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LZ A2

Rating:
4.6/5,
Tags:
  • A budget Triple Driver IEM with 3-way crossover. Utilizing Single Dynamic Driver and Dual Balanced Armature driver to offer a slightly bass-oriented sound.

Recent Reviews

  1. nmatheis
    LZ-A2 Quick Review: Audiophile Fun!!!
    Written by nmatheis
    Published Feb 2, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Smooth, fun sound with deep, powerful bass. Inexpensive for a triple hybrid.
    Cons - Wide nozzles. Need third-party tips to sound their best. Discontinued :frowning2:

    INTRODUCTION

    I first heard of LZ-A2 from @RedJohn456 and @Hisoundfi. They were both talking about this Chinese DIY triple hybrid that had amazing bang for your buck. At that time, I was deep into the FLC8S (still am, by the way - LINK), so I didn't think too much about LZ-A2 and went about my business jamming the FLC8S. Then @peter123 joined in the LZ-A2 love-fest, and I thought to myself, "Nikolaus, you need to get yourself a listen to these LZ-A2." So I reached out to the now defunct Faith Audio and secured a pair for review. Little did I know that they would end up collectors' items, as the LZ-A2 was discontinued right after I received them. After spending some time with them, I can tell you I'm eagerly awaiting their successor, the LZ-A3 and will be updating you on them when I receive them. So just what is it that makes the LZ-A2 special? Usually triple hybrids use a dynamic for bass, a BA for mids, and another BA for the highs. However, the LZ-A2 follows the lead of some higher end IEM manufacturers in dedicating a dynamic and and BA to bass. This is the first time I've heard of a lower-end hybrid IEM using this configuration. I'll go over how that impacts the sound in the actual review.
     
    I usually include a bit of information about the manufacturer but can't dig up any information on LZ, so I'm skipping that this time around. However, I am including a link to the LZ-A2 discussion thread should you find yourself interested in joining in the conversation (LINK).
     
     
     

    DISCLAIMER

    There is no financial incentive for writing this review, and this is my honest opinion of the LZ-A2. I hope my feedback is useful for my fellow Head-Fi members as well as for LZ.
     
     

    ABOUT ME

    I'm a 44 year old father who listens to a lot of electronic and metal, although I do listen to a wide variety of music. I'm primarily a portable audio enthusiast and have been in he game since the venerable Shure E2C was first released. Bought one, plugged it into one of my many MD players, and have been hooked ever since. I do enjoy listening at home and am becoming increasingly interested in building up a nice desktop setup. As with a lot of people my age, my hearing isn't perfect but I've be listening for a long time and feel confident in assessing audio gear.


     
     

    SPECIFICATIONS



    Drivers: 1 Dynamic + 2 BA
    Impedance: 16Ω
    Sensitivity: 120dB/mW
    Frequency Range: 2Hz - 24kHz
    Plug: 3.5mm straight plug
    Cable Length: 1.2m
    Weight: 25g
    Price: ~$100

     
     

    PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES



    Since the LZ-A2 are a DIY IEM, there's no packaging. You simply get the LZ-A2 and accessories in a clamshell case.
     
    LZ-A2 + ACCESSORIES
    LZ-A2-6.jpg
     
    LZ-A2-4.jpg
     
    In all, you get LZ-A2, narrow bore single flange tips (S, M, L), medium bore double flange tips, cheap foamies, stabilizer fins, ear guides, shirt clip, and clamshell case. It'd be nice if they provided some wide bore tips because that where the magic happens with these. More later...
     
     

    BUILD & ERGONOMICS

    I'll attack this section in pictorial format, commenting on what I like and what I think could be improved as I go.
     
    LZ-A2 WITHOUT TIPS
    LZ-A2-1.jpg
     
    The earpieces are aluminum with plastic nozzles that are wider than your typical IEM, making it a bit hard to tip roll. Finish isn't the best, with some rough edges here and there. Lucky they weren't in places that touched my ears. Strain reliefs are pretty short. Despite the vent hole being very exposed on the rear of the LZ-A2, it didn't make them especially prone to wind noise. That was a nice surprise. And if you look carefully, you'll see "LZ-a2" and L/R markings on the earpieces in very low-contrast text. It'd be nice if it were easier to see the L/R markings since these are a symmetrical design.
     
     
    Y-SPLITTER, CINCH, 3.5MM PLUG
    LZ-A2-7.jpg
     
    The 3.5mm jack and y-spliter are metal with a knurled finish to make gripping them easy. The cinch is plastic and does a fine job of staying in place. The cable feels like the one used on some Vsonic IEM I've purchased in the past. It's got what feels like a silicone coating and isn't overly prone to tangling or microphonics. Again, the strain relief isn't the longest,  but I'm assuming it'll do its job just fine.
     
     
    LZ-A2 SUITED UP AND READY TO ROCK!!!
    LZ-A2-5.jpg
     
    Here are the LZ-A2 with one of the two pairs of tips I settled on, the stock medium-bore double-flange tips. These tips were pretty comfortable, and the LZ-A2 sounded pretty good with them. That said, I ended up using a pair of wide-bore single-flange tips I had sitting around most of the time. I'll go over that later.
     
     
    FIT
    LZ-A2 can be worn down or over ear. I like both options and split my time 50/50. If I'm headed out, I wear them over ear. If I'm hanging out in the house, I'm more likely to wear them down. Both are comfortable for long periods for me. I can see the wide nozzles potentially causing some long-term comfort issues for those of you with small canals, though. The ear guides LZ threw in are some of the softest I've ever used. That said, as a glasses wearer, I hate ear guides with a passion and once I tested them out I put them away never to be used again.
     
