Trinity Audio Vyrus Earphone Review by mark2410
Thanks to Trinity for the sample.
TLDR? Try here http://www.head-fi.org/t/822728/trinity-audio-vyrus-earphone-review-by-mark2410#post_12928860
First Impressions: The box, just like its siblings I opened a little while ago it’s a reasonable box but oddly it’s in a Landscape format rather than portrait. I’m not suggesting that it’s important but it’s a curious thing how a change in orientation makes something look different. So opening it up and we have the smattering of bits and things. A heap of tips a case, a couple of filter holding metal tubes this time and then once you take out that case, were got more stuff. Under it we find two cables this time, both are braided things but the difference is one has some built in memory wire ear guides. Hmm that seems an unexpected choice as I’d have more thought a mic’d phone cable would have been the more obvious second cable. Of course it’s not that I actually want a mic’d cable as I don’t think people should use their phones as sources if they are buying something decent. So, in to the case and we get a baggy of silvery filters, a shirt clip, a 6.25 to 3.5mm adapter and more uncommonly a 90 degree jack adapter. It’s quite the little bundle of bits.
In the ears and since they have the gunmetal filters on I think, if I remember they are the bassy ones. Ah, okay they are labelled as the “smooth” ones. So I’m thinking boosted bass, diminished treble. Seriously these have too many options. I can see that in this I will mostly be focusing on the one I turn out to like best (I’m betting the gunmetal) and there will be short bits on how the different filter options affect matters. I mean seriously, there are seven, SEVEN filtering options on Trinity’s site. If I did each one fully this review will be coming out almost in time for Christmas, next Christmas.
Sound wise my first thoughts are, they are rather less significantly bassy than the Sabre’s and I find I’m a little disappointed. I don’t know why as I’m not usually wild about great big bass. This is nice, the bass is more roundly gentle, firm but not the same granite like rigidity. This a little lighter and not as deep. Mids are a little more light too, a bit more light and jollity, these don’t sound so deadly serious. Burn in time.
Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5, Lumia 735 and Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.
Lows: sigh. First off I feel I ought to mention there are various filters you can use that alter the bass. Then there are filters you can alter the relative treble so the bass’s relative position also moves. This gives so many options that I must confess, for reviewing purposes it’s just such a pain. Soooooooo many different option and relative abundance quantities just make for soooooooooooo much work. My favourite filter is the gunmetal one it is a bit too bassy really but its got a more relatively muted treble. Well, I think it maybe is, I rather like the gold one with the dampener too, the purple ones alright too but its bass is more neutralish and while I’m no bass head, yeah I do like it boosted a bit and now I can’t decide. Maybe I like the gold with the dampener’s best? See, this is why I hate filters. Curse thee Bob and you’re making 400 bajillion filter options!!!
Okay so the bass, it reminds me a somewhat of the C751, there is hardness there, an unyielding hard metallic quality and while its boosted on both the gold and gun metals there is a darkness but no warmth. It’s a cold, hard detached bass that is like that of a lightish gunmetal grey colour. Yeah am I the only person that can’t help assigning colours and tones to audio?
It’s got a rigidly firm quality to it. It is mildly humped with the gun metals on but gold and gunmetal alike they do trail off a bit in the depths. Still that rigidity, it’s got such a firmness to it, an unrelenting quality. Again I feel myself thinking back to the C751 which had a similar low end quality though it was more treble abundant. Here those filters let you keep that tonality and timbre but in effect providing a super high quality hardware EQ.
Mids: None of the filter options I’d say are especially mid forward though I don’t seem to mind. The gold and gun metals again are both with the dampeners the ones I like. Damnit I really can’t decide between those two. Vocals have the same tonality and colour as the bass. It’s a slightly darkened silvery grey with an unyielding quality. No casual warming, no rich brown, chocolateyness. There is a touch of cold hard metal that could be thought as a little detached, unemotionally afflicted. It so reminds me of the C751 and to an extent the UE TF10 too, they both had that lack of warm gentility to them. Cold hard exact reproduction without any fuzzy wuzzy nonsense getting in the way. It’s highly rhythmic and that hint of darkness creates and image like some high dynamic range black and white photograph. There is a dark and stormy sky with dashes of beaming sunlight streaking through gaps in the clouds. These is a coldly darkened grandeur here.
