Pros: Great Value, Balanced Sound, Detail
Cons: Timbre and Peaks, Nothing really to hate on at the price
Driver Setup: 10mm Dynamic Driver
Disclaimer: I purchased the TRN MT1 with my own money at full price and this review is written of my own accord. Should you find yourself interested in a pair after reading this review, they are available online here.
My favourite memory of the TRN was their V80 IEM, one of the first few Chi-Fi earphones that I tried that truly impressed me. It had the perfect combination of build quality, sound quality and value. It’s been a while since I’ve found another TRN as worthy as the V80. Will the MT1 make the cut?
Accessories and Build Quality (Score: 7.5/10)
Accessories are actually quite impressive. Besides the stock silicone tips, you’re getting a removable cable that is of slightly improved quality over the usual sketchy TRN stock cable we saw with the TRN VX, which is many times the price of the MT1. This cable has a much more aesthetic and well-built 3.5mm jack and connectors. There is an option for a cable with a mic should that suit your needs better,
I bought the clear version, which I thought looked quite attractive, giving a full view of the internal wiring and the 10mm Dynamic Driver. There are 3 colours you can choose from, namely Clear, Grey and Green. Overall, I must say I was impressed with what I saw and felt in my hands for just US$5.
Fit (Score: 7.5/10)
The fit of the MT1 is rather standard given how it uses almost the same shell mould as the KZ EDX and the QKZ VK4. If you have experience with that shell then this shouldn’t be a problem. Slap on your favourite tips and they should stay secure in your ears even on the move.
Sound (Score: 6.7/10)
Frequency Response Graph of the MT1
- Lotoo Paw S1
- Hiby R5
Music listened to
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Beethoven Symphony 7
- The Vamps – Cherry Blossom
- Stevie Wonder – In the Key of Life
- Bastille – All This Bad Blood
- The Lumineers
- Paul Kim
- X Ambassadors
- Børns – Blue Madonna
The bass is punchy and drumsets sound pretty dynamic on it. The detail in this region and subbass extension is impressive for a $5 IEM. Mid-bass bloat is minimal. My impressions are mostly positive considering the expectations for the price. Realistically speaking, there is of course much room for improvement.
Upper Mids gets slightly peaky occasionally and has a slight metallic sheen noticeable in more instrument and female vocal-heavy tracks. Hence, the timbre here is not the most natural. Nevertheless, what stood out for me was the clarity and detail in the upper mids. It was mind-blowingly impressive at this price point.
The odd sheen in timbre is carried on into the lower treble. Nevertheless, the detail and extension are way beyond my expectations. Treble in general is quite present as the MT1 feels rather balanced. this can be borderline fatiguing on certain genres and tracks if you’re sensitive. Personally, it was borderline tiring on longer sessions but otherwise manageable.
I didn’t expect too much soundstage and imaging from these given what I paid for it, so all’s fair. These don’t have many “layers” to the sound, separation and detail is just alright and more than what you can ask for, which IMHO, is already saying a lot. Plugging the MT1 into a better source with more power can potentially improve the bass response.
Full Review of the QKZ VK4
The QKZ VK4 is in my books, the reigning champ of the ultra-budget IEMS, and as impressive as the MT1 is for 5 bucks, the VK4 still retains its throne. Though almost twice the price of the MT1, the VK4 has a much much more polished tonality as compared to the VK4. The well-tuned signature of the VK4 nailed what some pricier IEMs struggle to achieve.
The MT1 has a slightly more pronounced upper mids and treble and I am under the impression that the MT1 comes out slightly tops in terms of detail and treble presence. Otherwise, they are similar in build and fit.
The KZ EDX made waves for what you can get for $5, providing a super affordable option for musicians, casual listeners or zoomers. I wouldn’t say it was great and neither was I a fan of the bass-heavy sound signature. However, I still couldn’t complain because of the value it had. The arrival of the MT1, however, changes things.
The MT1 beats the KZ EDX in sound in almost every area in my books and matches the other aspects of build and fit. I dare say the MT1 renders the EDX obsolete.
TRN MT1 with KBEAR Limpid Silver Cable
To sum it up simply, yes the MT1 did impress me. After my experience with the TRN VX, this was a very welcome improvement in my opinion of TRN and their future releases. If you’re in the market for a $5 no-frills earpiece, just get the MT1 and you might just be surprised at how much bang you got for your buck.
Overall Grade: B
Click HERE for our grading list for earphones