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Just got mine today and I’m happy to say that just out of the box, these are easily the best TRN IEMs to date. Some impressions and photos below.
Skip to bottom for tl;dr.
Packaging / Aesthetics:
The packing is exactly the same as every other TRN. You get the monitors, a cable and 2 replacement tips in the most minimalist cardboard packaging (Ignore the accessories, I took this for my Taobao review.)
Build quality is excellent for the price. The entire unit is housed in metal and look fairly stylish. The blue is slightly darker than the photos suggest. They are smaller than the V60 but the nozzle is slightly bigger and longer.
Not terribly uncomfortable and certainly better than the V20 but I wish TRN would stop drastically changing their housing design every new release and in this case resulting in the only real negative I have to talk about.
Simply put, these are not as comfortable as the V60. The V60 is extremely light and touched your ears slightly for extra support. The 80 is quite a bit heavier and your ears have to support all its weight from only the insertion point. Also the bigger nozzle is barely noticeable visually but you will notice a difference if you have smaller canals like me.
With the stock cable, the V80 has a warm signature that is very pleasing to listen to. They didn’t overextend the BAs like the V10 which was a hot tuning mess with unbearably piercing treble. Instead, they took the successful mids/treble tuning of the V20 and added more detail with the additional BA.
However, the major highlight here is definitely the bass. The problem with the V60 was it essentially just added a dynamic driver to the V20’s setup in a closed housing. This completely overloaded the lows, drowning out everything else. The V80 not only improves the tuning of the dynamic drivers but adds 3 vent holes. The result is maintaining that punch but with far more control and an airiness that I’ve yet to hear at this price range. Soundstage is also vastly improved.
The trade-off is you lose some isolation but it’s not really a big deal unless you’re in very high noise level environments.
I have very little equipment available in China so I can’t really do much testing but I mean, it’s a $30 IEM. The gain from better sources is very minor but they sounded decent out of almost everything I plugged them into:
Woo WA8, Mojo, Nextdrive Spectre, Hiby R6, Shanling M0, LG V20, Vivo NEX.
I also tried the V80 with a silver cable. Now I’m not an advocate of $500 cables for sound and certainly not for something at this price point but I do believe in audible differences between different materials and I highly recommend picking up a cheap silver cable with the V80. It ups the speed and creates a brighter sound bringing the V80 closer to neutral which I personally enjoyed more.
Conclusion / tl;dr:
The V80 is clearly the cumulative result of all TRN’s past products. It’s quite remarkable how far they’ve come since the V10. The V80 is not only the best TRN IEM to date, it is one of the best in this price range, period. You get an upgrade in detail of the V20’s already good mids/highs plus a phenomenally punchy and airy bass. If only they stopped messing with the shell design and just improved on something proven to work (ie. V60) but what’s here is already enough to challenge the likes of top budget IEMs like the KZ ZS6.