Review: Trinity Delta, the first in-ear headphones to really impress me

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I’m an on-ear/over-ear headphone guy. To me, the size and weight has always been a price worth paying for the far higher quality and sound isolation they deliver when compared to consumer-grade in-ear headphones.

I’ve tried numerous in-ear headphones, and none have ever felt remotely comparable to me – until now. Trinity is a brand new British company founded by former lead designer at Rockjaw, specifically to create high-quality in-ear monitors (IEMs) at an affordable price. The Delta is the high-end model, at $135/£90, and it takes rather an unusual approach … 

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The technical bit

Most headphones use dynamic drivers to generate the sound. These can put out a lot of sound from something reasonably compact. Higher-end in-ear monitor headphones tend instead to use what’s known as a balanced armature transducer to create the sound. These can be tuned extremely precisely to generate a very accurate reproduction of the original signal – but don’t deliver much volume.

Top-end IEMs use two or three BAs, each handling different frequency bands, to deliver greater volume – an expensive approach. The Trinity Delta IEMs take a hybrid approach, using a combination of BA and 8mm neodymium drivers to deliver very accurate sound while also providing sufficient volume for the bass. To top it off, it comes with a set of three different filters to allow you to adjust the balance of the sound.

Look & feel

The Trinity Delta looks and feels like quality kit. The casing is gun-metal CNC aluminum, the eartips are extremely soft and comfortable, the 3.5mm jack in polished aluminum with gold-plated tip and the tangle-resistant cable all add up to something which is pleasing to the eye as well as the ear.

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You get five sets of ear tips in a very wide range of sizes, so I’d be very confident that almost everyone would be able to find the perfect fit for them. Swapping them is, though, extremely fiddly! If you’re someone who shares earphones with your partner by swapping the tips, I think you’ll be out of luck here – it just takes too long. Once in place, however, they are very secure: you won’t be losing them.

With some devices, a straight jack is good, with others, a right-angled one is better. These come with a straight jack plus a right-angled adapter, also with a gold-plated tip.

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You also get a handy and attractive carrying case, which accommodates all the spare tips and the filters – of which more in a moment.

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Sound quality

I have two complaints about most in-ear headphones. The first is that they don’t isolate me from surrounding noise as much as I like. I’m not a great fan of noise-cancelling headphones – I do like to retain some awareness of the sounds around me – but I do like those background sounds to be significantly muffled. My acid test is if I can be largely unaware of environmental sound, but still hear when a PA announcement is made. Once I’d switched to the second-largest tips, the Delta headphones passed this test well.

My second issue with in-ear units is that they don’t seem to deliver as rich a sound as I get from on-ear and over-ear headphones. These didn’t quite compare with my own personal gold standard for headphones, my B&W P5s, but they came closer than I’ve ever experienced with in-ear headphones. Given the price difference, I was astonished by how close they came, and can definitely see that there will be occasions when I’ll leave behind the larger units in favor of these.

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Tuning filters

You get three sets of tuning filters, which allow you to fine-tune the sound to your own particular tastes. They are supplied with a stylish aluminum tube to store the two you’re not using.

The filters simply unscrew from the main housing, and can be quickly and easily replaced – though of course you’ll then need to swap the tips over.

The filters are color-coded, but the instructions don’t specify what each does. I found the champagne-colored ones were best for vocals – my priority – while the silver gave more bass. The purple seemed the most neutral.

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Tangle-resistant cable

I chose my phrase carefully here: this is not a tangle-free cable. The cable did still manage to loop itself together, but it is sufficiently stiff and slippery that it never gets knotted and is very easy to unwind.

Price and conclusions

Trinity is very specific about what it’s aiming to achieve. At $135/£90, these are not budget headphones, but they are remarkably affordable for the sound quality they deliver. Couple that to the build quality and the thoughtfulness that has gone into everything from the right-angle adapter to the aluminum tube for the spare filters, and I’d have to describe them as a very good value.

The Trinity Delta In-Ear Monitors are available from Trinity’s website.

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Comments

  1. galley99 - 8 years ago

    These look great!

    FYI: I wear Klipsch earbuds for six hours a day with no discomfort. Klipsch has a patented oval ear tip design.

  2. Kenan Sulayman - 8 years ago

    No detachable cables? Crapware. There are some really good ones w/o detachable cable like Klipsch Image X11i (though it lacks bass imo), but they will all eventually break due to the cable.

    Try these if you value good sound:

    – UE 900 ($389), UE Triple.fi 10 Pro ($443)
    – Shure SE-Series (SE315 [single], SE425 [dual], SE535 [triple], SE846 [quad driver]; around 150 to a thousand bucks)
    – Westone W50 (five driver, around 450 ~ 500 bucks)

    I use the SE535 because they are much smaller than the SE846 (hurt after some hours of wearing due to the size of my ears), but I love the whole line-up. The UE IEMs are expensive but great, too. For the casual listener try the Westone; they are on a level with Shure and UE, but are far less expensive.

    $0.02

    • Ben Lovejoy - 8 years ago

      Those are in rather a different price-bracket, so you’d certainly expect removeable cables at that level.

      • Adam Rowan - 7 years ago

        Late to the party, but they have re-released these as the Delta V-II. These have removable cables and also come with the choice of using either a braided or fabric cable. These are extremely high quality for the price point…

    • acslater017 - 8 years ago

      At 300-400% price differential…

    • ttuutt - 8 years ago

      Much agreed. UE used to be a subsidiary of westone. You can grab the westone um pro 2 with replicable cables for 300. Well worth the extra 150.

  3. Axel Kanne (@AxelKanne) - 8 years ago

    No clicker? I guess the Apple Watch has reduced the need for buttons, but the lack of a mic is kind of a dealbreaker..
    Also the way the cables enter the earbuds don’t really seem very durable to me, there isn’t much of a strain relief.

Author

Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!


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