So when the other month Tanchjim released Tanya as their first budget model I looked at the news with a sense of oblique smiling condescendence, and a sigh: it was quite obvious that – whatever how many their “great for the price” aspects might possibly be – those would never be a significant upgrade for me. Yet, curiosity was just scratching me and I soon leveraged on their minimal price to “justify” impulsively ordering 1 pair to play with.
Well… the first audition was a sort of catastrophe. I am not going to report here all the details that I’m collecting below but in a nutshell Tanya sounded like sharply midbass-humped harman wannabes playing from the cheap dirty basement down low, and I was getting their music through a thick velvet curtain for added measure: everything was muffled or covered by sloppy bass, or both. I guess someone might call a similar presentation like “relaxed inoffensive sounding”… Well, tastes are subjective what else can I say. I hate sloppy muddy bass.
Given such preference, as you can imagine all of my sources are carefully selected to have superior bass control – so pairing couldn’t be the issue.
How about rolling tips? “On a $24 headphone? How much time do I have to waste?” As it happened, one Sunday last month I did have quite some time to waste and I spent a couple of hours rolling tips on the Tanya.
In the end, the sole tips which could significantly thin Tanya’s midbass “curtain” down / off were inverted Starline silicons (you all know about them, I won’t digress now).
Too bad that what was left was kinda disappointing: lifeless strings, ghosty one-note male vocals, not much better female ones. Aright, I was wrong in the first place thinking to hear a “good” band playing from the basement. So I put the Tanya on the bench, ready for the bin. Then, I received my first even small box of Spinfit CP-500 tips.
Applied to Tanya, midbass gets bridled – similarly to what happens with the Starlines. No it does not become fast and punchy but stops bleeding like hell, and becomes a “normal” overhump of the harman bass. The difference with CP-500 is what happens in addition to that. Sub bass is not almost inexistant anymore as it was with the Starlines. And… mids! Males gain a 20% more of body at least – now they don’t sound like hectoplasms. Female singers now sound properly articulated and detailed, not flat, grainy 1-notes like it happened with the Starlines. Guitars do sound similar to guitars. Trebles… oh well, you got the idea.
Summarising: for my experience Tanya require Spinft CP-500. Period.
Enough foreword. On to the show.
Table of contents
|Great value (even including the tips’ cost).||Spinfit CP-500 eartips vital.|
|Nice timbre, pleasantly warm tonality and musical presentation.||Microphonic cable.|
|Great technicalities.||Scarce isolation.|
Full Device Card
|Tonality||Timbre is bodied and organic-sounding. Tonality is warm in a bass-enhanced harman-ish presentation|
|Sub-Bass||Sub-bass is less elevated than mid bass but far from being rolled “off”. Rumble is present, though softened by generous transients, limited by the openback and partially shaded by the more prominent midbass|
|Mid Bass||Midbass is bumped up, and transients make it meaty. CP-500 do their magic here and grant mid bass a nice amount of detail and articulation (vs. being a sort of 1 note mess) and lift most of the bloat letting mids regularly emerge (which are otherwise tragically covered with stock tips and pretty much any other tip I tried).|
|Mids||Besides keeping midbass at bay, CP-500 also separately takes care of pushing Tanya mids a step forward, while preserving their transients which are definitely nicely calibrated. Strings and saxes are very likeable, quite organically bodied and reasonably natural.|
|Male Vocals||Tanya + CP-500 male vocals come accross well articulated and textured, although far from chesty, actually vaguely on the lean side.|
|Female Vocals||Females are better than males insofar as they have further body and deliver a significant number of different nuances. We are not getting close to a “vocal specialist” here, but the result is nice nonetheless.|