Detail levels on the vocals are very nice, they have a sight bit of distance to them and there is again that unemotive detached quality that doesn’t ever quite do the up close and intimate rendition like that of say the PMV-A01 and its BA mid driver. These are big picture, a little further back and awe at the landscape before you.
I must note that their timbre and tonality works particularly excellently with strings and brass instruments. That hint of cold detachment somehow makes them more distinctly separate and raw. Most excellent indeed.
Highs: They are cleanly crisp and are noticeably dynamic. They have the dampened, darkened, coldness that I find so confusing. There is something so darkly delicious about it yet I would usually prefer its initial edge to be more rounded and soft and these don’t do rounded and soft anywhere. There is something so clean and cuttingly sharp yet with those little dampeners you get the detail delivered but it’s not abrasive. Cold treble usually means cuttingly sharp but here with the filters you can totally tame it so you got the cool tonality, the eager and fast presentation without any of the brutality. Weeee!!!!! It’s a most unusual sound, this darkened yet cold presentation, it lets you get loads of detail but isn’t ear hurting. I did give the non-dampened filters a quick go and they retain a similar tonal style but they ramp up the quantity. The quality is good but yeah I like the black and white photo to be on the dark side rather than being too blown out and light.
The presentation style I very much like but if you’re wanting all of the detail hurled out you the PMV is so much more direct about it. However if you’re at all like me in being a bit treble sensitive, I am very keen on this presentation. Its cold veneer gives you that acoustic style but without forcing you into an ice bath.
Soundstage: Rather big. I can’t stop with the dark and stormy landscape image. That coldness, the detached and unemotive quality feels somehow grand. There isn't gobs of air it’s an enclosed image somehow but still so dark and brooding. The bass so rigidly hard and unyielding so it much be in a hard, enclosed, bare room yet it doesn’t feel intimate. Intimacy would be too soft and girly, no no, detached cold hardness all the way.
Fit: Great. Tips went on, went in ear and that was basically it. They a bit shallow fitting but that’s the only thing of note.
Comfort: Just as with the fit as they so often go hand in hand, big foamy tips on and in Bob’s your uncle. Bob, get it? Is that a saying non UK’ers would get?
Microphonics: I note there is no chin slider but with their shape you should be wearing these up anyway. So I got more or less no microphonics. A tiny bit occasionally where the braiding rubbed on a collar but it was barely worth mentioning.
Aesthetics: I’ve said it many a time but I’m a sucker for bare metal and in particular this darkened gunmetal. They play exactly to what I like best. My only request would be that the cable attachment bit which is a light silvery be the same darker gunmetal colour.
Build Quality: As best I can tell they would appear to be excellent. The buds are immaculate, the jack feels indestructible as is the right angle jack in the box. Even the little metal filter holding tubes feel great.
Cable: The cable is a bit on the thin side not that I had any issues or anything and they are replaceable if you did kill one. Though I should note that the cable to earbud attachment was a little bit stiff which wasn’t aided by the buds being rounded. Rounded making them harder to grip with your fingers and stopping you from rotating them as you try to plug in the cable. Not that you’re doing that often but you know.
Isolation: As a dynamic they isolate reasonably well. I was happy using them out and about, on a bus too. Though they aren’t quite what I’d want for a Tube commute or flight I guess you could in a pinch. As ever my warning that with music on you won’t hear traffic so if you don’t want run over please do use your eyes when near traffic. Or get an organ donor card.
Accessories: You get a really curious bundle with these. You get the normal stiff right, the buds, a case, a bunch of tips, rather a good bunch of tips too. Then you also a fairly common 6.25 to 3.5mm adapter. Nothing unusually so far right, then you get another adapter, a 90 degree adapter so if you like right angled plugs better you just use that. You then get two cables, one with some memory wire ear guides and one without, which is very unusual. Then you get two metal tubes and a little baggy with is it 7 pairs of filters. Yeah 7 different filters and each different so you have in hardware 7 different acoustic options available to you. If your someone that like me loathes software EQ’s then you can customise the acoustic balance of these as you like and that’s before you start faffing about with the different tips and how they effect things too. Oh and lastly you get a nice little triangular case.
