Tin Hifi is a brand that continues to be popular among enthusiasts thanks to their steady release of new models that are always competitive in terms of price and performance. It all started back with the T2 which is still highly regarded today. The T2 was known for its neutrality and technical ability. Then came the T2 Pro, T3, and T4, all of which garnered respect and a fairly high level of success. In this review, I’m checking out the new Tin Hifi T2 Plus.
The T2 plus has a single 10mm dynamic driver and it’s the first earphone from the T-series that makes a serious deviation from the physical style of the original T2. Some will like it, some might not: personally, I’m really happy to see the new form factor as I find it far more comfortable and practical. But in the end, it all comes down to how they sound. So, how do they sound? Let’s find out.
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 T2 Plus
- Simple, minimalistic shell design
- Great build quality
- High-quality detachable cable
- Balanced sound signature
- Smooth and non-fatiguing presentation
- Noise isolation could be better
Package and Accessories
The T2 Plus experience begins in a similar fashion to previous versions. It comes in a blue box wrapped in a white outer cardboard sleeve. Inside the box, the earpieces are seated in a classic foam insert. Apart from the earphones, you’ll also find 6 pairs of silicone eartips, 1 pair of foam tips and a detachable MMCX cable.
Build Quality and Design
One of the biggest changes the T2 Plus brings compared to previous models is its new shell design. It now has a much more ergonomic and minimalistic design with a powder-coated finish and smooth curved surface.
There are 2 vents on the shells: one on the underside and another at the base of the nozzle. The shells are free of any other features, branding or text, apart from the L and R indicators that mark the left and right sides respectively.
For my ears, the T2 Plus is far more comfortable than its predecessors. It just feels so much more natural and secure in the ears than the older models. As such, I can comfortably wear these all day long without any problems. Having said that, I think there is still some room for improvement in terms of the inner shell shape to make them fit even more naturally in the ears.
Noise isolation is about average, meaning some degree of external noise is blocked but you can still clearly hear your surroundings when there’s no music playing. However, once the music starts, most outside noise disappears and you’re left in the company of your music.
Although Tin Hifi has been quite consistent with their IEM designs in the past, their cables are another story. The original T2 cable was pretty awful: it looked and felt cheap and succumbed to oxidization in a short period of time. Then we were blown away by the glorious white and gold T3 cable which was thick yet supple. The more expensive T4 backslid a little with its sticky and boringly plain cable that felt like something tacky from days of old.
The Tin Hifi T2 Plus steps up to the plate with what I think is their best cable yet. It’s a silver-plated 4-core cable with a sumptuously supple PVC insulation. It’s lightweight, attractive and handles really nicely.
At the top end are aluminium and colour-coded MMCX connector housings. There are some heat-shrink pre-formed ear guides that do their job without being too aggressively curved or stiff. Further down are the aluminium Y-split and a plastic chin slider. The cable terminates in a straight aluminium 3.5mm plug with a knurled grip and solid strain relief.
Gear used for testing:
- FiiO M5
- Shanling M5s
- Soundaware M2Pro
- iPhone with YinLuMei B2 Bluetooth amplifier
- PC/MusicBee with Yulong Canary II
The Tin Hifi T2 Plus in a sense goes back to its T2 roots in regards to its general sound signature. It does this by having quite a linear presentation where the bass, midrange and treble are all aligned fairly evenly in terms of forwardness and level. It also has a similar upper midrange and lower treble lift. The difference here is that it now feels more robust and vivid. The bass has more oomph plus the midrange has additional body and warmth where the T2 did not.
One of my favourite aspects of the T2 Plus’ sound is without a doubt, the bass. Let me start by saying if you’re a basshead these aren’t the earphones for you. Having said that, I think this is one of the best bass performers you’ll find in the budget segment.
The bass is quick in both its attack and decay but it has such a wonderful, natural weight to it that (for me at least) is really intoxicating. These are by no means light in the bass department: there is sufficient low end to get you into a head-bobbing frenzy when your favourite jam is playing. And the sub-bass can get physical too and hit you with some real thunder.
In Radiohead’s “Creep”, you get a real sense of the weight behind the bass but it sits just behind the midrange and vocals, letting the nuances, details and airiness in the track shine through.
Should it really be a surprise to anyone that the T2 Plus has a fine midrange? I thought not. In true Tin Hifi form, the midrange is clear, detailed and organic sounding. A slight emphasis on the upper mids gives female vocals and certain instruments a vibrant flourish without sounding shouty but male vocals still have sufficient body and gusto.
For a budget-level IEM the T2 plus has a surprisingly accurate tone. The strings in The Chopin Project’s “Letters of a Traveller” have a lusciously rich resonance that’s neither nasally nor overripe.
