LZ-A4

Zelda

Headphoneus Supremus
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Sound Quality of the LZ A4


The LZ A4 presents a simple yet well done filter tuning system. It consists of 3 bass filters for the dynamic driver placed at the rear/outer part of the shells, and 6 nozzles for the dual BA driver at the front/inner part for midrange and mainly treble tuning. While the frontal filters are needed as a nozzle, the bass port can be used without a rear filter as an extra tuning option. The main effect of the different combinations of front and back filters is on the quantity of lows and highs, with some changes on the midrange region, but in terms of quality and extension the sound remains mostly unchanged. It’s difficult to describe the overall signature of the A4 as it can go from a bassy (and a bit bass heavy) and smooth sound, v-shaped, neutral and even slightly bright, lean and more open sound.


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Lows

Regardless the rear bass filter the bass extension on the A4 is great. It rather effortless and gets deep to the lower sub-bass region, with strong impact and very good rumble quality and layering. Mid-bass is well controlled, articulated and accurate with good speed that matches well the fast BA counterpart. With the blue and even black filters, the mid and upper bass has enough weight that still prevents the sound from overshadowing the midrange; with red filters it can get a bit overboard, however some tip rolling helps in this regard. Overall, it’s a well presented bass that works well with all genres and doesn’t distract from the rest of the music. Personally, I found the Blue filters to give the best balance, and even though I’d prefer the no-filter setup for a cleanest bass quality.

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Mids

Despite the change in sound with the different filters combination, the midrange remains pretty much the same in terms of tonality, quality and texture, and probably the best part to be found on the LZ A4. While forwardness or recession can be changed deepening on the filter combo, the midrange remains well balanced with the rest of the frequencies. Quality is great giving enough weight for any kind of instruments or vocals with a fairly natural texture and almost free of grain or sibilance. Timbre is good, however not the best part of the A4, which is not unexpected for a triple hybrid IEM with this dual Knowles BA (DTEC, apparently). The A4 can still be set up for a more mid-forward sound signature with the right filter combination, but might lose the more open and wide presentation. Regardless, the A4 doesn’t compromise with any kind of music genre.

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Highs

Even with the red filters, the highs extension is very good and gets much better when getting to blue ones. Overall it mixes very well a smooth texture with good layering and rich details, getting above average level of resolution which is almost free of harshness or sibilance. With the treble filters, the dual BA drivers on the A4 are capable of bringing either a laid-back smooth treble, a bit hot treble or simply a bright yet well controlled treble at the user preference, without leaving the rich and musical presentation.

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Stage and Presentation

Soundstage width and depth are quite good, without sounding unnatural, and height is above average for an IEM at this price point. Airiness and 3D effect are very good as well, just behind the DN-2000 (which I still consider an excellent hybrid in-ear). Imaging suffers a bit from the wider soundstage but positioning is still very coherent; the DN-2002 is also better in this regard, but for the half price the A4 holds its ground really well. Even more complex tracks are not an issue for the LZ A4 and it handles very well the coherence between both types of drivers.

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Soham Sengupta

100+ Head-Fier
Pros: +Exceptional sound for its price
+Better than average soundstage
+Comfortable
+Good Imaging and Separation
Cons: -Ergonomics might be iffy for some with the provided tips
-The edge of the iem is a bit sharp which can hurt the outer ear (I suggest filing it down, I did the same for mine)
About Myself:

I am just an beginner, budding audiophile who tries to listen to music just the way they are meant to be heard. I currently have a Sennheiser HD598SE, HD 58X (review coming in August), Fiio Q1 as an amp, and lz a4, rha ma390u, soundmagic e50c and some other cheap in ears. I have the Cayin N3 and Hiby R3 (yet to arrive) as my DAPs.

Preamble:

Now those of you who don't know about LZ, weIl here is some insight about them. LZ (Lao Zhong) was originally a technician repairing home appliances. But he's always had a love for, and a fascination with, audio – stretching back for more than 20 years. This led to him actually making his own speakers, and then eventually to playing around with IEMs. He bought an expensive pair of IEMs but was not impressed with them. So he borrowed some money, started making his own IEMs and listing them on Taobao. Little did he know how popular the LZ-02 would become, and he wasn't expecting the interest outside China that it garnered. (source: Brooko. You won't find this anywhere on the net).

Specs:
Brand: LZ
Model: A4
Driver: 1 Dynamic driver + 2 Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers (30017 TWFK Driver)
Impedance: 16Ω
Headphone sensitivity:120dB
Frequency range: 10-35000Hz
Interface: 3.5mm
Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
Weight: 30g
Interface Type: MMCX


I have had the LZ A4 for about 4 months (again) and I have burned it with my mixed tracks of pink and white noise for about 72 hrs. Then I have listened to them everyday (atleast 5 days a week) during these 4 months with all genres of songs (eg. Rock, EDM, Pop, Movie Soundtracks, Western Classics, etc.). If you want the list of songs that I used, you can PM me. Now, for those who doesn't want to read the full review, here is the verdict - This is the best hybrid iem under $200 bar none. The filter implementation here is just too good to be true (much much much better than RHA's implementation). So, if you want an IEM under $200, these should be high up in your books. Now, onto the main review.

A Small Disclaimer:
I was in no way paid for this review. I had bought this LZ A4 from Massdrop and I am not affiliated to LZ in any way and this is my honest and totally unbiased review about the LZ A4. Now that we have got this out of the way, lets get on with the review shall we?

Unboxing:

The unboxing experience with the iems was quite nice. LZ know how to pack their iem properly.The LZ A4 came in a nice, black reinforced cardboard box.

On opening the box, you will be greeted with the iems themselves and a plethora of eartips.

After removing this top foam cover, you will see two boxes: One black metal box and another orange colored hard carrying case (I would have personally liked a black case but it works just fine) for the iems and a small plastic pouch containing a few more silicon tips and a single pair of foam tip (which is of very poor quality, no retention capability) and a shirt clip.

Inside the black metal box, we will find all the filters that are included with the LZ A4 (yes, these too have tunable filter system.) along with a pair of large double flange tip.

The orange box contains the 3.5mm mmcx cable which I will talk about a bit more later in the review.

So, in the box we get:
(1) The IEMs themselves
(2) 6 pairs of double-density single flange tips (s/m/l)
(3) 3 pairs of single-density single flange tips (s/m/l)
(4) 1 pair of foam tips (m)
(5) 1 pair of double flange tips (l)
(6) Hard Shell Carrying Case
(7) 3 Back filters and 6 front filters (1 back and 1 front filter preattached)
(8) Detachable 3.5mm nylon-sheathed 4-core OFC cable
(9) Shirt Clip.

Build Quality:

The build quality of this iem is very good, if not exceptional. The nozzle and the back of the iem is made of an alloy and the housing which contains the mmcx connector is made of ABS plastic. It looks and feels durable but not premium. Also the MMCX connectors are gold plated which is a nice touch. But I am disappointed with the quality of the cable. The left MMCX connector on the cable became loose after a few detachments and the nylon sheathing on the cable started peeling off. Both of them are minor issues but still noticeable nonetheless. But this doesn't affect the sound quality so yeah, I am fine with that. The 3.5mm jack on the cable is gold plated and it is angled at a 45 degree angle which I think is a great thing as most of the time, with straight jacks, they get stuck inside and only give way after a lot of force. So I think LZ has done a good job with this. The Y-split on the cable is made of plastic and it has a cable shortener.




Ergonomics and Isolation:

Now, this is one of the parts where YMMV. For me, the fit was not that great with the iems. The supplied stock eartips always tend to slip out of my ear. Only the smallest eartips in the set would fit me. But still it was not the isolation that I desired. So I ordered a pair of Spinfits (11mm) from AliExpress and those were the ones who gave me the best fit with these iems (about 10dB of isolation would be my guess). Although this would not be enough to hide the sound of an airplane or inside the subway, but its still great for outdoor isolation. With the Spinfits, the LZ A4 fit me like a marshmallow. The insertion was neither too deep, nor too shallow and it was the perfect fit. But, I noticed that the outer housing has a sharp edge to it which I had filed down a bit so that I do not hurt my ears when I am fitting it. Also the iem can be worn over the ear or cable down. Its just a choice of preference. I prefer over the ear as it makes the fit better and also reduces microphonics.

Filters:

Now, since filters are a key part of the LZ A4, I felt I should mention them as well separately. The filter system on the LZ A4 is muuuuuch more robust than that of, say the Trinity Atlas, RHA T20i, etc. but not as robust as the FLC8s. But still, these filters change the sound signature much more noticeably. If you put on the say, the pink nozzle filter, you will notice that the treble becomes very smooth and loses a lot of its clarity. If you put the blue back filter, you will notice that the sub-bass rolls off much earlier than expected. If you choose the red....well you get my point. You can have a look at the frequency graph for the different tuning filters. For this entire review, I will be using the Red Back filter and the Black front filter as it provides the most balanced sound for this iem and I listen to a lot of Rock, EDM and Pop music so this is the best filter combo for me.


Sound:

Now onto the most subjective part of the review: sound. I am again repeating that for this entire review, For this entire review I will be using the Red Back filter and the Black front filter as it provides the most balanced sound for this iem and I listen to a lot of Rock, EDM and Pop music so this is the best filter combo for me. Also, I won't be posting any graphs in this review as I honestly don't believe that much in graph as much as I believe my ears.

This time, I will be listening to the iems via 2 modes:
(1) PC--->Fiio Q1--->LZ A4
(2) Cayin N3--->LZ A4.
I will also list the soundtracks that I have used for each section of my sound test. Also, all of my tracks are either 44kHz/24bit - 192kHz/24bit FLAC or DSD64/DSD128. So, here we go.

(a) Bass [Tracks used - Axel Thesleff - Reincarnation, Martin Garrix Animals, Alessia Cara - Here, Zara Larsson - So Good (Album), Jordan Comolli - Alone, etc.] :
The IEM has a kind of balanced sound signature with a slight sub-bass boost. This means that except for the bass, no other part of the frequency is overemphasized. Well the bass in this iem is really one of the best that I have heard. Its tight, punchy, and is really fast. But it is in no way boomy or bloated nor does it sound harsh at high volumes like the RHA T20i. There is more priority in the sub-bass region than in the mid-bass so EDM and Pop songs sound fantastic with these iems. But if you don't like too much bass, you could always swap the red filter with the blue one which reduces the bass significantly giving you a presentation much more smoother. So I would give the bass full marks here.

(b) Mids [Tracks used - Adele - 25 (Album), Charlie Puth - Nine Track Mind (Album), Ed Sheeran - X / Divide (Album), Sessions from the 17th Ward - Amber Rubarth (Album), John Newman - Love Me Again, Elvis Presley - Can't Help Falling In Love With You, etc.] :
The mids in these iems feels a bit intimate. It means that you will feel as if you are part of the band and the lead vocalist is singing beside you. The male vocals and female vocals are given more or less equal priority. So you won't feel as if the female vocals are a bit farther off than the male vocals and vice versa. They don't get drowned out by the instruments even in busy tracks and they sound full-bodied and natural without being too overwhelming. The female vocals have a bit of airiness in them and Ed Sheeran's vocals in Photograph has a really nice feel to it which just can't be described (its just inexplicable). They are quite detail-revealing iems for their price. In Ed Sheeran's song, Photograph, you can hear Ed breathing, the guitar squeaking when the chords are being changed, etc. It's just a mesmerising experience. So another thumbs up for the LZ A4 in this department.

(c) Treble [Tracks used - Led Zeppelin - IV (Album), Ed Sheeran - X / Divide (Album), Sessions from the 17th Ward - Amber Rubarth (Album), Pink Floyd - Dark Of The Moon (Album), John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucía – Friday Night In San Francisco (Album){I have to mention this that this is one of the greatest guitar albums ever created. If you haven't heard (of) this album yet, stop viewing this review and go download this in FLAC format immediately!}, Ludovico Einaudi - Islands (Essential Einaudi), etc.] :
This iem is really made perfectly for their price. I mean there is really not a major issue with this iem that makes me really want to pull them out of my conchas. The treble on these are bright, energetic but in no way sibilant. They never sound harsh even in high volumes and cymbal crashes and hi-hats sound very nice in them (bright, sharp without sounding splashy and with a nice decay that makes you wanting more of that action ). The upper treble extends quite well on this iem with the black nozzle filter without any roll-off. Violin rendition is also very clear and detailed on this track. Even in busy tracks, the high notes of guitar in a few busy tracks comes out properly. So another full marks for this iem.

(d) Soundstage, Imaging and Separation [Tracks used - Sessions from the 17th Ward - Amber Rubarth (Album), Yosi Horikawa - Vapor (Album), Led Zeppelin - IV (Album), John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Paco De Lucía – Friday Night In San Francisco (Album), Beethoven - Symphony #5 (Album)] :
The tracks which are used for testing the soundstage and separation of this iem are binaural tracks. This means that the tracks basically have the music coming from all directions and are generally recorded using a binaural mic. The Sessions from the 17th Ward is an excellent binaural album and I will be mainly using that track for this test. Well, the soundstage on this iem is very nice. I mean not like open-back headset nice, but better than most iems at this price point. It is really very expansive but the soundstage is oval-shaped. This means that you will feel the left and right side to be more expansive than the front and the back. Separation is nice on this iem. In Beethoven's Symphony #5 (which is quite a busy track with all the flutes, violins and trumpets going on in the orchestra), you can definitely pick up all the instruments being played in the track. Also, there is no distortion whatsoever in these tracks so imaging is also nice in this iem. So, I don't really know what sorcery LZ has done with this iem but they really sound splendid!

(e) Sensitivity [No particular track used (obviously)] :
You won't have any trouble driving them out of your smartphones. It has a low impedance of 16Ω and a high sensitivity of 120dB (very high sensitivity indeed!). So yeah, its basically very efficient and most smartphones can drive it without any issues whatsoever.

Now, for a short comparison between the only iem I had, i.e the RHA T20i which is in the same price category of $200 (yes had cuz I sold it. But don't worry, I have a good muscle memory so I can recall most of the things about my T20i). The RHA T20i is a dark sounding iem with a intimate soundstage. Also, I will be making the comparison a bit easier to read by making it like LZ A4 > RHA in this respect and vice versa (you can see what I mean). So here we go.

Neutrality = LZ A4 > RHA T20i
Timber/Naturalness = LZ A4 > RHA T20i
Detail/Resolution = LZ A4 > RHA T20i
Imaging & Positioning = LZ A4 > RHA T20i
Soundstage = LZ A4 >> RHA T20i (The RHA T20i is an intimate sort of iem where you can enjoy vocals more, but in the LZ A4, although it is a bit intimate, but not as much as the RHA T20i)
Dynamics = LZ A4 > RHA T20i
Transience = IT03 > AF56 > T20 = GR07
Bass Quantity = LZ A4 < RHA T20i
Bass Quality = LZ A4 > RHA T20i
Mids Quantity = LZ A4 = RHA T20i
Mids Quality = LZ A4 > RHA T20i
Treble Quantity = LZ A4 = RHA T20i
Treble Quality = LZ A4 = RHA T20i
Amount of Sibilance = LZ A4 = RHA T20i
Comfort = LZ A4 >> RHA T20i (I had quite a bit of fit issue with the RHA T20i I had to face none of it with the LZ A4)
Apparent Build / Durability = T20i >> LZ A4
Immersion / Engagement = LZ A4 > RHA T20i (The RHA's made me tap my foot in Sia - Cheap Thrills but the LZ? They made me dance. So LZ is definitely better in immersion. Also, since I got a better fit in the LZ, I had better isolation which in turn, led to better immersion). [BTW, I got this idea of comparison when I was reading a review on head-fi and I thought it was a great way to compare multiple iems at the same time without much words wasted.]

Overall Sound Quality = LZ A4 > RHA T20i (That was obvious wasn't it?)

Conclusion:
I hope it's obvious by now that the sound is more or less perfect on this iem for this price point. They are a much more value for money offering than the RHA T20i in most aspects except for the build quality perhaps? But still that build quality comes with an iem that can be worn only for a maximum time of 1 hour by me whereas with the LZ A4, I used it for 4 hours without even feeling that it's there. So I think that LZ has a winner in their hands with the LZ A4 and I now bestow upon it the best IEM out there for under $200, period.
Pros: Sound quality, versatility, build quality, ease of use, value, accessories, well thought out tuning options
Cons: Could be better ergonomically (can be uncomfortable), bass filters need more variety
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Picture are default 1200 x 800 resolution - click (photos in tables) to view larger images.

INTRODUCTION

As music lovers, its not uncommon for a lot of us to have multiple earphones – mainly for those times when we're in the mood for a slightly different sound. Whether it be more bass, a different tonality in the mid-range, more up top, preference for a V shape (fun!) or simply more balance. The problem is that to satisfy this we either have to be adept using EQ (its not hard once you learn), have reasonably deep pockets (for multiple earphones), or be prepared to use hardware EQ like bass boost or tone controls.

For a while now there have been options in the market for earphones which you can tune yourself using a set of changeable filters. Trinity and RHA were early adopters with their tuning filters, and later came FLC with their ground breaking FLC8S triple hybrid. Suddenly you could have more control of your IEM – albeit with limitations. RHA and Trinity designs were good but somewhat limited in their application. The FLC8S is really versatile, but changing the filters can be an exercise.

And then recently a small Chinese company LZ (Lao Zhong) HiFi Audio appeared with a new tunable hybrid coming in at under $200. How would it fare against some of the alternatives from Trinity, and against the more expensive FLC8S. Is the LZ-A4 a worthy competitor? Read on for my take on the LZ-A4.


ABOUT LZ

LZ Hi-Fi Audio is a difficult company to get to know. Check their website – virtually nothing to give insight to the company. Facebook – and its similar. I was extremely lucky, in that I had Head-Fi's own duyu (Frank) who was able to get me a little inside knowledge.

LZ (Lao Zhong) was originally a technician repairing home appliances. But he's always had a love for, and a fascination with, audio – stretching back for more than 20 years. This led to him actually making his own speakers, and then eventually to playing around with IEMs. He bought an expensive pair of big name brand IEMs (and no I won't mention them), but was not impressed with them. So he borrowed some money, started DIYing his own IEMs and listing them on Taobao. Little did he know how popular the LZ-02 would become, and he wasn't expecting the interest outside China that it garnered.

In 2015, LZ products appeared on Head-Fi for the first time, and their customer base has grown as they got more exposure. They're located in Shenzhen China, with the factory located in Dongguan. The company is surprising small – with just 7 staff in their main office. They now have a product range of more than a half dozen items – mainly IEMs, but also including a very reasonably priced after-market cable. They've also recently released a tunable flagship model IEM (the Big Dipper) which I'll be reviewing very soon.

LZ's message is a simple one – he just wants to make affordable IEMs for the public. And I really love the way he states it. He simply says that “we want to deliver our music to the world”. Not our products. Not our sound. Our music. I kind of like that philosophy.

I also thought that this might be interesting for those who are both already fans of LZ HiFi and also potential fans – a series of photos of their operation. I always find it pretty cool to think of the care that goes into truly hand-made products. Special thanks to both LZ for allowing me to display them, and also duyu for sourcing them for me. Click the photos for larger images.


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DISCLAIMER

The LZ-A4 that I’m reviewing today was provided to me freely as a review sample, but LZ HiFi have asked me to keep it for my personal use, or for follow up comparisons, and I thank them for this. I'd also like to thank duyu (Frank) for acting as the go between and facilitating the review sample. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also LZ HiFi.

I have now had the LZ-A4 for just under 5 months. The retail price at time of review is USD 195.

PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

I'm a 50 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (mostly now from the FiiO X5iii, and iPhone SE) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not overly treble sensitive, and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.


I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables (unless it was volume or impedance related), and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 50, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.

For the purposes of this review - I used the LZ-A4 from various sources at my disposal – both straight from the headphone-out socket, and also with further amplification. In the time I have spent with the LZ-A4, I have personally noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in), although I note that LZ recommends it.

This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


THE REVIEW

PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
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Front of the retail box Rear of the retail box
The LZ-A4 arrived in a 145 x 202 x 63mm “book style” retail box. It is black with red highlights and text. On the front is LZ's logo and a simple description. On the rear (in white text) their address in both Chinese and English.

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Inside the cover Bottom layer
Opening the box reveals a foam insert which holds the IEMs and some of the included silicone tips. Under this is a secondary storage area which holds the carry/storage case, a tray for the tuning filters, some further tips, a shirt clip and the documentation.

The carry case has a semi-rigid red outer shell, with a black cloth interior. It has an external measurement of approx 120 x 85 x 40mm – so more suitable for a jacket than a trouser pocket. It has been sized this way so that you can fit the entire filter package inside, but doing this leaves little room for the IEMs. If you take the filter foam insert (with filters embedded) out of the tin, and just pack that in the case, then the LZ-A4 will also fit.


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The full packageFilter description from the guide
Also included in the package is a small ~ 90 x 65 x 18mm tin. Inside this (in its own foam insert) are the tuning filters. Including the ones pre-fitted, there are 3 pairs of rear filters, and 6 pairs of front filters. This gives 24 possible tuning options (as you can also have no back filter). I will go more in depth into the filter tunings later in the review. The filter parts are all screw in, and are easy to handle and to attach/detach. They are also colour coded for easy identification.

The total accessory package includes:
  • 10 pairs of silicone single flange tips
  • 1 pair of silicone dual flange tips
  • 1 pair of medium foam tips
  • 1 shirt clip
  • 1 zippered carry case
  • 1 metal tin containing the filters
  • 3 pairs of rear filters
  • 6 pairs of front filters
  • 1 fold-out manual/pamphlet
  • 1 pair of LZ-A4 Triple Hybrid IEMs
  • 1 x 3.5 mm single ended to MMCX earphone cable

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Tip selectionCarry case
For the price point, the accessories included are well thought out, and reasonably generous. The only thing I would have preferred would have been more variety in the sizing of the foam tips – but otherwise a very good start

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
(From LZ's packaging / website)
ModelLZ-A4
Approx price$195 USD
TypeTriple Hybrid IEM
Drivers1 x Dynamic and 2 x Knowles Balanced Armature
Freq Range10Hz – 35kHz
Impedance16Ω
Sensitivity110 +/- 1dB
Cable Type1.3m, replaceable (MMCX)
Jack3.5mm gold plated single ended, angled
Weight11g
Casing materialCoated and anodised alloy

FREQUENCY GRAPH

The graphs below are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else's, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response - especially if you've followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I always use crystal foam tips (so medium bore opening) - and the reason I use them is for very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements - and output is under 1 ohm.

The graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference.


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Frequency response and channel matchingRange of bass filtersRange of mid/high filters
As you can see from the above graphs, there is quite a range of different frequency responses you can dial in. We'll go into them in more depth in the filter section. But one thing to note is the versatility.

The second thing to note is that apart from the blue rear filter, the other rear filters (black, red and none) are very close when measured. I can't say if maybe I got a couple of filters which were coloured wrong, or if there is an issue with my sample pair. Others have said they are getting more change with their own bass filters. I only really notice change with the blue filter vs the others.

And the final thing to notice is that the channel matching is very good. I performed this with no back filter and grey front filter – not because it is my favourite setting, but rather because the grey is the middle filter in terms of change, and if I have no filter on the rear, then there is the smallest chance of a filter being responsible for channel imbalance. No fear of that though – LZ's driver matching is quite excellent.


BUILD AND DESIGN

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External face of the shellSide view
The LZ-A4 has a very interesting shape, and probably the best description I could give is that it looks like a quarter circle, with a central chamber and nozzle. The LZ-A4's main body measures ~20mm across, ~16mm high, and ~16-17mm deep (with no nozzle attached). Adding the filter nozzle extends this to ~21mm. The body is made of a black lightweight metal alloy which is quite sturdy, and looks built to last.

The main body is quite angular and has a few bevelled edges, but because of the size and shape, it sits mainly in non-contact with my ear. All the same, I think that LZ could have done more with their moulding to round the edges a little better. From the external side, you mainly see the flat quarter circle body shape – with a central vent to which the rear filter screws into. There is a small L/R indicator engraved into each ear-piece which is both unobtrusive but also easy to find. At the top of the main body is an MMCX socket. It is extremely solid (takes a real effort to removed the cables).


