Review - TRN TA1 (sub 50€)

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 


The TRN TA1 were sent to me with a discount by LuckLZ Audio Store. As always, I will be as sincere and unbiased as possible but I like to be clear on the origin of the items I review.

You can find LuckLZ on Aliexpress here: LuckLZ Audio Store

You can find the TRN TA1 on their store here: TRN TA1 on LuckLZ

Intro…

The TA1 are the latest TRN release, as far as I am aware, and feature a Knowles 33518 BA driver and an 8mm dual core dynamic driver. They are currently available for around 30€ which is well inside the sub 50€ bracket I set on the blog. 

There is a lot of competition in this price bracket lately but the TA1 seem to offer good specs, at least on paper, with the Knowles driver that should assist in avoiding some of that high end roll off that is present on a lot of the similar priced offerings, most of which are single DD.


Presentation…

The IEMs are delivered in a simple box with an image of the product on the cover of the cardboard sleeve, the model number and not much else on the outside. Personally I have received what seems to be classed as the Japanese version, which seems to only differ in the design on the IEM shell, sporting a anime face rather than the TRN logo.

Inside the box we get the IEMs, a more than acceptable cable, various sets of silicone tips and a set of very soft memory foam tips. I tried the various tips included, along with a few more, and came to the conclusion that I really like the included foam tips.


Build and aesthetics…

The IEMs use a metal shell, in a shiny silver finish , which they state is a Magnesium-Alloy housing. The shape of these IEMs reminds me of the original Tin T2. The IEMs can be worn cable up or down, however, the included cable is shaped to wear cable up. I mention this because, for some reason, the anime face on the IEMs is orientated for cable down, meaning that it is upside down when used with the included cable. This is something that I really don’t care about but thought it was strange.

The IEMs do portray themselves as well built, looking quite good also. I was a fan of the T2 and this is sort of a shiny version of it.

As far as comfort, they are very comfortable IEMs, although the cables do seem to stick out further from the ear than usual.


Sound…

The interesting part is obviously the sound and I am a fan of DD for bass with BA for the highs, depending obviously on how much of that metallic “BA tone” is present.

Starting off, as is usual, with the subbass, there is a decent amount of presence down into the lower rumbling areas. The bass is also very well controlled and doesn’t give me a sensation of being bloated or overly boosted. Songs like “Way Down Deep” by Jennifer Warnes or “Royals” by Lorde have a nice and smooth subbass, with everything being present but without being in your face.

In the general bass frequencies, there is again a nice smoothness and control to the bass lines and hits, even if there is a bit of a boost to them. The IEMs have a clear V shape tuning to them but the driver does a good job of keeping the bass in check, not becoming overly present, at least in my opinion. The timbre of the bass is also decent, with instruments sounding realistic in their lower ranges. Songs such as “No Sanctuary Here” by Marian Herzon feat. Chris Jones sounds very well laid out and the bass, which can become easily overpowering, doesn’t get in the way of other instruments of the track.

Moving into the mid range, for a V shaped tuning, these actually deal with the transition pretty well, however, the large dip around 1k does take some of the presence away in the center mids. This results in a midrange that is also very smooth, with no harshness introduced in the higher mids. Depending on the choice of music, the mids can be a little too absent for my liking and while acoustic guitars can sound decent, there are songs on which they are missing a little too much around that 1k mark. As an example, the guitar in “Billie Jean” by The Civil Wars is missing some presence in the center of the mids to be considered natural, it has more of an emphasis on the lower end of the guitar. This is by no means a terrible sound signature in the mids, it is very smooth and relaxing, I just would not consider it to be natural.

Although the mids can lack a little presence, it is nice to see that the boosted low end doesn’t interfere too much and doesn’t overshadow the mids. There are times, with other IEMs, where the mids sound ok until we get to a bass heavy track that just overpowers everything, I don’t find it to be the case with the TRN TA1. I keep repeating the word “smooth” but it really is the best word to describe these IEMs all the way from the lowest frequencies up until we start to reach into the treble area.

Speaking of treble, here is where the TA1 aren’t quite what I expected. Due to them being a hybrid set, I expected the BA driver to be a little clearer and more extended in the higher ranges. However, it is the treble that is not quite right on the TA1. The roll off in the treble happens earlier than I would like and at the same time, the treble is not open and clean. This adds more to the effect of the smoothness I keep referring to, as there really isn’t much brightness in the treble range. This also creates a sensation where the treble seems to be slightly veiled and details are not as present as they are in the lower and mid ranges.

I am not saying that these have terrible treble, they are certainly not harsh and uncomfortable, I just feel that more openness and better clarity would turn these IEMs into something that is great rather than decent.

The detail overall is good, except for in the higher regions, and the DD driver does a great job of controlling the low end, without getting stressed under pressure. If only it had that bit of extra clarity up top.

As far as soundstage, the width is around average, certainly not above average, but inside the width they work with, the location and placement of images is well done. Songs like “Letter” and “Bubbles”, both by Yosi Horikawa, are a fun listen and the location of the images in the latter is fun, there are just not quite as many details as I would usually hope for.


Conclusion…

When I first started listening to the TRN TA1, I found them very enjoyable and, to be honest, I still do. I really like the lows and the mids, they are presented in a smooth way that never becomes overpowering. The treble is the part that lets it down a little, making it seem like there is much less detail than there is.

As a BGM earphone, they do a good job and I have enjoyed using them for general listening purposes, just hitting play on Tidal or Spotify and letting random songs play. It is when I sit down to analyze the sound that I start to see the issues.

To be totally frank, if you are looking for a set of IEMs that look good and present music in a nice and relaxed fashion, then I think that the TA1 are a very worthy option, it is only if you sit down to dissect the music that you will start to notice that high end roll off and lack of clarity.

For 30€, there are many options at the moment and none of them are perfect, I think all of the IEMs I have reviewed at this price point have one issue or another, it is just a case of choosing the sound signature that suits you.

SenyorC