General Information

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LZ A7 4BA + 2 Piezoelectric ceramic + Dynamic 7 Drivers Hybrid HiFi Audiophile In-ear Earphones

Description


The sound effect can be changed by the dial switch between two modes, i.e. POPmode and MONITOR mode.
Each pair (with a different color) of provided interchangeable earphone nozzlesgives a different tuning. They can be exchanged by unscrewing the tubecounterclockwise and then screwing on another tube by twisting it clockwise. Whenscrewing on, use a certain amount of force to tighten the tube until the rubber edgeis compressed, but do not over-tighten it with tools.

Specification

Model: LZ-A7
Type: In-ear earphones with interchangeable cable
Drive unit: dynamic+ ceramic + BA, 3 type 4-way 7 drivers hybrid earphones, dynamic for low frequency (liquid crystal molecule coating composite diaphragm) × 1, BA for medium frequency (Knowles) × 2, BA for high frequency (Knowles) × 2 , Piezoelectric ceramic ultra-high frequency (7 layers of piezoelectric parallel) × 2
Frequency response range: measurable frequency response 5Hz-40kHz, audible frequency response 20Hz-20kHz
Impedance: POP mode is 15Ω/ MONITOR mode is 13Ω
Sensitivity: 109dB/mW in POP mode / 113dB/mW in MONITOR mode, @ 1kHz
Channel error: ±0.5db
Distortion: <1%
Earphone pin: MMCX interface
Standard cable material: 8 strands of 6N single crystal copper silver-plated
Length :1.2 meters
Plug:3.5mm standard single-ended
Executive standard: CTIA international standard IECQ

Latest reviews

B9Scrambler

Headphoneus Supremus
LZ A7: Packed To The Grills
Pros: Effective mix of electronic and physical tuning systems – Excellent detail, clarity, and texture; very technical earphone – Sensible ergonomics
Cons: Piezoelectric driver not as refined as that in the cheaper BQEYZ Spring II – Compact staging
Greetings!

Today we're checking out a new tri-hybrid earphone, this time from LZ.

The A7 builds on the rampant success of it's predecessors. With a 7 driver setup (one dynamic for the lows, two Knowles BAs for the mids, two Knowles BA's for the highs, and dual Piezoelectric ceramic tweeters for ultra-highs), removable cables, and a tuning system replete with interchangeable nozzles and a single tuning switch, the A7 is quite a feature packed product and at under 350 USD, is a comparative bargain when looking at similarly equipped products.

Admittedly, I have not been LZ's biggest fan in the past. I purchased an A2s based on emerging feedback and the near legendary status the A2 had earned. While I enjoyed aspects of the A2s, like the build and design, the sound quality was somewhat lacklustre. A few years later I was sent an A5 for review. It was a very good earphone, but even with the updated filter set could be a little sharp in the treble region. There was also an elephant in the room; the winged Honda logo (okay, it wasn't identical. but pretty darn close) which adorned each ear piece. I've also heard some other models thanks to meet-ups with a local Head-fi-er (pre-Covid of course), none of which really tickled my fancy.

When I was contacted about reviewing the A7, I expressed my hesitation but was assured the A7 was a significant step up from the A5. Going against my gut feelings, I accepted the review opportunity. It's a good thing because the A7 has seen nothing but praise. I think it's valid too, as will be discussed throughout this review.

Let's take a closer look at the LZ A7, shall we?

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What I Hear The A7 has a highly customize-able sound signature thanks to the combination of five nozzle filters and a crossover switch resulting in a total of 10 potential signatures.

Tuning Switch: The tuning switch present on the face of each earpiece swaps the A7 between Monitor and Pop modes. As you can guess from the name, Monitor mode is more balanced while Pop mode scoops the mids giving the presentation a stronger v-shape. The difference between the two isn't huge with at most about a 5dB drop in emphasis on the monitor mode between 500Hz-1kHz. It's certainly noticeable though, and when combined with some of the more exaggerated filters can provide quite a varied listening experience. I preferred to leave it in Pop mode as the low end carried more presence without losing control. Also helped to counter the lower mid peak and balance out the brightness added in by the blue and silver filters.

