TRN is a relatively new player in the Chinese IEM market. Today I’ll be checking out the TRN V80, a quad-driver budget hybrid (2DD+2BA) model. For less than $40 the V80 is superbly built, has outstanding clarity and a well-defined, punchy bass.
At the time of writing the TRN V80 is listed at $38.
Fantastic build quality for a budget earphone
Good quality cable
Is lightweight and comfortable
Exceptional clarity and tight bass
Cable prone to tangling due to position of Y-split
Treble peak can be a little aggressive sometimes
Earphone sensitivity: 108dB/mW
Frequency range: 7-40000Hz
Plug Type: 3.5mm Straight Plug
Cable Length: 1.25m
Earphone interface: 2Pin Interface
Driver unit: 2BA+2DD hybrid driver unit (Composite Dynamic 10mm, 6mm + Composite BA )
Price $38-$39 USD
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.
Package and Accessories
The TRN V80 comes in a small, rectangular white box with an illustration of the earphones on the front. When you open the box you see the monitors displayed and secured in a slab of foam.
What you find in the box are the TRN V80 IEM, Cable, 3 x pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L), and user manual and a warranty card. There’s not a whole lot in there but you probably won’t mind because by now you’ve seen the quality of the housings and the cable.
Build Quality and Design
The TRN V80 is available in blue and black colours, both with or without a microphone. I obviously have the blue variant, which has a shiny reflective surface. The shells have a nice heft to them which makes them feel robust and premium but not heavy.
On the outer side of the shells, is the TRN logo and 3 bass vents. There’s also another very small vent near the bottom of the nozzle. The nozzle has a good length and a solid lip to secure the eartips. To keep out ear wax and debris there’s a metal grill covering the end of the nozzle.
On the inner side of the earpieces is an L and R marking to easily identify each side. Overall it’s a very nice build considering the price of this IEM.
The included 0.75mm 2-pin cable is really nice for something in this price range. It’s a black braided TPE that is very supple with no kinks or memory. It doesn’t feel rubbery or cheap in the least, nor does it suffer from microphonics.
At the top end are some preformed ear hooks that are very flexible but hold their shape perfectly. The metal Y-split is small and unobtrusive and has some solid strain relief. One thing that is a bit strange is how far down the cable the Y-split is. This makes the thinner section above it very long and therefore quite prone to tangling. Apart from that, it’s a fantastic little cable.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
Thanks to the small size, plus the smooth and rounded shape of the shells, the TRN V80 is very comfortable to wear. I can easily keep them in my ears for hours on end.
Isolation is pretty substantial which is a bit surprising. I expected it to be fairly poor with all the vents everywhere but it’s actually good. Thankfully they don’t leak much sound either and as such are suitable for just about any environment.
The TRN V80 is characterized by it’s nimble and very nicely textured bass and outstanding clarity. It has a balanced presentation with a slight emphasis on the upper midrange and lower treble.
It’s not very often you’ll hear bass of this quality from a budget IEM. The V80 has a tight and well-defined bass with a fast attack and reasonably fast decay but still manages to be authoritative. The sub-bass does roll off a little early but just like the mid and upper bass it’s very well articulated and textured.
The bass adds body and warmth to the overall presentation without bleeding into or negatively impacting the midrange. Simply put, the V80 has some of the best bass you’ll hear in this price range.
The midrange has a natural timbre and very good separation throughout. It’s got nice transparency and is especially clear; a very clean sounding midrange but one that is still organic and natural. Vocals have good density and are positioned nicely to give a sense of space without being too intimate.
The treble has excellent extension and is quite smooth for the most part but can bite on occasion. It works well to add energy and a lightness to the top end but every now and then there’s a hint of sibilance. I’m fairly sensitive to treble but most of the time I have no problem with the brightness of the V80, apart from those occasional sharp jabs.
The soundstage is fairly expansive, largely due to the cleanliness of the midrange and the excellent treble extension. Although there’s a nice quantity of bass it doesn’t overshadow the presentation, possibly thanks to the extra bass vents on the housings. Instrument separation and layering are very good, courtesy of the tight bass and superb midrange clarity.
Lypertek Mevi ($29 US)
The Lypertek Mevi also has excellent clarity but achieves it with a single 7mm dynamic driver. It doesn’t have as much bass impact as the V80, most notably in the sub-bass. The biggest weakness of the Mevi is the excessive peak at around 7kHz which can cause too much brightness and subsequently listener fatigue.
The V80, in comparison, has a more even transition from the midrange to treble, is more resolving in the midrange and has a much more engaging lower and sub-bass.
Both IEMs have excellent build quality for their respective prices. Lypertek’s Mevi wins in the accessory department with the added zipper case. The TRN V80 has the advantage of a detachable cable but then again, it does cost roughly 30% more.
Tin Audio T1 ($37 USD)
This little disc-shaped IEM is another single driver IEM boasting a large 12.5mm dynamic driver. It’s even more balanced than the V80 and has a more analogue presentation. Next to the TRN V80, the T1 sounds quite congested and lacks instrument separation.
The midrange and vocals are more forward on the T1 but it can’t match the clarity and resolution of the V80. However, it does have a very cohesive and organic sound that doesn’t demand as much of your attention as the more technical V80.
Even though it’s non-detachable, I really love the T1’s cable. It reminds me a lot of the DUNU cables which are among my absolute favourite when it comes to stock offerings. Both IEMs have a stellar build quality for their low price and both offer almost the same limited accessories, save for a few pairs of extra silicone tips that come with the Tin Audio T1.
TRN V80 Conclusion
The budget Chi-Fi wave is steadily flowing and gaining strength at an almost alarming rate. Budget hybrids, in particular, is one area that is making huge strides in the Chinese marketplace and the TRN V80 is a perfect example of that.
With its solid build quality, great, detachable cable, amazing clarity and benchmark quality bass, the TRN V80 is yet another wonderful budget IEM. When you can buy a quad-driver earphone this good for under $40 you know it’s a great time to be an earphone enthusiast.