|Highs||Trebles are extended, and some air is present – which is uncommon on this market segment of course. Presence trebles in particular are definitely nice, with good vivid body, only very rarely a metallic aftertaste can be perceived. No shouting, no zinging, no hissing.|
|Soundstage||Probably thanks to the openback structure, Tanya soundstage width and height is seriously remarkable – no doubt at the top of the market offering on these minuscle price levels. Depth is more modest.|
|Imaging||Imaging on Tanya + CP-500 is way above average|
|Details||Microdetail retrieval is just hinted on the trebles, while the situation is a bit better on the bass (thanks to CP-500)|
|Instrument separation||Separation and layering are very good compared to the direct competition, at least on acoustic music and even on crowded passages|
|Driveability||Like per most if not all Tanchjim drivers I auditioned, Tanya are thirsty drivers. Please do note in particular that Tanchjim measures sensitivity in dB/Vrms (!): the “112dB” figure written on the box corresponds to no more than 100dB/mW. Tanya require an amped source, and – in addition to CP-500’s contribution – a DAC/AMP with good bass control, too.|
|Build||Housings are made off some aluminum alloy, and they don’t seem fragile at all. The rear is obviously open, realising a sort of “open back IEM” structure, protected by a metal mesh|
|Fit||Physically extremely easy, as I mentioned in the foreword it took a sweet time to find the right tips that allowed for a good (vs. pretty much horrible) sound delivery out of the Tanya|
|Comfort||I find bullet shaped housings extremely comfortable in general, and Tanya are no negative exception. YMMV of course.|
|Isolation||Isolation is seriously scarce both due to the bullet shape and to the open-back structure of the housings|
|Cable||Tanya come with a non-replaceable, 2 core basic single ended (3.5mm) cable which is a bit microphonic. Connections to housings and cable strain releafs seem quite “convincing”. Left-right channels are indicated only by a tiny “pea” protruding from the left housing cable’s strain releaf (why? Just… why?).|
|Housing||Anode-sandblasted aviation-grade aluminum-alloy shells with engraved logo. Durable titanium-alloy rear-cavity anti-dust mesh.|
|Driver(s)||1 x 7mm moving coil transducer|
|Cable||Litz oxygen-free copper wire with single ended 3.5mm termination|
|Sensitivity||112 dB/Vrms (approx 100dB/mW)|
|Frequency Range||20 – 42000|
|Accessories and package||Faux-suede soft carry pouch, 1 set of 3 (S/M/L) regular bore silicon tips, 1 set of 3 (S/M/L) wide bore silicon tips, 20 spare front nozzle filters|
|MSRP at this post time||$23,99 (+ $ 7,50 for a pair of Spinfit CP-500)|
While I was busy with all the above, I came accross a similar experience shared by coblogger KopiOkaya. Beyond the subjective different opinions on this or that aspect of these drivers, he also obvsiously had to dig deep in his biiiig box of tips to find something suitable. His hint : Tanchjim’s own T-APB tips, and the T300B variation thereof, i.e. the “bass enhancing” ones. Good one, Larry – thanks!
As it happens I do have a (although minimal) supply of such tips, that is only those that came with my Darling sample – and that’s why they were (T300T) equipped on the Darling or (T300B) closed into the Darling box and were not part of my previous investigation.
Long story short: they are very effective on the Tanya too. Unlike Larry, I do prefer T300T over T300B on Tanya as much as on Darling. And, in the end I do prefer CP-500 over T300x, but by a small margin I must say.
So in the end I would say: a) want to get a Tanya? Grab a pair of CP-500 or T-APB tips – or forget it, and b) dear Tanchjim… how about adding 2$ to the price and bundle T-APB tips with Tanya? c’mon!!
Once equipped with Spinfit CP-500 eatips, Tanya are very good, and definitely stand out on the sub-50$ price bracket as organic, full timbred, warm, vivid yet inoffensive performers offering a remarkable musical experience when appropriately biased. Even factoring the cost for the vital tips upgrade, I’d call them a no brainer in their segment for any enthusiast side-grade seeker!
This Tanya sample, and the mentioned Spinfit CP-500 tips, have been privately purchased.