TRN VX Review
TRN VX | Overall Score: 7.0/10
Pros: Controlled & Soothing Bass, Build Quality, Coherent overall sound
Cons: Extreme lack of value, Subpar cable quality, Lack of accessories, Recessed mids, Pronounced upper mids and treble can be fatiguing
Driver Setup: 6BA + 1DD
Price: $90 SGD (can be found for $60 online at the time of writing)
Disclaimer: I received the TRN VX from TRN free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts here are all my own and are in no way being influenced by TRN.
This is a review of the TRN VX. It is a driver-packed IEM with a small factor. This is supposed to be a flagship of the V series, which brought us hits like the V80 and V90. We shall see if the VX lives up to expectations.
Packaging and Accessories (Score: 5/10)
This has got to be the spartan packaging and accessories I have seen at this price point. Without opening it up, I would never have guessed that the TRN VX was a flagship earphone with a planned RTP of $100. However, I am all for minimalistic packaging for our environment’s sake, so I am willing to look past this.
Opening the packaging reveals the IEMs themselves, some ear tips and the typical no-frills TRN stock cable. The cable is very frankly a no-go at this price point and was honestly quite a let-down. Fortunately, TRN seems to recognise this and sent us the VX together with their T2 upgrade cable. The T2 cable is indeed a significant upgrade in terms of durability and handling.
Build Quality and Fit (Score: 8/10)
The TRN is fully built with a matte aluminium shell and comes in a few colourways which all give off a premium vibe. The form factor is very small for the number of drivers it packs and should fit most ears. However, the overall comfort isn’t the best. The overall ergonomics is a little weird and the IEMs do not sit as snugly as I would have wished.
Sound (Score: 7.2/10)
Frequency Response curve for the TRN VX
Albums and Tracks tested with
NEEDTOBREATHE – Out of Body
Niall Horan – Flicker
Postmodern Jukebox – The New Classics (Recorded Live!)
Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" by Boston Symphony Orchestra & Seiji Ozawa
McFly – Memory Lane
MAMA MIA Soundtrack
Little Mermaid Broadway Recording
My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade
Fountains of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom
Bass (Score: 7.5/10)
The Bass on the TRN VX is quite mature. It is very controlled yet prominent enough to provide good stability to the music. However, it isn’t exactly stellar either. It does not have exceptional width or layering. It has decent texture and speed and can articulate basslines without getting muddy. On Pop & EDM tracks like Avicii's "Without You", the bass has sufficient authority and a very tasteful quantity. It never attempts to overpower the other frequencies or bleed into the mids. In this aspect of the tuning, TRN did a good job in engineering a bass that has a nice quantity and fits right into the sound signature. What I would say could be improved would be the quality of the bass.
The bass doesn't extend that well and hence is a little lacking in the sub-bass department. It also could use a little more punch and breadth, to bring more life to sounds like the kick drum, which sounds a little lifeless now.
Mids (Score: 6.5/10)
The mids of the TRN VX is not the star of the show and takes a back seat. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the V-shaped sound signature the VX has. This tuning is somewhat a TRN house tuning and is characteristic of the V-series thus far (pun intended?). The mids begin to pick up presence going into the upper mids, at times making the sound a little top-heavy at times, without enough body in the lower mids to support the sound. This is especially the case for instrumental tracks where violins feel as though they could use a little more body.
Overall, the mids possesses quite good clarity and smoothness. On MAMA MIA's “Thank You for the Music”, vocals were pretty enjoyable and managed to avoid sounding too thin. The upper mids were quite smooth and enjoyable and it never got shouty.
Treble (Score: 7/10)
The treble on the TRN VX is noticeably pronounced. It is quite forward, and it may get a little too aggressive especially on Pop songs. What I appreciate most from the treble tuning was that the treble doesn't sound overly harsh or sibilant, which was a problem with earlier TRN models. Still, some may find it helpful to do the micropore tape mod on the nozzle to help tame the highs a little.
On Niall Horan’s “On the Loose”, there are traces of a slight metallic sound and sharpness to the Cymbals and Hi Hats. It is not too severe and not as harsh as the V80s. However, it does give the sound a certain unnaturalness. This problem was also heard on Fountains of Wayne's " Stacey's Mom", where the timbre of the drum set was slightly off.
The TRN VX has above average soundstage width and imaging. It manages to put out a coherent overall sound and does many things decently well. It doesn't have an especially strong suit and comes across more of a "Jack of most trades". The V-shape tuning is not exactly my preferred sound signature so some of you may appreciate the tuning a little more to me. I find myself having to listen to these at a lower volume or I may experience fatigue after prolonged listening sessions.
TRN VX vs Tin T2 plus (Review here)
A current competitor that I would rank closely with the TRN VX is the Tin T2 plus. These 2 IEMs have a lot in common at first glance, both featuring a brushed metal shell. Comparing RTPs, the TRN VX is significantly pricier than the Tin T2 Plus, although the price of the TRN VXs have dropped slightly such that they are now similarly priced at around $60.
I would have to give the winner for fit, accessories and cable quality to the Tin T2 Plus. In terms of sound, the Tin T2 Plus has much better bass and detail retrieval. The Tin T2 Plus has overall significantly better technicalities. However, it is much more aggressive in tuning and I personally find the T2 Plus slightly more fatiguing than the VX.
The TRN VX is by no means a bad sounding earphone. Objectively speaking, it is in fact a well-built earphone that sounds not bad. However, my main gripe is its pricing. The greatest criticism I have would be that it just doesn't sound good enough. Its current RTP is grossly overpriced and puts it in a range where so many other offerings trounce it in value. I would think of the VX as a slight upgrade or a refresh of the TRN V80, the model that brought TRN into the spotlight for its ability to put out quality-sounding and quality-built earphones whilst retaining the budget price tag.
Yes, these can be thought of as the "V80 Pros" if you like. These should be at the price point that matches that of the original V80s (around $40). This would definitely be a durable and enjoyable pair of IEMs for casual listening at that price point.