So I got hold of the most recent outing of Trinity Audio in the form of the Phantom Pro Master 4 which is highly anticipated given the hype due to the discount offered to Head-Fi members. The sales peaked so much given the price of the 4-driver wonder that Bob came up with with his most recent creation. Lo and behold, it was an instant sensation and some had to wait in queue to get one but the pressing question now is, does it live up to the hype?
First, let’s give the specs a bit of a peek:
- All aluminium CNC machined shells
- Push/pull hybrid drivers (2 x 7mm Titanium diaphragm drivers + 2 balanced armatures)
- Three 2-Pin detachable cables (included as standard)
- 1 x standard Trinity multi-braid
- 1 x memory wire multi-braid
- 1 x fabric cable with remote and mic
- 7 pairs tuning filters.
- OFC copper cables
Here’s a guide to the tuning filters included in the package sourced from the Trinity Audio website (https://trinity-audio-engineering.myshopify.com/):
- SILVER – Enhanced bass. Offering a V-shaped signature while retaining plenty of musical details
- GUNMETAL (Smooth) – Natural. Offering a more balanced sound signature across the frequencies.
- PURPLE – Treble. Offering a reduced bass signature with a focus on upper mids and treble.
- GOLD – Perfect balance between gunmetal and purple filters
- SILVER (with damper) – Enhanced bass. Offering a V-shaped signature while retaining plenty of musical detail with smoothed treble
- PURPLE (with damper) – Treble. Offering a reduced bass signature with a focus on upper mids and treble. (treble smoothed)
- GOLD (with damper) – Perfect balance between gunmetal and purple filters (treble smoothed)
When I received my first TA IEMs (Atlas and Techne), I was thinking that the addition of tuning filters may draw mixed reactions from the enthusiasts as some may find it appealing to have options on the sound signature that can be drawn from the filters, making the IEM a lot more versatile while some would prefer fixed nozzles as it avoids the possibility of losing one of them filters. In my case, true that I enjoy fiddling around filters but I would normally settle with just a pair of filters until at least I get to miss the sound of what other filters can offer. I guess it really is just more of a personal preference of the user whether to cycle around the filters or to just stick to just a specific one.
Also, as Trinity Audio normally would, the Master 4 includes 3 cables, two braided ones where one has a memory wire while the other doesn’t, and the third one that has a mic for those who wishes to use the IEM with their phones.
On top of this, the box also includes an angled plug for those who wishes to use one, a 3.5mm-6.3mm adaptor and several pairs of ear tips of various makes (silicon, foam). To put a cherry on top, Trinity Audio added a set of Spinfit tips (XS, S, M, L) in case one wishes to go for it. Simply put, the package is quite phenomenal considering the price you are paying for.
The thing I liked about TA IEMs is them shying away from typical acrylic or plastic shells. As much as I have seen excellently built IEMs using such materials, I would still normally opt for aluminum shells for durability purposes. In the case of the Master 4, TA used CNC machined aluminum shells to ensure that the IEMs would last longer than the norm. There were news about build issues with previous models but I think Trinity Audio did a fine job in rectifying the issue by using a carefully crafted shells. Cables are quite sturdy in spite of the fact that they are detachable, and the plugs are reinforced with a spring to avoid bending the cables too much.
I have often felt that Trinity Audio had a propensity towards bassy tuning with their previous models. However I have to say that TA took a major step away from this norm. The Master 4 now has a more reference sounding signature on the get-go, which makes it an excellent contender in the market especially with multi driver hybrids. However, depending on the tuning filter you use, you can augment the signature to your liking, which TA has done so successfully with the Master 4.
I won’t go through each of the filters while doing this review, instead I will go for the one that I liked best: the undampened gold filters. Inherently, the bass was kept at a controlled level without punching through the mids, and the best part is that it yielded the level of sparkle I have always wanted in my IEMs. Simply put, the tuning hit the sweetest spot for me using the Master 4.
Let me go through now with some choice tracks:
Holier Than Thou (Metallica, Metallica)
The guitar riffs in the intro has been the raunchiest I have heard in an IEM. Some may not find it very easy in the ears, but for those who likes it really dirty with their metal tracks, Master 4 has done great justice on James Hetfield’s riffs. I also immensely enjoyed the cymbals on the track, and as much as I do not believe Lars Ulrich to be the best drummer there is, it was one heck of a fun track to listen to given the splashes of the cymbals that really made the track so lively. Adding to that, clarity on Kirk Hammett’s solo remained crystal clear and was never drowned even by Hetfield or by Jason Newsted.
Blackstar (David Bowie, Blackstar)
David Bowie’s syncopated title track in this album is a mix of something quite odd. However, this bass heavy track was still executed by Master 4 quite well, with the layering of instruments carefully aligned in such a way that each is distinct without sounding disconnected. While the bass is strong on this track, the guitars and the violins are still perceptible. Bowie’s voice remained as ethereal as it is supposed to be in the track, and imaging has been superb in the track.
Ask Me No Questions (Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughn, In Session)
This is such a fun track, and it was made even more fun by the imaging of Master 4. Albert King’s voice remained to be on top of the instruments, but this did not bury the guitar and piano behind it. I think the best word to describe it is that the Master 4 can make each instruments distinct, with each of the instruments clearly playing even if the recording has the vocals upfront. Not even the bass guitar was buried behind the rest of the instruments and the vocals.
I think the caveat for Master 4 is the tendency to be a bit too sparkly especially for those uninitiated to bright highs if one will use the gold filters. However, just simply switch the filters and you should be good to go.
Taking the IEM outside should not be an issue as Master 4 is lightweight and is very easy on the ears. However, I felt that the shape of the shell does not sit snugly on my ears which, in some case, may tend to break the seal while travelling. I have tried using Spinfits with the Master 4, but I guess a bigger tip might solve the issue on breaking seals. This I will give a try sometime soon (unfortunately I don’t have a whirlwind or a Spiral Dot handy while working on this BRI).
The Master 4 is an excellent choice for those who wishes to venture with a multi driver hybrid IEMs given its entry level price (close to $200). Sound is great, build is good, but most importantly, it is versatile enough to fit most people’s sound signature preference.