TenHz P4 Pro - Transparent 4-BA IEM for All
Update: This review was updated to clarify bass response on this IEM.
TenHz is another one of these new Chinese companies I’ve never heard of before until I started hearing the hype of forums and then getting my own set of these to try out. From what I understand, they recently re-branded from another name, Audbos, who I admittedly had never head of before either.
Linsoul provided me the companies’ latest 4-BA IEM, the P4 Pro, for review purposes. As usual, no compensation was given to me for this review. They have been very good about allowing me full freedom to write honest and fair reviews during our partnership.
The P4 Pro Specs are as follows:
Drivers: 4 Balanced Armature (1xbass, 1xmids, 2xtreble)
Impedance: 26 Ohm
Sensitivity: 110 dB
With all that out of the way, let’s get to the details, shall we?
Presentation, Accessories, Build Quality, and Comfort
The P4 Pro comes in a large white box with a pull-out tray that displays all the accessories and the earphone itself. The presentation is clean and well put together. The first item in the box is a distinctively brown leather carrying case. I assume this case is made of PU Leather and not the real stuff, but it is a nice addition. It’s large enough to carry the IEMs with cable attached, as well as extra sets of tips and a small portable USB amp or Bluetooth adapter. In my case, I can easily fit the P4 Pro along with the Radsone ES100 bluetooth amp in this case, which makes a perfect portable solution.
Just below the case, is are the P4 Pro IEMs and two types of tips. The tip selection comes with standard silicone and memory foam tips, both of which coming in small, medium and large pairs.
Below this insert, you’ll find the silver mmcx cable. This cable is lightweight and very attractive. The IEM ends of the cable have molded hooks that do not contain memory wire, which to me, is a bonus. The cable is a bit springy and therefore does retain some of its coiled shape.
The P4 Pro I received has a black acrylic faceplate with the TenHz logo in a reflective silver on it. Behind the plate is a smoked translucent acrylic housing that reveals the internal components and wiring of the P4 Pro. Overall, the IEM is extremely lightweight due to lack of metals and other heavier materials, but the acrylic body feels well made and durable.
In actual use, the IEM is as lightweight feeling in my ears as they are in my hands. The comfort level of the shape and design is excellent, fitting perfectly into my ear shape without any discomfort over long listening sessions. This is actually one of the most comfortable earphones I think I’ve ever worn. The seal is also excellent.
With the stock ear tips, the actual seal was too much. With them on, I could not hear anything in my surroundings. When I was chewing on food while listening to it, my music would be interrupted with every bite or chew. I was cleaning the dishes, when my fiancée came by and tapped my shoulder and it scared the heck out of me because I didn’t expect her coming. That’s about how good the seal was for me, and I actually didn’t like it for those flaws.
I ended up switching to SpinFit C155 tips and have found them to give a good proper seal, while not hearing every little bite I make or any noise in the cable – no microphonic issues. The remainder of my review will be covered using those specific tips.
The P4 Pro advertises itself as “completely transparent headphones” on its box and for the most part, I agree with this sentiment. The headphone is probably best described as a tame, neutral sound. I call it tame because it doesn’t accentuate any specific area, and is generally a smooth sounding ear phone. There are no significant peaks in the treble to worry about and the bass is relatively linear but does roll off a little more than some competing BA IEMs in sub-bass region, with less low-end rumble around 45Hz and below than others.
During my time with the P4 Pro leading up to this review, I used the the P4 Pro with the C155 Spinfit tips, along with balanced 2.5mm cables. My primary source was the Pioneer XDP-300R Digital Audio Player, however I also spent some time using it with the Topping DX7 DAC/Amp and the Monolith x Cavalli Liquid Spark amp.
My music selection for this review consisted of tracks from the following records:
The Roots – Phrenology and The Tipping Point
Tegan and Sara - Heart Break
Vince Guaraldi – Live Recordings
Olafur Arnalds – Re:member
Radiohead – OK Computer
Real Estate – Atlas
Common – Be
Chris Stapleton – Traveler
BassThe bass is lean, and slight but very clean. It does get audibly quieter in the sub-bass region, so those expecting a bit of a rumble may be disappointed. Instead, the bass does provide good detail and does not ever muddy up the lower-mids and provide any bloat.
On hip hop songs like the popular Seed 2.0 from The Roots or the trip hop classic Unfinished Symphony by Massive Attack – the bass doesn’t have the slam and emphasis I’d expect and enjoy, and may sound light and lacking. On jazz songs where the acoustic bass is highly prevalent, the instrument is detailed and easily discernable, though lacking some oomph that some tracks need to carry the song.
