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TRN TA1 Max Review

by Chris Love

TRN TA1 Max $46

TRN TA1 Max

The “TRN TA1 Max” is TRN’s 3rd entry into the TA line. We first saw the TA1 and then the TA2. I never had the pleasure of listening to the first model, but from what I have read the original was a pretty well-done budget tier iem. I’m not so sure what is “max” about this 3rd iteration, but I can at least get clued into how it compares vs some of its competitors.

I have owned and sold, or even given away quite a few TRN iems in the past. TRN has always played pretty well in the budget sector of the iem landscape. Pretty much par for the course like most Chi-Fi companies. TRN has had some huge budget successes and some which just fill a void in their release schedule. I’m just assuming. However, as of late TRN seems to really be stepping up their game. One after the other.

Recently the TRN BAX has turned some heads in the Audio community. Thus far they have garnered some exalted praise from people I feel I can trust. Also, the TRN Vx Pro has really done well in the $50-$100 price tier with great reviews. Check out Mahir’s review of the TRN Vx Pro here.  It’s good to see a company start to figure things out. After all, most of the time we are the beneficiaries of their progress. 

As far as the TRN TA1 Max is concerned, honestly, I had no gauge to go by. I hadn’t heard the first set in the series, nor have I heard the TRN TA2. Psst… I’m sorta happy I steered clear of that one. They can’t all be gems I suppose but also, I’m sure somebody loves it. Anyways, the point is, I honestly don’t expect much at all. I’ll start with some casual listening and then pursue the gauntlet which is my library of music. Finally, I will compare the Max against some iems of my choosing which make sense to me. Very likely they will be sets in the same price tier or stylistically they may be similar etc. Okay I dont like writing about boring stuff so, we shall proceed.

TRN TA1 Max has a semi-open faceplate and very nice build.

Pros

-Small and comfortable design

-Very immersive sound

-Non-fatiguing 

-Great low end from Beryllium Plated DD

-Suits many genres

-Great look 

-Price to Performance

Cons

-Treble lacks shimmer 

-Fit might be funny for some ears

-Not the best cable

-Resolution isn’t a game changer

Gear Used

Zooaux Dongle Dac

Fiio KA3

IFi Go Blu / Qudelix 5k

Ibasso DX240 w/ Amp8 Mk2

Fiio UTWS5

Fiio Ka3 / IFI Go Blu / Fiio UTWS5 / Ibasso DX240 w/ Amp8 Mk2 / Qudelix 5k / Zooaux Dongle Dac

Later Comparisons: Tripowin Mele / Shozy Form 1.1 / Kbear Ink / Hidizs Mermaid MM2

Packaging 

Upon receiving the TRN TA1 Max I was met with a decent set of accessories and unboxing experience for the $40 I paid for this set. Most budget iem makers naturally hold back on the unboxing, of course there are exceptions in the “iem-verse”. 

You will see that TRN didn’t skimp on the ear tips as they added #3 smaller bore black “Bass” tips, #3 white semi-wide bore tips and a pair of foam tips. Not bad (Not all the tips are pictured). You will also receive an “Ibasso” style round case. I really do like the case they provided. Granted I never ever use them, but I can see the appeal to those who do. It is black in color and pulls apart as two halves. Kinda like a makeup holder. Who am I kidding, just look at the picture I attached below. Again, not bad at all. Also, you receive a ¼” jack to be used with amplifiers if needed. Always a handy lil extra.

Next up is the cable, you will get this okayish QDC style, 2 pin, Silver Plated Copper cable which comes in white and terminates with a 3.5 single ended jack. I have to admit it’s not my favorite. So, for the greater portion of my review, I went with a balanced Tripowin Zonie cable. I’ll explain more later. 

