, then I realized I had the bass boost activated on the NX4 DSD
Once I deactivated the bass boost, I listened to more tracks, moving from my test list over to acoutic tracks with mainly female vocals. I was so relaxed listening to these tracks that I forgot all about impressions and just got lost in the music (I do like me some female acoustic music).
Just before writing this, I decided to have a quick run through the test list again and I even switched on the bass boost. Now that I was expecting the extra bass (which actually works very well on the Topping) I was able to listen to the tracks and although the bass was excessive in most cases, it did not muddy up the rest of the frequencies and they still sounded very clear. Without the boost, I find these to be the best IEM’s I have listened to in a long time (there were some Shure’s I really liked a while ago but they were 10 times the price of these, or maybe even more). I find the sound well balanced for my taste, with nice smooth and clear mids and highs, without hitting sibilance on anything that is recorded a t least semi-well. The lack of bass I thought these had at the start was actually me ebing used to the ED16 and ATE which seem to add a little bass. When the track has bass, the T2 has no problem reproducing it!
Anyways, as you can probably tell, I am very happy with these IEM’s and they will definitely become my portable and travel IEM’s.
(I will probably still continue to try out cheap chinese IEM’s though, you canhave lot’s of fun for not much cash!)