A Great Part Two
- Great tuning, balanced, pleasant, natural, slightly warm, balanced and secure.
- Bass with a restrained, but present punch. Good skills in this lower range.
- Fairly full and musical mids, very enjoyable.
- Remarkable level of construction, light and resistant.
- Quick fit, effective ergonomics.
- Great quality/sound/price ratio.
- Lack of accessories, no case, no carrying bag.
- It is not very technical, nor does it possess great definition, it is more melodious than analytical.
- The treble is tight and does its job well, but it is not extensive, nor does it have a lot of air.
Link to the WEB
After a period without reviewing any TinHiFi models, they have now fallen into my hands again. The TinHiFi T2 DLC 2022 arrived home several weeks ago. They are, as you can see, a new evolution of the T2. I had the pleasure of reviewing the T2 Plus, but not the first T2. The T2 DLC 2022 do look like the concrete update of those initial T2. They have returned to the iconic cylindrical design of that saga (the T4 was similar), but they have updated their diaphragm, using a 4th generation DLC composite and a 10mm dynamic driver. It was a nice touch to forget the MMCX connector and switch to the 2Pin 0.78mm connector. I particularly prefer this connection. The new version continues to use high-density aviation-grade aluminium as the material of construction for its capsules. But, the best is yet to be discovered, because both its tuning and sound elevate this upgrade to be one of the best in its class. Let’s see why.
- Driver Type: 4th generation DLC composite diaphragm, 10mm dynamic driver.
- Frequency Response: 10-20000Hz
- Sensitivity: 111±3dB @1kHz 0.179V
- Impedance: 32Ω±15%.
- Cable length: Approximately 1.2m±3cm.
- Cable: 8-core 5N silver-plated cable.
- Jack Connector: 3.5mm SE.
- Capsule Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm
The TinHiFi T2 DLC 2022 comes in the classic elongated, landscape box, similar to the T2 Plus, but in black. The presentation is very sober: there is only T2 written in the top right corner and the brand logo in the bottom left corner. On the back side there is not much, just a few QR codes, the brand’s logo, a slogan in Chinese in the centre and the logos of the certifications the product complies with. The package measures 144x77x44mm. Once the cardboard is removed, a box that looks like a landscape book is revealed, with a woven texture on the outer body, made of thick, black cardboard, with the logo in white in the centre. The inside is white, a box containing a thick foam mould, which holds the capsules with the particular T1 shape. Once the first layer is removed, the rest of the accessories are in transparent plastic bags. The complete contents are as follows:
- The two T2 DLC 2022 capsules.
- 6 pairs of silicone tips, sizes SxMxL. One medium pair comes with the capsules.
- Two blue foam tips, large size.
- One silver-plated 8-core 5N cable with 3.5mm plug and 2Pin 0.78mm connections.
The packaging is reminiscent of previous models and does not come with a pouch or bag. There are two sets of matching tips. We applaud the inclusion of foam tips, but we can’t forgive the fact that it doesn’t include anything to store or protect the IEMS.
Construction and Design
There is little left to discover of an already recognised design, based on the earlier original model. It is a cylinder-shaped design, made of high-density aviation-grade aluminium. To grip it, there is a 90-degree piece that has a hole through which the capsule passes, like a washer. On the «tab» of the washer, which tapers slightly, is the 0.78mm 2Pin connection, on a flat top edge. This connection is mounted on a circular plastic plate. It is red for the right side and transparent for the left side. On top of them is a blue mole to indicate the polarity of the 2Pin. On the outer side, there is the logo of the brand. On the edge of the washer, the part that is underneath, once the IEMS are fitted in our ears, there is a hole. There is another one, but it is on the inner side, on the skirt that leads to the mouthpieces. Before reaching this part, the cylinder is subtly bevelled. The nozzles are integrated in the inner face and have two levels. The first and longer one has a diameter of 5.35mm, while the edge is much thinner and has a diameter of 6mm. There are perforated metal sheets to protect the inside of the product.
The cable is quite classic in its connections and sleeving. The plug is 3.5mm SE, gold-plated. The sleeve is a classic cylinder with texture for better grip, in two parts, one larger and one narrower. The splitter piece is a cylinder with two rings near the edges. The pin is a transparent sphere through which the cables pass. The sleeve of the 2Pin connectors are also cylindrical, with a small bevel near the cable and two rings. The same design of plastic discs is repeated, matching the connection of the capsules. The cable consists of 8 cores of 5N silver-plated strands.
