TRN ST5 – Basshead on a budget

Mid-bass slam

Bass bleed
Pinna gain can get shouty

Disclaimer: This unit was provided by Linsoul for free in exchange for a written review. No incentives of any kind were given and the review you are about to read are my own thoughts and opinions. Thanks once again to Linsoul for the opportunity and support.

Table of Contents

  1. Sound
    1. Sub-Bass
    2. Mid-Bass
    3. Mid-range
    4. Treble
    5. Technicalities
  2. Quick comparisons
    1. CCA CRA+
    2. Tripowin Mele
  3. The verdict

Driver Setup: 1DD + 4BA
Price: $60
Purchase link and info: Linsoul

Included in the box:

  • ST5 Monitors
  • (Recessed) 2pin Cable with an interchangeable termination;
  • 3 interchangeable cable terminations: 3.5mm, 2.5mm and 4.4mm;
  • 6 pairs of silicone tips;
  • 1 pair of foam tips;
  • Paperwork and warranty.

Comfort, fit and isolation: Good.
Source used: Topping E30 + L30 stack, Singxer SA-1 
Tips used: BGVP W01
Test playlist with some of the songs used: Tidal


The TRN ST5 (ST5) is what I would consider a L-shaped IEM. It has an obvious 10db bass boost that only corrects its shelf around the 800hz mark, the same place where the pinna gain region starts its rise.

Translated into more palatable words, the presentation will be warm and the bass will bleed into the mids, which are somewhat neutral thanks to its pinna gain region and the upper mid-range plateau. After that, the treble is nicely dripped around 4.5k hertz, freeing itself of any fatigue or unnecessary timbre shrillness, keeping basically a straight line through all the rest of the frequency range, turning into great extension.

Now, if we carefully analyze the above paragraph in more depth, we can also get more information out of it. Firstly, the ST5 isn’t analytical what-so-ever, due to its bass shelf and not boosted upper regions, and instead have a more musical presentation of the music. We can also conclude that the pinna region can get close to shoutiness due to its sudden rise followed by a dip and low SPL treble, in comparison.

Now, the above assumptions are true, but we were lacking vital information that most FR graphs won’t tell you: the driver setup.

Packed with a beryllium coated DD and 4 BAs per side, the ST5 actually turns the tables in its favor, by using a strong dynamic driver for its bass region and letting the BAs do lighter work. The immediate consequence of this, that surprised me right at the first listen, is that despite what the graph shows, the TRN ST5 is actually resolving at its price range, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves and let’s bring some tracks to help with the analysis.


Hans Zimmer – Why So Serious?

I’ll just go straight to the point. The drop around the 3:25m is extremely well replayed. And notice I didn’t say “for the price”. Touché.

(Same speechless reaction to James Blake – Limit To Your Love sub-bass pads.) 


Mark Lettieri – Magnetar

In this track I am only looking for the drum pedals and the sick bass line replay, and their position. Let’s put all the cards on the cable right now, the bass is boomy and not the most defined, but it is prominent and has a good sense of tacticality to it, especially at this price range.

The high elevation on the shelf takes a toll on clarity and sense of separation, especially between shared bandwidths like the two instruments I’m on the lookout for. They are slightly positioned above what they should actually be, which leaves me to the conclusion that the ST5 isn’t the best for this genre of songs. But it’s fun and addicting, I’ll give you that.

The bass is on the slower side and lacks the refined texture, but the impact it shows it’s impressive given the price we are talking about. It doesn’t just add all the elevation but also accompanies it with some dynamics, turning it into a great contender for a budget basshead set.


Agnes Obel – The Curse

I decided to bring out the big guns and one of my trademark songs as I didn’t want to analyze just the mid-range, but also its relative position to the treble and the bass. A viola, a cello, a piano and female vocals.

The overall tonality balance is a bit off due to the bass, but that was expected already, bringing up the cello and the lowest notes of the piano way too forward. Despite all that warmth, the actual definition of the mid-range isn’t as compromised as I expected, maybe due to the balanced armateur’s job. The vocals are forward, having bite, sometimes almost too much, but nothing I can’t fault much. This effect is also massive related to the pinna-gain peak being around the 2k region and not closer to the 3k, that I personally prefer.

For a warm tuning with this amount of pass, this easily gets a pass, especially Agne’s vocals. What has also come evident with this track was a smidge of incoherency and a slight cut-off on the treble – both on the vocals and the viola, – with the harmonics feeling slightly cut-off and with fast decay.

Michael Bublé – Feeling Good

Quick word on male vocals: The presence (elevation) is well done, but they lack bite and get into the husky side of the replays. I do think that, despite the graph, the female vocals have a superior replay with the ST5.


David Carroll – Hell’s Bells

As mentioned above, there is a dip in the treble after 4k hz that stays flat until the end of its extension. This type of tuning leaves the initial sounds of brass and metal instruments way too prominent since its harmonics aren’t as elevated, turning a bit sibilant at times. I never felt it left me fatigued or making me want to skip tracks, so that’s a good sign.

It’s not a perfect mid-treble for sure, but it isn’t terrible. To compensate for such a thing, the extension is great, let alone for the price. The BA drivers were greatly implemented on this one and I can’t fault it at all around this bracket.


Since we were just talking about treble, we might as well start by talking about ST5’s timbre, which is not good, but palatable due to the treble dip and extension.

Coherency (or lack of) and not-so-good separation has already been mentioned, so that leaves us with dynamics and imaging chops. 

Stage size and Dynamics are actually good for this price range, with the first being close to your head but at least not just left and right, showing an inch of width and depth. Imaging is the weakest link, feeling mushy and hard to pin-point.

Last but not least, comes the sheer detail, and that one is actually pretty good, especially considering the tuning.

Quick comparisons


The ST5 comes across as warmer due to less treble elevation, which also makes it more controlled in this region. I do prefer the treble on the ST5 instead of the peaky one on both CRAs, which I’m known to not really enjoy. The bass tacticality is also superior in the ST5, but the CRA checks out the timbre and coherency marks. Detailing going to the TRN but CRA has more clarity and sense of air, again, due to the treble region on the scale vs the bass shelf.

Tripowin Mele

The ST5 comes out as more technical, if you discount timbre and coherency. 

The Mele has a more controlled bass (speed and tightness), no bleed but the ST5 replays a better sub-bass rumble and bass impact. The treble goes into the ST5 turf, especially its extension, while the Tripowin has a better mid-range presentation, especially the vocals. 

The verdict

Once I graphed the TRN ST5, I was expecting to dislike it but I actually grew fond of it. It’s actually nice to see a budget offer that contemplates bassheads without sacrificing much.

Due to its tonality and timbre, I wouldn’t recommend it to people that listen to genres like classical, jazz or OSTs, but rather to Hip-hop libraries, EDM or old records.

If you are a basshead but the money is tight, you can’t go wrong with the ST5, which in those circumstances I have to give my recommendation.

Value ranking: 4/5. Personal rank: C.

Thanks for reading!

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