Hey there audio fans. Today, we’re reviewing the TRN IM2 dual-driver hybrid earphone. The IM2 has one dynamic driver and one balanced armature driver
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.
TRN IM2 Review
Outstanding build and design
Lightweight and comfortable
Value for money
Limited accessories included
Package and Accessories
The IM2 comes in a small white box that has an image of the earphones on the front. Inside, the included accessories are sparse but acceptable when taking the price into account. In the box, you get the TRN IM2 earphones, 3 pairs of silicone eartips, a detachable 2-pin cable and warranty card.
Build Quality and Design
Some things just make you stop and scratch your head in wonderment. That’s what happens when I look at this ultra-budget earphone. You could easily spend the price of the IM2 on an uninspiring lunch and that would still be a pretty cheap meal. Yet when it comes to build quality, this little guy can confidently go toe to toe with pretty much anything in the sub $100 segment.
The IM2 is available in blue or black. It has a transparent shell that gives you a view of the dynamic and balanced armature driver inside. The faceplates have a mother of pearl type of finish with silver-coloured TRN lettering in the middle.
A dual-bore aluminium nozzle is a fairly rare sight in the budget segment but you’ll find one on the IM2, in addition to a stable lip that holds eartips securely in place. Finally, the standard 2-pin sockets mean that you can easily swap out the cable if desired. Overall I don’t recall seeing any other earphone look and feel this good for less than $20.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
This is a super comfortable in-ear monitor and is perfect for long listening sessions. The shells are small, lightweight and the moulded shape fits snugly in my ears. Noise isolation is above average. Although the earpieces are small, they fill the concha and are non-vented so assuming you have the right eartips and a proper seal, these can really block out a lot of external noise.
The cable is a tightly braided 4-core OFC with a black PVC jacket. Handling is good and there is minimal microphonics. At the top are angled plastic 2-pin connector housings followed by pre-formed ear guides. There’s a small aluminium Y-split and the cable terminates in a matching aluminium straight 3.5mm plug.
Gear used for testing includes the FiiO M6 and Shanling M0 DAPs and the FiiO K3 desktop DAC/AMP. The IM2 is really easy to power and works fine straight out of a phone or low-powered source.
The TRN IM2 has a V-shaped presentation with enhanced meaty bass, clear, mildly recessed midrange and a detailed, slightly forward treble. I’ll be the first to admit the IM2 surprised me with its audio quality, especially after the disaster (IMO) of the TRN X6! The IM2 has a fun, upfront and unapologetic sound that is likely to appeal to a wide audience.
The bass is hearty and impactful with good sub-bass extension. Mid-bass is punchy and weighted and drives the music along with authority. This isn’t the most textured or detailed bass but holy cow, let’s not forget the super low price here!
Despite having some serious weight and the ability to produce skull shaking sub-bass rumble, IM2’s bass is still reasonably reserved in quantity. It doesn’t overshadow the other frequencies but it does lay down a fun and stable foundation for the mids and treble to ride on.
There’s a little bit of bass bleed coming into the midrange which adds some warmth and extra body to the presentation. Midrange notes on their own are clear and have a pretty natural tone.
Despite being slightly recessed in the overall signature, the midrange is still fairly upfront and engaging. There’s a natural lift in the upper mids that gives vocals vibrancy and articulation. Male vocals are lean but clean and female vocals are vibrant.
IM2’s treble is crisp and detailed. Even though there’s a significant lower treble peak, it isn’t strident nor is it sibilant. It can be a little fatiguing when listening at higher volume due to some upper treble brightness. Decay is a bit too fast which results in a lack of airiness but overall it’s more than acceptable for something in this price range.
The soundstage has standard dimensions and is neither expansive or cramped. Imaging is pretty good too, although for demanding or busy tracks things can become congested. Still, for the most part, instrument separation is not too shabby even if the depth is a bit shallow.
The TRN IM2 is a pretty impressive earphone that offers fantastic value. It has a build quality that’s on par with much more expensive products, including TRN’s own X6, which shares a near-identical shell.
If you’re a seasoned audiophile or have several IEMs in your collection already you probably won’t get too much by adding the IM2 to the pile. But for someone who is just getting into portable audio or taking their first steps from the earbuds that came bundled with their smartphone, this would be an excellent starting point.