- Quality of the lower zone.
- High level of transparency, clarity, cleanliness and detail, without losing the cold natural sound.
- Slightly analytical profile that is not fatiguing.
- Design and ergonomics.
- Quality of the transport box.
- It’s not a very deep sound.
- The low end, despite its quality, is a little light for bass enthusiasts.
- The cable has some rigidity.
Link to the Store
TinHiFi is a brand, established in the province of Guangdong (China), which was launched in 2017. Its philosophy is to offer HiFi sound and the best quality, at the best price. To this end, they strive to ensure that high quality music is not a luxury, but the norm. Since then, they have released several IEMS (T2 Pro, T3, P1, T2 Plus, even a TWS, the TWS2000).
The model I’m currently reviewing is the T4. They are IEMS which price is around $99, which is equipped with a 10mm dynamic driver, with CNT diaphragm. It has been manufactured in aluminum, aerospace grade, which combines elements of automotive design and high-end aircraft.
- Driver Type: Dynamic Driver 10 CNT
- Frequency Response: 10Hz-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 102±3dB @1kHz 0.126V
- Impedance: 32ohm±15
- Distortion Ratio: 1% @ 1kHz
- Jack connector: 3.5mm, gold-plated
- Capsule Connection Type: MMCX
- Cable: Ultra pure copper, silver plated.
The T4 comes in a sober black box, measuring 182x137x51mm, in the centre of which the brand logo, in gold relief, stands out. On the bottom, in a dark green colour, almost imperceptible, it is possible to read the name of the model. On the side faces, top and bottom, is the model in white, while on the right and left faces, one can read the name of the brand. On the back side there are barcodes, QR and certifications. After lifting the lid of the box, it is possible to see the two capsules, with some white tips, red core, on. Both are strongly protected by a dense foam mold. The moulded part where they rest can be removed and underneath it there is a black cardboard box, an instruction booklet and a guarantee card. In the lower half of the box, a large light brown leather box, embedded in another black mould, stands out enormously. Inside the little black box, there are the rest of the items. In short:
- The two T4 capsules.
- The 3.5mm, ultra-pure, silver-plated, two-stranded copper wire.
- Three pairs of white silicone tips, red core, sizes SxMXL.
- Three pairs of dark grey silicone tips, size SxMXL.
- One pair of white foam tips, medium size.
- A transport box made of light brown leather, magnetic closure, size 101x70x40mm
The packaging is plain, very functional, simple, well-structured. The transport box is formidable, one of the best in its range, very elegant, as well as practical. Perhaps its size is a bit large, more on the outside than on the inside. The accessories, two pairs of tips and a pair of foam, fit the standard within the price, fair and adequate. The cable looks quite premium, with high quality connectors, too bad the plastic coating is too rigid.
Construction and Design
The capsules have a double cylinder design, coupled at 90º, at their rear. In detail, the body of the IEM is a thick cylinder of 12mm diameter and 18mm total length. At its rear there is another cylinder, attached to a ring at 90º, which surrounds the capsule. Inside, the MMCX connector is embedded, plated on another one. At the base of each connector, there is a plastic washer, red or blue, which identifies each channel. At the very centre of the junction between the connector cylinder and the ring, there is a hole. Above it, in the same vertical, at the base of the nozzles, there is another hole. They are located on a rounded base and have a length of approximately 3.5mm. The smallest diameter is 5.4mm and the outer ring is 6mm. Inside there is a dense metal grid. The rear face is formed by a multitude of radial grooves, like a car wheel.
The capsule construction is quite solid, mixing aerospace grade aluminum, along with a stainless steel casing. Its size is not very big and its weight is less than it seems, at first sight.
The cable has generous metal connectors. The plug housing is large, cylindrical, straight, with roughened rings on each side to improve grip. The piece divides a smooth, metallic cylinder, with the logo inscribed in white ink. The pin is a transparent plastic ball. The sleeves of the MMCX connectors are metal cylinders with two slots on the back. They have the letters R and L painted in white, to identify the channel. All the connectors are gold-plated. The cable is made of high purity copper, silver plated and consists of two strands of 1.5mm each. They are covered with a transparent, somewhat rigid plastic and, in spite of the fact that they are braided, the cable is not very flexible and has a slight memory effect, which spoils the whole. Finally, near the plug, there is a velcro band, in grey, with the logo of the brand in white, to collect the cable.
