TRN V80: Heavy Metal
I have never heard of the company TRN before. And so, when I got the V80 in the mail, I did not know what to expect. What I ended up receiving was not a bad little headphone. Let’s discuss.
Packaging & Contents
The TRN packaging comes in a simple and tidy presentation with a white box. The included accessories are pretty standard: the two IEMs, a 2-pin cable, and a set of tips.
The IEM feels extremely well built and solid. It’s one of the heaviest IEM’s I’ve ever used, weighing nearly 9 grams per side. The metal housing is dense. It’s very compact and actually does not feel heavy at all wearing it. I could wear this thing for hours at a time no problem. The fit and isolation are great.
The set I got was in a glossy black finish and it looks extremely clean and well put together. If you clank them against each other, it sounds like you are hitting two marbles together. They are solid.
The TRN V80 is a warm-tilted neutral sounding IEM. So in that regard, there may be some comparisons to the Tin Audio T2 which is totally warranted. The major difference between the two is that the V80 is warmer and actually has more upper treble and has a slightly more mid-forward sound to it. But let’s talk about it in a some more detail.
I’ve spent a great deal of time with these the past 2-3 weeks as I found them inviting and nice to listen to. But they are not without their flaws. For the past couple weeks, my main playlist selection has been pretty scattered, as is my normal music listening.
As I am writing this, I am listening to them with U137, a Swedish post-rock band who make music that’ll remind you of a movie soundtrack. But I’ve spent extensive time with these with music from Radiohead, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and other country/folk singers, a variety of bluegrass music, jazz selections, and more indie-pop bands like Chvrches, Tegan & Sara, and Cigarettes after Sex. I always try to listen to Cocteau Twins just to see how harsh the treble sounds as well.
The Low End
The TRN V80 has a warm-rich sounding low end. The bass doesn’t slam or anything. It’s actually pretty linear sounding, much like the Tin Audio T2, but with the more-forward sound lower mids, it does have a different presentation. Whereas the Tin Audio T2 is very linear and cold, the V80 is linear and warm.
Mids and Treble
The mids are slightly forward sounding and actually sound quite good, most of the time. The treble does actually extend higher than some other IEMs in this class with decent air and details. But where I find some fault with this IEM is that while this area stands out, it also can fall flat too. I find the upper mids and treble to be very loose and sometimes sounds excellent but on other songs, sounds unusual and tonally incorrect. This seems to happen more on acoustic or country songs with vocals than anything else. Vocals have a tendency to lose clarity and sound odd. On a positive note, I never found this IEM to sound sibilant or harsh, although, if you’re not used to a neutral-signature, you may find it harsh to begin with.
I don’t typically spend a lot of time on discussing soundstage and imaging because it’s not exactly the easiest things to describe sometimes. I find the stage width on these to hover on the side of my ears, so a good medium width. The imaging has depth to it and you can hear instruments at varying heights and depths – when comparing these to other IEMs in this sub $50 range.
Tin Audio T2
The T2 has a more analytical, colder sound to it. The bass sounds more linear on the T2 vs the V80, which has a more full and warmer sound to it. The T2 mids and lower treble are excellent for this price range and the V80 is nearly there. Where the V80 excels over the T2 is the extended treble, which gives the upper range frequency extra air and depth.
Tin Audio T2 Pro
The upcoming T2 Pro, again, is more colder sounding than the V80 and shares many of the same comparisons as the T2 vs V80. Where the T2 Pro differs is the upper treble extension. The T2 rolls off in this region, whereas the V80 does not. That said, the T2 Pro extends better with more air, depth, control, and details than the V80. The Pro is the head of the class for me for the budget IEM group.
|MiniDSP IDF Compensated Comparison|
Spending a little bit more to get the AS10 over V80 will net you more bass and more mid-range and lower treble details. That said, the AS10 may sound muddy in comparison to the V80 because it has more pronounced bass. It’s usually not an issue on the AS10 but if you were to A-B back and forth, you may pick up on some of the upper bass overpowering the lower mids due to the AS10 having a slightly U-shape/recessed mids – where as the V80 has a more mid-forward presentation. The V80 has more air, though the AS10 is more in control in the mids and treble.
I am grouping these together because, to me, they are similar in sound signature, with the ZS6 being more extreme on the low and upper ends of the spectrum than the ZSA. The KZ pair is more V-shaped, and with that you’ll have deeper, heavier bass, and harsher treble. It’ll give you a fun presentation vs the V80. I think in terms of technicality, the V80 wins. It is smoother all around and has good detail, even in comparison to the ZS6, which has good detail but too sibilant.
I found the TRN V80 a good IEM. It has some flaws in it, mainly due to some uneven sound in the mids. The neutral-warm sound is inviting and easy to enjoy though, as is the comfort and look. The package as a whole is a budget IEM that I find myself leaving in my ear for hours without any pain or significant issues in sound. I still find the T2 Pro a better option in this price point, but I’d take this V80 over anything that KZ offers today.
I’d like to thank Lillian of Linsoul Audio for providing me this review sample free of charge. This sample was provided for my honest, unbiased opinion of this headphone. No other incentives were given to me for writing this review.
If you like what you’ve read and are interested in purchasing these headphones, please check out the following marketplaces for purchases. These are not affiliated links and I do not get any nickels and dimes for posting these – however the Amazon link does help a charity of your choice! 😊