Something very special to report about today: recently discovered artifact, a legacy of Empire, enclosing a portion of its dark powers — TANCHJIM DARKSIDE IEMs. Not a clue whether those were developed for the entire army of stormtroopers or solely for Darth Vader — we’ve only got one perfect sample which appearance shows that it was intended for royal members…
Not much know about its origin, except that it was found in China and there were no other dynamic-driver IEMs from the same company preceding DARKSIDE. A new experiment which potential is yet to be discovered. At least, we would try to do that today…
Join the DARKSIDE of the force visiting this link: PenonAudio
- Driver: dynamic, 9.2mm in diameter
- Diaphragm type: graphene
- Frequency Response Range: 20Hz ~ 20000Hz
- Sensitivity: 103dB (at1000Hz)
- Rated impedance: 32Ω
- Headphone plug: 3.5mm plug (L-shape), gold-plated, 3-poles
- Cable length: 1.2m
- Cable type: 4 shares OFC silver-plated wire, single share 0.06mm X 18
9.2mm dynamic driver diameter is the largest we’ve ever encountered. It should be capable of unleashing the full power of darkness…
Black matt cube with carton outer cover that contains product image, slogan, name and technical description. Design is very minimalistic and eye-catching at the same time.
Removing outer cover would disclose stiff black box with white TANCHJIM brand name and logo imprints. Nothing more…
The insides follow the same strict design guidelines and reveal neat placement of additional black boxes full of surprises.
IEMs are securely held in place by the foamy podium with special openings. First that attracts the attention is that one channel has brand logo, while the other is totally black.
Again, it resembles the overall catching design of the packaging and creates the feeling of very valuable possession.
- IEMs with cable
- 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S|M|L size)
- Storage case
- Product brochure
- Couple of stickers with brand logo
- Warranty brochure
- Warranty card
Even warranty card and product brochure deserve couple of words here: warranty card with the dimensions of a regular business card is made of aluminum… Aluminum, Carl!!! Why? Don’t ask. Perhaps, because it should stay with you eternally??? Or cause it should be used as laser shield?
And the product brochure is way much better than best design practices of many more famous brands — contains lots of high-quality themed images perfectly capturing the essence of this product.
Another valuable and beautiful accessory here is the storage case. No words… Just look at those pictures:
IEMs are made of 2 aluminum parts — base and top cover, perfectly crafted and aligned. Right channel top cover contains white product logo while left is left totally blank.
Channel indicators, company and product name as well as compensation openings are located on the inner part of the base.
Output nozzles are protruding from the base, covered with non-removable aluminum protective grills|filters and have special notches for exchangeable eartips.
Cable is not detachable but its entry points are reinforced by IEM case standouts and transparent plastic earguides.
Besides that, cable is claimed to be OFC silver-plated wires, twisted, has the aluminum Y-splitter, L-shaped gold-plated 3.5mm jack with partially aluminum and partially plastic housing.
In overall, the design is excellent. We were so tempted by it that decided to spend much more time and efforts creating our own high-quality images. Serious argument here is whether to use DARKSIDE every day or leave it on the shelf to exhibit its beauty to public forever The best description for such design would be a «masterpiece».
Fit is good but not the best. Output nozzles might be a bit tricky for someone even with the smallest eartips (that tells us that stormtroopers might have some inclinations in ear structure) but once you’d find the best position it wouldn’t drop out. In our case not for the active exercising, though.
Tested with: Hidizs AP200 DAP, Hidizs AP80 DAP, Hidizs DH1000 DAC&
As already been stated DARKSIDE IEMs excel in the bunch by largest dynamic driver diameter we’ve ever had on our tests — 9.2mm. Huge driver that should be capable of producing powerful deep bass and lots of textures… In fact, it is the strongest and the most outstanding characteristics of DARKSIDE sound! The best part about it is that instead of simple boomy and smeared appearance we get precisely contoured, highly detailed and extended deep bass with decent texture reproduction and balanced delivery. Such compositions as Donald Fagen «Morph the cat» reveal lots of bass overtones. Despite high amount and power, lows do not dominate the entire scene abnormally — just to the point of accentuating its darker signature. This is like if you are a fan of armature IEMs due to excessive resolution on treble but vise versa — having almost the same effect of clarity on the lower end.
