Thinksound TS03 + Mic

Average User Rating:
4/5,
  1. Dsnuts
    4.0/5,
    "Thinksound's outstanding Ts03"
    Pros - -Best iteration of the Thinksound woodie earphones to date.
    -Full bodied, cohesive clear and detailed well balanced exciting sound.
    -Tin box and package assembled in the US of A
    Cons - -Microphonics when worn down.
    -Slight driver flex
    -wind noise
    Thinsound Ts03+mic


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    SPECS:

    .Microphone for music and calls control

    .20Hz - 20KHz frequency response

    .99 + or - db @ 1KHz 1mW sensitivity

    .16 Ohm impedance

    .45 deg angled gold plated plug

    .Acoustically enhanced 8mm driver

    .Kevlar- reinforced, tangle resistant 4 ft cable

    .Passive noise isolation.

    .Sweat resistant design

    .Four size silicon tips

    .Cord clip, cotton pouch and hard case.

    .One year limited warranty.



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    Disclaimer. Aaron Fournier of Thinksound has reached out to me to review his newest creation, I was provided a review sample for sole purpose of a review. All what I have to say about his earphones are my thoughts compared to the many what I consider proper or comparative at the given MSRP range.


    I would like to thank Aaron for being such a good steward for the community and providing enthusiasts with the goods all while using an environmentally small footprint. In the time that I have seen Aaron’s post and email exchanges the man is passionate about his craft and always considers how enthusiasts think about his products. I have had the honor of seeing his thinksound brand get better and better with each iteration of phones he produces and the Ts03 is no exception. So let's get down to the nitty on what I consider his finest work to date.


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    Design/ Build/ Usability:

    New to thinksound is the new tin box you get the earphones in. As simple as this tin box is it is a perfect carry all for the Ts03 in that the pouch tips clip and phones all fit in snug with a bit of room to spare for extra tips. This is welcomed over just the pouch which was provided for previous earphones. The tip box is much like your altoids mint box that fans of the amp designs should be immediately familiar with. Same exact dimensions actually. Besides the obvious benefits of protecting the ts03 inside it’s contents the box is small so very easy to throw in your pocket for on the go. No worries if your gonna sit on your buds or crush anything inside. It is small light effective and relatively crush proof.


    Then you have the build of the earphones themselves. The improvements are kevlar reinforced sweat proof cable and a solidly built mic that is on the cable. Speech had a nice clear signal when using on my phone. The single button control did well pausing and forwarding my tracks. 45 degree angled plug is solid no weakness on any part of it that I can obviously see. While initial look will tell you the cord is a bit on the thin and somewhat ordinary looking it doesn’t seem like it will be weak or will be breaking off with normal everyday use.


    The phones when worn straight down emits some microphonics. Worn over the ear eliminates annoying bumping sounds that can travel up the cord to the ears. The size of the earphones are on the smaller side of average in size and light in the ears. They are very comfortable using provided silicon tips. Tip rolling did not do any significant change to the sonic characters to the phones so the stock tips are excellent the way they are on the phones.


    So the underlying value and theme to the earphones is they are very understated and does not stick out in a crowd. In fact with recent Chi fi knock off designs and almost CIEM looks with flashy cables and the like the ts03 in comparison looks somewhat boring. No multi quad or triple designs here. Which is the opposite of what seems to be trending among earphones now a days. In fact it seems with more and more multi driver configurations that come out of the woodwork the idea might come about that more drivers would make the earphones somehow sound better. These on the other hand has one of the most coherent and complete sounding earphones from a single driver I have ever heard. Which is difficult to say for even 4 driver iems that cost 4X more.


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    Sound characteristics: of the Ts03 is an evolution of the thinksound woodie earphones. The first thing that comes to mind is authority in all regions of sound. On the tin box of the Ts03 the sound description in print states 8mm HD headphone with deep tight bass and mic. My initial thoughts were. Here we go again with a bass heavy signature.


