There are a lot of brands in the market with plenty on offer and still this market is seeing new players fighting to make their presence felt and Tripowin is one of those brands. They are fairly new to this scene and not only have good quality IEMs but a few of their IEMs have been critically acclaimed by both reviewers and users. They tasted success with the Olina and have been fairly active ever since. I do not see Tripowin veering away from the Olina lineup since they too have launched the Olina SE recently but they too are coming up with a few other IEMs too and the Rhombus is one of them. Priced at just $79 this is their budget hybrid IEM targeted towards first time upgrade seekers competing against multi driver IEMs from KZ and CCA/CCZ. Rhombus comes in only gunmetal grey paint.
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UNBOXING AND ACCESSORIES:
Rhombus ships in a small black box. Strangely it barely has any information on the paper cover. The first thing that greets us is the IEM, stuffed in foam. All of the accessories are placed inside a small compartment under it. There are 6 pairs of black and white tips. Black tips have slightly wider bores. There is draw string pouch, some documentation and a cable strap ends the short list of accessories out of the box.
I tried looking but there is barely any information about the cable type and core’s configuration but I am not complaining. This is an $80 IEM that looks cool and comes with a decent looking cable. I think it’s safe to assume it’s made out of copper or a similar alloy.
Whatever the material used this 4 core cables is fairly supple and thin. It does have a bit of memory but I don’t think it will bother anyone. There is little bit of microphonics too but it’s not bothering. The cable splitter and 3.5mm jack are tiny while the cable guide is a bit on the aggressive side for more grip and stability.
BUILD AND ERGONOMICS:
Nearly all the IEMs I have reviewed recently have ergonomic yet not semi-custom type shells and the Rhombus is latest in this list. Made with 5-axis CNC machining process it uses aerospace grade aluminum. There is no issue with fit or stability, yes the nozzle isn’t exactly deep but still provides good traction inside the ear. It has separate acoustic chambers for the dynamic and BA drivers. It has a few vents on the body to release pressure.
The biggest aesthetical feature of this IEM is its back plate and it looks different and unique. This angular design induces both curiosity excitement.
PAIRING WITH SOURCES:
Rhombus isn’t a very picky IEM but it does need some power to get loud mostly because of its 105db sensitivity and 24ohm impedance. It doesn’t change its signature with various sources but yes make sure the source is decently powerful. I have used my LG G7 and Redmi Note 10 pro and the Rhombus sounds very good out of these.
Tripowin has been known for their single DD IEMs but I have to admit this hybrid IEM is excellent for its price. It uses a Knowles 33518 BA and a 10mm LCP/PU driver to produce some of the best details and clarity for the price.
It isn’t very bassy but still has a bit of v shape to it. There isn’t much coloration to it. I won’t call this musical or too serious but yes it’s inclined for better clarity than fun oriented output. I am using stock black wide-ish bore tip for this review.
Yes, this IEM is not going to win in a bass head contest but it doesn’t lack either. It has very good rumble with the sub-bass, mid bass is fairly voluminous with plenty of texture and definition. It moves good amount of air with a healthy body. It doesn’t have the heaviest slam but it still is thumpy and enjoyable. Decay speed too is paced appropriately with very good control maintaining nice dynamics. It binds the air when there isn’t much feel to it and lets the layers hit when the track demands. There is no issue with upper bass either, it nicely blends into the lower mids.
As mentioned earlier, this IEM has a bit of V shape to it mostly because of its elevation at both the ends. There is a bit of pop to te vocals but since the upper mid and treble instruments are taller and projected over it I am keeping this in the V shaped category.
Irrespective of the signature Rhombus barely has any problem with details or transparency. I have no issues in calling this IEM a poor men’s Shuoer S12. It has the similar lack of air in the region around vocals while vocals are well defined with good texture and resolution. I will not call this very accurate but it’s hand in hand with the S12. Unlike the S12 Rhombus doesn’t have the sharpness or piercing to worry about. Instruments in the upper mid region have very good transparency and energy. It isn’t exactly aggressive but has very good presence.
I definitely can feel the BA driver at work as the notes are tighter with thinner finishing. Overall this treble region is sparkly and lively with very good extension for an IEM under $100. Yes it doesn’t extend deep into the upper treble region but has a lot of details and transparency till then. The energy gained with the upper mids is maintained till the mid treble region. What I enjoy here is the lively yet inoffensive presentation. Instruments and notes have very good traction but barely have any uncomfortable elements to it. Another issue one can say is the slight lack of air between the instruments. Layering is good and separation is decent.
STAGE AND IMAGING:
Rhombus has a decent stage with very good height. I won’t call this lopsided but yes, it is taller than wider but still has a fairly 3D-ish feel to it as the depth is decent. It doesn’t have a lot of instruments placed in front of the head. Most of the instruments are placed near and behind the ear. Except vocals and some instruments most of the notes are projected down wards. Instruments are mostly evenly dense, I won’t complain here.
I find the sonics to be decent with nice cue placement.
VS NF Audio NA3+ :
The biggest competitor of this IEM is the NF Audio NA3. Yes it’s a DD based IEM but both are similarly priced. Both have very good balance and clarity across the spectrum but the NA3 has a slightly bigger stage and is a bit softer with better dynamics and slightly improved sonics. The issue with NA3 is it’s slightly lack of polished feeling. It is a bit raw-ish and unpolished while the Rhombus is much better with refinement and definition. Rhombus has better transparency and details too. While Rhombus has tighter and punchy bass NA3 is slightly loose and a bit more voluminous. Both are very good with extension but NA3 has better sub-bass rumble.
These two IEMs complement each other. Rhombus is a bit more robust and detailed sounding with good contrast and transparency while the NA3 is tuned for a musical and fun oriented output.
While buying an IEM in this price range most of the buyers have very similar kind of thoughts in their minds. Most of them are upgrading from their $30-40 IEMs and they want upgrades. If you are looking for better clarity and balance from your entry level hybrid IEM you are looking at one of the best IEM under $100 in Tripowin Rhombus. Rhombus offers excellent bite and aggression to keep an enthusiast seated, has enough delicacy and contrast to keep a fun lover engaged and an upgrade seeker satisfied.
Tripowin Rhombus is an excellent first upgrade for the beginners.