Trinity Delta Review
Thanks to Trinity for the sample and collaboration.
First Impressions: Well what I have here clearly isn’t what the rest of you will get. I’m running on pre production “prototypes” so my packaging is, err a poly bag. So I guess that means I should crack on with the listening. Before I do that though, I do see a little tube with the selection of “filters.” Yes the Delta is one of those sound variable IEM’s that gives a reviewer 3 times as much work, sigh. Still if you’re going to have just one IEM I can see why it could be handy to have one you can tailor to your tastes.
So in the ears and the filter in them is the “silver” one. I think that’s the flat one. Hmm going by the colouring surely the silver one ought to be the trebly one, black the bassy and the goldish one the flater one in the middle. I feel confused. Anyway, clarity right off is most impressive. Rather V shaped sound going on here mids could do with more prominence but the treble for a BA seems quite excellent. I think the DUNU- DN-900 may be in for a bit of a kicking.
Source: Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., FiiO E7/E9 combo, HiFiMAN HM-650, Nexus 5, 1G Ipod Shuffle and the Graham Slee Solo Linear Ultra.
Lows: Deep inside we have a big dynamic doing the low end and depth wise it shows. Now it changes quite a bit with the different filters. The silver ones seem to be most sealed and there we get the most V shaped and impactful punch. The depth feels if anything thing rather slanted upward as it descends. Poppy, punchy power all the way. It’s rather rambunctious and eager to show off. The goldish filters in and they seem rather more vented and it gives a much more open acoustic style. As with open headphones the lows feel more grown up and begin to fall off rapidly as it descends low. The black one though, it’s a bit of a queer duck. Its open like the gold but it also has a filter that sizeable sedates the treble so comparatively the bass and mids come out more. In regards to the bass, it keeps the open air and while it does suffer the open drop off you have cranked the volume to compensate for the filters muting. The end result is you sacrifice the deepest lows for a vastly more noticeably nuanced bass. It feels authoritative and detailed. It is also agile in a way that kinda takes aim at the DN-900 and sadly for Dunu its a clear level or two up on it. Sure you need to work the amp a little harder to make it sing but I figure if your buying £90 IEM’s that’s not going to be that big a problem for you.
It comes down to a question of taste. The gold and black filters give open styled bass with the black being quantitatively much greater. Open headphones give vastly more articulated bass and far more agility. Closed gives you that heavy, weighty and solid impact at the expense of nuance and lithe control. Silver gives you power and punch, black gives you gloriously talented skill. Gold gives you treble.
Mids: Oh those filters, once more the black one is the one that appeals to me. It mutes the top end and being open it loses the punch of a closed IEM. The mids then have the best opertunity of the three to come forth and play. They are still not what I’d call middy and I do love mid centric stuff. Here it’s clear and detailed. It’s very middling tonally, perhaps it’s the slightest hint towards liquid, it is a BA after all. Vocals are reminding me of the old but glorious KC3. It sacrifices a hint of breathiness to give you a somewhat monitor like deadness. It feels that teeny bit dead inside. Then I compare it to some other IEM’s and what’s instantly apparent is that its competing at a level above things at the same price. I know price wise you don’t have to go up too far before you find its comparable. Vocally it’s not exciting and it’s not particularly emotive either. Nevertheless these are vocally the equal of the triple driver DN-1000 rather than the 900 which is quite something.
Swapping to the silvers and the vocals start to sit back a bit. They retain their vocal darkness, if anything thing its fractionally more dark but more focused. The quantity though is what’s really different, the highs and bass both take a step forward leaving the vocals in a valley. Its that classic V shaped sound signature. The clarity is still excellent being highly articulate with poppy mediocre vocals. Breathy subtle vocals aren’t so breathy however. With the gold ones the bass takes a dive so vocals are a sliver lighter tonally, it is not what I’d call open and breathy vocally, think more rich and fluid.
Highs: For a single BA doing the mids and the treble, I am most impressed. It’s still a BA so it has issues with treble extension as they all do, if you want the very highest highs you should still look to a dynamic. Otherwise it’s bloody good. Head to head with the 900 and this bests it. The 900 is more narrow and focused where the Delta has a greater width and breadth to it. It still has that monitor esq hint of deadness to it so some may like the more alive 900 but in terms of technical ability we have a winner here. With the black filter and its treble filter tames the more brutal aspects and while I could see some finding it too sedate the quality is exemplary. It is my favourite filter.
Swapping to the silvers and that V shaped brutality kicks in and while head to head its competitors it is excellent. For my ears all a little aggressive and dazzling. BA’s in my opinion can be too edgy up top and while this puts up a truly valiant effort the MA-750 feels ever so more naturally capable. With the golds in its just the same as the silvers but sans big bass. In theory that should make it one for treble heads, it does this by increased venting so I’m not sure treble junkies will love the resultant loss of sound isolation. The gold filter really does show off just how detailed and capable the driver in side is.
Soundstage: So so. Size wise there is nothing super special here. It’s bigger with the silver and golds in, both being open. So you get more a hint of air and breadth but its middling in scale. Putting in the blacks and things take on a bit more of that monitor deadness. Things feel more closed in and a bit more intimate. They take one a monitor esq enclosed and darkened room feel to them. The blacks feel VERY well integrated for a dynamic/BA hybrid.