Filters: The A7 comes with five filter options that influence emphasis between 1.5kHz and 5kHz. The Black filters are the default upon which the others are measured, so we can consider it to have no influence on the signature (aka. +/- 0dB). I don't mind this filter. Everything sounds well-enough balanced if not a bit bright.

The Red filter has a significant effect applying a -8dB drop. This filter warms the signature a bit too much for my preference, but will likely still be too bright for treble sensitive listeners.

The Gold filter has less effect with a -3dB drop. This is my preferred filter since it keeps the A7 energetic without veering into harsh territory.

The Blue filter adds +3dB to the A7's upper mids and presence region. I find it quite comfortable to listen with thanks to the introduces of sibilance. The A7 gains some additional technical ability, but it's not worth the aggression imo.

The Silver filter bring things up +6dB turning the A7 into an analytic monster. Oddly, I found this filter less harsh and more listenable than the Blue one as it avoids the sibilance issues.

For my tastes, these are the order in which I liked the various filter options. Gold, Black=Silver, Red, Blue.

Tips: The A7 is quite receptive to tip selection which is great since it comes with three varied styles. Included are wide bore tips in the style of KZ/Tennmak Whirlwinds, generic blue-cored medium bore tips, and Sony hybrid style soft-bore tips. Along with these, I tested the A7 with a number of other third party options.

Whirlwind: I have a ton of these tips from other earphones and have found basically nothing to use them with. To my pleasant surprise, they work on the A7 and sound pretty decent! Bass steps back in terms of emphasis and warmth but keeps its quick, punchy nature. Mids unfortunately step back too and on some tracks feel too far behind the treble. Treble with these tips loses some control but I like that fine details are pulled to the forefront and the sound stage opens up.

Blue-Core: Bass and general warmth are increased over the Whirlwinds. The added warmth helps out the midrange giving vocals a more natural presentation. Treble takes a hit though, becoming a bit sharp and somewhat unpleasant. The broad sound stage of the Whirlwinds also closes up a touch. These tips are a bit hit or miss in my opinion.

Sony Hybrid Clones: These offer more or less the same experience as the Blue-Core tips, but with some of the treble edge smoothed out. I like to think that's a result of the softer silicone absorbing. These are the second best of the included options for me.

RHA Dual Density: These have been my go-to tip with the A7. At first glance they look very similar to the Blue-Core tips. Upon further inspection they have a wider bore and use a much softer, higher quality silicone. Sub-bass really stands out with these, treble is the smoothest of the bunch, and the midrange retains good presence. There are no downsides with these for my preferences.

Standard JVC Wide Bore: These provide a similar experience as the Whirlwinds but with more sub-bass presence and better controlled treble. The mids really shine with the JVCs, and the soundstage opens up giving the most spacious experience of the bunch. These are my second in line behind RHAs offering.

Spinfit CP-145: These are a new addition to my tip selection and I've not used them much with the A7, but initial impressions are excellent. Bore size finds itself between the RHA and JVC with the soft silicone of the JVC. Female vocals can sound a hint thin and the sound stage loses some depth to the JVCs, but they do nothing to hinder the low end, mid presence, or treble quality. These are nice.

Sennheiser Bi-Flange (wide bore): Once again quite similar to the Whirlwinds but with better isolation and more sub-bass. Treble can be a bit rough around the edges but the midrange stays prominent. Sound stage sounds pretty big, gaining width and depth over most of the other options. If the treble were smoother these would be a top pick, but alas, they're not a front runner.

General Sound Impressions (Monitor + Gold + RHA Dual Density)

Treble out of the A7 has excellent extension thanks to that piezoelectric driver. Detail is aplenty which also helps give the presentation outstanding clarity. The upper end air also allows plenty of space between notes, keeping things from blending or mushing together. The presentation is on the thin side and for the most part is free of splash or sloppiness which is nice because notes attack and decay quite rapidly. The presentation could certainly be tighter, but I'm not going to fault the A7 much here. My only main qualm is that the piezoelectric driver is a bit sharp and lacks the refinement of this techs implementation in the BQEYZ Spring II. Had I not heard that earphone first, I'd be plenty satisfied with the A7's piezo.

