There is always something new in the budget IEM market. Manufacturers are always upping their game, bringing innovations that make high-resolution audio more affordable. And one of the brands that have always been at the forefront of bringing budget IEMs is TRN.
This time around, they are back with the TRN V90S. It is the follow up to the TRN V90 but has been redesigned both in its aesthetics and internal components. Unlike the older quad driver V90, the V90S now features a whopping six drivers per ear configuration.
We have heard of budget IEMs with crazy driver counts before. However, most of them have been a hot mess and end up sounding worse than their single driver and dual-driver competitors. So naturally, the question here is whether or not the TRN V90S can live up to its spec sheet. Well, keep on scrolling to find out.
TRN Audio provided the review unit. We want to thank them for their support and for making this review possible. However, this does not influence our review in any way. Everything written here is my honest opinion.
Packaging and Accessories
The TRN V90s comes in a small box similar to the TRN BT20S Pro that we recently reviewed. There isn’t much that comes in the packaging. All you get are the drivers, the cables and some extra ear tips.
I wasn’t expecting much, given how small the box is. However, I would have appreciated if TRN were to include additional accessories such as a cleaning tool or a soft pouch. But overall, the presentation is straightforward and prompts you to try out the IEMs immediately.
Design and Build Quality
The TRN V90s has a surprisingly eye-catching design that is backed up with excellent build quality. The V90s is rocking a red and black color scheme. Additionally, it has an all-metal build that perfectly balances durability and comfort.
There are no obstructive logos on the faceplates. It is kept clean with just a “T” logo. The driver count is written on the sides; however, they are well hidden and don’t throw off the clean design of the V90S.
The shells’ all-metal build feels better than the plastic shells of lower-priced models and even some similarly priced IEMs. But despite the metal build, they aren’t too heavy.
Additionally, the shell has a semi-custom fit design. It features grooves that help adhere to the shape of your ears better. As a result, the V90S’ comfort is greatly increased. I can wear this pair for hours without experiencing fatigue.
The experience becomes even better when using third-party ear tips such as the Azla Xelastec or Spinfit CP360 ear tips. The stock ear tips are great. But going with third-party ear tips makes the whole experience even better.
Overall, I’m a big fan of the direction that TRN took with the V90s. But of course, the real test for the V90S is the sound quality, which we will be getting to shortly.
The V90s comes with a 6N OC copper cable. The cable is light and easy to handle. It doesn’t tangle too much, which is very important, especially considering there is no included carrying case with these IEMs.
There is a TRN logo on the cable’s angled plug. It is well hidden and makes the overall look clean, but it provides some extra personality to the cable. Overall, the cable is well done and is a lot better than the basic white braided SPC cable that comes with most budget IEMs here. There’s no need to immediately get upgrade cables, but if you want to go wireless, check out our review of the TRN BT20S Pro.
The big elephant in the room is, without a doubt, the sound quality. With its six-driver per ear configuration, it is easy to assume that it would outperform its competitors. But, of course, this isn’t always the case.
Each driver must be used properly to achieve a great sound signature. And unfortunately, this is where the V90S becomes a mixed bag for me. It has some great points that make it outperform its competitors but also has some flaws that are a deal-breaker for me.
Some of the positives for the TRN V90S include its technicalities and detail retrieval. However, on the flip side, the V90S has an unnatural presentation with peaks on the upper mids that make the IEM intolerable in some genres.
This came out as a big surprise since I am someone who enjoys bright and detailed sounding IEMs. But in this case, the V90S just doesn’t sound as coherent as some of the more budget multi-driver hybrid IEMs, which we will discuss later.
The lows are well executed on the V90S. They are handled by the single dynamic driver, which makes low notes sound punchy and well defined. But what’s impressive is how the V90S shows restraint with the lows.
The V90S manages to create a full sounding low end without overpowering the mids. They remain clean and articulate, no matter how busy the track is. It won’t be as punchy as other V-Shaped IEMs such as the KBear Diamond, but it is enough to satisfy most listeners.
The mids and the highs, on the other hand, were unfortunately not as impressive as the bass. The mids, in particular, are the weakest point of the V90S. Vocals are too recessed for my taste.
But the real issue here is how thin and unnatural sounding the vocals are. Furthermore, the mids are easily prone to sibilance, especially on female vocals. Albums such as Yorushika’s Plagiarism and Elma become hard to listen to because of how pronounced the “Letter S Region” (5-9 kHz) is. So if you listen to a lot of vocal-based music and are sensitive to the upper frequencies, this pair can get fatiguing.
The highs are well extended and are quite detailed. However, like the upper mids, they can get too hot. My main issue with the highs is the somewhat artificial sound that you get. They do bring in the fine details on cymbal hits and other instruments in the high-end. However, they have this odd sound that can be described as shrill or metallic sounding.
In terms of the soundstage, the V90S offers an above-average experience. It is wider than most of its competitors, which is expected similar to other multi-driver IEMs. The imaging was, however, not as good as the other IEMs that I have tried.
This is most noticeable during busy tracks with lots of instruments in the mix. Locating the exact position and direction of each instrument becomes challenging.
The MoonDrop SSR has a completely different driver configuration to the V90S. It is only utilizing one dynamic driver. However, it is similar to the V90S because of its peaky mids, which has been criticized by some listeners in the past.
But, unlike the V90S, the MoonDrop SSR is not easily prone to sibilance. Furthermore, its treble starts rolling off earlier, which better controls the harshness of the highs. Additionally, the SSR has better imaging and a more coherent and natural sound signature.
Both IEMs have their fair share of issues, but the SSR is the more versatile IEM, which can sound better on more genres. You can learn more in our full review.
The innovation that the six-driver TRN V90S brings to the table is highly appreciated in the budget price point. However, I don’t think TRN nailed the sound quality that is expected from its spec sheet.
The mids are too recessed for me and are too prone to sibilance. And the overall unnatural presentation makes it hard for me to enjoy this pair.
However, the V90S gets some points right. It has an attractive design with excellent build quality. The detail retrieval will also be surely appreciated by those coming from more budget options. If TRN can fix the issues on the tuning on their future models, they will likely make a solid competitor in the budget price point.
But for now, I can only recommend the V90S for those who want to experience the sound of multi-driver IEMs and those who can tolerate a bright tuning. Otherwise, if you are upgrading from 20 USD IEMs or buying your first IEM, we highly recommend going for other pairs with a more coherent and safe sound signature.
- Impedance: 22Ω
- Earphone sensitivity: 108dB/mW
- Frequency range: 20-20000Hz
- Plug Type: 3.5mm Straight Plug
- Cable Length: 1.25m
- Color: Black &Red
- Earphone interface: 2Pin Interface
- Microphone: Optional
- Driver unit: 5BA+1DD hybrid driver unit (Super-sized 10mm Diaphragm + Customed BA )
Albums Used For Testing
- Milet – Eyes
- Babymetal – Metal Galaxy World Tour in Japan
- Yorushika – Elma
- Mamamoo – Travel
- Yorushika – Plagiarism
- Moe Shop – Moe Moe
- Nobuo Uematsu – Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy
Stephen is a musician, cinematographer, and headphone enthusiast who is passionate about reviewing audio equipment. He has been playing guitar for at least a decade, which introduced him to professional recording equipment such as headphones and in-ear monitors. With the help of reviews and online content, he was able to learn the ins and outs of the hobby. His goal is to give back to the community by providing quality content to help others enjoy the beautiful (and expensive) world of audio.
Favorite Headphones: Sennheiser HD660s