- Excellent midrange, exciting and with a soul.
- Warm sound, with remarkable bass and a very characteristic sonority.
- Construction, ergonomics, accessories, cable and totally premium packaging.
- Open feeling of the sound, width of the scene.
- Its low sensitivity requires powerful sources to deliver the best of it.
- The high part of the treble has an atypical tuning which can be inconvenient for sensitive ears.
Link to the Store
Back with Tin HiFi, one of the brands I have analyzed the most in recent months. Now it’s the turn of their top-of-the-range model, the P2, the new model with a magnetic planar driver, an evolution of the P1, which already had a driver built with the same technology. This new model is not a direct revision of that version, but version 2 has a different tuning, much warmer and more powerful in its lower zone. Its aesthetics have been completely renewed and improved. Also, its price has been clearly increased. For a start, its better presentation, its more luxurious accessories: cable, carrying case, adapters… could justify its higher price. But in the end, it all comes down to sound… Is it as good as it looks? These and other questions will be dealt with in depth in the following review.
- Drivers type: 12mm Planar Magnetic
- Frequency Response: 10Hz-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 90±3dB @1kHz 0.179V
- Impedance: 32Ω±15%
- Nominal power: 5mW
- Maximum power: 10mW
- Maximum distortion: 1% @1kHz 0.179V
- Capsule Connection Type: 2-pin connector 0.78mm, gold-plated.
- Connector: 2.5mm carbon fibre tube, gold-plated. Adapters to 3.5mm SE and 4.4mm balanced.
- Conductor/Cable: 1.25m (0.08 /16C 6n single glazed copper + 200D Kevlar) 8-core translucent orange single glazed copper PVC cable
- Housing: Stainless steel.
The P2s come in a large box, measuring 183x154x82mm, whose colour is between white and lighter grey. In the centre, only P2 can be read, written in black letters defined with a single line, which draw only their edges. In the lower left corner, there is the TIN HiFi logo. On the back, there are only logos of the various certifications and bar codes, apart from their origin and place of manufacture. The background of the box cover is a repetitive pattern, formed by the brand logo, wrapped in adjacent V lines. The ink used is a slightly darker but subtle grey. After removing this cardboard, a box of one colour turns between brown and grey, with a large golden brand logo in its centre. It has two compartments. The upper one is opened by lifting the lid and the lower one, like a drawer, with the help of a fabric bow. The upper tray holds the capsules and the large blue leather case, protected by a dense foam mould. On the lower tray are the accessories, silicone and foam tips, adapter pins and an additional box, which contains a zip bag with the cable inside and the instruction/guarantee manual. In short, the complete content is:
- The two P2 capsules, made of stainless steel.
- A blue leather case.
- 3 pairs of tips made of translucent silicone, dark grey, with red inner core, sizes SxMxL.
- 3 pairs of grey foam tips, sizes SxMxL.
- One 2.5mm female angled adapter balanced to 3.5mm male SE.
- One straight female adapter 2.5mm balanced to male 4.4mm balanced.
- An 8-core PVC single-glazed orange translucent copper cable, measuring 1.25m (0.08 /16C 6n single crystal copper + 200D Kevlar).
The whole box has the logo pattern and V-lines, including the box containing the cable.
On the back of the top cover, there is a fold where you can see the capsule’s exploded view, frequency response and specifications.
In reality, the box is very large, enough for the amount of accessories that are in it. Actually, the premium sense is clear, but I would have preferred more silicone tips. Both the cable and the adapters are a good fit and I think they are absolutely in line with the price of the product. The carrying case has a somewhat particular design, but its quality and use is undoubtedly good.
Construction and Design
The shape of the capsules reminds me of the T2 Plus model, but with a slightly different external face. It is an oval with very rounded shapes, whose perimeter resembles a drop of water. The inner side is a convex curve, while the outer side is a concave curve, until it reaches a flat part, flanked by an edge, whose interior is full of micro spheres glued together. According to the specifications, the capsules are made of stainless steel, although, by weight, it does not appear so. The division between the two faces is clear, although no holes or irregularities are observed. The capsules are medium sized, the width of their external face is slightly more than 18mm. The surface of the capsules has a sandy nano texture, which is completely smooth to the touch.
On the upper edge, at the foot of the 0.78mm connector, the model name is engraved, using a micro-perforation technique. Also at the foot of the connector, but, on this occasion, on the inside, are the letters indicating the channel, inside a circle. Between these and the foot of the nozzles, there is a hole. The nozzles are made of the same material and belong to the same body of the inner face. It has two steps/rings of decreasing diameter, ending in a larger crown. The diameter of the first step is 5.75mm, the second and smaller step is 4.95mm and the outer ring measures 5.75mm, although it does not appear to be so. Its interior is protected by a very dense metal grid, the holes are barely visible. The height of the nozzle is approximately 4mm.