Dipping into the mids I found vocals to be very clear and punchy with a nice weight. The A7 finds itself in a good place between those earphones that come across overly lean, or overly dense and meaty. Sibilance is present but overall well managed with just a hint of “tsst” present in places it shouldn't be. I didn't notice any issues with midbass bleeding in and hindering clarity and coherence, nor with treble sheen overshadowing find details. Timbre for the most part is quite decent with the A7 having a light metallic edge placed on instruments and effects in the upper ranges. I blame that piezoelectric driver since I've noticed this quality on other earphones using this tech.

The low end is impressively linear with enough extension to provide a solid display of visceral feedback. It's not going to rattle your eardrums though. Texture and detail are above average and give the A7's low end a very dynamic and lively presentation. Thankfully there is no dull, one note bass to be found here. The driver's attack feels fairly quick with notes hitting solidly and with purpose. Things decay a little slower which helps those sub-bass rumblings linger realistically. I would like a hint more meat to the midbass as it would give the A7 some added warmth and thickness. This can somewhat be achieved by tossing it into Pop mode and swapping to the red filter.

When it comes to sound stage, the A7 is a bit of a mixed bag. I find it better on Pop than Monitor. On Pop, vocals pull back and give the presentation more depth and space while on Monitor mode the A7 has quite an intimate presentation. On Pop mode I found the nuanced imaging more accurate thanks to the extra space in which sounds could move. This also led to a more layered feel to tracks and improved separation of instruments. While I didn't find the A7 congested in Monitor mode, it nearly took on a wall-of-sound feel with sounds staying unnaturally close to the head. This mostly hurt live performances where instruments need room to breathe. EDM and more electronic reliant tracks fared better.

Overall I find the A7 to be quite technically competent and enjoyable. Bass quality is top notch and makes a strong showing. The mid range is quite clear and coherent. I find the implementation of the piezoelectric driver to be good, but BQEYZ did it better with the notably more affordable Spring II. The A7's tuning system is fairly extensive and while it can never push the earphone into neutral territory, it offers plenty of versatility and is something other brands could look to for guidance if looking at how to implement such a system properly.

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Compared To A Peer (volumes matched with Dayton iMM-6)

FLC 8S (319.00 USD): The 8S is a classic at this point but is still untouched when it comes to customizing the sound signature. The A7 offers a generous 10 signatures through the combination of its five tuning filters and two crossover settings. The 8S? 36 possible combinations. Finding the right combination is as tiring as it sounds, but having so many options means the 8S can grow with you over time as your tastes change and evolve in a way the A7 simply cannot. Despite it's age, the 8S is smoother in the treble and more refined in the mids. It can be just as impressive when it comes to clarity and detail. Timbre is similarly good but where the A7 can sound somewhat metallic, the 8S can be a little plasticky. Bass is where the two really separate and the A7 will be more of a crowd pleaser. Even in it's bassiest setup, the 8S lacks the grunt of the A7, even in it's least bassy setup. The 8S has good extension but you really need to crank the volume to feel it. Texturing is also a step behind the A7. It all just feels a little soft. When it comes to staging the 8S walks all over the A7 to my ears. Notably wider and deeper, the A7 comes across quite constrained in comparison, though imaging, layering and separation capabilities remain close. If you want a neutral sounding earphone that can kinda sorta let loose at times, the 8S is still the one to beat. If bass quantity and quality is of importance, however, the A7 handily outshines the 8S.

Dunu DK-3001 Pro (469.00 USD): The hybrid DK-3001 Pro (4BA + 1DD) has only one signature which is a huge negative if you're looking for something with the inherent flexibility of a product that can be re-tuned on the fly. On the other hand, the one signature it outputs is more natural, coherent, and fine-tuned than any of the 10 signatures provided by the A7. In favour of the A7 is raw detail, particularly in the treble region. I also find the quality of the bass coming from the A7 to be superior with it having the edge in extension and texture. That said, I prefer the weight and warmth the Dunu's dynamic driver brings to the signature. Timbre is better on the Dunu, the mid-range is thicker, more natural and free of sibilance, and while less detailed, the treble it outputs is smoother, tighter, and easier on the ears. Even though it's not particularly large, the Dunu staging is also more impressive. If feels wider and deeper with additional air between instruments and notes. Imaging quality is similarly good on the A7. While the extra cost is significant, if you suspect you'll rarely utilize the tuning features of the A7 it might be worth springing for the DK-3001 Pro instead.

