Tin Hifi is a Chinese earphone manufacturer that has seen a large degree of success since they surprised the market with its excellent T2 model. They shook up the Chi-Fi world again when they released the P1 planar magnetic IEM. In this Tin Hifi P2 review, I check out the successor to the P1 to find out if it can live up to the hype and expectations. So can it? Let’s dig in.
Disclaimer:This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Tin Hifi P2
Great build quality and comfort
High-quality detachable cable
Requires serious driving power
Unusual upper-treble radiance
Package and Accessories
The P1 packaging had a hint of flashiness to it but the P2 kit really takes it up a notch. As is the norm, it begins with an outer cardboard sleeve. This one is white with a subtle pattern made up of little Tin Hifi logos. The real box inside consists of 2 parts. In the top section are the earphones and a gorgeous genuine leather carrying case.
The bottom part of the box is actually a pull-out shelf holding all of the other accessories and there are quite a few. Let’s break down the box contents into a list:
Tin Hifi P2 earphones
Detachable 8-core 6N OCC cable with balanced 2.5mm termination
2.5mm balanced to 4.4mm balanced adapter
2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm single-ended adapter
Genuine leather carrying case
3 pairs of silicone eartips
3 pairs of foam eartips
Design, Comfort and Isolation
The Tin Hifi P2 has a vaguely similar shape to the P1 but I think that’s mostly just coincidence. It’s actually closer in build to the T2 Plus and shares a similar matte finish and feel. While the overall styling is fairly understated, a closer look at the faceplates shows some rather intricate embellishment.
The stainless steel shells are lightweight but robust. The faceplates have a raised, rounded triangular shape with an unusual texture that looks like caviar but is actually very smooth to the touch.
A small vent can be found near the nozzle base. The nozzle itself is fairly short and I would have liked it just a little bit longer to help get a stable fit. Like so many other recent Chi-Fi IEMs, Tin Hifi has chosen to use the QDC (or C-type) 2-pin connectors which I have a love/hate relationship with; I love the ease and stability of them but I’m not so keen on the fact they’re only partly compatible with regular 2-pin cables.
In terms of comfort, the P2 works well for my ears and I can wear them for extended listening sessions. Rounded sides and the smooth finish means there are no hot spots or sharp edges so I think they should work for most people. Noise isolation is decent and about average for this type of shell shape.
To match the P2, Tin Hifi includes an 8-core braided 6N copper cable. At the top end are transparent and angled QDC 2-pin connector housings with colour-coded rings (red for right and blue for left).
The straight 2.5mm balanced termination has a polished chrome finish with a band of carbon fibre in the middle. A matching Y-split consolidates the visual styling and there’s also a chin slider in the form of a transparent plastic bead.
Considering the tight and uniform braid, the cable handles really well. It’s fairly supple but feels strong as a mofo. There’s almost no cable noise (microphonics) and the little that is there can be practically eliminated with the use of the chin slider. Overall, this is a great cable that looks and feels worthy of a $300+ earphone.
Before I delve into how the P2 sounds, I want to make clear that you will need additional amplification in order to hear its full potential. Whether that is via a high-powered DAP, a desktop amp or a beefy portable solution, this planar magnetic IEM demands real driving power. Furthermore, an ideal fit/seal is critical in order to get the most out of the P2.
The P2 has a dynamic sound with a somewhat U-shaped sound. Bass is boosted north of neutral, mids are fairly neutral and the treble is lifted. One thing I quickly learned about the Tin Hifi P2 is that it’s not the best all-rounder earphone. On some songs, it sounds phenomenal but on others, it simply falls short.
As far as I can tell, it’s a result of the treble tuning, which I’ll cover in more detail below. On the other hand, the P2 has moments of brilliance where it can truly astound you with its audio performance.
One of the biggest changes since the P1 is the bass response. In comparison, the P2 really steps up when it comes to bringing the bass. We now not only get the extension and extremely low distortion but we get the quantity and impact that was missing in the previous version, at least in the mid-bass.
That classic planar speed is there in all its glory, offering a fast attack and decay with enough of a trailing edge to add natural weight. Sub-bass is still relatively light but has good extension. The emphasis lies on the mid-bass, which is punchy and warm but not the most defined. It (the mid-bass) is boosted a bit north of neutral but nowhere near basshead territory.
In Slowly Rolling Camera’s “Eight Days”, the bass (starting at 1:34) has good body and is delivered with considerable impact. The quiet strumming of the guitar can still be heard clearly behind the saxophone and piano while the bass provides the driving force behind them all.
The P2 mids are a bit on the warmer side of neutral. Vocals sound pretty good here, both male and female. Male vocals are just chesty and rich enough, while female vocals shine without shrieking. Frank Sinatra’s voice in “Fly Me To The Moon” sounds sonorous but articulate and clearly stands out above the bass.
In “Penelope’s Song” by Loreena McKennitt, the vocals have a tendency to sound like a wailing banshee on many transducers yet for some reason, they’re easy to digest on the P2. The backing instruments sound fantastic in this track too. Instrument separation and resolution are good, however, on certain tracks with lots of upper midrange information, the P2 sometimes loses its footing due to excessive resonance.
There are some peculiarities in the P2 treble, namely the peak at 7kHz and the substantial lift on the upper treble registers. While this provides a good level of clarity and excellent micro-detail retrieval, it also adds a strange, bright sort of halo effect to the overall presentation.
Some percussion instruments sound too sharp and at times brittle. Surprisingly, crash cymbals don’t seem overly aggressive or forward initially but they have that strange radiance to them that can cause fatigue over time. Needless to say, the treble extension is fabulous but I feel it compromises the timbre of certain aspects of the overall presentation and can introduce some sibilance.
The soundstage is wider than it is deep. Although it creates a sense of space in front of the listener, there is little in the way of layers of depth. Stereo imaging is reasonably good but there isn’t a sense of tangible spacing like the P1 has. Instrument separation is generally quite good but the overarching treble extension tends to blend the upper register sounds together into a glowing haze.
So will the Tin Hifi P2 live up to the massive expectations of fanbois and audiophiles around the world? Well, yes and no. But mostly no. Despite its excellent build quality, premium leather case, cable and accessory kit it doesn’t really offer enough when it comes to audio quality.
It’s far from perfect but it has moments of greatness. I think the price point is too high in relation to its performance. However, I do praise Tin Hifi for going into this uncharted territory and persuing the (affordable) planar IEM route. Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone to their next great earphone.
Rated power: 5mW
Max power: 10mW
Max distortion: 1%@1kHz 0.179v
Interface: Gold-plated 2-Pin connector
Plug: 2.5mm gold plated plug carbon fibre tube
Rated power: 1.25m(0.08/16C 6n single crystal copper+200D Keviar)
Cable: 8 core single crystal copper translucent orange PVC cable