     
    SOUND
    Those of you who know me know I listen to a lot of electronic and metal. You might even know that I've been jamming a lot of classic rock lately, as well. I typically listen to music from Autechre, Behemoth, Bjork, Candlemass, Depeche Mode, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Iron Maiden, King Diamond, New Order, Rush, and Sigur Ros during my time with new gear. I might throw in some hard bop jazz or modern minimalist composition every now and then. Just wanted to make sure you know what kind of music I listen to for context. Unlike some other reviewers, I don't keep to a strict playlist. Instead, I choose songs I know well and feel like listening to. I feel it's more organic that way. Anyways, on with the show, eh...
     
    When I first got the LZ-A2, I placed them on my burn-in rig with pink noise at a moderate volume for a couple days. After that, I tried them with my iPhone and the Lotoo PAW 5000 DAP I recently got in for testing. I also tried them with different tips. I'll go over that stuff in a minute. For now, I'd like to tell you what you'll be getting with LZ-A2. These are what I like to call an "audiophile fun" sound signature. You're going to get (very) extended, elevated bass, neutral-ish mids that might be just a tad recessed, and relatively smooth treble. Over in the LZ-A2 thread, these have been called anything from an L-shaped signature with flat response other than the elevated bass to a v-shape. I definitely wouldn't call them a v-shape at all. Personally, I'm hearing them as more of an L-shape. Something that always seems to come up is the need to find a pair of headphones with a similar sound signature, and these have been compared to Audeze LCD2. I haven't heard LCD2, so I can't confirm that. Looking over FR graphs for both, I can see how the comparison would be drawn, though.
     
    After burning these in, I left on the stock Medium narrow-bore single-flange tips and plugged them into my iPhone and was a bit disappointed. The bass sounded boomy and sloppy. I've had this experience with my iPhone before, so I wasn't too surprised or judgmental. I didn't feel like this was a good match, so I moved on to the PAW 5000. The bass sounded a wee bit less bloated now. Better, but not perfect. So I decided to try out some other tips. First, I tried the stock Small narrow-bore single-flange tips with deeper insertion. Nope, pretty much the same for me. How about the stock medium-bore double flange tips? Yes, these are better. Bass is tamed a wee bit more but still not where I'd like it. Over on the LZ-A2 thread, people are all about the very wide-bore JVC Spiral Dot tips with LZ-A2. I don't have any of those, but I do have a lot of tips roaming around the house (kids...), so I grabbed a pair of Medium wide-bore single-flange tips and slapped those on. Yup, this is where the action is! Bass was knocked down a bit more and sounded tighter. Now I'm feeling like the bass is in better balance with the mids and treble. Nice!
     
    Now even though I tamed these a bit, please don't get the idea that they're neutral nor is neutral what I was after. The goal for me was to achieve better balance while retaining the fun sound signature. I think I got there with a better source plus the wide bore tips. I've been listening to the FLC8S a lot recently. They're tunable, and I've got them set up with the maximum sub-bass filter, medium bass filter, and maximum mids + medium treble filter. In comparison with the FLC8S in that configuration, LZ-A2 definitely has increased, harder hitting bass however FLC8S has sweeter mids and is more resolving. Again, LZ-A2 proves its bombastic nature against the more refined FLC8S. FLC8S also has better spacial cues (soundstage and placement of sounds). Then again, FLC8S is one of my current favorites and costs three times as much as LZ-A2, so the fact that I'm comparing these two in such favorable terms lets you know how much bang for your buck I think you're getting with LZ-A2. 
     
    I also used LZ-A2 for audiobooks and movies, and I have to tell you I really like this type of sound signature for those. The audiobooks I listen to typically have male narrators, and the LZ-A2 gives their voices a nice, rich tone that makes listening to books a real pleasure. With movies, I was genuinely shocked at the rumble coming from these bad boys. I haven't heard IEM with such deep bass extension before. I'm sure they exist in more basshead-centric IEM, but to hear that depth in such a balanced IEM was amazing.
     
    Shifting back to music for a bit, I listen to metal with rapid-fire kick drums which can be hard for dynamic drivers to deal with. Sometimes they just can't keep up, and the drum hits start to blend together. Not good. The interesting thing about the LZ-A is that they've got a dynamic and a BA driver covering the bass, so bass notes have good, fast attack but don't decay super fast. It's a best of both worlds situation. So in those songs with rapid-fire kick drums, the drum hits have distinct drum hits but don't end up sounding staccato like they can with BA-only IEM. I like i!
     
    Back to the mids and treble, they're pretty smooth without being overly polite. It's a nice balance that keeps the LZ-A2 fun but not exaggerated. Again, I like it!
     
     

    SUMMARY

    Can you tell I like these? Ignoring the price, I don't see myself choosing these over my current faves, the FLC8S. However, for the asking price and to get a more "fun" sound signature with great, quality bass without veering off into Beats territory or into v-shape land, these guys are a steal! Are they perfect? Nope, they're not. The build is okay but not fantastic. The nozzles are wider than typical IEM, making tip rolling a bit challenging while also making insertion hard for those with narrow ear canals. And you'll need to seek out some better tips to tame the bass and balance out the sound signature. In my opinion, none of these are showstoppers and be overcome pretty easily.
     
    Unfortunately, the LZ-A2 are discontinued. So why am I reviewing a pair of discontinued IEM? Good question! Well, the first reason is that these push a lot of the right buttons for me. The second is that LZ is coming out with a new IEM right after the Chinese New Year holiday that looks like it'll be the LZ-A2's successor. It's called the LZ-A3, and I'm really excited to hear it. I hope after reading this and the other great reviews out there that you're excited, too. Be on the lookout for impressions and reviews of the upcoming LZ-A3 from myself and others in the next couple months. Man is it a good time to be in this hobby! 
     
