In this article, I’m reviewing the Tanchjim Echo TWS earphones. The Echo is Tanchjim’s first foray into wireless IEMs. Echo comes with aptX Adaptive support and 10mm Beryllium-plated dynamic drivers. It retails for $99.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Shenzhen Audio for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Tanchjim Echo TWS Earphone Review
A clear, detailed sound, aptX support and great aesthetics make up for the lack of features.
Tanchjim Echo comes in a modest but stylish white box. Included inside the box are:
Tanchjim Echo TWS earbuds
USB charging cable
3x pairs of ‘long’ silicone eartips
4x pairs of ‘short’ silicone eartips
If you’re familiar with the brand, you’ll notice the Tanchjim styling in the earbuds right away. The shells have a triangular shape and a light grey colour. There’s a white border around the outside of the faceplates that reminds me of the FiR Audio 5×5.
At the top of the faceplates, there’s a small grille with a subtle LED underneath. The LED flashes when in pairing mode but remains dormant when the earbuds are in use.
Furthermore, the LED changes colour with the battery level: it starts as a bright white and becomes a warmer yellow colour as the battery level goes down. This nice feature makes it easier to determine the battery level. I much prefer it over cases that have only a single confusing LED.
The echo has an IPX4 rating, which means it can withstand sweat and light rain without taking damage.
I find the Echo shells to be comfortable and they feel stable enough in my ears for running or exercising. It’s great to see a good amount of various eartips included to ensure you get a satisfactory fit.
The charging case has the same grey and white colourway as the earbuds and looks quite classy. It’s about the size of a large egg so it’s slightly bigger than the average TWS earbuds case but it still fits easily in a jeans pocket.
Just under the front of the lid, there’s an LED bar that lights up when charging or when you open the case. On the rear of the case is the USB Type-C port for charging but it supports wireless charging as well. The case also accommodates larger third-party eartips comfortably too – bonus points awarded!
When it comes to battery life, the Echo performs reasonably well, with up to 6 hours of continuous music playback. The case will give you an additional 7 charges, taking the total playtime up to 48 hours.
Controls and Bluetooth Connection
The connection with Bluetooth 5.2 is very stable (especially with aptX Adaptive). Pairing is fast and consistent and I didn’t experience any drops or signal loss. When it comes to the touch controls, we find a fairly standard setup although, sadly, there aren’t any onboard volume controls. Here’s a list of available touch controls:
Call quality on the Tanchjim Echo is above average, especially for stemless shell earphones. My voice comes through clearly with adequate loudness and pleasing tone. You could definitely use these earbuds for regular calls or even video conferencing.
Video performance is flawless and there are no evident sync issues when watching stored videos or YouTube. Gaming holds up well, at least on my iPhone with hardly any noticeable latency. I’m able to play fast-paced FPS games without any significant lag or audio delay.
It’s been a long time coming but now I’m finally here with my first Tanchjim IEM. I’ll admit that only seconds into my first listen I quickly understood why Tanchjim is a favourite among demanding audio enthusiasts.
Right off the bat, the Echo’s clarity and overall resolution are apparent. This is not your typical bass-heavy TWS earbud. Echo has a refined, mature tuning that’s packed with detail and nuance.
Another thing that took me by surprise was the amount of texture in the bass. This is especially noticeable in slower jams and jazz tracks but regardless of the music genre or pace of the song, the texture is there.
Mid-bass notes pack a punch but are delivered with slam and speed. There’s no bloat or looseness in the low frequencies – just well-defined leading edges and effortless authority. Sub-bass notes are equally as impressive. The Echo produces a tangible physical rumble but with the same, precise control it accomplishes in the mid-bass.
The midrange has a neutral tuning with just enough warmth to sound natural. Echo renders the midrange with exceptional clarity and good detail. Despite its clarity, the sound is never stale or analytical. Male and female vocals are upfront and brighter due to an upper midrange lift.
A forward treble gives the Echo its clarity and definition. It also gives percussion instruments a snappy attack and leaner note size. One thing you’ll notice is the crisp airiness of the treble. It creates a wide soundstage and aids in more precise imaging.
However, despite the treble’s forwardness, it remains smooth and doesn’t come across as being too aggressive. Furthermore, Echo’s highs aren’t sibilant or glaring – just clear and pristine.
Moondrop Sparks ($90)
The Moondrop Sparks (review here) has considerably larger shells and a larger charging case. I find the Echo the more comfortable of the two. Sparks has an 8-hour battery life compared to Echo’s 6 hours.
Sparks has punchier and thicker bass. It hits with more impact than the Echo but is not as tight. The midrange on Sparks has more body and forwardness. Treble is subdued on Sparks compared to the Echo which has a lighter, airier treble and larger soundstage.
Tronsmart Apollo Bold ($99)
The Tronsmart Apollo Bold (review here) is loaded to the brim with features including ANC, Ambient mode, in-ear sensors, onboard volume control and app support. Its battery life is 7 hours with ANC on and 10 hours with ANC off.
The Apollo Bold is a bass monster when the ANC is turned on. Turning the ANC off yields a leaner and faster sound but it’s still rich and warm compared to Echo’s neutral tuning. The Tronsmart TWS has a more fun, easygoing sound. In comparison, Echo has additional fidelity.
The Tanchjim Echo might not be brimming with extra functionality but the shells are well-built and comfortable. Echo stands out most, however, for its engaging, clear and natural sound.