TRI Starshine - The STAR of TRI
- vividly musical
- exciting and energetic
- micro-detail retrieval,
- Fast bass with precise attack
- Build and comfort
- Full set of balanced cable
- Neutral tonal accuracy,
- Quality stock eartips
Let me thank Keephifi. This was a unit Sent from a friend from Keephifi for my honest review and opinion. Though I’ve got it for free, my opinions are honest. Because self-esteem is much more valuable than free earphones. So, this review will focus on my experience and finding of long-term use of TRI Starshine. So, this is actually my self-opinion. Moreover, I'll publish my video review on my youtube channel which is in Bangla. Your opinion may vary to your listening and circumstances. I believe music is a subjective thing and there is a lot to learn and listen to. So your precious opinions and suggestions are cordially appreciated. I learn every day and today I might understand something different. So flood my post's comment section.
Let me introduce myself
Music, from the very childhood, is my first love. The day I started playing guitar, and the day I opted to play Ukulele, Music been with me at home or outside. Every now and then enjoyed music through my daily setup, smartphone, DAP, and so on. It's been five years, my journey through the path of music. I am fortunate enough to listen to many legendary headphones and earphones.
As music preference goes, I hear a lot of metal and rock songs. But as I was born in Bangladesh, my country's music library offers a lot more enriched genres. So I love to hear other genres too until it sounds awkward to me. So, Folk, classical, pop, melody, instrumental are also in my liking list.
In the budget category, Kbear has been a strong name lately. TRI Audio is their premium counterpart who is actually focusing on $100+ earphones.
This gem is equipped with a hybrid quad-driver configuration. We are getting two Sonion EST drivers and two Knowles BA drivers.
The MRSP of TRI Starshine is $499.
purchase link: https://keephifi.com/collections/tri/products/tri-starshine-2-electrostatic-drive-2ba-custom-iem
- Impedance: 56Ω
- Connector: 0.78mm 2PIN
- Color: blue
- Frequency response range: 20-20kHz
- Sensitivity: 98dB
- Cable material: copper and silver-plated mixed braided cable
- Drive unit: 2 electrostatic Drive+2BA
Included in the box.
- TRI Starshine
- 2-pin Cable with 2.5mm jack
- 4.4mm and 3.5mm adapters
- Carry case
- Cleaning brush and cloth
I am loving that more and more manufacturers are providing balanced cable in the box with interchangeable modules. Though I praise the mechanism of the Dunu cable system more, TRI is no a slouch. The adapters are practical and obviously a step in the right direction.
Design & Build Quality:
We all will consider that look and sound are both subjective. But I am 98% sure everyone will love the semi-custom look resin shell of TRI Starshine. Why 98%? 2% can complain about resin and what not. In short, it's a great-looking iem. The smoothed out inside and starry, galactic look, the blueish finish has made me mesmerized. The build and design scream its premium and beautiful. It has a perfect size, and its weight is exceptionally less than the acquired look expectation. There is a translucent black bottom where you can see the drivers easily. The Blue colored Swirl design has the TRI logo on top of the faceplate. Nozzles are on the shorter side. So, tip insertion is a key aspect of TRI starshine.
Stock Cable with TRI Starshine is KBEAR’s Rhyme 2-pin Copper and Silver-Plated mixed braided balanced cable. The final termination is a 2.5mm balanced jack. But it adapts 2 quality, right-angled adapters (4.4mm and 3.5mm). Adapters are made outta plastic and metal but I would appreciate a direct 4.4mm cable more. However, I should add that the adapters work perfectly without adding any extra bulk to the cable. With the MSRP I would crave better cable.
But there are no noticeable microphonic. Overall I like the softness of it. It wraps & unwinds like an ideal daily driver. The cable didn’t get tangled much.
There is a case inside the box, which is flex leather. I am sure it's not as practical as others in the market. The TRI Starshine barely fits in the case. I have seen the exact same case with TRI Starsea which is a $130 iem. So, we can demand a better case with a half kilo buck priced iem next time.
