Tanchjim Origin: Back to Basics?

The Origin is Tanchjim's latest flagship DD IEM. The brand last struck gold with their Oyxgen IEM - almost five years ago. Does the Origin capture some of that original magic?

Tanchjim Origin - Back to Basics?


For the uninitiated, Tanchjim is the overshadowed, pseudo older brother to Moondrop, the popular Chi-Fi brand that’s established itself with its calculated approach to tuning and anime art. Like so, Tanchjim’s products have generally taken a higher price-bracket with their single-DD Oxygen - released all the way back in 2019 - being their claim to fame.

The brand has had a hit-or-miss track record since the release of the Oxygen, so I was cautiously optimistic to learn they were releasing a successor named the Origin ($260 USD). Now all that remains is to see (or rather, hear) how it stacks up.

This unit was provided for review by Tanchjim. As always, what follows are my honest opinions to the best of my ability.


  • Carry case with magnetic clasp
  • 2-pin 0.78mm cable
  • Ear tips s/m/l wide-bore and narrow bore
  • 3x swappable filters

The case of the Origin has a magnetic clasp. The cable is on the thinner side but has a nice, clear coating over the wires and feels to be of reasonable quality.


The Origin’s shell is noticeably larger than most of Tanchjim’s other, svelte IEMs. A lot of this difference is based on the base of the Origin’s nozzle which seems to have been elongated to facilitate its swappable nozzles. However, as Tanchjim’s other IEMs are already quite small, I didn’t find this to affect my comfort with the Origin - I would say this only might be an issue if you have smaller ears.

Sound Analysis

Let’s quickly discuss the swappable nozzles, as the bottom line is that they don’t do very much. They make subtle adjustments to the treble response depending on whether you’d like it darker or brighter. I ended up sticking with the stock ones which I thought were the best balance.


Measurements off of the clone IEC-711:


Measurements off of the B&K 5128: 


To my ears, the Origin’s tuning takes a lot of inspiration from IEMs often tuned for Asian audiences. I might be generalizing, but there is a rough tuning ethos that manufacturers tend to follow, especially when their target audience is in East Asia: mid-bass focused, upper-midrange heavy, and on the brighter side. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of these types of tunings; however, the Origin is a good challenge to my tuning predilections.

I think this would come down to several differentiating factors:

  • There is still a decent amount of ‘boom’ to the bass in the form of mid-bass. The Origin does not rumble much and the bass has a quicker sense to it.
  • The upper-midrange never quite teeters into actually ‘shouty’ territory. Male vocals maintain a slight warmth due to the emphasis on mid-bass.
  • The treble on the Origin is a standout for a dynamic driver IEM. It has noticeably better extension than most single-DDs (such as the popular Moondrop single-DDs and Tanchjim’s own Oxygen), up to ~15kHz before sloping off, and it’s very smooth to boot.

Most impressive would be the Origin’s sense of technicalities. Its sense of resolution is excellent to my ears. The emphasis on the upper-midrange brings female vocals to the front. And while IEMs that follow this type of tuning strategy tend to sound harsh - even grainy - to me, this doesn’t occur with the Origin due to its smooth, extended treble response. There’s a slight crispness to the edge of midrange notes that sounds natural and slightly textured.

In typical fashion for Tanchjim, the Origin’s imaging performance is also exemplary when it comes to the width of the soundstage and the overall openness of the presentation. Instrumental tracks, especially those that pan instruments to the corners, are a treat to hear on the Origin.

Listeners who index for dynamic range (gradations in volume and an IEMs ability to come across as explosive) will also likely find themselves impressed. The Origin’s smooth midrange and treble response, in conjunction with the lack of sub-bass, encourages listeners to crank up the volume with minimal fatigue.

The Origin’s sense of technicalities is impressive - and I don’t even need to attach the stipulation of “for a dynamic driver”. To my ears, it handily competes with many multi-BA or hybrid IEMs that I have heard in the ~$500 price range.


With emphasis on the Origin’s technical performance, it makes sense to compare it to other ‘powerhouse’ dynamic driver IEMs. A legacy go-to option is the HA-FDX1 from JVC. In my opinion, the Origin wins by a large margin all-round, and it’s a rare testament to noticeable improvements in single-DD technology. A more modern option might be the Thieaudio Elixir. Overall, I think that the Origin is more technical - particularly for a sense of imaging performance - but the Elixir remains a more balanced option for listeners who want more sub-bass.

The Sennheiser IEMs like the IE200/600/900 take a very different approach from the Origin. Comparatively, these IEMs have more relaxed upper-midranges and extra mid-treble for a more exciting U-shaped response. This makes the Sennheiser IEMs (particularly the IE600 and IE900) go-to options for listeners indexing for strong bass and sparkling treble. But as anyone who has heard the Sennheiser IEMs can tell you, their sense of soundstage is average at best. This is where the Origin takes a substantial lead and with comparable detail to boot.

And finally, who could forget the Oxygen? Now, while I don’t have an Oxygen on-hand, I do own a Hana 2021 (kindly gifted to me by GizAudio) which sounds very, very similar. To my ears, the Origin is undoubtedly a step-up in terms of resolution and treble extension, and a small step-up in terms of soundstage. But if you’re a listener who enjoys a strong bass response, the Origin isn’t going to replace the Hana 2021.

The Bottom Line

The Origin is an IEM that, once upon a time, I might have written more about. It does a lot of things right and it tastefully fulfills a niche. But by definition, a niche has narrow appeal and I question whether the audience for the Origin is large enough for it to leave a lasting mark like its predecessor, the Oxygen. It’s not a straightforward upgrade to the Tanchjim Oxygen either.

So who is this for? In my eyes, the Origin is for listeners who want strong technical performance in a reliable package. It’s also the IEM for listeners who might have found themselves wanting to like similar flavors of tuning in the past, but who were turned-off by poor execution.

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