Table of Contents
At this point, everyone who reads this site should already be familiar with Tin HiFi and their famous T2, the IEM that put their name on the audiophile map. It’s a nice budget IEM that was one of the two or three truly “neutral” IEMs in its price bracket, and it enjoyed massive success since its release.
Seeking to replicate this success with the T2, Tin HiFi created the T2 Pro. The T2 Pro was markedly brighter and sharper than the already-fatiguing T2, resulting in a signature that was much less pleasant and edging into the realm of esoterism. Despite the allure of the “Pro” suffix the original T2 still vastly outsold its supposed upgrade, and so Tin HiFi goes back to the drawing board once more.
The T2 Plus is Tin’s newest attempt to capture the magic of its T2, sporting a completely new shell (unlike the T2 Pro that basically re-used the T2’s shell) and at a $10 premium over the original. The T2 cult still remains strong to this day and so I’m here to answer their burning question: is the T2 Plus the true T2 upgrade everyone’s been looking for?
Product page: https://www.linsoul.com/products/tinhifi-t2-plus
Driver configuration: single DD
This T2 Plus was kindly provided by Linsoul.
Signature & Tonality
The signature of the T2 Plus can be described as “warm neutral”, more-or-less neutral across the board but with that wideband boost across the lower mids that tilts it slightly into warmth.
The overall tonal balance of the T2 Plus is… good. Excellent even. It definitely has certain colourations going on that give it its own character, for instance a more forward vocal and instrumental presentation along with the aforementioned warm tilt, but nothing that really pushes it into an overly unnatural tonality.
T2 Plus in comparison with the other T2 variants
Comparison courtesy of the Graph Comparison Tool
The T2 Plus is a clear departure from the original “T2 twins”; gone are the odd lower-midrange emphasis and sub-bass roll-off, now replaced with a more tamed and controlled transition from the lower mids into the bass. The treble sits in between the two, though subjectively speaking it sounds more in-line with the original T2 given the contrast between the T2 Plus’ mids and treble.
This is where I have an issue with the T2 Plus, not with its sound but with its naming scheme. I’ve clowned on the Campfire for invoking the Andromeda name on the Andromeda Gold despite sounding nothing like an Andromeda, and the T2 Plus has the same “problem” here. Sure, the T2 Plus is superior to the T2 and the T2 Pro… but it’s also not a T2. I guess Tin HiFi ran out of numbers now that 3 and 4 are taken.
At any case, within the “warm neutral” classification of IEM sound signatures the T2 Plus has the chops to play with the greats. It’s not perfect for sure, for instance some of you may find issue with the “early pinna gain raise” from 1kHz to 2kHz causing that forward presentation, but whatever issues it has are peanuts compared to other tonal deficiencies common in IEMs of its price range (and far above it, might I add).
Tone grade: A
In terms of raw technicality, the T2 Plus still can’t shake off the fact that it’s a cheaply-produced IEM at its very core.
That’s not to say it’s bad, but it still performs on the same level as the older T2 variants in resolving ability and note definition. Not bad, but not good either. In fact, it might be at a slight disadvantage due to its frankly abysmal imaging ability; the “in-your-head” effect is especially prevalent on the T2 Plus, resulting in that cross-eyed-esque sensation where it feels like I’m the one singing rather than the image being projected away from my head.
Not much to say apart from that potential dealbreaker, it’s just barely above average and lacking the proper sharpness in its attack to be considered high-tier in this regard.
Technical grade: C+
The T2 Plus costs $60, so realistically speaking it should play at the sub-$100 market. But to keep things fair… it should really compete with the sub-$200 (or even $300, depending on your priorities).
Looking at Tin HiFi’s own T4 (which costs $110 and is their third most expensive model behind the P-series planars), it’s certainly slightly more resolving but the T2 Plus is far better tuned. That’s not to say the T4 has bad tonality (it doesn’t), but its “spicy” midrange would probably turn off more people than the T2’s comparatively mild quirks would. Do the T2 Plus and the T4 stand on equal footing? According to the IEF weighting system… sure. But I will say this: I find myself reaching for the T2 Plus more often than the T4.
So for the first star we ask the question: is it worth the price?
At sub-$100, no question. The T2 Plus could probably go to $100 easy and still retain its value proposition. Not that it should, but it could.
And for the second question for the second star: does it refine its price bracket?
At sub-$100, I can count with one hand the number of IEMs that about as well-tuned as the T2 Plus. Sure it’s only merely “good” in terms of technical ability within the bounds of its immediate competition, but it’s so far ahead in terms of tonality that it should be on any budget hunter’s shortlist.
The 3-star award is a bit of a minefield, as it should be. I don’t think the T2 Plus is quite safe enough to be “Worth the Blind”. But who knows, I might change my mind later.
Value Rating: ★★
It’s not quite like any T2 that has been made before. But the T2 Plus shows that Tin HiFi isn’t quite done with the budget stuff, even with its entry into the sub-$500 market.
The T2 Plus builds upon the original T2’s legacy of a well-tuned budget IEM and just kicks it up a notch. For anyone looking out for a tonality-focused IEM that wouldn’t break the bank, the T2 Plus should be high on your shortlist.