Fitting and Comfort
I love the shape of you.. Ahemm. I love the shape of TRI Starshine. It has a semi-custom vibe with it. The shell is extra nice & very lightweight. So comfort is not an issue with average to large ears. But we have to admit everyone’s ear anatomy is different. I gave it to more than 4 of my friends who had no issue with the fit. I’ve used stock Kbear tips (white), Final E series, Final e series clear, Sony hybrid, and a few Spinfit models. My experience was best with the Sony hybrid (black), and Final E series. I used it in a 12 hours journey with sony wm1a, which gave me good comfort, above-average isolation, and an enjoyable listening session.
TRI Starshine needs Power:
This is a power-hungry IEM for sure. So, to get full-bodied dynamic sound, we need to feed Starshine with quality RAW power. I have used it with Sony Wm1a (it needs 100+ gain in the high mode), ifi idsd black label, Cowon Plenue R2, cayin iha-6 etc.
with power, TRI starshine shows its true potential.
Let’s start the main game “SOUND”
Tips first, I am recommending an upgrade cable and final E tips for better SQ. But I will discuss the stock performance. Inside the box, there are a few different tips available. The white one gave me the most comfort and isolation. You may or may not believe in burn-in but I used it over 2 months, so that’s that.
My go-to gear was Sony wm1a with walkman mod and Cowon Plenue R2 (could manage to push as hard as i would like). On the dac amp side, ifi idsd Black label and Topping D70s/Cayin IHA-6 stack. Among all, I liked the pairing of Wm1a and Starshine most.
Without Wm1a I missed the bass impact a bit with other sources. But paired with wm1a the bass got textured and felt a bit punchier. Overall it was clean, not boosted, texture and separation were there. It certainly lacks the DD impact and dynamics. Nonetheless, notes felt separated. I would crave a bit more impact and a shy boldness there. Its BA bass, so speed attack and decay were reasonable compared to my DUNU SA6. Bass
It extends deep tho, you can feel the sub-bass rumble in “Massive Attack - Angel”. Mid and sub were fairly separated. If you squint your eyes, you can hear a slight mid-bass elevation from the sub. Overall, It offers clean, extended bass with decent speed and attack.
So it will get 4 out of 5 in the Bass section
The mids of TRI Starshine is fun. I think it's the most exciting part of these earphones. The lower mids have a bodied presentation where the instrument gets a particular character. Is it neutral? NO!! But it's fun. It has a minor dip in the upper mid-range, so the vocals become polite and gentle, where a lot of iems nowadays get shouty depending on recordings.
Neither the vocals nor the instruments have a forward presentation. To be honest, it's fun. Clean, textured, and enjoyable for a long period of time. There are no prominent peaks in the sound spectrum. It made the sound quite open, instruments got better separation by containing good layering. In fact, I find it better than my DUNU SA6 in that regard.
I will give it 4.5 outta 5
Treble is kind of the USP of Starshine. It has the EST goodness in it. The lower treble dip removed any unwanted ringing or fatiguing factor. In 8k and above it rises high. Thus Strashine offers energy. The notes in the treble are colorful and the music becomes emotional sometimes. I can see a few treble-sensitive folks might not stand it. But it's not harsh of piercing by any means. It offers sizzliness, sparkle, and air in the treble. If you call it treble-heavy you won't be wrong. Those who are not sensitive to treble, especially the upper treble, will love the energy and musicality it offers.
It offers details as expected. Sparkle makes the drum snare exciting. String instruments get a different yet enjoyable character.
Though the cymbal attack might feel different and sharp, it doesn’t sound colorless or sterile. Overall it's open, energetic where instruments get unique (a bit different than neutral but enjoyable) characteristics.
And tip rolling helps. I used final E-series tips to get more bass impact and comfort.
I will give 4.25 outta 5
Timbre and resolution:
I find a great clarity with starshine. You will expect to hear good dynamics, little nuances, and the proper texture of every instrument. So, it's Highly resolving. Pairing with warm or natural sources offers a great versatility and musicality to love these earphones more. But Analytical or bright sources may take it to the fatiguing territory. So the resolution is not compromising in any means. But I found the timbre is a bit different. I neither call it natural nor artificial. It's in the middle. The textures are tailored in a way that I can't hate. There is a slight metallicness in the cymbals, string instruments and acoustic guitars, but it's fun and enjoyable regardless.