TRN TA1 Max Packaging
TRN TA1 Max Packaging

Build/Design

The TRN TA1 Max is a well-constructed iem in this price segment. Very light and ergonomic are my first thoughts upon putting these in my ears. The Shells are made using a lightweight aluminum which is very solid to the touch. The Brushed aluminum housing covers the entire iem from front to back. TA1 Max comes in a bullet style design which is more user friendly than it isn’t. Taking off the tips you’ll notice the metal grill. It doesn’t look as though it’s some cheap mesh screen which can be found on a lot of budget iems. These look sleek and classy and seem more premium than those cheap mesh filters.

The shells have a semi-open back structure on the faceplates and are made with a slick looking design that is also very much functional. Other than the large semi-open back venting the Max also has a small vent hole in the front close to the nozzle. The tips don’t extend too far into the ear yet aren’t considered shallow either. Quite nice actually. I still tip-rolled to slightly longer tips to extend a hair deeper.  

All things considered; I love the design. Reminiscent of the Fiio Fd3, Fd5, and Fd7 in their fitment and style. These sit nicely nestled in the ear and seem to get lost as they are fairly small in size. For myself they sit just under flush with my outer ear. The Max has a very functional and appealing look which almost anyone can appreciate. 

The Driver’s which were employed here is a 10mm Dual Magnetic Circuit, Beryllium Plated Dynamic Driver used to capture the Lows and Midrange. TRN also went with a #33518 Knowles Balanced Armature Driver for the Treble area. A two-way crossover system doles out the duties for both drivers. Each of the drivers are used to their Max capabilities as TRN really gets the most out of each. It is very uncommon to find such quality drivers under $50.

Sound Impressions

If I were to describe the sound of the TRN TA1 Max, I would say they are a U-shaped to a W-shaped iem. Truthfully these do lean more toward W-shape in my opinion. The TA1 Max has a very fun and immersive sound. This set just envelopes you in an acoustic landscape. The whole replay is just warm of neutral. The low end and low Mids are a bit warmer than the upper half yet remain harmonious as a whole. This is common in hybrid setups yet not all hybrids can pull off such a nice blending of the technologies.

The Bass is tight for its size and bountiful in its quantity. Speedy enough for its size as well. The Mids are only slightly recessed with a forward presentation. The Treble area is well enough extended and melts right into the rest of the signature. In totality I hear a cohesive hybrid budget iem that really does play with some pricier sets. Just do something for me, put on “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd and get engrossed… you can thank me later. 

TRN did a great job in the tuning of the Max. I hear two different driver technologies which are unified in the soundscape of my music. Overall, the sound is smooth enough while keeping good resolution for the price segment. Nothing is fatiguing or piercing at all, and nothing is bloated or muddy. The Max has a clean signature yet remains vibrant and dynamic to the core. If you want fun, if you’re on a budget, if you like jamming out in a world of sound… my friends… the TRN TA1 Max. 

I did decide upon a balanced cable throughout the majority of my listening to take advantage of a balanced source. While the single ended cable which came with the Max is perfectly fine (but not the best) I do notice a bit of scaling up with power. 

The TRN TA1 Max has a semi-open back design

Bass

TRN chose Beryllium plating as a driver material. Not many companies seem to capture the potential of beryllium. For a multitude of reasons, especially in the budget arena. Truthfully most companies use the word “Beryllium” as a marketing tactic from what it seems. They promise the benefits of the material yet seem to always flounder in the actual delivery of it. The Max is different. 

TRN tuned this set forward in the low end. The Max (as I’ll call it) is big in sound, responsive and vast with a non-invasive energy that has a nice impact. I like how speedy this bass can be for the quantity they possess. There is a slight Mid-bass focus on the Max but truthfully it isn’t really audible in its difference. Also please don’t confuse my use of the word “speedy” as though I am calling this fast. I am simply saying that, for the amount of heft portrayed here the bass doesn’t linger as long as some other bass heavy budget iems.

The Sub-bass has that deep vibration, that resonance that JUDDERS! Some graphs show a slight roll-off and some show better extension…depending on whoever has done the graphing. I choose the latter. I don’t hear any roll-off… at all. I hear a very tight and even textured replay that you normally don’t hear at this price.