Fit: Good. The angle of the cable coming out the buds id have preferred at 90 degrees to improve wearing up fit but they coped okay. Wearing down they were likewise effortless to stick in your ears.
Comfort: Worn up or down their very ordinary shape made for very ordinary fit. No issues whatsoever.
Microphonics: None. Even wearing down if you’re one of those people how insist doing so. The cable is great quite frankly. I mean if you will consult crazy earphone like us these are the things that get done right. Yes Klipsch I’m looking at you, the Custom 3 may have sounded wonderful but the cable was worse than if you had used a coat hanger.
Cable: Its practically perfect in every way. Its exactly what I would have picked for them. Shocking I know.
Amped/Unamped: These have been built with phones in mind. They were easily driven to excellence out of just my mediocre Nexus 5. The bass did loosen up a bitty and the treble took a bit of a quality knock (the phone just hasn’t the treble quality of better sources.) so you can perfectly happily use these out of a phone and get a great deal out of them, they don’t “need” an amp but….. frankly when you are getting to this quality level you are missing out if you use just a phone. I realise there are better phone outputs than my Nexus 5 but if you think that any phone matches truly dedicated, quality outputs you are mistaken. Out of big and ever so slightly expensive Solo Linear Ultra they look on a new degree of ass spanking goodness. You throw power at them and they make good use of it.
Still if you must use your phone, these work well even with sucky amp outputs.
Isolation: The black and gold filters are both vented so neither isolate massively. The black ones were a bit better but nothing to write home about. The blacks were fine for day to day use, being sat on a bus but they are not sealed so I’d skip for a Tube commute or flight. The silvers being more sealed were a bit better but these remain so so isolators. It goes without saying, its more than enough to get you run over if you aren’t using your eyes around roads.
Accessories: You get a fair package. Funky triangular case, 4 pairs of tips but I think foamies might also be coming. Then lastly the little metal tube for the filters. Pretty much what you really want.
Value: Right now I’m inclined to say it’s my favourite IEM I’ve to date heard for £90. Best however is always arguable and an abstract term so there is no such thing as “best” rather there is a best for you. This won’t be everything to everyone, the filters do go some way to making this something you could gift with confidence the recipient will be pleased. Most buyers will quickly find the filter for them based on their own preferences which for me was the black. It was bassy and middy and with a price point busting detail level. At the Kickstarter “earlybird” price they are an outright steal.
Conclusion: Okay, I pretty much hate music tuning filters. I have 400 million IEM’s and I know very well what I like and can extrapolate from others writings what is and what is not going to be for me. Everyone doesn’t have that luxury so I do understand where tuneable filters come from, if you are going to buy just one IEM and you aren’t super sure what’s you and what isn’t, it negates the risk somewhat.
The gold filter, it’s the kinda trebly one. Or the flat / neutral one. Actually with really well recorded things I found myself enjoying it in small doses. It’s so open and detailed. However it’s just the sort of thing I’d want a bass boosting amp for. Err or just use the black filters. Still treble heads will like I’m sure but to me it seems a shame to net get the most out of that dynamic driver too.
The silver one was not really to my tastes, with its big V shaped sound. The bass is big and potently punchy, the treble is crisp and dazzling. It’s a thrilling and dramatic sound. You get all the oomph that dynamic can give you down low and the crispy edgy BA treble up top. Both are clearly exceedingly accomplished, I get that, I really do. Still I found myself gravitating to the black filters again. The Silvers are just to WAAAA!!!!!!! for little old me.
Then the black. They just manage to nudge things into an ever so much more grown up, mature sound. The word monitor keeps flitting into my mind. They aren’t truly monitor flat dullness but they have that acoustic deadness in the background. Like every little imperfection and reflection that’s not supposed to be there has been suppressed by taking out the bottom layer of the dynamic range. That faint wisp of hiss and openness has been Dolby’d out and it leaves something feels so sonically pure.
Music feels like anything extraneous has been gently erased and you’re left with this darkened pit of acoustic goodness. Everything feels very controlled with an overshadowing darkness. That darkness pervades everything. Visually you might think of it as a well calibrated TV that to appreciate it you require to sit in a dimly lit room. Once you get the acoustic room levelled properly then you can full appreciate the full range of what is being displayed before you. The black filters give you that appropriate room and then the music become the true centre of your focus. You can notice and pick out tiny little details that you otherwise would miss because your senses are too busy being blinded with your TV set to “shop” mode. You know that mode, where the brightness is set to 400% colour, is at max, contrast is at max, edge “enhancement” is turned on etc etc etc. It pops visually but subtlety is eradicated and along with it a boat load of nuance.
I do rather fee that if your spending best part of £100 on an IEM you will be more drawn to the subtly of the blacks. Perhaps you may use the Deltas as a transitional IEM, using the silvers as an option to take you away from your former audio listening days and gently ease you into the maturity of the blacks. For the cash it’s a great and versatile option. Personally I’d never use the silver or gold filters. The black ones though, let you see what the drivers can do inside it and when you power it well, feeding it a quality source, they absolutely shine.