Pros: Build, cable, case
Cons: "Custom" tips aren't custom and don't create an acoustic seal, bass distorts at high volumes, bass overpowers mids and treble, poorly extended treble
The ZTONE from I-Mego is an interesting headphone that attempts to combine the style of custom in-ears with the fit of pre-made silicone.
It was an incredibly valiant effort, but it just doesn't seem to work well.
Build/Design - Well, probably the best part of the ZTONE is its build. It's got an excellent braided silver-plated copper cable that I've not seen on anything this cheap before.
Also, the memory wire near the shells is also quite nice, as is the strain relief that comes from the shell.
The housings themselves have a gunmetal black coloring on the outer half and a clear plastic on the inner half.
The jack is also well made. It's got a very soft strain relief that feels pretty high quality. While it is a straight plug, I don't have any concerns.
Now comes the design, which is horridly flawed..
I will give credit to I-Mego for attempting to innovate, but it just doesn't work.
The "custom molded" tips aren't custom molded whatsoever. They come in four sizes.
When used, they essentially take away any acoustic seal, thus leaving the headphone without any real bass response, and making them sound next-to horrendous.
The issue here is the design of the tips. They don't really go "in" the user's ear, but rather rest outside of the ear canal. No matter how many times I attempted to get them to go in, the nozzle of the tips is just too flimsy to effectively stay in shape and allow sound to pass through.
They just don't work.
Thankfully, I-Mego has supplied three pairs of regular eartips for standard use, which work fine. The tips themselves are honestly some of the best-feeling wide-nozzle tips that I've encountered.
However, I notice that most normal silicone tips will easily fall off of the nozzle due to its short size. I would probably recommend a more solid foam tip for use with these. My preference are some wide-nozzle Shure Orange Foams.
Sound - The ZTONE is, without a doubt, the bassiest in-ear that I've heard to date. Sadly, it isn't very good.
Bass - Everything, and I mean everything sounds boomy and messy. There is SO much accentuation. Some songs, it works, but most, it just doesn't. Plus, if the volume is too high, the bass distorts everything. It needs to be pretty loud, though, so that's not too much of an issue.
Sub bass is well extended, as expected. Mid and upper bass are highly sloppy and overdone
Mids - Very warm. Not recessed. There's an occasional bloat here and there, but the mids otherwise are quite good. I would call it a bit musical. The problem is that the bass will often overshadow the mids, so it's hard to truly enjoy them without a good EQ to tone down the bass.
Treble - Dark could be an understatement with these. There is absolutely no sparkle. Cymbals are legitimately hard to hear in many tracks where I can hear them clear as day with other headphones. The only time I can say the treble sounds good is with some classical.
Soundstage - Only average. There seems to be a bit more width than depth, which sounds pretty good.
Overall - Unless you are a basshead of the utmost proportions, I would simply stay away from these. If you're after the style and/or build, you better have a good EQ ready.