TENHZ P4 Pro: Midrange Master
Today we’re checking out the P4 Pro, a quad-balanced armature earphone from the folks at TENHZ.
TENHZ you say? Another new brand, huh. Sort of, but not quite. You might recall Audbos, a spin off brand from Magaosi marketing primarily in the North American market. Back in early 2017 I reviewed the K3 and DB-02, both hybrids and competitive offerings in their respective price ranges. I’m not sure exactly when, but Audbos shortly split off to create their own independent products and to eventually rebrand as TENHZ.
The P4 Pro is one a couple products to emerge from the re-branding. Among the budget audiophile community it is rapidly cementing itself as a worthy purchase due to a crisp, detailed, neutral-leaning signature. After spending over a month with the P4 Pro, I’m going to have to side with the community. This is a great earphone that is well worth checking out, if that’s the sort of signature you’re looking for. Let’s take a closer look.
Thanks to Lillian with Linsoul Tech for sending over a sample of the P4 Pro for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective experiences with the P4 Pro and do not represent Tenhz, Linsoul, or any other entity. No financial incentive was provided to write this review. At the time of writing it was retailed for 120 USD: https://www.linsoul.com/product-page/TENHZ-P4-PRO-EARPHONE
The P4 Pro is super easy to drive and in no way requires a amp. Phone and DAP users should be able to get the most out of the P4 Pro no problem, just be sure to feed it quality content since it is fairly revealing. I used mine straight out of the Shanling M0 or paired with my LG G6 with the iFi Audio ieMatch helping quell hiss. It was also power by my TEAC HA-501 on low damping with my Asus FX53V or one of a number of other devices sourcing music. I also used it frequently over Bluetooth (LDAC / LG G6) plugged into the Radsone Earstudio ES100 which powered it beautifully.
I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy. Note that I generally listen at exceptionally low volumes.
- Driver: 4 balanced armatures (22955 Knowles for bass)
- Impedance: 26 ohms +/- 10%
- Sensitivity: 110 dB+/- 1dB
- Frequency Response: 10Hz – 40Khz
- Max Imput Power: 10mW
- Distortion: =/< 2%
Packaging and Accessories:
The P4 Pro’s packaging is fairly simple in the exterior design. Primarily a matte white, there are some flourishes here and there on the front. Along with the usual branding, there is a glossy image of the earphones themselves with the cable attached. Also present is the statement “Completely Transparent Headphones”. Not sure if they’re referring to the sound or build. A clipart-style image of a record and player arm wraps around the bottom left and onto the left panel. On the rear you find a fairly extensive specifications list and a paragraph explaining the P4 Pro and it’s features via roughly translated English. You might think that by now these companies would have worked to improve the quality of translations given how popular Chinese earphones have become in primarily English speaking countries. Not that it really matters though, since most people will extend maybe a cursory glance at the package before tossing it out. Below this paragraph is a frequency response chart free of the usual stylized flourishes popularized by more mainstream brands. Lastly, there is an accessory list. One item of note is “headphone cable with microphone”. No mic here.
Pulling the interior tray from the top via a white ribbon, you find the tray is split into two sections. The top half is filled with a very premium looking and feeling, magnetically sealed leatherette carrying case proudly displaying a small metal plaque emblazoned with the Tenhz Audio name and logo. This thing is nice and a very cool inclusion. The second segment contains the earpieces and tip collection placed within a foam insert. Underneath is the cable, neatly coiled and wrapped. In all you get:
- P4 Pro earphones
- MMCX cable
- Leatherette carrying case
- Single flange silicone ear tips (s/m/l)
- Memory foam tips (s/m/l)
The foam tips are of decent quality using a fairly dense, almost rubbery foam. I have quite a few of these kicking around and find they last a lot longer than Comply equivalents. Easy to wash too, if necessary. The silicone tips are the same generic set you get with numerous other budget earphones. While they work, they didn’t give me an ideal seal so I swapped them out after my initial listen for some Sony hybrids, and later on, RHA’s Dual Density tips
All-in-all, this is good accessory kit. The silicone tips are not fantastic, but everything else is worth keeping around, especially that awesome case.
Build, Comfort, and Isolation:
The P4 Pro features acrylic shells in a custom-like shape that is very similar to a number of products released in the last year and bit, such as the Kinera H3 and IDUN, and HiFiBoy OSV3. The smoky black/dark grey face plates contain the TENHZ logo in a contrasting silver. It’s a subtle look that shouldn’t attract a ton of attention. The rest of the shell is a transparent black that allows you to check out the internals, such as the individual sound ports for the various drivers. The crossover is a high point in the design since it is on full display at the base of the housing. The MMCX port on top is well-integrated, protruding maybe 1mm above the housing. This will be good for those that like to cable roll since there won’t be any risk of larger plugs rubbing against the housing. It all feels smooth and well constructed with only a few minor flaws here and there, such as a single teeny bubble above the bass driver inside the right ear piece.
