For this review, I chose to pair the Tripowin TP10 with my beloved NuPrime Hi-mDAC. One of the best USB-sized, cheap-priced, DAC out there, with the new EarMen Eagle. Stream? Spotify and my own FLAC database.
Mixed, this is how I could resume my listening impressions of the Tripowin TP10. There is a lot to love and sadly one big caveat.
Let’s begin with the good things. The sound is clean, sharp and voice clarity is excellent, whatever the genre. It’s pretty balanced overall and, if the lows can go deep, they never invade the rest of the spectrum, even when I tried techno tracks like Light in the dark – Belocca.
Transients are fast and compared to similarly priced dynamic models, there is absolutely no competition. This makes for a very lively soundstage, where each and every nuance seems to fade-out as fast as they appear. Of course, don’t expect a mid-tier level of performances, even if the Tripowin embeds 5 BA per ears. There is more than numbers to sound, and if that’s true with high-end systems not always surpassing mid-end one, that’s also true with chi-fi like the TP10.
It could have been excellent, yes, but as I said before, the TP10 has one big flaw: very, aggressive highs. Sure, the IEM is capable of reaching high-pitched notes, but it lacks the finesse and control that makes music so pleasant. On a track like Matcha Mistake – Lane 8, hi-hats and digitally processed effects quickly turn into sparks, pushing at the rear of your hand. And it’s a shame, as every other aspect of the ear feel much more polished and natural. As if you were to bake a cake, nail the genoise and miss the icing.
The TP10 can be slightly tamed of course, with the use of a good DAC/AMP and parametric equalizers, but even after I lowered the 5k and 6k, some harshness remained and ruined the experience.
So close, yet so far!
Highs: harsh and dry. Voices are clear and, in this price range, it’s hard to be nit-picking when you encounter this level or resolution. Sadly, global harshness is a real deal-breaker and, unless you’re not sensitive to that, highs will be difficult to withstand over time.
Mids: breathy and distinctive. For vocals and acoustic tracks, the Tripowin TP10 are very capable IEMs, even more once paired with a good DAC or DAP. You’ll be able to immerse yourself pretty deeply, at least in this aspect.
Lows: deep and balanced. The TP10 achieved was able to reach deep notes and sub rumble, with ease. It’s never intrusive and you don’t get the prominent low-mids usually found with entry-level IEM, but at the same time, that’s what makes the IEM so much more pleasant, to a certain degree.
The Tripowin TP10 could have been great in-ears, if not for those aggressive highs. It’s pretty well-built, almost cheap, and comes close to upper-tier rivals in terms of separation, imaging, and positioning.
That said, I can’t fully recommend those IEMs, even more, when you can buy the same exact model, without that fatal flaw: the KZ AS16. Honestly, I’d dare to say that both ears come from the same factory, with different tuning.
But, that’s just me guessing, and I can’t travel to Shenzhen at the moment, to confirm if that’s true or not.