TRIPOWIN RHOMBUS Review: Harman wannabe

THE PLUS: 
-nice audacious construction
-snappy treble
-balanced U shape that isn’t too boring
-safe’ish tuning free of sibilance

THE MINUS: 
-warm bass that lack punch authority
-dark lean thin mids
-slightly unbalanced treble
-not for vocal lover
-poor imaging
-average resolution
-lack of sparkle and natural resonance
-nothing stand out

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TONALITY:7.5/10
TECHNICALITIES: 7.6/10
CONSTRUCTION: 8.5/10
SOUND VALUE: 7.6/10

TRIPOWIN is a chinese earphones company that gain popularity with their tuning collab with BGGA (Bad boy Good Audio review). The Mele and Olina were their best seller. As well, before these, the TC-01 dynamic driver IEM gain good praise and recognition. Personally, I’ve just try 4 IEM from this company, the TP10 (5BA’s which was plain horrifious), the LEA (great for 20$), the Olina (excellent for 100$) and lately the Cencibel (50$ mediocre single DD).
After the overwhelming Olina success, let say the expectation are high for this new budget IEM.
The Rhombus is priced 80$, its a single dynamic + knowles balanced hybrid promising a musicality that is smooth yet near monitor like in term of resolution and balance.
Let’s see if these IEM could stand out is most overcrowded IEM market ever, the sub-100$ offerings.

CONSTRUCTION

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I was impress by design and built quality of the construction, its all metal with well carved complex design. It’s not too heavy, yet the 2pin connector seem a bit fragile as seen in this photo it begin to break, so perhaps not as durable as i wish. Comfort is OK. Cable is very basic, nothing impressive here.

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Packaging is underwhelming both in presentation and accessories, no carrying case? Really, that is very rare, we have a cheap carrying pouch instead. As well, like with Cencibel, we only have 6 pairs of basic silicon ear tips. Presentation doesnt catch they eyes nor impress us in any way. Very average.

SOUND IMPRESSIONS

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Here we have a smooth organic near homogeneous tonality, which is surprising for an hybrid IEM. I would call it a warmish balanced U shape that sit between Harman and DF neutral target. Its a smooth laid back tonal balance with hint of extra bass slam and treble crispness. We have a good all arounder here that offer rather natural tone for any instrument, in a dark way. So this isn’t a crisp airy sounding IEM, nor a basshead V shape, nor a very dynamic and lively musicality offering.

The Bass is most questionnable part of audio spectrum here, it’s sub bass focus, warm in slam and quite resonant, tending to add sens of veil on overall tonality and steal edge definition which isn’t bad in other range. You know this harman or Crin tuned bass response that all bet on lower end weight, resonance and slam but forget about mid bass immediacy in punch and well define impact of kick drum? This is this type of over hyped bass response. Which is already borderline wrong with Aria 2021, and way less clean and transparent here with the Rhombus. Its the type of bass that deliver more oomph than confident punch, sometime sub bass line and kick will mud togheter, which is an inherent problem of this type of bass boost. As well, the warm timbre doesn’t really match brighter timbre of balanced armature part that seem to cover mids and treble. Yet, while in guilty pleasure zone, it’s not a bass that distract alot, even if it bleed from the back, yes the back, and stole ”silence” and clarity between instrument, acting as a glue to create an euphonic sens of cohesion.
To note that bass response do improve after about 50H of burn in, its still warm but less muddy and better rounded. Anyway, i can’t say that this low end feel completely appropriate, its a very loose and warm dynamic driver compared to crisper and bit dryer balanced armature used, so it can impact on timbral balance of cello for ex which will lack grunt, bite and natural vibrancy.

Now, the mid range is better but not as boosted as treble and bass even if overall balance is as said thick and organic as a whole. Lower mids are leaner and more recessed than upper mids, as well, they are bit darkened in resolution with bass resonance veil. So overall warm, not to thin and acceptable in tone even if sometime we have the feeling some instrument are more textured than other. When it come to balanced armature timbre, its quite smoothed and only impact on vocal breathyness in a dry way, as if their no air density to it. Both male and female vocal have clear enough presence but feel stock in the middle of music, not very open and immersive, bit cold we can say without feeling plain clinical. These aren’t IEM for vocal lover. Their no sibilance, it’s rather smooth mids here, with softed edge that can affect intelligibility of vocal spelling. Note weight is average, not very felt and lacking in natural impact resonance. These are the kind of mids that exist, yet doesn’t attract attention nor create alot of emotion (subjective).

