- Winning tuning, with a great low end and a well extended first treble, without being annoying or excessive. One of the best in its price range.
- Great packaging and presentation, good number of accessories.
- Beauty, quality and ergonomics of the capsules.
- Some parts of the midrange are further away from my preference.
- The upper treble, the air zone, feels more limited and recessed.
- It’s a softer, rather than technical sound, something that could be an advantage.
- The cable is not up to the standard of the set.
- The packaging could be more compact and smaller in size.
Link to the Store
As I mentioned in my previous article about the TRI TK-2, the following review is the result of a European Tour, organised by Wendy Li from KBEAR (Thank you very much!). This time the products to be reviewed are the TRI Meteor IEMS and the TRI Grace-S cable, in its 4.4mm balanced version. The Meteor is a hybrid IEM consisting of a 10mm dynamic driver with beryllium-plated diaphragm and a Knowles ED-29689 BA driver. The Grace-S cable has two strands of 6 silver-plated monocrystalline copper cores and 4 pure silver-plated copper cores. In total they form 630 wires. There is not much more to say in this introduction, so let’s move on to my opinion of the set.
- Driver Type: 1 x 10mm dynamic driver with beryllium-plated diaphragm and 1 x Knowles ED-29689 BA driver.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz.
- Sensitivity: 105 ± 3dB SPL/mw.
- Impedance: 12 ± 2Ω
- Jack Connector: 3.5mm SE
- Capsule Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm
- Cable length: 1.2m
- Cartridge material: Egger resin.
- Cable Material: 5N OFC
- Weight per capsule: 4g.
The TRI Meteor comes in a large silver-grey box. On its upper side is an X-pattern, on its upper left corner is the brand logo and on the lower left, the model name. Both inscriptions are printed in a striking silver ink. On the back are the specifications in several languages, including English. After opening the lid you can see the capsules and 5 pairs of silicone tips in various colours and sizes, all inside a dense black foam mould. Underneath is another level with more accessories, also placed in a mould. The summary of all the contents is as follows:
- The two TRI Meteor capsules.
- 5 pairs of coloured silicone tips in different sizes.
- 3 pairs of black silicone tips in 3 sizes.
- A brown leather carrying case.
- A mini cleaning brush.
- Instruction manual.
- Cleaning cloth.
- 5N OFC 3.5mm cable.
The box is really big for the product, oversized for its contents. Except for the size, there are few complaints about the accessories, maybe I miss some foam tips and maybe the cable is too simple for the level of the capsules.
Construction and Design
According to the specifications, the capsule is made of Egger resin, with a semi-custom shape, a translucent inner body and an outer face with a flowing silver glitter pattern on a black base. The TRI logo also stands out on this side in silver. The 2Pin 0.78mm connection plate is embedded in the edge. Next to it there are two holes, one of which has a gold-plated metal tube. The inner side has the classic shape with a protrusion on the rim, for a better fit to our ear morphology. The mouthpiece is also custom shaped, and has two internal channels leading to each driver. Inside, apart from the drivers, you can see a printed circuit board with connections and some components.
The cable is simple, 4 black strands wound in a fairly standard design.
The capsules have a beautiful design and a splendid finish. The flowing silver pattern enhances the beauty and gives it a superior premium touch. The cable is not up to the mark in this respect and the whole is a bit lame. It is clear that the Grace-S cable is the perfect match for this product.
The Grace-S cable has two silver strands wound together. The connector is 4.4mm balanced and its sleeve is cylindrical with two distinct halves, one with a carbon pattern and one smooth, bluish-grey in colour. The splitter piece has a conical/beveled shape and is metallic, as is the pin, which is a rectangular piece with two holes through which the cable passes. Because these holes are larger than the cable, the cable adjustment function is in between. The sleeve of the 2Pin 0.78mm connectors is made of the same material and colour as the other half of the metal connector. The over-ear shape is achieved with a semi-rigid transparent plastic sleeve. The cable is thick, has a relative memory effect, a weight increased by its metallic parts, which together stretch the capsules once in place.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
The fit is the usual in this type of capsules, it fits very well and it adapts perfectly to my ears. The insertion is superficial, perhaps it could be medium in some morphology, but the width of the channel could avoid this fact. The Grace-S cable is a bit stiff, especially in its over-ear arch and limits the remarkable comfort of the capsules and their low weight.
When I tested the TRI Meteors connected to the TRI TK-2 I experienced a slightly more extreme U-profile, much more attractive and powerful than I first thought. After measuring the frequency response, I realised that the graph did not correspond to what I was hearing. As I noted in the TK-2 review, this DAC/AMP modifies the Meteor’s frequency response in a way that amplifies the bass, mid-high and treble, making the profile a more fun and extreme U-profile. Everything becomes more balanced by using sources with an impedance closer to 1Ω.
With the intention of discussing the most common version of the Meteors, I will describe their sound using low impedance sources. Also, because their sound is more technical and with a more controlled bass.