    On open listen it was just that. The bass was brutally large and took center stage in the music but had flashes of brilliant detail in the mix. These are one earphones you will need to burn in. I burned in the review pair with my drum and bass tracks for a good week straight with almost no break in between.


    A well burned in Ts03 has a more balanced character than a bass first iem which I initially thought it would be and sounded like. The sound opened up with much better clarity, balanced well from the highs to the lows and that big bass was now tamed, tighter, deeper like the tin box read. It has now become extremely enjoyable a well tuned balanced V signature with a full bass end.


    The signature is a more forward and fuller sound experience than a lot of earphones I have been reviewing and listening to lately with a slightly larger stage both width and depth than your average earphones. Considering this stage depth and fullness is coming out of a pair of wood earphones roughly half an inch in size for the housing the sound these little woodies throw out is bold and substantial. Being easy to drive across all platforms I have used with them they make perfect companions for your phone, pad, laptop or a dedicated dap. No amp is needed but do sound more spacious and detailed with an added amp. E12A and C5.


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    Deep bass is one characteristic of the Ts03 detailed rangy mid section and crisp clean treble is the other. Overall tone is more neutral with a slight hint of natural warmth and added timbre only wood housing can get you. The sound will be a bit aggressive to folks that like their sound polite. The sound Fr to my ears is a light V signature but with mids that have solid height and depth. These are not a bright sounding earphone but has good crisp detailed treble to round off the sound. Very slight upper mids grain was noted from tracks that have sibilance in them. We are talking you have to be really listening for it to hear any, this is probably more due to how forward the overall signature is. For the most part these stay away from any real sharpness or fatiguing sound.


    One of the most unique sound characteristics of these earphones, it has this crazy ability to turn off the bass when there is no emphasis like no other. While I would consider these to have a good amount of bass both mid and sub it comes out to play only when a track has it in the recording. On more bass polite tracks like acoustical, vocal and instrumental scores there is zero emphasis on the bass end. Something that just don’t happen with lesser earphones. It can thump that bass for your hip hop and sound absolutely delicate for your classical and has the ability to sound stunning for both genres. Can’t say too many in ears I have hard has this ability.


    Ts03 is the best I have heard in this regard. Even over my full sized TH-X00 Fostex cans. Basically if your tune has bass emphasis these will clearly let you know they have bass emphasis. If the track is light on the bass. It will stay light. This agile and truly dynamic bass end make for one of the best wood earphones I have heard to date.


    Yes my friends these will give your JVC woodies a run for sound not to mention your other higher end single dynamics.


    Now for some negatives that keep these away from a true 5 star performer.

    Thinksound woodies are about as non exciting as it gets in form of packaging or flash. This could be a good thing depending on how much bling you think you need for earphones. These are all substance and none of the frills. No crazy amount of earphone tips.No flashy silver coated cable. Accessories are at a bare minimum. The cable that is attached to the earphones emit microphonics and cannot be worn straight down when walking around. Has to be worn over the ear.

    The design of the housing has a vent in the back end of the earphones. Which cause wind noise to happen if there is even a mild breeze ruining any type of sound you're hearing so no bike rides can happen using these. Passive isolation is a bit below average at best. I can hear people walking around me and can hear my wife speak to me even with music playing. This could be a good thing if you need to be aware of your surroundings. But for travelling you will clearly be able to hear a baby cry sitting next to you on a bus ride. Last but not least my review pair has some slight driver flex on both sides, which only happens when I throw them in my ears in a hurry.


    Compared to past Thinksound earphones the Ms02 and Rain3.

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    To my ears the Ts03 is an evolution of past earphones and thus I clearly like these the best out of the 3.


    The build quality of all 3 are identical all 3 have the 45 degree angle plug and same exact build. There are some similarities to the sound tuning on all 3 mostly being the timbre you would expect from woodies but it is the Ts03 that is the most dynamic experience out of the 3.


