The Tin Hifi T2 was the IEM that shot the brand to fame several years ago. There have been several other models added to the “Tank” line of earphones as well. In this review, I’m looking at the most recent addition, the Tin Hifi T2 EVO. The T2 EVO currently retails for $49.
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.
Clarity and instrument separation
Will be too bright for some people (not for the treble sensitive)
The T2 EVO comes in a white box with a white cardboard sleeve and gold logo. Here’s what we find Inside the box:
Detachable MMXC cable
6x pairs of silicone eartips
1 pair of foam eartips
Velvet carrying pouch
Warranty and booklet
Staying true to its legacy, the T2 EVO sports a traditional Tank-style body crafted from aviation-grade aluminium. The shape and size of the shells are unchanged except for a colour-coded semicircle shape on the rear of the housing. These and the colour-coded MMCX sockets conveniently make identifying the left and right sides easy.
The shells are very lightweight and like their namesake are built like a tank i.e. very durable and sturdy. There’s a small vent on the faceplate and another near the base of the nozzle. The nozzles have a protective mesh cover and a solid lip that holds eartips securely in place.
In terms of comfort, the T2 EVO is not bad but it still has the old Tank shell sharp rear edge that can sometimes dig into your antihelix and cause discomfort after time. This will depend a lot on the shape of your ears but I doubt it will be an issue for most people.
Noise isolation is pretty solid, especially if you go with a deep insertion (more on this later). With the T2 EVO in my ears, I can barely hear any outside noise once the music starts.
Tin Hifi has stuck with the standard T2 cable for this release. It’s a 5N, 8-core SPC (silver-plated copper) cable. It has matching aluminium MMCX connector housings, Y-split and straight plug with 3.5mm termination. There’s also a plastic chin slider on the cable. In terms of handling, the cable performs well with no microphonics, kinks or memory.
Just a quick foreword before we get into the sound: I found the T2 EVO to be extremely tip and insertion-depth dependent! It sounded quite thin and bright until I switched to some smaller eartips and took the plunge deeper into my ears. I normally prefer extra-large tips with a shallow insertion but in this case, the T2 EVO sounds far better with a deep fit. The bass fills out, the midrange sounds fuller and the treble is more in balance with everything else.
Having said that, the T2 EVO follows a similar sound signature to that of the original T2 but with more emphasis on clarity. It has a neutral bright presentation with an open, airy feel. Despite its slightly lower sensitivity (93±3dB) and 32Ω impedance, the T2 EVO is easy to drive and doesn’t require extra amplification. It can be used with a low-powered dongle DAC or even straight from a smartphone.
T2 EVO’s bass is one of exceptional quality but some will find it light in quantity. It’s neutral in terms of level but has accurate note size. Attack and decay speeds are accurate too. With a deeper in-ear insertion, I don’t find it lacking in either weight or impact: in fact, I find it rather intoxicating.
In Sundial Aeon’s “Message From the Parallel World”, the T2 EVO’s bass is punchy and tight. Kick drums are delivered with adequate slam and the synthetic basslines resonate with satisfying physicality. The “Tank” shells do a great job of controlling the bass and there is no looseness or distortion. Sub-bass quantity is somewhat sparse, however, and comes with a light rumble.
The midrange is neutral and uncoloured. Tin Hifi’s tank series is still one of the best options for accurate timbre on a budget. It’s slightly dry, even using the deep insertion method. There’s just enough warmth there to keep it from being analytical, although the mids could use a touch more body for naturalness. Fast transients maintain good spacing between instruments.
Firing up “To The Sea (A Tolling of the Bells) by Oceans of Slumber, the synthesizer is loaded with texture and Cammie Gilbert’s vocals sound fabulous, nuanced and clear. Vocals have good density despite the soundstage being large and placed further back from the listener. Percussion instruments have good definition and electric guitars have bite.
Tin Hifi’s own marketing for the EVO states that the treble is somewhat bright. While I found that true at first, it changed drastically once I swapped out eartips and went for a deep fit. So the T2 EVO’s sound character is quite dependent on your ear anatomy and preferred style of wear.
The level of detail and clarity is excellent and while the overall tonality leans towards bright, the treble is smooth and even. It’s very airy and has a lovely decay. Hi-hats and cymbals sheen sounds fantastic, spacious and wide. Earthside’s “Mob Mentality” is a lively track with lots of busy percussion and electric guitars. It’s a song that can bring out fatigue on harsher IEMs but I had no trouble listening on the T2 EVO, even at a reasonably loud volume.
The soundstage size is one of the highlights of the T2 EVO. It’s expansive in width and has a good sense of depth. Good instrument separation and fast transients keep things clear without any muddiness or congestion.
Tin Hifi T2 ($49)
The Tin Hifi T2 has more fullness in its midrange, giving it a warmer, richer sound. Its mid-bass has more body as well. Furthermore, the treble is less forward albeit not as detailed. The end result is a sound that’s slightly thicker, more musical and less fatiguing than the EVO. Where the EVO shines in comparison is its soundstage and clarity but the T2 is likely to remain the people’s choice.
Kinera BD005 Pro ($49)
The Kinera BD005 Pro is a hybrid model (1DD+1BA) that’s priced the same as the T2 EVO. It has a warmer, more laid back sound signature compared to the EVO. The Kinera has a meatier bass with more sub-bass emphasis and low-frequency rumble. In the midrange, the BD005 Pro sounds a bit more recessed due to its elevated bass and vocals are less forward. The Kinera’s treble has a similar airiness but it’s slightly masked by the warmth of the bass, making the EVO sound airier in comparison.
The Tin Hifi T2 EVO takes the beloved original T2 sound and improves clarity and detail retrieval. However, the sound is brighter and heavily dependent on insertion depth and eartips. While some people may fancy the clearer sound, I think most people will still prefer the standard T2.