TRN released its latest dual-driver hybrid IEM, the TRN TA1 Max about a month ago. The TA1 Max comes as an upgrade to the TA1 that was released in February 2021 and grabbed a lot of love from the community. TRN has brought several new upgrades to the TA1 Max like a redesigned dynamic driver, semi-open back acoustic cavity structure and refined tuning.
Instead of an 8mm micro dynamic driver unit as found on the TA1, the latest TA1 Max houses a 10mm DD which has a beryllium-plated diaphragm coil. An additional Knowles 33518 balanced armature driver serves for the high frequencies. TRN has also redesigned the connectors on the TA1 Max, they now use 2-pin connectors instead of MMCX connectors.
TRN packed the TA1 Max with plenty of high-quality accessories, well except for the ear tips may be, they are on the stiff side for my taste, foam tips are good though. A 4-core high-purity silver-plated OFC copper cable, seven different pairs of ear tips, and a metal earphone carrying case (see video).
Dual-driver hybrid configuration.
10mm Beryllium-plated diaphragm DD unit.
TRN custom Knowles 33518 BA driver.
Lightweight Aluminum alloy ear cavities.
Semi-open back design.
Easy and comfortable wearing experience.
2-pin interchangeable cable (instead of mmcx on the TA1).
Frankly, I didn’t expect much from the TA1 Max, after the TA2 disaster and I did not listen to TA1 at all. If nice to look at, this IEM is also very pleasant to listen to.The sound is clear, with clean mids, powerful lows, and pure highs.
Driven by ddHiFi TC44C DAC-AMP, the result is particularly impressive, with excellent articulation, fast transients, and the right amount of force to bring life onto every track.On the same note, the dynamic level is impressive for a budget IEM and I’ve been able to easily retrieve small nuances in my test tracks, even at low volume.
TA1 Max has strong low-mids.Bass is there, well-defined, impactful and it never takes over the mids and highs, it’s the kind of sound that grows on you, or so it did on me. The TA1 Max is tuned such that it has relatively stronger sub-bass as compared to its mid-bass which gives you that solid rumble and body in most tracks. However, I do notice that it has a lower impact and punch when it comes to kicking bass and beats which do not bother me at all however some might feel “lacking” due to a relatively weaker attack. As much as I enjoy the tuning in this region, there are some technical flaws such as dexterity and separation in its sub-bass regions as I move on to bass-intensive tracks such as Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy. In general, the bass region was pleasantly tuned and enjoyable to my ears, but I had to deduct some points off for its technical capabilities.
To my surprise, despite being tuned this way, the midrange of the TA1 Max does not sound hollow nor overpowered at all. Vocals still sound rather natural without that odd tonality which is very common in many other offerings. Another trait that took me by surprise was that its lower midrange wasn’t affected by its emphasis on bass. This presentation is rather well thought out by levelling its mid-bass attack and lower midrange voices to avoid any overpowering the presentation. The upper midrange here although slightly emphasised doesn’t blow things out of proportion in terms of balance, they do provide that little extra energy, but it doesn’t steal the entire stage from its basslines and lower midrange.
The TA1 Max’s treble doesn’t sound sibilant nor harsh at all, they are still able to give you that shiny shimmery feel in its high hats and cymbals. It has good separation and clean trebles.Everything sounds sharp and fast. Other than its lack of extended upper treble, I am very pleased with what TRN has done with the TA1 Max.
The TA1 Max is truly a complete package for any budding audiophile looking for a budget option that can check the most boxes in their minds. Build quality is superb, comfort is excellent. Although it might not be touted for its technical ability, it compensates for that by having such a well-tuned frequency response as well as having impressive build quality and fit. For 39$ I can easily recommend this set to anyone under the 50$ range for a relatively clean balanced signature that is fun to listen to.