The TOTL man himself, Flinkenick, has graciously arranged for a Zombie demo to be sent to me for review purposes. This unit will be sent to other reviewers thereafter.
This unit has been burned in for 120 hours with white noise prior to a full critical analysis.
Measurements performed on an IEC60318-4-compliant rig.
Very, very emphasised (perceived at about 20dB above the midrange). Sub-bass centric, slow decay, very authorative and articulate. Unfortunately, transients are a tad too slow for proper realism and is not controlled to a particularly high degree, demonstrating bleeding into the midrange in bassy passages.
The Zombie’s bass is also what I would classify as “loose” and also somewhat muddy; its slowness and relative emphasis does give the impression of smearing, making it struggle in busy tracks and overlap bass notes together. It really does give off a real subwoofer feel, moreso than established hybrids like the W900 and the Oriolus MK2, however it’s a classic case of “too much of a good thing”. Slowness, bleeding and lack of detail are, unfortunately, traits that I cannot overlook.
Relatively realistic timbre, rather distanced and recessed. Well balanced between center and upper midrange, minimising harshness. Lower mids are expectedly emphasised but not to the point of giving the mids intense warmth or mud. Good detail retrieval and resolution for its asking price, unfortunately marred by bass bleed issues as mentioned above.
Non-fatiguing and smoothed over. Somewhat veiled and lacking enough sparkle for the proper, realistic presentation of cymbals and hi-hats. Its subdued nature also gives the bass even more presence. Somewhat in line with the midrange, perhaps ever so slightly behind.
Somewhat wide soundstage but extremely two-dimensional. Lacks quite a bit of depth. Positional ability is also poor due to the all encompassing presence of bass.
It's never easy to publish a less-than-stellar review of something that you want to succeed. Hybrids have always been a huge fascination of mine and any entries into the TOTL-sphere shall garner my attention without fail. For that reason I've been on a personal search for my personal hybrid, the one perfect IEM.
It brings me great pain to announce that the Zombie shall not make it into the top ranks of my IEM ranking list, not even close. It's technical abilities does not seem to exceed the likes of the Spartan-IV, MD+ or ER4, leaving it down to the B ranks. My own personal comparison, the AAW A3Hv2, shows that while the Zombie does manage to inch it out in terms of staging and detail, its coherency issues are that more obvious.