Summary – Tansio Mirai went for a ballpark TSMR house tuning for both TSMR-5 and 6, a bit like how similar Fearless S6Rui and S8F are. Since they’re both quite similar with some differences, I’m going to write a general and comparative sound analysis instead of writing two separate pages of reviews. Also, I find Mode 123 to be the most balanced and will hence be using it mostly for the review. I’ll mention pointers about other modes and switches wherever required.
Both TSMR-5 and TSMR-6 are clarity driven IEMs with a tilt towards upper mids and treble which brings out nice micro-details and nuances in music. As for primary differences, TSMR-5 has more bass and fuller lower mids whereas TSMR-6 has leaner bass and mids and as a result a bit more upper mids and treble presence.
Bass – Bass in most TSMR IEMs in default 020 mode is towards the neutral side and TSMR-5 and 6 are no different. I switched to Mode 123 since bass in default mode 020 was a bit lean for my taste. Mode 123 balances the bass quite well in comparison to the upper registers. Both TSMR-5 & 6 have the capability of going as low as 20Hz easily and bass in both has good speed and attack. As for the differences, TSMR-5 has more sub-bass and mid-bass presence and as a result sounds better balanced, more interesting and fun. In my tests, bass shines in warmer songs like Coldplay’s Orphans but is more tight and controlled when the distortion guitars kick in (for example Karnivool’s Simple Boy), as upper mids and treble take the spotlight there. Also, different cables and ear tips alter the perception of bass slightly with EAC’s 7N SCC Litz and Ego Audio’s Whiskey being my favorite cable pairing. For me, TSMR-5 works well for bass heavy music as it preserves the clarity and micro-details while keeping the bass well defined, tight and controlled, without it going into boomy or basshead category.
Mids – Both TSMR-5 and 6 have lower mids with a nice gradual dip from 200Hz – 1kHz, quite like the Fearless S6Rui and S8F. Since they do not have as much boosted bass as the Fearless siblings, the lower mids and bass have a more balanced relationship. Both have a clean and clear lower midrange presentation with good tonality and timbre. TSMR-5 has fuller lower mids body compared to TSMR-6 and as a result sounds more natural and balanced overall. Upper mids in both are well present and have dominance over the rest of the frequency spectrum, with TSMR-6’s upper mids being slightly more present relatively. As a result, both TSMR-5 and 6 highlight vocals, distortion guitars and acoustic guitars in the mix along with bringing out the micro-details and nuances in the songs. But at the same time, people who are sensitive to upper registers can feel that the upper mids are a bit hot. I’ve seen this as common practice in the Chinese audio world and can see how it works well with Chinese Pop, K-Pop and J-Pop music. For me, the upper mids sometimes cross my preferred threshold in some songs as my playlist comprises of English music mostly, but at the same time sound great with warmer EDM songs like ‘Tangled Up’ and ‘Time’ from the 13 Reasons Why (Season 2) album. TSMR-5 has better upper mids balance than TSMR-6 and switch combinations help change the upper mids character a bit, with Mode 123 and 100 having the best balance. Also, DAP pairings and cables help in altering the perception of upper mids slightly.
Treble – Both TSMR-5 and 6 are IEMs that are towards the brighter side, where the treble extends well and helps with overall clarity while avoiding harshness. Both have a treble peaks in the 6.5-7.5kHz range which adds sparkle and shine on top of most instruments. Songs with brighter mixes may cross the threshold for the treble sensitive and so I suggest treble sensitive people to tread with caution (always) as appreciation will depend on preferences and threshold of treble sensitivity. For me, TSMR-5 definitely sounds smoother than TSMR-6 and seem bright only occasionally in some songs. Besides that, both are safe from sibilance and treble adds on to the overall clarity for those micro-details.
Soundstage, Imaging and Separation.
Both TSMR-5 and 6 have decently wide soundstages with TSMR-6’s soundstage being slightly wider than TSMR-5’s, owing to TSMR-6’s leaner midrange character. Both do imaging very well, which helps in pinpointing even the softest instruments precisely. Separation between instruments is very good owing to its ability of bring out the micro-details.