Furthermore, midbass has the necessary amount of air and amplitude to reproduce tight, full-powered and lively sound of drum sections. Its peaking notes might have an excessive bite but it happens on very rare occasions. Absolutely love how this range sounds and definitely the best IEMs in this regard so far!
Mids and vocals:
Instruments as well as voices in mid range sound naturally and rich. Very appealing sound of tube-powered electric guitars full of harmonics and overtones making those IEMs a good choice for rock, blues and other similar genres. Lower mids and male vocals sound a bit distant and recessed whereas upper mids are elevated. Female vocals are brought to front and might feel a bit harsh or produce some lisping at certain notes in case if original track EQ already had some additional gain in this section. Songs with more balanced tuning would not suffer from the same. Such compositions as Dire Straights «You and your friend» (vinyl rip 24bit/192kHz) exhibit a huge dynamic range while hiding vinyl noise and clicks behind its warmth. Mids are in good balance with lows, not overlapping, all sounds and instruments in both ranges have the adequate amount of presence and good separation.
Treble range is recessed, definitely having lower gain in comparison to upper mids and lows. Such tuning helps to keep sibilance under a full control. This recession is not severe, treble portion is still well pronounced. Extension and resolution are moderate compared to other ranges with the most of the potential revealed in music genres saturated with string or bow instruments. On the other hand, treble might sound a bit indistinct and soft when it comes to bass-oriented tracks.
Soundstage and instrument separation:
A bit controversial results here. Special binaural recordings that are intended to create additional scene depth and width show moderate effect and distance with DARKSIDE IEMs. Whereas such regular recordings as Oscar Peterson trio — «You Look Good to Me» sound just excellent — with decent instrument separation, precise location, wide stereo panorama and enlarged stage.
Sound in overall:
TANCHJIM DARKSIDE could be described as warm sounding IEMs with dark tonality. It is mostly bass and mids-oriented resolving most of the details and textures in those ranges. The most appropriate genres would be hip-hop, rap, drum’n’bass, rock, jazz, blues, etc.
Compared to Anew U1:
Anew U1 is a great example of perfectly balanced IEMs based on a single dynamic driver. It only has 7.2mm diameter and cannot really compete with TANCHJIM in terms of bass texturing… But the sound is more neutral in overall. Therefore, would be more universal while loosing a fraction of details on the lower end and at the same time exhibiting more presence of treble. Although, we know that Master Yoda wouldn’t approve it even despite the white appearance — too neutral and can take either side depending of the source.
Compared to Magaosi K3 HD:
Magaosi K3 HD are based on a combination of dynamic and armature drivers, having V-shaped tuning and lots of resolution on treble and upper mids. Bass is kind of smeared in comparison to TANCHJIM, mostly like existing instead of being detailed. We would say that K3 HD are more suitable for heavy metal and orchestra with it brighter tonality whereas TANCHJIM brings more warmth but might suffer in fast music genres saturated with lots of different instruments.
Compared to EARNINE EN1J:
EARNINE EN1J are tuned to deliver the best resolution and presence of mids together with neutral tonality. Lows and treble ranges are recessed, midbass suffers from lack of capacity and power. These are great for precise monitoring of something like guitars but would not have this much of engagement while listening to music. Only few genres would do…
We have defined all pros and cons of TANCHJIM DARKSIDE during our tests… Those IEMs really deserve lots of ovations for the decent crafting, rich box contents, attention to the smallest details and the enormous amount of efforts spent on the overall design which creates excellent first impression. Additionally, it design perfectly accentuate its nature of being dark-sounding, warm IEMs with outstanding reproduction of the lower end. Solid product impression achieved by the summation of many factors. Not without some cons, though… Upper mids might require a touch of EQ to eliminate rare harsh peaks in sound.
Finally, we can report that this artifact is completely examined and definitely represents a value for any dark force adept. The might and power enclosed inside would reward the most demanding followers or even persuade others to join the dark side. Time to make your choice, Luke. And let the force be with you!
Join the DARKSIDE of the force visiting this link: PenonAudio
Additional TANCHJIM DARKSIDE pictures: