The Tin Hifi P1 is a very special earphone and in my opinion, they are not just a bang for buck earphone, but one of the best IEM’s on the planet right now. Tin aren’t the first to bring planar technology to the market, but this earphone is just so right it’s impossible for me to ignore.
We have heard the term giant slayers in the past. These are earphones and earbuds that compete with products many times their price. However, the P1 goes above and beyond that when it comes to sound. I am going to sing the praises of these IEM’s so blatantly and loudly that I expect plenty of people to be skeptical. So be it. These are a top of the line earphones at an entry-level earphone price. This is an important piece of gear because a lot of people will now have access to a far higher level of fidelity than their budget would have normally allowed them before the P1 hit the market. So let's jump into more depth in the full Tinhifi P1 review below.
The Tech & Tin Hifi’s claims for the P1
The majority of earphone designs on the market right now are either driven by balanced armatures, dynamic drivers or a combination of both in a hybrid form. Lately, a few manufacturers are dipping their toe in the water with planar magnetic designs, and even Shure has put out an electrostatic earphone.
Its Planar tech that sits inside the P1 and this technology up until very recently has been the preserve of full-size audiophile headphones from the likes of Audeze and Hifiman. Now that it’s finding its way into in-ear models can only be a good thing as manufacturers now have another way to create their sound.
The Tin Hifi P1 has an ultra-thin 10mm planar diaphragm that is incredibly fast and capable of (in theory) resolving an immense amount of detail.
There is a range of benefits of Planar tech in headphones such as low distortion and increased responsiveness. Of course, the full-size headphones have issues with cost, weight and are sometimes difficult to drive and require extra amplification to reach their full potential.
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging for the P1 is excellent. Tin Hifi have gone the extra mile in producing something that would not be out of place on more expensive audio products. It's not that they use expensive materials or over the top integrate design its just simple and clean looking with suitable enough materials to distinguish itself as a premium product. I also like that they haven’t paved a gaudy path and the packaging here is kept classy with a black and white color scheme and bold fonts.
It's a black presentation box that is good quality heavy cardboard and devoid of any brash branding or bumf. It merely has Tin Hifi on the outside. The top folds open and on the inside, the earphones beautifully presented set in the protective foam and with their leather carry case just above.
There are no accessories hidden away underneath as all the extras are stuffed into the carry case.
That carry case is also super nice its a brown leather flip-top case with Tin Hifi embossed on the outside. It's a good size so the earphones are not having to be jammed inside and there is also room for a few extra ear tips and at a push perhaps a second cable.
Inside the case, you get some ear tips, and here we have two sizes of comply foam style tips, three sizes of short length wide bore tips and three sizes of long tip small bore tips. I didn’t like any of them. I suggest switching these tips out immediately to a set of Spinfit tips or even better Final Audio E series tips which I find to be the gold standard right now. A good seal is essential with these earphones, more so than with others that are more forgiving to incorrect application.
Aesthetics & Build Quality
Looks are always subjective, but in my mind, the P1 is an attractive set of earphones. The stainless steel metal body comes chrome finished and when shined up the look very nice indeed. I say shined up because anything this shiny is going to be prone to fingerprints and the P1 is no exception. looks wise the finish is similar to the Campfire Audio Comet we reviewed last year.
The metal construction inspires a lot of confidence as to the long term durability of the IEM and the medium length tubes and grills are also constructed of metal.
The P1 are designed to be worn with the cable going over the ear and though they have a somewhat triangular look to them the edges and smooth and contoured. This, in combination with the surprisingly small size, made them very easy to fit and a joy to use.
The cable is just okay. No better than that. It shows just how far this hobby has come in a few years because if you handed it to me in 2015, I would be giving it the thumbs up. Its a braided unit with some memory in it and but it's not prone to tangles. The issue I have with it is that it has a super loose quad braid and I have found over the years that this style is more prone to being caught on things than a tighter braid pattern.
I wish that they had gone ahead and included the cable from the Tin Hifi T3 here because that is one of the best-bundled cables I have tested all year with just beautiful suppleness and strong resistance to tangling.
While I’m at it I want to request changing the cable color to silver to match the aesthetics of the housing but seen as Tin Hifi this is purely an aesthetic preference of mine I won’t mark it down any. It’s not that the stock color is terrible but how cool would an all silver top to bottom IEM look?
