I will have to be truthful, but this took a while, but then again, it is finally here! The Master 6 by Trinity Audio has got to be one of the most reasonably priced IEMs given the number of drivers it contains (2 balanced armature drivers while the rest is Trinity Audio’s featured dual coil dynamic drivers) against its price. Pretty much brags a lot, doesn’t it, but this gem is not all about the drivers. It is more of what these drivers can deliver and how much it harmonizes to muster a really nifty listening experience.
The Master 6 was offered a year ago and was supposed to come out towards the end of the year, but due to some roadblocks encountered by Trinity Audio along the way, the Master 6 got push back several times. One would then expect that given these roadblocks, the IEM has got to sound really good.
To be honest, I have heard a few skepticism on this new offer by Trinity Audio. One even pointed out that a 6-driver IEM with such price probably has to cut some corners to accommodate that many drivers for such price. I even heard someone saying that given the delays, perhaps there were some rushes done to make sure the Master 6 makes it the soonest time it can.
For me though, I really don’t know what to expect. Afterall, this has to be the most ambitious undertaking of Trinity Audio; it is not easy to cram that many drivers in a shell, tune it at least to match fairly how it is priced, and make sure that it is comfortable enough to be worn. Mind, as mentioned earlier, this is not an all-BA IEM: apart from two BA drivers, the rest of the drivers are dynamic so basically these are not exactly going to fit in a small shell.
However, as the size may not necessarily be small, I will have to say, Trinity Audio did manage to pull another one off their sleeves and come up with such a marvel.
Read on as we go through this gem.
At the first glance, the Master 6 may strike people as something big. Huge even. As you can see the shells, you will immediately wonder if it will give anyone a good fit. Another worry is that as it is big, it may also be heavy that it might fall off easily from one’s ears.
Thankfully enough, Trinity Audio made sure that the fit will not be an issue. For one, upon trying it on I found it to have quite a good fit; it was snug on my ears and did not feel as if it will fall off. Fact is, I tried listening to it for a good hour and even sudden movements did not even loosen the fit.
Another great thing about the Master 6 is that Trinity Audio decided to fix the cable issues of its previous IEMs. While it still carries a 2-pin termination for each ears, the Master 6 has an entirely improved connection, this time allowing the pins exposed which means other conventional 2-pin cables should have no issues being used with the Master 6. Also, you can feel the terminals slide through to the body of the shell, far from how it was from Trinity Audio’s previous 2-pin offers. Perhaps the only issue now is that the Bluetooth lanyards offered by Trinity Audio will no longer fit the Master 6, but I am hoping that Trinity Audio will be able to fix this issue given the improved termination in their IEMs. Anyway, before I forget, the package contains 3 cables: one without memory wire, one with memory wire, and another one with mic. Pretty much the good old days, only that the termination is better.
As with the tuning filters, Trinity Audio held true to their tradition of allowing flexibility with their IEMs using the tuning filters that comes in the package. This time though, Trinity Audio decided to standardize the color coding for each pair of filters, which means, should you go for more IEMs from Trinity, at least it won’t be hard to memorize what color stands for. However, that will be 12 pairs, so that might still be a little bit challenging (I mean come on, 12 pairs? Who’s going to complain for that?).
Here’s a quick view as to what each filter colors are for (coming from Trinity Audio’s website):
Other than this, the packaging seems to be pretty full; you still got your standard 3.5mm-6.3mm adapter, shirt clip and variety of ear tips. Only thing missing from the olden days of Trinity Audio is that it no longer include the signature IEM storage case. Not really a big deal for me, but a pouch at least could have been nice especially with the fact that you would want to take care of the IEM (I can only imagine the horror if I get some scratches on the polished aluminum variant).
Some not so great things, a lot of great things for the packaging, but overall still pretty sweet for something priced at 400 British Pounds.
While we have taken the physical away from the desk, it is time for us to scrutinize how in the world did Trinity Audio do in terms of tuning 6 drivers in a shell. Mind, there are some expectations to be satisfied here, so let’s see how well it does.
Mind, I am testing a relatively new unit; with less than 20 hours of burn in time, I am not sure how well it will sound or how much change will there be once the burn in time reaches 100 hours. But then again, at the very least the raw sound of the Master 6 out of the box should already give us a glimpse as to how this will generally sound like after longer use. With the sound test, I will be using the default red filter off the box.
While I did notice some veil on the mid-range to upper frequencies, I can already tell that the Master 6 sounded smooth; tonality is quite clean and transparent and offers a lot of details. I was expecting a bit loose attack of mid bass which I am hoping to tighten upon burn in, but to my surprise it already is tight as it is. Sub-bass has that soft but smooth hum, however, it may still be different after several more hours of use. Perhaps the most interesting part of the test is the imaging, of which you can already hear how much layers you can get out of the Master 6. Pretty expected though, as I kind of relied to Trinity Audio’s expertise on spreading details of frequencies across the drivers they use with their previous multi-driver offers. With the red filters, as much it is described to have rolled off highs with better emphasis on the low ends, I still felt the trebles reaching such comfortable levels especially for those who are not too accustomed to bright highs. However, with this set up it felt that it has some affinity to excellent piano sound; Colplay sounded really well with this filter.
Allow me now to try the Master 6 with some of my choice tracks. I will again be using my Onkyo DP-X1 with this test.
The Scientist (Coldplay, A Rush Of Blood To The Head)
As mentioned earlier, I pretty much liked how the Master 6 presented piano keys in the track. It is crisp, clear and emanates such dose enough to be enjoyed by those who likes the instruments without contradicting against the vocals. Chris Martin’s voice sounded natural, with a bit of aggressive feel while giving that soothing rhythm typical to Martin’s singing style. Guitars also felt distinct, with that ample space from the piano. Think of it this way, you can feel the guitars being played about a couple of feet from your left, with the vocals coming in front, the drums about a good 3 feet distance and the piano playing about a couple of feet away on the drummer’s left. I don’t know about you, but that is a pretty good layering for me.
Drown (Smashing Pumpkins, Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
The filtered sound of electric guitars seems to be well justified using the Master 6, while the soft hum of the bass lines are quite distinct and harmonizes well with Billy Corgan’s voice. Jimmy Chamberlin’s drum play was given such realism that you are allowed to properly discern what he hits. The manner each frequencies were laid out sounded a bit overwhelming in the sense of spacing; placement is quite mind blowing that if you are not used to such, it can make you miss something. I would suggest that when using the Master 6, might as well lay back and relax as you enjoy the realism of the track.
Why (Annie Lennox, Diva)
With this one, I just allowed my senses linger with what could be an experience I miss since I started becoming critical with what I hear. I just immersed myself with the track, leave my laptop and revel on the sound produced by Master 6. While it is great for critical listening, I enjoyed the Master 6 more with leisurely listening. The way each instruments mesh and harmonize is indeed relaxing. and these kinds of tracks should be perfect when using the Master 6 if you simply want to release some stresses of work.
Soundstage doesn’t strike me as spectacular when it comes to height, but is quite wide for an IEM. Also, seal seems to be quite good enough, as I had to be nudged by the missus thinking that I have already dozed off.
So, is the Master 6 any good as it is touted to be? Was the wait worth it with the production of the IEM? Yes, very much indeed. While the Hunter is in a totally different playing field, the Master 6 should be one of your must haves if you are listing down target IEMs worth around $400. Honestly, I am surprised by how it sounds, what with the details, coherence and imaging it offered. And that with the Master 6 being burned in for no more than 10 hours. I must say, I enjoyed it immensely, but I would rather let you see for yourself if it is for you. Although I am expecting that more likely than not, it is.