Current testing methodology is v1.2
September 22, 2021
Price not available
4.02 x 2.83 x 1.34 in
I’ve reviewed several earphones from TRN and most of them performed well given that they’re in the budget IEM space.
I recently got the TRN CS2, which is a dual magnetic dynamic driver IEM that costs less than $20. There are lots of decent earphones in the price range so the market can be quite competitive. In this review, we’ll find out if it can perform as well as the other sub-$20 IEMs.
Let’s get to it!
A disappointing set from TRN
The TRN CS2 is your run-of-the-mill IEM that seems to not have a lot going on and for the most part, that’s pretty accurate. Its tuning seems flawed, as I didn’t have that much of a great time using it.
I still found some cool things about it but the number of flaws didn’t cut it for me. I’ve tried lots of IEMs and based on my experience, the CS2 can’t compete. Its lack of features also didn’t help make it stand out among the rest of the current offerings in the market.
- Driver: 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm angled plug / 0.78mm 2-pin detachable cable
- Frequency: 20-20,000Hz
- Impedance: 22Ω
- Sensitivity: 118±3db
What’s in the Box?
- TRN CS2 earphones
- 2-pin detachable cable
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- Instruction manual
Stuff I like
- Easy to drive
- Natural-sounding instrumentation
- Decent bass slams
Stuff I like less
- Lacked definition
- Presence of mid-bass bleed
- Bass is all over the place
- Veiled or boxy presentation
Comparable products to consider
For less than $15, The TRN MT1 became well-known in the Chi-fi community because it offers very good quality at an affordable price.
The TRN CS2 comes in simple packaging, which is what you’d expect with EMs in the same price range. The accessories are also very simplistic, including a detachable cable and a few extra pairs of TRN’s standard ear tips.
The CS2’s design has very little going on as it just looks like your typical IEM with a resin shell. However, there are noticeable fins on the shell, which were said to add some comfort when worn and so far, the fins do serve that purpose.
The build quality of the TRN CS2 is decent. Its shell is made from polycarbonate resin that you normally see with budget IEMs. Although they’re not of high quality, the resin shell used for the CS2 doesn’t feel cheap either.
In addition, the cable and ear tips are very cheap in quality so if you plan on buying this IEM, I’d recommend getting them replaced. The cable, in particular, can seem easily damaged because of its cheap construction.
Fit and Comfort
The TRN CS2 is surprisingly comfortable for a budget IEM. Most IEMs are comfortable, but the CS2 was extra snug on my ears due to the added fins on its shell design.
The cable, however, is a different story. I’ve seen some newer releases from TRN having an updated cable but on the CS2, the brand still uses their old braided cable that feels cheap. Also, the included ear tips aren’t the best but they provided enough seal.
Sound-wise, the TRN CS2 features a bass-heavy V-shape sound signature, which is standard on cheaper IEMs but let’s take a look at each of the frequencies.
The bass is quite pleasant but it’s not consistent and often bleeds all over the mids. It has this slow response that makes it sound overblown and not well-controlled. The bass sounds excessively boomy and not that pleasant to listen to at all.
The mid-bass and sub-bass of the TRN CS2 are both present in the mix, which is to be expected because of its bassy V-shape sound signature. The mid-bass is punchy, while the sub-bass has tons of rumble.
Overall, the CS2’s bass isn’t refined and it lacks the characteristics I look for in a V-shaped sound signature. It’s all over the place and doesn’t sound as good compared to other V-shaped IEMs in this price range.
The mids of the TRN CS2 are too recessed for me. Even with a V-shaped sound signature, the mids shouldn’t be as recessed as it was presented in this IEM.
The mids are muddied up and mid-bass bleed occurs a lot. The bass frequencies noticeably muffle the instruments.
While the sound quality of the lower mids sounded terrible, the upper mids managed to strive through it. The vocals remained present with good positioning and were not overly pushed back by the bass and the treble. Female vocals were pleasant but male vocals often get smeared due to the midbass bleed.
Overall, the mids took a toll on the TRN CS2’s tuning. It has a pretty awful presentation. They sound boxy and smeared, plus they lack clarity and definition.
The highs of the TRN CS2 lacked presence in the mix. Sometimes they’re noticeable but for the most part, they had a veiled presentation.
Yes, they don’t sound harsh or sibilant, although the lack of clarity and definition doesn’t cut it for me. It had some airiness but lacked that pleasant sparkle. The tonality and timbre mainly remained neutral but it had this weird grainy texture that can get fatiguing over time.
I was never really impressed with the treble presentation of the CS2. It’s almost as if it’s tuned to be dark but it’s different and muddy.
I’ve tested the TRN CS2 on different genres of music to properly understand how they sound and here are my findings.
- Metal / Rock – The whole presentation was messy as the guitars sounded muddy, the bass frequencies were all over the place, and the vocals were smeared. I expected some energy and impact on the presentation since the CS2 resembled a V-shaped sound signature. The bass was impactful but the overall sound lacked clarity, which made it sound unrefined and cuffed as if a speaker was placed inside a closed box. Tracks used: I Don’t Love You (My Chemical Romance), All The Small Things (Blink 182), Ignorance (Paramore), Cold (Korn), Cliffs of Dover (Eric Johnson)
- Pop – The vocals on the test tracks sounded congested and nasal. The technicalities of the CS2 were also lacking. The soundstage wasn’t huge and the sound separation wasn’t good either. The mix sounded boomy but lacked character and clarity. The instruments got pushed back, although they still maintained a presence in the mix but not that much. Tracks used: Snooze (SZA), As It Was (Harry Styles), Yours (Maye), Love (Keyshia Cole)
- Hip-hop – The presentation was moving and groovy but again, even though hip-hop is mainly bass-driven, I was looking for a bit of bite on the top end. I also wanted that extra clarity to spice up the presentation, but I experienced none of it. Instead, I got an excessively boomy bass, congested mids, and a dark-sounding treble. The bass bleed also didn’t help as it made the tracks sound bloated. Tracks used: LOVE. (Kendrick Lamar, Zacari), SDP interlude (Travis Scott), I Wonder (Kanye West), Superhero (Metro Boomin & Future)
- R&B / Soul – The performance of the CS2 was a disappointment. The vocals and instruments in the mids, which is the highlight of this genre, didn’t sound quite good. They sounded nasal, lacking clarity and definition. Male vocals had a problem, as that nasal presentation often occurred on tracks with male vocals. The instruments had the same problem as the vocals, which also sound congested. The bass was impactful, but it bled through the mids making the problem worse. Tracks used: LA FAMA (Rosalia, The Weeknd), Blessed (Daniel Ceasar), Moonlight (Kali Uchis), Traingazing (Sam Wills ft. Honey Mooncie), Always (Daniel Ceasar)
The TRN CS2 is one of the TRN IEMs that disappointed me.
Compared to other IEMs in its price range, such as the TRN MT1 and the KZ EDX, the CS2 didn’t perform well. The bass is all over the place, the mids are boxy, and the treble extension is short and sounds veiled.
A lot more IEMs nowadays under the $20 mark can go toe-to-toe with more expensive sets and the TRN CS2 isn’t one of them. It’s honestly a waste of money since you can get better sound quality for the same price or even less.
I love TRN products and I keep a few pairs from them on my rotation but the CS2 is just not it.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.