disclaimer: arrived 6/25. I was approached by Tripowin to review the new TP10 model. I was provided the TP10 and an upgrade cable for it by Tripowin for purposes of this review and have no other affiliation or financial interest in Tripowin. If you are interested, the TP10 can be purchased on Amazon here and the upgrade cable is available at this link.
Unboxing / Accessories:
Ok, lets just start with the elephant in the room, Tripowin is obviously either another offshoot of the KZ family, or is having KZ OEM for them as everything from the packaging to the drivers used is KZ. No, they have not come out and said as much, but you could not have copied KZ stylistically with any more precision if you had set out to clone one. We start with the slip cover style white box with graphics on front and data on back. Inside the clear plastic shield with the earpieces shown and the bagged cable and tips underneath great us. All very familiar somehow, albeit with a different brand name. The package includes 3 sets of tips, the cable, warranty card, and earpieces. Pretty standard at this price level. No case is provided.
The TP10 uses a metal outer shell with a clear plastic inner shell allowing the user to see some of the internals. Size wise, the shells are fairly large so may cause fit issues for small ears. I found them to be roughly the same size as the As06 or Zs10. the main body is fairly thin, although the nozzle is on a peaked portion of the shell which fits into the ear canal and means I end up using a size smaller tip than usual because of the shape. Connectors are the raised bi-pin design as has become common recently and when paired with the provided cable, tip up wear is the only option.
The TP10 uses 5 BA drivers with a 3dd printed “sound guide” instead of using sound bores. This is becoming popular as less fitting and handwork is required with this design. The Drivers are a 22955 for low frequencies, and a pair of 29689 for mids, with a pair of 30095 high frequency drivers rounding out the group. Nominal impedance is listed as 15Ω with a sensitivity of 98dB/mW. I suspect the sensitivity is rated a bit low as I had no trouble getting the TP10 to perform without external amplification from a phone and didn’t detect much of any scaling when it was used with higher power sources.
Here we hit a real dichotomy. The standard cable is again pretty standard KZ. Not bad, but nothing out of the ordinary with a tendency to tangle and some corners were obviously cut to save cost. Strain reliefs are minimal, the one button mic is passable, but again not anything out of the ordinary and susceptible to wind noise and rubbing on clothing. The hooded bi-pin is a nice touch but semi-proprietary. The Upgrade cable on the other hand is exactly what I have been hoping for. Well made, quality materials, and very pliable, with the hooded bi-pin connectors, this has a lot to like. I had been hoping manufacturers would come out with some solid upgrade options for the hooded style connectors and this the first I’ve had the pleasure of getting my hands on. If the rest of the package were as good as the upgrade cable, I’d be shouting from the rafters. As it stands, this would be a great upgrade cable for any of the hooded bi-pin style KZs or CCAs and I recommend purchasing the upgraded cable for sure.
Sub-bass is present but well behind mid-bass in the overall and comes off feeling fairly lean as roll off is fairly pronounced below about 75Hz. s Mid-bass has good thump with quick attack and decay to help keep it clean and more texture than expected. I think this is common for BA bass drivers as they tend to trade low end extension for cleaner, tighter, mid-bass. The upside is there is no tendency to get muddy as tracks get faster and more complex. The downside is bassheads will probably want to look elsewhere as bass is near neutral and certainly wont please that crowd.
The lower mids transition smoothly and linearly from the mid-bass and then begin to climb forward as you move up. True mids are forward of the bass and upper mids and lower treble are both very forward. Vocals cut through the rest of the signature quite easily as a result, but come across as strident at times and do show a tendency to sibilance if given and provocation at all. Guitar comes across with an almost assault like quality that while fun at times, is unrealistic at others. Overall, timbre is not quite on and as a result the TP10 sounds unnatural at times.
The overly aggressive nature of the mids continues into the Treble and comes across as splashy and harsh. I found the TP10 to be quite fatiguing which limited listening time even at modest volumes. The upside is the detail level in the treble is really quite good, the downside, the TP10 comes across as having too much top end and sparkle turns to metallic quickly. The treble shy will want to avoid the TP10 as even with EQ its signature remains bright as it is simply tuned that way.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Sound stage is wider than deep with limited height as is very typical of items at this price point. Imaging is solid with good instrument separation and seating the orchestra is fairly good although at times things that should be front/back are beside. Layering is also quite good and I found no tendency to get muddy or congested as complexity increased.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
The TP10 is a great example of a good effort that is marred by a singular flaw. In this case, the flaw is tuning. Starting with the upper mids, the TP10 is way too forward and the treble gets outright harsh at times. Diligent EQ can help, but does not completely remedy this and as such unless you just really like an aggressively bright sound, these are probably best left on the shelf. The upgrade cable on the other hand, I highly recommend for anyone looking for an improved design for iems with the now popular hooded bi-pin style connector.
- Bass - 6/106/10
- Mids - 4.5/104.5/10
- Treble - 4/104/10
- Soundstage - 6/106/10
- Imaging - 5/105/10
Pros: A 5 Driver in ear for sub-$50 – prices just keep falling
Cons: Very bright signature that gets harsh fast.