Current testing methodology is v1.2
March 31, 2023
March 31, 2023
Coming from another Chi-Fi brand, the Tripowin Piccolo is a single dynamic driver IEM that retails for only $35, excluding shipping costs. In this review, we’ll talk about its performance and see how it does in the budget IEM market.
Let’s get to it!
Hypnotic midrange and an outstanding all-rounder performance
The Tripowin Piccolo is an affordable pair of earphones with a striking design in an all-metal shell. It has a solid U-shaped tuning and impressive technicalities that punch way above its asking price, leaving me to place them at the top of my recommendation lists for budget sets.
But seriously though, how is this only $35?
- Driver: 11mm Dual-Cavity LCP Dynamic Driver
- Frequency Response: 20-20,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 110dB±3dB
- Impedance: 32 Ω±10%
- Connector: 0.78mm 2pin
- Cable Plug: 3.5mm
- Cable Length: 1.2m±5%
What’s in the Box?
- Tripowin Piccolo earphones
- Detachable single-braid OCC copper cable
- 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
Stuff I like
- Rhythmic low end with great control
- Natural timbre and tonality
- Superb texture and detail, plus an intimate vocal presentation
- Crisp and succinct lower treble
- Sturdy all-metal shell and unique design
Stuff I like less
- Lack of inclusions for the price
- Somewhat diffused upper treble
- QDC connectors
There’s a lot to say about the Tripowin Piccolo. Its release was dampened by the barrage of other releases by competitors, such as the Blon Z300.
Being a set that I’ve been eyeing for the better part of a year, I was very excited about finally unboxing it. The packaging itself was somewhat of a breather from the waifu-infested box designs rampant in the Chi-Fi IEM industry.
The packaging was simple yet it exuded class. Pulling the main box out of the sleeve revealed a visually stimulating ring of white, with the bottom part inscribing graphics that read “Tripowin Piccolo”. It was surely a nice presentation.
Fast forward a few seconds and there I was, staring at a miniature USCSS Prometheus. It resembled many elements and vibes from the ominous spaceship from the fifth installment of Alien, Prometheus.
Now, in the sound department, the Piccolo impresses. If this had been released two years back, competitors like the Tin HiFi T2 and the Blon BL03 might’ve been in trouble. Heck, I’d even go on a limb and say that people wouldn’t have to get an $80 Moondrop Aria for a budget set that’s slightly more technical.
Even today, where the market has evolved to become hyper-competitive, I still think that the Piccolo can pull its own weight at its price point and remain one of the best recommendations for the budget.
The Tripowin Piccolo sports an all-metal build that weighs only about 9 grams per earpiece. It has a premium look and feel, having a matte black finish with a coarse and sandy texture that’s oddly satisfying to hold.
The faceplate has got to be the most unique I’ve seen in a long time, as it stands out from the usual resin and flat all-metal shells. The wavelike pattern elicits a feeling of intrigue and I find myself staring at it randomly for more times than I can count.
For the price, the Piccolo ups the bar in terms of what budget sets ought to be. Oh, and it also has a silver variant, if that’s more your speed.
Fit and Comfort
In terms of comfort, I find the Tripowin Piccolo to be fairly decent. No protruding shapes nick the ear and they sit securely. I say “fairly” because after a while, the shells sort of weigh down on the ear.
Being 3 grams lighter than the Blon Z300 is good and all but, still, you can expect them to become a little heavy after a while of wear. This is something very minor though and personally, it doesn’t bother me.
Isolation-wise, they block noise pretty well with the included tips. Swapping the included ear tips out with Spinfit CP100s also works very well, and I find my desk fan and AC sound really muffled when music isn’t playing.
I find the Tripowin Piccolo’s tuning to be U-shaped.
Its low end, although very present and impactful, does a great job of staying controlled and sculpted which makes for an overall balanced sound. Details are very perceivable in the mids and are appreciated as they come in from the sides of vocals playing with good intimate proximity.
Everything sounds very refined and if I were to nitpick anything, I’d say the upper treble sounds somewhat diffused, making a whiskey neat into something that’s on the rocks, if you get what I mean.
Treble-sensitivity is something Tripowin accounted for but on the flip side, those looking for more presence in the upper treble with genres requiring more splash will find the upper treble a bit dull.
One thing to note though is that the upper end is far from sounding filed off or smoothened out but rather seems to lack the last remaining octaves of extension to make transients cut through the mix.
All in all, what you get is an extremely versatile tuning that can play virtually any genre for long hours of listening.
The low end of the Tripowin Piccolo extends very well into the subfrequencies, giving you visceral levels of rumble. Subjecting them to a subwoofer sinewave sweep from 10Hz to 200Hz, vibration can be heard right off the bat.
The best part about the sub-bass though is that despite the amount of presence it has, it never evolves into muck. A sense of finesse and contour can be found here, and I find bass-heavy songs to be rendered with explicit texture.
Meanwhile, a good sense of balance can be found with the mid-bass, presenting impact with moderate slam and kick. These levels are in no way suitable for bass heads.
Though you’ll be able to scale the low end with volume, take note that you’ll be bringing vocals and other instruments closer as well. I imagine this to be a more refined and technical Blon BL-03 bass section and in effect, a more balanced presentation.
The midrange of the Tripowin Piccolo sounds full-bodied with a touch of warmth to it. The tonality and timbre are excellent and work well with the inherent musicality the midrange goes for.
The lower midrange has good density and form which renders both male and female vocals with a rich and nuanced tone. The upper midrange is articulate and breathy, displaying accurate intonation and emotion in music.
Detail and texture are found well in the overall midrange and benefit very minute and intertwined mixing techniques that enrich the music in small but impactful ways.
The upper end of the Tripowin Piccolo seems to have a focus on the lower treble, where most of the transients and upper harmonics are condensed into a point. The brightness and crispness are apparent and are conspicuous elements lying in the foreground.
A better sense of decay and realism is impeded though due to the rather large dip in the 6KHz region. The upper treble has decent extension past 10KHz and for what it’s worth, I hear a good sense of openness in the stage.
Overall, the treble delivers a tailored response that’s devoid of sibilance or harshness, making for longer listening sessions.
For the price, the Tripowin Piccolo has some pretty solid technicalities. The staging is done naturally and has a good width to the stereo image.
Meanwhile, the imaging presents positioning accurately. As a result of good imaging, the transient response displays a responsive and succinct quality to percussions. Instrument separation is tidy and done distinctly, distinguishing different timbral characteristics from each other excellently.
On the other hand, layering is a weaker attribute as the elements tend to be forward and somewhat sit on the same plane as everything else. In the grand scheme of things, budget sets no longer need to compromise technical ability, which was the case only two years ago.
You’ll find the Tripowin Piccolo to be a great all-rounder capable of playing any type of genre. Vocal-centric genres are a treat because of the forward mids. Modern genres and electronica also do well because of the rhythmic bass section. Meanwhile, orchestra music displays strings and winds beautifully with the crisp and extended treble.
There are many other genres that this IEM does well and I’m sure whether I enumerate them or not, you’ll find the majority of them to be delightful.
For people who have been in the hobby for quite some time, the Tripowin Piccolo looks like the perfect starter IEM we all wanted years back. I think most of today’s releases are a testament to how IEM technology has been advancing rapidly lately and I’m very happy to find what budget sets can achieve now.
If you’re looking for a fun, balanced all-rounder IEM with a forward midrange the Tripowin Piccolo is a great set that I’d highly recommend.
Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)
This post was last updated on 2023-11-27 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.