Details: Latest eco-friendly creation from “Green” IEM manufacturer Thinksound
MSRP: $99.99 (manufacturer’s page); $109.99 for TS02+mic w/mic & 1-button remote (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $80 from amazon.com for TS02; $90 from amazon.com for TS02+mic
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: N/A | Sens: N/A | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4.2’ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single flanges, Comply T400
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down
Accessories (3/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (4 sizes), shirt clip, and cotton carrying pouch
Build Quality (4/5) – The TS02 is similar in construction and appearance to the two other Thinksound models. Like those of the TS01 and Rain, the housings of the TS02 are made out of wood and aluminum. The rubbery cable, long strain reliefs, and beefy 3.5mm plug are all sourced from the other Thinksound earphones as well. Worth noting is the lack of a sliding cable cinch and mild driver flex exhibited by the TS02
Isolation (3/5) – Again, the isolation of the TS02 is very similar to that of the other Thinksound earphones – limited by the rear vent of the earphones and moderately shallow fit. In addition, mild wind noise is present in windy conditions
Microphonics (4/5) – Low as the PVC-free cable doesn’t bounce around a whole lot. Wearing them over-the-ear eliminates microphonics but may be undesirable for those who use the microphone
Comfort (4/5) – The fit of the TS02 is very similar to that of the Thinksound Rain as the earphones are very similar in size. They are unobtrusive and remain comfortable for hours but I wouldn’t recommend sleeping in them – the shorter shells of the TS01 are better-suited for that
Sound (7.1/10) – Thinksound promises a warm and balanced sound with the TS02, which is slightly counterintuitive on a technical level since ‘warmth’ implies a certain emphasis on lower harmonics. That said, the TS02 is a very musical and enjoyable earphone – not a paragon of clarity by any means (at least compared to the similarly-priced RE-ZERO and Ety MC5) but an excellent set for relaxed listening. The bass is deep, full-bodied, and very smooth. They aren’t bass monsters but they provide a weighty punch that reminds me of the pricier Monster Turbine Pro Gold. Texture and detail are quite good – not obscured by excessive impact or lack of body. They don’t extend unflinchingly into the sub-bass the way Hippo VBs and FS Atrios do but there’s no lack in rumble, at least not for my tastes. In addition, the reverb of the TS02 is surprisingly realistic, which may or may not have something to do with the wooden housings.
The midrange is warm and lags slightly in emphasis behind the bass. The mids aren’t recessed like those of the FA Eterna, nor are they as forward as those of the ViSang R03. Clarity and detail are good but not class-leading. Like the other Thinksound earphones the TS02 has a certain lushness to its mids that always keeps me entertained. Moving towards the upper mids, the TS02 remains smooth and controlled – an improvement over the TS01. Even straight out of the box there’s almost none of the TS01’s harshness and unevenness, just smooth and competent treble with plenty of sparkle and definition. Those who like a more laid-back presentation may want to look at the ViSang R03 or even the Eterna since the TS02 is quite crisp but anyone coming from a Panasonic HJE900 or even Klipsch S4 should feel right at home with the treble quantity.
The presentation is broad and quite engrossing overall. The soundstage has good depth and width. There’s a thickness of note that prevents them from being as precise as the Ety MC5 or RE-ZERO but positioning and imaging are still pretty good. The TS02 is not the widest or most three-dimensional earphone in its price range but it is one of the most coherent, which again makes it a good all-rounder with a popular but nevertheless enjoyable sound signature. As a sidenote, I really liked the Rain for movies because of its frequency balance and ‘big’ sound and the TS02 is even better-suited with its rumbly sub-bass and spacious presentation. Many of the highly-detailed in-ears simply draw too much attention to background noise when it comes to movies and gaming but the TS02 balances things out just right and manages to remain absorbing but not distracting, which says something about the earphone’s overall SQ as well.
Value (8/10) – The Thinksound TS02 is a very pleasant earphone that borrows quite heavily from the company’s older models – the TS01 and Rain. The bass impact, weight, and rumble, as well as the warmth and musicality, come straight from the TS01. The smoothness and soundstage come from the Rain. These qualities are exactly what I originally liked about the Thinksound earphones and all make the TS02 a competitive entry among sub-$100 in-ears. Plus, for the eco-minded, this one ships with a cleaner conscience.
Pros: “Green”; aesthetically pleasing; plenty of bass, sparkly treble
Cons: No cable cinch, mild driver flex, slightly susceptible to wind noise, a touch pricier than comparable (mic-less) models