Returning to the connection part, this is located in a protruding, cylindrical area, on the upper edge, almost in its supposed corner. On its flat surface, a transparent plastic piece with a square base protrudes, which is then projected into an oval shape, inside which are the two 0.78mm gold connectors. The cable connectors are the negative copy of this design: a transparent angled cylinder, with a red or blue ring, which indicates its channel, on the flat base of the connection. The two pins are inside a pool with rounded corners, which fit perfectly with the body of the capsules, forming almost a single piece. From the other end of the connector cylinder, 4 orange and braided strands emerge, covered by a transparent plastic protector that shapes them over the ear. The pin is spherical with a hole through it. It is just the right size to keep the cable securely in place, making it fit perfectly. The dividing piece is cylindrical, made up of three parts and is symmetrical. Both ends are metallic and gilded. The central part simulates a textile braid at 90 degrees, in almost black. The cover of the pin is the same but larger. The jack plug is 2.5mm totally golden and with a base that separates it from the sheath. The cable has a light grey velcro strip, with the brand logo in a subtle white.
The cable has the right balance between weight, strength, thickness, manageability and rigidity, as well as a highly attractive colour. The Kevlar used in its 8 strands seems to be noticeable in its strength and rigidity.
Finally, there are two accessories that are becoming more common and necessary: a 3.5mm SE angled jack adapter and a 4.4mm straight balanced jack adapter. The pins are gold-plated and the sleeves are of the same material and surface as the capsules. The 3.5mm adapter is angled and its ball joint is a golden cube with rounded corners.
The design is quite particular, but I like it, it exudes elegance. The bright orange colour of the cable further enhances the beauty of the set. The intense gold of the connectors and the metal parts stand out even more, giving the P2 a rather premium air, although not everyone can like the colour of gold…
In short, it is undeniable the effort made by the brand to offer a product, at first sight, at the height of its price.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
The fit is very similar to that provided by the already mentioned T2 Plus model. It is very comfortable, light and soft. The insertion will depend on the tips used. I still keep extra large tips, whose adjustment is superficial. But this time the rotation is not so easy, the larger width of the capsules improves this aspect. This way, the socket is firmer, fixed and durable. In this model, the cable pin does its job perfectly, keeping the set tight and undisturbed. The guides on the ear appear to float, so contact is minimal in this respect, contributing to lasting comfort over the hours.
The minimum degree of freedom and deeper insertion is what separates the P2 from perfect ergonomics.
The Tin HiFi P2 has a clear U-profile, which is quite marked at both ends, but especially in the range above 10kHz. This is a fact that is surprising and can bring more disadvantages than benefits, depending on the musical genres heard and how fine our hearing is. Those whose audible frequency range is better may have some sensitivity with this model. But it must be made clear that both the musical information in this higher range, and the average sensitivity of adult humans, is what can determine a greater or lesser acceptance of the large and peculiar tuning of the P2, at the upper end.
Another factor to consider is the power required to move the P2s. With its 90dB sensitivity and 32 Ohms, it is necessary to have an amplifier to get the best musical results. Those who like music at low or moderate volumes will have no problem using the P2 with their usual players. Those who are used to enjoying higher volumes will need to use a more powerful device. Luckily, the P2 comes standard with a balanced cable, the output of which is often significantly higher than traditional single-ended players.
All these features, its tuning and its special Planar Magnetic driver, generate a sound that at first may seem classic, easy, even commercial. In fact, as the songs go by, one is able to realize that the P2s have a very special sonority, where the openness of their sound and the treatment of the middle zone, shine especially.
Finally, I would like to highlight a particularity of the construction of the P2s, which greatly affects their sound. The outer face of the capsules, in the area of which the surface is grained, is not a simple aesthetic touch up, but is a micro open surface, necessary for the bass to «breathe» and expand. Completely covering this area almost completely eliminates the perfect development of the bass.
As a good representative of a U-shaped profile, its sub-bass capability is remarkable, although it is not blatantly inclined towards this end, but has good linearity to the mid-bass. There is a clear emphasis on the lower zone, offering a warm yet attractive tuning, but without being a clearly bass profile. It is true that the initial focus seems to be on this zone, but as one listens more to the P2’s, one may realize that although the extremes are abundant, it is possible that the midrange will benefit most from this equation.