Comfort & Isolation
As I alluded to above the shape of the P1 is very angular but it is designed in a way that will work well with almost everyone's ears. The triangle or wedge shape is very nicely suited to be nestled into the slot between your tragus and anti-tragus and the smooth edges mean that no discomfort is caused when doing so.
The housing is very small and far smaller than we have seen on the latest crop of multi BA and hybrid IEM’s in 2019.
The P1 are decent isolators depending on your insertion depth and tips used. They sit at medium depth comfortably in my ears, and I found that most environmental noises were blocked. It's not a class-leading isolator but its more than adequate and about par for the course from what I have come to expect from monitor style designs.
Sound Quality - Resolving Details
Sound quality is where the TinHifi P1 excel. It's so different from other earphones it’s tough to explain because it is so very unique. I mean this is really really special.
It was immediate when getting into the listening portion of the review that we see that the planar technology in the P1 isn’t just snake oil. It isn’t just a new way of marketing earphones to us. The way these earphones resolve detail is just incredible.
The sound is smooth, clean packed full of detail retrieval it's a very interesting listen, and it was tough to get my head around that I wasn’t listening to a set of $1000 earphones.
The highs are ridiculously good and a real highlight of the sound. They are so prominent in the presentation but are in no ways sibilant. It’s almost surreal the way they sound pulling detail and clarity and separation from every angle. In many ways, they are allowed to shine because the excellent bass doesn’t take center stage and the mids sit a little back from neutral. They decay and fall off on high notes is excellent making them perfect for classical and jazz, and I the speed keeps well up when things get fast and complicated.
The midrange is just extremely smooth. Vocals sound especially great with a slight touch of warmth combined with lots of separation and details. Its the clarity, the speed, the definition, and the micro details it's all there you are missing nothing with these earphones. The mids sit so perfectly in the overall presentation as well, they are beautiful, but they don’t fight for dominance they don’t suffer from an upper mid spike and the is absolutely zero encroachment into them from the low end.
To get a real sense of what is going on go through a range of stringed instruments. Einaudi, Sunga Jung, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Vanessa Mae. All the tracks I listen to just pop. You are assaulted with the sounds of clothing moving, fret presses, bow tapping, and pedal dampening. It's absolutely bizarre and addictive.
The Low end is equally as outstanding, but this is not a Bassheads earphone. It's fast and, yes you guessed it, detailed. It has texture and layer and separation and it has a substantial tight impact, but it isn’t a sub bass monster. The prominence of the top end and the overall crazy presentation of the P1 may initially cause people to dismiss the low end because your focus at first is drawn away from it. After a solid 10 hours on the head, you appreciate it, and the P1 are superstars and excellent performers with EDM music.
The soundstage is still inside your head, but it's impressive and most likely different from anything you have heard. Its an almost holographic assault of sound coming from every direction and some of the most clearly defined separation from earphones at any price. At any price? Surely I am joking the Tin Hifi P1 can’t compete with the top of the line IEM’s? Well, that’s why I have added a little extra below.
Select Comparisons - The Trifecta of Sound
I believe you have a tool for the job and a single set of earphones is never going to be perfect for every scenario or genre of music. So I split into those three categories as a priority for myself. For all out bass, I am still drawn to the IMR Acoustics R1. For large soundstage and just an incredible listening experience, I would take the Campfire Audio Solaris. So what then about the allrounder? A detailed earphone that sounds good with almost anything and delivers an authentic high fidelity experience. I think I’m leaning towards the P1.
Now you might be thinking a $150 headphone cannot compete with headphones up to and over $1000? I understand the thinking; people have it in their heads that a higher price means a better product, but I have stated for years that it means absolutely nothing in regards to quality in this hobby.
There are expensive products that suck in comparison to cheaper offerings (Looking right at you Ultrasone & Final) and conversely cheap earphones that outperform expensive ones. The main area where this giant-killing has raised its head has been inexpensive Chinese IEM’s taking on the mid-priced/low mid-priced earphones.
For the most part, a lot of IEM manufacturers pull their pricing model out their backside. Add a driver on the inside and tag on an extra $200 to the price tag. In recent years the hobby has gone off the deep end with what is considered acceptable pricing practices.
I honestly believe that Tin has put out this IEM with the view to compete in the low mid-priced range of the market but without realizing they have produced an earphone that can easily compete on sound with some of the most expensive earphones on the planet. It’s outstanding.