This is a classic design that has been paid homage to. Nothing negative to complain about, very good construction and a design as durable as its construction.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
The T2 DLC 2022 combines ballistic ergonomics with an elongated body. The 90 degree crossover of its flange adds the possibility of having a cable away from the centre and rigid in a vertical position. The diameter is adequate and if it had been larger, the ergonomics would have suffered. Due to the inclination of the ear canal, the insertion can be perpendicular and this causes the cable connectors to be close to the pinna. Depending on the inclination of the ear canal and the insertion depth, this can be more problematic. In my case, with a shallow insertion, thanks to my homemade foam-filled tips, there is no such danger. The set is comfortable and durable. The insulation is remarkably high. The passage of the cable over the ear is not the most correct. It is possible to rotate the capsule inside the canal, so it is not a unique fit. However, it is durable and quite pleasant.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is a neutral profile, but it is well balanced. The bulk of its frequency response is within 10dB. It’s arguably not the flattest on the market, nor is it its target, but it’s a really good balance. The low end has an emphasis on the transition between sub-bass and mid-bass. The drop towards the midrange is smooth and progressive, while the rise towards the upper-mids is a little more daring. Once the peak is reached, it is maintained until the first highs, before reaching a classic control drop, which ultimately results in a descent towards the air range, which only recovers slightly at that point. It is a very pleasant tuning, with soft treble, not too extended. But it has a great transition between bass and midrange, as well as great control in the more sensitive part of the audible range. There is room for improvement in the high end of these IEMS, but I can’t hide the fact that I like this tuning a lot, especially for the great balance between the presence of the bass, the mids and the transition to the first treble. On the verge of excellent for this price range.
Bass is a notch above neutral. They are not IEMS for BassHeads, but their presence and power is evident, but always in balance with the rest of the frequencies. The lower range is never above the upper frequencies, but their quantity is not testimonial. While the punch is not the deepest and subtle colouring is perceptible, due to its greater incidence in the centre of the range, the bass is executed in a compact, precise manner, with good speed and a hint of punch, if one puts into context that these are $50 IEMS. It is becoming increasingly common for bass to feel tight, especially when the driver has a DLC diaphragm, whose stiffness and physical characteristics provide the great qualities of precision, containment, recovery and speed that this model’s bass possesses. It is true that it is not the most textured bass, as is usually the case with those whose performance is more technical and concise. But it has enough rumble to be enjoyable and noticeable, without losing composure, while maintaining relative control, harmony and balance. That’s right, the T2 DLC 2022s are able to execute unfiltered or low-end bass without hardly suffering, clearly demonstrating the rigidity of their diaphragm. In this way, the lower range has a good ability to stratify LFOs, keep layers at a distance and draw bass lines without them blending together. Although it will be difficult to reach bass nirvana or a more complete low-frequency flood, because this model will always keep its composure and good workmanship. This is musical balance with a hint of exuberance in the bass power, enough to demonstrate presence and a certain warm flavour.
I like to think that the timbre and sonority of the mids have an analogue character. It is the result of the tuning of the bass and the smoothness of its treble. In this sense, the medium extension of the upper range favours this sensation. Again, I have to comment that there is a good balance between the ranges and there is not a lot of noticeable dip in the first half of the middle range. It is harmonious in this respect, as well as pleasant and measured. In this way, the male voices have a great balance of presence, physicality, body, density, texture and detail. There is no one of these parameters that predominates over the other. And that is the sense of restraint I find in this model. The body is not thick, the presence has a good prominence, without being redundant or too intimate. It is dense enough to be rich and full in its rendering, but not to become opaque. The detail is adequate to possess a remarkable descriptive feel, but it is not an analytical presentation. It is that ensemble that gives me that more lush, organic, analogue feel. It is the same with the rest of the instruments, the guitars, the strings, the pianos… All of them are presented with a harmonious, musical and melodious balance and equilibrium. The second half is emancipated in a measured, almost exemplary way. The exposition of the upper-mids is almost a paradigm of a good tuning in this aspect. It is in charge of projecting presence, clarity, light and a slight amount of transparency. The level of restraint flourishes again and the female voices are the great example in this respect. They possess just the right amount of vivacity, sparkle and control. There is no sibilance, no artifice, no over-exposure of detail, no over-emphasis of it. That’s true, it’s not a high-precision ensemble, it’s more musical and focused on medium and macro detail, than on defining great resolution. However, the articulation of the notes is very good, it is dynamic, fast and agile. Again, I think that the driver has a lot to say in these aspects, when it comes to drawing specific notes, well separated and defined, but with a point of roundness that takes it away from a stricter sense. All in all, this is an almost excellent range for the price range in which it moves. Highly enjoyable, almost charming.
The upper zone is the one that has the least balance in itself. I would like to avoid the comment, but in all honesty, it is a safe and smooth tuning. The extension is not very high and the presence of the treble is based more on a supporting range, on a good initial presence, than on personal showcasing. In this sense, his task of completing the harmonics of the rest of the band is completely covered. Pleasant, well-resolved, with a measured and controlled sparkle, as well as possessing a natural shape in the crackle of his presentation. But after a well-resolved first part, set out with grace and respect, the range is too gently diluted. Actually, it is also quite «guilty» that the sound of the T2 DLC 2022 is this good. And that’s already a great achievement.