The cable is pretty average in my opinion. Where most of the competition is including really high quality braided cables with their earphones, the more traditional single-strand cable here comes across somewhat basic. The clear sheath revealing the shimmery wires within looks fantastic, but it’s a touch thin and on the stiff and springy side. The straight jack is very small with a flare that makes gripping it easy, but the strain relief is too stiff to provide any real protection from tugging. It also looks very similar to the jacks I’ve got on a few sub-10 USD earphones. The simple, relief free y-split is much the same, taking away from the subtle, premium design of the ear pieces. Things improve leading up to the MMCX plug where you find an outstanding set of preformed ear guides which oddly enough, have a slimmer section at the very end acting as extra strain relief. Cool. The plugs themselves are compact, clear sections of plastic that look pleasing to the eye and feel durable. It’s a fine cable.
Like other earphones using this shell design, the P4 Pro is extremely comfortable. The acrylic material is very lightweight so you don’t have to worry about something heavy dangling from your ear canal. Since the shape is custom-like, the P4 Pro conforms well to your outer ear, locking itself into place securely. Those with especially small ears or those of an oddly shaped outer ear might experience some issues achieving a good seal. I expect the majority to be very pleased with the way the P4 Pro fits.
Given the ear filling shape and lack of any ventilation, the P4 Pro has great isolation. Not uncommon for pure-BA products. With silicone tips and no music playing, the P4 Pro makes for a great set of ear plugs, dulling the noise of those around me to a murmur. I can still hear conversations fairly clearly, but they’re much, much quieter than they would otherwise be. Put on some music and use the foam tips and you’ll be in your own little world.
Tips: If you want to get the most out of the P4 Pro’s conservative low end, be sure to use foam tips. They also smooth out the treble and mids some, making them sound a bit more refined. Extra isolation is a pleasant side effect. Silicone tips are brighter and more textured.
The P4 Pro’s treble is slightly elevated with emphasis seemingly placed in the lower treble regions (maybe around 5k?). I found this placement to give the P4 Pro a very detailed, but not particularly fatiguing sound. Upper treble is lacking sparkle giving the P4 Pro a somewhat dry presentation. This also means they’re not quite as airy as other earphones. Texture is excellent though, as apparent in Rage Against The Machine’s “Bombtrack” where cymbals have depth and definition in places other earphones are splashy and uncontrolled.
The mid-range is the star of the show with a clear presence and natural tonality. Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic have similar rapping styles and voices (Rob is a bit higher pitched and more nasal), yet as they banter back and forth on “Dokken Rules (feat. Rob sonic)” they each sound quite distinctive. Guitars also sound right too, with tons of texture. Weighting and note solidity in general feels…right. Not too thin and analytic, but not overly thick and soft. When it comes to sibilance, the P4 Pro tip toes along a very fine edge without toppling over. This is the type of mid-range I would be plenty happy with were it more common.
The Knowles driver handling the low end does a good job, though I wouldn’t say there is anything particularly noteworthy going on down there. It’s typical BA performance showing decent extension on Kavinski’s “Solli” with rapid decay and attack or more mid- and upper-bass frequencies, and quite a lot of texture all throughout. If you’re used to dynamic drivers, these will probably sound a little anemic, even though it’s still boosted slightly above neutral. I certainly wouldn’t call them bassy. If you do find them lacking low end, toss on some foam tips and make sure you give yourself time to acclimatize. You might be surprised.
I found the P4 Pro’s sound stage to be fairly average with greater depth than width. Thankfully, the outstanding imaging, layering and separation qualities keep each layer and instrument on a track individual. Even on Havok’s most aggressive and congested tracks on their album ‘Time is Up’ the P4 Pro retains composure and keeps it clean.
Overall I find the P4 Pro’s signature quite balanced and that it provides a very satisfying listen for someone wanting a neutral leaning sound, without going all-in on that style of tune. There’s still some fun to be had in the bass and treble. My main complaint, which is more of an observation that really only crops up when comparing to other products, is that the drivers sound a mite unrefined and really aren’t a step up from the those used in more budget oriented sets like the KZ BA10.
Select Comparisons (volumes matched with Dayton Audio iMM-6) :
KZ BA10 (75-100 USD): The BA10 with it’s 5 BA setup, in my humble opinion, is an excellent sounding product that has been overlooked because of some questionable ergonomics. Fair enough, but when comparing to the P4 Pro which has been reviewing very well, it’s easy to see that the BA10 swings up the price ladder. The BA10 has a slightly warmer presentation with smoother treble and mids, and a more impactful, aggressive low end. I found it’s sound more refined in nearly every instance.