In The Ear The A7 follows the same design philosophy as the A5 before it, that being take the core Shure SE846 egg-like shape, toss out the cheap plastics, and recruit aluminum for a more premium feel and improved durability. Compared to the A5 the A7 is quite a bit thicker. That's a logical change given all the extra tech LZ has crammed into this new model. Most visually apparent is the switch added to the face plate. Affecting the crossover, it switches the A7 between “Monitor” and “Pop” modes of which the latter scoops the signature around -5dB between 100Hz and 2kHz. The switch is neatly integrated into the shell. It's quite small though, so you'll likely need to make use of the included tool if you want to swap between modes. Another prominent feature of the face of the A7 is the ventilation present below the laser etched branding. The twin vents are just one of three ways to determine channel thanks to red and blue coloured interiors. I personally find the L and R markers printed on the shell, and again on the cable, up near the MMCX ports easier to see. Flip the shell over and the A7 is mostly featureless, save the interchangeable tuning nozzles that can be swapped out quickly. Rubber o-rings are present to help ensure they don't work their way loose and fall off.

The A7 comes with a fantastic 8 strand, braided, 6N silver-plated, single crystal copper cable equipped with MMCX connectors. Braiding below the y-split is reasonably tight and uniform while above where it splits into groups of four strands per side, is much more loose. The hardware used is fine. The straight jack is branded with LZ HiFi Audio in cursive with adequate strain relief in place to protect the cable. The y-split is a compact piece of metal. No strain relief is found entering or exiting the split. Thankfully LZ thought to include a chin cinch. As has been the trend over the last year or so, the cinch is a clear bead. It works fine. Lastly, preformed ear guides lead into the MMCX plugs. They're reasonably flexible with some inbuilt stiffness that helps ensure the fairly weighty cable stays in place behind the ear.

Comfort is a standout for the A7. While somewhat thick, the smooth shells are not particularly large and fill the outer ear comfortably. They are free of sharp and uncomfortable edges. Thanks to the use of aluminum they are also quite light. Even during heavy movement the A7 is secure. Isolation isn't terrible either, though I wouldn't say it's really any better than average. Without any music playing, the clacking of my keyboard is present but dulled and the nearby roadway can still just barely be heard through the window. Take the A7 and my music into a more challenging location, like our local coffee shop, and I found I needed to turn up the volume just a hint to counter the noise. That or swap to foam tips which work wonders.

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In The Box The A7 comes in some pretty unique packaging. The mid-sized box is made from what feels like particle board adorned with faux-wood panelling and contrasting black text that covers details like branding, the model, and location/contact information for LZ. I've yet to see another brand go this direction with their packaging. It immediately catches the eye. Flip back the lid and you see the earpieces and carrying case tightly set within a foam insert overlaid with a burned orange fabric. Lift out the insert (easier said than done) and you find some set within a much less dense foam panel. In all you get;
  • LZ A7 earphones​
  • 6N silver-plated, single crystal copper cable​
  • Faux-leather carrying case​
  • Small-bore Sony-hybrid tips (s/m/l)​
  • Medium bore single flange tips (s/m/l)​
  • Whirlwind wide bore tips (s/m/l)​
  • Switch tool​
  • Velcro cable tie​
Overall a pretty decent accessory kit. I really like the variety in ear tips, and the plastic case they come stored in was a thoughtful touch. The aluminum block the extra screw into is a carry over from previous models, but that's not a bad thing. It means they are always accounted for and since the setup is quite compact, it's not inconvenient to take them with you should you feel the need to change the signature. Lastly, the carrying case is quite premium with neat stitching and a lined interior to help further protect the earphones within. The only negative is the size which keeps it from being suitable for a pants pocket. A bag or large jacket pocket, sure.

Final Thoughts LZ has shown itself to be a bit of a forgettable brand for me in the past. While I've generally found their stuff to be competent, none of the models I've tried (A2s, Z03A, Z04A, and A5) left me fully satisfied or excited to see what they were developing for future release. The A7 changes this.

Their dual-tuning system is one of the more effective ones I've come across. 10 tuning options is a lot, but there isn't a ton of redundancy in the available signatures. 10 options is not particularly overwhelming either, unlike the FLC 8S' with it's 36 combinations that are also difficult to swap between thanks to the teensy, tiny filters they used. LZ has done a fantastic job here.

