- Good tuning, in line with other recent TinHiFi models.
- Delightful bass.
- Subtly analytical.
- Good all-rounder.
- Excellent construction.
- Great value for money.
- Slightly irregular treble.
- Sound with a hint of darkness and dryness.
- The sunken 2Pin 0.78mm connection limits the compatibility of an alternative cable.
- Basic cable, no pouch, no carrying case.
Link to the Store
Following the descending order of review, it is now the turn of the TiHiFi C2. This is an IEMS made of 6063 aviation grade aluminium, which has a 10mm dynamic driver, with a PU+LCP (Liquid-Crystral Polymer) composite diaphragm. It uses a Daikku CCAW 0.035mm voice coil and an N52 neodymium magnet. It is clear that its metallic design is reminiscent of many other metallic IEMS with screws. But TinHiFi wanted to introduce a story behind it: the C2 is a mechanical warrior who wants to safeguard peace. It is not for nothing that the nickname of these IEMS is MECH WARRIOR.
Finally, it is worth noting that this is one of the cheapest IEMS TinHiFi currently has for sale, priced at around €25 at the time of writing this review. Let’s see what TinHiFi is capable of in this price range.
- Driver Type: 10mm dynamic driver with PU+LCP composite diaphragm, Daikku CCAW 0.035mm voice coil and N52 neodymium magnet.
- Frequency Response: 10Hz-20kHz.
- Sensitivity: 104±3dB @ 1kHz 0.179V.
- Impedance: 32 Ω ± 15%.
- Power rating: 3mW
- Maximum distortion: 3% @ 1kHz 0.179V
- Jack Connector: 3.5mm SE gold plated.
- Capsule Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm gold plated.
The TinHiFi C2 comes in a classic small white box with dimensions 101x101x33mm. On the main side there is a line drawing of a mechanical warrior. It is clear that this is the C2. At the top left is the logo of the brand and in the centre right is the name of the model. The back face is the same as other models: the logo, where it was manufactured, 3 QR codes and another barcode, along with several other logos of the certifications it meets. Repeating the formula, inside are a couple of cards, while the IEMS are inside a light grey foam mould. Underneath is a small white cardboard box containing the rest of the accessories. This is the complete contents:
- The two C2 capsules.
- One cable.
- Three pairs of black silicone tips, narrow core, sizes SxMxL.
- Three pairs of black silicone tips, medium core, sizes SxMxL.
- One warranty card.
- One certificate of authenticity.
The cable is not as bad as you might expect. It’s fortunate that it’s not the black 4-wire cable that comes in many IEMS in this price range. Without being the best, it’s passable. As usual with TinHiFi, there is no bag or carrying case.
Construction and Design
We could all rattle off a list of IEMS that bear a resemblance to the metal design of the C2, but I’ll skip this step. It is a metal design, manufactured from 6063 aviation grade aluminium by a high-precision 5-axis CNC. Its shape combines profiled, flat faces, with slightly rounded edges. The outer face is flat, with three Allen screws and a Y-shaped opening, through which a grille can be seen. Most of the edge faces are flat profiles, except for the edge near the mouthpiece, which is rounded to improve ergonomics. The 2PIN 0.78mm connection is on a transparent plastic plate, inside the body of the capsule. It is not surface mount, so a compatible connection is required. The inner side has several planes. The first and lowest one is rounded. The second is flat and has the letters R and L inscribed on it. The third is the first cone of the nozzle and has a hole. On the last one is mounted the mouthpiece, which is made of a more polished and shiny metallic material. The first part is a cone, followed by a cylinder with a smaller diameter of 5mm and the rim of the nozzle, with a diameter of 5.75mm. The grille is made of metal and is perforated with small holes. The construction is perfect and exemplary and the weight is surprisingly low.
The cable is fairly basic, with an angled, gold-plated, 3.5mm plug. On the outside of the metal cylinder is the brand logo. It has a velcro strap. The cable is made of two strands of transparent PVC coated wire, joined together. The splitter piece has a narrow trapezoidal shape and is made of black plastic. The cable has semi-rigid ear guides. The 2Pin 0.78mm connectors are mounted on classic black rectangular pieces that are narrower in the pin area. They have the letters R and L embossed on them and a blue dot to indicate polarity. As I say, the cable is pretty basic, but I don’t find it as bad as others in its range. What can be a bit annoying is that the coating can give it a certain stiffness and undesirable memory effect.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
The metal construction could indicate that these are heavy IEMS. The shape with many profiles, edges and edges, that the capsules are uncomfortable. But neither one thing nor the other. They are quite light, of course not as light as other resin constructions, but their weight is not relevant. The ergonomics are quite good. Only, as the hours go by, I have noticed some discomfort. The texture of the metal is micro rough and pleasant. So many edges and edges do not bother you as you would expect. The mouthpieces are well projected and have a good angle to face the ear canal. In addition, they are of a length that allows a medium insertion. However, the diameter of the nozzle may limit the depth of insertion. However, the fit is simple and durable, does not allow rotation and fits securely. They are suitable for testing with a multitude of tips, as long as they are of the relevant inner diameter. With foam-filled silicone tips, a fairly high level of insulation is achieved. Quite good.
The TinHiFi C2s are another twist on the FR cocktail that is the brand’s latest saga of models around a success curve. Despite being the cheapest, the C2 seems to be the model with the most emphasis on treble, if only in view of its graphics. If the T2 DLCs are the most balanced, the C3s the most V-shaped and fun, the C2s are the little brothers of the T4 Plus, but with a bit more fun, to be more attractive in such a wild price range. And, alternatively, the C2s offer another little surprise in their design, that little Y-shaped vent on the outer face of each capsule, something that adds a little more openness to their sound and a more airy and credible bass reproduction.