Treble part might be best part even if quite understated since to my ears its the bass that dominate whole spectrum in it’s unique bloomy way. Its a treble that mix darkness and crispness, so, texture is rather liquid while some percussions and micro details will be impressively snappy and brilliant without going too bright. Woodblock, snare, and acoustic guitar all have sharp bite that add an appealing sens of most needed energy and vividity. Violin will have more attack lead than body and resonance, timbre for this instrument is a hint metallic and thin. Attack speed is impressive and well controled, we have good amount of micro details but it’s far from being analytical.

Soundstage is average, wideness is good enough and quite open but its not very deep nor tall, so it does feel a bit stock in your head.

Imaging is badly affected by bass resonance, since it’s not very clean nor very high in resolution, it’s hard to pin point instrument positioning, their lack of space between instrument that make both sound layers and static instrument feel a bit too compressed. With simple pop music, it will not be an issue but with complex jazz, classical or rock track it will be a bit of a mess.

COMPARISONS

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VS MOONDROP ARIA (1DD-80$)

We can resume the Rhombus as more bassy, muddy and dark sounding Aria, an Harman tuning attempt that fail since the Aria is superior in all department from resolution, to imaging, to attack speed and control, to bass separation, to natural balance and most of all a sens of openess in spatiality. Aria are more maturely balanced, more neutral U shape, less thick and boosted in bass and fuller more fowards in mids, timbre is more natural and transparent, more textured too. Treble is crisper, more airy and sparkly, more natural in resonance, more edgy in definition yet smoother too. Apart bass quantity, the RHombus are more boring sounding to me since mids lack dynamic and feel compressed and very dark compared to Aria. Soundstage as said is way more open, wide, tall and deep with Aria, which offer way better imaging capacity too, making Rhombus very messy in that regards.

OK, enough, I think it’s too evident who’s the winner here, both in tonal balance and technical performance. The Aria are from another league even if they sell same price.

VS TRI METEOR (1DD+1 knowles BA-90$)

Meteor is warmer bassier U shape, with a more cohesive and organic tonality that truely feel like single DD here. The balanced armature used by Meteor is superior Knowles model and indeed deliver a lusher fuller vocal presentation and more natural timbre. Bass is warm too here, even warmer than Rhombus yet way better rounded and more weighty in punch, tone is more natural and appealing and mid bass is chunkier. Mids are more upfront, lusher, smoother, less thin lean and dry than Rhombus but a bit more muddy in busy passage, still, vocal lover will prefer the Meteor here. Treble is thicker and fuller, bit dark too but less prompt to timbral imbalance or dynamic unbalance, it’s less edgy in attack and Rhombus have a bit more air on top.
Soundstage is wider but less deep than Rhombus. Imaging is darker, thicker in layering, Rhombus have upper hands here, just by a finger, due to better treble definition, separation and clarity.

All in all, while technical performance are on par, the Meteor sound way more musical to my ears due to more organicaly cohesive balance, mids are fuller and bass is better rounded.

CONCLUSION

I’m not sure to understand the goal of Tripowin with this release, it feel like a clumsy attempt to achieve a crisper, bassier harman target but the natural balance isn’t there.
As well, i had big expectation for the LCP dynamic driver and let say it’s worst part of the hybrid, and since it covert bass and mids, it sure inflict on my final appreciation. Other part being entry level Knowles BA that only cover treble region, which feel a bit out of place and not very coherent in timbral balance.
While the Rhombus isn’t plain bad, nor boring sounding, it’s just another ”jack of all trades master of none” IEM to add in overpack sub-100$ IEM offering.
Better go with Tripowin Lea or Olina than this, i can easily suggest 10 IEM that are all better in this price range too…
So, at they end. Why even bother?

——–
PS: I wanna thanks Linsoul for sending me this review sample. I’m not affiliated, don’t receive $ compensation nor show this review to them before publishing it. As always, i’m unbiased and free like the wind.

You can buy the Tripowin Rhombus for 80$ here:https://www.linsoul.com/products/tripowin-rhombus

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