Details: Thinksound’s pricier “crisp and balanced” wooden IEM
Current Price: $64.99 from Amazon.com (MSRP: $99.99)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: N/A | Sens: N/A | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Comply T/Tx400
Wear Style: Over-the-ear or straight down
Accessories (3/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (4 sizes), shirt clip, and unbleached cotton drawstring pouch
Build Quality (4/5) – The wooden housings are accented by machined-aluminum nozzles. Combined with the etched L/R markings and general attention to detail, the Thinksounds have a very upmarket feel. The short strain reliefs are functional and the rubberized cable, despite being rather thin, does not tangle much. The 3.5mm I-plug is well-relieved and sturdy
Isolation (3/5) – Average due to massive rear vent
Microphonics (4/5) – Slightly bothersome when worn cord-down, very low worn over-the-ear
Comfort (4.5/5) – The housings of the Thinksound Rain are longer and thinner than those of the TS01. Wearing comfort is just as good since the housings are still light and easy to wear over-the-ear. However, sleeping in the Rains is not a good idea due to the length of the shells
Sound (7/10) – I reviewed Thinksound’s lower-end TS01 head to head with another wooden earphone, the Woodees IESW101B, and found them to be different interpretations of a very similar sound signature, each unique strengths and weaknesses. The sonic signature of the higher-end Thinksound Rain seems to offer a blend of the positive traits of the other wooden earphones while downplaying the flaws. Unlike the enhanced-bass TS01, the Rain is advertised as having a crisp and balanced sound, which is true – the low end of the Rain is significantly lighter than that of the TS01 and the treble is tamer. The slightly flatter bass allows the Rain to relay more fine detail at the bottom of the range. They are still far from bass-light and can hit quite hard when prodded but the low end extension suffers noticeably in comparison to the Thunder. The bass on the Rain is full-bodied, no doubt, but the rumble of the Thunders is lacking.
Moving on to the midrange, the Rain, unlike the TS01, doesn’t drop off at all, sounding more forward and natural than the TS01 does. Detail and clarity are noticeably better and everything just sounds crisper. The tamer low end imparts little warmth on the midrange but the lush liquidity that’s so pleasant with the TS01 is not lost. Unlike the TS01, however, the Rain does not exhibit stridency towards the upper midrange. As a result, they sound smoother overall despite the lack of warmth. Musical elements like the crack of drums or snares never sound jarring the way they can with the TS01, even with silicone tips. Unlike bass extension, which suffers as the result of the flatter low-end response of the Rain, treble extension doesn’t seem to be affected by the flatter top end. The treble is crisp and clear, with a bit of sparkle and natural reverb. The Rain don’t exactly manage the delicacy or effortlessness of the RE0 but will satisfy a treble lover more than, say, a ViSang R03 or Soundmagic PL50.
Finally, presentation is another area in which the Rain surpasses the TS01 in my book. The soundstage of the Rain is significantly broader. It’s not a wide-sounding earphone like the Cyclone PR1 Pro but it is well-spaced and conveys both intimacy and distance fairly well. Imaging is better and orchestral pieces sound more natural and less dense. Like the TS01, the Rain also has a good sense of timbre, whether with guitars or woodwinds. It’s not perfect, but then for the price it’s not expected to be. In my weeks with the Rain I’ve also learned something else – the Rain is a very good IEM for movies. Something about the way it positions audio is very believable and the highly detailed nature of the mids and treble helps bring out intricacies that may otherwise have been missed. And of course the impactful bass helps complete the overall experience.
Value (8/10) – On the grand scale, the Rain is not radically different from the TS01 in sound. It is the little improvements, however, each changing the sound slightly but in the right direction, that come together to make a product that is significantly more capable overall. The Rain is more balanced, more neutral, and more natural-sounding than that TS01. It is smoother overall and boasts a more lifelike presentation. Both Thinksound earphones put up a good fight on the usability front as well – their design is simple but functional. And of course Thinksound’s environmentally-friendly approach to product design is a value-added proposition for those who sleep better at night knowing that the earth is just a little bit greener because companies like Thinksound and Ankit are doing business.
Pros: Great aesthetics and attention to detail, solid performance, environmentally-friendly design & packaging
Cons: Not as sleep-friendly as the TS01