On the other hand, the bass coming from this driver is peculiar to me. It is clear that the sound produced by the second generation Planar Magnetic driver from Tin HiFi is different from that produced by dynamic drivers or Balanced Armature. The bass has a good speed and an equal amount of absorption. However, the resolution is not too high, and so is the level of detail. But the tone is very adequate, achieving a different realism, but one that is not out of place. Perhaps it has a hint of darkness in its tonality, offering a sensation more dull than vivid, more restful than splashed, softer than bright. This is obviously that particularly warm sound that the P2 has. In this way, and despite the clear presence of the lower zone, its impetus is contained, as is its reproduction. It is not an overwhelming power, a powerful hit, but rather a complete and compact presence, clearly perceived, but with a gentle, smooth and respectful character. And if there is one thing you can feel that distinctive quality in, it is the texture of the bass: it is clearly very uniform, with hardly any roughness, with a slight tremor that cannot be seen in other types of drivers. It’s not the typical hum of a BA driver, nor the powerful punch of a dynamic driver. It is a different sound, more compact and wide, with good depth and punch, but with greater density, union and flatness. It does not have such a marked lamination, but gives the sensation of moving like a uniform wave, with a large and heavy mass. That is why its dynamism, level of detail and speed seem limited. However, it is not a bass that has a lot of deposits in the sound, but it has a good level of elasticity that allows it to be picked up in time, without sounding too rubbery, or flooding the area too much.
In short, the P2 offers bassovers a distinguished and very enjoyable low range, alternative to the big dynamics, a sound worthy of being appreciated and respected.
The middle zone of the P2 is the most special range, in my humble opinion, that these new IEMS have. At the bottom you can clearly see the warmth they possess. But, also that slight initial sensation of flat or nuanced sound, not too dynamic or vivid. It’s true that the P2s are moving away from the tendency towards splashy, over-excited and bright mid-range, leaning towards a more neutral, calm, linear and, why not say it, darker sound. Perhaps this is not the most attractive profile you’ll hear in a superficial session. But you’d be underestimating the area if you didn’t connect the P2s to a good DAC+AMP combo, so you could see their full potential. In exchange for that lack of sparkle at the edges of the midrange, the P2s are able to offer a level of transparency, body and, above all, soul, on the vast majority of the midrange notes, to the point of emotion. The sense of openness is heightened as time passes and one enters into the sound offered by these Planar Magnetics, achieving a surprising sense of immersion in a very full, yet excellently spaced and airy sound, which enjoys a remarkable three-dimensionality. You may have to look at the open micro design of their outer sides. Be that as it may, the P2s exude sweetness, naturalness and softness in the voices, once that initial feeling of sterility has been overcome. Male voices enjoy a body that projects from the lowest frequencies, feeling especially full, the lower voices. Similarly, the instruments of this first half receive the same treatment. The P2s do not distinguish, nor do they offer a greater prominence to voices or instrumentation, being totally equable in their reproduction. This fact generates that all the elements are described with the same sensation of presence and importance, but recreated in their real location, never mixed, nor superimposed, but generously spaced and separated, offering that sensation of openness typical of large format headphones. In this sense, the P2s offer an ambivalent quality in the recreation of details. On the one hand, there are nuances that feel almost overexposed, very well defined and totally clear and present. However, there may be others that become less perceptible or, rather, cloudy. Perhaps, the resolution level of this driver suffers in these aspects, not being able to offer a sound as analytical as a priori could be expected. However, it is also true that due to the warm profile of the P2, this quality also suffers. Although, in my opinion, warmth and analytical ability should not be exclusive parameters in a product of this price level.
The softness in the upper part of the mids makes the female voices sound very analogical, but somewhat restrained in brightness, with a point of nuance in their silhouette. While the over extension of the treble, makes the final echoes, both of the voices, and of other instruments, have a high glow, like a flash, a bright spark at its end point. The tone up to this point had been very restrained, even below what is desirable for some more avid ears. But, from here on, this is where the expansive and excited high zone of the P2, can come into play for good or ill. Actually, it’s not fair to end the judgement of the middle zone in this way, because this range, both in musicality, and in delicacy, openness, transparency and three-dimensionality, leaves such a pleasant and enjoyable memory, that it makes many other IEMS in my collection pale into insignificance, without that feeling of soul and realism that can easily be found in them.
The first area of presence follows this path of containment, showing itself to be very restrained and controlled, totally in accordance with the above. This first zone of treble is clearly neutral. But it is from here that an unusual increase appears, which gives the sound properties that are not always pleasant. It is true that the outstanding extension of the treble is capable of providing that enormous amount of air that the P2s possess, but it is also guilty of over-excited harmonics, which can be critical in some recordings or musical styles whose instrumental extension is high or elevated.
The P2 scene has a great feeling of air, a quality that provides a high capacity for separation and three-dimensionality. The level of transparency is also very high, but the sound is not totally crystalline. The good degree of warmth and its limited analytical level means that the notes are not drawn so thinly as to provide a more defined, high-resolution sound. In this way, the tonality falls to the soft side, but wrapped in a silky volatility. In this way the stage is more ethereal, wider than deep and with a notable height, but somewhat diffused in its form, where the detail is presented in a dual way: excellent at times, more unnoticed at others. This is how the good properties of the P2 seem to enter into a confluence that prevents the scene from reaching a higher level, limiting the creation of depth planes and keeping the listener in a close and relatively close state of immersion.
Shozy Neo BG
The Neo BG is a Full BA IEMS with 5 drivers. They have a slightly warmer profile, but not as strong as the Tin HiFi P2. After a quick comparison the differences are big. The bass of the Neo BG is not as emphasized as in the P2, but its medium-high range and the first highs, stand out in presence above the Tin HiFi. In this way, their profile varies towards a more explicit, analytical and brighter, more balanced and clearly less dark profile. The Neo BG has a greater vitality, sounding more precise, defined and giving a sense of speed and immediacy in its notes. Everything sounds finer, but also with less body in the Shozy. On the other hand, in the P2 the lower zone is more present, a little slower, but definitely more dense and powerful. The body, sweetness and smoothness that the P2s bring to the voices is totally different to what the Shozy offer. The presentation of the sound in both IEMS is totally different. While the Neo BG offers a totally crystalline, higher resolution sound with sharper, more defined notes, the P2 offers a more physical, dense, but sweet and warm version down to the midrange. In terms of bass control, the Shozy has great performance, but the P2 has a fuller, more complex range beyond control, with a different but more organic and natural tone. The flashes in the middle zone of the Shozy, sometimes sound incomplete, since they lack more body in the lower zone of the mids, something that never happens in the P2, sounding rounder in this sense, but also too polished at times, losing the detail that provides the brilliance of the Neo BG. In the upper-middle zone the Neo BGs are more explicit and energetic, while the P2s are overdone in the higher frequencies, above 10Khz. Depending on the music and tolerance of each, both IEMS can be fatiguing, the Shozy in their emphasis on high mids and early highs, the P2 in the higher range. However, the treble of the Neo BG is more traditionally and realistically presented.
The scenario drawn by both models is also diverse. The width of the P2 is more marked, but the greater proximity and body of the middle area limits its depth. The increase in clarity and silence between notes of the Neo BG favours its better separation, gaining in height and distance, also in a more precise and exact positioning and location, far from the greater density and melosity of the P2. The more explicit and analytical character of the Shozy, reveals more detail at first sight and is perhaps a little better at presenting micro nuances.
The differences between the two IEMS, rather than competing, make them complementary, because both allow you to enjoy the music from two different points of view. The best thing is to have both, of course. But the choice between one and the other will depend on our listening tastes.
Finally, in terms of comfort, I prefer the P2 cable, which is more manageable and less rigid. The Shozy’s capsules are larger, but their better anchorage, far from disturbing, fixes them more firmly. There is hardly any difference between the weight of the two models, once they are adjusted.
Finally, it should be noted that the Shozy move more easily, with the P2 needing much more power to sound at the same volume level.
The Tin HiFi P2 is presented as a true IEMS reference for the brand. There is no doubt about the premium level of their presentation, accessories and construction level. In terms of sound, the second generation of the Driver Planar Magnetic has clearly special qualities, providing a warm sound at its base, neutral in the mid-range and over-extended at the top. With the necessary contribution of power, the stage offered has an excellent amount of air and its level of transparency is totally up to what is expected of them. But the most remarkable thing is its capacity to give a soul to the recordings, achieving a very peculiar sonority, typical of its particular driver, capable of placing the listener in a singular and enormously pleasant plane.
However, it is true that the P2 are not totally perfect IEMS. Its particular tuning, the unusual extension of the high zone and the power requirements are points that tarnish the excellence of its middle zone and the rest of its notable qualities. But Tin HiFi has undoubtedly reached a point of maturity, in the courageous use of this Planar Magnetic driver, to keep expectations very high about its next moves in this direction.
Sources Used During the Analysis
EarMen TR-Amp + Topping L30