    To wrap, I'd like to give a big thanks to Faith Audio for providing me with a pair of LZ-A2 for review and to LZ for making such a great IEM. Keep 'em coming, LZ!
      duyu, VinegarBoy, peter123 and 5 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Koolpep
      Thanks, great review!! I second your description of the sound.
      Koolpep, Feb 3, 2016
    3. Grayson73
      Enjoyed reading your review!
      Grayson73, Feb 3, 2016
    4. Cheesedoodle
      Regarding the $160 price for the LZ-A2, that Aliexpress seller told me that she talked Lao Zhong, who makes this DIY IEM, into using his remaining inventory of LZ-A2 parts to make a few more pairs. That's why a few new pairs are occasionally popping up on Aliexpress.
      Cheesedoodle, Feb 3, 2016
  2. soundstige
    Higher end sound that outclasses other ~$100 IEMs by miles
    Written by soundstige
    Published Dec 24, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Flat signature, excellent detail and imaging, fairly wide soundstage, present sub-bass, treble extension, price
    Cons - For the price, nothing; Shells are great quality but the rest of the package is cheap feeling; Jack of all trades, master of none
    See above
    1. Grayson73
      Thanks for the review!
      Grayson73, Dec 30, 2015
  3. Hisoundfi
    World class hybrid sound at less than a hundred dollars. The LZ-A2 hybrid in-ear monitor
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published Dec 8, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Some of the best hybrid sound I've heard, Entertaining and smooth sound that is fun and easy to listen to, Forward bass with great resolution
    Cons - Overall build and design could be better (for price I don't consider it an issue), Wide/short nozzles makes tip rolling and getting a fit a challenge
    At the time of the review, the LZ-A2 was was on sale on Amazon and the Aliexpress website. Here are a couple links to their listing of the product:
     
    DSC_0004.jpg
     
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017Z8AWHA?keywords=lz%20a2&qid=1449320297&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1
     
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/2015-Newest-LZ-A2-Dynamic-and-Armature-3-unit-Headphones-HIFI-Fever-Earphone-As-K3003-DIY/32501370155.html?spm=2114.01020208.3.1.I4NI5c&ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_2_79_78_77_80,searchweb201644_0,searchweb201560_1
     
    Introduction
    Before we begin I feel it’s important for everyone to understand what a hybrid in-ear monitor is and how it works.
     
    For a long time in-ear monitor sounds were created by one of two different types of drivers. It was done by either dynamic or armature drivers.
     
    Dynamic Drivers
    Dynamic drivers are basically the same thing you see in a speaker at home, using ringed magnets, a round voice coil and a cone to move air and produce sound. Dynamic driver sound can be manipulated by changing the venting on either side of the cone. Because of the need to utilize venting on either side to tune the sound, isolation is more of a factor/issue with dynamic designs. For the most part a dynamic driver is able to move air with more force than an armature driver, resulting in a more impactful and satisfying bass response, but often times have less detail and accuracy throughout the midrange and treble frequencies.
     
    Armature Drivers
    An armature is a similar in how it produces sound, but in a more controlled environment. They use magnets, a voice coil and a membrane, but it is done inside of its own independent housing. An armature driver uses an arm that suspends between the magnets and voice coils and is attached to a driving pin that leads to a membrane. This produces the sound which is then delivered through a port on the housing of the armature. They have an exact frequency output that has been predetermined by the armature manufacturer. The result is a more controlled and accurate sound, giving an opportunity for manufacturers to use multiple armatures in combinations to produce one cohesive and customized sound. Isolation is less of an issue with an armature design, allowing listeners to enjoy their earphones at lower volumes. Earphone designers can take a combination of armature drivers and tweak them with resistors, crossovers and dampers to shape the sound. For the most part armature drivers are known deliver a level of detail and accuracy that trumps many dynamic drivers, but often times without the same impactful bass.
     
    Hybrid Technology
    With each driver explained, it is clear that each type of technology brings something different to the table. Where one is exceptional, the other is not. This is where hybrid technology comes into play. It is the concept of utilizing the “best of both worlds” from dynamic and armature drivers, turning it into one pair of kick arse in-ears. Bass tones are produced by a dynamic driver while midrange and upper frequencies are presented with armature drivers. This is usually done with a single dynamic driver in combination with one or two (sometimes more) armature drivers. This not only makes hybrids more costly because of the number of components, but also more of a challenge for manufacturers to make one cohesive sounding earphone. Hybrid technology is amazeballs when it’s done right, but can also be a major letdown when not executed correctly. Over the last couple years we have been treated with some really amazing hybrid technology, but usually the more successful designs come at a premium price.
     
    A few companies have released hybrid in-ears hoping they can fall under the one hundred dollar price point and compete with the big names in hybrid monitors. Despite the fact that they fell under the price barrier, almost all have failed in terms of bringing the goods in terms of overall fidelity. Well, that is until now. Today I have the pleasure of introducing the first hybrid in-ear monitor that myself as well as other trusted Head-Fi participants can say has “cracked the code” and brought a product to market with sound quality that competes with just about EVERY hybrid in-ear monitor there is. Introducing the LZ-A2.
     
    When I first heard about the A2, a few guys who got their hands on them were raving about them, but to be honest I try to not succumb to the hype these days and let my ears be the judge. When my friend Charlie said he had some review samples available I had to jump on the chance. Of all the reviews I’ve written this year, this is probably the one I’m most glad I’ve participated in. The LZ-A2 was more than a pleasant surprise, it was a revelation for hybrid in-ears.
     
    Disclaimer
    I was given an opportunity to review the LZ-A2 in exchange for my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with LZ. I would like to take this time to personally thank Charlie and the guys at LZ for the opportunity to cover such a great sounding earphone.
     
