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
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FcConstruct

New 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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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?
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.
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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?

baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
LZ A7 Review – End Game Multi Trick Rainbow Unicorn
Pros: - Extremely versatile in view of tuning nozzles/switches (to give a potential 10 tuning options that are not gimmicks).
- Excellent fit and build.
- Good isolation.
- Excellent technicalities especially for imaging and soundstage.
- Natural tonality.
- Good timbre for a tribid containing BA/piezo drivers (except for higher treble areas).
- 3rd party nozzles from BGVP, NiceHCK M6, LZ A5, LZ A6 mini, LZ A6, Semkarch CNT-1 also fit this set, to give even more tuning permutations!!!
- Easy to drive, but does scale with amping.
Cons: - Stock ear tips are tight to remove. No foam tips provided.
- MMCX -> I much prefer 2 pin connectors as MMCX has longevity issues sometimes.
- Shell is not the most beautiful -> design marred by too many words.
- Will need a tool to switch the MONITOR-POP switch (can’t be switched with a finger).
- Diehard bassheads may need to look elsewhere as this set is not basshead in quantity even on the most bassy tuning config.
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DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank HIFIGO for providing this review unit. This unit has been passed on to another reviewer in Audioreviews for an assessment.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The LZ A7 is a formidable multi trick rainbow unicorn that leaves most of the other one trick ponies in the dust. The adage “different strokes for different folks” can be easily fulfilled with the LZ A7. It has a mind boggling 10 different sound signatures (giving various shades of V shaped to U shaped to neutralish sound signatures), to provide different palettes and hues to suit different sonic preferences, moods and music genres. Tip rolling (and cable rolling if you ain’t a cable skeptic) can even fine tune the tuning options further, in addition to other 3rd party tuning nozzles!

The LZ A7 also has great fit, good isolation, very good technicalities (especially imaging/soundstage) and a natural tonality. To top off the magical horn on this unicorn, the timbre for acoustic instruments is one of the best for a tribrid that contains a BA/piezo (except for the higher treble frequencies).

My nitpicks with this set mostly have to do with external appearances and accessories, and I’m quite sure most folks will find a preferred tuning option with the LZ A7, other than diehead bassheads.


SPECIFICATIONS
  • Driver config: 7 drivers tribrid earphones: Dynamic Driver 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: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Impedance: POP mode is 15Ω; MONITOR mode is 13Ω
  • Sensitivity: 109dB/mW in POP mode @ 1 kHz; 113dB/mW in MONITOR mode @ 1kHz
  • Cable type: MMCX interface
  • Tested at $318 USD

ACCESSORIES

In addition to the IEM, it comes with:
  • Multiple silicone tips (from medium to narrow to wide bore) (S/M/L)
  • 8 stranded 6N single crystal silver plated copper cable
  • Plastic container for tips
  • Round semi rigid case (green)
  • Wooden storage box
  • Card pin (to flip POP-MONITOR switch)
  • 5 pairs of tuning nozzles (with a bar to store them)
The accessories are adequate for a $300ish USD set, everything is usable OOTB. The cable is well braided and usable, with a chin cinch.

Although no foam tips were included, the variety of silicone tips on offer should get a good fit for most people. I found the narrower bore ones in general boosted bass, while the wider bore ones increased the upper frequencies, but YMMV as we all have different ear anatomies. So in addition to the 10 potential tuning signatures of the LZ A7, tip rolling can also give a degree of finetuning in the sound signature, so do explore to see what suits your preferences best.

One thing to note, the stock silicone eartips are very tight, they require quite a lot of effort to remove if you put the tip beyond the nozzle lip. This may be a pain if you wanna switch nozzles on the fly (but still reusing the same tips). On the other hand, you can be sure the eartip won’t easily drop out or be left in the ear when one removes the LZ A7, which I have experienced with some other IEMs before!

Unless otherwise stated, for the rest of this review, most of it was done primarily with the MONITOR-black nozzle configuration, with the black silicone tips (green nozzle).

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BUILD/COMFORT

The LZ A7 is extremely well fitting, I had no comfort issues using it for longer sessions. The shells are well built, but I would have preferred lesser words on the shell, as that kinda spoilt the asthetics of the shell. Well I’ll take a good sounding set with ugly shells, over a good looking but crap sounding one any day. The LZ A7 belongs in the former category of good sound with not so good looks, but anyway, when the IEM is inside the ears, one can’t see the shell, and the sonic qualities will be of much more importance!

