Pros: Packaging and accessories, design, build quality, comfort, lows
Cons: Highs, soundstage, overall sound quality, value
Packaging & Accessories: 10/10
Build Quality: 9.5/10
Design & Look: 10/10
Microphonics (higher ratings means lower cable noise): 9.5/10
Sound Quality: 7.5/10
My final Rating: 7.5/10
Review Date: July 2016
Review Price: £125
First of all I would like to thank Trinity Audio for sending me the Trinity Phantom Sabre for review. You can find them for £125 directly from the company’s website or on Amazon UK for the same price. In the US you can also find them on Amazon USA for $159.
The earphones use an interesting push/pull dynamic driver in order to deliver the sound. This comes from the earphones housing a set of 7mm titanium diaphragm drivers.
Here’s my video review of the earphones:
Let’s get on with the written review!
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging and accessories are one of the most complete set I’ve ever come across in a set of earphones. Especially given its price, the Trinity Phantom Sabre really sets the bar for other manufacturers.
You get the following:
- Standard Trinity multi-braid
- Memory wire multi-braid
- Fabric cable with mic/remote/volume control
- 5x pairs of tuning filters (shallow and long depth nozzles) with their mini carrying cases
- Hard carrying case
- 6.3mm adaptor
- Right angle jack adaptor
- S/M/L silicone tips
- Double flange tips
- M/L memory foam tips
- SPINFIT ear tips (SS/S/M/L)
- Shirt clip
The list of accessories is insanely large and extremely useful – from comfort and portability to sound tuning. Trinity Audio have really thought about the complete package! I especially like the inclusion of the vast amount of filters and their effects on the audio (more on that later). They also come in shallow and deep filters, allowing you to adjust the earphones to your ear canals.
Overall, top marks to the company for producing an amazing set of accessories, which positively complement the earphones.
The earphone’s build quality is absolutely fantastic. Let’s start with the wires which are included, as there are three, and they’re all detachable.
One cable is braided, another is also braided but has memory wire ear hooks and finally the last one is made out of a fabric material and has a built-in mic/music controls.
The choice of three cables is great, not only due to the fact that they’re 2-pin removable cables, but also because they’re aimed at different types of users: The normal listener, the mobile-user and the runner. All of which have different requirements.
The cables are a huge plus, but it should be noted that they’re all terminated by a straight 3.5mm gold plated jack. If you want a right-angled jack, you’ll need to use the provided adaptor – which in itself isn’t a bad thing as Trinity Audio are yet again providing you with the option!
The strain reliefs on the jacks is well thought-out and all the cables have a cable cinch, allowing you to better store the earphones. Regarding cable management, I found the earphones to be reasonably tangle free, although at times the braided cable would cause some headache. As the earphones are worn over-the-ear, there is practically no cable noise to be heard.
Moving on to the earphones’ housing, I found them to be sturdy, beautifully built with a clear sign of left and right marked on the earphones’ housing. The cables are detachable and are easy to switch, whilst the filters are also easy to quickly exchange.
However, one flaw that I noticed came with the tips and the filters, where I noticed a little bit of driver flex. This comes from the tips being inserted on the nozzle and then being pressed in your ear canal and creating an unwanted ‘flexing’ sound. I found the issue to occur on and off from different filters and tips, but it’s something to bear in mind.
Overall the build quality is fantastic – there’s very little flaws I could find and I’m very impressed.
Design, looks, comfort and isolation
I found the earphones to look great whilst in-ear or sitting on my desk. The gunmetal look really complements the earphones, as does the metal housing which gives it a strong build quality. Their circular design sits well in-ear and I personally found them to be very attractive.
The Sabre has a good isolation, but due to its relatively low-profile housing, can’t passively block out that much sound. Nevertheless, it has above-average isolation for an earphone.
The earphones are very comfortable, no matter the cable you use – especially given that you can customise it to your liking. Despite the earphones having a little bit of weight to them, due to their metal construction, they sit very lightly in your ears. This mainly comes down to their over-the-ear design, which takes off a lot of the weight from your ears.
The most important part here is its sound quality and it was something that I was looking forward to, as I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Trinity Audio line. The push/pull dynamic driver system coupled with its multiple different filters, allowing you to customise the sound is also a nice touch.
Speaking of the filters, here’s a description of the colours taken from Trinity’s website:
- Red: Enhanced bass. Offering a V shape signature while retaining plenty of musical detail
- Orange: V shape signature with slightly decreased bass
- Yellow: Neutral + Offering a more balanced sound signature with a very slight increase bass over neutral with a great mid and high range sparkle
- Purple: Neutral – Offering a more balanced sound signature across the frequencies
- Gunmetal: Treble. Offering a reduced bass signature with an focus on upper mids and treble
Their description is accurate and goes with what the filters do. You’ve also got the choice of a deep or shallow insertion, where I opted for a shallow one.