Bass is one of the more notable differences with the BA10 providing greater extension and visceral feedback. It’s one of only a few BA-only iems that can handle “Solli” without feeling compromised in the low end. The mid-range isn’t as forward as on the P4 Pro, nor is it quite as detailed, but it is smoother and strays further from dabbling with sibilance. Treble on the BA10 isn’t as prominent. It also sounds like it starts to roll off a little more at the top but it is much less tiring despite seeming to have it’s spike up at a higher frequency. It has a touch more sparkle but not quite the same level of clarity of the P4 Pro, nor is it quite as tight and well controlled. The BA10 sounds huge compared to the P4 Pro without giving up anything in terms of imaging quality. Layering and separation are pretty much on par too. I’d personally take the BA10 over the P4 Pro based on sound nearly every time because 1) it’s low end is much more satisfying without ever being overbearing 2) it sounds like the more refined, expensive product 3) much better sound stage. That said, the BA10 has a more colored, further from neutral signature so I can see why others would prefer the P4 Pro.
Going back to the beginning of this comparo, the P4 Pro’s fit is miles better. The BA10’s design works, but it never feels secure since it’s shape doesn’t match that of any human ear. Build on the other hand is outstanding on the BA10. The all-aluminum shells are immaculately crafted. Still, the P4 Pro looks more subtle and professional compared to the BA10 with it’s Iron Man color scheme. Cables? BA10’s braided option looks better to me, has improved strain relief, and I find 2-pin connectors more reliable. It’s also more flexible and less noisy. The P4 Pro’s preformed ear guides win back a lot of respect, though I still think KZ does memory wire better than the vast majority of manufacturers so I don’t mind it on the BA10.
Whizzer Haydn A15 Pro (124.90 USD): The A15 Pro’s single dynamic has a warmer, smoother sound with a greater emphasis on upper mids and treble. I personally think the Haydn’s bass presentation is quite sub-par, failing to evoke the qualities usually attributed dynamic driver; impact, weight, and physical presence. Its failing in these regards are apparent when a/b’ing with the P4 Pro which has a quicker decay and hits with more authority. A15 Pro only has the edge in extension. Mids are slightly thicker and more forward on the P4 Pro. A15 Pro sounds more open and spacious with a deeper, wider stage. P4 Pro’s imaging is tighter and more accurate but the A15 Pro nearly matches it in layering and separation. P4 Pro is more crisp and detailed top to bottom. Primarily due to the low end presentation, I prefer the P4 Pro. The A15 Pro’s low end is weedy and anemic, and completely unsatisfying.
The A15 Pro’s well-machined metal shells evoke a great sense of quality and premium feel, though ergonomics go to the P4 Pro which fit my ears more naturally. Neither has a particularly nice cable, but the edge will go to the P4 Pro. 1) The A15 Pro’s fabric section kinks easily. 2) The P4 Pro’s MMCX connectors do not display the same intermittent connection issues, and do not detach during regular movement. The A15 Pro’s packaging and accessories are more plentiful and of higher quality, save for the included carrying case. Tenhz’s is essentially just a larger version of Whizzer’s and uses nicer materials.
Kinera IDUN (139.00 USD): IDUN’s hybrid setup has a notably more v-shaped signature with sharper, more shimmery treble and more thumpy, punchy bass. Mid-range de-emphasis definitely takes the attention off it when compared to the bass and treble, and listening to it back-to-back with the Tenhz. P4 Pro is a little more detailed, but not much, though low end texture is much better than on the IDUN. IDUN’s vocals are set further back on the stage giving it a smaller presentation than the P4 Pro. P4 Pro’s imaging, layering, and separation all feel more accurate and spacious. IDUN is slightly congested in comparison. I appreciate the extra bass of the IDUN’s dynamic but overall prefer the sound of the P4 Pro.
I didn’t receive any official packaging with the IDUN so I can’t comment on that, but I will say that they go tit for tat on accessories. The IDUN’s less generous tip set is of much higher quality being that they use Sony hybrids, or a nigh identical third party alternative. The IDUN’s branded metal case is lovely and essentially the same thing you get with the 2000 USD HiFiMAN RE2000, but, I think Tenhz’s leatherette case is just as nice and possibly even more premium looking. That said, you can’t deny the extra protection a metal case gives over a semi-hard leatherette case. While they are similarly built, the P4 Pro’s acrylic has a cloudiness to it not present in the IDUN, though you’d never really notice it unless setting them side-by-side. IDUN’s braided cable is a masterpiece. ‘Nough said.
The Tenhz P4 Pro doesn’t wow me like some other earphones, but I consider that a good thing. Products that blow me away out of the box tend to lose their luster quickly. Those like the Tenhz P4 Pro seem to just get better over time. It’s consistent and reliable and doesn’t do anything to turn me off when I just want to sit and listen to music, either as a primary focus or in the background.
The P4 Pro is nicely built, outputs a quality sound signature, is plenty comfortable, isolates well, and overall feels like a decent value, though the forgettable cable and generic tips pull from the presentation somewhat. Driver refinement is a touch behind that of similarly priced competition, but even so it doesn’t really take away too much from the overall experience. This is a rock solid earphone in a competitive segment that shouldn’t disappoint many, as long as you know what you’re looking for. I have no issues recommending this one to someone wanting a neutral-leaning earphone with outstanding mids and an attractive but subtle design, one that doesn’t cost a bundle. Well done Tenhz.
Thanks for reading!
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Some Test Tunes:
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)