The Tin Audio T2 Pro was sent free of charge by Lillian the co-founder of Linsoul. I’ll try my best to give an honest opinion about the gear*.
Below I share the links to the store which provided the samples I’ll be reviewing, keep in mind that without the cooperation of this store I would probably not review this gear.
To be fair no store will send bad gear to be reviewed, so keep that in mind.
Tin Hi-Fi is well known by the budget in-ear enthusiasts for their rather balanced TinAudio T2 model, because of bureaucratic problems with the Portuguese customs I never had the chance to review the original T2, but some reviewers and users say it has less treble detail than the T2 Pros, well as treble go the Pro version has enough detail to make some heads turn, mine included.
These compete with the KZ AS10, if you value bass above all go for the AS10, if you value a balanced in-ear with emphasis in treble detail go for the Tin Audio T2 Pro which has less bass emphasis but a more flat signature than the KZ flagship (as of November 2018, because KZ releases in-ears at a brutal pace).
As a typical portable rig, I’ll be using my Sony L1 (G3311) smartphone and Spotify on the higher quality setting without any EQ, normalization or any other gimmick.
My daily driver will be an uncapped Sony Walkman A-45, with both lossy 320kbps Mp3’s and lossless 16-Bit 44.1Khz Flac music files, I might use higher resolution if necessary.
On the desktop/laptop side I’ll be using a Creative Labs E5 DAC, again with Spotify on the higher quality setting and without any gimmicks just like the Sony L1, and of course the DeaDBeeF music player for Flac music files at 16-Bit 44.1Khz but with some exceptions.
I won’t be reviewing the interaction of all sources with the in-ears for obvious reasons, so for simplicity sake, the review below will use the Creative Labs E5 to drive the in-ears unless stated otherwise.
A look inside the box
The T2 Pro arrived in a discrete white box, inside there was another more stylish cardboard box with a synthetic leather finish.
After opening the lid to the left, I was greeted with an instruction manual and just under it, the metallic in-ear shells rocking some blue foam tips and also a beautiful 3.5mm plug.
Personally, I would put the instructions in the bottom of the box with the accessories, it would make for a more exquisite unboxing for the end user, then again the manual also protects the top of the shells with a layer of paper.
Under the foam there are 3 sets of silicone tips in a large, medium and small size, the nozzle diameter also varies with each set.
A really nice twisted silver colored cable comes in the bottom of the box.
It would be nice if Tin Hi-Fi included a semi-hard box for the newbies in the hobby, then again you can use the provided box, which looks too cool to store away.
Built quality & specifications
The build quality of the metallic shells is pretty amazing for the price range, looking sturdy but being very lightweight, it’s an unusual combination especially before you hold them for the first time expecting something far heavier.
On the shells, there are 2 ventilation holes, one in the back plate and another near the nozzle.
The nozzles have a good lip to hold the tip and a thin mesh covering the bore.
Each MMCX connector is colored with a right/red, blue/left plastic “ring” near the base, there isn’t any kind of play between the connector and plug, it’s as solid as an MMCX connector can be.
The MMCX transparent plugs are marked with an “R/L” (right/left) on one side, the left plug also has a raised spot on the opposite side of the “L” marking, the strain reliefs are very short plastic tubes (3 to 4mm, yes no kidding), there isn’t any wire/tube guide for over-ear use, but luckily the twisted silver cable is very malleable up to the Y-split.
The cable enters a metallic Y-split which has one very short tube as a strain relief on the side where the larger diameter twisted cable goes to the 3.5 jack. The fact the strain reliefs are short or non-existent literally makes this beautiful cable very prone to an early death. It’s a pity because the stylish 3.5mm metal plug looks absolutely gorgeous with its’s carbon finish and feels rock solid.
Only negative note besides that is the cable tangling a lot when I’m commuting, not a deal breaker but still a nag.
The cable impedance at the ground line should be around 0.4Ω as measured with my simple UNI-T UT601.
Everyone likes specifications so here are some I could find:
– 2 Dynamic drivers (1x 10mm woofer, 1x 6mm tweeter)
– Frequency response: 12Hz – 40KHz
– Sensitivity: Not disclosed but probably a little above 100dB
– Impedance: 16Ω (17Ω on my UNI-T UT601.)
Given the fact this model has very small sized shells, I had no problems inserting it in my ears, it’s also possible to use it for hours without fatigue.
