The most competitive price point in all of the audio world must be earphones around the $50 USD mark. This area is so fiercely contested because its where the largest amount of potential customers sit in western markets. For a lot of people breaking the $100 mark is a very tough pill to swallow a truth be told there are a lot of excellent budget options out there. The latest to come in for review here at Audiophile On is the TRN V90. It is a hybrid earphone with five drivers per side (4 Balanced armature and one dynamic driver). It comes with a lot of features you find on high-end earphones yet costs just a fraction of the price.
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
Hmmm, where have we seen a box like that before? It looks to me like it’s coming out the KZ, CCA, etc. box factory. Whether or not that’s a hint that the TRN is OEM’d by knowledge zenith we probably will never know but its the same simple style box. Small and clean with good graphics on the outside and some specs.
Open it up, and you find the earphones presented and suspended in foam. As usual, underneath this layer is where you find all the accessories.
This is going to be a short enough section because the accessories that are included with the TRN V90 is just 3 sets of eartips in the sizes small medium and large and the cable.
The cable is not great, but it’s certainly not the worst I have seen. When you consider how well these earphones are made, and how many drivers they house, you wonder how TRN can afford to include a cable at all.
Its black braided cable with two-pin connectors. I always prefer MMCX, but two pins is still a good solution, and there are plenty of aftermarket options available to you.
There is no case, no cleaning tool, and no selection of ear tips in case the stock ones don’t work for you. The good news is TRN has been able to keep the price down by cutting out unnecessary extras, so I am happy with that trade-off.
BUILD QUALITY AND STYLING
The TRN V90 is a set of universal in-ear monitors designed to be worn with the cable over the ear.
I did not expect the body of the earphone to be an all-metal construction, and when you consider the price that is something they have up on the competition. It’s not the most refined finish. However, the body feels well put together with good materials, and they are going to be able to take a bashing. Many of the competitor earphones at this price incorporate plastics in their design so this feels very premium and on par with the much-revered Tin Hifi T2.
The outside of the earphones has a bold but tasteful logo for TRN on it. There are two very large ventilation holes below with is said to help with the tuning.
On a more negative note, the two-pin connector sits flush with the housing. It is not recessed which would help with creating a better seal with your cable and preventing bent pins on the connector.
The tips are CNC milled aluminum, so again they are going to be strong. The grill at the end is also made from metal so another positive point in terms of potential longevity.
Comfort and isolation
Despite the massive amount of driver technology on the inside of the V90 earphones, the housing is still very compact. They are ergonomically contoured to fit a wide variety of ear sizes and shapes, and during the process of this review, I never had any issues with comfort.
Isolation was Ok. Most environmental noise is greatly reduced, but there was some sound leakage due to the large ventilation ports.
The TRN V90 is a very good sounding earphone that is going to please a lot of people due to its natural and warm leaning profile and slightly enhanced bass. It’s not a neutral reference earphone, but the fact is it’s probably what you want if you are listening for pleasure. The V90 is tuned in such a way that it is very versatile in what music it works well with. Perhaps only suffering if you are a fan of classical or jazz music.
If you listen to a lot of rock, hip hop or EDM, this is a very good option for the price.
The high notes and the low notes both extend further than the midrange, which is slightly recessed. This gives good energy and makes for a fun listen, but the laid back mids struggle somewhat to bring depth to acoustic tracks.
Despite that, the tones of warmth though the mids add some intimacy and there are good speed and detail retrieval displayed in the upper midrange.
The bass is very well behaved, and no bleed is detected into the lower mids. It has adequate speed to keep up with complicated tracks and was surprisingly punchy and able to produce decent sub-bass performance without becoming distorted.
The highs are smooth but pushed forward of the mids. I like this because sometimes to gain prominence in the treble budget earphone manufacturers push the tuning towards sibilance. The TRN V90 is quite smooth at the top end while still taking center stage alongside the lows.
Imaging is average and on par with other earphones at a price except for the KZ ZSX, which has the upper edge in both imaging and detail retrieval.
The soundstage is quite closed in, and the sound will not appear as if it was coming from outside your head.
For the price, the TRN V90 is another very good earphone to be thrown in the mix. They are not, however punching above their weight as I think many would expect.
If they were released a few years ago, they would blow the competition out the water, but in 2019 there are so many excellent earphones to choose from. The TRN V90 holds its own in the sound department only for the price, but the build and styling of the TRN by far beats the but its the build quality and styling that stand out.
Yet another robust earphone from TRN who are now beginning to build a solid reputation in the portable audio community.
The TRN V90 earphones are out now and available to buy from Amazon and Linsoul.