Not only that, but the shell they're using is very comfortable and highly ergonomic, even if the busy face plate isn't the most attractive. Well, I think it looks cool, but then I also like cursive writing sooo... yeah. LZ seems to always pack in a ton of accessories with their gear, and the A7 is no different. The carrying case is gorgeous, you get a ton of tips with good variety, and the cable is high quality too. It's a very complete package that feels fitting for the price range.

Do I recommend the A7? I sure do. The piezo can be a bit harsh and the sound stage isn't particularly large, but I'm willing to overlook these qualities given how versatile the useful tuning system and outstanding technical capabilities allow it to be. Great work LZ!

Thanks for reading!

- B9

Disclaimer: A huge thanks to Peter123 over on Head-fi for suggesting I cover the A7, and to LZ for providing a sample of the A7 for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on months of regular use. They do not represent LZ or any other entity. At the time of writing the A7 was retailing for around 340 USD. You can find them through various retailers like HiFiGo, Linsoul Audio, Penon Audio, and others.

Specifications
  • Drivers (per side): one dynamic driver (liquid crystal polymer diaphragm), four Knowles balanced armatures, two 7-layer piezoelectric Ceramic drivers
  • Frequency response: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Impedance: 15 ohms (Pop), 13 ohms (Monitor)
  • Sensitivity: 109 dB / mW at 1 kHz (Pop), 113 dB / mW (Monitor) at 1kHz
  • Channel error: ± 0.5 dB
  • Distortion rate: <1%
  • Termination: 3.5 mm
  • Connector: MMCX
  • Cable: 8-core 6N OCC silver-plated copper cable
  • Cable length: 3.9 ft (1.2 m)
Gear Used For Testing LG Q70, FiiO M3 Pro, Earman Sparrow, Earmen TR-Amp, Asus FX53V, TEAC HA-501

Some Test Tunes

Supertramp – Crime of the Century
Slipknot – Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
King Crimson – Lark's Tongues in Aspic
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dreams
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
Tobacco – F****d Up Friends
Last edited:
originalsnuffy
originalsnuffy
I like the review and we seem to agree on some music choices....King Crimson, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, and last but not least Supertramp's Crime of the Century. I also appreciate that you used the FLC8S as a comparison. My other favorite IEM besides the A7 is the FLC 8D (which is basically a FLC8N tuned red - grey for the low end). I don't hear the piezo issue that others are referring to, but maybe my old ears just can't differentiate issues at those frequencies as they used to. I gather the issue is with violins.

FcConstruct

Head-Fier
LZ A& Review: Do You Really Need 10 Tunings?
Pros: Excellent fit and comfort
Wide soundstage
Fun yet controlled bass
Good resolution
Tuning options
Cons: Priced a bit high
None of the tunings were "perfect", trade-offs required
Introduction

Today we're going to take a look at the LZ A7, a $338 IEM with a rather exotic 1 DD + 4 BA + 2 piezoelectric driver configuration. Though I have seen it go for $280 on sale at (Mass)Drop. What's unique about the LZ A7 is that it comes with 5 sets of tuning filters in addition to the tuning switch on the IEM itself. This means the LZ A7 has a staggering total of 10 different tunings! That said, this isn't the first time that LZ has made IEMs with tuning filters. I remember demoing to the LZ A4 a few years ago and wasn't impressed with it. How will the A7 fare with a few iterations under its belt?

Disclaimer: The LZ A7 was provided to me by Linsoul in exchange for this honest review. I am not or will be compensated in any other way.



What's in the Box?
Interestingly, the LZ A7's box is wooden. Though its clearly a cheapish box, big props to LZ for going the extra mile. Nestled inside in the foam is the LZ A7 itself and a circular carrying case. Inside the case is the MMCX cable, tuning filters, a tuning tool that looks like a SIM card ejector, and 3 unique sets of S, M, L tips for ta total of 9 pairs of tips. One is the whirlwind tips, one is the super generic silicon tips, and the last is a set of weird gummy, rubbery tips. I find that each type seals differently in my ear and settled on the gummy ones. YMMV. The cable is quite good. It's soft, pliable, no cable memory, and little cable noise. You definitely won't be needing an aftermarket cable for this.

The fit on the LZ A7 is excellent. It adopts that Shure shell that makes it quite comfortable in the ear. Isolation is alright. The LZ A7 is actually a vented IEM in the same vein as the Shuoer Tapes. Thus, it doesn't isolate very well but I think its good enough. The body of the IEM has a little dip switch that says POP on one end and MONITOR on the other for tuning, giving two variations per filter set. There is a little text box on the shell that says LZ HIFI AUDIO that I don't think was necessary and just makes it look crowded. The tuning filters (i.e. nozzle) is surprisingly long allowing for a pretty good fit and has a substantial lip that keeps tips very secure on there. To swap filters, you screw them on. The black one is stock.





Sound
I must say, with 10 different tunings, there's a lot going on with the LZ A7. Let me go through the stock tuning as a baseline before tackling to other wacky tunings you can play around with on the A7.



The stock setting for the A7 is the black filter on Pop mode. It's V-shaped and with plenty of vocal forwardness. Bass quantity isn't at basshead levels but is more than enough to give a meaty low end and satisfy most people who want to a filled in bass. The A7 has a minor hump right at the 30 Hz mark that consistently brings rumble to the table. However, at those lowest registers, the bass starts to lose a bit of control and definition is lost. Bass quality is actually pretty good. It's leans on the boomy side of things but is tight enough to handle most of what I throw at it without much loss of definition. No real complaints here; the DD is about as competent as I would expect for something in this price range. I quite like it; it's a fun bass that isn't of sterile. Surprisingly, there isn't really much bass bloat though there is a bit of mud right at the bass-lower mids transition. While you might say the bass bleeds into the mids from the graph, I think of it more as a counterweight to the upper mids. With how much upper mids the A7 has, this bit of low mids is sorely needed. I don't find it overly strident though any more would really be pushing it. Timbre is fine for a V-shape but tone is absolutely on the thin side. I don't hear any sibilance or harshness. The treble dip right after the 4 kHz mark tames some lower treble fatigue. Despite this, cymbals have a softened splashiness to them that's followed by an abrupt decay. Treble clarity and timbre suffers at times thanks to this awkward combination of splashiness without supporting upper harmonics. I'm not too sure what's causing this but I'd like to attribute it to the piezo driver.

On the Monitor setting, the A7 becomes a much more balanced sounding IEM. The mids are immediately restored. The bass is made relatively less elevated, cleaning up the slight muddiness in the lower mids without sacrificing the meatiness and oomph in the low end. Nuance in bass notes shine through more easily. The treble is a touch brighter and brings some clarity along with it but is overall still recessed. Vocals are also better balanced, sounding less shouty and definitely a lot less thin. I'd say its a rather well tuned IEM on this setting, with a neutral or balanced frequency response. The pinna gain centered around 2 kHz might not seem ideal but it isn't an issue thanks to the upper mids being sustained till 4 kHz. The A7 on the black filter is an IEM that prioritizes vocals first followed by a filled low end presence.

There's plenty of horizontal soundstage, likely due to the venting of the IEM, but the A7 lacks depth and height. I'd say resolution is actually pretty good for the price, though the lack of treble clarity does hurt it in the upper harmonics. Overall, technical performance is good. It might not be on par with something like the venerable Moondrop Blessing 2, but I want to say that it's a small step up from the Thieaudio Legacy 5.

Tuning options

Looking at the Pop vs. Monitor comparison graph, the Pop setting brings a dip in the mids that results in a more V-shaped sound. The biggest effect is that it makes the IEM bassier while making the vocals sound thinner. I find that if you listen to either the Pop for an hour or so to let your brain "burn in", you don't really notice the mid dip. But if reverse that and listen to the Monitor for some time then switch to Pop, the vocal thinness really sticks out. On all filters, I enjoyed the Monitor mode more for fuller vocals but YMMV.

The filters themselves follow the order: Red > Gold > Black > Blue > Silver in terms of how much of the actual filter is present in the nozzle. That is to say, how much dampening there is. For example, you can practically see right through the dampening screen in the blue filter while the red filter has a much tighter wall of tuning mesh.


The silver filter's mesh has much larger holes compared to the finer mesh of the red filter.

The Red filter is the bassiest with the least amount of upper mids. I don't think the Pop mode on this is good. Bass is muddy and bloated without upper mid clarity to salvage it. Monitor mode is much better and I would actually have liked it the most in theory since it has the most moderate amount of upper mids. However, I found that the red filter makes the A7 sound low res compared to the black and gold filters. So I opted to stick with the other two. Though I do think some may like the Red filter on Pop despite the trade-off in technical performance.



The Gold filter is very similar to the black filter but lowers the upper mid elevation by a good 2-3 dB for more mellow vocals. There's still plenty of vocal presence, just not as much as black. I do think the bass quality tightens up a bit too with the gold filter. It feels more controlled overall, even if its just a little more than the black filter. The tradeoff however is that the treble feels more recessed. The initial attack of the hats and cymbals are dampened and notes quickly fizzle out. For less complex tracks with prominent treble notes this isn't an issue. But in your typical rock tracks where the hats and cymbals play in the background, they basically get buried. The splashiness of the black filter is curbed. The Pop filter made the mids too thin for my liking so I kept it on the Monitor setting. I would definitely recommend you go for this filter if you're looking for a more balanced sound but keep in mind the treble tradeoff.



Comparing all three filters, you can really see how they differ.



The Blue filter takes things up a notch. There's even more upper mid elevation and the bass is tamed down. With the blue filter, you'll definitely have to turn down the volume compared to the the red, gold, and black filters to volume match the vocals. I really wouldn't go to the Pop mode here as vocal thinness borders on excessive. On the Monitor setting, vocals are lean and very, very forward. Bass presence is still good however, with more a neutral elevation versus the bassier, fun feeling in previous filters. Treble is really brought to life with this filter. The awkwardness of the treble in the black filter is mostly resolved here. Note decay is still on the short side but tone is definitely more realistic. Technical performance seems more refined on the blue filter as well, though this may be just due to the tuning. If you want a more neutral-bright tuning, the blue filter is it. It's just a question if you can stomach really forward vocals. I can for a while before it starts to feel tiring so it's definitely something to watch out for.



The Silver filter is actually rather similar to the blue filter except the treble is now in the realm of exaggeration and timbre starts to suffer once again. It doesn't really have any advantages over the blue filter so I don't really see a point to this one.



Should You Buy It?

Ehhh. At an MSRP of $338, it's getting pretty expensive especially when something like the Moondrop Blessing 2 exists. At a sale price of $280, it's a bit more reasonable. Personally, I think it's worth it at the $250 mark as that's in a different price class altogether. All that being said, the LZ A7 does bring to the table some strong points. The fit and comfort is excellent. Soundstage is pretty wide. Resolution is surprisingly competent. It has a fun sounding bass that isn't sterile. Tuning filters to fit your tastes.

Yet it is those same tuning filters that end up hindering the A7 too. None of these filters end up feeling "just right". I found that I pretty much only stuck with the Monitor mode. The silver filter doesn't any much sense and the red filter felt like a step down. Altogether the blue, gold, and black filters have a sound quality that I liked but split up, it felt like I was making a small compromise here or there. Ideally, I would blend the bass of the gold and black, take the mids of the gold, and the treble of the blue. Sadly, that isn't possible.

At the end of the day, I think the LZ A7 is a decent IEM with a few unique features that may sway someone to buy it. While it is definitely a step up from the A4 I heard years ago, going purely by "objective" performance, it does falter in the price class it competes in. Yet as audio is a game of compromises, the A7 stands as a reasonable second or third choice.
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MattKT
Thank you for such a thoughtful review. I noticed that you didn't do any comparisons. Do you have any thoughts on the Lz A7 in comparison to the Fiio FD5?
FcConstruct
FcConstruct
@MattKT I didn't really compare it to any IEMs because I haven't heard many notable IEMs in this price class. I would like to compare it to the Blessing 2 but I haven't. And I haven't heard the FiiO FD5 so I can't comment on that.
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Dionietzscheus
Dionietzscheus
@ MattKT ."..but the A7 lacks depth and height." I have both and I can say for sure that the FD5 has remarkable depth and height, as compared to the A7. FD5 sounds more immersive. Fit and comfort on the A7 is better for me; A7 never gets tiring for me (fav combo: black/monitor), longer listening sessions (+1 hour) on the FD5 can get fatiguing. No big deal as I always take breaks after and hour or so anyway. Treble on the FD5 can get quite hot; I prefer pairing it with warmer sources such as the DX 160 and N3 Pro (Triode mode). Resolution is at par, though the tuning on the FD5 makes it come across as more analytical and precise with a fairly V-shaped presentation. Vocals are slightly recessed on the FD5. Hope this helps.

