Tin Hifi P1 Plus review featured

Tin Hifi P1 Plus Review

TESTED AT $169
WHERE TO BUY

In 2019 Tin Hifi Launched its first planar magnetic IEM, the Tin Hifi P1. I fell in love with it from the beginning and it was a big success for the brand as a whole. It still remains popular today. In this review, I’m looking at the follow up to the original, the Tin Hifi P1 Plus.

The Tin Hifi P1 Plus is a planar magnetic earphone with a 10mm planar driver. Compared to the original model, the Plus improves its sub-bass extension and delivers an even flatter frequency response. The P1 Plus retails for $169.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Linsoul for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.

Pros
  • Stainless steel shells
  • Small and comfortable form factor
  • Overall resolution
  • Responds extremely well to EQ
Cons
  • Vocal presence could be improved
  • Lacklustre treble response
  • Bass quantity will be limited for some listeners

Tin Hifi P1 Plus

Specifications
  • Driver: 10mm planar diaphragm
  • Impedance: 22 Ω ± 15%
  • Sensitivity: 108±3dB @1K Hz V0.179V
  • Frequency range: 10 Hz–20kHz
  • Rated power: 5mW
  • Max power: 10mW
  • Max distortion: 1% @1k Hz 0.179V
  • Interface: Gold-plated MMCX connector

Packaging & Accessories

The P1 Plus unboxing experience is similar to that of the original model. However, I think this time around, the packaging is a bit more practical. The box is still the same square shape but it’s smaller now and less flashy.

Opening the box, you’ll discover the P1 Plus IEMs seated in a foam insert. Seated below that is a faux leather carrying case; similar again to the original case but more practical and easier to use. The rest of the accessories are found inside the case. Here’s a list of what’s inside the box:

  • Tin Hifi P1 Plus IEM
  • Detachable 5N OFC MMCX cable
  • Faux leather carrying case
  • 3x pairs of white silicone eartips
  • 3x pairs of grey silicone eartips
  • 2 pairs of foam eartips
  • Documentation/warranty

Design

Tin Hifi P1 Plus shells and carrying case

Like its predecessor, the TIn Hifi P1 Plus is constructed from rugged, polished stainless steel. The shells are surprisingly small, even smaller than the average single dynamic driver IEM. There’s one small vent near the base of the nozzle and another at the pointed end of the faceplate. The protective mesh covering the nozzle is now gold in colour compared to the silver on the original P1.

You can be confident that these shells are sturdy and durable. They have a little heft that makes them feel substantial in the hand but they’re not at all heavy. The overall build quality is very good.

Tin Hifi P1 Plus mesh nozzle cover

In terms of comfort, the P1 Plus is great. The small shells fit comfortably in my ears and the smooth curved housings don’t cause any hotspots or discomfort. I found that because the nozzles are relatively short, I have to use some of my larger eartips in order to get a really good, secure fit and seal.

Cable
Stock OCC copper cable

The included cable is a 5N OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) MMCX type. It’s similar to the original P1’s cable but this one has a much tighter braid below the Y-split making it feel stronger and more premium. It’s great to see Tin Hifi listen to feedback and have acted to resolve the issues people had regarding the old cable.

Sound

Tin Hifi P1 Plus earpieces with carrying case

Gear used for testing includes:

Flat sound signatures tend to make some audio enthusiasts excited and if you fall into that group of people the Tin Hifi P1 Plus graph is bound to get your heart racing. In fact, the P1 Plus is probably the flattest frequency response curve I’ve seen on any IEM to date.

But what does that actually sound like? Well, the P1 Plus actually has a slightly warm overall tonality. Just like the previous P1, the Plus has light bass, neutral mids and a lifted upper treble. It’s a presentation that is actually not bad for content creation, such as editing or mixing, but it’s perhaps not ideal for music consumption.

One thing to note is that the Tin Hifi P1 Plus responds extremely well to EQ (equalization). With some subtle tweaks of around 3kHz in certain areas, the sound can be totally transformed without any loss of audio quality. But out of the box, P1 Plus has decent clarity, good resolution and average detail retrieval.

Probably the biggest change between the P1 and P1 Plus is power requirements. The P1 Plus is much easier to drive and can easily be powered by a dongle DAC or low-powered DAP. The planar driver is able to scale up with a better source, especially with some mild EQ tweaks.

Tin Hifi P1 frequency response graph
Tin Hifi P1 frequency response graph.
Bass

The bass is fairly subdued and although it has a natural weight and thickness, the level or quantity of the bass is quite light relative to the mids and treble. Bassheads definitely need to look elsewhere for their ideal IEM. Having said that, the P1 Plus’ sub-bass extension is much improved over the original and no longer rolls off.