    My Background
    I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
     
    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me, especially if they can be had for low prices. I will buy the $5 to $500 earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I will discover that one new gem that can compete with the big names in this industry. If you look at my Head-Fi profile you will see that I have purchased MANY different headphones and earphones, ranging from from dirt cheap to higher end products. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and have a variety of different gears with varying builds and sound to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
     
    I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are ergonomic, and the sound is pleasing to the ear. It is my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based gear I have owned and used.
     
    REVIEW
    The LZ-A2 was shipped to me by a friend for review. I didn’t receive a formal packaging, and to be honest I’m not sure if these things to ship with packaging. I don’t know, and honestly don’t care. If they cut corners to put all their resources in the package it is well worth it.
     
    Specifications
    *Product Name: LZ A2 Dynamic and Armature 3 unit Headphone
    *Brand: LZ
    *Model: A2
    *Type: In-ear
    *Impedance: 16Ω
    *Headphone sensitivity:120±3db
    *Frequency range: 2-24000Hz
    *Interface: 3.5mm
    *Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
    *Weight: 25g
    *Color: Gold
    *Whether with Mic: Optional
    *Headphone plug type: Through Hole
    *Headphones category: HIFI, Monitor
    *Applicable type of music: Classical symphonic concert
    *Drive unit: dynamic and complex double unit armature (3 unit drive)
     
    Accessories
    20151208_155822.jpg
    *1X semi-rigid cloth covered zipper clamshell case
    *1X shirt clip
    *1X pair of frosted over-ear guides
    *1x pair of silicone fins (for securing fit, similar to Dunu fins)
    *1X white silicone dual flange tips (M)
    *1X red memory foam tips (M)
    *3X red/gray silicone single flange tips
     
    Housings
    20151208_160607.jpg
     
    The LZ-A2 housing is a combination of machined aluminum and plastic. It’s a gold powdercoated metal barrel shape with a rounded metal aluminum back. The back of the housing has a vent for the dynamic driver. The front of the housing and nozzle are constructed of attached plastic. The nozzle is a weird shape and is very wide and short. This makes tip rolling, and getting the earphones to seal well a challenge.
     
    20151208_160632.jpg
     
    Cable, Y-Split, Cable Jack, Strain Reliefs
    The cable is a semi transparent rubbery material similar to the Fidue A73 and A65. It has very little memory and a bit of spring. The cable sheathing has a tendency to grip anything it rubs against which can be a hinderance but also works very well for over the ear fitment. The Y-split is a very simple black metal jacket. There is a black plastic chin slider attached that works well and comes in handy (especially with over the ear fit)
     
    20151208_160952.jpg
     
    The cable jack is a black straight barrel design that is very simple and sturdy. It follows the same theme as the Y-split and has a somewhat generic LZ logo printed on it. Strain reliefs at the housings and jack are short rubber jacketing that goes in between the cable and the housings/jack. They seem discreet and adequate, but could be better done.
     
    Functionality
    There is no microphone or remote. The LA-A2 is a plug and play device designed for sound quality. Plug in, play music, enjoy the sound, repeat.
     
    Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics, Isolation
    I had a hard time coming up with a tip that made the LZ-A2 fit because of the wide and short barrel. None of the stock tips, guides, fins helped me to come up with a consistent and secure fit. What I discovered it that using a smaller tip than I normally do helped me achieve a good seal. Despite tip rolling being more of a challenge than usual, I was able to stretch a pair of medium Sony silicone tips around the nozzle and they work excellent.
     
    20151208_161129.jpg
     
    The A2 can be worn under or over the ear. Once a good fitting tip is found, the straight barrel promotes a fairly simple and comfortable wearing experience. As is the case with most earphones, I personally preferred an over the ear fit in combination of the chin slider to snug things into place. Your mileage may vary, just make sure to use all the accessories and tip options you can come up with to try to get the best and most comfortable fit. Just like with all in-ear monitors, the better they seal your ears, the better they will sound.
     
    Sound Review
    I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-G3 with the latest firmware for portable and smartphone use, and either my Shanling H3 or Sony Walkman F806/Cayin C5 amplifier for a high fidelity portable use. For desktop use I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a HIFIMEDIY Sabre ES9023 USB DAC/Bravo Audio Ocean Tube amplifier with a Mullard 12AU7 tube for higher impedance, and a Fiio E18 USB DAC & Amplifier in both high and low gain. Both were run at 24 bit, 96000 Hz. I also tested them with other DAPs and amplifiers as well. I used Google Music downloaded in its highest download quality (320 KBPS) and I also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I also used purchased and downloaded tracks in MP3, FLAC, WAV and DSD. I make sure that any gear I test has sufficient playtime before writing a review.
     
    I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
    “Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
    “Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
    “Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
    “Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
    “Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
    “The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
    “Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
    “Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
    “One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
    “Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
    “Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
    “And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
    “Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
     
    Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to asses and break down the gear’s response.
     
    Source Selection
    These earphones are incredibly easy to drive. I couldn’t turn the A2 up to half volume on my smartphone before they became too loud to listen to. There is no need for amplifiers or high power sources with the A2, nor did I find any benefit from using them.
     
    The bass forward tuning makes them somewhat forgiving with poorly recorded music and low bit rate files, but they also scale well with better files because of their incredible detail. From what I’ve experienced, the A2 sounded most impressive with a neutral source and high bitrate music files.
     
    Sound Signature
    I was blown away by the sound quality from the first listen. The first thing that came to mind was my favorite earphone, the Fidue A83. They have a similar tuning with a forward and dynamic bass response with a slight V-shape from what I hear and incredible resolution from top to bottom. They are a combination of musicality and detail that definitely gives me that “WOW” factor I’m after.
     
    LZA2.png
    LZ-A2 measurement (left and right channels) taken by my Vibro Labs Veritas. This device is not %100 accurate, but accurate enough to give you an idea of the LZ-A2 sound signature.
     
