Some of the most entertaining audio products we've used over the past year have come from small companies that few of us have even heard of. We're increasingly confident of the quality of the products that startups and garage operations have to offer, and have discovered some true gems as a result. Companies like this also introduced us to the concept of hybrid in-ears, which we believe to be among the biggest innovations in personal audio in recent times.
Last year, we discovered the Trinity Audio Delta hybrid in-ears, which we were absolutely in awe of. The sound was entertaining, clean and fluid like nothing else, and above all, their interchangeable tuning filters let us tweak the sound to our personal preferences. Today, we're reviewing the successor to the Delta, the £149 (approximately Rs. 14,200) Trinity Atlas. With a little more on offer than its predecessor, we have high expectations from the Atlas.
Specifications, design and comfort
Like the Delta, the Trinity Atlas is a dual-driver hybrid, with an 8mm neodymium dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver in each earphone. The Atlas is powered by the same drivers as the Delta, and as before, the dynamic driver powers the lower half of the frequency range, while the balanced armature drives the upper half. Frequency response ranges from 19-21000Hz, sensitivity measures in at 110dB, and impedance is 16Ohms.
There are some key differences though, specifically when it comes to the casing and included accessories. Although still clearly made of aluminium, the casing is shaped differently, which has some effect on the sonic signature. Additionally, there are now five interchangeable tuning filters for more customisation of the sound, along with three different detachable cables, which isn't something we often see with in-ears.
All the cables connect to the earphone shells through MMCX connectors. There are 0.6m and 1.2m options with an inline microphone and remote, and a braided 1.2m option without them. The braided cable is by far the best in terms of looks and durability, but is also fairly tangle-prone. All three cables have metal 3.5mm plugs, but only the braided one also uses metal for the Y-splitter. Also in the box are a total of seven ear tips (including two foam tips), a small carry-case, an airline adapter, a shirt clip, and two small metal tubes to hold the filters that aren't in use.
The earphone shells are entirely metal and have larger casings than the Delta in-ears. The headset looks great, especially the gunmetal finish that our review unit had. There are a handful of colour options available. The Atlas is a bit trickier to put on, since it has to be worn a particular way with the cables running behind your ears. It takes a bit of practice to get it right, but once you get the hang of it, it's quick and comfortable to wear over long periods, provided you've used the ear tips that are best for you. The tuning filters screw on and off easily, but we recommend you tinker with the filters only on a table-top, as they're small and easy to misplace. On the whole, the Trinity Atlas is great in terms of aesthetics and comfort.
We tested the Trinity Atlas using our reference Fiio X1 high-resolution audio player, an Android smartphone, and a Windows laptop. Focus tracks for the review were Nucleya's Heer (Dirty Dewarists Remix), Nucleya's Little Lotto, Martin Solveig's Intoxicated, Rammstein's Du Hast, and SOHN's Bloodflows.
The Atlas comes with five tuning filters: red (V-shaped with enhanced bass), orange (V-shaped with reduced bass), yellow (neutral with a slight bass boost), purple (flat) and gunmetal (treble boost). We used all of them during our review, and we wound up preferring the red and yellow filters, and disliking the gunmetal and orange filters. Each filter offers a slight tweak to the sonic signature, and the one that will suit you best depends entirely on your personal listening preferences.
Starting with the remix of Heer, we were immediately treated to the most aggressive, tight and distinct bass we've heard in a long time. The bass drop had more character and definition than the vast majority of headphones we've heard can produce - the only ones that can deliver a better low-end attack cost far more than what the Atlas goes for. This continued with Little Lotto, and what was particularly evident was the way the lows work seamlessly with the mids and highs, thanks to the two distinct drivers.
Moving on to Intoxicated, we explored more of the sonic interplay between the various segments of the frequency range. Whether it's the lows, mids or highs, everything works fantastically together to offer a wholesome sound. The low end has distinct thump and attack from the softest bass drive to the most aggressive, and you can feel every bit of it. This continues in the mids and highs, and can be felt particularly when the horns start firing in the track. What is most noteworthy, though, is how nothing overpowers anything else, and every bit of the track resonates with raw quality.
With Du Hast, we listened to the soundstaging and imaging, along with vocal quality. It's unbelievable how distinct and three-dimensional the soundstage is, with audible depth and width. The Atlas uses its capable drivers to create a virtual soundstage with so much subtlety and depth that it's hard to believe that you're listening to only two channels. This really is the in-ear equivalent of a great two-channel speaker system.
Finally, with Bloodflows, we paid attention to the tonal strengths of the Trinity Atlas. The sound has a clean, distinct feel to it, and clarity is superior and lacking in nothing. Every element of the track could be heard distinctly, and with clarity and definition. Even in the busier parts of the song, separation of sonic elements is nothing short of divine, and the sound feels real and present. Whatever we listened to on the Trinity Atlas sounded beautiful, with character, attack, drive and just the right amount of colouration. These headphones work with pretty much any genre, retaining a sense of neutrality but also subtly boosting what needs to be boosted.
The Trinity Atlas has outdone its predecessor in many ways. While the Trinity Delta was impressive, the Atlas has managed to add a bit more attack and definition to the mix. There's also more customisability now, with more tuning filters to give you the ability to tweak the sound to your liking. Although it's a bit tricky to wear and the cables are tangle-prone, the sheer quality of the sound makes it all worth it.
The Trinity Atlas isn't super-affordable by any means, but the sonic capability of these headphones more than justifies the cost. You'll have trouble finding headphones that sound half as good at twice this price. If you're looking at pure quality, customisability, and a sound that cannot be matched at this price, look no further than the Trinity Atlas.
Price: £149 (Approx. Rs. 14,200, before shipping costs and import duties)
Ratings (Out of 5)