In this review, I’m taking a look at the new Tin Hifi T3 Plus IEM. The T3 Plus sports a single 10mm Liquid Crystal Polymer diaphragm dynamic speaker and retails for $69.
If you haven’t heard of Tin Hifi by now, you’re either new to budget IEMs or you’ve had your head buried in the sand. It’s one of the most popular brands in the budget to entry-level ChiFi audio scene with a range of products that have been very popular among the enthusiast crowd.
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.
Conductor/Cable: Φ 2.8mm (40 / 0.05 oxygen free copper+ 200D Kevlar) 4-core Black PU cable L=1.25m
Packaging & Accessories
Unboxing the Tin Hifi T3 Plus begins with a small white box. The design is simple and just has the model name and brand logo on the front. Within that is the actual box, this time in a light grey colour. It has this kind of padded lid that you lift up, revealing the IEMs seated in a felt-covered foam insert. Another smaller box contains the accessories.
It’s a relatively basic and practical packaging but it has a certain elegance to it. Here’s a list of the things you’ll find inside the box:
Tin Hifi T3 Plus IEM
Detachable 4-core OFC cable
Fabric carrying pouch
3x pairs of red-core silicone eartips
3x pairs of grey silicone eartips
1x pair of foam eartips
Based on a computer database of human eras, the T3 Plus is designed for optimal fit and comfort. In fact, it’s almost identical in shape to the Tin Hifi T5 but is slightly smaller. The T3 Plus’ shells are 3D-printed resin with a smooth hand-finished surface.
The faceplates have a textured marble design with a gold colour brand logo in the middle. A single vent is placed on the top side of the shell. The gold colour nozzles are slightly longer than the one on the T5 and have the usual protective mesh cover.
I find these IEMs to be really comfortable and have worn them for multiple long sessions without any hotspots or pain. Noise isolation is pretty good and even with music playing at low volume you won’t hear much of the outside world.
Included with the T3 Plus is a 4-core oxygen-free copper cable with 200D Kevlar reinforcement and a glossy black PU coating. It’s the same cable that is provided with the T5. The components are all matching gunmetal grey aluminium, including the chin slider. The plug has knurling and a 3.5mm single-ended termination.
In terms of handling, this cable performs well. It’s smooth, supple and drapes well. It’s a very quiet cable when it comes to microphonics too, so you won’t hear any cable noise while moving about.
The Tin Hifi T3 Plus has a balanced but fun tuning with a bold, upfront presentation. It has a nice tonal balance with the bass, midrange and treble all fusing together in harmony. It’s not a light, diffuse sound like the T2 or original T3 but more akin to the denser T4 or T5. But in my opinion, the T3 Plus is the best of them all.
Detail retrieval, clarity and overall resolution are good, especially for an IEM with this type of tonality. The soundstage is good too – in fact, it’s hard to criticize this earphone considering its price. Despite a somewhat low sensitivity and impedance of 32Ω, the T3 Plus is easy to drive and will run off pretty much anything. Don’t hesitate to try this straight out of your phone or dongle DAC.
The T3 Plus’ bass is energetic and punchy but well-controlled and doesn’t intrude on the midrange. The 10mm LCP driver has good bass extension and creates a visceral, intoxicating rumble. Mid-bass notes have good impact and a nice clean leading edge.
Listening to Hinkstep’s “Aldrig Mer”, the kick drum is punchy and the synth bass hums along with an intoxicating rhythm. It feels authoritative and gets the toes tapping yet the midrange and treble remain clear and unhindered by the gusto of the bass.
The midrange has nice clarity and a natural tone. Vocals and instruments feel just right, with good note size and body. Once again the LCP driver flexes its nimbleness here as the natural note weight is balanced harmoniously with fast transient speed on a black background.
Both male and female vocals sound neither thin nor saturated but rather clear and uncoloured. Firing up Above and Beyond’s “On A Good Day – Acoustic”, Annie Drury’s voice is intimate and sweet but never cloying. The timbre of the piano sounds accurate. Violins are sonorous with a nice mix of body and strings.
Treble is often an area where budget IEMs suffer the most because it’s arguably the hardest band to tune correctly. The T3 Plus does a pretty stellar job of it though for a budget IEM. It’s crisp, detailed and airy, all without sounding sharp or sibilant.