Rounding out the Tin T2 Plus’s accomplished tuning is its precise, airy treble. The extension is there, as is a touch of sparkle and an ample amount of detail. Treble notes are fairly linear just like the bass and midrange. In terms of quantity, the treble sits just behind the midrange, where it’s not too bright yet adds plentiful energy and clarity, in addition to keeping the overall tonality balanced.
Listening to the percussion and piano in “Kneel Down” by the Neil Cowley Trio, T2 Plus shows it knows a thing or two about treble timbre as well. Overall, this a treble that’s detailed, open and much better than you would normally expect for something at this price point.
The T2 Plus’s soundstage is reasonably large but the dimensions are nothing out of the ordinary. However, the quality of the soundstage is superb for a budget inear. For starters, instrument separation is excellent, thanks to the fast transients and speedy bass decay. Adding to that, the imaging is really good, resulting in a clear spread from one side of the stage to the other. Stage depth is only average but the width is quite impressive and you get a real sense of height too, which is rare even in more expensive earphones.
Tin Hifi T4 ($109 USD)
The Tin Hifi T4 (review HERE) also has a single 10mm dynamic driver. It’s still priced as the flagship of the T-Series but in my opinion, it should now share the flagship title. Why? Because the T2 Plus performs on a similar level at less than half the price.
The T4 has a bit more emphasis on the bass so if you’re really into bass-driven music it might be the better choice for you. Having said that, however, the T2 Plus bass is slightly faster and more nimble.
Throughout the midrange, both IEMs perform fairly closely but the T4 has more gain in the presence region which gives vocals and some instruments extra bite. But in addition to the presence boost, the 5-6kHz area is lifted too so the T4 can be more prone to harshness and sibilance.
T2 Plus has an airier, more open soundstage compared to the T4 which has an overly fast treble decay and underwhelming imaging. Having said that, some people will still prefer the more forward and dynamic presentation of the T4.
iBasso IT00 ($69 USD)
The iBasso IT00 (review HERE) is another single 10mm dynamic driver earphone. At the time of writing this review, it’s my favourite sub $100 earphone but, believe me, the T2 Plus comes very close.
The IT00 has a little more bass quantity with extra weight added on the sub-bass. In the midrange, IT00 has less vocal clarity and a warmer tone which is carried over from the bass. Furthermore, IT00 has thicker midrange note size and thus extra body in the mids.
In the treble region, IT00 is more forward and has a little more extension. The T2 Plus’ lower treble is a touch more pronounced but has good density and crispness. If you’re very sensitive to treble the T2 Plus might be a little bright for you but otherwise, it has a great treble.
BLON BL-03 ($25 USD)
There’s obviously no way I could write this review without comparing the T2 Plus with the BLON BL-03. The BL-03 (review HERE) was a smashing success among budget enthusiasts and as I write this, a new purple version has just hit the stores keeping the “driam” alive.
The BL-03 has more bass presence, in particular in the mid-bass. This gives BL-03 more bass punch and fullness while the T2 Plus stays closer to neutral. It also affects the lower midrange, making the T2 Plus’ mids sound cleaner and less boomy.
The BL-03’s 2kHz lift gives percussive instruments additional presence and sharper attack. Some people may find fatiguing but it does add energy to vocals and piano. The T2 Plus is more even here which results in a less dynamic but smoother presentation.
When it comes to treble, both IEMs share a similar curve but the T2 Plus is airier, giving it a more feathered sound and a slightly larger soundstage.
We’ve known for ages now that Tin Hifi can make great-sounding earphones. But putting that great sound into a more ergonomic shell with a superb cable and at a price of just $59 was a real surprise. For those reasons, I believe the Tin Hifi T2 Plus is currently the undisputed best model in the T-series: so much so that it has superseded the original T2 on our Best IEMs List.
In addition, the T2 Plus takes a firm position in my current top 3 sub $100 earphones. So if you’re looking for a killer budget IEM be sure to check these out.
- Driver Unit: 10.0mm woofer
- Sensitivity:104±3bBdB @1K HzV 0.126V
- Frequency Response: 10-20KHz
- Impedance: 32Ω±15%
- Rated Power: 3mW
- Max Power: 5mW
- Max Distortion: 1% @1k Hz 0.126V
- Interface: Gold-plated MMCX connector
- Plug: 3.5mm black carbon multi dimensional heavy plug
- Conductor/Cable: 1.25m (22/0.06AS Silver-plated Enameled+200D Kevlar)*4, Transparent Super Soft PVC Cable
- Housing Color: Stainless steel colour