Amped/Unamped: Well while I liked these being amped seriously as I found their rigidly cold hard style such a breath of fresh air and amping them only enhanced that timbrel style. That style is rather at odds with the weaker, kinda crappy outputs that phones tend to offer. My go to for crap audio out in my Nexus 5. The phone did nudge things in a softer, more rounded direction and added a hint of soft warmth but……. not so much as I feared. The little Vyrus’s stayed for the most part nicely unyielding. Yey!!! Now I’m not going to say don’t amp them if you can, you should but you totally don’t “need” to. You can, even out of the suckage that is the Nexus 5, get a goodly firm sound with bass that retains a good deal of rigidity. Colder sources such as the 1G Ipod Shuffle worked especially well, that cold on coldly hard was excellent and made for a most pleasing uber simple set up. One slight oddity was that adding impedance didn’t go so well. It improved the clarity in the upper end refinement wise but it just tamed the eagerness of the bass impact. So skip the Ety impedance adaptor.
Value: With so much out there that is excellent at this price, the PMV A-01 for example it’s hard to make any categorical statement about anything being the best in the price range as its reached a quality level where its more about your preferences. These on their own merits offer a keenly priced, high quality product that offers an irritating level of customisability and an outstanding accessory bundle. If you’re going to have one IEM and your budget stretches this far but no further then you have an outstanding option here. While I may not love the 7 different options to customise the filters because it gives me way more work in reviewing. It allows normal users to play and explore the acoustic world of quality earphones and sound signature differences with a one off cost. If you are unsure of what exact sound it is you’re after this gives you 7 chances to get the one for you.
Conclusion: So I feel like I should maybe put out there that in the past I’ve helped Trinity come up with tweaking and balancing of things so there may be an aspect in their construction that is tailored to my ears. Of course you get those 7 filter options so I would like to think that everyone ought to be able to play about with them to get a similarly customised, just right for them, balance. I’m saying this because I want to point out that these, these work for me, these really work for me. I was a huge fan back in the day of the Denon C751 and its most perplexing and contradictory dark, bassy yet cold tonality. These also have that same darkened, cold, black and while lack of warmth yet with bass that’s well scaled and yet coldly detached in presentation. I’ve been endlessly playing back Tori Amos’s “A Piano – The Collection” as its tonality is just perfect for it. That darkness, the purity of the instrumentation, the foreboding feel to everything, it’s just perfect.
Well, okay maybe perfect is the wrong word as nothing is ever perfect. While its tonality and colouring works for me exceedingly well it won’t be for everyone. For starters there is a lack of soft gentility, the rich warmed rolling landscape some like, these get confused by, they want to be hard and unyielding. More like a carved rock face than some alpine meadow. So if you’re after something to gently relax into this isn’t really going to work so well for you. Also if you’re looking for highly prominent mids, up in your face with a sad face curve then again, these not so much. The filters do let you play around but none of them really kill the treble and kill the bass to make them a PL-50 or Shure like mid centric IEM.
So would I / should you buy one? Yes and yes. Okay well I might not as I’ve got their siblings here too and they do everything these do but better, so I’d grab those. However these are excellent and offer a relatively uncommon sound style, that dark yet hard, big bassy darkness yet lacking warmth and that coldly clean treble too. While its much more bassy than the old C751 but it’s got a similar tonal style and I’ve long loved its peculiarity and difference from what you normally find. These I have very much enjoyed with their coolly detached treble and cleanly articulated cold yet large bass. I have the very distinct feeling that come my Xmas picks posting time these are going to be on it, there just isn’t anything that quite shares their tonality save their siblings. Oh and as a plus, if you’re getting as a gift for someone you get the added security of 400 million filter options to tailor the sound to one that will be right for them, not to mention they look pretty lush too. I’m refusing to say that these are virus you want to catch because its too obvious and too corny but…… yeah you know what I mean :-)