chinmie

Headphoneus Supremus
LZ A7, Well deserved hype..I'm keeping this
Pros: -10 combinations to that goes from full V shaped sound to neutral, all with the same level of superb transparency
- Ruggedly built
- MMCX connectors quality seems good with no play/ rotation
Cons: - a bit too much writing on the body of the unit
- carrying case is too bulky..good quality though, but strictly for home storage only for me
- Switching the mode must require the tool
- Nozzle size is a bit big..I suggest only using a wider bore tips on this, or you'd risk damaging the eartips when trying to remove them
- My unit is missing the switch toggling tool!
Disclaimer: I rarely do reviews, if ever. I usually prefer to write my impressions on the forum thread and talk about it there instead, but Yaoyaotiger from Aliexpress send me this at a discount, so it's fitting for me to write a review to honor their good gesture

Gears used for testing:
Centrance Bluedac
IFI Hip Dac
Fiio BTR5
Audio Technica AT PHA55BT

all running Spotify (and also Tidal) from my Android phone

Built and accesories:
The unit have nice heft to it, made from all metal except the switch. no complaints on the cable, it looks good and easy to handle.
I used only the stock cable, and Symbio peel eartips, so no comment on the included stock tips.

Fit:
Really comfortable

Isolation:
Good

Sound characteristic:
If i can describe this LZ A7 in a short sentence, it would be "natural and transparent sounding, versatile, and a potential end-game for some people.

This IEM is REALLY GOOD...it has the versatility from that 10 possible combinations from the switch and nozzles, yet still provides the same natural and transparent characteristic across all of that combinations.
All of the combinations don't sound gimmicky. all of them have slight variation on sound that can alter the mood when listening, but at the same time all of the tuning still display the inherent quality of the overall driver design/ tuning.
Some of my personal favorite tunings are:
-Gold-monitor (best general setting for me)
-Red-monitor (most neutral "studio monitor" sounding)
-Silver-pop (best V-shaped setting).

Bass:
Bass extends down deep. it's subbass tilted, with clear and non-bloated midbass section. speed of attack is good, with neither dry or too bloomy on the presentation. Different nozzles and switch positions would give varying amount of bass volume, but the overall characteristic of the bass remains the same to my ears

Mids:
This is what most affected by the nozzles/ switch combinations, ranging from fat to thin mids depending on the switch position (also changes the volume of the mids slightly), while the nozzles would play on the upper mids region, giving the overall range from warm and flat mids (red nozzle) up to the boosted and nasal sounding mids (silver nozzle)

Treble:
Different nozzles doesn't affect the extension of the treble, but do make the lower treble sharper sounding (silver nozzle) up the more flat and warm treble sound (red nozzle). Again, because of the manipulation of the mids region from the combinations, the treble region would appear boosted or cut in volume depending on the combinations used

Soundstage:
Though it present the sound in a more intimate way, the way it displays sound separation and the spatial information like reverbs, depth of the stage, and stereo spread are clear and defined. I was drawn to listen to every nuance and small details of the songs with more focus

Conclusion:
Like i mentioned earlier, one can potentially be happy with only this IEM on their collection. it really provides a wide range of sound from straight up fun V-shaped sound up to the more "studio monitoring" sound, and all with the same level of greatness...really worth more above it's price
as i said on the title of this review: I'm definitely keeping this!


What's in the package (mine's missing the switching tool!):
WhatsApp Image 2020-12-15 at 5.57.42 PM.jpeg


Close up shot of the IEM (Symbio Peel Tips attached):
WhatsApp Image 2020-12-15 at 5.57.42 PM (1).jpeg
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@Dionietzscheus You can use a sim card ejector that you get with your smartphone.
chinmie
chinmie
@Dionietzscheus maybe LZ considered us both to be able to move the toggle with our mind power :sweat_smile:
but yes, like @RikudouGoku mentioned, any sim ejector tool can work just as well
M
MattKT
Thank you for such a thoughtful review. I noticed that you didn't do any comparisons. Do you have any thoughts on the Lz A7 in comparison to the Fiio FD5?

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