    Bass
    Bass on the A2 is a dynamic combination of punch and rumble that I find to be very satisfying and works with all genres of music I listened to. It definitely has a forward presence, and the bass extends well into sub bass regions. There is a considerable amount of midbass, but it is tastefully done, and the way the armatures are tuned in combination with the dynamic driver it doesn’t make male vocals seem overly weighted.
     
    Midrange
    The A2 midrange puts on a clinic in terms of neutrality and resolution. the way the sound is split it is very cohesive yet still separates the sound so each frequency isn’t overshadowed. It reminds me of a very high end stereo system where high quality speakers are aided by a sub woofer. What I mean by this is the midrange distinctly sets itself apart from the forward bass response with a very airy, natural and well defined midrange that gives me that “best of both worlds” dynamics and separation that elite hybrids have. Because of the forward nature of the bass, some people will say they are warm, but listening closely I don’t get that impression. What I hear is a very well done dual armature supported by a dynamic driver bass boost that is very tastefully done. Upper midrange is somewhat relaxed but not significantly rolled off. I like how this tuning takes a lot of the edge off of most instruments and vocals and prevents the A2 from being shouty with any genre.
     
    Treble
    Treble is somewhat relaxed with a small bump or spike somewhere up top that gives it a nice sense of energy. From what I hear, It might be somewhere around 3 kHz. It’s enough to put a nice bite on vocals and adds needed life to the upper frequencies without going overboard. Despite the lift in upper frequencies the overall impression is slightly V-shaped yet still relaxed, and very entertaining.
     
    Soundstage and Imaging
    Because of the tuning and extension on both ends of the frequency response in combination with the incredible resolution, I will say that the soundstage is great. It’s not best I’ve heard but definitely in the top ten. Imaging is also better than average from what I hear.
     
    Comparisons
     
    Fidue A83 ($275 to $350 USD on many sites)
    The A83 sits on the top of my list of favorites because it checks every box in terms of what I look for in an in-ear monitor. Their stock cable is ridiculously awesome, and overall design is pretty spectacular and well thought out. They offer an incredible case and accessories package, and the sound? Amazeballs!
     
    You might be asking yourself why I would compare a budget in-ear monitor to a flagship model that costs almost four times more. Simply put, THE LZ A2 SOUND QUALITY RIVALS THE FIDUE A83, AND MANY OTHER TOP OF THE LINE IN EAR MONITORS. I’m confident enough to say that if I did a blindfold test and popped both of these in your ears and asked which one was more expensive, I’m fairly confident you wouldn’t be able to tell.
     
    Yes, the A83 destroys the A2 in terms of ergonomics, fit, and accessories. I won’t even go into detail on that, just know the A83 is better at all of them.
     
    BUT, in terms of sound its really a close contest. If Fidue released the L2 sound in their next generation model, I would probably buy it. I consider the sounds to be sidegrades to each other. Bass response on both earphones is eerily similar, almost identical to my ears. Even lower midrange is somewhat similar from what I hear. The A83 is a more lively and aggressive tuning that infuses more energy to the track. I noticed more forwardness going into mid and upper midrange tones. Extension is better with the A83, but to be honest it almost took away from the listenability to my ears as compared to the A2. The biggest difference between the two was the more relaxed and laid back upper midrange of the A2, which in my opinion sets up for longer listening sessions but at the expense of losing a bit of excitement and energy. Although I feel the A83 might impress a few more people, I can almost say that for the sake of longer listening sessions, I might reach for the A2 more often.

     
    Sony H3 ($300 to $350 USD on many sites)
    So, here I go again, comparing the A2 to another top of the line hybrid that costs almost four times more....
     
    The Sony H3 is a beast of an earphone, featuring detachable cables, a unique fit, and awesome accessories package. Again, it’s not a contest in terms of build quality and accessories, the H3 wins in these categories.
     
    Now for the sound! The A2 is a flat out better sounding earphone to my ears as compared to the H3. Better bass, better midrange, better treble, period. Bouncing back and forth between the two, the A2 makes the H3 sound like a midbass bludgeoned cluster of haziness. While the H3 does offer some great separation of sounds and good timbre, it can’t hold a candle to the A2 response. The A2 is more responsive, more detailed, and much more clear. While many like enjoy the H3 for modern genres, the A2 offers the more audiophile friendly experience, while still offering some bass thump.

     
    Conclusion
    DSC_0003.jpg
     
    The fact that I did comparisons to earphones that cost MANY times more than the A2 should tell you just how great these things sound. Although the build and design could be better, their price tag makes this a non issue for me. When someone tells me they are thinking about purchasing their first hybrid in-ear monitor without breaking the bank and can’t decide what to get, I am going to recommend the A2 one hundred percent of the time. LZ has taken the words budget and hybrid and combine it into one awesome pair of earphones with sound that is truly incredible.

    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. lordsinister
      @Hisoundfi Thanks for the review. I am also interested in a comparison to the Trinity Delta as well as the Altone200, if you have some spare time. Gave away my Delta v1 which was my new preferred IEM over the FLC8 and Altone200 but waiting for v2 to arrive next week. Thanks in advance.
      lordsinister, Apr 19, 2016
    3. mikek200
      Outstanding Review& because of this,I will order a apair.
      Many Thanks,
      Mike
      mikek200, Jun 23, 2016
    4. RedTwilight
      @mikek200 Unfortunately the A2 is nolonger in production.. You could check out the LZ-A2s which is reputed to sound very similar, with some improvements.
      RedTwilight, Jun 23, 2016
  4. bhazard
    One of the best sounding IEM values available
    Written by bhazard
    Published Nov 14, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent bass, Excellent clarity, Price
    Cons - Treble rolled off a bit, Barebone accessories
    Faith Audio LZ-A2
     
    About me:
    I’m a price/performance value shopper in everything I purchase. I spend an extensive amount of time researching purchases and always look for a good value.
    I have also spent many years as an A/V enthusiast. I have owned some high end audio equipment, from amps to speakers. I eventually moved on into building my own DIY custom speakers, as I felt the value and performance of most commercial speakers lacking. I found out through this process that you could create high end setups from equipment costing thousands less than most branded commercial setups.
    Since I cannot play music at 100+db all day and night in an apartment complex, I started looking for similar values in the Headphone/Earphone/IEM world. In a Beats dominated world, I was very disappointed.
    I then found out about some excellent headphones/IEMs at great prices being made by Asian companies that are not known of here in the US. It renewed my interest in headphones and became the basis of the Asian audio thread.
     