BGVP DM7 – TSMR-5 has slightly more bass presence and punch in Mode 123 as compared to DM7, though DM7’s bass is quite engaging and fun but with lesser prominence. TSMR-6 is more neutral in comparison. DM7 has slightly fuller lower mids compared to both TSMR-5 and 6. Though all three have 2 upper mids peaks in the ballpark, TSMR-5 and 6 upper mids are more prominent and DM7 is relatively smoother in that region. TSMR-5 and DM7 have similar treble extension, though TSMR-6 has slightly more treble presence. TSMR-5 and 6 have slightly higher resolution but has a relatively smoother presentation. TSMRs have an ever so slightly wider soundstage relatively though DM7’s soundstage isn’t narrow by any means.
Fearless Audio S6Rui – S6Rui has slightly more bass presence and punch than TSMR-5 and 6 both. Lower mids presentation is quite similar. TSMR-5 & 6 have more upper mids presence whereas S6Rui is slightly calmer in comparison, which makes S6Rui a smoother listen while TSMRs are more energetic. TSMR-5 and 6’s treble is a bit more present and extends slightly further, where S6Rui is slightly warmer with a natural roll-off in comparison. All three have good soundstages but TSMR IEMs have it cleaner owing to less bass presence and more focus on upper register clarity.
Fearless Audio S8F – S8F again has slightly more bass presence and punch compared to TSMR-5 and 6. TSMR goes for a lesser boosted bass presentation in general. Lower mids presentation is similar. All 3 have a prominent upper mids character with TSMRs being slightly more prominent. S8F has one prominent peak at 3.5kHz whereas 5 & 6 have two, one in the 2-3kHz range and another in the 4-5kHz range. Treble in both extends pretty well but TSMR-6 has the best extension and more presence, followed by TSMR-5 and then S8F. All three have high micro-detail retrieval ability and wide soundstages.
Fiio FH7 – I have the RED (bass) filter on the FH7 for this comparison. Fiio FH7 has a very different presentation compared to both the TSMRs. FH7 doesn’t have as much upper mids dominance as the TSMRs and focuses on its nice unique treble character for clarity and detail retrieval. TSMR-5 has most bass slam and punch followed by TSMR-6 and then FH7. Sometimes FH7’s upper mids feel a bit hollow and this is where TSMRs perform prominently, a bit like how Harman IEMs do. Both TSMRs have slightly fuller lower mids. TSMRs have a more defined soundstage and good detail retrieval.
There are some companies out of China that cannot be tagged as ‘Chi-fi’ and Tansio Mirai is certainly one of them. I reviewed a couple of their IEMs previously and have gotten acquainted with their work ethic, tech development and some of the R&D they’ve been doing to develop new products. They operate like a boutique company with a handful of craftsmen making everything by hand with very good attention to detail. TSMR-3, 3Pro and 4Pro were testament to that and were products that were well received by most. Now, TSMR-5 and TSMR-6 follow suit with a Tansio Mirai house sound and do most things well but I feel they both can do better in some areas. The niggles I felt and have listed are subjective and you may or may not feel the same. I personally like TSMR-5 more than TSMR-6 as I found it more musical with better overall balance and equally good resolution for bringing out the micro-details in music. All in all, Tansio Mirai stays firm as one of the nicest emerging boutique companies out of Asia and is a brand that everyone should keep an eye out for.
Gear used for testing and review.
- Macbook Pro using Logic Pro X session with hi-res test tracks played through Universal Audio Apollo headphone out.
- DAPs- iBasso DX160 & Hiby R6 Pro
Reference Songs list.
- Dave Matthews – Shake Me Like a Monkey
- Foo Fighters- The Pretender, Best of you & Everlong
- Coldplay- Paradise, Up in flames & Everglow + Everyday Life Album
- Ed Sheeran- Thinking out loud, Bloodstream & Galway Girl
- Chainsmokers – Somebody, Sickboy, This Feeling & Closer
- 13 Reasons Why (Season 2) Album
- John Mayer- Slow dancing in a burning room, Stop this Train & Say
- Gavin James- Always & Hearts on fire
- Switchfoot- Meant to live & Dare you to move
- Our Lady Peace – Do You Like It & Innocent
- Linkin Park- Papercut, Somewhere I belong & Talking to myself
- Maroon 5- She will be loved, Payphone & Lost stars
- Lifehouse- All in all & Come back down
- Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane
- Karnivool- Simple boy & Goliath
- Dead Letter Circus- Real you
- I Am Giant- Purple heart, City limits & Transmission
- Muse – Panic station
- James Bay – Hold back the river