TRN ST5 Review
A nice surprise
Pros: + Natural and pleasing tuning suitable for most kinds of music
+ Good bass extension and technicalities
+ Crisp and articulated mids
+ Smooth but not subdued treble
+ Open soundstage with precise imaging
+ Lightweight and comfortable
+ Excellent build quality and premium feel
+ High quality modular cable
+ Great value for money
Cons: – No carrying pouch
– Average noise isolation
– Bass is lean and not that impactful
– Some traces of balanced armature timbre
– Cable gets easily tangled
The review sample was kindly provided free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
I haven’t received monetary or any other kind of compensation and I don’t use affiliate links.
The price of the ST5 is $54 and you can order it from Linsoul.
The TRN brand is well known among the personal audio community but for anyone who is new to the hobby here are some facts about the company.
The TRN brand belongs to Dongguan Zuodu Acoustic Technology Co., Ltd. A high-tech enterprise engaged in Hi-Fi (High Fidelity) headsets, sports Bluetooth earphones, TWS Bluetooth earphones, and related fields. Now it integrates self-owned brand products, ODM and OEM. Each TRN product has earphone enthusiasts involved in the development process to ensure that it has the best performance and durability.
Each TRN earphone has a different focus. However, to please the ears’ obsession with heavy bass, TRN deliberately enhanced the excitement of this part of the low-frequency area! The overall style is relatively deep, efficiently controlling the omnivorous balanced earphones of rock, pop, symphony, and large weaving styles.
The TRN ST5 is a hybrid, five driver earphone.
One dynamic driver for the bass, two balanced armature for the mids and two for the highs.
Made of rare and rigid material, the beryllium-coated 10mm driver delivers a crisp, fast, and responsive low-end that gives a natural sounding tonality.
TRN ST5 is outfitted with two 30095 tweeters and two 50060 midrange balanced armature drivers.
Full-range sound coverage with a highly-sophisticated electronic crossover circuit for a clear separation across the audio frequency spectrum.
TRN ST5 airflow control helps equalize the internal chamber pressure through a specially-designed vent in front of driver assembly, resulting in a “cleaner” bass response, exceptional image clarity, superb detail retrieval, and a wide soundscape.
You can read more about the TRN ST5 here.
Build quality and fit
The TRN ST5 earshells are precision-milled from aerospace-grade magnesium alloy using a 5-axis CNC machine.
Then they are carefully hand-finished and finally varnished with a multi-layered ceramic coating.
Build quality is excellent, the ST5 has a premium feel which is much better than the $50 price tag would suggest and it is beautiful looking too.
The lightweight earshells have an anatomical, custom-like, shape so they fit easily, but not too tight, offering a very comfortable user experience even after a prolonged time of use while passive noise attenuation is good but not the best.
The ST5 comes with a detachable, 8-core, high-purity silver-plated oxygen-free copper cable with swappable audio connectors, something very rare at this price point.
The cable comes with three types of plugs (3.5mm – 2.5mm and 4.4mm) which have an aluminum body and they get attached to the cable with a “push and click” system.
This type of plug is good but not as durable and safely locking as the “twist to lock” or “screw” ones.
The cable uses the 0.78mm, 2-pin interface with recessed pin system for better durability.
The fragile pins are well protected inside the housing of the recessed cable connector which is reinforced with an outside metal ring.
Both the plugs and the cable are of high quality while the cable has minimal microphonic noise but it gets easily tangled.
A really impressive cable for $50 earphones.
Except for the modular cable you also get 3 pairs of “bass” ear-tips, 3 pairs of “balanced” eartips and 2 foam ear-tips.
Unfortunately there is no carrying case, not even a cheap pouch.
The earphones were left playing music for more than 100 hours prior to listening tests.
Various sources were used, like the FiiO KA2, Moondrop Dawn and iBasso DX170 among others.
With 22 ohms impedance and a sensitivity of 114dB, the ST5 are easy to drive and you can use them with entry level USB DAC dongles while they scale up to a certain degree but don’t expect miracles.
The ST5 is quite balanced and natural sounding with a mild bass emphasis and smooth but not subdued treble.
Listening to the ST5 is a very pleasing experience, the sound signature is likable and easy to the ear without harshness, shouting mids or treble fatigue.
This is an earphone that feels at home with all kinds of music without excelling particularly in something.
There is plenty of bass for EDM stuff, mid-range tuning is well done for vocal centric music while technicalities are up to the task for listening to classical tracks.
Bass extension is good for all types of music, you will be pleased as long as you don’t like excessive sub-bass emphasis.
The bass is fast and tight with great resolution and definition for an entry level earphone with good mid-bass clarity and absence of unwanted bloat that could lead into masking.
The texture is rather lean and dry, more descriptive than visceral and while dynamics are represented pretty contrasted there is a certain lack of impact and rumble.
Transition to the mids is even, without getting cloudiness from the bass, there is great level of clarity between the lines, voices and instruments sound well defined with good intonation and articulation.
The timbre is natural, the tonality is believable, even when listening to naturally produced music.
There is plenty of harmonic variety and the texture is not that dry, there is a touch of warmness to the sound while fidelity and resolution are above average.
The treble tuning is safe and easy to the ear, this is not a harsh or bright sounding earphone and users with treble sensitivity are going to love the easy going and fatigue free nature of it.
At the same time detail retrieval and resolution are pretty stellar while the sound is fast and agile without any perceived sluggishness or lack of airiness.
Driver integration is above average, frequency coherency is solid from top to bottom without audible discontinuity at the crossover frequency points.
There is just a touch of a balanced armature timbre, more in the highs than in the mids.
The soundstage is surprisingly airy and spacious with good imaging for an entry level IEM.
It is not that wide or deep and certainly not too holographic but it does very well with positioning accuracy and airiness around the performers without getting congested even with large symphonic works.
Truly enough, I was positively surprised while listening to Schumann’s third symphony.
In the end
The TRN ST5 is a positive surprise, a well tuned IEM with a very pleasing and likable sound signature, excellent technicalities for the price that will cater both to the audio enthusiasts and audiophiles on a budget.
Add the great build quality, the comfortable fit and the high quality modular cable and you have a real winner with supreme price for performance ratio.
Copyright – Petros Laskis 2022.