Just check out the first 10 seconds of “Paradigm” by The Head and The Heart. My word, so deep, and that haptic energy is tickling my ears.

Just under bass-head territory… right where I like it. Not too much, but just enough to make it fun. Bass like this encourages every song that BANGS in my library! I’m a sucker for it. Ill seek out tracks that hit hard down low. Ill search out songs with deep bass guitars or impactful kick-drums.

People, I like bass. What can I say?! I grew up in the Gangster Rap 90’s which echoed out of every car window with subwoofers that rattled the screws loose on old Chevys. My jaw rattling was considered a good thing. Seat leaning way back, one hand on the steering wheel type stuff. Now, I have graduated to actually preferring a better-quality bass and prefer ‘tight and controlled’ to ‘flabby and big’ every day of the week. However, when I can have ‘big and controlled’… you have a fan in me. 

The same goes to the Mid-bass. The Mid-bass carries that nice impact brought on by a solid attack and a true toned decay. This area has a clean delivery that also has some texture to it. Keep in mind I’m talking about an under $50 set here. Even so, the Max plays with some of the bigger boys down low. Of course, this has to be your thing. Many of you may despise this tuning, if that’s true… you may want to steer clear of the Max. 

The Mid-bass shows off on “I Love” by Joyner Lucas. The beat drops at around 25 seconds and the texture is evident. The boom and slam is evident. Still also the distinction from Bass to Mids is also very evident. They aren’t completely separate from each other. Instead there is a nice bleed over, appropriate actually. Nothing is boomy to me. Nothing is bloated to me. I only hear impactful Mid-bass that has that measured and edged-out attack and decay. Well done TRN! 

The approach is one of fun, but fun with a small dose of maturity. The extension down low is nice and the separation in this area is a bonus. I hear quality throughout people. I keep putting these back in my ears suspecting I missed something. Like maybe it’s a one-time love affair that sleep will cure. Yet when the next day comes and the next song queues… it’s still there. 

Please listen to “How to Play a Flute” by Macklemore… you’re welcome fans of Bass drops! Listen to the progressing bass lines as though there is a tiny person inside policing the layers and pace. Keep in mind that these are budget compliments, but they are compliments, nonetheless. We should always consider what field we are playing on and what budget we are glorifying but, good is good no matter the price.

I’ll say it again, the use of beryllium hasn’t always achieved the promised results, especially in the realm of budget iems. The TA1 Max separates itself from the pack of most budget iems that use the technology. With the TA1 Max there is an element of big energy while mixing quantity and quality. Passing timbre and an authoritative and boisterous slam of big bass drops can be heard. Bass guitars can carry that deep and textured growl. TRN tuned the Max with added color down low and certainly emphasized the low end while still retaining some control. I use “control” pretty loosely too, just an FYI. I do believe the beryllium plating has helped to achieve this type of sound.

Midrange

The Mids are presented more forward than they are not… as a whole. There is a recession but really in the grand scheme of things that recession is not really noticeable. In fact, any closer or more voluminous of a Midrange would be unnatural. You won’t hear anything offensive in the Midrange. You won’t hear anything Grainy, and you won’t hear anything sibilant. 

Starting off at the natural starting point, let’s first look at the lower midrange. The place where male vocals mostly reside with a few exceptions. There is a bold bravado with vocals here. Note weight is mostly true to life and comes through pretty clear. I hear a nice levelness or balance with the rest of the mix. The equilibrium within my mind has steady footing with the Max in my ears. The lower Mids carry this trend perfectly. 

Males are forward. Breathy when they need to be breathy. Rotund when they need to have density. Take a look at Zach Bryan’s phenomenal song, “The Good I’ll Do” off of his newest album “American Heartbreak”. His voice is forward and emotional as he strums his guitar. There is a breathy realism coupled with a hearty sonority and tone.

I love the way everything seems to just flow together. I realize that is a very broad thing to say, but it is also true. There is an authority which takes hold of male vocals here. With that authority I hear an airy openness to everything I listen to that is realistic and can even be quite charming. 