    Intro
    I was made aware of the LZ-A2 by fellow Head-Fi members RedJohn456 and yangian. They gave high praise to this IEM, and I had to see for myself if they were as good as claimed.
    I was skeptical initially. The less than $99 price for a triple hybrid (Dual Balanced Armature + Dynamic Driver) was very intriguing, but TTPOD released a triple hybrid at this price range a while ago, and it failed to impress.
    After being provided a review sample by Faith Audio (with RedJohn456’s help) and listening for myself, I can say that not only is the LZ-A2 as good as claimed, it has become my new favorite IEM in my collection.
     
    Specifications:
     1. Product Name: LZ A2 Dynamic and Armature 3 unit Headphone   
     2. Brand: LZ
     3. Model: A2
     4. Type: In-ear  
     5. Impedance: 16Ω 
     6. Headphone sensitivity:120±3db
     7. Frequency range: 2-24000Hz
     8. Interface: 3.5mm 
     9. Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
    10.Weight: 25g
    11.Color: Gold   
    12. Mic:  Optional
    13.Headphones category: HIFI, Monitor
    14.Drive unit: dynamic and complex double unit armature (3 unit drive)
     
    IMG_20151114_220148241.jpg
     
    IMG_20151114_220243063.jpg
     
     
    Build Features/Accessories
    1. Case
    2. Multiple eartips
    3. Ear Hooks
     
    The LZ-A2 did not ship with any packaging. It arrived in a case along with multiple (serviceable) eartips. I won’t spend much time comparing the tips, as I immediately set them aside to replace them with the wider bore tips of the JVC Spiral Dots.
    The housing consists of a metal/metal alloy with a shiny gold appearance. The chin slider runs up and down a standard, plastic coated, clear, flexible cable that doesn’t tangle nearly as much as many other cables that I have.
    I have no problems with comfort from the housings. I can listen (and have listened) for a few hours with them without any comfort or fatigue issues.
     
    Sound Quality:
    Source: LH Labs Pulse X Infinity, Moto X Pure + LH Labs V2+ Infinity
     
    1. Excellent bass levels and clarity. Some of the best I’ve heard in a hybrid
    2. Excellent midrange/vocals/guitar crunch. A treat to use with Rock music
    3. Slight roll off in treble. Detail and resolution not up to the level of other flagship hybrids
     
    Just like when meeting a new person, you usually get an idea within the first few minutes if you like them or not. Within the first few minutes of listening to the LZ-A2, I knew I found something special.
     
    The first thing you notice is a bass slam/impact that you don’t normally hear from higher end earphones. When you listen further, you can hear a control in that bass impact that is noticeably absent from lower end earphones. This extended bass (sub bass and mid bass boost) gives a fun, pleasing boost which enhances the bass line in a rap song, but also brings out the bass drum in a good rock song. It does this while retaining the control and clarity hybrids are known for without muddying up the rest of the frequency spectrum. I have not heard this amount of bass from anything with a balanced armature unit in it before, so I was pleasantly surprised.
     
    The midrange captures your attention next. This IEM is made to showcase vocals and guitars. Where the bass provides the appropriate bass needed for hip-hop, the slight lift in the midrange allows vocals to come through clearly and adds some bite to guitars, making the LZ-a2 and its sound signature an all-in-one IEM for the rap loving metalhead (a.k.a. me). I believe the clarity can be attributed to good use of the dual BAs, but I could be wrong. Distortion (THD) levels seem to be low.
     
    Treble is the one area which takes a bit of a backseat to the rest of the sound. Highs are rolled off a bit, but they aren’t really recessed or missing like in most lower quality earphones. You can still hear the highs and the detail is still there, but it isn’t lifted or biting like most Balanced Armatures. On the bright side, this allows for extended listening sessions without treble fatigue, something which I couldn’t do with my previous favorite the Dunu Titan 1.
     
    Detail and resolution in general are above average, but not quite as resolving as other triple hybrid flagships like the Dunu DN2000. I find the sound signature of the LZ-a2 much more enjoyable than the DN2000 however, which can overdo the treble and highs the majority of the time. I find the LZ-a2 as a median between ultra bass and ultra resolution.
    PRaT is off the charts. With some Lamb of God or Gojira, I find myself moving to the music just as I would with my most prized equipment.
    Isolation is above average. I’ve had family members literally scream at me while writing this review, and I couldn’t hear them.
    Soundstage, separation and positioning are also above average. The a2 doesn’t beat the best IEMs in these categories, but it isn’t far off either. Everything is spaced appropriately and nothing is congested in the sound.
     
    Comparisons:
     
    vs. Vivo XE800 (VSonic GR07BE) = XE800 has a bit more top end, but the A2 is just more engaging and wins in everything else.
     
    vs. Dunu DN2000 = The DN2000 has a little more detail, resolution, and soundstage, but can be very fatiguing/grating with highs. The a2 comes close and has a more appealing, warmer sound with none of the fatiguing treble.
     
    vs. Dunu Titan 1 = The Titan 1 has slightly more detail, but suffers in isolation due to the open ports on the housing. Like the DN2000, the highs can also be fatiguing and too much at times due to the titanium dynamic driver. The a2 has a much more pleasing bass and sub bass level, better isolation, and almost as much detail.
     
