The P1 is now currently Tin HiFi’s newest flagship priced at an MSRP of $169. It makes use of a micro planar-magnetic driver, similar to those used in Audeze’s iSine series but downscaled to fit in an actual IEM shell that can be fully sealed.
Linsoul has now provided me two units of the P1, one of which was before the P1 went into full production. I had less than favourable opinions on the pre-production unit but realised that many of what I considered to be “glaring flaws” could be fixed with certain modifications, so I spent a few hours on tinkering with the P1 to iron out the kinks. I then gave certain tuning directions to Linsoul who then passed it on to Tin HiFi, subsequently receiving the final production unit which was more-or-less identical to my modified pre-production unit.
Additional disclaimers, I am not a related party of Tin HiFi, I do not get any proceeds from sales of the P1, I am simply doing this in the pursuit of better sound.
The P1 has a slightly dark tonality though follows my target curve pretty well. The P1 also tilts rather significantly towards warmth and has an overall laidback sound, with exception to an upper treble zing that you may or may not hear depending on your hearing range.
It is no secret that the in-ear planar game tends to be a heavy game of compromise, especially in tonality. The two biggest examples on the market today being Audeze’s iSines (and by extension, their LCD-i4) as well as Unique Melody’s ME1. Both have absolutely awful tonality that almost mandates the use of EQ to be listenable.
The P1 is a step in the right direction in this regard, being proper-sounding right out of the box without any need for any kind of DSP. Since the P1 is pretty much personally tuned by myself, the tonal balance is what I’d consider “near-perfect”. It hits my personal target curve very well and there is little to no oddities on the frequency domain to my ears. The laidback signature favours male vocals over female as well as instruments at-and-below the alto range such as cello and bassoon.
The bass response of the P1 is solid, able to dig deep into the lowest octaves of sub-bass whenever called for (though only with the front vent taped up, in stock form there is an audible roll-off). The decay in the bass is much more similar to that of a good dynamic driver than that of a balanced armature, resulting in a much more natural response.
Those who are familiar with me would know that I don’t put the metric of “imaging” and “soundstage” to a high priority in IEMs. 80% of everything I’ve heard can be classified in the vague blob of “average” with only the cream of the crop truly impressing me in those fronts.
So, that’s really the problem that I have with the P1. It’s not even average, much less good in terms of the spaciousness of the stage or the positional accuracy of instruments. There is a distinct congestion in the soundstage and instruments tend to overlap which messes up the positioning. I would not use the P1 for orchestral genres for this reason.
The other issue I have with the P1 is with the non-tangibles, i.e. the “non-frequency response related” qualities. The attack is rather extended and blunted, which is more obvious on percussions and plucked strings where speed and definition matters the most. Notes sound soft (in terms of texture, not volume) and sluggish and thus I would hesitate to call the P1 “clean” for this reason; there is a lot of attack-based smearing that makes it hard to make out low level detail, in some cases even simply surface level detailing when the track gets busy.
This will probably one of the few reviews to go against the hype train that the P1 is currently in right now. My aim is not to justify purchases, nor is it to “destroy hype” like many claim. I simply speak my mind on what I hear and what my opinions are. My objective is that my reviews remain relevant not just 1 week after product release, but a month, a year, or even a decade post-release.
The P1 is a decent IEM which has a very good frequency response curve, one that hits my target very closely. Unfortunately, sound quality is not purely determined simply with tone and FR and the P1 just lacks in the other technical metrics that I hold to high importance.
As usual, your mileage may vary, sound is subjective, in my honest opinion etc. and all similar variations. To this humble reviewer the P1 is good, but not great.