If I really had to nitpick, I’d say that percussion instrument attacks were ever so slightly abrupt. But in reality, it’s that clean definition that makes the treble exciting and it has a trickle-down effect throughout the presentation as a whole. The clean leading edges of kick drums and the bite of an electric guitar can be attributed to the treble tuning and the T3 Plus does both those things very well.
“Prognoz” by The Evpatoria Report is a song I like to use for testing treble (especially from 9:04-10:18) and the Plus is hard to fault here. The ride and crash cymbals sound lifelike and have a natural sheen and decay. There’s plenty of sparkle and air to be found too. This is a treble that sounds exciting and although it sometimes borders on sharpness, it stays within tolerable limits.
The T3 Plus creates a rounded soundstage with good width, depth and height. It’s not expansive as such but good instrument separation and airiness makes it feel quite spacious and never crowded. The stage position is neutral to slightly forward. Instruments can be heard behind and to the sides of the centre image, meaning that the Plus has pretty decent layering in terms of depth.
Moondrop Aria ($89)
The Moonndrop Aria is a single dynamic driver IEM. Although both IEMs have punchy bass, the T3 Plus has more mid-bass impact and texture. Both have a satisfying sub-bass presence and rumble. In the midrange, Aria’s vocals aren’t quite as forward and upfront. The T3 Plus brings vocals a bit closer to the listener.
Overall resolution is just a tad better on the Aria, however, the T3 Plus has better detail retrieval. This is due in part to Aria’s more linear sound signature compared to the Tin Hifi which has more bass and upper-midrange emphasis.
The Aria’s treble is more laid back and smoother, but not as detailed. However, due to a more reserved bass and midrange, as well as Aria’s treble extension, it sounds just as airy as the T3 Plus. Aria’s soundstage is slightly narrower but its resolution aids its imaging and instrument separation.
Hidizs MS2 ($79)
The Hidizs MS2 is a hybrid dual-driver (1DD+1BA) IEM. MS2’s tonality is a little brighter than the T3 Plus, a result of its lighter bass and more elevated treble. The MS2 has less bass quantity that is similarly quick like the T3 Plus but it doesn’t have as much impact.
MS2’s vocals notes are thinner, especially male voices which are more detailed but slightly lacking body compared to the T3 Plus. Clarity is greater on the MS2 and the mids sound exceptionally clean but the T3 Plus’ tone sounds more natural and is smoother at the same time.
MS2 treble is more forward, resulting in slightly better macro and micro-detail retrieval and airiness up top. It also gives the MS2 a wider but somewhat shallower soundstage.
Whizzer HE01 ($79)
The Whizzer HE01 is a single dynamic driver IEM. It has more sub-bass rumble and authoritative mid-bass than the T3 Plus which results in a little less spaciousness in the midrange.
There’s less emphasis on the upper midrange on the HE01making a little more V-shaped compared to the Tin Hifi. However, vocals on the HE01 are upfront making them relatively as forward on both models. Instrument separation and detail retrieval are similar in both models too.
Despite how it looks on the graph, HE01 has a lively treble like the T3 Plus, however, more of its energy is in the lower treble. This makes it detailed and crisp but not as extended. HE01’s soundstage is narrower than the Plus but it has more depth as a result of its neutral stage position. In comparison, the T3 Plus’ stage is a touch forward and more intimate.
Kinera BD005 Pro ($49)
The Kinera BD005 Pro is a hybrid dual-driver (1DD+1BA) IEM. These two IEMs are very alike when it comes to frequency response. The Kinera’s bass isn’t quite as assertive as the T3 Plus which has a more natural and extended decay.
Being a hybrid unit, the BD005 Pro isn’t as cohesive as the Tin Hifi but in terms of tone, it’s very close. Vocals sound similar on both too: both are upfront and clear. Apart from the T3 Plus’ more powerful bass, the other main difference is in the treble.
Treble notes are starker and more forward on the Kinera. The T3 Plus’ treble extension is a bit stronger, as is the treble timbre. Furthermore, the T3 Plus transients sound a tad more natural due to slightly rounder notes. Finally, soundstage dimensions are pretty close on both units but the T3 Plus stage feels more stable with cleaner air between instruments.
The Tin Hifi T3 Plus takes aim at the current sub $100 champs and firmly takes its place amongst them. It’s got a bold, upfront and engaging sound signature with strong technical ability and great build quality. To put some icing on the cake, the T3 Plus comes in at the agreeable price of $69. That makes it an easy recommendation and as such, it’s getting our gold award and earns a place on our Best IEM’s list.