With many thanks to Wendy Li of KBEAR, I have spent the morning with the hybrid 3 driver IEM, the Tri Starsea. And a good looking thing it is too. On unboxing, I found the Starsea had a 4 way switch and an insertion pin to use on it. As you can tell, I went in completely blind to the Starsea; because that is my way! I prefer to find out things as I go and try to avoid any preconceived ideas. Not so easy to ad lib on a live unboxing video if you don’t know what the heck you’ve got… Still, I got through it and have come out the other side
Being so much more confident on paper, let me rattle off a few observations. The Starsea is very attractive. It is well packaged. Tri seem to have found another innovation; the imagination of these companies knows no bounds. The cable is an 8 core silver plated 2 pin design with a straight jack. As you may know by now, I prefer a QDC and a right angled jack. There is no doubt as to the luxurious feel of the cable, it’s just a bit dated. There are 2 different comply tips and 3 sets of silicons. The silicons won for me this time. The case is lovely, with no zip, just a precise lid. Changing the tuning can be done in a second or so, with no damage to the shell. YOu can have standard, balanced, bass or vocal heavy signatures. The usual relatively high sensitivity and low resistance means thi is at home on a smartphone if you don’t own a DAP. The Retail price can be got for under £100
I compared these by using a variety of tracks, ranging from Tracy Chapman’s If Not Now to Metallica’s Death Magnetic album, using a Shanling M0. I quickly realised that the standard turning was the only state that didn’t put some sort of a mask over the rest of the sound stage or detail, or both. The Starsea felt a little bass light in my ears, when compared to the NF Audio NA2.
Sure, having comply’s in helped, but the mids and highs were constrained as a result. Likewise, the bass heavy switch put more mid and upper bass into the signature at the cost of dulling the sound quality. The NA2 gave more subbass and also added more detail and stereo separation than any combination I’ve been able to find on the Starsea thus far. My thoughts were that a QDC cable with a fraction smaller shell might help to even the match up between the competing IEMs. As always, my thoughts are these; I haven’t read any others out there, some may be raving about these and some may agree with me. If you like the look of them, I shan’t stand in your way of spending your hard earned. I’ll pick the Starsea up from time to time and will be sure to look in here if my opinion changes in the coming months