    Conclusion:
     
    The LZ-a2 is a very fun listen for just about any genre. There really aren’t any glaring weaknesses or fatiguing peaks to speak of. It has become my new daily driver and my new favorite IEM, overtaking my Dunu Titan 1 for daily use. It can easily compete with many $300+ IEMs on the market. At the current price of ~$90, that kind of value is exceptional.
     
    I cannot recommend this IEM enough. Being that this is the first of two IEMs that Faith Audio has put out, I cannot wait to see future product lines.
     
    You can grab the LZ-a2 here:
     
    Shenzhen HCkexin Electronic Technology Co., Ltd.
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/2015-Newest-LZ-A2-Dynamic-and-Armature-3-unit-Headphones-HIFI-Fever-Earphone-As-K3003-DIY/1825606_32501370155.html
      zorniki, Grayson73, Bananiq and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. zorniki
      I've just ordered these due to the incredible value. Would you say the Fiio X1 or X3 are a good companion player for these IEMs?
      Being a HiRes noob I'm planning on getting either one of the two.
      zorniki, Nov 17, 2015
    3. Grayson73
      Grayson73, Nov 17, 2015
    4. RedTwilight
      @zorniki, X3ii may be a better match as the sound is clearer, cleaner and less warm (less bassy) than the X1. 
      RedTwilight, Nov 17, 2015
  5. peter123
    Fantastic performance from a hidden gem!
    Written by peter123
    Published Nov 12, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Overall sound, build quality, value
    Cons - No retail package, bass can be a bit too much with some music, rolled off treble
    First of all I’d like to thank Faith Audio (Lao Song) for sending me a review sample of the LZ A2.
     
    I also want to thank my friend Tamal (@RedJohn456 ) for putting these on my radar and hooking me up to review it.
     
    The LZ A2’s are available from here:
     
    http://faith-audio.mybigcommerce.com/
     
    I’m not in any way affiliated with Faith Audio.
     
    IMG_3222.jpg
    Who doesn't love some personal touch?
    IMG_3239.jpg
     
     
    About me:
    I’m a 43 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
     
    My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
     
    My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
     
    I do not use EQ, ever.
     
    I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
     
    Built and accessories:
    The LZ A2 is a hybrid in ear monitor featuring two balance armature and one 10mm dynamic driver.
     
    The cable has a straight 3.5 mm connector and although it seems pretty well built I’d preferred an angled solution.
     
    The cable is round and flexible. There is some microphonics but it’s not a big problem. Wearing them over the ears or using the included shirt clip makes microphonics pretty much non-existing. The chin slider is also in place just the way I like it.
     
    The build in general seem solid. The housings are all metal and have a very nice weight to them. Strain relief is in place on all the crucial points and the Y-split is also solid without being overly large.
     
    Left/Right markings are quite hard to spot and should’ve been easier to see. Actually they’re located on the wrong side on the housing so when you’re putting them in your ear the L/R faces away from you.
     
    The retail package is actually not a retail package but rather just a zippered case holding the IEM’s and accessories.  
     
    The accessories pack is ok at the price and includes the following:
    3 pairs silicon tips (S,M,L)
    1 pair bi-flange tips
    1 pair of foam tips
    1 pair of ear hooks
    1 shirt clip
    1 zippered case to store them in when not in use
     
    The LZ A2’s are very easy to drive and worked very well with all the sources I’ve tried it with including cellphones. I don’t find them to benefit significantly from a more powerful amplifier but the do benefit from a clean source.
     
    IMG_3238.jpg
     
    IMG_3229.jpg
     
    IMG_3230.jpg
     
    IMG_3232.jpg
     
    IMG_3235.jpg
     
    IMG_3236.jpg
     
    The specs:
    Housing
    Metal
    Driver Unit
    2 BA, 1 Dynamic
    Frequenzy range
    2Hz-24KHz
    Sensitivity
    120dB
    Impedance
    16 Ohms
    Weight
    7 g
    Cable lenght
    1.2m

     
    Fit and ergonomics:
    I find the LZ A2’s to be quite comfortable and got no problem wearing them for several hours. The housings are quite wide and a bit on the heavy side but they’re still easy to insert and get a good fit with (even for me with narrow ear canals). The included tips are ok but in the end I found out that I prefer them with tips that have a wider bore.
     
    Isolation is about average, maybe slightly above. I’ve used them on a couple of shorter fligths without any issues.
     
    Sound:
    I’ve used them back and forward in the last two weeks and they’ve played for well over 100 hours. I’ve used them both around the house and when out and about and I haven’t really found any significant weaknesses in the way they’re designed.
     
    I’ve used them with my LG G3 phone as well as the CEntrance DACport Slim and the FiiO X3 and although they’ve worked very well with all of them.
     
    As already mentioned I enjoy the LZ A2’s the most with wide bore tips.
     
    Demo list:
    Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
    Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
    Ane Brun – These Days
    Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
    Metallica – Die Die My Darling
    The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
    Eva Cassidy – Songbird
    Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
    Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
    Celldweller – Unshakeable
    Jack Johnson – Better Together
    Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
    Dire Straits- So Far Away
    Passenger – Let Her Go
    Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
    Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
     
    The overall sound signature on the LZ A2 is what I’d describe as an L-shape with a full, warm and laid back presentation.
     
    The sub-bass extension is amazing and quantity is very good. At first I thought that the sub-bass didn’t have good enough layering but after more use I realized the reason for that is because they reach really, really deep (probably the deepest I’ve ever heard in an IEM actually) and at those frequencies layering is almost impossible with an IEM. Mid-bass presence is slightly more than I ideally prefer but it still only get too much on a few recordings. The mid-bass texture is similar to that of the sub-bass slightly on the slow and relaxed side. I’ve got to admit that my biggest gripe with the A2’s is with the bass though, I kind of prefer the kind of bass that’s there when it’s called for but with the A2’s there’s a kind of ever presence of bass that gives them their full and warm signature. I find this kind of bass to be a bit tiresome with some music and absolutely amazing with other.
     