When the volume is raised, the bass slam comes back, but other issues arise, which I will discuss more later.
MidsThe mids are very smooth on the P4 Pro. They have a small dip around 600-800Hz in the lower mids but quickly rises again in 1-2KHz range where vocals are very important. I never have any sense of shoutiness based on this and I find vocals to sound natural though with a slightly nasal sheen to it. Overall though, the mids are very coherent and transition very smoothly into the treble.
TrebleOn my initial listen with the stock tips, I found the treble to be a bit harsh, but I was also coming directly from the Campfire Comet which doesn’t excel in its treble response. After listening for a little more time and switching tips, I found that the P4 Pro’s treble to be actually tame yet full of detail and air. It does lack some zing and sparkle compared to some other headphones and earphones that have more boosts in this region, but I do not find the P4 Pro lacking at all. It actually provides a very listenable experience that will not become fatiguing in long listening sessions.
Soundstage/ImagingThe P4 Pro does imaging from left to right very well. Depth and height separation are average, while the soundstage is also medium in width. It is not as wide as the recently popular BGVP DMG, but not as intimate as the Campfire Comet.
Power Handling/EQOne of the things I noticed in this IEM is that it is sensitive to both volume and equalizer changes. This IEM works very well at lower to medium volumes, but once you increase power and add more gain, the P4 Pro starts to become less coherent and grainy.
Slight adjustments to EQ seem to also impact the quality as well. Adjusting frequencies in bass and lower mids quickly muddies up songs and makes them sound bloated. Some people may like the snap changes that the EQ makes – it is very easily distinguishable when a small boost is made, however, for me, subtle changes is usually all I am looking and distortion is not.
For reference, I have tried equalizing the IEMs using Equalizer APO on PC and using the built-in equalizer in the Pioneer XDP-300R, and both have similar sensitivity effects on the P4 Pro. That said, I do not believe the IEM requires much adjustment at all.
This may be explained by looking at the distortion numbers measured by MiniDSP. They are a bit higher than expected across the board. The box even displays a 2% THD value so take that into consideration.
ComparisonsTwo IEMs I will write a quick comparison to are the similarly priced BGVP DMG and the slightly higher priced Campfire Comets.
BGVP DMGThe BGVP DMG has an aluminum metal housing that is well designed and simple, compared to the acrylic lighter weight design of the P4 Pro. Both are extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The DMG offers a more V-shaped sound signature that has recessed mids but more emphasis in bass and treble. That does give more of that bass presence to songs that need it and gives the upper end more energy and spark. Sometimes that does make the mids a little less coherent overall than the P4 Pro though. The P4 Pro is generally more coherent and smooth sounding, and still provides great detail, though will sound leaner in comparison. The DMG gets better with volume gain, while the P4 Pro is the complete opposite.
Campfire CometThe Comet is the entry level offering from Portland-based Campfire Audio. They feature stainless steel shells that are intricately designed with a reflective finish that is prone to fingerprints. The shape and design is tiny in comparison and can be worn either up or down, while the P4 Pro must be worn over-ears.
While I mentioned in the main review that the P4 Pro sounds a little tame, the Comets sound even tamer. The Comet has a much more fuller body sound to it with a warm, intimate presentation, whereas the P4 Pro has more extension on both ends of the spectrum but will sound leaner and more neutral in comparison.
OverallThe TenHz P4 Pro is a very solid contender in the ever-growing IEM market. It’s one of those ear phones that really makes you appreciate how fast the advancement of low cost, high quality sounding headphones is becoming. Not too long ago, a 4-BA driver IEM was going to cost you at least $100 per BA, and now you can get 4 quality ones for $150 or less.
The P4 Pro does sound like that magical Frequency Response displayed on the back of its box, where it is close to neutral. It offers a good lean sound that is highly detailed at its price point, and will provide a good IEM for long, lengthy listening sessions without any sonic fatigue or physical ear fatigue, at least for me, as long as you like listening at lower volumes.
When volume is raised, or when EQ is used, things can start to sound a little distorted quickly. I do not recommend this IEM if you plan to use extensive EQ or like listening to music loud. If this isn’t you, then you may find this a very good value. The additional accessories are very nice quality and add to the value of this IEM.
Credits/DisclaimersAs mentioned above, the P4 Pro by TenHz was provided to me by Linsoul for review purposes with the expectation that I provide an unbiased and honest review of the headphone. If you are interested in this headphone please check out the links below: