To be frank, if someone mentions me about "Tripowin", the most I remember about them is that I bought their cable. But other than that, the brand has little reputation of being an IEM manufacturer. Though that doesn't mean that they don't have any IEM under their name.
Since, as far as I can find, they do have the Tripowin TP10 in their lineup, so they aren't completely a total newbie in this market.
Presumably with the TP10 is the only work that I found from them, then the TC-01 would be the second? Whatever it is, it's not impossible for an unknown brand to make a good product anyway. And whether if the TC-01 might worth your wallet or not, let's find out.
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- Driver: 1DD
- Price: 50$
- Purchase link: https://www.linsoul.com/products/tripowin-tc-01
The Tripowin TC-01 was kindly provided by Linsoul in exchange for my honest review
Build and Accessories:
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S/M/L)
- Storage case
- Unbalanced 3.5mm 2-pin cable
- Warranty paper/Instruction book
- The IEM itself
Like a lot of budget IEM on the market, the Tripowin TC-01 packaging is quite simple and straightforward.
I somewhat dig the storage case design here, the canvas texture is pleasing to touch and the case itself is quite durable. Aside from the size that fits my pocket quite well, the wrist strap coming along with it is also a neat thing to have. That said, the cable is somewhat expected for the price; not a fan of its texture, the chin-slider is simply too stiff which gives me great trouble using them. It is also easily prone to tangles.
And lastly, nothing much to say about the Tripowin TC-01 design itself: it follows a metal shell design, behind that is the company name printed onto. On the front, there is a vent hole for the dynamic driver. Isolation of the IEM is somewhat average comparing to similar offerings in the grand scheme of things.
As much as I dislike saying this due to its potential redundancy as a descriptive keyword, but the Tripowin TC-01 tonal performance is "Average". It's a typical V-Shaped Chifi response with boosted bass and upper midrange, ultimately make it falls into the likes of many budget-tier IEM that I had the opportunity to try.
That being said, this is not inherently a bad thing as I find the Tripowin TC-01 quite pleasant to listen to due to its smooth signature. But, to think this is where I will start rambling on this aspect in a positive light then you are dead wrong. Ultimately, my biggest gripe with this type of tuning is how screwed towards the upper harmonics it is. Now, I know I have labeled myself as someone who likes a thin presentation due to my music preference. But, with type of tuning, the ear-gain is just a bit overdone to my liking, results in a presentation that is thin or to be more precise: Stretched out.
However, as much as I don't like this type of presentation, the TC-01 is not an overly shouty IEM thanks to the lower-midrange/bass boost that serves as a counterbalance. Of course, this is not a be all end all solution as I still found myself scrolling the volume knob down immediately when I am on the mood of listening to something louder than usual but for my normal listening level, the TC-01 is somewhat serviceable.
With all of that rambling about the midrange was done, touching on the treble is an entirely different subject. The dramatic roll off from 5kHz~ does have some effect here. The entire treble presentation is kept sharp, yet air is noticeably lacking; thanks to that generous lower treble boost, I never regard the TC-01 as muted (or dead). Rather, I am slightly tilted by the fact that on how upfront percussion is to my ears while at the same time having a tonality that slightly darker than what I would prefer.
Hence, even after a while listening to this earphone, I still find myself growing some question marks on top of my head. By all means like I said, the tuning isn't bad, but it does slightly irks me that a lot of instruments that I am used to will sound slightly off in one way or another. It basically just... passable.
One going for the recent earphone hype will realize one thing: A lot of the new notable contender are now surprisingly decent at staging. And well... the Tripowin TC-01 staging performance is basically at that range, ranked itself among some entries like the Moondrop SSR/SSP duo, the BLON BL-05, or even the recently released HZSound Heart Mirror which I haven't got the chance to talk about. This is probably my biggest compliment to the Tripowin TC-01 especially as this is one company that is more likely to go under the hood on the market after a while.
But over than that, I am on the fence with a lot of aspects. Bass presentation was boomy and not to mention its mediocre mid-bass texturing. Most of all, I just found the TC-01 timbral to be slightly metallic. Detail retrieval ability is fine: Not really that groundbreaking in this price range but far from being the worst comparing to models like the BLONs that I have been reviewed in this blog.
vs Moondrop SSP:
Comparing to the Moondrop SSP, I would say that there are some similarities. Both have a presentation that is slightly shouty but has some warmth acts as a counterbalance, and both also have decent soundstage performance comparing to similar priced IEM in the market.
So what's the difference then? You may ask.
Well, firstly the TC-01 has larger bass quantity and sub-bass reaches than the Moondrop SSP. But at the same time, the treble extension on the SSP is slightly better, hence, I find instruments like Cymbals, Hi-hats... to be more pleasant than the TC-01.
But there is one more crucial factor that made me reaching for the SSP than the TC-01: Timbre.
Yeah, this was the one comparison that made me realize that the TC-01 suffered a bit in its timbral performance. Though I doubt someone would actually noticed this issue unless you actually tried to go for an A/B session for this IEM. Still though, I won't refrain myself from docking a point because of that.
Henceforth, I think these two IEM are quite similar in terms of sound performance, while the TC-01 fit for an energetic listening session, I would favor the SSP for someone looking for a female vocal-centric IEM or for instrumentals (Though I would argue the Moondrop SSR would be a better fit on that front).
vs Kinera BD005 Pro:
Comparing to the BD005 Pro, then the Tripowin TC-01 shows a big contrast in terms of its tonal performance here. Though to be fair, I see some would find themselves favor the BD005 Pro since it provides a more pleasing signature. Not to mention that I personally find the BD005 Pro has better bass tactility and also less bloaty than the TC-01.
And while I reckon that you had prepared some duct tapes at this point of the writing since I keep bringing the word "Timbre" in this review, the story is different here: The Tripowin TC-01 timbre is better than the BD005 Pro.
Yes, while both IEM do suffer from their timbral performance for different reasons, I found myself less irritated by the Tripowin TC-01 metallic qualities. And while I am at it, the BD005 Pro is also more... vailed than its counterpart of this comparison.
Of course, while I can see this comparison is a debate of preference when it comes to tonality, I think the TC-01 deserves a place that is slightly higher than the Kinera BD005 Pro a bit. It's more resolving and having better timbral performance, after all.
With the scale of the Chi-fi market going on nowadays, it's not that surprising that a lot of products will be ended up getting in the chamber of being generic. In terms of tonality... the Tripowin TC-01 kinda is. At the price of about 50$ though I guess its technicality does make it justice somehow, but still, I don't think I can be 100% recommending this IEM considering the current Recommended lineup.
But oh well, outside of the tuning, it's overall performance is a bit more than just a "passable" tag from me. At least, that's something to look for.
Recommendation ratings: Niches/Recommended