The VX name seems to be popular amongst Chinese brands for earphones. This is now the third VX-named product in the past couple years – the Moondrop VX earbuds, the qdc Anole VX, and now this, the TRN VX.
While the qdc Anole VX is the flagship and my favorite IEM on the market that I’ve tried so far and retails for over $2200 USD, this VX from TRN comes in at a much more budget-friendly price of around $75 USD and comes in black and green shell options.
The TRN VX was provided to me for review by Linsoul and can be found on the Linsoul site directly at http://www.linsoul.com.
The VX is a 7-driver hybrid featuring a single dynamic driver and six balance armature drivers. Like some other TRN IEMs I’ve tried in the past, the shell is a nice feeling metal design that also fits very cleanly and well in my ears without any pain or discomfort. The box is rather simple and only contains the standard TRN cable which isn’t really great, and a few tip options.
For this review, I opted to use the default silicone tips along with a 4.4mm cable made by Kinboofi. The connectors used on the VX are 2-pin 0.75mm style and is quite common and easily replaced.
Like many other TRN IEMs I have tried, the VX is somewhat of a V-shaped IEM with a brighter treble range. The VX itself is probably a bit more balanced and perhaps closer to a U-shape than other iterations.
In general, the VX has a nice tuning with a warm lower mid-range, bass that doesn’t overly muddy anything and is elevated but not too bloated, and a nice pinna gain, however its biggest flaw lies heavily in the treble region, where there’s a spike past 8KHz that can be rather sharp, fatiguing, and just unpleasant in music that has some emphasis there.
The problem definitely shows its ugly head in watching YouTube videos, especially ones where recordings are not well done, and likewise, shows up in poorly recorded music too. For the most part, it’s not noticeable in most rock music, but there are exceptions.
In Pearl Jam’s “Breath”, which appears in the fantastic early 90’s soundtrack, “Singles”, as well as later re-issue of Ten, the cymbal crashes have this tingy character to it that can have a sharp attack that can be abrasive. Unfortunately, that sound is scattered and littered throughout the entire track. Eddie Vedder’s powerful voice seems a little tamed down, and the basslines are missing a tad of power, but the VX does come across otherwise reasonably ok.
In “Kora”, a new track from GoGo Penguin, the VX seems to excel a bit more. Bass notes have good power and punch, while the drum hits have good weight to them. It’s a song that doesn’t focus too heavily on the cymbals which can be fatiguing, and really stays towards the lower end of the mid-range. Piano notes sound nice and generally accurate, and performs well in the VX.
A song with a more mixed result is “20 Years” by The Civil Wars. The guitar rifts by John Paul White sound really nice and full of detail, but the duet vocal of White and co-singer Joy Williams, are a bit too forward and there’s this edgy sibilance to many of their words that can be jarring.
A song that features a lot of hi-hat strikes that didn’t sound totally wrong was “Ceremony”, the first track from New Order, following the death of Ian Curtis and the end of their prior band, Joy Division. Stephen Morris’s constant drum attack doesn’t come across as fatiguing in this track for whatever reason, and Peter Hook’s melodic signature bass carries the song with authority. This is another track where I feel like the VX’s sound signature shines, though it still does sound a small bit on the bright side.
Name conventions aside, I think the VX is a modest IEM with an almost ideal warm balanced sound signature that is really broken by its upper treble sharpness. This, in some ways, ruins the tonality and smoothness on many songs I listen to, despite having a very pleasing sound signature, otherwise.
Just to answer any snarky questions in the future, the VX from TRN does not trump the VX from qdc. Not even close. They actually do sure some similarities in sound, but are miles apart in overall smoothness and technical performance.
The TRN VX is probably my favorite TRN IEM to date, and they seem to get better with each iteration, so I am hoping the next set cleans up the harsh treble that is inherent in each TRN set to date.