Instruments sit slightly back behind the vocals throughout the Midrange but still have elements of realism. Pianos for instance have nice texture and timbre along with other instruments which play here. Acoustic guitars have a great trail to every strum and sound natural. In “Bloom” by The Paper Kites, you’ll hear the nice guitar plucks are complete from the leading notes to the trailing decay. The simplicity that this song dances along to is featherweight in delivery, but hypnotic just the same and the Max does a commendable job depicting this.

Moving on to female vocals. Females replay with a nice and emotional tilt. Granted, they can lack a certain twinkle and glow. They have good weight but may slightly lack that last bit of shimmer. They’re not flat, let’s get that out of the way. I would say, as a whole, females simply don’t always have that next gear on the TA1 Max. At least not “all” the time. For instance, “High” by Caitlyn Smith is a powerful display of her vocal prowess. However, leading up to her breakout chorus she falls just under the rest of the frequency. Yet, once the chorus busts out… everything BLOOMS! Suddenly the shimmer is mostly there. An emotional crescendo opens up the TA1 Max with an ascending shine which shows up when it’s needed.

Don’t misunderstand, many sets in this price or even less carry this shimmer or sparkle and can do it much better. Please do understand... I miss nothing at all in the Midrange with the Max. The way the Max takes on vocals is awesome for the price when all else is considered. The more forward presentation is nice.

I will say, everything is in good control in the upper Mids and tonally we start to see the mix sway a titch brighter here. Yet there isn’t anything too shouty to me or ear gouging. You may hear a little bit of glare at times on higher volumes but for the most part these play nice. It’s a balancing act the Max is putting on. Using the best qualities of each driver technology. Cohesiveness is a mainstay which proves itself with every genre I threw at this set. 

Balance is impressive on the Max and timbre is authentic to me. I realize this sounds like a hype, but I promise… I say what I hear. A Lot has to do with preference as well. Nothing will always please everyone. Also, we are talking about an iem under $50 people! There are much worse displays of Mids out there. I actually think they are quite good. 

Treble 

From the lower Treble on-out I hear a steady and nice roll-off. The treble takes a nice extended glide down. Again, nothing is missed. I would say that if a person is more sensitive to treble, this set is a nice one to choose. Not that it is warm or not sparkly. The Max can be. There just aren’t those spikes that make your ears bleed like other budget BA trebles. The Knowles lineage is evident here. There is nice timbre and tonality that plays more towards the natural side of things. These drivers capture the Treble area with enough shimmer and brightness to uplift the whole sound of the Max. Still, I would never call this replay bright. I would call it vibrant enough. I would also say a sheen does exist up top which aids many genres of music.

Nothing is sibilant at all, and nothing is shouty. You won’t hear any metallic note ends or tizziness that so easily occurs. Instead, you are met with thick enough notes that have good space and room to breathe. The semi-open back structure helps a ton to bring an airy presentation to a warm of neutral sound. Even on songs that are sibilance inducing, the Max don’t really fall for the threat of it and stay well in control. 

Using High Hats as an example of the upper regions, they have that tinsel laden tinge that decays properly enough. They are heard loud and clear and aren’t splashy to me at all. The timbre sounds right. Timbre is an odd thing to point out as what is correct to one may not be to another. To me though the balancing act is complete with them. Flutes and snares which poke around up in the highest areas of the mix come across just fine as well. 

The con here is that the Max may come across dull in the Treble to some who enjoy that treble-head replay. I normally enjoy a slightly brighter Treble which is reigned in to sound in control. I normally like a sparkly shimmer somewhere. While the Max isn’t luminously shimmery and brilliant with a splash of dazzling fairy dust, it is still very well captured for the price TRN is asking. I quite enjoy the treble when coupled with the balance of the replay as a whole. 

TRN TA1 MAX attached to the Tripowin Zonie cable (Balanced)

Staging/Imaging/Details

I love the stage on the TRN TA1 Max. There is something so enthralling in this semi-open back sound. I was shuffling through a few songs when I first began listening. You know the song “Blinding Lights” I mentioned earlier. People I was immediately sucked into this expansive, and dynamic, and energy immersive environment that had me dazed for a hot minute. I truthfully wasn’t expecting much but I ended up stuck on that track for a while.