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Internal facingMMCX socket and connector
The internal side is cone shaped, from the main body – but rather than being smooth, there are a couple of bevelled ridges which really needed to be smooth. At least one of these is engaging with my ears, and after a while becomes uncomfortable for me. The tuning nozzles screw into the tip of the cone, and have a shallow but still reasonable lip, which makes tip selection a little easier. There is a small dynamic driver vent on the internal cone. Each filter is mesh covered, and the nozzle diameter is ~6mm in diameter.

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Y-split and cinch3.5mm SE jack and cable tie
As I mentioned, the cable exit is at the top of the main body, and is MMCX. The cable is a twisted pair and finished with a quite soft and flexible outer coating. The one thing which is immediately apparent with the cable is that it is strong – really strong. Even the thinner section north of the Y-split feels as though you could use it as a fastening wire. The cable is only slightly microphonic, but this is easily managed by wearing over-ear, and using the cinch.

There is no strain relief at the cable exit, and even though the cable has a lot of strength, I think there should still be some. At the Y-split there is no relief either. It is a rigid rubber one piece y-split with a sliding cinch (which works brilliantly) above it.

The jack is 3.5mm, 45 degree angled, and has good strain relief. It is gold plated and also long enough to be considered smart-phone case friendly. Above the jack is a cloth and velcro cable tie which is quite handy for securing the IEMs when not in use, but which is also a little bulky, and not quite as elegant as Dunu's very similar solution.

Internally the LZ-A4 uses a dual Knowles BA set-up, along with a titanium silver composite diaphragm on the dynamic driver. All in all, I would say that the design and build quality is striking, and looks durable. My only concerns are with the hard angles on the housing, and the lack of strain relief on the cables.


FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
Isolation is an interesting topic with the LZ-A4. The back is essentially a vent – to which different rear filters give different bass response. If you go completely filter-less, and block the nozzle – you can clearly hear sound from the back, and if worn with no rear filter, you can hear people around you. But when adding the rear filter, this is mitigated quite well, and I'd say that isolation is about average for a ported or vented hybrid. With music playing at a responsible level, most background noise is masked – and it is only really loud sounds which get through. They'd even be OK for most public transport, but wouldn't be my pick for something like a long haul flight. As per usual – the personal level of isolation you achieve will depend on the tips you use and the seal you achieve.

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Worn over ear – housing can be uncomfortableMy modded Spinfits (foam added)
So lets looks at fit and comfort – and these thoughts are more subjective, and will vary from person to person. The LZ-A4 can be worn cable up or cable down, but most will agree that the ergonomic shape was designed primarily for cable over the ear. I don't tend to have too many issues with the actual main body – although over time even those bevelled hard edges can get uncomfortable. Those with smaller ears may escape this purely from the fact that the LZ-A4 may stick out more (keep all surfaces away from their ears). For me though, anything over an hour or so, and they can start becoming slightly uncomfortable. Its a real pity because I like almost everything else about them. Fit/comfort can be mitigated to a certain extent by tips and positioning, and I'm sure a lot will find the comfort personally acceptable – unfortunately I don't. The good news is that LZ's new Big Dipper flagship has no such problems – and is one of the most ergonomic designs I've tried (more on that one in a week or so).


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LZ-A4 next to the Big DipperSpinfits and Spiral Dots
The LZ-A4 does have a lip on the nozzle, and because of this you can have a reasonable variety of tip choices. I tried Spiral Dots, Spin-fits, Ostry tuning tips (which gave me quite a good seal), and Sony Isolation tips, and all fit pretty well. I did find foam tips tended to give me a little more overall comfort and better seal – bus that is principally because I have one wider ear canal (left) than the other – so often getting perfect fit for me can be problematic. Ultimately for me though, I ended up with a modified pair of Spin-fits (I added foam inners) and this gave a pretty good combination of seal and comfort

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Sony Isolation and Ostry Tuning tipsShure Olives and Crystal foam tips
The LZ-A4 sits almost flush with my outer ear, and after adjustment I can wear them for up to a couple of hours. Lying down with them causes the housing to press against my ear, and this gets uncomfortable pretty fast. I've slept with them once, but woke up after less than an hour with pretty sore ears. YMMV with this.

So the general build is good, but the shape could be improved a little. The first step would be proper rounding of the edges rather than bevelling.


FILTERS

This always a tough one – as there are so many options, and without measurements, it is very easy for our brains to throw a filter over everything we hear. Because of this, we can grow quickly accustomed to its tonality and lose sight of its performance against the other options. Hopefully this summary will allow people to dial into their preferred curve early – and then experiment from there.

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Rear filtersNote some of the different internals
The rear filters are 9mm in diameter, and have a threaded screw to fit the rear of the LZ-A4. They are pre-fitted with a rubber washed to maintain a tight seal, and the outer surface has good grip to allow easy handling. The tuning is maintained either through the sizing of the meshed holes, use of acoustic material, or both. The rear filters solely control sub and mid-bass, but will obviously influence perception of other frequencies

The front filters, are also the nozzles. They are 6mm in length (4-5mm exposed when fitted), 6mm in diameter with a mesh over the nozzle and good lip. They also have a threaded screw to fit the front of the LZ-A4, and are also fitted with a rubber washer to maintain seal and integrity. They are pretty easy to change out. Tuning is once again managed through the use of size of the meshed holes, acoustic material, size of the nozzle chamber or combination of the three. The front filters change frequencies from the low mid-range (around 200 Hz – but minimal change here) through to the upper treble – with most change occurring in the upper mid0rang and lower treble from 2 kHz to 9kHz.

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Front filtersAgain note some of the different internals
The documentation included with the LZ-A4 is not exactly clear or helpful in deciding on filter choices, referring to frequencies in a vague way. Hopefully this illustrates things a little easier. Starting with the bass (rear) filter, to my ears, and on my measurement gear, the black, red and no filter options all sound pretty much identical. The blue is the real difference and has a roll off from around 100Hz – and is more than 10 dB down by you reach 20 Hz. The black and red are actually pretty good though – not overemphasised, with well extended sub-bass. What is really missing with the filters on the LZ-A4 is a bass curve between black and blue (more of a flattish mid-bass hump), and possible for bass lovers, one with more sub bass emphasis. For me though, the black is very acceptable for my tastes with this earphone.

The front filters give a lot more options, and invite a lot more changes. I'm going to start with the combo which I believe is the closest to balanced or reference (its still a shallow V), and that is the pink filter. You'll notice in the graphs that the pink peaks in upper mid-range and lower treble all pretty much match the apex of the bass at 50-100 Hz, with only one slight peak above this at 9 kHz. If we accept this as closest to reference, we can then compare the others to this. For all the below comparisons I have used the black rear filter.

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Pink vs GreyPink vs Red
The closest to the pink is the grey, and the only real difference is slightly more emphasis at 2 kHz – otherwise they are pretty much identical. I detailed earlier in my profile (bias) that I can be a little sensitive at 2-3 kHz which is why I prefer the pink ever so slightly – but either the pink or grey could be considered closest to reference for the LZ-A4. Both give an excellent transition of mid-range fundamentals to upper mid-range harmonics. Both are well extended into lower treble without too many annoying peaks. Both have enough emphasis at 7 kHz to clearly define cymbals.

The red is also extremely close to both pink and grey – but this time there is a slight lift in both upper mid-range and lower treble. It is pretty uniform, quite subtle, and extremely well managed. The lift is only about 2-3 dB in these areas, but it does add that little bit of emphasis without introducing too much peakiness, and for lovers of a little more air or bite is a great option.

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Pink vs BlackPink vs Green
The black is more similar to the red (than pink or grey) – but this time with a lot more emphasis on the upper mid-range (4-5 dB). Lovers of female vocals with a more euphonic tilt or colouration may well prefer the black – as there is generally more emphasis on vocal presence and also on some instruments (guitar bite for instance). The black probably represents the upper limit of where I am generally comfortable with upper mid-range bumps, and in many ways sounds a little like Fidue's Sirius with this configuration.

Green gives a large bump to the upper mid-range at 2 kHz (almost 10dB) above the pink, and 15 dB above the lower mid-range at 700 Hz. Lower treble is the same as the pink, so this gives a very mid-centric sound. This colouration is probably closest to where a lot of the Trinity IEMs were tuned, and while it can be quite captivating (definitely coloured!), I personally find it slightly over-done, and can trigger a little dissonance with some things like upper register piano notes for me. Still I can see how some people will gravitate to this filter, and it isn't at all out of place in the filter selection.

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Pink vs BlueTip choice will also affect things
The blue is the combination of green and black – a lot of emphasis on both upper mids and also lower treble. It is bright, somewhat dry and lean, and for me too coloured to consider using. But again it shows the maturity of the overall filter selections LZ have provided, and to me this variety provides one of the most well structured and progressive use of variable filters around – especially at this price point.

The one thing which would make the LZ-A4 close to perfect is better variety in the bass filter system.

SOUND QUALITY

The following is what I hear from the LZ-A4. YMMV – and probably will (also because we are talking about an earphone with many tuning options) – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X5iii (single ended) no EQ, black back filter with pink front filter, and modded Spin-fit tips tips. I used the FiiO X5iii simply because it gives me a transparent window to the music with low impedance, and more than enough power. There was no DSP engaged. I used the black/pink combo because it is the closest I can get to reference with the included filters.

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My trusty FiiO X5iiiFiiO X1ii solo was also more than enough

For the record – on most tracks, the volume on X5iii was around the 40/120 level which was giving me an average SPL around 65-75 dB. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.17556


Relativities

  • Sub-bass – has very good extension and even at my low listening levels is clearly audible, with good rumble and sense of presence. Does not dominate with tracks like Lorde's Royals, but does give enough thump without overshadowing vocals, and I'm detecting no bleed (or masking) into the lower mid-range.
  • Mid-bass – has a natural mid-bass hump – providing very good impact, but sitting ever so slightly back from the actual sub-bass. Mid-bass is a little elevated over lower mids, but roughly equal with upper mids with this filter combination.
  • Lower mid-range – there is a recession compared to sub and mid-bass, and also the upper mid-range, but does not sound overly recessed or distant. Male vocals do not quite have the same presence as female vocals, but they do have enough body to be enjoyable.
  • Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, and there is a slow rise from 1 kHz to a first peak at 2 kHz and a second at 4kHz. The result is a clean and clear vocal range, with very good cohesion and some euphony for female vocals to sound sweet and elevated. There is also good sense of bite with guitars – and plenty of presence for fundamental cymbal strikes.
  • Lower treble has very good extension, and really is quite sustained 2 kHz through to 10kHz with just some dips in the 5-6 kHz area and again around 8kHz. But it isn't over-emphasised with this filter combination, remaining at about the same amplitude as the upper mid-range. This presents a lot of clarity and detail, but without any sign of harshness.
  • Upper treble – rolls off with this filter combination, but I don't feel as though I am missing anything. Other filters can give even further extension.
Resolution / Detail / Clarity
  • I noticed in the discussions in the forums of the LZ-A4 and a few people saying the black/pink combo was just too smooth and not showing enough detail. For me anyway, this is just not true. When I wrote this bit I was listening to Pink Floyd's “Money”, and it is a track with gobs of micro detail which can sometimes get lost or smeared with a warmer earphone. With the LZ-A4 I was really surprised at the level of detail and resolution. Everything is there, yet not over-emphasised or spot-lit in any way.
  • Portico Quartet's “Ruins” is a good track for checking the balance on drumstick clicks, hi-hat taps and cymbal decay, and no detail is missed even at lower listening levels.(
  • Cymbal hits have good clarity and overall presence, and this includes decay – there is no real hint of truncation. Pearl Jam's “Elderly Woman ...” was perfect in this regard.(
  • Overall I feel as though I'm hearing everything in the recording – and this is even at my lower listening levels. Older rock recordings are pleasantly easy to get every nuance. The balance is really good.
Sound-stage and Imaging
  • Directional queues are very good – clean and clear, and presentation of stage is just on the periphery of my head space with binaural tracks. You can very slightly nudge this outwards by removing the rear filters. The LZ-A4 is nicely expansive but not massively so.
  • Separation of instruments and imaging is good, and I would it average performance for a hybrid IEM.
  • Reasonably spherically presented sound-stage – with a slight L/R dominance (more width than depth), but for me a good sense of staging.
  • The applause section of “Dante's Prayer” was well represented with a good feel of flow around me. Not as good as I have experienced but enough so that the LZ-A4 does not seem flat or two dimensional.
  • “Let it Rain” had a very 3D-like sense of spatial presentation – it is the way the track was miked. There was a slight hint of sibilance with Amanda's vocal (even at higher volumes) – and I know its present in the recording – so not unexpected. What was great is that the sibilance was reasonably subdued, yet the overall detail was still in abundance.
Sonic Strengths
  • Overall tonal balance and clarity – while retaining a smooth sonic presentation
  • Imaging, separation and sense of space in the staging (whilst not going overboard).
  • Both sub and mid-bass have good impact but do not dominate otherwise
  • Very good portrayal of both male and female vocals, although male vocals are not as full or rich as their female counterparts.
  • Very detailed at low listening levels
  • Extremely good transition between lower and upper mid-range
Sonic Weaknesses
  • It is actually pretty hard to find one with this filter combination.
  • Perhaps a very slight thinness or leanness with male vocals – but that is nitpicking given the upside of euphony with female vocals.
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

The LZ-A4 is not a hard IEM to drive with its 16ohm impedance and 110 dB sensitivity. It was easily driven with all the sources I tried, and this included my iPhone SE and players like FiiO's X1ii (neither are power houses). My iPhone SE only needed about one third of its volume for a comfortable 65-75dB and even 40-50% with some well recorded Porcupine Tree was simply too loud for me.
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Testing with the FiiO A5 and E17KAll the sources I had could also drive the LZ-A4 easily
But I went back and forth (volume matching with test tones and fixed volumes using a few different combos – iPhone SE & IMS portable valve amp, X3ii & E17K, and X5iii & A5, and did not notice any appreciable difference between amped and straight out of a DAP. My advice would be to further amp if you prefer it – but its definitely not needed.


EQ / BALANCED PERFORMANCE

I tested Balanced vs SE performance using an ALO Tinsel cable. Both sounded very good, but switching quickly between the two using an adaptor did not show up any marked improvements to me. Note that this was performed on the X5iii and properly volume matched before hand.

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Baslanced with an ALO Tinsel cableE17K tone controls for EQ testing
As far as EQ goes, that is ultimately what the tuning filters are there for, but I did use hardware EQ in the form of the E17K and A5 bass boost and both times the LZ-A4 responded well with no real clipping issues. Interestingly I was also able to turn the blue front filter to a very similar tonality as the pink – simply by reducing the treble with E17K's tone controls. Either way – there seems to be no real issues with EQ.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS

A hard one to try and compare because of the filters. So for this one I looked simply to show the overall performance compared to some other tunable IEMs (Trinity's Delta V2, Atlas, and FLC's FLC8S) as well as a couple of well regarded IEMs in the $200-250 range.

For the source, I wanted something very neutral, but with a good digital control, to make sure I could volume match. So I chose to use my old work-horse combo – the FiiO X3ii and E17K. No DSP or EQ was used. Gain was low (I didn't need any more). I volume matched using a calibrated SPL meter and fixed 1kHz test tone first. My listening level was set to an average of 70dB.


LZ-A4 (~USD 195) vs Trinity Delta V2 (~USD 150)

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LZ-A4 and Trinity Delta 2Delta 2 FiltersFrequency comparisons (optimal)
The Trinity Delta V2 is no longer sold by Trinity Audio – but was my favourite of all the Trinity products I reviewed. Starting with build quality – both are built very sturdily from quality materials, and both have good quality replaceable cables. In terms of fit and comfort, the Delta V2 is definitely a little more comfortable – lacking some of the edges that the LZ-A4 possesses. Both have a good variety of accessories appropriate for their respective prices.

The Delta V2 is a dual hybrid, while the LZ-A4 is a triple. Both have a very good filter system, with the Delta having better options for bass control, and the LZ-A4 having better mid-range and treble tuning options. Personally I think having the two separate options for treble and bass and being able to pair them however you like is a definite plus. When directly comparing I used the Delta V2's gunmetal filter vs the LZ-A4's black/pink combo.

The two are sonically very similar – especially in the lower mid-range and bass. The major difference occurs in the upper mids and lower treble where the LZ-A4 is a just the tiniest bit clearer and cleaner, and a little more defined. Both are truly excellent examples of tunable IEM's though, and whilst I haven't heard the Delta for a while, it was east to fall in love with it again. Its a real pity Trinity no longer produces it.

As far as preference goes, this one is a tie. The Delta was cheaper, and definitely had better bass options with the tuning. Its probably more comfortable for larger ears, and due to its girth may be less comfortable for smaller ears. The LZ-A4 is almost the direct opposite. Where they converge though is in the excellent sonics on both IEMs. The LZ-A4 might be slightly better technically (including a slightly better imaging and staging) but then again there is the price difference. A pretty good match up.


LZ-A4 (~USD 195) vs Trinity Atlas (~USD 200)

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LZ-A4 and Trinity AtlasAtlas FiltersFrequency comparisons (optimal)
The Atlas is another earphone Trinity no longer makes. It was the first of Trinity's truly ergonomic designs, and like the Delta, pits a dual hybrid against the triple hybrid LZ-A4. Again starting with build quality – both are very sturdily built from quality materials, and both have good quality replaceable cables. This time though, the tighter fitting MMCX connections on the LZ-A4 give the feeling they are a little more secure – although only time will tell. In terms of fit and comfort, the Atlas is definitely more comfortable – with a proper ergonomic shape which gives me no fatigue at all. Both have a good variety of accessories appropriate for their respective prices.

Like last time, the Atlas has better options for bass control (although it is always with a sub-bass tilt), and the LZ-A4 has the better mid-range and treble tuning options (there is none for the original Atlas). When directly comparing I used the Atlas's gunmetal filter vs the LZ-A4's black/pink combo – as both are relatively close.

In this configuration the two are sonically very close again – and again it is mainly in the lower mid-range and bass. Again this time the difference occurs in the upper mids and lower treble where the Atlas is just a little more forward and also fuller in the vocals. I could probably match some of the difference by switching to the grey filter on the LZ-A4 if I wanted. Both sound very good, and again choosing will depend if you prefer more control over bass or mid-range and treble. For me its an easier choice this time. I like the black filter for the LZ-A4 and really feel no need for changing. But where I appreciate the flexibility in tuning is in the mid-range and top-end. For me, the LZ-A4 better suits my preferences and would ultimately be my choice.
LZ-A4 (~USD 195) vs FLC FLC8S (~USD 329)


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LZ-A4 and FLC8SSome of the FLC8S FiltersFrequency comparisons (optimal)
This time it is two triple hybrids but a vastly different price points. Both again are tunable. This time the build quality goes to the LZ-A4 with its alloy build trumping the plastic/polycarbonate casing of the FLC8S. With the cable too, the LZ-A4 is much better (the FLC8S cable is annoyingly memory prone). Fit and comfort go to the FLC8S with is much more ergonomic build. Accessories again are shared (for their price points) – although the FLC8S does have more filters and also adaptors.

The FLC8S has three different filter locations which can be combined for different tuning options, and actually has 60 options for tuning (if you use some without filters) compared to the LZ-A4's 24. However, the FLC8S filters are very small, fiddly and difficult to swap out compared to the LZ-A4's, and even though there are more options with the FLC8S, the number of viable options is actually probably about the same with both earphones. There are some combos you simply wouldn't use – or at least I wouldn't. The FLC8S definitely has more control over the bass – but again I prefer the LZ-A4's mid-range control options.

If I use the black/grey/gold combo on the FLC8S I can get pretty close to the black/pink on the LZ-A4. Sonically in this configuration, both are very close again, with the main difference that the FLC8S bass is a little more linear, and it's mid-range just the tiniest bit more forward. Despite the tuning options on the FLC8S, I'm still finding the LZ-A4 sounding just a little more natural – or at least it suits my own personal preferences a bit more. Ultimately I'd take the LZ-A4 for my own choice – but the fact that these two are pretty close in overall SQ, and the LZ-A4 being two thirds the price of the FLC8S, should give an idea of how well tuned the options on the LZ-A4 are.


LZ-A4 (~USD 195) vs MEE Pinnacle P1 (~USD 200)

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LZ-A4 and MEE Pinnacle P1Frequency comparisons
The Pinnacle P1 is a single dynamic driver IEM with no tuning options, but it is also one of the most highly regarded IEMs at its price point. Build materials are generally similar on both the P1 and LZ-A4, but in terms of overall build quality, the P1 has the better overall build, better cables, and much better fit and comfort (true ergonomics). The LZ-A4 is not bad – its just the P1 has set such a high standard at this price point. The LZ-A4 is much easier to drive, and is tunable – so these factors must be taken into account. In terms of accessories, they two are fairly evenly matched (LZ-A4 has the filters etc, while P1 has extra cable and adaptors).

Sonically – pitching the black/pink combo against the P1, and its immediately apparent that although they are somewhat similar in bass response, the LZ-A4 has slightly more lower-bass slam while the P1 has just a little bit more mid-bass thump. The P1 also sounds a little warmer, and I think this is the P1's recession from 5-10 kHz, where the LZ-A4 has the two peaks at 7 and 9 kHz respectively. They are both great headphones at this price point – so which would I take if I could only choose one? For me it would be the LZ-A4, and I would be prepared to substitute a little of the comfort and fit for the added emphasis in the upper end. Close though – again, both excellent earphones.


LZ-A4 (~USD 195) vs Alclair Curve (~USD 249)

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LZ-A4 and Alclair CurveFrequency comparisons
This time the LZ-A4 is against one of my favourite IEMs, and one I own (not a review sample). This is the Alclair Curve – a dual BA universal from Alclair,a nd one which has consistently been in my top 5 since I got it. In terms of build materials, the alloy casing of the LZ-A4 trumps the hard polycarbonate housing of the Curve – but as far as actual build quality, build design, fit and comfort goes, the Curve wins all four. The curve is insanely comfortable, and simply disappears when worn. The accessories go to the LZ-A4, whilst the cable quality goes to the Curve (although both are good quality). I do prefer the Curve's 2 pin connectors as well.

Sonically the curve against the LZ-A4 is an interesting comparison. The LZ-A4 wins on sheer bass slam, and has the more forward mid-range. It also has a little more overall richness or fullness compared to the Curve. The Curve sounds a little flatter overall and does have a comparative peak at around 7kHz which people will either like or loathe. Its a common area for a peak though and really brings cymbal details and decay out.

The LZ-A4 actually performs exceedingly well against one of my outright favourites, and I've become more impressed with its sonic abilities as the review has progressed. Ultimately for me – it does not beat the Curve, but it does give it a run for the money, and at 20% lower price, that is impressive.


VALUE

So how do I see the overall value of the LZ-A4? Quite simply, it reaches that performance which has me definitely recommending it at its current price point. For the base tonality and additional tuning options and flexibility it offers, it is really hard to go past. The only two areas I'd like to see LZ improve it is in rounding the corners of the housing properly (no hard edges!), and with a couple of better bass options (or perhaps it might be just my pair). Regardless though – the overall package (IMO) beats that of both Trinity and RHA, and represents better value than the FLC8S. It deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as IEMs like the P1 when recommending an ~200 USD price point. And that to me is very good value.

LZ-A4 – SUMMARY

I should have really written this review some months ago, but work load and the difficulty of writing an in-depth review on a tunable monitor have kept me back. I apologise to both LZ and duyu – its unprofessional of me.

The LZ-A4 is a real chameleon as far as hybrid IEMs go. It is very well built, with solid choice of materials and a well thought out cable. The tuning system is very easy to use, and provides some excellent upper mid-range and lower treble tuning options which have been well thought out and executed. I think the bass filters still need some work – but that should be an easy fix – especially if LZ would like to eventually introduce an updated version.

The other area that could be worked on is the fit/comfort. We have rounded ears. Hard ridges just don't work. I know LZ understands this because I have their Big Dipper flagship at the moment, and that truly is a masterpiece in fit and comfort!

As far as the SQ of the LZ-A4 goes, it really is quite special. I really like the way they have options for a relatively balanced filter configuration, and also that they have not sacrificed extension at either end of the frequency range. What you have (with the black/pink combo for me) is an IEM with exceptional overall balance whilst retaining an engaging tonality.

For the price of $200 you are getting one heck of an IEM, and an absolute recommendation from me. Fix the comfort and throw in another bass tuning option or two, and you have a 5 star review. For me though – the LZ-A4 is a solid 4 star or 80%.

