The Tin HiFi P2 Planar IEM: lovely, but source dependent, over-hyped, and over-priced.
Hi guys! It’s Your Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer with InToit Reviews, back with you again!. Today we’re taking a look at the P2 from Tin HiFi. This review is thanks in part to Farsil the Wizard who sent in his personal unit to the channel. So far, reviews of the P2 have been pretty diverse in their evaluation, with some people hating it, and others suggesting that sounds lovely when powered with the right desktop amplifier. Farsil was one of the ones who was at least somewhat disappointed by the P2. And, while it has been on the downlow, I think it’s safe to talk about now. Farsil has been working with Tin HiFi to possibly correct the P2 for an upcoming P2+ revision. So, I’m proud of Farsil, and look forward to hearing the adjustments. But for now, the Tin HiFi P2, let’s, get InToit.
So, it goes without saying that part of the uniqueness of the P2 is that it is a planar IEM, and there aren’t many of those out there. Further, the build of the P2 is lighter, and smaller than I suspected. Its actually not much bigger than the T2 Plus, and in the case of the P2, I find the angle of the nozzle to be much better and less steep; so it fits better in my ear, and is ultimately more comfortable, both overall and for longer listening sessions. Compared to its predecessor, the P1, the P2 feel substantially less hefty per memory, and also of difference, the P2 is an open-backed planar, and not closed-back as the P1 was.
So, the shell is metal, most likely aluminum; and this time, they also went with a c-pin/QDC style connection. I also have the T1 Plus in for review and this headphone, also uses this connection, so maybe Tin HiFi has been convinced to move away from MMCX more, which I think is smart.
Speaking of the cable. This cable is pretty nice. It’s a light copper color, and the connectors are well matched to the shell for a rather seamless integration. It terminates in a 2.5mm connector, and the P2 comes with both a 3.5mm and 4.4mm adapter to help you connect to a wide variety of sources. The P2 also comes with a set of both silicone and foam tips for you to try out, but I prefer the sound of the P2 with LUDOS Memory Foam Ear Tips. In addition, a nice blue carry case was included in the box, so you do get a nice overall package here. But is this package worth the $339 dollar price tag? While it is a nice package, it is still a lot to ask.
But maybe the sound makes up the difference? So, let’s talk about it. What does the P2 sound like? Well first off, it does sound like a planar magnetic. And like other planar IEMs that I have reviewed, such as the oBravo Cupid, the P2 is certainly amp picky to say the least. In fact, I actually found it to be more amp picky in the end, as I could not get it to sound right on any amplifiers other than the Bravo Ocean and the Centrance DACport HD. On everything else, the P2 sounded bass light, odd, and almost talk-box like in its presentation. Even on the the $3,000 MSRP Gold Note DS-10, which outputs 5 watts per channel on HI gain, you could tell the P2 had some hifi magic in there somewhere, but ultimately things still didn’t sound right. But, like with other planars, the Ocean and DACport HD saved the day. I tried a number of tubes on the Ocean, and found that I enjoyed a Mullard for a more neutral presentation, and a Raytheon for a slightly warmer, more musical one. On the DACport HD it oddly sounded good on both LOW and HIGH gain settings. So, I’m a bit befuddled by what is making this set sound good or bad, but I’m going to suppose that these require steady amount of current, as this is mostly what one gets from both the DACport HD and the Ocean, as both are class A and get significantly warm in their operation. Amps that failed with this set, included the Gold Note DS-10, the Geshelli Archel Pro, the THX AAA 789, the iFi 6XX Signature, and the Zen DAC.
General presentation of this set changes pretty dramatically with particular amplification, but I’ll try my best to describe its general character. First off, these do have a “planar sound,” and resolution and clarity was good was pretty great. At the moment, I’m also in the process of evaluating the Sennheiser HD560S and the OLLO S4X, and the P2 is at least on par with those sets. Timbre of the P2 is relatively neutral overall, but it is warmer in its mids and low-end, and brightens up a bit in its treble, especially the later treble presentation. This distinction was more readily observable on the DACport HD, while the P2 came across as more cohesive and coherent on the Ocean. Vocals were more forward and isolated on the DACport HD, while they were more in the mix on the Ocean, but in each case they were centered and defined well. Mids were never too far forward, nor too far recessed when powered well, but the presentation on the Ocean was smoother, more coherent, and cohesive, while the presentation on the DACport was more defined, forward, fuller, and distinctive. For example, the bass on the Ocean was rather mellow, integrative, and somewhat soft-spoken. In comparison, the DACport HD produced a more authoritative low-end; more in-line with a traditional planar, which was punchy, slammed, and had more impact. Across both amps, the P2 displayed a slight ambient character, with good decay, transients, and peripheral detailing. But while, for all intents and purposes the P2 was relatively capable in these areas, it couldn’t really keep up with stand-out, over-ear planars in its price-range either.
The soundstage of the P2 isn’t the widest thing ever, and neither is it stretched or smeared, but it is decently wide, and somewhat large, especially considering its size, and the fact that this is an IEM planar magnetic. Here I think the P2 is helped by the fact that it is an open-backed planar IEM, and not closed-backed as many other planar earphones have been. Imaging was mostly excellent, and tracked with accuracy within space. Instrument distinction and placement was mostly defined and realistic, but separation was never particularly stellar, and sonics could become cluttered on busier tracks.
So, while I was initially disappointed with the TinHiFi P2, I found that on the right source, it could sing fairly well, and was an enjoyable planar presentation in an IEM package. Some have criticized the P2 for its late treble, but honestly, I did not find it to be much of a bother really, and found it detailed and pleasing for most music. My main criticism of the P2 is its price. Although it comes with a nice accessory package overall, the sound this thing produces just isn’t really worth $339 dollars in my book. I think a more appropriate price would be $200 to $230 dollars tops.
I think what happened here is that after the initial success of the P1, the hype for a P2 became too large for its own good. So large in fact that it led Tin HiFi to develop delusions of grandeur regarding the P2’s pricing. In the end, this pricing effectively alienated a large portion of their customer base, who expected a price more similar to that of the P1. No matter its sound, I think that Tin would have sold more P2s had they priced this unit with more vision. Nevertheless, Tin ultimately produced an earphone that could not live up to its price nor its hype. But, as the hype was real, if I’m keeping it “100,” it’s also probable that no earphone likely would have satiated the public’s thirst for this planar.
In any case, perhaps the P2 Plus that Farsil is helping Tin with will be more appropriately priced, and reclaim some of the hype and customer base that Tin lost with this project. Until that time, check out the links in the description below both for Farsil’s Channel, and all Neighborhood access locations for this channel- including Twitter, the blog, Instagram, and the Patreon. The Patreon is only a $1.50 a month, and it will get you access to early written blog reviews from me. And, with that, I’m out… for now.
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*Link to LUDOS Eartips: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07VB24MWC