    Let me give you a couple of examples: Listening to Jack Johnson – Better Together or Lorde – Royals the mid-bass really comes out on the A2’s and overshadows the midrange way more than I enjoy. Put on Celldweller - Unshakable, Lupe Fiasco – Deliver or The Dark Knight OST on the other hand and audio nirvana is close.
     
    The midrange is well in line with the rest of the frequencies and although it’s not very often overwhelmed by the mid and upper bass it does happen occasionally. The presentation feels nice and full in its character and they’re not recessed at all. Male vocals and string instruments sound really amazing with a nice organic sound to it as well as great timbre and weight.
     
    The treble is pretty well extended but still rolls off earlier than I’d appreciate. There’s certainly a positive effect of this as well, being a very smooth presentation without any hint of sibilance. I personally enjoy a better extension and a bit more bite and details in the top end. I’m sure that a lot of people will prefer the presentation of the A2’s but to me they’re a bit too smooth.  
     
    Clarity and micro details are about average for an IEM at this price point and good taking the full and warm signature into consideration. They still lose out on both of these parameters not only to the hyper detailed VE Duke but also to the ATH-CKR9/10’s. Soundstage width is average but depth, separation and 3D feeling is very good.
     
    All in all the LZ A2 offers a very fun and non-fatiguing listening experience and delivers bass-head quantity bass of good quality while still remaining clarity and details on a good level as well as a mid-range that doesn’t sound recessed.
     
    Comparison:
    Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject A is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.
     
    These comparisons were done listening from my laptop through the Geek Out720.
     
    Audio-Technica CKR10 vs LZ A2:
    Compared to the A2’s the CKR10’s sub-bass doesn’t reach as low but offers a faster pace and a less laid back feeling. Switching from the A2’s to the CKR10’S the latter actually feels thin in comparison but also more forward in its general presentation. Although the mid-bass hit equally hard on both the A2’s has more presence while the midrange on the CKR’s are fuller. The treble on the CKR10’s is fuller and reaches higher. Both male and female voices sound more natural to me with the CKR’s. They both have great depth and timbre in their presentation. In all the CKR10’s are the most balanced of the two.
     
    I find them both equally comfortable.
     
    They LZ A2’s are slightly easier to drive.
     
    Isolation is also quite similar.
      
    Vsonic GR07BE vs LZ A2:
    Compared to the A2’s the BE’s has a more airy presentation with a lot less bass presence. The sub-bass on the A2’s goes deeper but the BE’s bass is faster.  The midrange is actually quite similar on the two but a bit fuller on the A2’s and vocals is a bit more forward on the BE’s. The treble on the BE’s much more pronounced compared to the A2’s and extension is also noticeable better but also more prone to sibilance while the A2’s treble I fuller. The BE’s has a better soundstage width while the A2’s has a much better depth. The BE’s also has better clarity while details are similar.
     
    I find them to be equally comfortable.
     
    The A2’s easier to drive.
     
    Isolation is better on the A2’s.
     
    Trinity Audio Delta (gold filter, tape mod) vs LZ A2’s:
    I’ve already got a few questions about how the A2’s compares to the Delta’s and since they’re both hybrids in a similar price range that’s quite natural. I’m not a big fan of the Delta’s in its stock configuration due to their overwhelming (for my taste) mid-bass but I enjoy them very much with an easy modification that simply is putting a piece of tape over the back vent and poking a tiny hole in it with a needle. Since I really like them with this mod and the gold filters installed I think it’s fair to compare them to the A2’s in this form (for the record: in stock form I’d prefer the A2’s easily over the Delta’s).
     
    Compared to the A2’s the Delta’s has a more airy presentation with better soundstage width while the A2's has better depth. The A2’s has deeper sub-bass and overall more bass presence but also more boomy mid-bass. The overall signature of the Delta’s brighter while the A2’s are fuller as a result of the mentioned bass presence. The Delta’s has a clearer midrange and neither of them has a midrange that feels recessed. The A2’s has thicker treble while the Delta’s has better extension but are also a bit sharper in the top. Details are similar on both while the Delta’s has better clarity.
     
    The built of the housing are very similar on these two, short and wide, but the A2’s has a slightly longer nozzle which is enough for me to find them more comfortable.
     
    The A2’s are easier to drive.
     
    Isolation is better on the A2’s.
     
    Summary:
    I feel that I’ve been quite hard on the LZ A2’s but that’s just because they can handle it.
     
    In the comparison section above I’ve put them up against some very highly regarded competitors and the truth is that even though they lose out to them all in some ways they still hold their own against all of them in total despite some of the others being a lot more expensive.
     
    The LZ A2’s a fantastic IEM to use when out and about with easy fit, very easy to drive and a fun and non-fatiguing sound with a lot of bass presence. Although they may not be ideal for critical home listening they’re still a great offering that sound good with all music and fantastic with some.  
      Grayson73, twister6 and Hisoundfi like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. ljnew
      How would you compare the delta's to the ath-ckr9/10?
       
      Also the mids on the ckr10 can be harsh but they still sound beautiful.  Is there any way to keep the high pitch from tickling or hurting me ears?
       
      Ive tried eq, and .irs files.  Still hurts.
      ljnew, Apr 30, 2016
    3. ljnew
      Sorry the ckr10's just sound beautiful and its hard to switch to something else.
      ljnew, Apr 30, 2016
    4. ljnew
      Also can anyone compare ckr10 vs shure se846
      ljnew, Apr 30, 2016

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