I just want to close with thanking Lao Zhong and duyu (Frank) for arranging the review sample.


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salla45

1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Incredible value, detachable cables, comfort, superb sound, easy to drive, unfussy re partnering equipment, sleeper design is a +ve for me.
Cons: sleeper design may be not "cool" for some :-)
This is going to be a very non-technical and subjective review mainly about the ergonomics and sound quality of these unsung beauties, and doesn't include much stuff about the packaging, unboxing, accessories, filters etc, as this has been done before by far more literate folks than me :)

I was recommended these by Headfier Turrican a few months ago or so who was raving about them alongside his K3003's which we both posess incidentally.

I declined to purchase at that time due to cash flow and Roon also caught my eye around that time and I took the plunge with that particular sideline drug. Several months later I had the cash and decided to pull the trigger on a pair of LZ A4's after doing my due dilligence of course, reading up as much as I could prior to purchase. Actually, whilst I was reading good things, I couldn't really get any good comparisons to 'phones that I knew. I wanted to know if these really could be giant killers, as 200 dollars is a relatively small sum and I'd been burned before with cheaper 'phones purporting to offer amazing sound (Soundmagic for example).

So... I ordered mine from Penon Audio and, after only 5 days (seemed like a year) of waiting, they arrived yesterday.

What have I learned in the last 24 hours that these have spent in my lugholes? Mainly that these are giant killers or at least can punch way higher than their weight class. I would say these are borderline budget IEMs which sound better than models perhaps 3-4x their price.

I have 2 other sets of IEM's which are any good and these are the Grado GR10's and the AKG K3003's. The A4's outperform both of these in quite specific areas.

For me there are two main characteristics which stand out with the A4's; comfort and sound. Just as well as they are pretty important for IEMs :)

Comfort: I ignored the included tips completely and popped on some large Comply tips which probably aren't specific for the A4's but they fit fine and comfort is sublime. I really barely notice them in my ears. They are much more comfortable for long term use than either the Grados or AKGs.

Sound: Quickly I'll mention the filter combo I went for. It's down to personal choice of course, but I tend to work on a "maximum info" principal. So I chose the filters which allegedly would give max frequency response (blue front, red back) and found this a little brash at the top, so I took black filter for the front to tone down the treble a bit... perfect. Not looked any further, may fiddle around when I have some time, but am perfectly satisfied with Black front, Red back.

Moving on to facets of the sound, adjectives which spring to mind are:

Defined, smooth, unfatiguing, detailed, layered, separated, effortless. Slightly V-sounding (not in a bad way).

As you can tell, colour me impressed by these. For 200 dollars or less, they are literally unbelievable in terms of what they can do.

AKG K3003s? Blown away
Grado GR10s? Don't even bother coming to the party

Comparing directly with the AKGs the sound coming from the A4's is altogether more refined. Detail is probably about the same, but the K3003's sound somewhat harsh and a bit muddled by comparison.

Compared to the Grados the Grados sound very mid-centric by comparison. Not natural at all.

Another way of looking at the sound coming from these minor miracles is that they just get out of the way and let you get on with listening to the music. You can really listen to well-known albums and feel at home with their established production immediately. They don't quite give me those surreally "real" moments I get with my Beyerdynamic T1+Mojo combination, but they do completely give an unfatiguing and smooth sound which, coupled with the comfort factor, means I can keep them in and listen for many hours at a time.

There's something exremely beguiling about the A4's ability to present a complex mix (listening to Kamkiriad - Don Fagen right now via Mojo) in an effortless and coherent way which encourages continued listening. I would say this is on par or better even than the T1+Mojo in this regard.

The A4's also benefit from being very easy to drive. I've fed them Mojo, Fiio X3ii and S6 and am currently listening via a Samsung Level Link bluetooth receiver, and whilst the BT adapter doesn't have the same definition, or slam, dynamics, etc of the Mojo for example, it's entirely an enjoyable listen.

On the downside (for some); they are pretty ordinary and generic looking. But this is really a sleeper situation if ever there was one. They look like a 20 dollar set of 'phones and perhaps sound like a 1000 dollar pair. Lol.

And if I am a bit naive and this is the "norm" for 200 dollar 'phones in 2017, then that's brilliant for all of us :) - However, I get the feeling this is not normal and Ill be getting another set when funds permit!

So, to summarise... The LZ A4 offers truly excellent, smooth, detailed, layered, separated, effortless sound coupled with superb comfort.

Don't be put off by the generic look of these and also don't be put off by ordering directly from Hong Kong, via Penon Audio, I have nothing but praise for their quick and efficient service.

Get a pair or more.

Asspirin

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: versatility, detailed, spacious and musical sound, price
Cons: ugly, possible fit issues, mids could be more forward
LZ A4 Review
 
2017-04-1312.43.351.jpg
 
 
Disclaimer
 
I bought this one for myself, so there are no commercial interests behind this review. I'm spending the time for this review only because I can and as a contribution to the community.
 
Introduction
 
I discovered the LZ A4 on Massdrop and then did some research in the Head-Fi Forums to see if they're any good. Besides the usual hype, I finally discovered some serious and trustworthy positive reviews so I decided why not!  For the price of approximately 195$/€, the A4 is a very attractive offer and a very strong competitor. And I will explain now, why.
 
Overview/Packaging
 
As far as I understood, the LZ A4 sports a dynamic driver for bass and two balanced armatures (one for mids and one for highs) in a hybrid setup, which is the a current trend among mid-fi IEMs these days. I won’t dive into further technical details about the setup here, because it should be common knowledge for the interested crowd already. The most distinctive feature of the A4 is the customizability of the frequency response. This is achieved by various back and nozzle filters. Three pairs of back filters allow the adjustment of the bass frequencies and six pairs of nozzle filters take care of the upper mid and treble frequencies.
 
The rough guide to filters goes something like this:
 
Bass quantity: red>black>blue
Treble quantity: blue>black>green>red>gray>pink
 
I won’t do detailed descriptions of the different filters, because tastes may vary here and everyone should try out their favourite filter combinations. The A4 has a base frequency response with distinctive peaks and dips which persist, no matter which filter you apply. The filters rather accentuate or soften these characteristics by pushing or lowering the volume of a certain frequency range. Exceptions are the red back filter (pushes the bass volume, but sacrifices definition) and the green front filter (causes strange peaks in the upper mids).
 
My review is mainly based on the black/red filter combination.
 
Aside from that, LZ supplies a vast selection of eartips, a removable cable and a carrying pouch, which is too big for my taste.


 
Build quality/Ergonomics
 
The earphones and filters are both made of metal and make a very solid and durable impression on me. These aren’t the most ergonomic earpieces and can cause some discomfort for people with smaller ears, but personally, I haven’t had a problem with hot spots yet. Because of the shape, insertion depth may also be an issue for some people and they are certainly not the most securely sitting earpieces out there. Certainly not useable for sports!
 
2017-04-1312.43.171.jpg2017-04-1312.43.191.jpg
LZ A4 worn with cable down vs. cable ip
 
 
Because of the filter system, the LZ A4 could be considered a semi-open system and yes, they neither isolate very well nor would I trust them to be moisture resistant. You’re not going to wear them on stage, in the gym or in a very loud working environment, so keep that in mind before purchasing! Also be warned that the filters are equipped with rubber o-rings that can fall off if you're a bit clumsy.
 
The cable is really good. A little bit too long for my taste, but there is a handy velcro strap attached to take care of that. Microphonics are pretty much nonexistent.
 
For the price, I’m very impressed about the package LZ delivers here.
 
Sound Signature
 
The A4 have a rather v-shaped sound signature with pronounced bass, laid back mids and articulate treble. The mids don't disappear in the background though, so voices and string instruments still sound natural and detailed. Like  mentioned above, the signature relies significantly on the filters you've screwed on. You can go from an extreme v-shape (red back, blue nozzle) to almost neutral (blue back, pink/grey nozzle) according to your preference. Overall I really like the A4’s signature. It's not for the extreme bassheads (they still can take a lot of EQ abuse) and not for people looking for a mid-centric IEM. Personally, I am coming from mid-centric ear- and headphones and fell in love with the A4 anyway. In the following chapters, I will tell you why!
 
Stage/Imaging/Naturalness
 
I'm not sure if it's because of the semi-open design or the signature, but the sound stage of the A4 is huge. It actually competes with full-size open back headphones. The rendering of depth is rather average, but the sheer width of the stage is mind blowing, especially considering the price range we're looking at! The size of the stage changes a bit with your filter choice, but not that much, imo.
Naturalness and timbre are also very good, at least with the black, red and grey nozzle filters. Some minor coherency issues can appear with very fast tracks, when the balanced armature drivers outpace the dynamic one. I'm emphasising the word “minor” here, because most people won't notice, especially with the smoother front filters in place. In general, the drivers and crossovers work very well together and paint a very pleasing and coherent audial picture. A very solid performance here.
 
Bass
 
Bass is probably the most prominent feature of the A4. The dynamic driver does a very good job here, reaching very deep while delivering a satisfying rumble in the sub-bass region and a tight and powerful mid-bass punch. The bass decay is very fast (not BA-fast, though) and the lower frequency regions in general are nicely detailed and structured. What I really like about the A4 is that the bass never ever bleeds into the midrange, no matter what you throw at it. For scientific purposes, I tried some unspeakable things with equalizer abuse and Skrillex. The A4 passed the basshead test with flying colours and proved that the crossover is really well done in these. Little filter knowledge: Black back filters are the recommended choice for the best compromise of speed and quantity. Blue filters tighten up the bass but deliver less-then-neutral quantity, while red filters are the basshead’s choice, but with less control, obviously.
 
Mids
 
Due to the v-shaped sound signature, the mids appear rather laid-back. That doesn't mean they disappear, though! In fact, the mids are very well done. Smooth (velvety, if you want) but well-defined and more detailed than you would expect at first. Tonal accuracy is very good and voices as well as stringed instruments sound very natural and mostly uncoloured. Due to the laid-back nature, there is no midrange congestion to be found even in busy tracks like Trivium’s “Until The World Goes Cold”. Instruments and voices are always nicely separated. That doesn't mean the A4 is the best choice for the discerning midrange lover. For my taste, the mids could be a bit more lively and forward. Still a very good performance! Filter knowledge: Most filters dont affect mids much, except for the blue and green front filters. Blue pushes the treble forward and some upper mid frequencies are pulled with it. The green one causes some strange spikes in the midrange frequency response and sounds very telephone-ish for me. Immediately dismissed.
 
Treble
 
Treble is the frequency region that is affected the most by the filters. Like described above, you can basically adjust the amount of treble to your liking. Certain peaks will stay completely untouched though. And unfortunately, this also applies to the peak around 9khz, which emphasises sibilants too much for my liking. Fortunately, there is no information loss in the sibilants. I don't have much to complain about the rest of the treble spectrum, though! All in all, it's a very pleasant and detailed experience. I wouldn't call it airy, the A4 don't extend well enough, but certainly light, feathery, detailed and with a very fast decay. This also contributes to a very good sense of space and separation that is absolutely untypical in this price range.
 
All put together
 
The LZ A4 is a very enjoyable and musical sounding IEM. If you enjoy a spacious and relaxed sound with enhanced bass and treble, you will have a hard time finding something better for 200 bucks. The customisability and the fully packed retail box are huge cherries on top. My conclusion of this review is a huge thumbs up and a very clear recommendation. Really curious what LZ will come up with next.
all999
all999
Great review, thanks!

bhazard

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Deep bass, overall clarity, soundstage
Cons: Ergonomics could improve
Introduction
 
I was introduced to LZ IEMs over a year ago out of the blue. I was approached by a Head-Fi member to try out a pair of LZ-a2 triple hybrids which were completely unknown at the time. Their price of $99 was groundbreaking for a triple hybrid, and based on the way a few people were gushing over them, I knew I had to try them.
 
Within the first 15 minutes of listening, I was hooked. The sound was detailed and engaging, yet so smooth to listen to. It was unlike any hybrid I had heard before. It immediately became my favorite daily driver for a very long time. It made me lose interest a bit in the hobby in looking for something better, because I didn’t feel I needed to.
 
I was then invited to participate in the LZ A4 prototype tour. A prototype model was sent around to a select group of Head-Fi members in which we were to give our impressions of the unit. Suffice to say, for the suggested price of $200, I was not originally impressed. I felt the soundstage was congested, the filters did more harm than good to the sound signature, and the ergonomics needed work. In what was a highly impressive move to me, LZ listened to our feedback and fixed ALL the issues we noted for him. In doing so, he has created a masterpiece in the A4 (in my opinion).
 
My LZ A4 is not a review unit, but was purchased at full retail price from HCK Audio on Aliexpress.
 
This will be an ongoing review over time. I have spent about two months with my pair now, and here are my thoughts.
 
 
REVIEW
 
IMG_20161220_201508.jpgIMG_20161220_203755.jpg
 
IMG_20161220_203857.jpg
 
 
Specifications:
 
 
 
LZ A4 2BA Balanced Armature + Dynamic Driver Hybrid In-Ear Earphones with Detachable MMCX Cable 

 
  1. Driver unit: 1 dynamic + 2 Knowles balanced armatures
  2. Impedance: 16 ohm
  3. Headphone sensitivity: 120 dB
  4. Frequency range: 20 Hz – 28 kHz
  5. Connector: ⅛ in (3.5 mm)
  6. Cable: MMCX detachable, 4 ft (1.2 m +/- 5 cm)
  7. Weight: 1.1 oz (30 g)
  8. Use Titanium silver composite diaphragm dynamic driver+ dual Knowles balanced armature driver
 
Included Accessories
  1. 7 pairs of single-flange silicone tips
  2. 1 pair of double-flange silicone tips
  3. 3 rear filters and 5 nozzle filters in metal tin
  4. Detachable cable
  5. Zippered carrying case
 
The A4 comes with a wide array of silicone tips varying in shape and size. If you don’t already have a pair of preferred tips (Spiral Dots and KZ Acoustics for me), the different bore sizes will affect the sound per filter configuration. If you use bass filters (red), try for a wider bore. For treble enhanced filters (blue), try a smaller bore opening.
 
The filters are nicely arranged and easily accessible in a metal tin, while the carrying case provides enough room to fit everything inside.
 
My favorite combos are: Red/Black, Black/Black, Black/Blue, Red/Blue
 
The case, while a nice included touch with an LZ logo, didn’t really strike me as all that appealing. It does work great for storing everything however.
                                                                 
 
Housing/Fit/Isolation
 
The LZ-A4 is shaped in a unique teardrop/half circle configuration and made from a sturdy metal alloy. It allows the A4 to be worn over ear and down based on your preference. I prefer wearing them down, which feels more natural and easier to use. If you get a good tip seal, they stay in ear, even during a workout.
 
The rear chamber houses circular filters that you twist on and off to change the bass levels. The nozzles in the front are also removeable and change the sound based on their color.
 
Bass levels:
Back Filters: None > Red > Black > Blue
 
Mids/Treble:
Front Filters: Red < Pink < Grey < Black < Green < Blue
 
My favorite combos are: Red/Black, Black/Black, Black/Blue, Red/Blue Black/Pink
 
Isolation is good, as only a slight bit of sound leaks to an outside listener. I expected a lot more sound leakage based on the rear filter designs.
 
Cable
 
The cable included with the A4 has a quality, rounded bumpy plastic feel to it, but it is also extremely difficult to remove from the housings. I stupidly pulled very hard on the wire one day while trying to remove the right housing and snapped the wire right off it. This is not to say it is a poor cable, but more of a warning NOT to pull the wire while removing the housing. Grab from the lowest part of the housing, and the tip of the cable.
 
I switched to a silver plated MMCX cable and Fidue’s balanced MMCX cable (which brings the A4 to another level of sound). The Fidue cable allowed the A4 to shine on the few balanced sources I tried it on
 
Sound Review
Testing Gear (in order of quality)
 
LH Labs Pulse X Infinity 2.0
LH Labs Geek Out V2+ Infinity (Balanced)
Aune S6
Fiio X5 3rd Gen
Axon 7
Asrock Fatality amped onboard DAC/amp
 
Music used for testing
 
Lots of metal, EDM, classic rock, vocal melodies, anything that shuffles up.
 
Amplifier Needed?
 
An amp isn’t needed, but the A4 does scale well with higher quality sources and some extra power. Bass extends deep, so more power can give you a few more dB of clearer sound down low, especially when using the red back filter.
 
Go with a balanced source if you can. There is a noticeable difference in clarity.
 
Sound Signature
 
The 18 possible filter combinations produce a wide range of sound signatures. The Blue back filter will create a bass light, mostly neutral signature. The Red back filter and no filter provide near basshead levels of bass. The flexibility of the sound is like the FLC8S at a much lower price.
 
The signature is balanced with a slight or massive V, depending on the filter used as seen below:
 
Graph Filter Colors: Green=Green, Blue=Blue, Grey=Grey, Red=Red, Pink=Pink, Yellow=Black
 
I consider Black/Black the "reference" tuning, as it seems to be the average midpoint of all the filters.
 
Blue Back
blueback.jpg
 
Black Back
blackback.jpg
 
Red Back
redback.jpg
 
 
Bass
 
I enjoy slightly boosted bass with clarity. The A4 nails this signature better than almost any other IEM I’ve heard. I also tend to want more bass some days and less on others. A quick swap to the Red back filter gives me the slam I want for EDM listening one day, while a quick swap to Black will give me just enough kick drum power in a metal track to not overshadow the rest of the sound. If you want a flat, neutral sound, go with the Blue back filter.
 
There is plenty of subbass and midbass present, almost too much at times, but I enjoy it. Oddly enough, I get the biggest amount of bass from using wide bore Sennhesier type biflange tips. Normally tips like these reduce bass, but not on the A4.
 
The clarity of the bass with the Black back filter makes it my favorite. The Red back filter has more bass, but it is a bit loose in comparison and takes away from the mids a bit. Black gives a “just right” amount of slightly boosted bass that works well with all music genres.
 
Midrange
 
The mids of the A4 aren’t recessed, but they aren’t prominent either. Instruments and vocals never suffer or get lost in the mix despite the significant bass behind them. Some filters bring the mids forward (grey, green, blue), while others take a small step back or remain neutral.
 
The timbre, clarity, and sound is comparable to something your favorite tube amp would produce… organic, smooth, detailed with a bit of warmth to it.
 
Guitars really shine. From solos to acoustic, or to a sustained crunch… the sound is truly crisp and enjoyable. The A4 is one of my favorite IEMs to listen to all kinds of guitar driven music.  There is a ton of weight behind a power chord, and it makes me want to jam along.
 
Treble
 
One of the weaknesses of the LZ-a2, a previous model, is that the treble was a little too rolled off and missing detail. The A4 fixes that, with well extended treble with almost every filter. Measurements show the extension, but they also reveal significant peaks in some of the filters, most notably the Blue and Green fronts. The mid and treble peaks in those filters are best tamed via EQ if they sound fatiguing to you.
 
Some filters like the Pink one provide a smoother sound without sacrificing much detail. Personally, I like the slight boost the Black front filter provides, making Black/Black my reference. Black/Pink is a reminder of the LZ-a2 sound, but with more extension and detail.
 
 
Soundstage, Imaging, Resolution
 
There is a clarity and detail level here that the older a2 just cannot match. Imaging wise, while everything is well represented, instruments feel cohesively blended together instead of standing out. The soundstage is also a significant step up, providing a very 3D feeling while keeping vocals front and center. The A4 retains some of the best clarity and detail amongst bass heavy IEMs I’ve heard, making this incredibly ideal for my preferences.
 
Comparisons
 
A4 vs. Magaosi K3:
 
Very similar, but the K3 tends to lean a little bright and fatiguing without foam tips. Pricing differences between the two make it a toss up, as the A4 is more versatile, but the K3 isn’t far behind technically either. They play at nearly the same level of sound for a very value driven price.
 
A4 vs a2:
 
As mentioned throughout the review, the A4 bests the a2 in every way, and I loved the a2.
 
A4 vs Vibro Aria:
 
The Aria may have the A4 beat a bit in more detail at times, and the Aria is built a bit nicer, but the A4 is just much more enjoyable. The Aria doesn’t come close to the bass levels the A4 can output and can sound a bit cold, even though the signature leans towards a V shape. The Aria is also double the price.
 
Conclusion
 
This is the best IEM I own, and easily my favorite. I knew within the first 15 seconds of listening that I was going to love the A4. I haven’t been truly impressed with earphones in a long time, but the A4 does everything I want it to, and sounds just like I want it to. It would really be difficult to get better sound quality without spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars more. While $199 isn’t exactly a budget purchase, when you start comparing the sound to IEMs in the $499 and up level, it beats some (like the Aria) and comes close to a few others.
 
You can purchase the LZ-A4 here:
 
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/New-LZ-A4-In-Ear-Earphone-Dynamic-With-2BA-Hybrid-3-Unit-HIFI-Earphone-Earbud/1825606_32771039693.html?spm=2114.12010615.0.0.tKPMK6
Skullophile
Skullophile
Nice write-up!
Vishal
Vishal
How come none>red for bass..?
bhazard
bhazard
No filter has slightly more bass than Red, but it is the least accurate to me. I didn't measure without a back filter though.

wdetterman

New Head-Fier
Pros: Impressive sound quality, great value, customizable sound
Cons: Included cable has poor build quality, limited size range of included ear tips
(for a brief summary of this long review, skip to the conclusion at the bottom)
 
Intro/About Me:
              I have been into hi-fi speakers for years. A couple of years ago I started taking interest in headphones, and I’ve recently been buying high-end IEMs to try out.
              I only write reviews of audio equipment if I absolutely love the product, absolutely hate the product, or if there is something about the product that I feel hasn’t been mentioned or emphasized enough in other reviews. If I really like a product, I will still try to find and write a lot about the things I don’t like about it, therefore my reviews might seem harsh.
              Above all, I value sound quality. I am not picky about the fit, isolation, or aesthetics. I prefer a mostly neutral, or maybe a somewhat warm or technical sound. To test IEMs and headphones, I use all FLAC files played through a Schiit Fulla 2, or through my AV Receiver’s headphone amp and 24 bit DAC. I prefer genres like acoustic, classic rock, and some newer alternative pop, so that’s what I primarily use to test headphones and IEMs.
 
20170405_201816.jpg
 
 
Design and Build Quality:
              The body of the IEM is made of a good quality metal, but the plastic piece around the driver enclosure that the cable plugs into doesn’t have a quality feel, and looks like its dirty or scratched up because of the nature of the type of plastic used. I do like the styling of these, with their black tips with red core, and the colorful filters. However, my biggest problem with these IEMs is the included cable - it’s mediocre.
 
The cable is perfectly able to do its job, and the audio quality coming out of it seems just fine. My problem is with the durability. The cable is made up of some black wires twisted together under a transparent outer layer of rubber (which I found out unintentionally). At first I really liked how it looked with the transparent and black twist design. But over the course of the month that I have owned these, I started noticing inconsistencies with the color of the black colored twists/stripes on the cable. Looking more closely, I counted 8 holes in the transparent layer of the cable. While this problem is purely aesthetic and bare wire is not exposed or anything, I expected more from $200 IEMs. I mean, I’ve only had these for a month, and the cable is tearing. As with all of my IEMs and headphones, I’ve been very gentle with them, wound them loosely in their case, and they have never been subjected to extreme temperatures or other conditions. Yet somehow, there are holes in the rubber cable.
 This isn’t too big of a problem, because the cable is replicable. The LZ A4 uses the same MMCX connections found on IEMs like the Shure SE215, so it will be easy for me to find a better-quality cable for these.  
 
20170405_202810.jpg
 
 
Comfort and Fit:
 
They fit ok. I agree with other reviews that complain about the lack of size options of ear tips. There are a lot of included ear tips, but the size does not have much range, and the largest size included is pretty small. Luckily, the largest size included fit my ears well, and I have no problems with comfort.
             
The nice thing about the design of the LZ A4 is that you can wear it with the cable around your ear, or just straight down if you want. I appreciate this design element that lets me choose how to wear it unlike some IEMs that force you to wear them around your ear.
20170405_201904.jpg
The Filters:
 
              Before buying these, I wasn’t sold on the idea of having interchangeable filters. Would I constantly be going back and forth between filters? Or would I settle on one favorite combination? I was fine with the manufacture just selling me IEMs with the filters built in that worked the best for their product to function as intended. But on the other hand, I like tinkering with things, and I liked the idea of having one pair of IEMs that could have 18 different sound signatures.
 