    The Ms02 is their monitor series and has the best balanced sound out of the 3 earphones but is a closed design and is minus the vent out back of the Ts03 or the Rain3. Has a touch less treble, bass and stage vs the Ts03 and has a bit less depth in the mid range as well. This being said guys that want less coloration to their sound in their thinksound series of earphones the MS02 is the least colored out of the 3 earphones reviewed here. When going back n forth from both earphones they both sound more similar than different but it is the Ts03 that shows up with better range, clarity and stage.


    The Rain3 is Thinksound’s smooth signature earphones with a more laid back sounding approach to the thinksound earphones. These have the least amount of bass and has a more reserved treble in comparison to the other 2 earphones. Sounds signature is less forward vs the other 2 earphones a more V shaped signature and also has less definition due to their smooth coloration. I would say out of the 3 these are my least favorite. This being said people that like their sound a bit less bold would appreciate these more so than the upfront approach of the Ts03.



    Final thoughts

    Thinksound is a small group of enthusiasts lead by one man that clearly has a passion for great sounding gear. It has been a privilege to see the evolution of sound design and improvement from the thinksound earphones. The Ts03 represents the best earphones I have heard from Aaron to date and I am excited to see what the future holds for the company. Being a huge fan of their ON2 headphones, I think Aaron has yet another big hit on his hands.


    Enthusiasts that take the plunge for a pair are in for a nice surprise. The sound of the Ts03 is outstanding and is a results of one man clearly refining his craft. I am excited to see what the future holds for the thinksound brand and what Aaron will do next. It seems with every new iteration of their earphones it is clearly improved.
  2. Cinder
    4.0/5,
    "How To Do Dynamic Right"
    Pros - Nice walnut wood construction, uses durable aluminum for nozzle, very cohesive sound, great bass, lots of detail retrieval
    Cons - Upper-half of the cable too thin
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    Thinksound TS03 + Mic Review: Warm and Detailed; a Prime Example of How To Do Dynamic Right
    The TS03 marks the fifth Thinksound product to cross my doorway. I’ve been using their IEMs on and off for two years now; something keeps bringing me back. I don’t know if it’s the simplicity of the design or the comfortable sound signature Thinksound is known for, but either way it makes for a great experience. The TS03 follows that trend, but does that make it worth buying?

    You can find the TS03 + Mic here, on Thinksound’s official website, for $120.

    Disclaimer: This unit was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Thinksound beyond this review. These words reflect my true, unaltered, opinion about the product.

    A heart-felt thanks to Aaron at Thinksound for sending me the TS03.

    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.

    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.

    Source: The TS03 was powered like so:

    HTC U11-> USB-C adapter -> earphones

    or

    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones

    or

    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones

    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    Sound Signature
    Initial Impressions:

    One word: cohesive. That’s the first thing I noticed after having reviewed a litany of two, three, and four-driver IEMs. No matter how good they get, they can rarely, if ever, beat the cohesion of a well-tuned dynamic driver. And the Thinksound TS03 is just that. With a full and robust sound signature, this IEM makes listening effortlessly enjoyable.

    The treble is ahead of the mid-range, which is biased towards the lower-mids. Bass is plentifully and tight, with bass cohesion being top-notch. Overall, I’d say the TS03 is a V-shaped IEM with a warm tilt.

    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy

    Treble is a strong point for the TS03. With a much more pronounced upper range than the older generations, the TS03 sounds open and precise. Extension is great.

    High-hats and cymbals have an excellent attack and decay and are layered well with a good amount of air to them. Midnight City’s synths sounded open and forward without being overly sharp. The main thing I noticed is that instead of commanding the entire song, they melded into the litany of other instrumentation M83 masterfully organizes in what is normally the background.

    Sibilance is not normally an issue, but is observable in some tracks. While listening to my song library on shuffle I came across a couple songs that were unpleasantly sharp, but much to my surprise, Nero’s Satisfy was not one of them.

