The TRI I3 Pro: an interesting, cohesive mix of drivers (planar included)
Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Hi everyone and welcome back to the Neighborhood. Today we’re taking a look at a rather unique IEM, the TRI I3 Pro. The non-pro version of this IEM was a bit of a mess by all accounts, but this is an interesting IEM to me, at least from a driver configuration standpoint as it consists of three different drivers: a planar, a dynamic driver, and a BA. And as is it turns out this IEM has not only a unique configuration, but also a unique sound. Let’s get InToit!
The build here is solid. It consists of a metal shell with a flush two pin connection. The shell itself fit ergonomically in the crevice of my ear, and it was neither too large, nor too small; neither too heavy, nor too light. If I had one criticism here, it would be that the nozzle is a bit long. It did not cause the IEM to jut out of my ear too much, or anything like that, but it did feel like it was at the limit for a nozzle length that I would prefer.
The I3 Pro comes with a variety of tip options, including a flimsy grey silicon, and a clear silicone set with colored bores, which was somewhat less flexible, and more in line with what one would expect from a silicone tip of this type. Both sets of tips sounded good with the set, but I found the grey, less-rigid set to be mildly fatiguing to my ears over the course of a long listening session, and ended up preferring the more rigid, colored-bored set of tips in the course of my testing. I had no problem listening to these for hours with this tip set.
The IEM also came with a nice 3.5 mm terminating, woven, pure cooper, cable with, again, as I’ve already stated, a flush two-pin connection, and silver hardware- matching the shell of the IEM. A brown leather carrying case with a magnetic fastener, plastic cleaning brush, and a microfiber cloth were also included with the set.
In terms of sound, these are not going to be for accuracy junkies, as the sound here, like this IEM’s driver configuration is relatively unique. Having said that, it is also very detailed for its price range, somewhat effortless in its delivery, and extremely immersive in its overall presentation. With that said, the soundstage isn’t particularly huge, and I will error on the side of caution by saying that it circular in shape and somewhat on the intimate side of things.
Nevertheless, imaging, transients, and decay are top notch and very natural- contributing to the listener’s sense of immersion I referenced earlier. There isn’t a ton of space for the listener to behold, but instrument distinctiveness is never in question, and spacing between both individual musical notes and instrumentation was most excellent. These also tracked particularly well to my ears.
The I3 Pro is also a standout in the categories of peripheral detailing and vocals. Both vocals and peripherals are somewhat more forward and somewhat bigger in their scope than the rest of the mix, so for someone that is after this type of presentation, these will be the ticket! So, I wouldn’t say that these are recording accurate, instead they embellish aspects of the recording in pleasurable ways. I was particularly struck how well these did with singer-song-writer pieces, where the music consists of just a singer and a guitar. I was able to hear nuanced detail in acoustic pieces that I hadn’t noticed before, such as the unintentional buzz of a guitar string or the sound of the guitar pick itself sliding across or striking the strings. Sounds that normally would fade into the background are suddenly right in front of your eyes for plain view with these. Having said that, these don’t beat you over the head with detail either, and I wouldn’t every describe the I3 Pro as an acostic or a harsh set to one’s ears, even though they are is somewhat detailed forward in their character.
Regarding the sound profile, the bass presentation here is more of a sub-bass focused affair rather than a mid-bass champion. Even so, these do not extend the to the deepest depths of the sonic range, and there is some notable roll off in the lower portions of the frequency response; say, around 27 hz, or so, to my ears. The overall bass presentation was somewhat softer than I expected, but general dynamics were sufficient and without fatigue.
The midrange is detailed, mildly forward in its character, and mostly “pushed up” in front of the listener, although there is some variance in this forwardness depending upon the track or frequency region of instrumentation. The treble extended “well enough,” and I was never reaching to hear treble information, but, like the lower portion of the bass frequency, there was a certain ceiling to the treble performance here as well, and I would never consider this set’s treble presentation as “sparkling” to my ears.
Priced at around $200 dollars, the TRI I3 Pro is definitely a unique set from its driver configuration to its enjoyable sound and uncommon acoustic presentation. Did I mention these have a planar magnetic driver as part of their driver array? Certain audiophiles seem to flip for that, and these may actually be my favorite planar magnetic IEM to date. It's cohesive character is simply great! Regarding sourcing, unlike other IEM planars I have experienced to date, these were less than amplification dependent- sounding almost as sophisticated off my phone as they did when being driven by more powerful or more expensive amplification. None of the drivers, including the BA, were particularly sensitive either, and I did not detect anything other than a black background off the devices that I tested.
In terms of the TRI I3 Pro, you get more than what you pay for, in my opinion, and the set itself appears rugged, well built, and is serviceable with what comes with it. It’s read to go right out of the box. Nevertheless, the overall sonic picture here is more enjoyable than recording accurate, even if I know a bunch of audiophiles that are in search of a mid-forward set which emphasizes the vocal presentation without bass dynamics getting in the way. If you are one of those, then the TRI I3 Pro, might just be what you are looking for. It’s definitely an IEM that I will keep in my collection, and use often, even if its not something I would use as an everyday basis for myself.
*Thanks to KeepHiFi for sending in the TRI I3 Pro for Review!
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