              For the first few weeks I owned these, I was constantly changing out the filters and trying out different combinations. I wasn’t sure if I would keep changing out filters every time I used them, or if I would ever find a favorite combination. The forums have some useful images of frequency response graphs for the different filter combinations which I found helpful when experimenting with the filters.
 
20170405_202505.jpg
 
 
              The rear filters are pretty simple: the blue has the least bass, red has the most, and black is in between. The red filters have the thinnest filter material, while the filters on the blue and black are thicker material. But the front filters aren’t that simple. Its not always visible in pictures, but the blue, black, and red are shaped differently than the green, grey, and pink. The blues have no filter material apart from the metal front grill, the black have a thin filter, and the red has the thickest filter. The thicker the filter, the more the highs are suppressed. The green, grey, and pink have a smaller diameter, as well as thinner to thicker filters respectively. This makes them have a different frequency response curve in the highs. So not only can you change how much highs are delivered, but also other elements of the sound signature in the highs.
 
20170405_202239.jpg
 
 
Over time, I stopped changing out the filters when I listened to them, and I decided that I had found the best combination for my favorite kinds of music. I haven’t changed them out that much ever since. Every so often I’ll change out the rear filters, but I rarely ever change out the front filters anymore.
I also experienced the little rubber gaskets falling off the filters like other reviewers have noted. I haven’t lost any of them yet, but in the case that I do, LZ has included some extras.
 
Audio Quality:
              I was shocked to hear the sound that came out of these IEMs when I first heard them. I kept trying different filter combos, and it kept getting better and better. Not at all what I was expecting from a smaller, unknown foreign brand.
 
In general, these have a lot of bass. In my opinion, the rear blue filters make the bass sound neutral, while black and red add a lot of bass. If you like a bass-heavy sound, you will like the LZ A4. But if you want less than neutral levels of bass, these won’t be for you. I like a little bit of extra bass personally, and I use the black and blue filters the most.
             
The mids might change a little bit across the range of front filters, but remain the same for the most part. In some filter combinations, they can be overshadowed by the bass or the highs. In general, the mids sometimes are not as prominent as I would like.
 
              The highs change a lot with the different front filters. The blue and green filters give the highs a very detailed sound, but in my opinion, they made the highs sound piercingly loud and out of balance. The grey and black filters are better for balance, making the highs less piercing while retaining a lot of detail, but still sounds a little bit bright. The pink and red filters provide the most balanced sound, but sometimes lack the amount of detail in the highs that these IEMs are capable of. Sometimes it seems like a balance between sounding neutral, or having detailed highs.
          
    My favorite combination for the kind of music that I listen to (acoustic stuff, classic rock, and newer alternative pop) is the grey or black front filter with the black rear filter. I like the highs to be laid back, and somewhat detailed, and that combination works well in my opinion
The separation between different instruments and sounds on these is great since it’s a triple driver. The highs have a lot of detail, and they make guitars and high hats sound very clean and separated. Nothing gets distorted and it doesn’t ever sound crowded when listening to louder, upbeat songs. While they do acoustic, vocals, and classic rock well, they do their best work with electronica stuff. Their sound signature in general across filters makes that genre sound great.
              Also, they sound surprisingly open for IEMs, which I like. The soundstage on these is a lot bigger than any other IEMs that I have been able to compare them to. This can likely be attributed to the big vents on the rear filters.
              While the rear vents in the filters give these an open sound and a great soundstage, they don’t help with the isolation. I’m willing to compromise isolation for an open sound personally, but if you are seeking good isolation, you might not be satisfied.
 
20170405_202329.jpg
 
 
Value
              These are a steel for $200 USD (or $175 last time I saw them on massdrop). Budget some extra money to replace the included cable, and you will have an amazing, customizable sound. I was extremely surprised that such a nice sound could come out of these relatively inexpensive IEMs from a small foreign company that I had never heard of previously.
 
Comparisons:
 
My collection of IEMs is not very big (yet), so I can’t compare these to very many others in their category of price and type.
 
Though they are much more expensive than these, I can compare it to the Dunu DN-2000j, which is another hybrid with 2 armatures and a dynamic driver. While the Dunu includes a better selection of ear tips and I prefer the Dunu’s stainless steel build quality to the LZ A4’s, that’s about it. The LZ has more comfortable fit, a better sound, a detachable cable, and is a much better value. Personally, I do not like the DN-2000j’s sound; it sounds way too bright for me. Yes, they have a lot of detail in the highs, but the highs are way too loud for me. They are almost piercingly loud compared to the mids and bass. This is mentioned in 2000j reviews that they are a little bright, but I think that’s an understatement (I’ll save it for an upcoming DN-2000j review). If you, like many people, enjoy the Dunu’s bright sound, the LZ can do that with the blue front filter. The LZ gives me the option to tune the highs down to a level that I like. This lets the LZ A4 impress many people who like different sounds out of their IEMs, making them a very safe purchase to a new IEM enthusiast trying to figure out what sound they like.
 
The other IEMs in my collection include the Shure SE215 and the RHA MA750i. These may be single dynamic driver models worth half of the LZ’s price, but I can compare some aspects of each.
 
I enjoy the SE215’s sound and balance between lows mids and highs. The SE215 provides more isolation and does vocal elements of songs just slightly better than the LZ, but the SE215’s sound can become crowded and loses its separation with more upbeat music unlike the LZ. The LZ also offers more detail in the highs, more ear tips, and a more comfortable fit.
 
The RHA MA750i has much better build quality than the LZ A4. Its stainless-steel build, thick cables, and exceptional selection of ear tips are amazing for the price. Their sound has a remarkable amount of separation considering that they use a single dynamic driver, but the LZ can still provide more detail in the highs, and much more prominent lows.
 
Conclusion:
 
              When I bought these, I didn’t know what I was getting into. They are from a small foreign company I’ve never heard of, they have interchangeable filters which I’ve never seen before, and they are not available through many sellers. At first, I changed out the filters a lot, but settled on one combination after a couple weeks, and haven’t used the others very much ever since. I really like these IEMs, and the sound quality is awesome. The soundstage is surprisingly large for IEMs, and the sound is somewhat open (while isolation is compromised). While the cable works just fine, the outer layer is falling apart on my unit, and don’t think they look the part of a premium flagship IEM. Considering everything these have to offer for the price and their amazing sound quality, build quality on the cable is the only thing that is keeping me from giving these a 5 star review. Overall, these are an insane value with regard to sound quality, and a safe purchase because of their customizable sound; just plan on upgrading the cable and buying some Comply foam tips. I’m excited to see the new LZ Big Dipper, and whatever LZ comes up with next. 
wdetterman
wdetterman
I totally agree. I was able to attend CanJam SoCal today, and I thought the A4 sounded just as good as some models that were 2 or 3 times more expensive. These are a really incredible pair of headphones.
Intensecure
Intensecure
Nicely balanced review, not too much fluff but enough comparisons to make it useful. I'm interested to maybe get a listen to a pair of these, being a big fan of hybrids.
wdetterman
wdetterman
Thanks! Hopefully you get the opportunity to listen to them and try out different filter combinations. These have to be one of my favorite IEMs. 

SOULSIK

Member of the Trade: Audio Excellence
Pros: comfort, soundstage, bass, seperation, accessories, presentation
Cons: none
Disclaimer: some of the data/pictures presented in this review may have not been originally produced by soulsikreviews
 
more full review with picture can be found on our webpage. 
 
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Introduction & Unboxing
These IEMs are from china by LZ audio
        I waited for these the longest time because the delivery was lost by the first seller from aliexpress.com. I ended up getting my money back after 2 months of struggle but I will provide you with the link of the seller I ended up buying from in the end. Buy from this seller period, shipped it in 5 days and I am in Canada. My god… their package surprised me… it was the safest packaging I’ve ever witnessed, with boxes inside boxes / foams on foams.
         The wait was well worth it. When I opened the package, and looked inside the box, the representation itself was enough to make me smile. The LZ A4 came with so many tips that it almost looked like it was impossible to not find the perfect fit. However, after trying all of them, I still found my spin fit to be perfect for my fit and comfort. The spin fit compatible with the LZ A4 is the CP -100. 
          I was a little bit worried because I have heard of fitting issues from other individuals. I heard some ridiculous stuff from “you cannot wear these like you would wear IEMs, you have to wear them like earbuds” to “the shape is awkward and falls off.” Let me tell you straight off the bat that this is not the case. Even if shape of ears may differ… the fact that these can be worn either way cannot be denied. Also, if you get the right fit, these become the most comfortable IEMs, I would not call these awkward. These also look stylish in my opinion.
 
Why Are these Special? The story of filters
        Now, the reason everyone wants to get their hands on these is because of the filter system. There are two filters that screw onto the IEM, the front nozzle and the back-rear filter. What these essentially do is change the frequency range of the IEMs as the below chart suggest with each combo.
         Would you like more bass? Would you like crisper high ends? Would you be listening to male vocal or female vocal, today? How would you like your music served today?
         With the simple function of changing the filters, you can EQ these just the way you like it. I know a friend who EQs for just 1 song because he loves it that way. We will get into how each of these filters serve their function later.
 
Build Quality & Accessories
Included Accessories:
·         7 pairs of single-flange silicone tips
·         1 pair of double-flange silicone tips
·         3 rear filters and 5 nozzle filters in metal tin
·         Detachable cable
·         Zippered carrying case
 
Cables: I was impressed by the quality of the stock cables. They were light and wrapped around my ears very nicely and securely. Even without the ear hooks, these do not fling off at all. These are mmcx connectors and connect/disconnect to the IEM without much effort. The cables terminate in the most ideal 45-degree 3.5mm termination. Why is 45 degree the most ideal? It is because it levitates tension most efficiently and prevents kinks. The cable also in tangle free.
Tips: the tips included are presented in the most professional and beautiful way. There are several silicon tips along with more different type of tips inside the box. However, I did find 3rd part tips to be more comfortable. Notably the spin fit cp100
Carrying case: While I am not a fan of Chinese letters on my cases, the case is a very nice hard case with pouches for extra tips or accessories. In my case, I put them in my pelican case because they deserved it.
The LZ A4 IEM themselves are enclosed in a hard metal shell. They are very sturdy and rotates 365 degrees around the mmcx connection. They are also of reasonable weight but not heavy. They hang on to the ears even when not listening without fulling off. This is very rare but I have no problem with the build quality in any way for the money
 
Comfort
I would normally include this along with build but this needed some praise by itself. The LZ A4 is one of the IEMs that I put into my ears and did not need to pull them out in relief after a long listening session. Pulling them out and putting them back on after talking to your study partner beside you is not a problem, you can get a perfect fit with these within seconds. Also, when I tested these while working out, I did not experience them coming off or the wires flinging out of position.  Also, like I said above, if you are not listening to them, you can simply hand them on your ears without worrying 
too much of them falling off. These won my heart at the comfort level among many things. Well done LZ.
 
Isolation
I believed this to be the negative, the instant I saw the LZ A4. I mean look at the rear filter that looks like an open back configuration. Don’t judge its book by its cover, lesson well learnt. These do a pretty good job of sound isolation. You do not need to worry in terms of sound leaking into your ears from the outside world while listening to your music. However sound will leak out a bit but not to the extent of an open back or a semi open back headphone or IEMs.
 
SPECS
LZ
Driver unit: 1 dynamic + 2 Knowles balanced armature
Impedance: 16 ohm
Headphone sensitivity: 120 dB
Frequency range: 20 Hz – 28 kHz
Connector: ⅛ in (3.5 mm)
Cable: MMCX detachable, 4 ft (1.2 m +/- 5 cm)
Weight: 1.1 oz (30 g)
 
Driving the LZ A4
These are 16 ohms, which means even my phone can drive them. I used few devices to test these. I used fiio x1, oppo ha 2 se, and my Samsung s7 phones. All of them drove these fine with the oppo ha 2 se being overkill in terms of power. (1 or 2 tilt was enough to blast some music out of these). These sound great out of all devices, even a simple phone, however as always can improve with a DAC.
 
SOUND QUALITY
I could not believe how these sounded out of the box and then dropped my jaw when they were broken in a bit because of how full they sounded. Here is the story. Enjoy.
Lower Frequencies: The bass extension in these IEMs are the best I have heard. The sub bass is very present with certain filters and overwhelming in some. It really considers all the preferences individuals have out there. I was talking to Adrian Low from Audio Excellence the other day about how the younger generations tend to look for bass & more bass. Whether we deny it or not, the current generation enjoys a lot of hip pop genres. The question is “is our generation listening and seeking for the correct sound of bass?” what do I mean by correct bass? I mean clean solid bass that sounds and thumps the way it’s supposed to instead of veiling out all the other frequencies with the dirtiest rumbles and distortions. At this price point, I hope there is no excuse for the generation to listen to overpriced bad headphones instead. With this being said, even for audiophiles, the bass in these are exceptional and matches up to many of the higher tier IEMs out there.
Mid Frequencies: Now I own the AKG 550 and they are mid ranged headphones, these are as detailed as an IEM gets at this price point. The high midrange really benefits from the airiness. They are moderately deficient in body and warmth, due to progressive attenuation of frequencies below about 150Hz. Definition or resolution is also exceptional, I’ve heard things with this IEM that I’ve not heard with my HD650s.
High Frequencies: The highs are exceptionally good as it shows no signs of being sibilant in my ears and most of the people will agree with me that this is important. Not many people like sibilant sounds that pierce your ears. I’ve heard these for extended period while studying, on my desk, working, in the gym and walking in circles with my eyes closed. At any point in time, there was not even the slightest urge to take these out of my ears because they were sibilant. That does not mean details are not there, the details are phenomenal and lush in this frequency range.
Separation: separation in these IEMs are exceptional, perhaps due to the hybrid configuration. Especially when paired with high end DACS such as the oppo ha 2 se used in this review, the separation becomes much more evident and clear.
Soundstage: My god… the soundstage in these blew me away. Thinking for a minute, I always use JBL LSR305 speakers or my HD650s for reference and enjoyment on my desk AND these little IEMs blew me away with soundstage? Yes, they did my friends. You will not know how wide they sound… yet so detailed? Until you try them on. Now with that being said, the filters that give you a wider range of frequencies do make things feel much more further away and feels like losing some details.
With that being said we must talk about the filters now.
 
FILTERS
At closer look, the filters seem to contain the same number and size of holes but different amount of dampening material in them.
 
PICTURES ONLY AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE
 
Rear filters
The Red, black, no filter seemed similar with subtle differences. The blue filter however seemed to have quite a bit of difference, especially in the lower frequencies.
 
Front filters
 
Front filters with black rear
 
GRAPH ONLY AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE
 
 
 
Front filters with blue rear
 
GRAPH ONLY AVAILABLE ON OUR WEBSITE
 
 
These graphs are meant for reference only. The only real way for you to find out if go through the combos and figure out which one sounds best to you, that is all.
 
Where to buy?
Now if you are in Canada like me, you have trouble buying these because they are not available on amazon or overpriced. If you are living in other countries or even in the US, same thing can occur. I will help you. Buy from this seller on aliexpress and talk to them before purchasing, let them know you were referred by soulsikreviews, they will give you the best discount possible with great packing and fast shipping.
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/LZ-A4-Earphone-Dynamic-2-Knowles-Balanced-Armature-Hybrid-IEM-With-Detachable-Cable-Tuning-Filters/32793749007.html
 
Final Thoughts
I really love these IEMs and hope to see more like this in the future. This type of IEM is something that I can introduce to anyone because it is highly likely that one of the filters will suite their needs and preferences. At this price point and flexibility, everyone should have one of these. There is no excuse anymore, everyone should be experiencing high fidelity.
 
Review posted by soulsikreviews.com
 
video for reference
 
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SOULSIK
SOULSIK
@Dv8er

@TwinACStacks   
 
Hey guys! have you guys tried the comply or spinfits? also I did a recent comparison of the lz a4 and ie80 which i am giving away ! check it out on youtube ! 
1TrickPony
1TrickPony
"Ungh...I'm running out of breath here..."  ahaha, you don't get anymore honest than that when reviewing iems haha. Thanks for the comment. Being Canadian myself, it's nice to have great options available since we don't always get access to specialized audio stores here. I appreciated the video review nonetheless!
SOULSIK
SOULSIK
Pros: FABULOUS price to performance ratio and features, Great build and accessories, Multiple tuning options, Can be worn over or under the ear comfortably
Cons: Slightly bulky housing, Bass is a bit loose with some filter combos, Slightly generic aesthetic
20170318_100904.jpg
At the time this review was written, the LZ A4 was listed for sale on Penon Audio’s website. Here is a link to their listing of the product:
 
http://penonaudio.com/LZ-A4?search=lz%20a4
 
Introduction
If you’ve read my previous LZ reviews, there’s no need to repeat how much I appreciate what they’ve done for the budget/hybrid in-ear community. Two years later excellent product performance has become a regular expectation. LZ brings great products to market at each price point. Each product seems to offer something uniquely different from anything else in their lineup, primarily in terms of tuning and sound signature.
 
I recently wrote a review for another one of their hybrid in-ears named the A3S. Here is a link to the review:
 
(http://www.head-fi.org/products/lz-a3s-hybrid-in-ear-monitor/reviews/18012)
 
The A3S is a good earphone, but not the best model in the LZ lineup in my opinion. Coming in at approximately fifty more dollars we have the LZ flagship titled the A4. I usually try to avoid the words “better” and “best”. However, I’m making an exception with this review. Let’s take a look and listen to what I feel is currently (at the time of writing the review) the best earphone you can buy for under two hundred dollars.
 
Disclaimer
I purchased a pair of A4 at a discount 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 them for the discount and opportunity to experience and review the product.
 
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. I want to hear any earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I can share my impressions with  enthusiasts and help them find the audio product they’re looking for. My Head-Fi profile has a list of audio products ranked from favorite to least favorite. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and having a variety of different gear 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 solidly built, with ergonomics and sound that is pleasing to my ears. It’s my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based on gear I have owned and used.
 
REVIEW
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I’m kind of late to the review and impression party for these. Infact, I wouldn’t have even pursued writing the review had I not caught wind of the positive things my friends were saying about them. There are already many thorough and detailed reviews of this product. Because of this I will skip ahead to the good stuff, and try to contribute the straight dope and information my fellow Head-Fiers have been asking for, HOME MEASUREMENTS WITH EVERY FILTER COMBINATION, as well as my intake on the build.
 
Specifications and Accessories
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Specification:
Brand: LZ
Model: A4
Driver: 1 Dynamic driver+ 2 Balanced Armature Hybrid
Impedance: 16Ω
Headphone sensitivity:120dB
Frequency range: 20-28000Hz
Interface: 3.5mm
Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
Weight: 30g
Interface Type: MMCX
 
20170221_224711.jpg
Accessories:
6X Pair, silicone single flange tips (S,M,L)
1X Pair, silicone bi-flange tips (M/L)
1X Pair, foam tips (M/L)
1X Pair, silicone ear hooks
1X Shirt clip
1X Aluminum tine (filled with the A4 filter assortment)
1X Zipper clamshell case

 
Housings
20170318_100904.jpg
The A4 housings appear to be made out of a black powder coated aluminum. The shape and fit is somewhat reminiscent to a slightly bulkier version of the Audio Technica CKR line of in-ear monitors. MMCX plugs are cleverly and ergonomically placed.
 
20170221_224806.jpg
The supplied filter system works as the nozzles. The nozzles are fairly standard in terms of width and length. Tip rolling is fairly easy to do with both the stock and a majority of available aftermarket tips.
 
20170318_101148.jpg
There are some things that concern me about the A4 build. The filter system is threaded (they twist on and off). I can see those who are not careful accidentally cross threading them and ruining their ability to attach and detach the filters. Also, the rubber gaskets of the filter system seems like something that can wear over time and break. Although I was careful and haven’t had any problems like this, they are definitely two things I would advise customers to be careful with.  
 
Cable, Y-Split, Cable Jack, Strain Reliefs
20170318_100739.jpg
The same cable I applauded in the A3S has been used with the A4. There is very little spring or memory, lots of flexibility, a durable build and included chin/neck slider and velcro cable winder. Y-splits, strain reliefs are all better than average and the sixty degree angled plug seems very durable. As previously stated, this cable rivals and bests many cables that come in at higher prices in terms of usability.
 
Functionality
The A4 is a plug and play device. The modular cable sets up for upgraded in terms of material and/or cables with microphones and remotes. The standard MMCX connection is very universal in application.
 
Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics, Isolation
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20170318_102808.jpg
The A4 is a great earphone in terms of fit. I was able to get a great fit using them with the cable looped over my ear, and also wearing them straight down. The housings are slightly bulky and don't promote a flush fit with the listener’s ear. However, the housings are lightweight and very comfortable. I had no problem wearing them for several hours without needing to readjust the fit (once I found the right tip to use).
 
The included chin/neck worked well and helped snug the earphones into a comfortable fit while also helping to eliminatie microphonics for the most part. Isolation is average at best. The tuning system of the A4 allows some air to vent through the housing, letting in some ambient noise. When music was playing at moderate volumes, almost all ambient noise was eliminated.
 
Sound Review
I did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-V20, Cayin i5, Fiio X7 or iBasso DX80 DAP/Bushmaster D14 DAC/Amp for high fidelity portable use. For desktop use, I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a ifi micro iDSD playing at 32/192 kHz. I tested them with several other sources as well. I used Google Music in its highest download quality (320 KBPS), and 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 assess and break down the gear’s response.
 
Source Selection
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Coming in at 16 Ohms and 120dB of sensitivity, the A4 will sound great with a DAP or smartphone. They are very easy to drive and variances like high gain and added amplification are not necessary. I was able to get some great sound from the A4 with just about all of my portable sources in low gain. The A4 rocked with the iFi micro iDSD in its most sensitive setting.
 
The A4 has a relatively bold and slightly emphasized bass response regardless of what bass filters you use. Because of this they will be somewhat forgiving with poor recordings. At the same time, the dual Knowles drivers of the A4 will provide listeners with plenty of details, so expect them to scale well with higher quality recordings and music files.
 
Sound Signature
I simply can’t cover the entire spectrum of what this earphone is capable of doing in terms of sound. It would take me a year to review each filter combination. What I can do is say that in terms of lower frequencies the A4 goes from a tight and responsive neutral-ish tuning to a lower frequency laden bass cannon. Both are good in their own ways and will appeal to a broad variety of listeners. In terms of treble, the possibilities range from polite and smooth, to bright and harsh.
 
LZ has given customers the opportunity to take a terrific triple driver setup and tool kit to modify these into what owners would consider their ideal sounding in-ear monitor. It’s a beautiful thing if I do say so myself. To be completely honest, I have changed the filters on these things a lot over the course of reviewing them. Depending on what I’m listening to, I can tweak the A4 to be ideal for whatever source and genre of music I can throw at it. The A4 isn’t a chameleon, it's a color changing dragon that listeners can chase day in and day out in search of their own personal audio preferences.  
 
What I can broadly say about the A4 is that they will give you dynamic bass, clean mid-range, and detailed treble. Some filter combinations will create a more noticable difference between the drivers (I’ll let you decide which filter combinations do this the most). Soundstage is darn near off the charts. LZ has once again pulled some next-level stuff here. You are getting a detachable cable, universally great fitting and great sounding earphone with customization options that don’t require tools. Did I mention the A4 is under two hundred dollars?
 
Instead of breaking the A4 down in terms of each frequency let’s just take what I said and slap up a graph of each filter combination. I feel at this point it will clarify filters for those who already own a pair, and also give those interested and idea of how versatile this earphone is.
 
My measurements were done with my Vibro Veritas coupler, Startech Audio interface and ARTA sound measuring software. Let it be known that this setup IS NOT an industry standard measuring device. I am fairly accurate through the bass and midrange treble up to around 4 kHz, but after this there is some roll off at higher frequencies. The purpose of these graphs are to gain understanding of how the A4 filter system works and compares.
 
The A4 uses a filter and porting system for the front and back of the earphone. Because of this, various combinations of filters seem to render different results. What I mean is that it’s the combination of filters that alters the overall response and signature. Use a different nozzle filter with what you think is your favorite bass filter and you might change the way you feel about the back filter. Change the bass filter of your A4 when using what you think is your favorite nozzle filter and you might get a different impression of the front filter. The only way to truly dial it in for your preference and source is an almost never ending experiment. The good news is that this process  is fun and easy to do. The way the filters are threaded and shaped, it’s easy to change them out (no tools needed). After trying every filter combination several times I determined that my favorite combination (for the most part) is the black bass filter and green nozzle filter. Over time this will most likely change. Your mileage may vary.
 
