Today we take a look at the $419 USD Tanchjim Darling In-Ear Monitors.
Disclaimer: ShenzhenAudio sent us the Tanchjim Darling IEM for this review, free of charge. I only covered the customs fees & taxes. All thoughts and experiences with the product are naturally my own. You can find more about it here.
EDIT: Yesterday we launched an AudioQuest survey and $/€2400 USD/Euro prize draw. Don’t forget to check it out here.
Tanchjim was founded in 2015 and has impacted the world of audio with their good value IEMs in both mid-tier and budget-tier. They have a headquarter located in the Nanning City of China. Their old flagship, the Oxygen has many fans around the world and now we have their new flagship IEM, the Darling. Tanchjim is an innovative company and they do a lot of R&D work so I am quite excited about their flagship. Let’s get to the details.
Tanchjim’s flagship features a hybrid design with one dynamic driver and two Sonion balanced armatures per side. It takes advantage of tubular design and it is quite compact, despite having 3 drivers inside the metal chassis. Tanchjim is an innovative company and Darling features interesting innovations such as the adjustable nozzle depth.
Packaging & Accessories
The Darling comes in a very chic and elegant black cardboard box. I liked the design of the box, as it feels quite premium and you get a feeling that something special lies inside. Upon removing the top cover, you see neatly compartmentalized sections. On the upper side, lies the darling, without the cable attached. The accessories are inside the compartments and on the bottom right, we see a metal badge that has the flagship’s name and serial number etched on it. The accessories are rich and made of high-quality materials. The Darling comes with Tanchjim’s special T-APB ear tips. These ear tips are specially designed to reduce and neutralize ear-tip pressure in the ear canal and improve comfort. Tanchjim claims that these ear tips offer superior seal and sound. Apart from special ear tips, the Darling comes with a gorgeous suede carrying case.
Everything in the package, including the flagship, looks very aesthetic and elegant. It is obvious that Tanchjim paid a lot of attention to the packaging and design. The cable looks and feels very nice as well. It complements the IEM beautifully with its silver Y-splitter and plug. The silver’s tone matches up with the connector part of the IEM and looks great together. The cable is made of copper wires with a silver foil finish. If you follow my reviews, you know that I really like replacement filters and Tanchjim Darling comes with a couple of backup filters in case you need them in the future. Overall, the unboxing experience feels premium and I think Tanchjim has done a pretty good job here.
As audiophiles, we have seen and experienced many different designs of earphones over the years. Only a few of them have come up with truly interesting technologies. The Darling is one of them. The Tanchjim team managed to fit a 6mm dynamic driver and 2 balanced armature drivers into a very small, tubular chassis, and while doing this, they also managed to design it in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing. By looking at the design diagrams, we can see how narrow the enclosure that holds the drivers in, is. Yes, it is quite impressive, physically but it is even more impressive when you think about the acoustic structure of the IEMs.
Tanchjim’s engineer team states that the product is the result of long-term R&D. During the R&D of the product, the team used FEA (finite element analysis) technique and carried out multiple simulations to get the most accurate acoustical performance out of the enclosure. The Darling also features an interesting nozzle design. It has two ear tip fastening rings on each nozzle, instead of one and this means that you can adjust the insertion depth of the ear tips. Different depth options allow slightly different sound reproduction and like I always say, it is nice to have options!
Design & Fit
The Darling has an all-metal construction. The connector part and the back-end of the earphone are finished in glossy silver whereas the main body has a matte silver finish. The chassis is compact and light. It looks and feels very durable in hand. I am impressed by the build quality and overall aesthetics of the Darling. The small ventilation hole of the dynamic driver can be spotted near the connector area. Apart from that, the earphone utilizes an MMCX connector. It has a wide and moderately long nozzle. Many aftermarket ear tips are compatible with it, although, you won’t feel the need as the included T-APB tips work quite well with the Darling. Moving on to fit and comfort, my experience has been quite positive with the Darling. I often forget that I am wearing it as it is quite light and comfortable. The earphone sits snugly in my ear canal, without any discomfort and irritation. As for the isolation, thanks to the deep insertion and solid chassis, the Darling provides excellent passive isolation.
The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.
Page 2: Sound Quality, Adjustable Nozzle Depth: Shallow vs. Deep, Technical Performance, Comparisons, Last Words, Specifications