    Furthermore, the TS03 is surprisingly good at retrieving micro-details. I actually heard some new parts of my test songs, a considerable feat given that they’ve passed through over 60 individually-tested IEMs by now.

    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams

    The upper mid-range is the most “recessed” band of sound in the TS03’s sonic signature. While true in the technical sense, it doesn’t really feel that way after spending a couple days with it. Coming from the mid-forward Heir Audio 4 Ai.S, I can safely say that the upper-mids aren’t too far back, and don’t inhibit the earphone from sounding good in the vast majority of use cases.

    Guitars and drums both sound great and are easily distinguishable, regardless of which song I listened to. Be it Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, or Audioslave’s I Am The Highway (rest in peace, Chris), I found tonality and separation to be quite good.

    Pianos are well-defined too. While they aren’t as hard as I would have liked, they are definitely not the mushy mess that they were on the original Rain.

    Vocals are generally good, but can occasionally be sibilant. Male and female vocals are well-weighted and have above-average intelligibility.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    Bass is plentiful in quantity and precise in quality. Listeners of electronic music will be enthralled with how well the bass assaults your eardrums during the drop, and rock enthusiasts will appreciate how well-defined bass-guitars are.

    Sub bass is, while (some-what obviously) less impressive than the mighty quad-driver Rose Cappuccino Mk. II, it’ still no slouch. Playing In For The Kill will instantly give you an appreciation for just how well-extended the TS03 is. And it’s not just extension; sub-bass control is there as well, and is top-tier for a single-dynamic driver.

    Packaging / Unboxing
    Thinksound has done away with their packaging, instead giving customers a hard metal case to carry their earphones in.


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    Build
    Construction Quality

    The TS03 is constructed in typical Thinksound fashion: reclaimed walnut-stained wood and polished-metal driver housings in which a single full-range dynamic driver resides. The front half and nozzle of the TS03 are made from a single piece of polished gunmetal-colored aluminum.


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    The cable is made from tangle-resistant PVC-free plastic. It’s got a good thickness below the Y-splitter (which is also made from polished aluminum) but lacks robustness above it. A boost in diameter would be much appreciated in terms of longevity.


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    As a side note, it would also be really cool to see sleeved cables. Nylon and Kevlar have a real nice feel to them and do wonders in making a product feel more premium.


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    The inline controls are also made from polished aluminum. It’s got a single plastic button and mic built into it. The button has a nice tactile feel and isn’t wiggly or loose at all, a trait that is an automatic fail in the “does it feel well-made” test for me. The controls have the typical pause/play/skip functionality on both Android and iOS.


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    The cable terminates in a gold-plated 3.5mm jack, angled at 45 degrees. There is ample stress relief, so don’t fret too much about it breaking or wearing out prematurely.

    Comfort

    The TS03 is very light, meaning it isn’t particularly noticeable in the ear. Impressively, the large diameter on the nozzle doesn’t impact comfort at all, partially due to the very high core-size of the included eartips.

    Accessories
    The TS03 is the best-equipped IEM by Thinksound so far. Inside the “box” you’ll find:

    • 1x Hard metal carrying case
    • 1x Soft cloth carrying pouch
    • 4x Silicone eartips
    • 1x Shirt clip
    Thinksound is currently tied for #1 on my list for “most usable silicone eartips” with Magaosi. (Obviously, given the unique nature of a person’s aural anatomy, this is a subjective metric).

    The included hard carrying case is also a really nice addition, and I use it quite often when the soft carrying pouch isn’t quite enough protection for the TS03.

    Summary
    The TS03 is a another great IEM from Thinksound. While “natural” is a term I rarely every apply to a warm IEM, I think I’ll actually have to give it to the TS03. It’s a far-cry from the Rain2 and goes to show how far Thinksound’s come in such a short time. So if you are looking for effortless listening, a cohesive sound signature, comfort, understated style, and a subtle ecological footprint, definitely check out the Thinksound TS03.
    drbluenewmexico and B9Scrambler like this.