Regarding the filters, I opted for the yellow filters as they provided the best sound for my ears, here’s a short description of the filters in my ears:
- Red: Overpowered lows, V-shaped, lacks mids
- Orange: Slightly lower bass impact with less extension in the sub-bass over the Red filters, a little better mids, but still V-shaped
- Yellow: Just the right amount of bass, with more emphasis on the mids over Orange filters
- Purple: Lower bass versus Yellow filters, more emphasis on mids, slightly artificial highs
- Gunmetal: Sibilant highs, very little bass extension or impact
As you can read from the above, I barely mentioned the highs and the soundstage of the filters, and that’s because no matter which filter I put on, I found them to really lack any conviction in both departments. The soundstage is really subdued, which is the main cause of concern for me. When compared to the DUNU Titan 1, or other earphones within its price range, I found the Phantom Sabre lacked that extra ‘surround sound’, which I am used to hearing. Its highs were also rolled off or overly sibilant as they were over-compensated through the treble-focused filters.
Here’s a breakdown per frequency, using the YELLOW filters:
The lows have a good sub-bass extension, although it could be prolonged a little more in the lower frequencies. The mid-bass has a decent slam, but lacks a little control. I found the bass to be one of the key highlights of the earphones’ sound quality reproduction.
The mids are also well reproduced, with them coming alive with brighter filters, like the Yellow set that I preferred using. However, they are slightly pushed back and thus sound a little recessed. The highs are unfortunately its weak spot – they aren’t detailed, don’t provide that much-needed sparkle and lack extension. As said above, you can get them to sound sibilant by having treble-focused filters, but to my ears it sounded over-compensated and still lacked extension.
Its soundstage is also a let down, as it compressed the sound, didn’t give my music any depth or width and most of all prevented the sound frequencies from shining. I feel of the soundstage was better presented, the mids and highs would really shine through. Unfortunately, it’s not the case, and no matter which filter and depth of nozzle I used, I found the Phantom Sabre to lack that wider sound presentation, making me want more from them in terms of overall sound quality.
Sound Quality Ratings
Conclusion & Closing Thoughts
The Trinity Phantom Sabre, is the most complete earphone package I’ve ever come across and has a fantastic look and design to it. However, it’s massively let down by its soundstage and highs, which make you want more from the earphones socially speaking.
It feels odd for an earphone to score so well outside the sound quality section and then lack in the final-third, where it’s the most important part of any audio device. I just wish that attention to detail was emphasised in its sound quality presentation. Unfortunately, at its price, there are much better earphones which cost half its price or provide a lot better sound quality.
Hope you enjoyed my review!
Can you please provide examples of IEM’s at this price range that sound better and have better soundstage, as you claim? I found the sabre’s to be really good bang for buck sound wise (not just because of accessories, durability, etc). But I’m interested to hear your opinion about it.
A perfect example is the DUNU Titan 1/5s, they’ve got a good open soundstage versus these and cost under £100.
There are even cheaper ones, like the RockJaw which also provide a good soundstage 🙂
So you would rate the Rockjaw overall as better? Interesting, I found them to be merely average (alfa genus) compared with even a budget pair of Vsonic. I think these British “makers” (or rebranders of OEM Chinese stuff?) to be trying very hard to break into a very competitive space by adding almost too many option, which always end up with only one variant fitting most.
A harder market to really penetrate when you consider the vast R&D put into earphones by sennheiser etc, and the superior results. Basically any Chinese maker can produce a basic, decent sounding iem for a few quid now, and people seem to accept a fairly low base if the other packaging elements and looks are good. Specialist companies like Vsonic, Hifiman, SoundMagic will always sound better IMHO.
Sorry for rambling..I quite enjoy your reviews, and they seem pretty accurate to me.
Well, I feel the price is what really holds the Sabre back. £125 is too much and for that reason I have to rate it accordingly. The Alfa genus isn’t an amazing earphone, but for the price, is one of the best around – even for its sound quality, where it punches well above its weight. It sounds more open and has a much better, cleaner bass response.
I also presume they’re OEM, but I can’t know that for sure.
As for Sennheiser etc – I wouldn’t say they’re superior, in fact the Momentum earphones, that comer in at around £20 more expensive than the Alfa – is on-par sound quality wise.
Glad you enjoyed my review though, and thanks for sharing – I enjoy reading comments like this 🙂