Without being exemplary in recreating the scene, there is a noticeable side-to-side and good stereo feel. While depth and height are average. That makes the scene not very three-dimensional or expansive. It is not a flat set, but spatiality is not its virtue. However, it has a good level of transparency, separation, order and coherence. It is not diffuse, but neither is it analytical. It is well resolved. As I have said of the mids, it has remarkable articulation and definition in rounding off the notes and separating them from each other. Being terse in the recreation of layers on the depth axis, the instrumental and vocal positioning, it is capable and concrete, agile and fast enough to present a good degree of resolution and a clean background. All this implies quite acceptable technical capabilities, reaching a very good level of representation of medium and macro details, even hinting at the tiniest nuances, thanks to the cleanness of its execution and a crisp cut on all notes, avoiding any hint of obscurity or diffuse aspect.
Dunu Titan S
To see the real competencies of the T2 DLC 2022, I wanted to compare it against one of the big players in the sub-$100 segment. Specifically, they are worth about $80. The design of the Titan S is noteworthy, but the DLCs are clearly lighter. The Dunu wins hands down in terms of packaging and accessories. The build level of the DLCs is very good, but Dunu brings something special to the table. I prefer the dark copper cable of the Titan S, although the fact that it is specifically designed to match the shape of the capsules, I dislike when it comes to changing it, because it breaks the harmony of the design.
The fit and ergonomics are good on both, but the speed with which the DLCs are inserted into the channels gives them an edge in this respect.
The TinHiFi’s are slightly more sensitive, at equal volume, they sound a little louder.
The Dunu’s bass is slightly more concise, tighter and with less roughness. There is a subtle, but noticeable overemphasis on the DLCs, which gives them a louder presence and a bit more darkness. On a technical level they have similar properties, but I think the Titan S is faster and has a lower decay. The texture of the DLC is more noticeable, something that gives it added value. It also seems less coloured and has a darker and slightly rounder tendency. In this way, it feels more natural and pleasant, less dry and more enjoyable. Although technically it seems somewhat inferior and more prone to a stuffy feeling, comparatively speaking. The Dunu is cleaner, clearer, more neutral and defined.
In the mid-range, the similarities persist. But I also see more cleanliness and refinement in the Dunu, a subtle improvement in their level of resolution and definition. The tone is warmer in the TinHifi and more neutral in the Titan S. This is how the Dunu has a point of greater technical and analytical ability, it feels a little more transparent and sharper (if I may say so, always under the comparative magnifying glass between both IEMS), while the DLC is a little softer and not so neat.
Oddly enough (I say this because of my charts), I find the Dunu’s more sparkling, finesse and resolution in the first treble. The DLCs are rounder and less crisp, softer and less sharp. There is more mid-treble extension in the Dunu, as well as more air. The feeling of higher transparency is justified by that fact, as well as a greater sense of separation, but also a superior technical ability to render details and micro nuances.
In terms of soundstage, while neither is superior, there is an advantage to the Dunu, as it is cleaner, clearer and more refined, with a more volatile sound, which provides an expansive point that the DLC lacks. This aspect gives it a more three-dimensional feel, while the TinHiFi’s are flatter, albeit with good width. Good positioning on both, but more precise on the Dunu, with more separation, distance between notes, spacing and also more finesse in the presentation of the elements, more stylised and delicate.
One could go so far as to say that the TinHiFi T2 DLC 2022 is the softer, even punkier brother of the Dunu Titan S. Whoever is looking for a more all-rounder and less critical version, as well as cheaper and lighter, will have a great option in them.
Second parts are not always good, but there are always exceptions (Terminator 2 was, coincidentally called T2). And this is one of them. Even without knowing the original T2, the TinHiFi T2 DLC 2022 by itself justifies its presence in the market, thanks to a great tuning. It has all the makings of a great all-rounder, slightly warm in character, smooth on top, melodious, pleasant and balanced in many respects. My idea of IEMS for everyday use is that they have to be robust, light, easy to insert, comfortable and bearable for many hours. And the DLC meets all these requirements. And musically speaking, it is present in all the bands: it has a balanced low end with a bit of punch, a fairly full midrange and a tight, but expressive first treble. They do not have the greatest extension in the upper range, nor are they the most technical in the range. But there are few IEMS, that I have tried for this price, as complete, melodious, harmonious and enjoyable. They are a real hit and highly recommended.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Aune Flamingo.
- Hidizs XO.
- Earmen Angel.
- TempoTec Variations V6.
- Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Red Copper Limited Edition.
- ACMEE MF02s.
- xDuoo XD05 BAL.