Personally, I feel like the measurements do the A4 no justice. Don’t think that what you see in graphs will give you all the information you need to figure out what filter to use. What I measured is different compared to what I heard with some combinations. The best thing to do is try different combinations until something hits your ears’ G-spot in terms of sound :wink:
 
NOTE: Because my measurements are not industry standard in terms of calibration I will do a comparison of the A4 filter combinations to one of the most perceptually neutral in-ear monitor I have, the Unique Melody Miracle V2. What I know about my Veritas is that there is a rolloff at around 4 kHz. Please consider this when looking at the results. Let’s take a look at the graphs.
 
READING THE GRAPHS
When looking at the graphs, here is the color reference chart:
 
Yellow= Unique Miracle Melody V2 (note the Miracle is a more sensitive earphone than the A4)
Blue= Blue nozzle filter
Green= Green nozzle filter
Purple= Black nozzle filter (due to black background)
Red= Red nozzle filter
Gray= Gray nozzle filter
Pink= Pink nozzle filter
*Back filter will be noted on the bottom of the graphs
 
Black Back Filter:
LZ-A4blackfilter.png
 
Red Back Filter:
LZ-A4redfilter.png
 
Blue Back Filter:
LZ-A4bluefilters.png
 
Conclusion
The LZ A4 is my current favorite in-ear monitor to fall under two hundred dollars. While I don’t think it will be the “giant killer” that rivals summit-fi gear, it does way too much right at its price point to not give it the credit it deserves. The physical shape is okay (slightly bulky). The materials used are very nice. The stock cable is excellent in terms of materials and design and is fun and easy to use. The tuning filters are simple to switch and work as they should. The large soundstage for an in-ear monitor in combination with the nice detail you get from the dual Knowles driver makes them incredibly fun to listen to.
 
Once you find the right filter combination for your preference and source you’re ready to rock and roll. When you feel like you want something that sounds different you don’t need to jump online and buy another earphone. Simply switch the filters until you find a more ideal combination and carry on. LZ has made most preference issues a non-issue with the A4.
 
When rating a product I have to take all criteria into account. The A4 gets four and a half stars for ergonomics, fit, build and design (minus a half star for the slightly bulky housing and slightly generic aesthetics). I give the A4 five stars for sound. Although it’s not the best sounding in-ear monitor I’ve ever heard, you can’t ask for much more at this price. Add the fact that this earphone has multiple sound options, I can’t deduct any stars. LZ knocked it out of the park in term of price to performance. You’ll be hard pressed to find an earphone as versatile and easy to use at the same price point as the A4.
 
20170318_101148.jpg
Thanks for reading and happy listening!
alexandros a
alexandros a
Very informative stuff there... i use too mostly DUNU DN2000 and Fidue A73 and just love the midrange and vocal reproduction of those.....
Now since i got LZA4 been experimenting with  different filter combos there...
Seems to me that the most sparkle and air in the soundstage is for the moment at red/back - blue/front till now...
Would you sugget a front/nozzle filter that comes the closest to FIDUE A73 vocal reproduction ?
TwinACStacks
TwinACStacks
I like this HiFi.
Hisoundfi
Hisoundfi
@alexandros a I've been really enjoying the Black/Green combo. Although it doesn't have the same top end extension and sizzle of the A73, I can enjoy the A4 at louder volumes with this combo as compared to the Fidue. I still really like the A73, but since writing the A73 review my preferences have changed a bit and lean towards a more perceptually balanced signature. You have two great earphones with the DN2000 and A73. If I was you, I would experiment with filter combinations that compliment the two you have. Cheers buddy

Lohb

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Rock solid build quality,FR dialability, extended FR on both ends, balance of musicality & micro-detail, cable build, value, sound-staging, extras.
Cons: Could do with one more rear nozzle for more low-end granular bass tuning, no ear-hooks, too many similar-sized ear-tips.
TL;DR
See pluses and minus above.

(Older photo - I finally settled on 2 unit dials…red back / black front + no backs / black front.)

These things are G.O.L.D. Just keep dialing on multiple fronts to find said audio gold. It's there 100%, and you won't find it with an entry-level phone or straight out your notebook/tablet.....
 
I’ll skip posting what would be my own endless amateur shaky macro IEM photos (except a few I pulled off the thread), youtube unboxing erotica video or the spec. list - it’s already been done by the other guys who have done stellar reviews and I’m 7th down the review list and it basically just pads out the review needlessly.
 
 
 
 
Intro - I’ve journeyed through entry-level and lower mid-level dynamic cans, through various entry-level and a mid-level planar cans…then started dabbling at the cheapest end of Chinese IEMs last year as I needed a mobile and closed solution to complement my cans at that time - open planar magnetic headphones.
 
After multiple buying loops through the hot new Chinese IEMs thread last year (2016) that kept popping up relentlessly on the head-fi active threads carousel bottom left of the head-fi website footer area, I stumbled on the LZ-A2 which were gaining traction from early buzz/rumblings/impressions and took the $69 or so plunge….
No brain burn-in/hardware burn-in was needed in this instance….it was just an instant OOTB sit-up and take notice ‘How is that possible from a $69 tiny hybrid IEM ?’
For me, it was like a ‘baby Audeze LCD 2.1’ - Yes, it reminded me of the essential DNA of a specific $1k headphone straight out the box in a micro-sized form.
Of course without the sheer ‘Detroit muscle car ability’ that only the huge Audeze planar units could bring….
 
IMO, there was a definite overlap in multiple areas……..an affinity, a riff….
fullness of low/mids presentation,
prominent detailed decays,
musicality,
great micro-detail and low-end texture,
rich tonality with a roll-off in treble that gave it also an overall darker tonality that the 2.1s are known for - that only added up to longer listening sessions for myself….
 
 
 
I have previously also bought and owned :-
LZ A3  -  (extended more than A2 both ends, better separation and a nice mid-bass hump)
LZ A3S - (extended more both ends than A3, better separation again and a nice sub-bass hump…though I missed the mid-bass presence after a while vs A3)

I received the A4 free for taking part in the beta feedback tour many months ago, and also in return for giving a frank and honest review of the latest iteration of the LZ house sound.I have owned my set for 2+ months now.
I would have bought them on release, if not for a surprise PM that I was getting a pair entirely free.
(I thought I’d get about a $50 discount on a retail pair at best - for some head-time with feedback of the prototype pair I tried, and my own onward shipping costs on that set).
 
Thanks 101% @DUYU for arranging that !

 
Late to review after the first lot of reviews rolled in, and here’s why….
 
Frankly I had a ‘problem’ with my A4 OOTB and felt I could not honestly do a positive review as things stood.

I wondered if :-
A) the train had left the station for me and the LZ house sound had gone in a very different/dry and overly-bright direction and people did not want to call it on the thread at the very start.
or
B) if I’d just simply received a bad pair.
 
As it turned out, the issue was nailed firmly to my then current opamp chip which worked very good with my Fostex planars signature (AD797) balanced out with BUF634P WP buffers.
But this combo did not work out in any way (for my ears) with the entirely different tech DD/BA mix and tuning of these hybrid IEMs.
I could not go beyond the red front filter (fairly rolled off treble tuning) in any shape or form, as everything became too bright and dry/thin and lacking extended full decays. This, in spite of the fact that no early impressions / reviews indicated they were like this….
I fired off a few PMs to various early owner members to clarify my impressions - nope, they were loving them and had no treble/tonality issues…
I ordered another opamp chip entirely a couple of weeks later (LME49990), and while it was pretty amazing compared to the last one for my planars; again, I was not getting at the rich immersive musicality, full-bodied decays and highly detailed LZ house sound I had previously enjoyed so much.
 
Finally, try, try, again - as the main beta tour group all couldn’t be wrong - sourcing and rolling back to an older opamp chip (OPA604*) that I knew worked with A2/A3 and B.I.N.G.O.….the SQ was unlocked/released. There it was again - that immersive musicality, the great micro-detail and those decays and (now) audiophile low-end texture, fullness and control not bleeding into the mids…. everything previously I loved was there but everything was way more refined.
 
*(The quirky character of the 604 chip is when you increase the volume, it fills out the low-end/mids 'body' and the treble does not start to dominate. It also has a tube-like tonality. Not for the transparency junkies at all, this is an unapologetic character opamp...it comes alive 12 volts and up..below 10 volts, forget about it...)

 
 
Back in business with my audio chain working with the A4s again, I got lost in more front/back dialing. Starting a-fresh with more options that my ears could now take ….and then someone posted in the A4 thread that ‘they tried no backs’ to great effect = no screw-in back-plate installed on the A4 and were getting an enhanced sound-stage/‘head-stage’ (credit to HFM threads member Jerg on that term) .
And then my dialing ‘joy’/ indecision started all over again with this new backs off element added….:) ;-(
 
 
Previously with my mis-matched opamp chip I could only use :-
 
red back-plates to make up in ‘bass extension/fullness lacking’
and
red front nozzles to ‘cool the hot bitey treble’ to get any head-time with them through-out December/Early January.
 
After getting my audio chain correct behind these hybrids mid-January, I finally settled on :-
 
A) red back-plates / black front for more kicking low-end driven electronic music
and
B) no back-plates / black front for walk-about immersive/transparent extended head-stage/sound-stage mids-focused ambient/electronica stuff.
 
Lucky for me I no longer have to roll the front nozzles. That is done and dusted….FINALLY
I just hope no-one discovers a new magic pixie dust cable $$$$ or ‘next level’ hard to source ear-tips are posted in the thread……it never ends !

My Gear/SQ Goals - I’ve been going in circles the last 4 years with my audio chain gear which could be classed as ‘entry-level/lower mid-level’.
It has been a journey away from overly-analytic DACs or wooly/dull/lifeless amps to the mid-ground between musicality and technicality….
I also am not much a fan of neutral - ‘natural’ would be where it’s at for me. The 'Harman Curve' appeals to me vs a flat-liner studio monitor deal, with all that ultra-detail and no soul…
I don’t think I’ll be buying pure BA units or Sennie HD800s any time soon on that basis...
 
Pasted over from my profile - in an ideal world and price-point I’m after of as much of the below as possible…

solid slice of micro-detail,
rich/slightly darker tonality,
controlled textured bottomless full & tight low-end,
lush/liquid balanced mids,
smooth marathon listening session non-fatiguing treble,
a balance of musicality and technicality.
Equipment with 'muscle and finesse' basically.
 
 
My Current Audio Hardware Chain
 
A) Desktop/Transportable - OS X Audirvana Plus - iPurifier 2 - HRT microStreamer - iBasso PB2  (OPA604 + BUF634P WB) + 16-volt LPS (linear power supply) - LZ A4 / or planars (LME4990 amp chips)
B) Portable - Zenfone 2 Laser 6”+ UAPP - iPurifier 2 -  HRT microStreamer / PB2 - LZ A4
 
My Music 
 
I’m into ‘IDM’, ‘glitch’ (decays a-plenty) and a wide variety of other complex quality underground electronic music basically. I need gear that can handle low slow deep textured sub-bass sweeps with really fast tangential stop/start stuff going on the rest of the way up the frequency range.
I’ll save posting my music stuff from the review, it can be found over in the http://www.head-fi.org/t/727918/techno-electro-underground-beats thread run by @ WraithApe who runs a tight game managing the thread and keeping it on-point with the bleep veterans over there……

LZ-A4 units
 
Build : Rock solid build on the units. MMCX are known to be a bit fickle though with frequent swapping, poor mating cycle to failure count, no issues with the connectors so far on that though. Matt black CNC units a wise choice this time round. Simply it is the wisest choice to use black silver etc for smaller companies. Gold was maybe a bit too bling bling for some with A3 holding back some sales purely on the colour. So far I have had no issues with the units 2 months in and they should still go strong all year long. Nozzles and back-plates are fine, though as some have brought up the issue that the o-ring can come off when pulling the nozzles out the case; so be careful with that one - making sure your o-rings are on before dialing on to the units.  Cable - I actually like this cable the best of all the previous ones now. No microphonic for me, all-round quality cable build with a cinch added on and robust angled 3.5". Make sure to rotate and pull the MMCX 90 degrees to release it out of the shell vs straight pulling it back, that seems to be the trick to bypass any male/female stuck connector issues.

Ergonomics : I suggested this before for over-ear by flipping the left unit for the right unit - it will not touch any part of the upper inner ear causing discomfort over time etc.

This way above, they are great and just stay in place. I find they tend to pivot less and work their way out than A3/A3S. A set of ear-hooks and less same size ear-tips would have been a good addition on future retail set boxes.
 
Reference back-plate : RED / reference front nozzle : BLACK for following impressions
 
Bass : Extended excellent tight sub-bass, slight mid-bass hump, no bleed into the mids. These are not kicker basshead IEMs, but have very decent quality low-end which is there when the recording has it vs over-emphasised low-end bleeding across the mids with cheaper bass hack IEMs. Best controlled quality bass on an IEM I've heard so far (actually BLACK back-plate has more linear/tighter bass control - red is more extended/full-bodied.)
 
 
Mids : It has been said they are mid-forward, mids recessed and balanced… the answer is yes to all… as it depends on which nozzles and back-plates you are using with the units for your reference. With the black nozzles I’m finding the mids are just right in the 'Goldilocks zone' , without being too in-your-face or stepped back with the effect of this nozzle. Some of the guys have been in the position of rolling in different nozzles for male/female vocals but as my music focus is electronic I can keep the blacks as my main choice. I have seen a few comments that they are even richer in the mids with a tube amp and I’d like to get some time with a tube and the A4s. I’d imagine the sound-stage jumps out wider in the XYZ and the immersive musicality would be even more addictive than now….(currently digging on Ali-X for a tube pre-amp to add to my audio chain). Anyway, with solid state gear, the now well-known LZ rich and musical house sound is still present and more refined with the A4s with the latest iteration  bringing in more space between instrumentation.
 

Treble : More extended than previous models/more air around instruments, sparkle without grate or continual glare through-out the upper spectrum which would wear me down. TBH, I can handle a roll-off in treble if I’d get more bass extension in exchange for that, and I’d not feel I’m missing much. After a point in the treble, it can make me take off audio gear if it is too present causing fatigue fast. I have some serious brain-burn in with rolled off treble gear, so anything balanced can seem a bit hot to me at first till I adjust. Now, with the multiple nozzles coupled with the custom-tuned BA units, that treble bottle-neck/ceiling is no longer there for those that crave some extension in the treble or even slightly dominant treble. There’s a nozzle for it at each point of the treble spectrum.
 
 

Tying it all together :  If you are just stepping into the hybrids scene right now, you are in luck with the likes of A4 sitting in front of you, as the sub-scene is maturing so fast and these guys are really iterating so fast in an upwards direction that sometimes I cannot keep up.
 
My title is obviously contentious, and I made a point of putting a date in it as the scene rolls forward at break-neck speed. I hope the single person to out-do the A4 will be LZ with an A5.
 
LZ has a real ear for musicality, and a great ability in getting the technicalities side of things right as well. I think the A4 is his real breakthrough offering into the higher-end of the IEM scene. LZ obviously took on all our similar and opposing ideas and synthesized them into the A4, which is quite a step-up from the proto unit in post #1; as it surely was a work in progress.
 
 
 
Well done LZ, with no presence on this forum, churning these units out from your 1-man-band operation in China - you’ve moved one step closer to real summit-fi IEM design that can take on the big brands.
This is Lean Startup strategy at its best - all walk and no talk.
 
(Edit March 5th : Now using Muses02 OPAMPs to great effect. Also removed my 'dump the pink filter' comment at top due to presentation with these Muses chips sounding much better than a quick appraisal I did with older OPAMP chips at review time.I don't want to hold anyone back with older impressions, or make people feel they are going against the A4 thread grain liking pink filters.)

FUYU

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Soundstage; Filter system; Resolution; Value
Cons: Comfort can be hit or miss; Not for those seeking neutrality
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Once upon a time, there was a guy named LZ. Reigning from China, he brought us a legend, now in its third iteration. The A4 has descended upon thee. Now with tuning fun, for the basshead and maybe even me?

(I am not a rapper)

Enter LZ A4

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for the purpose of this review. I'm not affiliated with the company. Big shout-out to @duyu for arranging yet another LZ product review.

Specifications


  • Brand: LZ
  • Model: A4
  • Driver: 1 Dynamic driver + 2 Balanced Armature Hybrid
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Headphone sensitivity:120dB
  • Frequency range: 20-28000Hz
  • Interface: 3.5mm
  • Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
  • Weight: 30g
  • Interface Type: MMCX


IMG_20161227_143301.jpg IMG_20161227_143445.jpg
IMG_20161227_143400.jpg IMG_20161227_143421.jpg


Accessories

First up, the accessories department. Generally nothing extraordinary, but much improved from the previous iterations. We get a well sized pouch (albeit in an unusual colour), lots of eartips in a foam enclosure, more tips inside the pouch, a cable and a metal tin featuring the filters and one pair of double-flange eartips. Unexceptional presentation, but everything you might need. Function over form was not a bad choice per sè - The thick foam layer does its job quite well. Maybe too well, in certain areas. (e.g using foam for eartips seems a bit excessive.)

Build

The housings are all metal and have a quite a bit weight to them without being overly heavy. The filters have been implemented well. Both front and back-filters are working via. screw-in mechanism. Equally solid is the cable. Featuring a 45° jack, great Y-Split, flexibility and minimal microphonics.

The design allows them to be worn over ear or down cabled without switching the orientation of the earpieces. The A4 is OK in terms of comfort. It might be uncomfortable with smaller ear types, albeit this was not an issue in my case. You do feel the weight in your ears, once in a while. They are great for casual usage, but heavy-duty activity is not the A4s strong suit.

However, I do have a couple of reservations with the overall build. My biggest gripe being the MMCX connector. Many, including myself, had issues with the jack. LZ did his best in embedding the connector inside a plastic mold, maximizing longevity. Still, I would be careful not to change cables all that often.

Isolation is around average. Slightly better compared to most IEMs, in particular vented In-Ears. Although, the A4 would not be my first option for travelling. Still, after adjusting the volume, it might be acceptable for your daily commute. YMMV

Sound-Analysis


IMG_20161227_1441461.jpg


Filters - Usability and general Impressions:

With 18 different combinations at its disposal, the A4 has some variety in sound-signature.

We have 2 sets of filters:


  • Back filters (B) - Altering Bass response
  • Front filters (F) - Altering upper Mids/Highs


Don't expect the A4 to be the jack-of-all-trades. It has a base signature which is retained over all filter combinations. The midrange is always a tad recessed. You can alter the balance of the frequencies with the filters, although don't expect the A4 to ever sound neutral.

Pairing:

  • 16Ohm and 120dB/mW makes for easy listening out of your smartphone
  • High sensitivity, beware of hiss!
  • Neutral and bright sounding DACs will be your best match

General observations:

  • Midrange is slightly recessed*
  • Soundstage is grand and does portray an "out-of-head" image
  • Although more on the smooth side, imaging is quite sharp and accurate
  • Holographic staging, lots of blackness between instruments
  • Extension on either side of the spectrum is quite good
  • Bass is always prominent, even with Blue(B) filters in place.
  • These cost < 200$? Holy. Moly.

The inevitable. LZ A4 vs. FLC8s:

Departing from my usual standard, I will use this opportunity to compare these two Chinese rivals. Both are boasting a triple hybrid configuration and tunable sound. The FLC8s costing ~320$ with 36 possible combos and the LZ-A4 coming in at ~200$ and 18 combos. I originally planned to include the Trinity Master 4. Unfortunately it didn't make the cut, due to being reworked. (and outclassed)

Similar to the FLC8s, you have a base signature retained over all tuning filters. An inherent character of the sound, no matter the choice of filters. That being a slightly warm and fun signature, albeit slightly recessed in the lower midrange, sub 2kHz. No you won't get Harman neutrality with them, no you won't get Fitear/FINAL/any mid forward signature with them.

Some more words on the filters. Per logic of this graph, the filters are sorted and tuned by their difference in frequency cut-off. However, there is more to it than meets the eye.

The Filters - Balance and Perception:

I'll start with the [COLOR=387fff]blue[/COLOR](F) filters. The most treble heavy tuning and the one extending until 35kHz. (Hah! No Hi-Res sign of approval for you!) What one will immediately notice is the increased clarity, compared to the rest of the bunch. Like a veil being removed from the sound. (Not that the A4 sound veiled)

For one, the [COLOR=387fff]blue[/COLOR](F) filters are - filterless. They have no damping material inside the nozzle. This results in an increase of the treble quantity, in particular around the 6kHz and around 8kHz. Add the [COLOR=f61f1f]Red[/COLOR] back filters and you get quite the V-Shaped signature. They tend to be moderately fatiguing for my tastes, accounting for my weakness around 6kHz. Interestingly they have a somewhat forward 2kHz area, similar to the [COLOR=25c128]Green[/COLOR](F) filters. Due to this the A4 gets slightly bright sounding overall.

The [COLOR=000000]Blacks[/COLOR](F) are more balanced, in fact they will be (along the greens) my personal pick for best balance. My measurements do agree on that matter, with the aforementioned 6kHz and 8kHz spots now being more linear. They fit my personal preferences just right. Treble extension is identical to the [COLOR= 387fff]Blue[/COLOR](F) filters. Using [COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR] and [COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR] along the [COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR](B)-[COLOR= 25c128]Green[/COLOR](F) combo will give you the best of both worlds and arguably the most natural sounding experience.

*[COLOR=25c128]Green[/COLOR] is where the asterisk from earlier on comes into play. They push the midrange around the 2kHz area forward. Below that, not so much. The christmas themed combo [COLOR= f61f1f]Red[/COLOR](B)-[COLOR= 25c128]Green[/COLOR](F) gives you something along the lines of an U-Shaped signature. The [COLOR= 387fff]Blue[/COLOR](B)-[COLOR=25c128]Green[/COLOR](F) is where the A4 gets the closest to Harman "neutrality". [COLOR=25c128]Green[/COLOR] and [COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR] sound very similar, though. I don't believe most casual listeners will decipher many notable differences. Think of [COLOR=25c128]Green[/COLOR](F) as a less bright sounding [COLOR=387fff]Blue[/COLOR](F).

[COLOR=8b8b8b]Grey[/COLOR], [COLOR= f61f1f]Red[/COLOR] and [COLOR=c125a3]Pink[/COLOR] are pretty straight forward. Each new filter lowers the treble extension towards sub-zero levels. Grey is still enjoyable and is a mixture of green and black with lesser treble emphasis. [COLOR= f61f1f]Red[/COLOR] is too congested for my tastes. And [COLOR=c125a3]Pink[/COLOR]...

Don't get me started.

(You can find some of my measurements here.)

Anyway. Towards the Back.

The [COLOR= f61f1f]Red[/COLOR](B) and [COLOR= 000000]Black[/COLOR](B) filters sound quite similar. Both share similar qualities. They extrude very capable sub-bass, digging deep into low Hz territories. The Mid-Bass follows this trail. There is no annoying mid-bass hump and very little bleed into the mids. [COLOR= f61f1f]Red[/COLOR](B) has more quantity, obviously.

The [COLOR= 387fff]Blue[/COLOR](B) filters are slightly different compared to [COLOR= 000000]Black[/COLOR] and [COLOR= f61f1f]Red[/COLOR], not just in quantity. We get a shift towards the lower root of the bass, meaning more sub-bass compared to mid-bass. Alas the mid-bass sounds neutral. The Sub-bass does not. Unfortunately. [COLOR= 387fff]Blue[/COLOR](B) does take away from the perceived stage and space. I don't think it suits the A4 very well. I really like neutrality, but the A4 is the wrong IEM for the task.

There is also the option of using no backfilter at all. Sounds quite ludicrous, but it works incredibly well. Impact is around the [COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR](B) and [COLOR=f61f1f]Red[/COLOR](B) filters, which in my eyes is the best in terms of naturalness. Another little extra is the increase in soundstage and percieved airiness. I was shocked at first. Couple that with something like the [COLOR=25c128]Green[/COLOR](F) or [COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR](F) gives you a tonality similar to the Hifiman HE560. The only drawback is the reduced usability in terms of isolation and sound leakage. But it is so worth it!

