TinHiFi is a Chinese brand that understands the budget IEM category very well, delivering standout designs with a focus on value. The TinHiFi P1 launched back in 2019 with planar drivers, immediately making a name for itself. The brand branched out with the T1, T2, T3, and T4 IEMs, and introduced the P2 in 2020.
TinHiFi is now looking to continue its momentum with the P1 Max. Although the naming suggests the IEMs are another variant of the P1, that isn't the case: the P1 Max feature larger planar drivers, 0.78mm 2-pin socket connector instead of MMCX, and a new design that looks rather nice.
What TinHiFi didn't change is the value; the P1 Max launched for $189 but are available for just $129 on HiFiGo, making these among the most affordable planar options you'll find today. You can also pick up the P1 Max at Amazon, but you will need to shell out $169. As with most IEMs, you get a standard two-year warranty with the P1 Max.
TinHiFi is known for interesting designs, and while most of its product portfolio features shells made out of stainless steel, the P1 Max are made out of resin. They still feature a stainless steel wire mesh on the outside, and the design looks good — if not as unique as the first-gen P1. However, going with resin means TinHiFi was able to save some weight, and this is noticeable in daily use. The P1 Max have a comfortable fit with the nozzle doesn't extending too much, and the shell sits on the outer ear and doesn't exert much pressure.
The build quality is outstanding, and the P1 Max are just as sturdy as their metal-shelled siblings. You get a decent amount of accessories in the box, including six pairs of silicone tips, two memory foam tips, and a braided cable with good memory retention that ends in a single-ended 3.5mm plug. The P1 Max have a 2-pin connector instead of MMCX, and while I would have liked to see the latter, it isn't a big deal. As it is, the bundled cable by itself should be more than adequate for most users interested in the P1 Max.
There's good isolation as well, and while they're not on par with the best wireless earbuds, the P1 Max do a great job cutting out ambient noise to an extent. They're decent with low-hum sounds like the air conditioner, but I was able to hear my clatter of my keyboard when using the IEMs.
The biggest draw with the TinHiFi P1 Max is the sound, and there is a lot to like here. The IEMs have large 14.2mm planar drivers, and TinHiFi did a great job tuning the audio. The result is that you get a vibrant sound with good dynamic range and excellent detail retrieval. Sensitivity is quite low at 98dB, so you should pair the P1 Max with a good DAC to unlock the full potential of the sound. I used the P1 Max with Fiio's BTR5 and KA3, and switched over to the excellent BTR7 once that became available.
The sound signature is clean and detailed, with the bass in particular shining through. Planar drivers tend to deliver a fluid low-end that's fast and engaging, and that is the case here. There is a good extension to the sub-bass, and you get decent rumble, giving low-end frequencies good presence.
The P1 Max doesn't miss a beat in the midrange as well, delivering a clear and detailed sound with lots of energy and good instrument separation. Female vocals come through with good tonality, and there's never any harshness. On that note, there is a little bit of an exuberance in the treble region, and there are a few instances where the IEMs come across as bright. For the most part, however, you get engaging highs.
Where the P1 Max stand out against the likes of the Fiio FD3 is the soundstage; they sound wider and more engaging, and that makes a difference in daily use. The LETSHUOER S12 are a good alternative to consider here, with these IEMs also featuring planar drivers and a lively sound. That said, having used both, I'm gravitating toward the P1 Max; they just sound a little more vibrant.
All things considered, the P1 Max are among the best IEMs you'll find for under $150. They have a terrific sound signature thanks to large planar drivers and good tuning, and they work well across a variety of genres. They also have excellent build quality and a good design, and you get all the accessories you need in the box. Considering they're selling for just $129, you're getting a great bargain.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.