The TRN BA8 is a $95 multi-BA IEM with 8 balanced armature drivers per side.
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.
- Ergonomics and fit
- Tight, textured bass
- Included cable could be better
- Included eartips very limited
- Tonality may be bright for some
- Impedance: 20OΩ
- Earphone sensitivity: 100dB/mW
- Frequency range: 20-20000Hz
- Driver unit: Customised 30095 high frequency*3+29689 midrange* 2+50060 midrange* 2+22955 low frequency*1
Packaging & Accessories
The TRN BA8 comes in a white square-shaped box with a white cardboard sleeve. Apart from an illustration of an earpiece and the model number, the sleeve is left bare. The actual box is matte black with a silver debossed TRN logo on the top. Here’s what you get inside the box:
- TRN BA8 earphones
- Detachable 4-wire, 2-pin cable with 3.5mm termination
- Round metal carrying case
- 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L)
Like several of their previous models, the BA8’s shells are CNC crafted from aerospace-grade aluminium with a multi-layered ceramic coating. The faceplates have a ridged design with a subtle wing-like pattern and a low-key TRN logo.
There’s a single vent on the inner side of the shell, to alleviate pressure buildup. The nozzle has a protective mesh cover and a well-defined lip so eartips are held firmly in place. As is increasingly common these days, the BA8 comes with hooded 2-pin connectors. Overall, the build quality looks excellent.
When it comes to comfort, the BA8 fits my ears like a glove. The ceramic coating is smooth all over and there are no unruly bumps or sharp edges. I can happily wear these shells even for extended listening sessions.
Passive noise isolation is about average for this type of shell. The sound of the air conditioner in my room is mostly blocked out but I can still hear the keys on my keyboard as I type. However, once the music starts playing I don’t hear much of anything else.
The included cable is a 4-wire, OCC copper type. It has right-angled transparent plastic 2-pin connector housings and heat-shrink ear guides. The Y-split and right-angled 3.5mm plug are hardened rubber.
Despite being rather thin above the Y-split, the cable isn’t particularly prone to getting tangled. However, there is some mild microphonics when you bump the cable or move around. While the quality of the cable is decent, it lags behind most of the competition for an IEM at this price point.
Gear used for testing includes:
- iPhone Hiby FC3
- Shanling M5s
- PC -> FX Audio DAC-M1
Some might say the BA8 graph: “has a face only a mother could love”. But we would be wise to not take every graph too literally. Although they’re a useful tool for the most part, they don’t always paint the full picture. The real test should always be our ears. Of course, it’s not possible for most people to audition every IEM they’re interested in. So I will do my best to put the graph in context and describe what I hear for you.
The TRN BA8 has a neutral bright tonality with excellent clarity, detail retrieval and a large soundstage. Despite what the graph suggests, it’s not a harsh or sibilant sound (although there is some occasional sibilance). BA8 has a light V-shaped signature. I say “light” because although the midrange looks recessed, the level of the bass and treble is not accentuated all that much, giving the midrange ample room to be heard.
As far as power requirements go, BA8 can be driven from any source, including smartphones. But being a 20 Ohm multi-BA IEM, ideally, you’d want something with 2.5 Ohms or less output impedance.
Let’s begin with the elephant in the room – that BA bass. As far as multi-BA bass goes, the BA8 has a good one. It’s super clean, has good extension and sufficient punch. The only area where it can’t match a good dynamic driver is the sub-bass rumble. Having said that, it reproduces those super-low frequencies quite well but it’s something you hear more than you feel.
Apart from the sub-bass, the BA8’s bass excels everywhere else. It is very nimble and has a decent amount of texture. Due to its speed and control, there’s no smearing or bloat. Furthermore, the slightly lighter quantity of bass means that the midrange is never compromised in terms of tonal balance.
Listening to Nibana’s “Thus We Leave (Feat. Isabella Fabbri)”, the BA8 faithfully reproduces the deep synth notes with a fast, light rumble. But it doesn’t quite excite the way a good dynamic driver can. On the other hand, in “Feet In The Water” by Sync24, the rhythmic kick drum is delivered with abundant punch and slam.
Despite a dip in the core midrange, the BA8 still performs admirably. It portrays a wonderful sense of clarity, spaciousness and transparency. Although the midrange looks recessed on the graph, the areas around 120Hz and 5kHz are fairly even, giving vocals both fullness and presence.
In Brandenburg concerto No. 6 in B-Flat Major, BWV 1051: III. Allegro, the soundstage and instrument separation are handled really well. I was quite surprised just how well the BA8 handled the texture along with the balance of the strings and body in the violins.
Switching over to SHAED’s “Trampoline”, the BA8 brings the vocals to the forefront. There’s enough warmth for a natural sound yet the clarity and articulation are superb. Even when SHAED flexes her vocal belt, the sound is devoid of any shrillness or harshness.
It’s the treble that sets the BA8 apart from other budget mega-driver multi-BA IEMs. Most often, these more affordable BA earphones have an artificial, scratchy edge to their treble but not this one. The extension is good, as is the definition. Detail retrieval is excellent and I love the way BA8 proudly puts its treble forward without sounding harsh or brittle.
There’s a lightness in the BA8’s treble, an airy, open sensation and only infrequent hints of sibilance. This is a result of the clever dip between 5kHz and 9kHz that takes out most of the sharpness while leaving the detail intact.
As with most brighter IEMs, the BA8 has a wide soundstage. Although vocals are presented in a fairly intimate manner, the stage extends beyond the centre image, giving it a reasonable amount of depth and layering. A lot of brighter IEMs tend to turn the sound into a blob of white noise but the BA8 does a great job at instrument separation which in turn, aids in its pretty strong layering.
Well, this one was unexpected. When I opened the box and saw the cereal box cable and meagre eartip selection my hopes weren’t high. Especially considering the shells of the BA8 are just a variation of previous sub $100 models.
But after listening, I’m confident to say the TRN BA8 can perform on par with its price tag in terms of audio quality. I’m still salty about the 3 pairs of eartips though! In all seriousness though, if you’ve been itching to get your hands on a mega-driver multi-BA earphone without breaking the bank, this is a good place to start.