The low end demonstrated by the Meteors connected to the TK-2 is plentiful and noticeable. But somewhat more uncontrolled and rubbery. Using a more neutral source, control returns to the bass. I also feel that the Grace-S cable offers a more technical, accurate and open performance in this area. The zone, focused on the sub-bass, is deep, physically throbbing, sensory, but does not lose its good virtue of punch and weighty feel on every hit. Its texture is pleasant, detailed, with a roughness that is not too accentuated, but perceptible and absorbent. The increased level of cleanliness in the area is also attributable to the wire. The definition and resolution of the whole is high and the bass is quite precise, concise, relatively fast and tight, with good recovery and a short, controlled decay. The mid-bass appears without fear, its extension is careful and respectful of the mids, allowing a transition without intrusion, thanks to the focused tuning at the lower audible end.
Again, I think the Grace-S cable marries very well with the Meteors, adding technical virtues to the midrange. Without being a technical/analytical set, the Meteors offer a sense of cleanliness and clarity in this range, but without losing musicality, or a sense of openness. It’s not a blatantly wide sound, but there is a level of separation to allow the mids to breathe and a good level of transparency and definition in their detail.
The male vocals are somewhere between a fleshier, fuller presentation and a leaner one. On first impression they seem fuller and more exuberant, but their level does not match the sensation of the lower zone. As such, they remain at a more undefined, neutral distance, slightly soft, of equal texture and without very pronounced nuances. In short, they are clean and complacent. The female voices come closer to the listener and receive a slightly more emphasised treatment, not only in presence, but also in other aspects. In this way, they no longer feel so thin, but neither are they the protagonists in the overall sound.
The instrumentation persists in the same idea: if the fundamental is part of the first half, its response will be similar to the male voices. If it belongs to the second half, its prominence will be higher, thanks to the relative elevation of the bell gain. Yes, the high-mids have emphasis, but it is not a polarised tuning in this sense. There is a good conjunction and balance, which avoids the details or nuances being more prominent than the main parts. As a consequence, the mids have sparkle and liveliness, but without losing smoothness and harmony. The central range shines without being particularly prominent and, finally, it is more resolute, defined and clear, rather than full or superior.
The tuning is pleasant and musical, I am easily inclined towards this tuning, I like the tone and timbre of their sound. I even compare these IEMS with the Moondrop Blessing 2 Dusk and I prefer the tuning of the Meteor, because it is more in line with my preferences, although without going into other technical comparisons between the two.
The treble response has a curve that also suits my taste, at least up to 10kHz. They do not have a high emphasis, but neither do they fall too much into a control zone, which makes them decay too much. Thus, there is a good compromise between presence, extension and naturalness. Nothing seems forced in the upper zone, nor unnatural. The development is just right, with a full flare, without building up an exaggerated or exasperating brightness. The top notes have a dynamic vivacity and just the right amount of bite. Their sparkle is measured, palpable, but pleasant. The decay is not excessive so as not to be cutting, thus respecting the naturalness of the final result. The limitation appears in the upper half. The extension of the BA is not so high and is somewhat cut off in the air area. As a consequence, you lose the echo of the final flares and a cleaner feeling in the treble, as well as a higher precision and resolution, which affects the finest details and smallest nuances. Despite this, the high end is musical and free from annoying sibilance, making it very musical, effective and suitable for long listening, without having to do without a good level of detail. In this respect, the Grace-S cable and the selection of a matching source improve the performance of this range. The pairing with the new Earmen Colibri is appropriate for increasing the perception of cleanliness and resolution. While the connection with the S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN combo offers a more natural, pleasant sound without losing transparency or nuances.
I still think that much of my opinion of the TRI Meteor in this section is augmented by the use of the Grace-S cable. The Grace-S cable itself costs about the same as the IEMS, so the whole thing plays in a higher league. And, while I’m sceptical about the use of these accessories, I have to say that I find the staging or separation of the set to be significantly greater than with the standard cable. The notes have a greater weight, and are fixed in the image in a more perennial way, something that gives it more personality, as well as more marked nuances. It is true that the micro detail is not at a high level, but in my test tracks to analyse this section, the Meteor+Grace-S come close to a set with a very good resolution. The separation is realistic, neither a gap between notes, nor absolute darkness, but there is a natural representation in these respects. The recreation of the scene has a remarkable width and good depth, with a somewhat lower height. The sense of envelopment is not as evident and the image appears more frontal than three-dimensional, with no sensation outside the head. As I say, the result is more pleasing than spectacular, but the music is stereo, so it is natural.
The TRI Meteors have a winning tuning, which easily suits my preferences. They have a powerful, sub-bass-focused bottom end, a soft, but well represented treble, not to mention a pleasant and musical midrange. The band integration improves the sound and the combination with the TRI Grace-S cable enhances the virtues and polishes some of the shortcomings. Perhaps the set is a bit expensive, although you can always buy a cable in time. But without a doubt, the IEMS has a high quality/sound/presentation/price ratio, which makes it an easy choice without the possibility of error.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- TRI TK-2.
- S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN.
- Hidizs AP80 PRO-X.
- HiBy R3 Pro.
- Earmen Colibri.
- xDuoo Link2 BAL.
- Burson Audio Playmate.