I know that a lot of people are going to disagree with this. I know that people want to believe that more money means you have a better product. I know people will throw accusations of shilling (I have had zero contact with Tin Hifi, and Linsoul are quite open about letting me have free rain to say whatever I want about the products they send over for review).
If you don’t want to believe me, then don’t. Its no skin off my nose but one of the best things about this site over the years has been finding products that stand out in giving ordinary people a chance to experience the best sound quality for their money. It is my personal opinion that this is the best value IEM in all of the audio right now.
Tin Hifi P1 Questions and Answers?
There seems to be a lot of interest in this IEM which I am glad to see and I have started to get a few questions already. I will add the ones I think relevant here with my opinions. If you have any specific questions or comparisons you want made then drop me a message on the Audiophile On Facebook page.
Are the P1 hard to drive because they are planar?
Not hard to drive per say as they are rated at 20 ohms but I am finding that the players used for this review required the volume turned up significantly over my Campfire Audio Solaris and Shure SE846. Roughly 1/3 extra volume. The DAP’s used were the Xuelin X8, SE100. Additional source were the Spectra X from Nextdrive and my 02 DAC and amp. Briefly they were put through a Burson amp but I didn’t do any significant listening with it.
They do scale well when moving to better sources and they don’t work well with poor source files. They really bring out anything bad so you might want to consider that when trying to get the most from.
Can they be worn with the cable down?
In theory yes but they are not meant to be by design and don’t work optimally without flipping them.
You compare them to high end IEM’s is this just sound or an overall package?
This is related to sound. Design wise they are OK. The build quality is good but the don’t look like offerings from Campfire, Noble, Shure etc. The cable is good but its an area I would personally switch out. Heck I wouldn’t rule out recommending you buy the T3 just for its cable and use it with the P1. That would bring them up a level in regards to the overall package.
Im worried about the bass
I had someone ask about these or the DM6 and in my opinion its these every single time. As far as I am concerned the 2 aren’t even in the same dimension. Bass is more than sub-bass although I understand where people are coming from. I myself have separate earphones when I am in basshead mode because they generally don’t work so well with other genres. The bass quality wise is exceptional on the P1 its very detailed and layered yet natural. Bass guitar and Andy form of stringed bass is presented beautifully. In regards to sub bass it has some but not a lot and anything above sub bass has good impact. I can more than happily listen to EDM all day on them (It is my preferred genre).
(Various) About saying they are better than TOTL IEM’s
I tried to be clear on this but its obvious that a few people get carried away and misinterpret the intent. No I am not saying they are better than the SE846, UE11, W80, Andromeda Etc. I am saying that they should not be dismissed against them when it comes to sound and that is assuming they were all priced the same. I would make a choice based on what suits my listening preferences, comfort and build requirements. I really can enjoy listening to these every single bit as much as those listed. In some areas one will win out and in others it will flip. When I do take price into the equation however it does seem like I would be paying 850ish more dollars just for better build or aesthetics and a brand name. Some people won’t buy that of course but they are no more right or wrong than I am in their opinion on the matter.
Conclusions - An Absolute No Brainer - Buy Them
I think I have been pretty clear in this review of the Tin Hifi P1 earphones that I am loving them. These are a unique set of IEM’s that sound right up there with the best of the best while costing just a fraction of what I expect to pay. I have no idea how this market is going to take them. I genuinely hope they don’t get overlooked, and they get their due credit because it would be a shame if so many people who can’t afford to pay the big bucks for Shure, Noble or Campfire overlooked the P1 because this is their chance to get that level of fidelity without leaving wallets lighter or melting credit cards.
When something is so good, and people praise it so highly, it often gets overlooked in disbelief that its a hype train, but in my mind, these are the real deal. I also believe that if Tin Hifi had realized just how exceptionally good the P1 are they would have been priced way higher out the gate. Maybe this was the plan all along, perhaps they knew what they had going for them and decided to turn the whole market on its head.
In my mind, these are the headphones to buy right now and to be clear; I am not saying they are the best headphones in the world right now. That is far to bold a statement because there is no single best headphone, but when looking at what to buy and price not considered they need to be considered alongside the flagships of any other brand.
The P1 are a massive surprise that I hope many many people get to enjoy them as I do: excellent sound, excellent price, outstanding earphones!