Despite the fact that the capsules are cylindrical, the 90º connector gives it a different design. The surfaces are highly polished and shiny. The MMCX connector fits a bit tightly and the cable does not rotate too much inside. But both connections feel secure. The cable is very much in line with the design of the capsules, but its plastic coating does not give it the best flexibility, so it is totally comfortable.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
The capsules, although the connector cylinder is a 90º piece, are of a classic cylindrical design. Thus, the ergonomics are quite simple. The design has taken care that these connectors do not disturb or rub against the rest of the ear parts, at least in my case. I can rotate the capsules at will, to find the best insertion, which, on the other hand, is quite straight. Ergonomically speaking, there is no greater fitting than direct insertion, which can limit their coupling, depending on one’s morphology. In my case, I consider that I have quite normal ears and I have hardly any problems with IEMS. With the T4, neither and this means that I find their adjustment simple and comfortable. The cable over the ear does not bother and barely rubs, hanging quite free and imperceptible. The best fit will depend on the tips used, as IEMS don’t hold up anywhere. The insertion is superficial, and bi or tri-flange tips can be used for deeper insertion, but the straight design may not be the most appropriate for this type of insertion, although everything is tested, depending on the morphology of each.
The Tin HiFi T4 are IEMS with a very slightly warm character, within a balanced profile, with an analytical tendency. The lower part stands out in the middle and the warmth is noticeable in the projection of the initial part of the mids. My unit, feels balanced in the upper mids, being very clear and sharp, but never unpleasant. The upper zone is detailed, resolving and pleasant. I find that the three bands have a good harmony and that one can enjoy each one of them, without interference from one band to the other.
The lower zone of the T4 has a presence that is somewhat superior to neutral, without ever entering into bass territory. I think that Tin HiFi has educated the lower zone to recreate beauty, achieving a slight emphasis on its central zone, which brings depth and an exciting touch to the music. Its texture is soft, yet vibrant, with a faintly warm color and very well executed. Its decay is fast and it is harmless to the rest of the frequencies. The sub-bass, does not have as much presence as I would have liked, but its sonority is never forced, but is very natural and perceptible. The bass is executed fast and tight. The descriptive capacity of the low zone, is in charge of providing a tonal musicality to the bass, which makes them very melodious and pleasant. So much so, that a greater amount of emphasis and notoriety is missed, something that would have finished off the area in an excellent manner.
The search for beauty continues its journey in the central zone, finding, in this range, the gateway to the area closest to its goal. Swimming in a sea of clarity, cleanliness is revealed from the beginning of the mid-range, accompanied by a tenuous transient warmth, which bids farewell when the mids reaches its zenith. Voices sail subtly, blending between the fullness of its width and the absence of a more vigorous and deeper body. They feel present and close, their texture is smooth and harmonious, but they do not feel so rounded, as they are not very energetic or corpulent. The analytical tendency of this area, builds the voices in a detailed way, wide, although somewhat flat. The cleanliness of its execution, is its strong point and it is there where the beauty of its recreation lies, generating a sensation of height and superior origin, that wraps the instruments, as if it was a light and transparent mantle. Similarly, the instruments are reproduced with the same feeling of delicacy and finesse. Although, on this occasion, many of them require something more powerful than just a high-resolution sketch, which lacks a greater packaging. In this sense, the central area suffers from sufficient flesh, and does not give the range greater volume and a more exuberant presence. Instead, all that absence becomes definition and transparency, revealing the true analytical pulse of the midrange.
I think the treble is quite attractive, being slightly bright and expressive in its first half, standing out in presence, but not reaching fatigue, measuring its edges at the right point. In this way, the first flashes are very fine and very well defined, giving the sound that analytic quality, beyond neutrality. The delicacy is not lost, nor is its beauty disfigured, only a slight descent is appreciated in the continuation, necessary to limit sibilances and to avoid fatigue after a long use. Despite this, transparency never disappears and stands as another great virtue of the T4. The amount of detail is unquestionable, but, at the micro level, a simply good resolution capacity is perceived, which is not capable of revealing the best kept secrets. Finally, the amount of air is quite moderate, appreciable, but without being decisive within the overall sound.
Despite the good work of the lower zone, neutrality has a greater weight when it comes to recreating the scene. In this way, it is drawn wider than it is deep, with good separation and that characteristic height of its sound. The distance is quite good, in that horizontal coordinate, but it is perceived as somewhat limited between planes. In this way, the instrumental recreation has a good positioning and good silence around it, but it does not transcend in depth, nor in three-dimensional generation. That is why the scene is perceived frontally, panoramic and slightly curved, but not completely involving.
