disclaimer: I was approached by a TinHifi representative regarding several recent TinHifi Models. I quickly agreed to review the new C2 Mech Warrion, T4 Plus and C3 models. I have no financial interests in HifiGO, TinHifi, or any of its distributors and have received no compensation or advice regarding these reviews. If you have an interest in the C2 Mech Warrior, please check out their website. To purchase a C2 or other Tin Hifi models, I recommend HifiGo.
Unboxing / Packaging:
TinHifi’s recent packaging has been understated so the C2 is a bit of a surprise. The subtitle for the C2 is Mech Warrior and a line drawing a hulking battle machine adorns the front of the package. The rest of the package follows Tin’s normal pattern of understatement with their logo in blue on a white background and little else. Lifting the box top reveals the earpieces in a foam tray at top and a card-stock box in the lower half. Hiding in the box are the cable, velcro tie, and three sets of tips. The kit is finished off with the warranty card and manual. No case is provided but with the asking price of the C2 being roughly $30 USD one really shouldn’t be expected.
At first glance the earpieces look a bit like the Campfire classic line. The Shell and face-plate are machined from 6063 aluminum and held together with screws locking rather than relying on glue. The bi-pin connector is reccessed into the metal shell for added strength, and the nozzles are bright stainless protruding from the under-surface. The shells have all edges beveled to ensure comfortable wear and a pair of vents one a tri-star on the outer shell and the other a pin-hole just behind the nozzles provide air-flow and help prevent pressure build-up. Indexing is easy with a large L and R machined into the under surface of the earpieces and matching indicators on the cable terminations. Nozzles have a mild forward rake which allows a portion of the body to sit directly blocking the ear canal so isolation is quite good even with the venting.
The C2 shares a lot of technology with its C3 sibling. Both use a 10mm composite diaphragm driver. The diaphragm is made of poly-urethane and liquid crystal polymer with a lightweight CCAW voice-coil and dual N52 magnets. The only difference I could find in the two was the voice-coil is listed as Daikku for the C2 and Kaikoku for the C3 model. Both also share the same 32Ω resistance but sensitivity is slightly different between the two with the C2 listing at 104 dB ±3 with a maximum power handling of 3mW. I found the C2 easy to drive regardless of dongle, DAP, or head-amp used.
The provided cable starts with a 90° 3.5mm jack of the style I prefer to avoid undue pressure on the source device. The cable exits via a large strain relief built into the rubber housing of the jack. The cable is two parallel strands from the jack to the black plastic Y splitter. There is no chin slider so the single strands exit the splitter and head to ear-hooks and 0.78mm bi-pin connectors at the north end. The cable itself is 4 strand silver plated copper and is quite pliable without a memory so I had no issues with it spiraling after a period of storage. There isn’t anything fancy here, but with the whole package being less expensive than a lot of replacement cables, it is very serviceable.
The sub-bass has mild emphasis centered around 70Hz and slowly dropping back to either side. Roll-off is well into the 20Hz range giving the C2 good low end grunt when called for and making the C2 a good choice for Action movies and bass heavy genres. Mid-bass has a very mild emphasis that trails off at it moves toward the lower mids. Mid-bass has moderate texture and good enough speed to sound clean but is not quite as quick as the Be driver of the latest T-series models. Overall the C2 has enough low end to slam and rumble when called for but to step back and let vocals and guitar shine when not the focal point.
Lower-mids transition smoothly from the mid-bass and are a little behind the emphasis on either side but do not sound recessed so much as just not emphasized. Male vocals have impact and weight with a natural tone. Guitars have good growl if maybe just a touch smoothed at the lead edge. Piano is reproduced well with enough sustain to sound natural. Lower strings sound natural but upper strings lack a little energy needed to sound 100% . The upper-mids have a very mild climb as they head into the lower treble that helps lift upper-vocals a bit without making them stand out in front of the mix. They cut through well without sounding separated. Overall, I like the mid tuning and it is well voiced for most genres.
While the upper-mids have a very gradual rise, there is a distinct jump as the signature crosses into the lower treble. After the quick rise between 2kHz and 3kHz, there is a gradual drop in level which returns to baseline level by about 6kHz and then has a bit of a dip before returning to baseline level at about 10kHz. This gives the lower treble good energy without getting strident or piercing as can sometimes be the case. Snare rattle is good as is percussion snap but cymbals miss a touch of energy in that dip and can sound a touch flat as a result. Overall, its a treble that tries to blend early and late energy to contribute to detail and air without becoming harsh in the process and the result is a polite treble with enough energy to sound open at the top. There is some limited sparkle as final roll-off is fairly steep after the 10kHz push.
Soundstage / Imaging:
The soundstage on the C2 is wider than deep with some sense of height as well. Seating the orchestra shows no big gaps or overlaps as instrument separation is fairly good for a budget offering. Layering is also better than I had expected and helps with placements staying clean and with imaging. Movement around the stage is easily tracked and locations tightly defined in space. There is some compression at the low-end of the spectrum that becomes evident as tracks get busier.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
I’ve had 3 Tin Hifi models in house to review at once and can’t help but comparing the three as all have distinct characters. The C2 brings good balance with some energy in the low-end and lower treble helping to keep it lively and a good choice for popular genres. The construction is great for a budget <$50 USD offering and if I was purchasing one of these recent Tin Hifi offerings to travel in a backpack or with a teen, the C2 would be a good option as its built to take more abuse than most. Internally, the C2 and C3 share a lot with a very similar, if not exactly the same, drvier but that doesn’t mean the two sound exactly alike so auditioning both may be needed to decide between the two. I found the c2 had a bit more low end emphasis and a bit more top-end extension when compared to the C3 which makes the c2 a bit better for bass heavy genres. The C3 may be a bit better option if the user is more into classical or large ensemble pieces with more mid emphasis and less low-end. Overall, I think the C2 contends well in the budget price range and should sell well as its strongest characteristics line up well with popular genres of music.
Pros: Build quality, cost, good balance with a little extra emphasis at top and bottom
Cons: somewhat limited top-end keeps cymbals from sounding 100%, limited kit