For resolution 4.5 outta 5
For Timbre 4 outta 5
Sound Stage is a strength here. It's wider than the other earphones I have tasted in this price range. Though it's not deep enough, the separation is on point. I found space and air between instruments. It's better than DUNU SA6 and
The soundstage will get 4.5 outta 5
Let's Compare it the competition :
In the market, it will face high competition with Dunu SA6, UM 3DT, thieaudio legacy 9, kinera norn and so on.
I had a DUNU SA6, UM 3DT, and Campfire Holocene currently at my possession to compare and i can say Starshine is better than kinera norn (coz of its poor value for money situation)
So, lets the battle begin…
Vs Dunu SA6
DUNU SA6 is right around $500-550. It's been my daily driver since March and I love them a lot. I initially heard both of the iem with my Cowon plenue R2 and I loved the presentation of SA6. I sensed TRI Starshine needs more power. When the Sony Wm1a came into the equation, the scene changed 180 degrees.
I found the bass of SA6 is better with boldness and engaging factors. Starshine shines with better mids, overall instrument separation, soundstage, and treble excitement. Then again, SA6 is a bit more versatile and sounds good regardless of the source or power delivery.
So, SA6 can be an easy recommendation for mass audiences. On the other hand, with the proper gear, TRI Starshine is more fun, open and engaging.
On the cosmetic side, the cable of SA6 is a class of its own. The package of Dunu SA6 has better tips.
The build, look, and comfort for both of the iem are similar and comparable. None wins here.
Vs Unique Melody 3DT :
UM 3DT is a triple DD earphone that comes under $400, especially if deals are found right you can buy one for 300-320 easily.
Bass on the 3DT has better texture and impact. It's bold and fairly fast despite having a DD there. But Starshine has faster bass. In the mids, Starshine wins with the presentation. Because 3DT lacked the emotion and body of mids. It’s forward, sometimes making a few female vocals shouty a bit.
3DT got more treble emphasis than TRI Starshine which might bring fatigue to the listeners. I couldn't manage to hear 3DT for more than 1-hour max.
3DT was fun too. It has a wow factor that may end up ringing in the ear, a tad on the aggressive side. On the other hand, TRI is clean yet enjoyable with energy and fun. I prefer the dynamics of 3DT but the overall presentation of Starshine was more enjoyable to me.
Vs Campfire Holocene
Recently the campfire brought some newer models to the scene and one of them is the Holocene. It's currently priced at $649 so I compared both of them.
First of all, the Holocene is very source peaky and sensitive. It can sound good, smooth and enjoyable, or rough, edgy, and harsh depending on the source.
In general, the Holocene is on the technical side. It offers a well-balanced sound with a lot of details and clarity. I can mark it as a natural-sounding iem. Sometimes the vocals can be sharp. It's resolving, a sort of studio reference with some audiophile touch to it.
Starshine falls short with resolution, detail, and aggressiveness. But it's polite, power-hungry, and long-term earphones to conclude.
At first, I was confused with TRI Starshine against my DUNU SA6. When properly powered and paired with the right gear, Starshine is fun, exciting, and comfortable. The tuning is tastefully done. But it's not for those who hate or are sensitive to the upper treble section. But who are open for fun, energy, and extra sparkle, TRI starshine will treat with openness, wide soundstage, and comfort. I recommend getting final e series tips and copper CEMA cable (i think they are the best bang for the buck) will do justice with TRI Starshine. Besides, you have to have a mid to strong DAP or DAC/AMP to squeeze the best outta it. Neutral and warm sources complement TRI Starshine
I got great results with Sony Wm1a, Hiby R6 pro (adds good energy to the treble section).
So, will I recommend it? I think I will point to a specific group of folks that I mentioned above.
Is the pricing good? Well, it goes down to 450ish during the sale. But I would rather be comfortable with the 400-420 range.
So, what is the overall score?
I would score 4 out 5 generally, but paired with a good source it will raise 4.25 out 5.
Tracks that I have used
Incubus - Summer Romance
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
SOAD - Chop Suey, Toxicity
Eminem - Rap God
Metallica - Fuel, master of puppets, enter the sandman
Massive attack - Mezzanine
Fall Out Boy - Immortals
Green Day - Know The Enemy
Skillet - What I Believe
Slipknot - snuff
Tool - Lateralus, Fear inoculum
And a few of my local audio collections. All are at least 16bit FLAC.