As usual, files were played from either Amazon Music / Spotify or my own music library. Some tracks will be highlighted, just so you can try them home too!
With eight drivers and a custom crossover, I had high expectations for the TRN BA8. Okay, the provided graph looked a bit scary, but since no scale was given, it could also mean that the BA8 achieved some great length, fifty-fifty chance.
To be fair, the first DAC whom I plugged the IEM into was not a cheap one. As I took some time to reorder my home desk, I also brought back my old Sennheiser HDVD800, which remains one of my favorite DAC/AMP even up to this day.
And, together, the combo works (un)surprisingly well. The BA8 offers a wide soundstage, deep lows, and crisp highs, whatever the genre or track, even when you crank up the volume. The seamless transition between low, mids, and highs is proof that TRN really did some nice engineering and tried to blend all of those drivers, in the best possible way. My only complaint would be the slight boost in the upper mid-range, but that didn’t really bother me in the long run.
I listened to classic tracks like Hysterias from SebastiAn, or vocal one like La Jeune Fille en Feu from Par One and that confirmed my first impression: the soundstage is huge, with an excellent rendering of pan and depth effects. A good example is One from Harry Nilsson: at the beginning of the track, the sound only comes from the left side (keys), then comes the singer, and you never feel taken away. It’s a natural turn of events, where music just slides from left to right, and I really enjoyed the TRN BA8 for that.
Unfortunately, if this is true with the HDVD800, that audio prowess was not available with every gear that I own. As soon as I stepped down and took the EarMen Eagle, for example, the sound signature appeared much more V-Shaped than what I hear previously. Low mids raised quite a bit, as did the high mids, and the overall resolution took quite a toll, but that was to be expected.
Fortunately, lots of good traits remained, whatever the source. The sound stage remains spectacular, layering is impressive and the IEM can unveil lots of micro-details, quite effortlessly. And I know some might not like what I’m about to say, but those ears really sound… balanced. There’s less sound pressure than with the BGVP DMS for example, but the whole ordeal also appears more cohesive, at least to my ears.
Long story short, I really like the sound of the TRN BA8, but you have to be extra careful with the source. FiiO M11 Pro? Yes! FiiO M3 Pro? Nope… etc.
Highs: good separation and clean trebles. Again, with the right source, the BA8 worked flawlessly and gave me spotless trebles, with tight transients and just enough high-mids to magnifies micro-details, and avoid any harshness. Love it.
Mediums: spaciousness but slightly recessed. The sound stage is absolutely massive, even if the voices seemed a bit laid-back. Thankfully dynamic is excellent, and the right amount of warmth gives outstanding results. Warning, with lesser source, voices can appear a bit distant, like with the FiiO M3 Pro.
Bass: strong low-mids and deep rumble. Bass is there, well-defined, impactful, and it never takes over the mids. I was kinda hooked by how deep the TRN BA8 were able to dive, and techno tracks were quite impressive most of the time.
For $149, I don’t think that you could go wrong with the TRN BA8.
Build quality is excellent, sound is quite good – as good as I expected at least – and paired with a quality source you’ll be amazed by how well TRN blended those eight drivers together.
The downsides? The bundle is a bit dire and if you don’t find the right tips, you’ll have to get yours. Also, and more importantly, comfort is good but not excellent, which tends to lower global noise isolation.
But, overall, there’s still a lot to love, and I have to say that I quite liked my time with those IEM. Sometimes, it’s good to get back to your root and try a fully balanced IEM, even more, if they are as affordable as that one.