The sound of the Max is just BIG. The width is only average to above average I’d say. The depth is pretty nice, and the replay has decent height as well. The size isn’t some grand cavern of resonant echoes. No, the thing which makes it “Big”, is the way the sound comes together as a whole production. There is a boldness to every element, and it’s all tied together with this common thread. I hear a distinct vibrancy from the Bass to the Mids to the Treble that is so very well done for a budget iem. I’m sure the open-back design aids this more immersive environment.

There are certainly wider stages and more 3D stages but for under $50 I haven’t heard many as expressive as this one. I have to check myself and my descriptions as I am speaking of a budget iem. Still the Max rocks amongst its peers, rather easily too. It seems effortless. I say that while I’m still not blown away by the stage itself. Somehow it all works well as a package.

Imaging is just average for the price. This is what we should expect. There is nothing wrong with that. Average is what every iem should be… at the very least. Average is realistic and coherent. You may even say the Max are a bit above average here in the under $50 crowd. All instruments which play around in the psycho-acoustic stage have their place. Separation is decently defined within the stage as well. Right to left delineation is easy to hear.

Depth of the stage makes distinctions between instruments and vocals and places them proportionally front to back. This helps to create layering which is comprehensible and consistent which only adds to the replay as a whole. Every element is placed nicely and mostly without any flat plane effect going on. Maybe in congested tracks these aren’t perfect, yet I think this should be expected. That said, separation is decent and pretty well defined, as the TA1 Max has pretty good clarity and resolution everywhere. Maybe just above average in this department.

Details are above average too for a sub $50 iem. Most nuances can be heard throughout the gradations and subtleties of a song. Remember the Max isn’t exactly tuned to pick up every detail. Maybe not tuned in a way that normally uplifts details to the surface. Even so, the Max has good enough clarity throughout the mix to bring those details to the listener. I’m also not talking top tier so… try to reign in your expectations. Seriously though, I am impressed with what TRN has done. 

TRN TA1 Max build quality
TRN TA1 Max attached to the Tripowin Zonie (Balanced)

Drivability

Let me start by saying the Max is easy to drive. With an impedance of 22 ohms and a sensitivity of 118 db’s, the Max are certainly created for the masses. Even the Zooaux Dongle Dac did well to bring this set to good volume. I heard a Dynamic display which is just fine. Know that playing these from a simple phone jack will likely suffice. Of course, I don’t own a phone with a phone jack so, take that with a grain of salt.

I also tried wireless setups. First, I attached these to the Fiio Utws5. I heard a great wireless sound with this setup. Perfect for on the go. The Utws5 drives the Max perfectly well. Even good synergy can be heard.

Moving on, I plugged the Max into the IFi Go Blu on 4.4 balanced. Wow, now we are talking. Okay, the Max scales well! Suddenly you hear them open up! Great harmony with the Go Blu. Obviously more output power does help. The same result with the Qudelix 5k. Only now I can EQ to my liking. Really fantastic for chores around the house or taking a walk or whatever mobile purpose I would need them for. Both the Go Blu and the 5k offer plenty of output power to really drive the TA1 Max nicely.

Stepping up to a wired setup with the Fiio KA3 adds another dimension still. Just more immersion of sound starts to play out. Tighter lows, better extended soundstage. Plenty of driving power.

Finally, I landed on the Ibasso Dx240 with Amp8 mk2. Just… WOW! I should state that the DX240 is a phenomenal sounding Dap. One of the best under $1500 in my book. With the TRN TA1 Max these two are ridiculously nice and seem to be made for each other. Of course, I say that a lot about any iem I connect to the Dx240.