You can use the cable “over the ear” and also “cable down”, if you connect the right shell to the left plug and repeat the same step for the left shell, connecting it to the right plug.
The small footprint o the T2 Pros makes them the ideal choice for people with small ears, very much like the KZ ZSA.
Noise isolation is better than most in-ears of the same size given the fact the shells are made of metal.
Sadly the T2 Pro requires a nice portable amplifier even if it’s rated at 16Ω, I maxed out the volume of my Sony L1 for a somewhat loud volume, it’s perfectly fine but there’s no headroom if you need to raise the volume for songs recorded with a decent dynamic range.
A note about the 3.5mm metal plug. If you use your smartphone/digital audio player/vintage Walkman in your jeans pocket beware that if by any chance the plug is truly forced sideways against the plastic connector bore, you can say bye bye to the connector because this plug will not bend, unless you are lucky and it bends on the connector pole. In fact, this applies to all metal plugs, if forced sideways something has to give and usually it’s not the metal plug.
These in-ears were tested with the KZ “Starline” silicone tips because I like them, it’s a purely personal thing and also keep in mind the T2 Pros bring really nice stock tips.
The first minutes I heard these in-ears, were enough to understand these are not your usual Chi-Fi V-Shaped sounding gear. The team behind the T2 Pro has a “house sound” in mind and in an over-saturated “budget” market that’s a bold thing to do.
“Mötley Crüe – Kickstart my heart” intro has a good slam to it but the T2 Pros are obviously not bass orientated if compared with the KZ AS10, this isn’t a bad thing, at least for me. There is good natural bass with enough sub-bass.
On “Van Halen – Don’t tell me” you can clearly follow the drumming along the song, that’s something rather good for the price range of this in-ear, there’s a lot of layering in the low end. Sure, the T2 Pro might not be a bass cannon but there is good quality bass for the price asked.
I admit, I’m more at ease when reviewing in-ears under 100€, mostly because I have a lot of references to work with, so I can say that the midsection of T2 Pro doesn’t stand out from the bass, there’s no forward vocals emphasis, it does the job presenting a natural midrange.
“Eros Ramazzotti – Para mi sera por siempre (Per me per sempre)” has some nuances on this song which need some driver control or you won’t hear them, The T2 extracts all of those midrange nuances from the orchestra “behind” Eros voice. That’s something I was not expecting and the same goes for “Evanescence – Bring me to life” instrument layering. These in-ears have a very solid natural midrange.
I like my treble detailed and there’s a lot of that on the T2 Pro, but not as much as the KZ ZS6. I do love the ZS6 but I know some younger people who are way more sensible to treble than I am and they hate it.
With old age, you tend to lose some hearing especially on the higher frequency region and I’m almost on my 40’s. So yes, I gain tolerance to treble each day that goes by.
The T2 Pro does have some emphasis on the higher frequencies, but it’s just enough not to be too tiresome, at least for yours truly.
Give it bad pop recording and be prepared to suffer, they are not merciful with bad source material.
“Myriam Reid – Scarborough fair” is recorded in a very audiophile fashion, every string pick, every gesture is well defined with the T2 Pro, you can almost feel you are there near Myriam’s harp. You can sometimes hear her breathing and only a detailed treble can provide such a thing.
I like Celine Dion, always did and always will but after that high rotating Titanic song my love for her performance kind sunk (pun intended), “Celine Dion – That’s the way it is” is an upbeat song, but there are some details in the background each require a good treble control or this song will become a mess of Titanic proportions. The T2 delivers all-around good treble, yet again.
Always remember that these can only be compared internally, the microphone was a calibrated Dayton Audio iMM-6, 95dB pink noise (not white, deal with it) was used for the 16384 points FFT, 30 seconds average, 1/24 Octave smoothing, the coupler was a little hose in which I inserted the in-ear nozzle with the smallest “starline” silicone tip I have at 3 to 4mm of the microphone head.
The measurements were made at night in a silent room.
The good & the ugly
Balanced bass and natural midrange, detailed treble.
Very good construction of both shells and cable.
Good for small ears, can be used cable down if you reverse the shells.
Doesn’t bring a travel case.
Treble can be aggressive with some recordings.
The cable tangles a bit.
* For more information on how I deal with free & discounted samples please check this link.