TIN HiFi P1 Max
Best TinHiFi IEM until now
Pros: + Neutral tuning with natural timbre
+ Superb planar technicalities
+ Excellent mid range
+ Smooth and forgiving
+ Wide soundstage
+ Stylish and beautiful looking
+ Comfortable fit
+ Good quality cable
+ Excellent build quality
+ Great passive noise attenuation
Cons: – Not too visceral and impactful
– Upper treble sharpness
– Not the most refined or resolving
– Soundstage lacks in depth
– Difficult to drive needs plenty of power to sound as intended
– Comes with only one cable
– A carrying case is missing
The review sample was kindly provided by Linsoul free of charge in exchange for my honest evaluation.
The P1 MAX retail price is $169 and you can buy it from Linsoul.
The link is non affiliate and I didn’t receive monetary or any other kind of compensation.
P1 MAX aka “Big Panda”
The P1 MAX is the latest planar magnetic IEM from TinHiFi.
P1 MAX uses a 14.2MM planar driver unit with a diaphragm of only 2μm thickness, and adopts a double-sided array N52 magnet to generate huge magnetic flux.
The lightweight aluminum material reduces the weight of the diaphragm.
TinHiFi has designed a unique acoustic structure for P1 MAX, with a wide sound field and clear details to bring a full-bodied and natural listening experience.
Design and wearing comfort
The shells are made from lightweight resin and the panels are hand-crafted using a 3D-printed stainless steel torch wire drawing process, with a high-gloss-like jewel finish.
Each earshell weighs 4.8g and has a mold that follows the ear anatomy.
The P1 MAX is elegant and stylish, very beautiful looking and comfortable with a tight but stress free fit which offers excellent passive noise attenuation.
The only downside is that the material looks quite prone to scratching so you better handle it with care.
The earphone has a 2-pin detachable cable system with a 3.5mm plug and comes with a 108 single crystal copper wire core for a warm sound.
The cable and the plugs are of good quality, it is aesthetically pleasing and offers a good handling experience without getting tangled but it is just a little thick and heavy.
This is a $169 earphone, a price point where most manufacturers now ship their products with a modular cable or at least a balanced cable with a single ended adapter.
Inside the box you are going to find a simple carrying pouch, nine pairs of silicone eartips in three different types and two pairs of memory foam eartips.
A carrying case rather than a simple pouch should have been included considering the asking price.
Power requirements (very essential)
As per usual practice I left the earphone playing music for about 100 hours before listening tests.
During the evaluation time I used various sources to discover that despite the technical data provided by the manufacturer, the P1 MAX is not that easy to drive and needs a powerful source with plenty of current delivery.
Using the P1 MAX with low power portable sources, like the iBasso DC05, it might get loud enough but it proved completely insufficient as the earphone sounded bass light and thin throughout the whole frequency range.
Try to give it more power and you will immediately discover that the P1 MAX can sound full with plenty of bass.
This is another case where the frequency response measurements that circulate in the web are not indicative of the actual sound performance of the earphone.
Frequency response graphs suggest the P1 MAX as a bass light earphone but this is far from the truth as long as you use a powerful source.
So most of my listening was done with the FiiO M11 Plus ESS with a balanced cable, the iFi Go bar or else I used the Periodic Audio Ni, portable headphone amplifier, to boost the performance of my USB DAC dongles, a practice that yielded great results.
Tip selection is also absolutely critical regarding the low end performance of the earphone, you must achieve a perfect and tight seal for the bass to come out so please experiment with various eartips until you get the best performance.
The tuning curve is almost neutral without boosted bass, then followed by the reference-like tuned mid-range that leads to a mildly subdued upper mid-range and treble.
Sub-bass extension is good and sufficiently enough for instruments like the double-bass or the pipe organ but might lack in quantity for electronic music where listeners usually like an emphasized low end.
Bass technicalities are great, it might not be too visceral and full bodied but it is super tight and controlled, crystal clear and well defined, it doesn’t intrude into the mid range and mid-bass doesn’t get masked by the lower bass.
The presentation is dynamic and realistic but the truth is that the P1 MAX cannot compete in sheer physical impact with other earphones that have large dynamic drivers.
Anyway, listening to symphonic works was a satisfying experience thanks to the combination of the absolutely stellar technical performance with the more than adequate physical characteristics of the low end.
Mid-range tuning is done by-the-book, it is not forward nor laid back while the most notable feature is the naturalness of the timbre.
Vocalists and instrumentalists sound present, well defined and clearly articulated with good tonal accuracy and plenty of harmonic diversity.
Texture is lush but not mellow, smooth without rough edges and rather full bodied.
The P1 MAX has the most excellent mid range so it is very enjoyable with vocal recitals like in the following album where you can find a superb and high spirited aria where the voice competes with the natural trumpet.
Treble is more or less smooth and laid back but it shouldn’t be confused as muted.
It is not very sparkling or exciting but on the other hand it is absent of brightness or harshness making it ear friendly and very forgiving of poor quality recordings.
There is a touch of upper-treble emphasis that cleverly adds airiness and some spice to the sound but it makes higher pitched instruments sound slightly out of tune and thinner than the ideal.
Detail retrieval is not bad at all but it is not of the finest quality nor the last word in resolution.
Soundstage is wide and expanded with plenty of air around the instruments that get precisely positioned but it is lacking in depth layering and the presentation scale.
At the end of the listening impressions it should be emphasized for one more time the importance of proper driving or else you will wrongly perceive the P1 MAX as too lean and bass light.
In the end
The TinHiFi P1 MAX is a successfully designed planar magnetic IEM with a reference style, neutral tuning and all the great technicalities that are usually associated with planar drivers.
Very suitable for critical listening but not lacking in fun and excitement it is the perfect choice for all of you who would like to experience great planar sound at an affordable price as long as you remember that it needs plenty of power in order to sound as intended.
Copyright – Petros Laskis 2022.