What have I learned about driving the Max? Simple… if you can, add power. These scale in a way which clearly enhances the sound & makes them better… for sure. However, if you only have a lower output source don’t fret. The Max adapts fairly well and still sounds halfway decent. I have to get this across though; you won’t get the most out of this set with underpowered sources. Hence why the great majority of this review was completed using a balanced cable attached to the DX240 on medium gain setting. If you have a chance to check out the DX240… don’t hesitate. 

Left to Right: Tripowin Mele / Shozy Form 1.1 / TRN TA1 Max / Hidizs MM2 / Kbear Ink

Comparisons 

Tripowin Mele ($49)

Tripowin partnered with the Hawaiian Bad Boy to create this single DD. Using a 10mm Graphene Driver, Tripowin had a big win in the V-shaped budget category. Deep, penetrating lows and a very smooth delivery as a whole. 

Between the TRN TA1 Max and the Mele there is a very quick and substantial difference. The Max is just a lot more extended in the Air region of the upper treble. This gives the Max a much more open and wide sound. Details are more prevalent on the Max. Clarity, resolution and soundstage all go to the Max. 

The Max sounds quite a bit more dynamic altogether. Energy is busting through on the Max whereas the Mele are more laid back and a bit more closed in. Highs on the Mele roll-off a bit sooner. Furthermore, the BA inside the Max really reaches nicely and adds clarity to the Treble and levity to the whole mix. A/B’ing the two back and forth proves the low end of the Max to have more texture and a faster attack and decay. The Mele feels a touch slower to me while having a bit more in quantity. 

For fans of a more mellow and smooth sound, more than likely the Mele will be the better choice. The Mele has no sharp edges except some Upper Mid glare on a conducive song. They don’t sound as full in certain areas as note weight seems to go to the Max. The Mele still ranks highly in my under $50 grouping but I gotta tell ya… for me it isn’t even a competition. The Max simply beat the Mele almost across the board. What’s crazy is… I really enjoy the Mele. 

Again, thank you for reading, this will always be my pleasure. Please take good care. 

Shozy Form 1.1 ($69)

Shozy did great things a few years ago with the Form 1.1. This being a hybrid driver setup with a 9.2mm Beryllium coated Dynamic Driver, coupled with an in-house Balanced Armature Driver. 

The 1.1’s have a good shot here. With snappy and big slam in the bass and good extension up top they did well for their time. They have a warmer overall sound with decent clarity and air from the upper mids on-out. Compared to the Max, technically speaking, the 1.1 are on more of an even footing than the Mele.

Vocals are less recessed and more coherent, emotional and resolute on the Max. Both have good enough details, and both do what they were created to do very well. Honestly as a whole the 1.1 sounds great to me. I just don’t like the recession in the upper mids so much as females can sound flat and distant at times. However male vocals still have good weight and are similar in character to the Max. 

The 1.1 lacks the cohesion of the Max as both sets have a two-driver system. Somehow this isn’t a fair fight as the audio world has come so far in recent years. The Form 1.1 is going on 4 years old. For the time, they stood out as leaders under $100. I’m afraid they don’t best the technical ability of the Max now. It’s close, but the Max has an airier presentation with more energy… everywhere. 

Lows on both sets are snappy yet the texture of the Max wins out. The Max also extends further down with a deeper Sub-bass. Truthfully these are tuned differently from each other. The warmer replay of the 1.1 and smoother delivery can sound flatter. The missing energy in the Mid-treble area is a bummer. The note weight is thinner sounding, and some information is attenuated in the upper-mids through the treble compared to the Max. Also, the Max sounds much more open in soundstage benefiting from the semi-open build. 

KBear Ink ($69)

Recently reviewed at Mobileaudiophile.com is the newest KBear semi-budget iem the KBear Ink. The Ink has gotten some very nice reviews. Touted as being a very fun and energetic single Dynamic Driver set. The Ink is packing a single 8.8mm Diamond like Carbon (DLC) Diaphragm driver and has a very class look. They are sleek and slick and built fantastic. 