Back to the mid-bass. I would hazard a guess that those who don’t like bass prefer more pronounced U-tunings than the current one, which achieve a more extreme and complex to reproduce lower region elevation, as well as a cleaner midrange. It certainly works and is a successful way of adding spice for audiophiles and amateurs who are choking on bass. Gentlemen, there is bass here, and in spades. The mid-bass is here to stay and to hit the eardrums, but mercifully. These IEMS are not just for bass heads, they are fun IEMS. The good thing is that the dynamic drivers are getting better and better and there is more control in the area. Thus, the punch is noticeable, dark, slightly thick and subtly invasive, one of those that leave a bit of aftertaste in the atmosphere. Indeed, heavy for some people, sweet for others. Its texture is clear, rough and descriptive. In the pure tone test it defends itself with naturalness and presence, with that dark colour I mentioned and a quite realistic sonority, although with a slight excess of rumble. In the reproduction of complex phases it imposes authority and has the ability not to drown the voices in a dark and magmatic bass well. And its level of darkness helps in this regard, because it serves to make the differences more apparent. On the one hand, there is a deep, black, but localised bass focus. On the other hand, the focus of the vocals is not in the same spot, but manages to be defined and distanced effectively and naturally. This is where the difference between good bass lies, in the relationship between control and respect. It is clear that he is not a technical prodigy when it comes to constructing structured lines and bases with the best resolution. But it has enough definition for the layers to draw a realistic melody and not just offer a bloated mass of unpolished bass. Although, admittedly, that mass may be too much for some.
The slightly dark and thick character brings warmth to the midrange. But, fortunately, an undesirable muddy feeling is avoided. There is a difference in the level of the male and female voices. The former are a little more distant, they are also denser, softer and velvety, which makes for greater musicality, but a retreat in the level of detail and complexity, when it comes to their portrayal. It is a simpler, more pleasing staging, but without an overly neat or brilliant technical execution. In this sense, the circle is closed by returning to the dark thickness, inherited from the lower range, in this first half of the middle range, something that is contagious to all the instrumentation of this phase. This is how one observes a slightly biased ambience in the brightness, subtly lacking in harmonic information, in its resolute development, which can produce a slightly dull and low liveliness representation. On the other hand, the female voices take a step forward in presence, although they are still infected by that cohesive musicality which prevents them from being freer, cleaner, neater and more transparent. Well, this can be called warmth, but also mixed with a slightly sterile dryness.
If we talk about technical qualities, the C2 presents a certain ambivalence. At first, it might seem rather plain in these respects, lacking a clean and clearly discernible background, as well as that wide bass that can flood the scene at times. However, the level of detail manages to overcome this and stands up quite well for its price range. I think it benefits from the sense of air and openness provided by the Y-slot on the outer faces of the capsules. In this aspect, in conjunction with the more than remarkable treble extension, it can sometimes even seem analytical. But, always within parameters that are kind enough to coin this term.
From the graph, it might seem that the treble is in extra favour, within the group of TinHiFi IEMS that I have reviewed lately. But, in fact, this is not the case. The high range is in the common line of the rest of these models. They have extension, but limited projection. On this occasion, the bass counterbalance detracts from its prominence and clarity. The tuning is a little uneven here, with some more pronounced peaks, something that raises a false sense of emphasis on some details and high notes, which can sound a little forced. In an overall complex expression of the treble, the high notes can be more unevenly represented, losing the more accurate control and refinement of their siblings. This is how some tones sound more natural and controlled, others a little more mismatched. Fortunately, this is not a sibilant ensemble and both control and tuning work in its favour in this respect. Finally, there is a good amount of air for the price point, something that helps to enhance the soundstage.
The amount of bass can be a vehicle that enhances the scene, or compresses it. At times, the scene feels deep, more physical and grand. At other times, it can feel more compact, tucked in and oppressive, crowding in detail and preventing expansion. There is good frontal projection and acceptable laterality. The stereo feel is clear and perspicuous.
As I have been repeating, there is a flattering sense of openness and air, bringing a little gas, separation and vaporousness to the ambience, helping to dilute the music. But, conversely, the cohesion derived from the darkness and warmth, fights against it. But overall, the sound has a more than reasonable separation, even remarkable for the price, something that adds extra value to the whole.
In terms of imaging and instrumental positioning, the peculiarly analytical character helps in this respect, being effective on most occasions. However, it is important to be clear about the range in which we find ourselves, when it comes to valuing this feature.
It is true that, lately, my ears are being fed with honeys of other, higher prices. But I can’t hide my predilection for these IEMS. The TinHiFi C2s deliver everything I’d ask for under $30: stellar construction to stand up to daily treatment for a long time; a powerful sound signature, with punchy bass, but not forgetting the mids or the highs; a dash of analytical profile to bring to the fore those details that, in theory, only higher-priced IEMS can reveal; ergonomics and comfort that are not at odds with durable, metal construction. The only thing it lacks is a better cable and a carrying case. But all that can be easily fixed. However, to offer as much as these IEMS for this price is much more difficult. All in all, the C2s are a safe bet for those who like a more physical and punchy musical feel in the low end, mixed with the smoothness and control of the rest of the range, while maintaining an overall musicality and a good degree of descriptiveness.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Aune X8 XVIII Magic DAC + EarMen ST-Amp.
- Earmen Angel.
- TempoTec Variations V6.
- xDuoo XD05 BAL.
- Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Red Copper Limited Edition.
- Aune Flamingo.