NF Audio NA2
NA2s are more polarized IEMS than T4s, with a more V-shaped profile. Both their lower and upper-middle zones are more emphasized. The sound pressure of the bass is more impressive, the sub-bass is perceived deeper, with a longer body, somewhat slower. Meanwhile, the T4, do not have so much sub-bass, but have a very successful texture, which borders the mid-bass frequencies, drawing them with a very evocative buzz. In the mid zone, the NA2 have more body, something that can be noticed in the male voices and in the remarkable instruments of this part. The lower-mid range acquires a fuller presence, while the T4 sounds flatter, smoother and cooler, with less emotion. However, they have better balance and poise, while the NA2s feel more extreme. Even the greater presence in the upper range of the mids makes them more persistent, comparatively speaking, where T4s are more delicate, less intense, but softer and more homogeneous. On the other hand, this greater linearity of the midrange, in the T4, provides a slight sensation of hollowness, where the NA2 offers a more complete and rounded experience, despite the greater sinking of its central zone.
In the upper part, the sonority is somewhat different between the two. The T4s have more defined, fine and delicate highs. While the NA2 are somewhat harder and wider, while more incisive. In the T4, its initial extension is longer, being perceived more natural and complete. The details sound better in T4, due to its better resolution, but it is also true that the NA2 has more air, something that helps it generate a wider scene, while deep and more three-dimensional, with a greater level of separation.
In the construction section, the differences are clear: the T4 are metallic and cylindrical, the NA2 are polycarbonate, with a semi-custom shape, which barely weigh. The cable is thicker and seems to be of higher quality in the T4, although it is somewhat more uncomfortable. The ergonomics are somewhat better in the NA2, due to the weight and fit, but the difference in this aspect is not relevant, as is the packaging and level of accessories.
In short, more than rivals, both IEMS could be, almost, complementary.
The No.3s are old-fashioned rockers who are still alive, thanks to the house brand sound, TFZ, where the bass rules. And, of course, it’s in the low end that the differences begin. The TFZ bass is strong, deep, slightly slower and wider and more powerful, with a strong sub-bass, a rough and pleasant texture, able to satisfy the fans of the area. On the other hand, the low range of the T4, is not so complete, but it still has a very precise and pleasant texture, besides being faster, clear, precise, defined and clean.
The middle zone, in the T4, retains its classic homogeneity, while the TFZ polarizes this range. Again, the cooler timbre is perceived in the T4, which is noticeable in the voices, which seem to be pushed upwards, while the TFZ plays them from below, with a greater sense of depth and fullness. In these voices, the T4s show finesse and final details, but their reproduction is flatter, smoother and less suggestive. The upper mids are very different, starting from that polarization I was talking about earlier, in No.3. They have much more energy, due to their more U-V profile, which exerts an important power, providing the sound with more dynamics, but also with a more forceful and, certainly, hard character. The T4, are more muted, comparatively, due to that balance of theirs, which prevents them from going out of their own script.
In the sonority of the treble, the differences persist. In the T4 they sound wider, softer, relaxed and more delicate. In the No.3, they are more aggressive, but also more crisp. Overall, the No.3s have a higher pitched sound and also, with more bass, due to their U-V profile. The T4s are more balanced. The representation of detail is another point: No.3s sound more incisive and present, while T4s sound dimmer and less bright, but are not omitted.
The scene is wider in T4, but has less depth. In the TFZ, it’s more compact, but deeper. The lateral separation is greater in the T4, however, more three-dimensional in the No.3, while in the T4, the music is recreated flatter.
There are clear differences in the construction: metal vs plastic in the capsules, cylindrical vs semi-custom shape. The cable has similar connectors, being thicker in the T4, but equally rigid in both models. Better accessories in the T4, with a very superior box, as opposed to a too simple bag, with the same number of silicone tips. Although the T4, provides a couple of foam tips. The presentation of the packaging is superior in the T4, being more careful and eye-catching.
The T4 has been my first Tin HiFi and, after reading a lot about them and about the brand itself, it has been an excellent start. From them, I must emphasize the sound generated with its dynamic, analytical, very descriptive, detailed, bright, clear and transparent driver, without losing sight of the quality in the recreation of the lower area. Without a doubt, it is an explicit, neutral sound, with a somewhat cold tendency, which I like and which allows me to enjoy many details and its richness of nuances. But it’s not just the sound that’s good, the design, construction, ergonomics and packaging are up to, even above, its price. Considering its profile, I consider the T4 to be a counterpoint to the classic sound coming from a dynamic driver, which every enthusiast should try.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Burson Audio Playmate
- Tempotec Serenade iDSD
- HiBy R3 Pro
- JWD JWM-115
- ACMEE MF-01