In this review, we take a look at the TRN BA8, an 8BA IEM selling for $145 USD.
Prior to this review, TRN was completely unknown to me. But, a quick search on the internet showed quite a few reviews, customers survey and more importantly gave me a broader view of the brand.
Belonging to Dongguan Zuodu Acoustic Technology Co. Ltd, a versatile company producing headsets, TWS IEMs, and sports earphones, TRN was born in 2017. Like many chi-fi brands – BGVP or Fearless for example – their catalog is quite extensive, even if just three to four IEMs will actually be available in Western Europe and US.
And today, we are reviewing the TRN BA8, a fully-balanced IEM with 8BA per ear “born to be resilient and offer an immersive listening experience”. So let’s check it out.
Design & Build Quality
Out of the box, the TRN BA8 gives a solid impression, thanks to its metal-made shells. Like FiiO did with its FH5 and FH7, the brand uses an aluminum/magnesium alloy for its IEM and even goes the extra mile by varnishing the outer side with a multi-layered ceramic coating.
Once you hold them, it’s a subtle feeling, one you can only get when you compare it with another metallic IEM, side by side. But, in the overcrowded sea of $100-200 Chinese IEM’s, every little bit helps.
The shells are fairly big, which is not a good open for many users and, in this aspect, the TRN BA8 tends more into FiiO’s territory than BGVP. Let’s hope that won’t be a hindrance, in terms of comfort, as the IEM doesn’t seem to adopt the popular semi-custom shape.
Overall, it’s a very nice IEM, but not outstanding, in my opinion.
Unsurprisingly, build quality is top-notch and the TRN BA8 doesn’t have to be ashamed when compared to its direct competitors. There are no steps, no shard, no bruises, just one smooth surface all over the shell.
The 2-pin port fits perfectly, even if I’d have preferred an MMCX one, for durability. The shell is made of two pieces only, the faceplate and the main body. Unlike some other models, the nozzle is a direct extension of the body and feels impressively sturdy. Plus, you get a very deep lip, to ensure your tips won’t fall off unexpectedly during your listening session.
All across the faceplate, TRN’s emblazoned a wing-like shape, that unveils under low-angled lights. And, if this could have turned for the worse, giving the IEM some cheesy look, the end result is surprisingly eye-catchy.
The cable is equally good and if you can find better ones on the market, there are far worse options than this one. It doesn’t tangle, gets a classy L-shaped 3.5 mm plug, and exhibits one of the finest 0.78mm sockets I’ve seen in a long time. So far, so good.
Bundle and Comfort
Inside the box
The TRN BA8 comes in a medium-sized, square, black box.
Inside you get :
- the TRN BA8
- a 2-pin Quad-Core OCC copper cable with a 3.5mm termination plug
- three pairs of tips
- a round carry case
A rather sparse bundle, especially compared to similarly priced chi-fi IEMs, lacking the usual foam tips and a clean tool that we get ninety percent of the time. Moreover, I’m used to getting TONS of tips, so I can find the right one for my ears.
Nothing mandatory of course, and maybe that’s just me being spoiled, but I want more!
If you want to go further with your BA8, there are only two upgrades you should do:
- go for a balanced cable, if your source offers 4.4mm or 2.5mm outputs
- get SpinFit tips or Comply if you prefer foam tips
That said, the best gift you could offer to this model remains a DAP or a DAC. It could be something as simple as a NuPrime Hi-mDAC or an EarMen Eagle, but please don’t use your computer headphone out (even if the new MacBook one is pretty impressive).
As I suspected, the TRN BA8 won’t fill your ears completely, because of its size and shape. Compared to the FiiO FH7 for example, they are a tad smaller, but the inner side doesn’t get the same level of refinement.
The slopes aren’t big enough to really fit the outer ears, and even with the smallest tips, I couldn’t get them completely into my ear. And that’s a shame because I feel that TRN is just hair strands of success in my opinion, so I’m pretty curious to test the brand’s other models now.
Fortunately, even after a few hours of listening, they didn’t harm me. Personally, I’d give them a 5 out of 10 on this aspect.
Like many metal-made IEM, the TRN BA8 are correct noise-blockers but lacks the level of isolation that silicone one can achieve. Even when paired with comply foam tips, some high-pitched noises were still able to pass through, like my mechanical keyboard “clicks”.
On the other hand, low-pitch rumbles like train noises or crowd sounds are perfectly blacked out, even while I wear silicon tips. So if you travel(led) a lot (before CoVid) or still do like me for work, those are surprisingly fit for the job.
So, time to check the specs!
For the nit-pickers and nerdy ones here, I’m giving the specs and technical sheets. For all the others, you can just go to the next page to see how the TRN BA8 performs.
Hybrid driver configuration
Unlike the V90, the TRN BA8 only uses balanced armature drivers, and no less than eights of them! Almost all of them are provided by Knowles and are packed in three different sections.
For the lows, the brand chose a set of three custom 30095 units to provide a “crystal-clear high-frequency response, without harshness or listening fatigue”. Mediums are taken care of by four units, two 29689 and two 50060 drivers, that should offer “full-bodied, silky and natural timbre”. Last but not least, lows are provided by a massive customized 22955 driver that can deliver “impactful bass, without compromising speed, clarity, texture, and details.”
Last but not least, TRN seems very proud of their electronic crossovers, which have been “painstakingly tuned” to ignite your fiery musical passion. A bold statement but Chi-Fi are, most of the time – deeply impressive, once you feed them with the right source. So let’s continue.
Sensitivity / Hiss
Impedance is low, but sensitivity is fairly low too (100dB/mW), so you should be aware of how picky those IEM can get, depending on the source.
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- Type: IEM
- Style: Balanced – 8 drivers
- Drivers: 1x Knowles 22955 (low) + 2x Knowles 29689 / 2x Knowles 50060 (mids) + 3x Knowles 30095 (highs)
- Socket: 2-Pin
- Cable: Quad-core OCC copper – 3.5mm L-angled
- Shell: 3D-milled aluminum/magnesium alloy
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20 KHz
- Impedance: 20 ohms
- Sensitivity: 100dB
- Sound Isolation (up to): 24 dB
- Cable length: 130 cm
- Price: $149
The article continues on Page Two, after the click here