TIN HiFi has developed a name for themselves as one of the most affordable high-end brands on the market. Back in September, we looked at the T2 Pros, a powerhouse set of earbuds if ever we saw one for the cost. Today, we’re looking at the TIN HiFi P1s, a premium planar magnetic in-ear headphone. Planar magnetics are rare and expensive in the in-ear world making these headphones an especially interesting find indeed. Are they worth $169? Let’s find out.
- Current Price: $169.00 (Amazon, Official Site)
- Model: Tin HiFi P1
- Driver: 10 mm planar diaphragm
- Impedance: 20 Ohm +/- 15%
- Sensitivity: 96 +/- 3 dB
- Frequency range: 10 Hz – 40 kHz
- Rated power: 5 mW
- Max power: 10 mW
- Max distortion: 1 dB
- Interface: Gold-plated MMCX connector
- Cable length: 1.2 m (3.9 inches)
Right from the get-go, it’s clear that the TIN HiFi P1s are meant to be a luxury headphone. The typeface on the box-face reminds me of the roaring 20s, The Great Gatsby, and ladies in long white gloves holding martinis. It opens like a jewelry box, displaying the earbuds and the leather-bound, felt-trimmed travel box. I can’t say for sure whether it’s protein leather or the real deal but it certainly feels very nice. For the money, this is easily the best unboxing experience I’ve ever had with a pair of earbuds.
The P1s also feel wonderfully constructed. The housings are polished stainless steel, as are the stems for the MMCX and 3.5 connections. Where they actually connect is gold-plated for the best reliability. Even grilles at the end of each nozzle are stainless steel instead of the usual screens that eventually get clogged or even fall out.
The cable is also very good, though I’m not as big a fan of it as the T2 Pros. It’s the same oxygen-free copper and looks beautiful but TIN has left out the tight braiding I so appreciated on those cheaper headphones. Instead, it’s a coil from each bud to where they connect and then it’s a very loose braid. While it’s still a cut above the rubber-coated cables found on most headphones it does feel a bit sloppier than TINs other headphones. Practically, it makes no difference but since it uses standard MMCX connections, you can easily swap it out for another or even a Bluetooth cable if you’d rather go wireless.
Loose braiding aside, the P1s are a luxurious headset and TIN has done an amazing job of really making you feel your investment. The construction is made to last and that it could stand up to the rigors of daily use. I also really like the case. It’s a bit large for pocket carry but doable, especially if you leave it in a jacket pocket and take it out when needed.
The Planar Magnetic Difference
Most headphones feature dynamic drivers. There's a huge variety in type and quality but as a jack of all trades, it’s common to find that affordable headphones do one or two things really well and others only modestly so. A dynamic headphone that has great bass may suffer reduced detail in the highs or the other way around. This is the driver most people think of when they think “speaker,” a cone.
Planar magnetics, on the other hand, are a flat sheet. They operate by suspending a thin diaphragm between a series of magnets and are much more resistant to distortion. At 10mm, they're fairly large compared to a traditional IEM monitor (often around 6mm, though it varies) and have a wide response range of 10 - 40000 Hz.
Compared to the T2 Pros, the bass takes a back seat and the mids and highs take center stage. This is a headphone that’s all about the details; bass is a controlled bed, but it’s not punchy, more foundational to the rest of the listening experience. Vocals are very forward, so listening to PVRIS’s Heaven, I was able to enjoy Lynn’s vocals at the top of the mix. At the same time, the splash cymbals sparkled in songs like What’s Wrong. At the same time, the clean harmonized guitars stood distinct against the synth in I The Mighty’s The Sound of Breathing. As a guitar player, I really enjoyed being able to pick out the character of the amplifier just through the mix.
This tuning is especially good for games because it draws out the details that matter for competitive play. Footsteps, callouts, the direction of gunshots and traveling vehicles. It just works excellently for that type of content. At the same time, the soundstage is relatively small, so you won’t get the same sense of space.
Ultimately, these are music headphones that will work for games but cut down on your sense of space.
An in-ear monitor with planar magnetic drivers isn’t something we see very often and when we do it usually costs hundreds of dollars. With the P1, TIN HiFi has delivered a great sounding headphone for detail-oriented listening that’s also built immaculately well. The cable is an odd step down from the T2 Pros but overall, it’s an exceptional package that’s also well-priced against the competition.
- Excellent detail in the mids and highs
- Outstanding build quality
- Can be driven by anything - no amp required
- Superior presentation
- Loose cable braid
- Understated bass
- Smaller soundstage
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.