Flexibility is good. I'd imagine most settling down on two to three combinations. My personal favorites being: None(B)-[COLOR=25c128]Green[/COLOR](F), None(B)-[COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR](F) and [COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR]-[COLOR=000000]Black[/COLOR]

In terms of technical ability, the A4 is flat-out amazing. The soundstage is very large - and while not the best in terms of airiness - sounds precise and focused. This improves by implanting either Black(B) or Red(B) into the shell, adding another extra layer of depth. Like mentioned earlier, removing the backfilter all togehter adds even more special prowess to the IEM. Very addicting!

Imaging is surprisingly accurate. Instruments are resolved in true to life fashion. While there might be more detailed earphones in this area (IBasso IT03, FLC8s), the A4 is certainly elite within the 200$ territory.

The A4 sounds rather smooth. There are no huge errors in coherence or phase. It does have some dips in the treble here and there.

Comparison time - LZ-A4 vs. FLC8s:

Neutrality: Blue(B) | Black(F) vs. Gray | Clear | Gray

For those looking after a neutral presentation. While the A4 has better soundstage, in particular depth, the FLC8s is superior in imaging. The FLC8s is better in terms of resolution, especially in the mids. It sounds sharper, more accurate and more resolving. Treble linearity is another advantage the FLC8s has over its counterpart.

Fun: Red(B) | Blue(F) vs. Red | Black | Gold/Green

The LZ A4 slams the FLC8 in tonality. The A4 is more of everything: More bass, less congested. The RBG combo of the FLC8s sounds very off to me. It lost the laser-like sharpness. It sounds impressive, but compared to the A4, comes across as flat and un-inspirational.

Final Words​

The LZ A4 is sublime. I prefer not to use too many hyperboles, but LZs newest monitor deserves every praise it gets. In terms of sound, these are at the moment the best sub $200 IEM on the market.
originalsnuffy
originalsnuffy
Good review.   I am a huge fan of the LZ-A2 and so the A4 is definitely of interest. I have the FLC8S (bought on sale so its almost comparable in price).   Seems to me that the comparison for the FLC8S should start at gray - gray -gunmetal.  That is close to a reference tuning.  I wonder how you would view the FLC8S vs the A4 with that configuration.  By the way, I pretty much never use the green with the FLC8S.  Just too much high end for my taste.  Its either gold or gunmetal for me, almost no matter what else I am using.
FUYU
FUYU
1clearhead
1clearhead
Truly, interesting write-up! Got to know everything I need it to know about these.

RedJohn456

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Sound, Build Quality, Price to performance ratio, Sturdy, commute friendly, genre bandwidth, ergonomics, removable cable
Cons: Only one set of filters, rubber ring on filters can fall off
LZ A4
A clinic in Performance and Versatility
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 ​
Disclaimer
 ​
The A4 was a review unit provided in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. I have tried my best to record my thoughts and impressions on how I found the A4 to sound. These thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone and I reserve the right to change my opinion as time goes on. These are my personal findings and should be taken as such.
 
 


 ​
 ​
Introduction
 ​
This is my review of the LZ A4 (a triple driver hybrid consisting of 2 Balanced armature drivers and 1 Dynamic driver), a direct successor to the A3 which itself attempted to build on the magic of the A2 which had appeared out of nowhere and captured the hearts of many a head-fier (Including yours truly!). 
 
I want to take this opportunity to thank LZ and AK Audio for giving me this opportunity, graciously providing me a sample in exchange for my honest opinion. There is something to be said for presentation, packaging and how you secure the package before shipping. It’s clear that AK Audio put a lot of effort into packing properly, going the extra mile to make sure it will survive the journey. Their listing can be found here
 
 
Since I last took a look at the A2 and A3, the market has been moving at a breakneck pace, with a new multi driver iem coming out what seems like every other day. Now consumers have more choices than ever, with fantastic and wonderful iems with untold number of drivers. But therein lies the issue: a lot of the companies in the Chinese market seems to be chasing higher and higher numbers of drivers, placing an emphasis on the number of drivers, rather than the implementation. That is why I have always closely followed LZ releases, they have always sought to prioritize the end sound and tuning rather than cramming more drivers than you can shake a stick at!
 
clowns.png
Got room for one more, driver?​
 
 
In my eyes they were the first outfit to REALLY nail the triple hybrid sound with the A2 and at a price that really surprised everyone. The A3 was a step in the right direction, improving the build quality and providing a more premium experience than the A2; But in hindsight, they lacked a certain je ne sais qous. 
 
Enter the LZ A4 - no it doesn't have a billion drivers, no it doesn't have a funky or sexy design, nor it doesn't come with a cable composed of unobtinium. It is once again a triple driver, but this time with a new trick up its sleeve - a cleverly implemented filter system allowing for 18 different filter combinations. I will be upfront and honest when I say that before I heard the retail LZ A4, I was not a believer in the whole tuning filter shenanigans. I was part of the beta LZ A4 tour, and even then the filter system kind of left me underwhelmed. 
 
The retail version of the LZ A4 has completely changed my views on them, not only have they upped the ante from their beta offerings but they have provided a tuning platform that actually provides a very technically impressive stock sound, with sensible tuning options. 
 
 


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 ​
About me
Before I get into the nitty gritty of things, I want to provide a little background information in the hopes that it can help put my views in perspective and provide some context for the content of this review.
 
 
Music has always been a huge part of my life, whether it was performing music on stage with my band or more recently, involving myself in this masochistic wonderful hobby of ours.  I have always enjoyed listening to music but I haven’t always paid attention to the quality of headphones because I was perfectly content with included cellphone earphones or cheap earbuds from department stores.  Ignorance is bliss right? This however all changed when I came across head-fi one day, and that’s when things started to go downhill (for my wallet that is :p). It is all too easy to underestimate how large an impact a good pair of headphones can have in the enjoyment of your favorite songs.
 
After getting my first pair of good headphones, I had felt as if an entirely new world has opened up to me musically and I found myself rediscovering music that I have listened to for many years.
 
When it comes to musical taste, I can’t say that I have any specific genre that is my absolute favorite, as I like a little bit of everything. But if I had to be specify, I would say that I love mainstream and Pop music and I consider myself to be an average joe in that regard.
 
That is the approach I take in reviewing gear, for people like me who aren’t all that technical and are not audiophiles in the classical sense. To be honest, I am just someone who really loves their music and someone who enjoys getting the the most out of their gear. And I feel that this is representative of many young modern music lovers (such as myself); people who just want to hear our favourite modern music tracks at their best. Sure, we may not be classical music buffs, or Jazz aficionados, but all the same we appreciate having in our arsenal some of the best products out there, to hear our favourite pop, electronic dance music or metal artists at their best!

I mostly stream music from the Internet using services such as Spotify and Youtube and like millions of other people, my laptop and cellphone serves as my main media players. 
 

So with that out of the way, lets get on with the review!
 
 


 
 
Build quality, Design and Accessories
 ​
Once again, LZ has provided quality packaging, giving you the feeling that you really are getting your money's worth. The package is big and sturdy, enclosing a padded interior which places the A4 front and center. The accessories are enclosed in the included orange case, which is large and spacious but not as sturdy as I would like, I prefer stiffer cases; A rather small sticking point but one I should mention nonetheless. The filters are housed in a padded tin box, which is again a nice touch as it will be very easy to store when not in use. I do however wish it came with a second set of filters, as losing any one of the filters would surely be a PITA. The rubber rings on the filters can fall off so keep an eye on those, to remedy this I store the filters upside down in the foam box which stops the rubber rings from falling off. 
 
 
 
HTB1aj4tOpXXXXcvXFXXq6xXFXXXb.jpgHTB1W4xJOpXXXXcAXpXXq6xXFXXXA.jpg
 
 
HTB1BCtKOpXXXXbqXpXXq6xXFXXXG.jpg
Pics found online 
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 ​
Pictures taken with my own potato phone
 
 
 
I usually don't talk about enclosed paperwork, but be sure to retain the manual as it helps explain the tuning system, outlining the frequency ranges for all the available tuning options. I will enclose my own take on this chart later in the review.
 
I am not a fan of the stock tips but to be fair, 99% of the time I chuck the stock tips and use my own anyway, so that’s not an issue. I found myself using tips with medium sized bores, as the ones with wider sized openings made it sound weird (reverse horn effect?) but as always YMMV.
 
The LZ A4 design is a completely step up from the A3, for one thing it can be worn cable up OR down. The shell isn't too heavy and it sits light enough to disappear in your ears after awhile, with nary a sharp corner to be found. The LZ A4's ergonomic nature easily lends itself to marathon listening sessions, be it music or netflix binge watching. The vent placement ensures that driver flexing won't be an issue for most, if not all.
 
The A4 sports removable cables of the MMCX variety, and the connection appears to be fortified and reinforced, ensuring longevity. But as with ANY iem utilizing removable cables, care must be taken not to stress the connection by constantly changing cables.The stock cable is supple, not microphonic, doesn’t have memory,  and is rather easy to deal with on a daily basis. The built in cable management band is nice touch. The cable has a nice weave like pattern and texture, feels nice to the touch, and is also part of the reason why the A4 is so comfortable to wear in both cable up and down configurations.
 
The stock cable is of great quality so I didn't feel the urge to replace it. I did however try some spare cables I had lying around, and to my ears there were no definitive changes or differences (I am talking about single ended cables here). My balanced cable is out of commission at the moment so I wasn't able to test the A4 in balanced mode unfortunately.
 
 


 ​
 ​
How does it sound?
 ​
Now lets talk about how they sound! For many people the sound quality is very important, if not the most important quality they look for in a headphone, whether the cost is $30 or $300.
 
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E92D5293D51001BC3F155BD8FBBD463F.jpg
 
 
 
 
Specs: 
  1. Driver: 1 dynamic + 2 Armature
  2. Sensitivty: 118dB
  3. Impendence: 16ohm
  4. Frequency response: 20-28000 Hz
  5. Cable Length: 1.2m
  6. Plug Type: 3.5mm MMCX
 
Sources used: 
  1. xDuoo X10
  2. Aune X1S
  3. FiiO X7
  4. FiiO E17K
  5. iFi Audio iDSD Micro
  6. LH Geek Out V2+ Infinity 
  7. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 
  8. Macbook Pro 
 
Songs used during review
  1. Stone Sour - Bother 
  2. Joe Bonamassa - Driving towards daylight
  3. Girls Generation - Catch me if you can (that's right, come at me bros)
  4. Celldweller - End of an Empire
  5. Daniela Andrade - Shore
  6. Indila - Ego
 
 
After testing the A4 with a myriad of sources I found the LZ A4 to scale quite well with gear, so the better your source, the better A4 will sound. If you can pony up the cash to buy the A4, you owe it to yourself to feed it good quality sound; As the old adage goes, garbage in, garbage out! However, having said that, the LZ A4 still sounds fantastic straight out of my laptop and cellphone. So even if you don't have a dedicated source or player, the LZ A4 will still impress, and it will continue to grow with your collection, making the A4 a keeper in my eyes. 
 
This is my first time reviewing an iem with filters so initially I was a bit stumped on how to go about it. I will begin by talking briefly about the tuning system. Yes the LZ A4 has 18 possible tuning options, but don't that that number put you off. The system has been designed in such a way that almost anyone can play around with the options and find something that suits them, as long as you keep a few factors in mind. 
 
Using the information in the manual I put together a colour coded chart to help guide your tuning adventures.
 
LZA4Nozzlecombinations.png
 ​
I will try to keep it as simple as possible. The left most column refers to the circular back filter and the middle column refers to the front nozzle filter. From what I understand and hear for the most part, the back filters mainly modifies the bass amount and extension, while the front nozzle modifies the treble amount and extension. However if you look at the third column, which refers to the frequency range for each combination you will find that this pattern doesn't fit to a T but it holds true for the most part. 
 
Back filter in order of DECREASING Bass extension and amount
 
Front nozzles in order of DECREASING Treble extension and amount
 
Red > BlackBlue
Blue > BlackGreen > Gray > Red > Pink
 
 
So Red Back + Black front nozzle will give you the most sub bass with full treble extension (not as full as blue nozzle theoretically). After trying the combo with the song End of an Empire by Celldweller, I can confirm that is the case. 
 
Say you find yourself in the mood for less treble just go down the nozzle filter sequence till you are happy with the amount of treble (Blue > Black Green > Gray > Red Pink) and vice versa. The same goes for bass, if you want less bass (Red > Black > Blue) go down the list of filters till you are happy, and go backwards to increase the amount and bass extension.
 
As you can see it is a rather well thought out system and you can very easily tune the A4 to fit whatever music you may be listening to at the moment. While it may appear intimidating at first, it doesn't take a long time to try them all, and inevitably everyone will find a couple they love most and stick with that, that was the case for me anyway :p
 
I would characterize the LZ A4 as having a balanced sound signature, with all parts of the spectrum sounding in proportion to each other. I, for one, am glad that LZ has not elected to go for a bass emphasized sound but rather a very clean and musical sound. The LZ A4 strikes a very fine balance between sounding musical and analytical, as it manages to sound enjoyable AND surprisingly detailed at the same time. It sounds transparent and clear top to bottom, allowing the technical prowess to shine through, unhindered by out of control bass or treble.
 
I find the treble to one of the best aspects of A4, It is well extended (again depending on the filters) and has just the right amount of energy to make things lively but not enough to make things sound sound harsh or splashy. The A4 effortlessly renders micro-detail, background elements and true to life timbre of live instruments. For all the detail the A4 is capable of pushing out, it never once felt shouty or analytical. It blends all the elements in a way where everything is there and if you want you can focus on one aspect of the song and follow it beginning to end, never losing track. Or you can kick back and take it all in and not feel overwhelmed, as the details are not pushed front and center. It is a strange amalgamation that still gives me goosebumps with my favourite songs.
 
All in all the LZ A4 treble sounds incredibly natural and true to life, with cymbal crashes sounding defined, controlled and not splashy at all. Just enough treble to tickle my ears without making my ears ring after. This is treble done right, it is all there but not strident or forward, complimenting the rest of the sound range. Those of you who are allergic to treble emphasized headphones you can rejoice :wink:
 
 
All of this makes for a fatigue free listening experience. In fact, the A4 has become my go to iems for extended listening sessions and even daily use, which is very easy to listen to for hours on end, very much like its younger siblings the A2 and A3. I can turn up the volume with the A4 without experiencing distortion at higher volumes and really enjoy my music. The A4 has an amazing sense of space in its sonic presentation. The instruments seem to just float there in the air, immaculately layered on top of each other in a really natural manner. Honestly at times it feels as if you are listening to speakers in a room. Thats what I mean when I say it has a sense of space. The A4 soundstage is impressive especially how it presents EDM and Pop music, ballooning out the different elements of a song so it floats around in your head; For this kind of music A4 reigns supreme. The different elements of a song aren’t overly forward or in your face, nonetheless the details are all still there. Its nice not to have a million things in a song all vying for your attention. 
 
On that note, the instrument separation and layering is superb, which is backed up by fantastic layering as I mentioned earlier; Very much an improvement over it’s predecessor the A3. The soundstage makes it seem like the music is coming from outside my head and that I'm listening to a full size headphone. The soundstage is dense and filled with music, fully immersing you in your songs. I found the soundstage to have incredible depth and above average height and width. The A4’s sense of depth really make it seem if the artists are in front of you performing live.
 
The A4 has seamless transitions between its treble, midrange and bass. The midrange, not to be outdone by the treble or bass, detailed and full of texture. Thankfully the midrange is not recessed in the slightest, with Guitar heavy music is just GLORIOUS. The growl of distortion guitar sounds so guttural and chunky, making it so damn addicting. Even for rock songs with lots of cymbal crashes, the A4 never falters. Male vocals have a very nice weight to them, while female vocals have a somewhat ethereal feeling quality to them. The transparent nature of the midrange makes the A4 sound even more spacious and open and the way the difference elements of a song are blended together, all the while maintaining immense coherency and texture, is all too enjoyable. 
 
Now moving on to the bass: As I said before, A4 has an a balanced sound signature, with all parts of the spectrum sounding in proportion to each other. The A4 bass can be described as controlled, authoritative and clean. With the different filters it can range from clean and polite to sub bass cannon (I could have sworn I felt the shells shake from the sub bass!). The bass is quite detailed and textured with good decay and when coupled with good punch and impact, makes for a very engaging and enjoyable listening experience. When using the back red filter, the A4 bass has nice distinct reverberations that make EDM and Pop music a joy to listen to.  Take the intro to Dirty Diana by Michael Jackson for example, my god that sub bass! I can literally feel it in my chest You can feel each and every reverberation in bass lines. 
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Comparisons
 ​
LZ A4 VS LZ A3
So, is it worth upgrading to the A4 if you already own the A3? The answer is absolutely, the A4 is truly an upgrade over the A3 in every aspect!
 
Hardware wise its no contest, the A4 has sturdier MMCX connectors and is far more ergonomic in terms of design. Unlike the A3, the A4 can be worn both cable up and cable down. The A4 overall sounds more transparent and balanced compared to A3, the A3 had slow heavy bass that leaked into the midrange obscuring some detail. 
 
To my ears the A4 sounds brighter than the A3, with a more "open" sounding treble. The increased A4 treble resolution is very much welcomed and it also has noticeably better cohesion between the treble, midrange and bass, along with much better resolution in those aforementioned areas.
 
The A4 is able to better handle complicated tracks with lots of things going on, better able to delineate different parts of a song, the A3 relatively sounds smeared and muddy in the midrange. The A4 overall sounds clearer, cleaner, thinner and more neutral than the A3
 
The A4 midrange sounds more dynamic, more textured and more detailed than that of A3, thanks in part to the increase in sonic resolution. When it comes to bass, LZ A4 has the A3 beat, especially in terms of quality, with more resolution, texture and better impact.
 
If I can't make it anymore clear: The A4 is a completely different animal than the A3, the A4 sits at the big kids table, not at the junior table.
 
 
LZ A4 VS 1more Triple Driver
To my ears the 1more triple driver is on the brighter side of neutral with excellent treble extension. I would characterize it’s sound as v-shaped vs balanced for LZ A4.
 
The 1more TD is quite V shaped in comparison to A4, with forward bass and treble, along with a recessed midrange. While the 1more has more treble and bass than A4, the A4 edges it out in quality and technical performance. I should also mention that the A4 is also more comfortable than the 1more, making it more mobile friendly. In terms of absolute performance, A4 is the winner in every category: Soundstage? check. Detail? Check. Soundstage? Checkeroo.
 
The A4 is more open and spacious while sounding more mellow and balanced, making it great for long term listening. The 1more can get shouty at louder volumes, whereas the A4 keeps it ice cool not breaking a sweat, and A4 doesn't distort at higher volumes.
 
A4 and 1more triple driver are quite similar in terms of how hard they are to drive, but unlike the A4, the 1more Triple Driver doesn't scale with gear. The 1more triple driver is quite tip sensitive and with its wide long nozzle its hard for me to get a good consistent seal, which also affects isolation. 
 
The A4 excellent detail retrieval despite not being as bright as 1more triple driver, with a good amount of micro detail. It’s not really what I would consider analytical in the traditional sense, but it has a good amount clarity, which extends through the entire range.
 
I find the soundstage to be a strong point for the A4 With the increased detail retrieval, positional cues are easily discernable, which helps paint a large and believable soundstage. It has fantastic instrument separation and layering. Many headphones can separate out the different parts of a sound but it can sound disjointed. Not so with the A4. Its like you are peering directly into a recording and every single element is crystal clear. In fact, you can easily pick out one instrument to follow in a song and easily do so beginning to end. 
 
The 1more midrange can sound a bit thin and nasally. Male voices lack the weight that you will find with the A4. Female vocals however sound energetic thanks in part to the treble focus. 
 
The A4 bass has good rumble and texture, the bass has not only good punch and weight, but also good decay. Only comes out to play when its called for, with no mid bass bloat or bloom to speak off, and certainly no leakage into the midrange. The 1more lacks the layering, power and finesse of the A4 bass. 
 
 


 
 
Conclusion
 ​
The LZ A4 marks a return to form for LZ, after all it was the A2 that more or less sparked a hybrid revolution in the Chinese market. While the A3 was a step in the direction, it is the A4 that is truly a game changer, much like the A2 before it. I know it can be a bit tiring to keep up with new Chinese releases, but this is the one you should get, because I truly believe that the LZ A4 provides flagship/TOTL performance at a not so TOTL price. 
 
Truth be told, I had all but lost interest in iems before the LZ A4 had come along, it managed to draw me back into the fold. The A4 has become my go to daily driver, giving me many hours of enjoyment everyday and it is worth every penny of its cost. With its immense versatility, the LZ A4 sounds great with a wide swath of genres and it sounds great out of everything from cellphones to dedicated digital audio players. The stock cable is easy to deal with on a daily basis, and the included built in cable management band keeps the cable neat and tidy when not in use, and the A4 isolates well with the right set of tips, making it a great travel companion. The A4 does a lot of things right and does so with style and finesse, effectively decimating the competition at this price point, something I am sure other A4 owners will surely attest to.
 
If you are looking for an iem that you can listen to all day and have it sound great no matter what you are using it with, the A4 might be what you are looking for. The LZ A4 is bombastic, fun and easy to live with on a day to day basis. It is commute friendly and scales surprisingly well with better gear, so it will grow along with your collection. With its immense sonic performance and capability, the LZ A4 is a surprisingly good headphone that has the potential to become your daily driver and will certainly have you digging out your favourite songs and albums, because it has a way of breathing life into whatever it plays :)
 
If someone had blind folded me and asked me to listen to the LZ A4 for the first time (without telling me what it was) and had asked me to guess the price based only on SQ - I would EASILY say $600-700 CAD. I have owned a few so called TOTL iems in his hobby and I am not one prone to hyperbole but the LZ A4 is performing at such a high level, this is about as close to end game as one can get, certainly at this price point, even against giant killers in this segment.
 
For those of you buying numerous budget iems over time, I say save up your cash and get the A4 and be done with it. You will be rewarded with a sound that will have you tapping your feet and you dancing along to the music. With its larger than life sonic presentation, the LZ A4 is the first chinese iem to provide TOTL at a stupidly low price, IMHO. 
 
 
 
Thank you for sticking with me thus far and not falling asleep! Ymmv as we all have different preferences and ear anatomy, but I hope I have helped get across what the LZ A4 offers and whether it would be right for you. The only way to figure out whats best for you is to ultimately hear it for yourself!
 
I do still have a lot to learn so I welcome any and all feedback! 
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Happy listening  
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DagsJT
DagsJT
Hi @RedJohn456, thanks for the review. Regarding the comparison to the 1More Triple's, would you say the A4's are twice as good given the price difference? I've got the 1More's due to arrive tomorrow but wondering if I might be better returning them and getting A4's and calling it a day ... but £170 seems a lot compared to £80?
thanderbird
thanderbird
Great review.
Would you like to know how you compare the LZ A4 vs Super Dolphin?
R
RPKwan
Extremely helpful review. I'm using mine with Cardas cables and I find the clarity and vocals boosted quite a bit. The treble sounds a bit higher as well – I'm going with Green fronts /Red Backs and so far it's great.

TwinACStacks

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Superb sound quality with EQ adjustable via extensive filter system, decent build quality
Cons: rather odd shape may not be comfortable for some, filter box foam can remove O rings from filters, cable is a little underwhelming
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/2016-Newest-LZ-A3s-3-5mm-In-Ear-Earphones-2BA-1DD-Driver-Hybrid-In-Ear-Headset/119089_32768034802.html?spm=2114.12010608.0.0.tCI14q
 
 
 
 Preamble:
While perusing Aliexpress I found this new arrival at AK Audio and upon contacting July the owner, I was delighted to be sent a sample in return for an in-depth review.
 
Disclaimer:
I am a hobbyist only. I am NOT affiliated with any sellers or manufacturers for items that may be used in my review, nor at this time am I provided with any samples for endorsement or reviews. I purchase all of my own gear. I do However, post links to the particular individual seller from whom I have made my purchase of the item under review. These reviews reflect my personal opinions of the performance and general information about the item, and should not be used as a basis for any purchase. As I am sensitive to higher frequencies, your impressions may also vary from my own. I will try to offer comparisons as long as I have something similar both in price and construction to compare. If however at any time I am provided a sample for review, I will disclose this fact immediately on an additional disclaimer.
 
