The Tin HiFi T5 has a single 10mm DOC diamond diaphragm driver and titanium shells. It’s currently priced at $129 but will be available for $109 during the super early bird sale.
Every time a new Tin HiFi earphone hits the market portable audio enthusiasts go mad with glee. The T5 is the latest from Tin HiFi’s T-series IEMs and they’ve changed things up again with an entirely new shell design and newly-developed DOC dynamic driver.
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.
Excellent build quality
Shells might be large for people with smaller ears
Hollow and sibilant vocals
Tin HiFi T5
Driver Unit: 10mm DOC Driver
Frequency response: 10-20000Hz
Interface: Gold-plated 2-pin connector
Plug: 3.5mm gold plated plug
Packaging & Accessories
Like the previous T-series models, the Tin HiFi T5 comes in a white box. The surface of the box has a textured pattern made up of little Tin HiFi logos and although it’s very subtle, it gives the box a premium feel. On the front of the box are the model number and an embossed gold-coloured brand logo. Here’s what’s inside the box:
Tin HiFi T5 earphones
Detachable 2-pin cable
Faux leather carrying case
6 replaceable nozzle mesh filters
Nozzle removal tool
6 pairs of silicone eartips in 2 types
1 pair of foam eartips
As is fitting for the current flagship in the T-series, the Tin HiFi T5 has taken things up a notch in terms of shell design and materials. The T5 sports titanium housings that look and feel ultra-modern, almost futuristic, like something from a sci-fi movie.
The main part of the body has a smooth, polished surface while the faceplates have a matte finish with subtle Tin HiFi branding. There are 2 vents on the shell, one on the top, just behind the 2-pin socket and another near the base of the nozzle. The nozzles are gold-coloured and have replaceable mesh filters.
Internally, T5’s internal acoustic chambers have been mathematically calculated to deliver the most optimal sound reflection. As a result, the newly developed 10mm DOC diaphragm dynamic driver can reach optimal performance.
The DOC diamond diaphragm is an enhanced molecular carbon atom structure that Tin HiFi claims is thinner yet 60% stronger and more rigid than traditional DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) diaphragms. Furthermore, the DOC driver is even harder than typical ceramic (piezo) diaphragms, enabling it to create a more linear frequency response with an increased bandwidth range.
Comfort & Noise Isolation
To achieve the most comfortable fit, the T5 is the first IEM from the T-series that utilizes machine learning strategies to create a shape that matches the curvature of the average human ear. All the tech babble aside, I find the T5 to be an extremely comfortable earphone, despite the shells being rather large.
It fits my concha so well it almost feels like a custom IEM. In addition, however, my wife (who has small ears) said the shells felt a little too big after a short time. Noise isolation is good to slightly above-average for a concha-filling style housing. You could wear these earphones on a noisy train or while walking through a busy shopping mall and you won’t hear anything but the music.
A 4-core Kevlar-plated OFC cable is included with the T5. It has a black PU sheath plus matching aluminium 2-pin connector housings, Y-split with chin slider and a straight 3.5mm plug. The cable handles well. It’s lightweight, supple and has no noticeable microphonics.
Although it’s not especially hard to drive, the T5 requires a bit more power than something like the FiiO FH3 or Moondrop Starfield. It will be fine to plug straight into a phone but as usual, some kind of DAC or DAP will provide the best experience.
If I were allowed only 1 word to describe the sound of the Tin HiFi T5 it would be “basshead”. But of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. T5 has a V-shaped signature with loads of bass, a slightly recessed midrange and an elevated treble. Detail retrieval is good and the overall resolution is about average. The tonality is on the warmer side of neutral.
I guess Tin HiFi is working to cover a wide range of sound signatures with their T-series. We had the T2 that is lean and linear, the T2 Pro that boosted the treble, then the T3 that added bass and clarity to the T2’s linear tone. Next was the T4 that added more body and warmth, followed by the T2 Plus that refined and brought more balance to the linear line and now, the T5 that’s all about the bass.
The T5’s bass is big. It’s big across the board but the mid-bass is especially prominent. The mid-bass is thick and every note sinks in with impact. Consequently, listening to certain tracks on the T5 feels a bit like getting whacked in the head repeatedly with a down-filled pillow.
If you’re all about those big bass drops, T5 has you covered as well with its sub-bass. Scarface’s “Still Here” booms and rumbles with the massive bass. It has quantity in spades but in terms of quality, the bass is pretty ordinary.
T5’s midrange sits behind the bass but the new DOC driver does a pretty good job of controlling the bass bleed. Owing to that bass control, the overall resolution of the T5 is still reasonably good. However, during complex passages where the bass and treble amp up, the midrange starts to sound congested.
I found the midrange performs better on simpler tracks, such as “Freedom” by The Gloaming. In this song, the tone and timbre of the piano and vocals sound fairly natural and aren’t dominated by the bass or treble. Having said that, the male vocals sound pushed back and distant but female vocals and the upper midrange fare a little better.
The T5’s treble is relatively forward, a necessity to counterbalance the abundance of bass. It’s a bit uneven owing to peaks at 5kHz, 8kHz and 12kHz respectively. As a result, there is occasional sibilance and cymbals tend to sound a bit splashy and artificial.
Notwithstanding, the slightly edgy treble provides ample clarity to vocals and instruments, as well as good detail retrieval. But overall, I think the treble to be the weakest part of the T5’s delivery. For instance, in The Pineapple Thief’s “Shoot First”, the chorus is riddled with sibilance that quickly had me reaching to turn down the volume.
Another example is Oh Hiroshima’s “Aria” which ramps up energetically after the 3-minute mark. Listening with the T5, the electric guitars and crash cymbals combine to create a shrill haze of sound that becomes very fatiguing (at least to my ears).
The T5’s soundstage is fairly intimate. Stage width is decent while depth feels somewhat compressed. The stage position is fairly forward but vocals lack solidity. Stereo imaging is reasonably good but there’s little in the way of layering. Instrument separation is okay on some songs but on complex tracks, it deteriorates quickly.
The Tin Hifi T5 covers new ground for the brand’s T-series, taking on the basshead segment. However, the end result is assuredly underwhelming when it comes to audio quality. Nevertheless, the T5 has what is arguably Tin HiFi’s best shell design yet. The titanium housings are gorgeous, durable and comfortable. Sadly though, the sound simply falls short so I cannot recommend this IEM.