TRN is a Chinese manufacturer known mostly for producing budget-oriented in-ear monitors and Bluetooth headphone receivers/amplifiers. In this TRN V90s review, I’m checking out their latest 6-driver hybrid earphone. Sporting 1DD and 5BA drivers, the V90s is an enticing entry in the entry-level market. Let’s see how it performs.
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.
Good build quality
Clean, detailed sound
Punchy, textured bass
Occasional sharp treble peaks and sibilance
Package and Accessories
The V90s packaging is the bare minimum ala KZ. It’s a small box with an illustration of an earpiece on the front and some specifications listed on the back. Inside are the V90s earphones, a detachable 2-pin QDC cable and 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L).
Design, Comfort & Isolation
Available in either Crimson red or Space black, the TRN V90s is a handsome earphone. I find the red to look particularly striking and the overall build quality feels excellent for something in this price range. There’s a small TRN logo on the aluminium faceplate, as well as a downward-facing ripple design.
The rest of the shell is black aluminium-alloy with a smooth matte finish. For the 2-pin connectors, TRN has chosen the increasingly popular QDC type. 2 small vents can be found on the inner side of the shells. These are to alleviate pressure build-up and supply air to the 10mm dynamic driver housed within.
TRN has been on top of their ergonomics game of late and they’ve also made the V90s very comfortable to use. It’s smooth with rounded edges all over and lightweight. I could wear these all day. Noise isolation is pretty good too, making the V90s perfect for noisy commutes and busy public spaces.
The included cable is a 6N OCC copper variant. It appears to be similar to the ones bundled with the other TRN models. It’s a tightly-braided 4-core wire with a very dark brown insulation. Transparent QDC type 2-pin connectors and heat-shrink ear guides are at the top.
The Y-split is hardened rubber with no chin slider and the cable terminates in a right-angled aluminium plug. It can get tangled fairly easily but overall it handles well and has minimal microphonics.
The V90s has a V-shaped signature with boosted bass and treble. It has a clean, spacious sound with good detail and above-average clarity. This is reportedly an improved version of the original V90 but since I didn’t hear that I can’t confirm it.
The V90s has good bass depth and creates some exciting sub-bass rumbles. Bass notes have a clear leading edge, making the overall bass very tight and controlled. Kick drums have a nice slam and impact, being neither too soft of thick. This sounds great for songs like Katatonia’s “Leech“, where the kick drum slam and the subsequent impact can be fatiguing if overdone.
Listening to E-40’s “Born In The Struggle”, the V90s creates deep-reaching sub-bass notes without compromising the midrange. The level of sub and mid-bass in the mix should be enough to satisfy everyone except the most devout bassheads.
Mids are clean with good clarity from top to bottom. They are slightly recessed due to the V-shaped nature of the sound but are still intimate enough to be engaging. Male vocals have good body and presence. Female vocals get some additional lift without being shouty. In “How Could An Angel Break My Heart”, Toni Braxton’s sultry tones are highlighted by the V90s and effortlessly rise above the piano and bass guitar.
The V90s treble is the area that will be the most divisive for listeners. For the most part, it’s crisp and detailed with no shortage of airiness. But then there’s that massive 8kHz peak that can affect cohesion and at the same time, introduce sibilance.
A good example is in “Run” by Ice Cube, where the hi-hats are brutally forward and intense. This is really only highlighted when instruments fall into the range of that treble peak. But moreover, the attack on percussion instruments often sounds too sharp (although I must admit it’s great for footsteps in first-person shooter games).
The TRN V90s has a pretty large soundstage with both good width and depth. Sounds reach out to just past my ears in the headspace and the sense of depth in the stage is quite impressive too. The centre image is well-defined and positional cues are above average. The stage position is neutral or slightly forward and overall it’s quite impressive for a budget IEM.
Tin Hifi T2 Plus ($59)
The Tin Hifi T2 Plus is a single dynamic driver earphone with a mature, linear sound signature. It doesn’t have quite as much bass depth as the V90s and is a bit lighter in bass quantity. Mids on the T2 Plus are more forward, giving it a full-bodied, even sound but one that doesn’t sound as dynamic as the V90s.
When it comes to treble, the T2 Plus has similar airiness and sparkle but without any noticeable peaks and to me this is clutch in making it a safer earphone for those who want a more non-fatiguing earphone. The V90s, on the other hand, has a more lively and arguably more exciting treble which gives it additional midrange clarity and treble energy.
Both of these have excellent build quality and metal shells. The T2 Plus cable is a bit better quality-wise but then, it is the more expensive product.
HZSOUND Heart Mirror ($49)
The HZSOUND Heart Mirror has a single carbon nano diaphragm dynamic driver. Like the T2 Plus, the Heart Mirror has a more linear and mature tuning than the V90s. Bass is more neutral on the Heart Mirror, so those looking for a bit more low-end punch will appreciate the V90s more.
Heart Mirror’s midrange is more forward and has comparable clarity and transparency as the V90s. However, this comes at the cost of a milder bass response but the mids are more forward comparitively.
Like the V90s, the Heart Mirror has a treble peak at 8kHz but due to its linear nature, it doesn’t stand out as much and as such, doesn’t sound as aggressive or strident. Both IEMs have metal shells and good build quality but the Heart Mirror comes with a carrying case, more eartips and better cable.
The TRN V90s is an exciting IEM that has a high-driver count for something in its price range. It has excellent build quality and a dynamic, energetic sound that will appeal to those who like a bit of treble accent. At its current price of around $49, it is a compelling option for anyone on a budget looking to try a multi-hybrid IEM. Oh, and the Scarlet red looks awesome too.