At this point it would be redundant to include the same pictures, as everyone else has clearly done a great presentation in the previous reviews. I simply offer one Confirmation Pic of my own, note the Red and Blue Filters, Stock Silicone tips, (which I find quite good with these IEMs) and My solid Silver Cable.
 
 
A4001.jpg
 
 
Specifications:  They are available from the Seller’s Link above
 
Construction: 
The build seems quite well executed. The LZ A4 is a hybrid IEM featuring two B/A and one Dynamic driver. The housing front and rear are all metal and have a plastic body with the MCXX connectors sandwiched between them. It’s definitely plastic as I can dig into it with a fingernail. They have a nice weight to them and aren’t as heavy as they look. There is an extensive filter array, (both rear porting and nozzle), with nice little “O rings” that stay in place once screwed-in. Left/Right markings are on both housings and quite legible. The design allows them to be worn over ear or down cabled without switching the orientation of the earpieces, Nice Touch here. The maker also provides a nice “Tin” for filter storage, quite well executed however the Foam insert will sometimes grab the “O” rings and strip them off the filters on removal from the tin. If you pay attention this won’t be a problem. Any specialty plumbing shop will be able to provide you with replacement “O” rings in these sizes even tiny as they are. Now let’s get onto the cable.
Although it matches the color scheme of the IEM, I was a little disappointed in the lackluster cable that came with the A4. I mean, in comparison with the very nice braided cable that came with this manufacturers A3 model, this one seems a little austere. I guess I was kind of expecting more from this “Flagship” design. NOT that the cable is bad, (at least its round). It’s a nicely rubberized and very pliable black cable with two longish black plastic MCXX connector bodies that are also marked L/R that travel down rather slim earpiece cables to a plastic “Y” splitter shaped somewhat like a shield, but first passing through a separate chin slider. The main cable, now somewhat thicker, travels down to a Plastic bodied 45 Degree 3.5 Plug. A nice touch here is the Added Velcro Strap for cable storage. This being said, I am using my solid silver cables on this baby. All-in-all, this is a nicely built well thought out IEM.
 
 
Source Details: 
For this particular review I used my Shanling M5 coupled with an Aune B1 portable amp and also  a Schiit Audio Vali headphone amp. Line out from source to both amps. My Files are all at Least 320kbps to 96khz high resolution files. I used this source in all comparisons. Note that there were no appreciable differences noted in sound quality using the 2 different amp sources. Note I have added a Solid Silver MCXX cable to the IEMs in lieu of the Stock.
 
Source Material:
The following is a list of songs that I used in this review. Some I use all the time, some less frequently. They all contain some type of frequency, Detail, or EQ that make them suitable for reference.
 
Christina Novelli -- Concrete Angel (Long Version)
Alter Bridge – Find the Real
Nadia Ali -- Fantasy
Ai Takekawa – Beyond the Moon (Short  and Long Version)
Reflect – Need to feel loved
John Bryson --- Let the Pipes play (full pipe organ album 1st Cut)
Gustav Mahler --- Performed by the London Philharmonic Various selections
Vivaldi – Four Seasons
Dire Straits --- Sultans of Swing
Jonny Lang --- Red Light / Give Me Up
SOAK --- Immigrant Song
 
 
General Sound Quality:
 
When it comes to detail and definition the LZ A4 are certainly next level. It is quite apparent in the wide and deep soundstage where instrument layering and placement are superb. For my  review,  all of the impressions are with the Red back filters and Blue front filters, simply as they provide the greatest frequency range.  The overall signature of the A4 is large and upfront. It takes no prisoners regardless of your preference of filter combinations. Soundstage is large in all directions with a high degree of resolution, Layering and positioning, clarity, and micro details that are perfect. This is a VERY nice earphone.
 
Bass:
 
The sub-bass extension on the A4 not only attains subterranean depths, it also has an excellent quality, but it doesn't impose itself into the source music until it is called for.  The A4 has a very well controlled mid-bass and doesn’t bleed over into the low Mids.  I feel the Sub bass doesn’t extend quite as low as the Shockwave III but it is VERY close. It is just so good and Natural It’s hard not to enjoy it
 
 Mids:
 
I find the Mids quite balanced even though the Filter combination I am using would tend to be the most V shaped. I find them neither too forward nor recessed with vocals being spot on and most instruments that work in this range simply sparkle with excitement.  All in all, a very natural presentation.
 
Treble:
 
The Treble is just as sweet as the other frequencies. Maybe just a tad ahead of the Mids, but remember I am using the Full-Range filter combination. They are by NO MEANS harsh or awkward in any way. They are simply tuned to stay compatible with the other frequencies. Over all the Treble lends a light and Airy quality and certainly some definition where its needed.
 
 Comparisons:
 
VS. Shockwave III
 
Actually a rather lopsided comparison 5 Drivers vs. 3, But that’s JUST how good The LZA4 is!! It keeps up with the Shockwave only Lacking just a Tad bit of Detail and width of soundstage. On the other hand, the sound signature of the LZA4 is quite a bit more relaxing and listenable for a long period of time than the more clinical precision of the Shockwave III. I must confess The LZA4 will now take its place as my GO TO IEM, leaving the Shockwaves for Critical listening sessions. They are Both Stellar and I simply can’t live without either.
 
 
Conclusion:
The LZ A4 is simply One of the best IEM’s I’ve listened to so far. It keeps up with many multi driver CIEMs costing Many times their Price point. I think the LZ A4 has outstanding performance, quality sound and decent build at a reasonable price. It has a warm inviting sound with a Huge involving Soundstage, great detail and layering, PLUS you can customize it to your own Tastes. What MORE could you ask For?
Well, Price.  Funny Thing, it is a SUB $200 IEM!!!!  Truly at this pricepoint the LZA4 has reached the pinnacle in it’s pricerange. You NEED to, (at the very minimum), treat yourself to an audition of these amazing new IEMs.
neog007
neog007
Thanks! (the albums are great too)
Well I Guess I will buy the a4 since I own the a3 and a3s and I've been quite happy with them
Rhythmy
Rhythmy
Great review! I couldn't decide which to buy A4 or SW3 so help me a lot.
I guess I prefer A4 more as I love the sound signature of Sennheiser products which is warm and relaxing:)
Marked
Marked
Hey Twin, which cable is that? Link pl0x, the default ones are meh :<

SeeSax

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Mouth-watering bass, top notch sound signature, bang-for-buck, wonderful cable
Cons: Slightly large, but still very comfortable!
About Me:  
I own way too much stuff. I need another pair of earphones like I need a hole in the head. But when I was offered a pair of the LZ A4 IEMs to sample, I literally jumped on the chance as fast as I could. Full disclaimer: I’ve bought every IEM that LZ has offered for sale, so you could say I’m an LZ junkie. I still remember getting the A2 and being blown away. The chance to try these latest and greatest after what I thought was a slight misstep with the A3 was something I was not going to pass up. LZ sent me this sample to review, but spoiler alert: I have purchased my own pair as well because I loved them so much.
 
As for me, I love headphones and earphones and my gear ranges from a simple mobile setup to an Audi-GD Master-11 and everything in between. I also have an MHDT Atlantis tube DAC connected to a Project Ember tube amp.
 
As I’ve said before, I’m not a professional reviewer, I don’t have golden ears, there’s nothing in this for me other than the love for amazing audio quality and the enjoyment of chatting with friends on Head-Fi about what we’re going to spend our next paycheck on. I love all genres of music and all types of gear. Think of me as the guy who can’t turn away a single dish at the all-you-can-eat buffet.
 
Test Equipment:  
While I have some elaborate desktop rigs, my primary use of IEMs is in a somewhat mobile environment. Because of that, these were tested with three setups consisting of a Chord Mojo, a Centrance DACportable and also straight out of my LG V20. All music was streamed from Tidal HiFi via USB Audio Player Pro. The majority of my time was spent with the Mojo, given that I have been using this for my reviews lately.  
 
The IEMs:  
LZ's packaging and presentation has improved with each iteration of his IEMs. The A4s come in a very nice box that is magnetically sealed with lots of tips and accessories to make you happy. The bright red carrying case is of ample size and can easily fit the IEMs with perhaps a spare cable if you wanted to. It's irritating when a company provides a case that you have to be a structural engineer to fit the IEMs inside of and thankfully that is not a problem here with this carrying case. There is also a nice brochure that gives an insight into what the different filter options are. Ah, the filters, I'll get to those. These use a removable MMCX cable and I find the cable to be very nice. It's soft, supple and I do not experience any microphonics with it. It is an upgrade over the A3 cable.
 
Here are some photos: 
 
IMG_20161205_141709.jpg
 
IMG_20161205_141830.jpg
 
IMG_20161205_141851.jpg
 
IMG_20161205_142330.jpg
 
IMG_20161214_181813.jpg
 
 
I made the joke that these look like Mitsubishi turbos:
 
IMG_20161206_143621.jpg
 
turbos.jpg
 
Right?!
 
 
Links:
I bought mine from Jim at NiceHCK:
 
https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/New-LZ-A4-In-Ear-Earphone-Dynamic-With-2BA-Hybrid-3-Unit-HIFI-Earphone-Earbud/1825606_32771039693.html?spm=2114.12010608.0.0.PtuPKz
 
I am not affiliated with this store in any way, but I have bought all of my LZ products from them and they provide top notch service. Highly recommended by me.
 
Comfort:
I won't dance around this point: these are large IEMs. That said, they are thankfully extremely comfy especially given their dimensions. I find the most success wearing them down and have never had an issue of them shifting or falling out of my ears. You will not forget that they are there, though. Compared to something like the Pinnacle P1 where I can just forget they are in my ears, the A4 always make them presence known, but at the same time have never bothered me. I feel a bit silly wearing them in public, but I won't blame LZ for that and I will work on my own self image instead! I will wear these with pride!
 
Tips & Filters:
Some other folks on Head-Fi have done a great job of explaining the filter situation and I suggest referencing that. With that said, there are a whole host of combinations that can accomplish a huge variation of sound with these IEMs. Add to that the fact that many popular tips fit these just fine and I can confidently say that you are likely to find something that works very well for you (or even several combinations). In a nutshell, the front nozzles as well as the rear filters can be changed and there are several combinations available in order to tune the sound to your liking. These IEMs can go from bright, to neutral, to approaching bass-head levels depending on your need. My ideal combination that I have settled on for daily use (and the entirety of this review) are the black front nozzles, the red rear filters and a pair of ML-sized JVC Spiral Dot tips.
 
Sound (and a brief LZ history):
I make no secret that I am a huge fan of LZ and the "LZ sound." I remember purchasing my A2 IEMs a while back and thinking "finally, someone got a triple-hybrid right." All the others I tried (DN-2000J, Altone200, etc.) just did not sound right to me. Treble was exagerrated and they just did not have a coherent sound. The A2, while it brought in very strong bass and slightly rolled-off treble, handily beat those IEMs in my eyes because of just how pleasant they were to listen to. Then, The A3 came out and I bought them immediately. Packaging was different, the shell was different, they had removable cables. They had to be better, right? No, they were a step back for me. Overall a bit more detail and neutrality than the A2, but many did not like the fit and the sound was overall a bit relaxed for some. Then the A2S came out and I bought those. They were a slight improvement over the A2 or a step back again, depending on what you like. Most people preferred the A2S I believe as it offered a bit better clarify on the upper end of the frequencies. Then came the A3S and while that was also an improvement over the A3, having tried the A4 prototype and falling in love I quickly returned the A3S and decided I would just wait for the latest and greatest. I am so glad I did.
Back is the slamming bass of the A2. Back is the comfortable, easy-wearing IEM. Newcomers to the show are incredible upper frequency detail, smooth and lush mids and a tuning system that I think can make 99% of the people happy. This is a bold IEM from LZ and I applaud his efforts. I waited a long time for the final version and like I said while I was given a set to sample, I immediately bought my own after listening to them for two days. I was so over the moon that I also bought the A2 Pro.
Sorry, I digress, back to the sound. I love it. I've had these for nearly two weeks now and I have listened to them every day. They put a smile on my face every time and I have not found any weakness to speak of. The fact that they bring this level of detail, refinement, flexibility and comfort for $200 is fantastic. You'll notice in my comparison below that I am putting them up against some IEMs costing four times the price with very established brands. While normally I would compare apples to apples as far as price goes, there is only one IEM even remotely close to the A4 that is worth mentioning at $200 and for most people, the A4 will come out on top nine times out of 10.
LZ has managed to make an IEM that checks all the boxes for my sonic preferences: incredible sub-bass that is clean, punchy and tight while still providing a rumble when the music calls for it, mids that offer up a smooth but detailed presentation and highs that exhibit zero sibilance and overall a very pleasing sparkle to them. Honestly I think this is the perfect sound and I have no complaints.
 
Bass: I love my bass and while I don't think I'm a bass-head, I guess my preference for quantity is higher than some. The A4, with the red back filters and black front filters is just perfect for me. Pop songs have a very authoritative punch, along with a very deep rumble when the music calls for it. The bass is very articulate and accurate, not bloated or overly-warm. I don't notice the bass detracting anything from the mids and that is a great accomplishment. Sub-bass extension is among the best I have heard (rivaling my Z5 and IE800) and mid-bass is very punchy and warm, but not overly warm. I have no complaints at all with the bass and I can tell that LZ took the time (and suggestions) to make this perfect.
 
Mids: I do not think the mids are recessed, but they are not as immediately noticeable and intoxicating as the bass. This is not a bad thing because I have sort of been of the mindset that mids should just stay out of my way. What I mean by that is that I do not prefer a mid-forward sound signature and the A4 is extremely pleasing to me. Vocals and instruments sound wonderfully detailed, crisp, clear and are never harsh. I would not call them laid back, but again they will not make the impact the bass will in the red back/black front combination of filters. This is ideal for me. Would I change anything with the mids? Nope.
 
Highs: Similar to the mids, I find the highs are very detailed, smooth, lush and overall pleasant. They are not overpowering and with the right filter combination, I do not experience any sibilance or "ice pick" that some other triple hybrids have given me. I will say that the highs are very much affected by filter choice, so while you may have to choose wisely and try many combinations, again I believe there is something for everyone here. The ability to make these bright or laid back depending on preference is a huge benefit. For someone like me who likes the treble on the brighter side, it is easy to accomplish. For someone who suffers with fatigue or bright treble, it is also manageable. I have no complaints about the treble.
 
Detail & Clarity: The A4 are very detailed IEMs. They handle tracks with very subtle details and can also show off clarity and cohesion in very complex songs. I tested a wide array of tracks and always came away thinking that these were superb. Micro details are there, but at no time do they sound artificial or exagerrated to me (sort of like the Shockwave 3 do). I can't really comment on holographic or 3D sound because quite frankly, I don't know what that means or how to test it. These sound extremely detailed and are never tripped up by a "busy" song like some IEMs can. A good example of this is in Jack Garratt's "Surprise Yourself," which during the chorus can either sound like a tidal wave of complex sounds or a huge mess resembling a train wreck. The A4 makes this sound probably the best I've ever heard. Give it a try, it starts at 1:28 in the song.
 
Comparisons:
 
Sony XBA-Z5: The Sony Z5 are a favorite of mine because...you guess it, the bass. These have a very deep sub-bass rumble and while they are overall a somewhat dark IEM, I really enjoy listening to them. They do not have the mid-bass kick that the A4 have, but they make up for it with that deep subwoofer-type bass that on certain tracks, can be really fun. As for an everyday IEM, my choice would be the A4 for several reasons. First, I think the A4 is better with most genres of music due to it's more neutral sound signature, but also the comfort is leaps and bounds better on the A4. I find the treble on the Z5 to be of a very high quality, but I also find it lacking and there are no filters to tweak in order to bring out a brighter sound. I think the key takeaway here is this: the A4 is able to not only compete, but best the Z5 in many key areas at one third of the price. The only area I would give the Z5 the slight nod is in that deep sub-bass, but again I think for an everyday IEM the A4 is the winner.
 
Earsonics Velvet: This is a tough one for me. I recently reviewed the Velvet and I gave them a very high five-star mark simply because of how musical and fun they were. Are they the most analytical, “audiophile” IEM? No. But it has been a long time since I’ve had as much fun with an IEM than with the Velvet. Now, I have the daunting task of comparing them to another new favorite of mine: the A4. I’ll say this right off the bat, if money is of any concern to you then save yourself the $600 and go with the A4. Now, if you find a deal on the Velvet like I did (Black Friday), then it makes things a little more complicated. They were still over twice the price, but they are comparable IEMs in my opinion. Where the A4 takes the cake in sub-bass slam, the Velvet bests the A4 in mid-bass punch. The Velvet still has a wonderful amount of sub-bass punch and clarity, but not quite on the level of the A4 for me. I think this comparison may come down to what type of music you listen to. Mids can sound slightly forward for me on the Velvets, but almost thinner to a degree. They’re very clear and detailed, but sound far away in a sense. This is surprising as the Velvets are so warm and really put that mid-bass up front, you would think that this would bleed in to the mids but it doesn’t. I wish I could describe this better, but vocals sound simply different on the two. I guess my review isn’t very helpful when I say “you just have to hear them both,” but, you have to hear them both. Treble quality and quantity is fairly even for me and I can’t really declare a winner. They’re both nicely extended and non-fatiguing. Fit is WAY better for me on the A4, they’re ¼ the price and the cable is way nicer as well. There aren’t many situations I would recommend the Velvet over the A4 in unless it was mids like I described above, but you can fix this with filters! So, overall, for most people, I would give the win to the A4. I still think the Velvet are the more fun IEM because of their warm, punchy, musical presentation, but the very fact that I’m even comparing a $200 IEM with an $800 IEM almost makes this a sure win for the A4. Or you can be like me, just own them both. If I had to pick one of these two to take with me to a deserted island, I would close my eyes and flip a coin.
 
Sennheiser IE800: This was a surprising outcome. Right off the bat, I noticed a more V-shaped sound signature on the IE800. These IEMs, while I love them both, sound even more different than the A4 and Velvet comparison. The recessed mids of the IE800 really make the treble and sub/mid-bass stand out. It’s hard to say which wins because they have such different sound signatures. Sub-bass is similar for me with the IE800 having a slight advantage in the mid-bass punch. Mids, I will give the nod to the A4 as they are a bit more to my liking being more forward. The treble, well, I’m going to have to declare the IE800 the winner on this. Now this may be due to it standing out in comparison to the mids and therefore giving an overall sense of increased clarity. Fit for me is great on the IE800 and overall I find it the preferable IEM physically because of its unassuming size and weight, but with the A4 being so comfortable it is not a deal breaker. Let’s take a step back and realize again that we are comparing an $800 IEM to a $200 IEM and that calls for another round of applause for LZ. Honestly I love these both and it would really come down to your sound signature preference. The upper frequencies on the IE800 are very special to me and the fact that they can cover such an amazing spectrum of sounds with one tiny 7mm dynamic driver is a masterpiece of engineering. All that said, however, if budget is of any concern to you then I would recommend the A4. Simply put: I think these IEMs are on somewhat level playing fields and that is just incredible. If we’re splitting hairs (isn’t that what head-fi is about?), then I think overall I get a tad more clarity and detail out of the IE800.
 
Music Maker Shockwave 3: The SW3 is an impressive five-driver hybrid from Music Maker. When testing these in an A/B environment, I immediately notice the ear-piercing treble of the SW3 in comparison to the A4. This is interesting because the treble never seemed so bright to me as to be uncomfortable, but after a good listening session with the A4 it is hard to go back to the SW3. The SW3 is VERY bright in comparison to the black/red combo I am using on the A4, but with somewhat comparable bass. I find the SW3 to have an ever-so-slight advantage in detail and separation, but the A4 is the more enjoyable listen for me. It’s simply more musical, less fatiguing and while the SW3 might be another technical masterpiece, I find myself preferring the A4 not only because I can tune it to my liking, but because it is more comfortable and musical. The A4 has a more warm, lush mid-bass than the SW3. Mids are comparable on both, but the treble (quantity) is really what sets them apart. The SW3 sounds analytical, bright (but VERY detailed) in the high frequencies and the A4 is the one I want to listen to. The treble isn’t rolled off on the A4 per se, but it’s easier to get lost in the music and simply enjoy it. The SW3 was praised for bringing amazing sound to the table at under $300 and I still give it that praise. It’s just the I prefer the more comfortable listen of the A4. That said, if I wanted an extremely critical listen to test a DAC or amp or something, that would be one area I could probably recommend the SW3 over the A4 given the crazy micro detail and airy presentation of them.
 
MEE Audio Pinnacle P1: To me, the only IEM that can hold a candle to the A4 in the $200 range is the Pinnacle P1. For me, the only areas where the P1 might beat the A4 is in comfort (which is subjective) and in the neutral presentation. The A4 is the more fun IEM, with the stronger bass and the overall bigger and fuller sound. The P1, on the other hand, is probably more neutral, although spending more time with the filter combinations may negate this. For me, I would choose the A4 over the P1 and trust me when I say I love the P1. The A4 is, however, what I think to be a better IEM for most people. The bass is in another league and the mids/highs are mouth-wateringly good for the $200 price tag.
 
JVC FX1100I recently obtained the JVC FX1100 (also called the FX1200 in other regions) "woody" IEM for around the $200 mark, so I thought I would update my review to include this contender. It's not exactly a fair fight as this IEM is primarily for the Japanese market and was around the $400 mark at launch. But as I mentioned, I'm having trouble finding IEMs in the $200 range to compare to the A4! I'll get this out of the way up front: the FX1100 and A4 both look equally ridiculous sticking out of my ears in the office, but both are equally comfortable. The FX1100 is substantially heavier (or at elast feels that way), but similarly both use the MMCX cables and are typically worn down. The FX1100 has one dynamic driver and is not a hybrid design like the A4. So how does the sound compare? Very well, actually. Where the A4 has several tuning options, the JVC falls into what you see is what you get. And that's a very good thing. I have settled on the red back  filters and either blue or black fronts, depending on whether I want a more relaxed warm sound or a more analytical sound. Right off the bat, I notice that the A4 is the more balanced IEM. The FX1100 has a very pleasant and warm signature that some might find dark. Where I find a real mid-bass presence in the FX1100, the A4 has a more accurate sub-bass and almost a recessed mid-bass depending on the filter for tuning. I would almost say that the FX1100 has exaggerated mid-bass emphasis (which I am fine with and consider to be fun-sounding). Both IEMs extend very deep when the music calls for it, with the FX1100 bass ever so slightly bleeding into the mids. Neither are basshead levels, but the FX1100 sounds like it has more bass because of that mid-bass that always seems to be present and it is rather punchy on some tracks. Moving to the mid-range, the A4 has quite clear and smooth mids that I find very pleasant. No complaints on male vocals and while they're not recessed, they're also not in your face. That's my ideal mid-range tuning and the FX1100 is similar in this regard. That said, the mid-bass presence gives the feeling of the mids taking a bit of a back seat. They're clear and well-defined, though they seem to have a bit more grain and bite to the music tracks. Where the A4 has a very smooth mid-range, the FX1100 has a grit to it that really makes something like an electric guitar sing and stand out. That is assuming the bass player or drummer are not slapping the E-string or nailing the kick-drum as hard as they can! Moving onto the highs, I find them very well defined on both, though the FX1100 again have a certain grain to them. I find the highest frequencies to be more recessed on the FX1100, though it is still a very pleasant tuning signature. While they're slightly recessed, they still have that nice bite that I described in the mid-range. It's hard to declare a winner here as they both simply sound different. If I were to make an overly-simplified conclusion, I would say that the FX1100 is the more fun IEM while the A4 is the more accurate, versatile and better all-arounder. For me, I really like both. I think resolution is every so slightly better on the A4, but that punchy mid-bass of the FX1100 can be a lot of fun on certain types of music. On others, you may tire of it. Side note: the wood IEM casing is really, really cool! 
 