The Ink has a deeper Sub-bass on paper, but in actual real world listening…the Max clearly has a deeper bass. The Max have more in quantity and tactic feel in the deepest regions. This trend shows up in the mid-bass as well. The Max shows a more visceral and guttural slam with more energy than the Ink. As far as speed in the bass, these two-run side by side. Neither is necessarily better, so pick your poison really. Do you want more, or less?

Male vocals on the Ink are a bit more recessed while the Max come across louder and more forward. Female vocals on the Max are also a bit more forward. The Ink sounds a bit thinner in this area but also flatter in comparison. The Max just has so much energy and it shows plainly when you begin to compare other iems to them. 

I hear more density to vocals and Instruments on the Max as the Ink are slightly thinner across the mix. Comparing them one after the other will quickly display this. However, the Ink may be a sliver more natural in some areas. The Max is tuned more exuberant with more added color in the lows and Mids.

The only other difference is in the upper areas. The Ink can be a bit shoutier on some songs. The Max is just more smoothed over up top, not as peaky. I wouldn’t call the Ink offensive but there is some added glare at times. Staging feels more 3D on the Max while the Ink may have a slightly wider sound. All in all, these are two very well done iems in the budget realm. 

Hidizs Mermaid MM2 ($84)

A more recent entry into Hidizs “Mermaid” Line is the MM2. Housed within its shells is a single 10.2mm Dynamic Driver and one Magneto-Static Driver. I also recently reviewed the MM2 at Mobileaudiophile.com, check that out for a more in depth look at it. 

These two sets sound very similar in the upper half of the frequency. Perhaps the MM2 have a bit better resolution and details. The MM2 are a little cleaner as a whole. Of course, the MM2 is nearly double the price as well. 

The low end on the MM2 is a little less potent but it is snappier than the Max. More room is made for other pieces on an imaginary stage. That said, the Max have a quick enough bass for its size. This takes nothing away from TRN’s newest low cost iem. There is also a bit more bleed into the Midrange on the Max. 

Mids on the TRN TA1 Max are more intimate but also more engaging to me. The MM2 sound thinner, especially with vocals. While I would never call them thin persa, the Max just have that thick and defined note weight and tonality.

I hear more depth on the Max, while width goes to the MM2. The TRN TA1 Max have a rounder, more dome like stage with better depth by a very slight degree. People always confuse this with better. I just say it’s different. I enjoy the soundstage on both. Nothing takes away from my library on either set and that is how it should be. 

Both iems are technically proficient, yet both display this differently. I would give the nod to the MM2 if I had to choose which is better technically speaking. Depending on the music of course as well as the source. The Max are possibly a more fun and energetic iem, with a more engaging and engulfing sound. The funny thing is, in my MM2 Review I called it the same… fun and energetic. This would be a tough call for me between the two. 

Conclusion

To conclude this review, I hope you have a grasp of what the TRN TA1 Max sounds like. This is one of those iems where it either sounds very nice for its price to performance or you simply can’t stand it. As always, this hobby comes down to preference and I’m simply not qualified to answer if one thing is better than another. Everything is subjective. I see it all the time in reviews and truthfully, it’s an unfair thing to make such bold claims. 

For me the Max is one of the better iems under $50. They instantly made my top 5 with ease. That’s just me though, obviously you may not feel the same. TRN has been on a roll of late and the Max only confirms this statement. With its tonal capabilities of big energy, big fun and nice enough control, the Max really capitalized on the two-driver system. The TRN TA1 Max is a very clean iem with a thick and creamy texture that proves money doesn’t always equate to better. 

I thank anyone who has read this far, and I always hope this helps someone who is curious. That’s what this is all about. It gives me a chance to express my love of different gear and it helps others to hear a different take on a product.

That said, I do encourage, or better yet… I implore you to read and watch other reviews. This is something I will always add to anything I write. It is important to get different takes on any audio device. We simply are not all the same. Get to know different reviewers. Get to know thier libraries of music, or thier likes and dislikes. It’s always wise to poke around and read or hear a different take.

Again, thank you for reading, this will always be my pleasure. Please take good care. 

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