Firing up “Screening” by Mr Bill, Funi, the bass has accurate thickness but the mid-bass kicks lack overall impact. However, there is ample texture and definition in the bass. So while some might find it lacking in level, it’s hard to ignore the quality of the P1 Plus’ bass.

Mids

The midrange is forward and full-bodied. While the clarity is decent, it’s still got the slightly veiled feeling of the original model. This can be easily remedied by a subtle lift using EQ in the 3kHz-5kHz region. Just adding 2dB-3dB here makes a stark difference in overall clarity and vocal presence.

I think it’s with some EQ where the P1 Plus really shines. I feel strange saying that since, as a rule, I generally never use equalization when testing an IEM. Without EQ, the P1 Plus sounds a bit like it looks in the graph: a bit flat. With some minor alterations, the sound really comes alive.

Treble

The treble tuning is somewhat unusual on the P1. It has a little dip at 6kHz followed by a large dip around 10kHz before rising way back up again in the upper treble. As a result, the lower treble is smooth and rather laid back. Just like the P1, the Plus relies on its transient speed and light bass to uncover details. This works to a certain extent for macro details but not so much for micro-detail retrieval.

The treble extension is above average and adds airiness and openness to the treble. But it sometimes feels like it’s lacking bite and sparkle. It’s not exactly a precise or detailed treble but it is a smooth one and is devoid of sibilance.

Soundstage

The P1 Plus has a moderately narrow stage but one with good depth. Vocals are upfront and fairly intimate with plenty of space behind the centre image. Like most planar IEMs, the speed and control of the driver help create more black air between instruments. Add to this the controlled bass and you get a stage that although small, still feels airy.

P1 Plus with box

Comparisons

7Hz Timeless ($219)
P1 Plus vs Timeless
Tin Hifi P1 Plus (red) vs 7Hz Timeless (grey).

The 7Hz Timeless has a tonal balance that’s likely to please more people; it’s a V-shaped sound with emphasized bass and a slightly forward treble. In comparison, the P1 Plus in its default tuning sounds a bit flat (because it is).

It’s in the bass department where these two IEMs differ the most. The Timeless and a healthy, fun dose of bass while the P1 Plus is light on the lows. Both mid-bass and sub-bass notes are more pronounced on the 7Hz although the P1 Plus has slightly better mid-bass definition.

In the midrange, the Timeless is slightly recessed and lacks density in the centre image. Vocals have better solidity on the P1 Plus while on the Timeless they sound leaner and less substantial albeit more detailed. The Timeless puts extra sharpness on some vocals and instruments, bringing it closer to sibilance.

As a result of its leaner note size and more forward treble, the 7Hz has better instrument separation and clarity. The Timeless is more detailed and airy up top. It’s a very resolving IEM, aided in no small part by the width of the soundstage. The Timeless has a very wide but shallow stage while the P1 Plus’ stage has good depth but is quite narrow.

Tin Hifi P1 ($169)
P1 Plus vs P1
Tin Hifi P1 Plus (red) vs Tin Hifi P1 (grey).

The Tin Hifi P1 is the predecessor of the P1 Plus model. Physically, the only difference (at least externally) is the colour of the nozzle’s protective mesh cover. In terms of sound, there are only some very minor differences.

First of all, the P1 Plus is much easier to drive than the previous model. It runs fine from just about any source. The next difference is in the sub-bass extension: the original P1 has a substantial roll-off in the sub-bass. The P1 Plus now has better sub-bass reach but is still similarly light in quantity.

Finally, the third significant change is in the lower treble. The P1 original has a small lift at 5kHz and another at around 6.5kHz. This adds presence and vibrance to the P1’s vocals and instruments. Although it looks like a small change on the graph above, it can have a dramatic effect on the overall experience.

Personally, I still prefer the sound of the original P1 over the P1 Plus in its default tuning. However, the Plus responds remarkably to small EQ tweaks and you can easily transform the sound into something more dynamic.

I think if you already own the P1 there’s really no point in getting the P1 Plus unless you love the sound of the original but struggle with power requirements.

P1 Plus right earpiece with box

Conclusion

The Tin Hifi P1 Plus is a subtle reworking of the original P1. This updated model is far less demanding in terms of power requirements and will run fine off most sources. In addition, the sub-bass roll-off of the original model has been drastically improved.

If you’re into using EQ, the clarity, soundstage and instrument separations can be improved dramatically with some minor tweaks. While it doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, the P1 Plus is a much more accessible version of the original mythical P1.

Founder of Prime Audio
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