Conclusion:
The value that the A4 brings to the table is very, very impressive. Certain higher priced IEMs may do one or two things better, but as an overall package at $200 I would recommend this to anyone and everyone, including my neighbor’s deaf dog. As I mentioned before, I was given a set of these for sampling purposes and I loved them so much that I bought my “own” pair for when the zombie apocalypse happens and I can no longer buy them. Actually more accurately, LZ stopped the production of the A2 and I got frightened that these may not be available again at some point. I have never bought a backup pair of IEMs before until now. They’re sort of a jack of all trades. Normally I find tuning to be bothersome and non-beneficial, but in the case of the A4 there is really is a sound for everyone. I feel that these deserve a solid five-star rating. The sound quality is simply astounding, the flexibility is pretty much unrivaled, the quality of workmanship (cable, IEM shell, filters) is top notch and I see no faults. Since nothing is ever perfect, they can be bested in the micro-detail and clarity department by an IEM that costs four times as much. I do not consider that a loss, or even a drawback. Again, overall, I think these do everything right and there’s something here for everyone. I had so much fun during this review that I am already anticipating buying the A4S, A5, A5S and so on. Thanks for reading.
 
 
mikek200
mikek200
Great Review Para,a bit long but,very thorough
I found it very educational,and I agree on almost all of what you've highlighted,like the comfort
As of now,I am using the same filter combo as you,& find it perfect
Nice job with this review,and thank you for taking the time to write it.
 
Mike
SeeSax
SeeSax
@dw1narso Apparently the A2 Pro has identical sound to the A2. I haven't received them yet, but will comment back when I do. Thanks for the kind words. 
 
@Yobster69 I just listed three IEMs for sale to fund the new cable for my Velvet :)
 
@mikek200 Thanks buddy, but I'm not Para, I'm SeeSax (Collin). Is that beer I sent you too strong? Cheers :-D 
 
-Collin-
Rhythmy
Rhythmy
Thank for your great review! I'll order A4 soon:)

crabdog

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Versatile filter system, build quality, great cable, amazing sound
Cons: Supplied ear-tips too small
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LZ is an earphone manufacturer who has had some iconic releases in the past. They were one of the first to bring a true hybrid earphone to the masses at an affordable price. Well today I'll be reviewing their latest release, which has been stirring up a lot of interest since its release - meet the LZ A4.
 
Disclaimer:
 
This product was sent to me for the purpose of this review. I'm not affiliated with the company and all opinions and observations are my own, based on my experience with the product. I'd like to thank LZ for the opportunity to test the A4.
 
The LZ A4 is available at several AliExpress stores and also at Penon Audio: http://penonaudio.com/LZ-A4
 
Specifications:
 
  1. Brand: LZ
  2. Model: A4
  3. Driver: 1 Dynamic driver+ 2 Balanced Armature Hybrid
  4. Impedance: 16Ω 
  5. Headphone sensitivity:120dB
  6. Frequency range: 20-28000Hz
  7. Interface: 3.5mm 
  8. Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
  9. Weight: 30g
  10. Interface Type: MMCX
 
Package and accessories:
 
  1. 6 pairs of silicone tips
  2. 1 pair of bi-flange tips
  3. 1 pair of foam tips
  4. 1 pair of silicone ear-hooks
  5. shirt clip
  6. metal case containing the different filters
  7. MMCX cable
  8. carry case
  9. information booklet
 
The A4 comes in a plain, black box with red print on the front. Upon opening you find a foam sheet with the included ear-tips and the earphones. Underneath that are the carry case, metal filter case, cable and other accessories. It's a decent bundle for this price range but unfortunately, like so many other  IEMs all the supplied ear-tips are too small for me.
 
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The cable is dark gray in color and is smooth and very flexible, similar to the one found on the LZ A2S. There aren't any strain reliefs on the MMCX connectors but hopefully this won't be an issue. There's a nice rubber Y-splitter with a cable cinch and the cable terminates in an angled 3.5 mm plug that has good strain relief. Even when worn down there is very little microphonics present.
 
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Build, comfort and isolation:
 
The housings are metal with a large plastic tear-shaped attachment where the MMCX connectors are. They look quite large at first glance but are actually very ergonomic and can be comfortably worn cable up or down without having to reverse sides. Each earpiece has a Left or Right indicator and although the markings are black, they're still easy to see. Build quality is very solid and these should be very  robust.
 
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I find these very comfortable and can wear either cable up or down for hours on end without a problem. Since they're equally comfortable for me both ways I change depending on my situation: if I'm sitting at home or in the office I'll wear them cable down but if I'm on the move I switch to over-ear.
 
Despite having a semi-open back design these isolate noise quite well and also have minimal noise leakage so they should be fine for commuting or other situations where you need to consider other people.
 
Filter system:
 
The A4 is a tunable system, meaning there are a series of rear and nozzle filters for a total of 18 different combinations, all with a slightly different sound signature. Rather than try to explain them all I'll just insert the filter chart kindly provided by fellow Head-Fier Tamal (RedJohn456). The filters are very well machined and are easy to change, making the process fast and painless. My personal favorite combinations are Black/rear and Red/front or Red/rear and Black/front, most often the former as I like some extra weight in the low end while still remaining smooth up top.
 
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Sound:
 
Sources:
 
The A4 are not hard to drive and work well straight out of a smartphone or budget DAP.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Foobar2000 > irDAC-II
Foobar2000 > Micca OriGen+
FiiO X1ii > with and without Shinrico E11
NiNTAUS X10 > with and without Shinrico E11
 
Music tested with:
 
Westside Connection - Terrorist Threats album [flac]
Mathias Eick - Midwest album [flac]
Miles Davis - Tutu album [flac]
Jazz At the Pawnshop - Arne Domnerus Group 2cd album [flac]
+many others
For this review I'll be describing the sound using the Red/rear and Black/front  or Black/rear and Red/front filter combination. Note that while the filters genuinely alter the sound, the overall characteristics of the IEM remain the same - something to keep in mind while reading this. Those overall characteristics I would summarize like this: deep, controlled bass, beautifully clear midrange and detailed, airy but smooth treble.
 
Sub-bass digs deep, especially with my preferred filters installed. They extend very low and can bring the rumble that I crave while remaining remarkably well controlled. Similarly the mid-bass is very well textured and has great impact but never overpowers the other frequencies. Of course the intensity can be changed with different filter setups but the core characteristics remain - extension, texture and control are always present. The bass works well across all genres and can be specifically fine tuned with filters if you listen predominantly to a certain type of music but for me, the aforementioned two filter combinations sound great no matter what I'm listening to. Overall the bass is superbly executed and perfectly compliments the mids and highs.
 
The mids have exceptional clarity and tone making vocals, strings and acoustic instruments come alive. Separation is excellent across the board allowing you to pick apart every instrument during busy song sections. Classical music sounds fantastic with wonderful tonality in piano and string instruments (in everything really). And if the crescendos start to become uncomfortable you can just change the front nozzle and you're good to go again. Male vocals carry nicely, sounding rich and natural. In "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers his raspy notes are smooth and articulated. With the Divas of Jazz 4 album there's a song by Ella Fitzgerald called "My Melancholy Baby" that has little bass and lots of loud peaks in the vocals. It's not a great recording and I'm not sure when it was recorded but am fairly sure it was before the days of limiters and compressors. This song can be grating on the ears as if someone is poking needles of ice into your head but with the LZ A4 equipped with red nozzle filters I can begin to appreciate it.
 
How anything can retain so much detail whilst staying chocolaty smooth is a wonder but that's what I find with the A4. There's also an airy lightness about the treble that lifts music with nice extension but is non-fatiguing. For roughly the last third of "No Man's Land" by The Pineapple Thief there are a lot of crash cymbals that can sometimes be a bit painful to my ears but the A4 pulls them off really well, leaving their extension and vibrancy without any signs of artificial (or physical for that matter) dampening. They're just masterfully tuned and the treble nears perfection to my ears.
 
Soundstage is excellent, taking sounds outside of the "headspace" with great depth as well as width. Imaging often suffers from such a wide soundstage but that's not the case here as 3D positioning is precise, allowing you to picture which direction sounds are coming from.  This is yet another aspect of the A4 that combined with the other characteristics and makes these overall probably the most impressive IEMs I have heard to date.
 
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Comparisons:
 
vs TFZ Balance 2M
 
Some might question a comparison between dynamic and hybrid earphones but as we've heard often it usually comes down to the tuning and build rather than driver count/type. These both retail at just under $200 at the time of writing this review so in my opinion make them ideal to look at side by side. Both have a fairly balanced signature but the sub-bass on the TFZ has a bit more impact than that of the A4. Both have great clarity in the midrange but the A4 manages to pull a bit more detail and separation out of the sound. Both have a relaxed but well-extended treble but the TFZ lacks the airiness of the A4. Also the A4 has a wider soundstage with more depth probably due (in my opinion) to the semi-open back design. The Balance 2M has better noise isolation but the LZ is no slouch here either. When it comes to comfort I'd say the Balance 2M pulls slightly ahead. Each of these are among my current favorite IEMs for different reasons and if I had to choose between them it could very well come down to a coin toss.
 
vs Moni One
 
Now we have the same driver configuration of a single DD and dual BA but a fairly large difference in price. The Moni One is currently retailing at around $70. The Moni One is the more V-shaped of the two, particularly in the treble which can get a bit splashy at times. The Moni One actually seems to me to have better micro details but this comes at the cost of slightly thinner midrange and edgy treble. They each have very good bass, with the Moni One slightly edging ahead for quickness and control. Overall the A4 has a more balanced sound and is technically superior. If you're not willing to go into the price range of the A4 then the Moni One is a very solid alternative.
 
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From left to right: Moni One, TFZ Balance 2M, LZ A4
 
Conclusion:
I think I've said pretty much everything already. The LZ A4 is a stellar performer offering outstanding quality sound at a reasonable price. With its open and airy yet warm, rich sound it's engaging, musical and elicits emotional response from the listener. It can be sophisticated and fun at the same time and can be tuned more towards either direction with the fantastic filter system that makes it so versatile. Soundstage, imaging, timbre and air abound. Detachable MMCX means you can use a third party cable but I can't see why you would want to as the default one is already superb. The one minor complaint I have is that ALL of the provided ear-tips are too small for my ears but this is almost always the case for me personally and as such I don't feel it worth taking off any points. These are at the moment arguably the best sub $200 IEM you can buy and if they're within your budget then I suggest you get yourself some as soon as possible.
 
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1clearhead
1clearhead
....as always 'crabdog', great review!
crabdog
crabdog
@airomjosh I wish I could but haven't heard the IT03. Cheers
 
@1clearhead thank you. Where have you been lately?
1clearhead
1clearhead
Sorry for the late reply....I'm usually on vacation during new years and spring break festivals in China with my family.
Pros: Sound quality, build quality, value for money, filter system, comfort, isoaltion
Cons: I honestly can't think of anything
This is a review of the LZ A4 IEM’s.
 
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First of all I’d like to thank LZ for sending me a review sample of the LZ A4.
 
The retail price of the LA A4 is $195. The LZ A4 is available from both AK Audio Store on Aliexpress and Penon Audio:
 
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2016-Newest-LZ-A3s-3-5mm-In-Ear-Earphones-2BA-1DD-Driver-Hybrid-In-Ear-Headset/32768034802.html?spm=2114.10010108.1000014.10.K9Cxx3&scm=1007.13338.50051.0&pvid=c76ff213-ec8e-47ea-9e16-a05a37ba78b6&tpp=1
 
http://penonaudio.com/LZ-A4
 
The LZ A4 was sent to me for free for review purpose.
 
I’m not in any way affiliated with LZ, AK Audio Store or Penon Audio.
 
About me:
I’m a 44 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 tend to value function over form within reasonable limits.
 
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 A4 is a hybrid in ear monitor featuring two Knowles balance armature drivers and one dynamic driver.
 
It comes in one flavor only.
 
The build in general seem very solid. The housings are all metal and have a very nice weight to them without being overly heavy. The filters do also feel reliable and stays well in place once screwed properly in place.
 
Left/Right markings are black on black but despite this they’re quite easy to spot and fortunately both the housings and the cable have the markings, something that’s not always the case.
 
The cable has a 45 degree angled 3.5 mm connector just the way I prefer it. The cable is round and flexible, this is the same cable as on the A2S and the prototype A4 and it’s one of the better cables I’ve ever seen.  There is some microphonics but it’s not a big problem and wearing them over the ears makes it pretty much non-existing. The chin slider is also in place the way I like it and the Y-split is minimalistic but yet sturdy.
 
The retail package is good for this price point and the best I’ve seen from LZ this far. It looks premium, is easy to open and the accessories pack is quite good.   
 
The accessories pack includes the following:
6 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 metal box to store the earpieces and filters in
1 zippered case to store them in when not in use
 
The LZ A4’s pretty 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 they do benefit from a clean source.
 
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The specs:
Housing
Metal
Driver Unit
2 BA, 1 Dynamic
Frequenzy range
1Hz-30KHz
Sensitivity
120dB
Impedance
16 Ohms
Weight
30 g
Cable lenght
1.2m
 
Fit and ergonomics:
I find the LZ A4 to be very comfortable and got no problem wearing them for several hours. The housings looks a little weird in their form but the shape actually makes them very easy to insert and to get a good fit with. They can be worn both over the ears or straight down without any issues. They fit fine and are very comfortable both ways but I usually prefer wearing my IEM’s over the ears if possible so that’s also how I wear the A4’s. The included tips are ok but I found that the choice of filters greatly influenced on what tips I liked them with and in the end I ended up using them with some wide bore silicone tips with my preferred filters.
 
Isolation is above average and I’ve been able to test them on a couple of shorter flights with acceptable result (I’m usually not crazy about using IEM’s on planes due to the cabin pressure).  
 
Sound:
I’ve used them back and forward in the last couple of 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 G5 phone as well as the Shanling M1 and Opus #1 DAP’s and although they’ve worked very well with all of them. I’ve tried them with a lot of other sources as well without any noticeable issues.
 
As already mentioned I enjoy the LZ A4’s the most with wide bore tips with my preferred filters.
 
Earlier this year I was one of the lucky people who received a prototype of the LZ A4. The idea was to send out/tour some units to get feedback from several users on how they liked them and what they would like to improve. The overall balance on the A4 protoype was already really nice but I found it lacking quite a bit in resolution and soundstage. In addition to this I also left feedback that I'd like detachable cables and another design to improve comfort. When I was suddenly contacted by LZ again just about a month ago with some pictues of the production unit A4 I was impressed on how the design had changed for the better so naturally I was super hyped to find out how the final unit sounded.
 
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Prototype vs final design. Progress in both looks and sound :)
 
 
 
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
 
Filters explained:
First things first: The A4 comes with a variety of filters for the user to be able to fine tune the sound to his/hers preference or even to change the signature according to music and/or source used
 
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I’m usually not that crazy about IEM’s that uses filter system due to a couple of reasons. To start with I find it to be a short cut for the designer and often ends up being a compromise instead of going for the one tuning that sounds the best to the maker and hopefully also for the customer. It’s also my impression on many IEM’s that uses filter system that pretty much all users end up preferring the same filter which makes the whole system pretty meaningless. Another reason I’m not that happy about filters is that even with IEM’s that has several filter options it’s still difficult to find a perfect match many times. Truth to be told the A4’s is the first time I feel that the filters are actually a good thing. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly I think the possibility to change both the back plates (bass) and front plates (midrange/treble) is a very flexible solution. Secondly there are many combinations possible with three back filters and six front filters. Thirdly the front filters (and this is very uncommon from my experience) does not only affect the frequencies above the bass region but does actually have some effect on the bass (mid- and upper bass) as well), this (in my experience) greatly enchants the possibility to find ones perfect signature. Lastly (and probably because of the reasons I’ve already stated) with the A4’s I’ve got many combinations of filters that I enjoy, not only one.
 
The A4 comes with three different back filters and six different nozzle filters, so a total of 18 possible different combinations. I don’t find it rational (or even possible) to describe the sound in detail from each combination. After trying all the possible options I’ve settled for the black back and red nozzle filters as my basic configuration for normal listening at home. I’d like to stress though that there’s certainly more combinations than this one that I enjoy in certain situations, with certain sources and music. For example I used the A4’s on a recent trip and going on trains, flights and spending a lot of time in noisy environments the red back filters (most bass) worked much better for me in this situation than the black back filters (medium bass) that I prefer when listening in more quiet environments.
 
My buddy Tamal has done a great work in making a perfect overview of the different filter combinations so instead of re-inventing the wheel I’ve decided to use it here as well (with his blessing) thanks
mate!
 
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Courtesy of @RedJohn456 
 
For the rest of this review all of the impressions are with the black back filters and red front filters. Before going into details about the sound with this combination of filter I’d like to say a couple of short comments about the basic signature of the A4 because whichever combination you may end up with as your favorite the A4 will always be the A4. Very short the overall signature of the A4 is big and bold. Soundstage in all directions is excellent and I’ve never heard such a full sounding pair of IEM’s having such a high resolution. There’s nothing thin, sharp, bright or fatiguing about them at all to my ears but despite this they don’t sound thick or warm either but rather very natural. In one world the A4’s sound expensive.
 
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The sub-bass extension on the A4 is the best I’ve ever heard and only rivaled by one other IEM in my possession. Not only does the bass reach extremely deep it does also have a good impact and excellent quality. Listening to “Creed” (OST) I can actually feel the deepest bass massaging the inner part of my ears even with the black bass filters, pretty amazing. Opposite to many other IEM’s with great sub bass presence the A4 has a very well controlled mid-bass and the sub bass impact is only there when the track calls for it. Although I’ve heard this amazing quality/quantity sub-bass a couple of other times this is probably the best overall bass presentation  for my preferences (deep and impactful sub-bass that’s there when called for combined with a tight and controlled mid-bass) I’ve come across this far in a pair of IEM’s. The mid- and upper bass has enough weight and presence to make Leonard Cohen sound like Leonard Cohen while still doing a great job in not overshadow the midrange. I’d probably describe the overall signature of the A4 with this filter combination as L-shaped just the way the highly praised original A2 was.
 
The midrange is well in line with the rest of the frequencies, maybe a touch recessed (this can be fixed with other filters). The quality of the midrange is great though keeping up with both the ASG-1PLUS and the Super Audio 6 that has some of my favorite midrange presentations. Vocals are extremely good on the A4’s with enough weight on male vocals for them to sound natural and life like and a very seductive charter on female vocals that makes them extremely enjoyable with all vocal music. String instrument is also very well presented with a great organic sound to it as well as excellent timbre and weight.  Although I usually like my midrange more forward than neutral I prefer the midrange in this filter combination (again: black back, red front) because of its total presentation across all the frequency spectrum, other can (and surely will) prefer other combinations. 
 
The treble is pretty well extended even with the red filters. Please remember that my ears are 44 years old so there’s probably not much information above the 15kHz that the red filters extend to that I’d be able to pick up anyways. I really love the treble on the A4’s that (to my ears) has a perfect combination between extension, richness and details. I really don’t feel that anything is missing and the treble never ever sound harsh or fatiguing in any way to me. It’s really not much more to say about the treble but it’s really great and among the, if not the, best treble presentations I’ve ever heard.
 
Clarity and micro details are well above average and resolution is the best I’ve ever heard in such a full sounding pair of IEM ‘s. Soundstage width and height is excellent as is depth, airiness and 3D feeling. The “out of the head” feeling on the A4’s is definitely up there with the best IEM’s I’ve heard in this aspect.
 
All in all the LZ A4 offers a very relaxed and non-fatiguing listening experience and delivers an amazing amount of good quality bass while still keeping clarity and details on an excellent level with a huge soundstage in all directions.  
 
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 through the bit Opus #1 DAP.
 
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From left to right: Aurisonics ASG-1PLUS, LZ A4, Super Audio 6
 
Aurisonics ASG-1PLUS ($499) vs LZ A4:
The ASG-1PLUS is also a hybrid IEM featuring a 14.2mm dynamic and one balance armature driver.
Compared to the A4 the 1PLUS has a more mid-centric presentation with way less bass (especially mid-bass) impact. The sub-bass on the A4 dig deeper and they’ve also got a good deal more mid-bass presence. The A4 does also have better bass quality and the bass on the 1PLUS is a little bit softer in its characteristic in comparison. Both have a very good midrange quality and excellent vocal reproduction but the midrange is definitely more forward and in focus on the 1PLUS while the A4 is more even across the whole spectrum. Both of them have very good treble quality.
 
I find them both to be very comfortable.
 
Build quality is equally great on both.
 
The A4 is a bit easier to drive.
 
Isolation is great on both but slightly better on the 1PLUS.
 
Super Audio 6 ($250) vs LZ A4:
The SA 6 is a six BA configuration that I use and enjoy a lot. These two are actually quite similar sounding and definitely the two most similar in this comparison section. Compared to the A4 the SA 6 has quite a bit less sub-bass impact and its bas does also roll off earlier. Mid- and upper bass is very similar on them both in quality and quantity. The midrange on these two is also very similar with great vocal performance on both male and female singers. The midrange on the SA 6 is more forward due to less bass presence. The A4 has smoother and more detailed treble while extension is pretty similar. Both of these have excellent “out of the head” 3D presentation but the A4 has wider soundstage, better clarity and slightly higher resolution.
 
I find them both to be very comfortable.
 
Build quality is equally great on both.
 
The A4 is slightly easier to drive.
 
Isolation is great on both but the SA 6 (being one of the best isolation IEM’s that I own) has even better isolation.
 
Blue Ever Blue Model 1200EX  ($130) vs LZ A4:
Compared to the A4 the 1200EX has less bass impact through all the lower frequency range and its sub-bass does also roll off earlier. Both have a similar and great bass quality, the bass on the 1200EX may actually be even tighter. Once again both of these have excellent, and quite similar, midrange quality but the 1200EX has more forward and a bit thinner and grainy vocals. The A4 has better treble texture as well as being smoother in the top end. Both have amazing soundstage and 3D presentation. Despite both being great the A4 is smoother, fuller and more refined all over while the 1200EX is more analog sounding.
 
I find them to be very comfortable but the A4 pulls slightly ahead thanks to being able wear over the ears.
 
Build quality is equally great on both but the detachable cable on the A4’s put them on top.
 
They’re about equally easy to drive.
 
Isolation is better on the A4.
 
Audio-Technica ATH-CKR10 ($180) vs LZ A4:
Compared to the A4 the CKR 10 has less sub-bass impact and its bass does also roll off earlier.  Mid- and upper bass is very similar in both quantity and quality with the A4 having a touch better control. The midrange on both has a quite similar position in the overall mix and both have great vocals for both male and female vocals but the A4 is smoother and more refined and the CKR’s actually sounds slightly grainy in comparison. Treble extension, details and overall characteristic is similar but the A4 is smoother. The A4 has a much larger soundstage width as well as being overall smoother and having better resolution.
 
I find them to be very comfortable but the A4 pulls slightly ahead thanks to being able wear over the ears.
 
Build quality is equally great on both but the detachable cable on the A4’s put them on top.
 
The CKR 10’s are easier to drive.
 
Isolation is better on the A4.
 
To sum up the comparison section the A4’s perform admirable compared to some of my absolute favorite IEM’s. As a matter of fact they’re not even outperformed by any of them in any single area. Some may rival the A4’s in midrange, some in soundstage and some in seductive vocals but none of them is as complete through the whole spectrum as I find the A4 to be.
 
Summary:
The LZ A4 is one sublime pair of IEM’s in my opinion. Those of you that usually read my reviews know that I’m often quite restrictive with making statements that I prefer item A over item B or ranking different IEM’s. In the case of the A4’s I think it may be in place to make an exception to this policy. When it comes to sound the performance of the LZ A4 is so good in so many areas in comparison to my other top tier IEM’s that I feel it is the most complete pair of IEM’s I’ve listened to so far. It keeps up in bass quantity and quality with my favorite IEM in this aspect as well as keeping up with the midrange performance of the ASG-1PLUS and SA 6, the soundstage width and “out of the head” feeling on the 1200EX and has even more seductive vocals than the CKR 10. 
 
So the LZ A4 is the best performing IEM’s I’ve reviewed this far when it comes to sound and that’s not all. They do also offer great build quality as well having very good ergonomics and isolation. On top of this they’ve got a filter system making a total of 18 different tunings possible and several of them sound great in my opinion. On top of this you get a great accessory pack. With a MSRP that’s $195 it becomes pretty obvious that the value for money rating for the A4’s is through the roof and makes it a very easy recommendation for anyone looking for a great performing pair of IEM’s in the $200 and upwards segment.
 
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Pastapipo
Pastapipo
Thanks for the perfect review Peter! Hope I can get my hands on them someday.
rantng
rantng
"The sub-bass extension on the A4 is the best I’ve ever heard and only rivaled by one other IEM in my possession. "

Aplologies if I missed it, but I don't believe you mentioned the other IEM.
koblongata
koblongata
True that, about the bass extension, almost feel like it's reaching my chest and sometimes beyond deep.
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