*This review was originally posted on my blog.
Han Sound Audio is a Taiwan-based company that manufactures high-quality upgrade cables for headphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs). In this review, I’m checking out their most affordable model, the Han Sound Audio Zentoo, a 4-core OCC copper Litz cable with unique spiral T-twisted tech. Zentoo (Zen 2) is the second generation of Han Sound’s Zen cable. Let’s see how it performs.
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
*Prior to testing, the Agni MK2 unit used for this review was run-in for 72 hours using the Telos QBT machine, courtesy of BKK Audio.
Package and Accessories
Like we saw with the Agni MK2 and Kimera, the Zentoo is packaged in Han Sound Audio’s classic black cardboard box. On the top is a brand logo in silver and on one side of the box, there’s a white sticker displaying the model name, connector and plug type. Inside the box, the cable is nestled in a circular, black foam insert with a thin layer of foam on top of the cable itself for extra protection. Also included is a leather cable wrap, embossed with the brand name.
Build Quality and Design
After my experience with the Kimera and Agni MK2 cables, I knew the Zentoo would be a quality product, at least in terms of build and materials. Zentoo utilizes a 24 AWG wire which is thicker than the Agni MK2 (26 AWG) and thinner than the Kimera (23 AWG).
It is woven in Han Sound’s preferred Milliot or rounded braid style and has a clear UV-PVC jacket. Being a pure copper cable, Zentoo has a richer, darker colour than the Kimera and with its neat hand-weaved braid is definitely easy on the eyes.
Zentoo sports HanSound’s own plug, which is available in 2.5mm/3.5mm/4.4mm sizes. The 2.5mm balanced plug is made with phosphor bronze material and the 3.5mm and 4.4mm balanced plugs are tellurium copper material.
As usual, I went for a 2.5mm termination for maximum compatibility; it’s easier to go from 2.5mm to 4.4mm with an adapter than it is the other way around. I also went with 2-pin connectors because the format is more common than MMCX for high-end iems (and it’s also my preferred type).
Zentoo has the same smooth, polished connector housings as the rest of their product lineup. While I appreciate colour-coded housings, I would prefer to see them use something with a bit of texture to provide extra grip when handling.
The brand’s standard metal, chisel-top Y-split is still here with the logo in the centre, accompanied by the matching metal cable cinch. Lastly, the cable terminates with the gold-plated phosphor bronze 2.5mm Han Sound Audio plug with it’s textured, honeycomb surface.
Handling and Aesthetic
.There are no pre-formed ear guides. It seems that currently, the only 2 models have them are the Torfa and Venom. This, of course, means that the Zentoo can be worn over-ear or straight down, making it more versatile and compatible with most iems.
With a softness rating of 5/5, Zentoo handles like a dream. It’s supple, hangs comfortably with no kinks or memory and has almost no cable noise/microphonics. When it comes to appearance, Zentoo shines with a natural lustre. Its pure copper DNA is clearly visible through the transparent PVC cover. It is a little surprising that Zentoo shares the same handling and aesthetic traits of many of the company’s much more expensive cables. Bonus!
Sources used: Shanling M5s / iBasso DX120 / FiiO K3
So what are the benefits of upgrading to a pure copper cable other than improved handling and ergonomics? In general, copper cables add warmth and body but the effects can vary significantly between different cables, depending on materials, wire gauge (thickness), wire count and according to some, even braiding pattern.
Zentoo does have a slightly warmer than neutral character which enhances bass impact and extension. Incidentally, the bass gains body and depth which carries over into the midrange giving it a soft, smoother glow.
Unlike the fiery and energetic Ares Audio Kasai, the Han Sound Audio Zentoo has a calmer tone but it does not sacrifice resolution in any way. It has a rounder bass that produces a weightier response but one that retains its texture.
Zentoo creates a smoother midrange, a consequence of the extra note size and body. Vocals sound slightly fuller though they’re not positioned any more forward or emphasized. The size of the soundstage and tone are preserved but the midrange presentation feels more relaxed.
Similarly, the treble is denser and warmer in tone. Subsequently, it is slightly wetter and less precise but the upside is a more natural character. Where Kasai’s treble is vivid and energetic, Zentoo makes it smoother and more even, perfect for brighter iems.
The Fusion has a very clean sound with remarkable instrument separation. Paired with Zentoo, the Fusion takes on a warmer, more natural tone. Its moderate bass gets a nice boost in impact and weight which gives the overall presentation more fullness. The midrange becomes richer and smoother. Additionally, Fusion’s remarkable magnetostatic-driven treble takes on more density, making it even creamier than before.
S8F is an energetic sounding iem with upfront and brighter presentation. Along with the extra bass impact, Zentoo infuses S8F’s midrange with some added body that makes it sound more organic and natural. Vocals are full-bodied, upfront and physical as if you could reach out and touch them. The treble tone is warmer and more even, making the S8F calmer up top.
Custom Art FIBAE 2
Custom Art’s FIBAE 2 is a dual balanced armature driver iem with a light V-shaped signature. Zentoo fills out the BA bass and gives it extra body. But it’s the midrange where FIBAE 2 sees the real benefits of this all copper cable. Mids and vocals sit more forward and gain fullness from Zentoo’s warmth. Treble is subtly attenuated and the rounder notes make it softer and more laidback.
Priced at around $150, the Han Sound Audio Zentoo offers a more accessible way to experience a premium upgrade cable. Considering it has comparable build quality and handling of the higher end and higher-priced models, Zentoo is a fantastic entry-level model that shows no compromises despite its lower cost. If you’ve been looking for a cable to take your iem game to a new level or are just looking for a solid all-copper solution, it’s hard to look past this one.
- 4-wire OCC copper Litz with unique spiral T-twisted tech
- Gauge: 24 AWG / each wire
- Softness: ★★★★★
- Standard plug: HanSound’s own plug 2.5/3.5mm
- Compatible with 2P IEM, MMCX(incl. AKG), ODC, UE, Fitear, A2DC etc.