The LZ A7 came with a MMCX connector, and while I had no issues with the MMCX connections on this set, I generally prefer 2 pin connectors. In my experience, MMCX connectors have lesser longevity in general compared to 2 pin types, especially with frequent cable changes. They either end up loose like a windvane spinning 360 degrees and causing potential sound cut out, or they become so tight they need to be removed with tools. Well YMMV.

Experienced IEM users will automatically know which side goes into which ear, though there’s a left and right marking on the shell, but just to be doubly sure, LZ has coloured the external shell vents blue and red, which corresponds to the left and right sides respectively. (When I first started out in this hobby, I remembered it as BLUE being Left and RED being Right).

There were multiple reports of moisture build up in the nozzles of the LZ A6 and LZ A6 mini (which were the predecessors of the LZ A7). This moisture issue had caused intermittent sound cut out for some users, it was also noted in some other CHIFI like the TRN BA5. I’m glad to report that LZ has fixed this moisture issue with the LZ A7. I live in a humid and hot climate and have used the LZ A7 for many long marathon listening sessions with no issues on this front.

I didn’t find any driver flex, but this is a bit dependent on eartips used and ear anatomy, so YMMV.


ISOLATION

Isolation is good but not classleading. The LZ A7 is vented and will lose to some pure BA unvented sets in the isolation department.


DRIVABILITY/SOURCE

For the purposes of this review, I tried the LZ A7 with a Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30 amp, Khadas Tone Board -> Fiio A3 amp, Shanling Q1 DAP, Ziku HD X9 DAP, smartphone (android) and Tempotec Sonata HD Pro.

The LZ A7 is rather easy to drive from lower powered sources. Though, amping does provide some scaling in details, soundstage and dynamics.


GENERAL SOUND & TUNING NOZZLES/SWITCHES

The keyword that I will use for the LZ A7 is “natural”. It is natural in tonality, rather balanced across most tuning options, and also has a very natural timbre (which we will discuss below in more detail). Some CHIFI, especially at the budget segment, like to boost the upper mids/treble to give a “fake” sense of perceived details, but the LZ A7 manages to get these details in without much effort or using this “cheat code”, even on the less upper frequency boosted tuning configs.

The biggest selling point about the LZ A7, of course, is the mindboggling 10 potential configurations in sound signature. The next few paragraphs and graphics will explain these in more detail. Do forgive me for spending some time in these areas, but I feel it will only be doing justice to this multi trick rainbow unicorn as such. In a nutshell, the tuning is changed via a 2 way switch (POP vs MONITOR switch) and 5 pairs of tuning nozzles. To complicate matters, the provided ear tips of various nozzle diameters and even aftermarket tips/foam tips and aftermarket tuning nozzles can all change the sound signature. Not to mention cable believers may also do an even higher level of fine tuning via pairing it with various aftermarket cables (please don’t report me to the police if you are a cable skeptic!).

UXPkEAC.png

This is a LZ store page graph comparing the sound signature of the POP switch (grey line) versus the Monitor switch (purple line).


The POP-MONITOR switch can be flipped with a card pin provided in the accessories. They are too small to be flipped by a finger, so the card pin is something that shouldn’t be lost, but you can use any phone SIM card pin for this purpose, or even a toothpick. The switches are not gimmicks, they do affect the 100ish Hz to 1ish KHz regions as per the above graph. The MONITOR switch increases the mid frequencies and makes the LZ A7 more neutralish/mid centric. The POP switch depresses the mids and makes the sound more V/U shaped.

As the ears take the entire frequency spectrum as a whole, the bass/treble may be perceived to be more emphasized with the POP switch on, as one may boost the volume due to the depressed mids to get the same details and clarity in the mids (when compared to the MONITOR mode). Those who prefer instrumentals and vocals and a fuller mids/note weight will probably benefit from the MONITOR switch. Whereas those that want a more V shaped consumer friendly tuning with a more boosted bass (or say if you are outdoors where bass frequencies are the first to be lost), may benefit from the POP switch.

prsnHUJ.png

On the Taobao store page, LZ has some descriptions for the various tuning nozzles (they are all based on the black stock nozzle as a baseline for increase and decrease at the 1.5 – 5 kHz regions):
Black (+0 db, aluminum): standard.
Red (-8 db, aluminum): bass boost.
Yellow (-3 db, copper): mellow vocals.
Blue (+3 db, aluminum): treble clarity.
Silver (+6 db, stainless steel): extreme technicalities.


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Z1Kgr2n.png

This is a LZ store page graph showing how the 5 tuning nozzles affect the sound signature while on the POP switch.
Red line = red nozzle
Yellow line = gold nozzle
Grey line = black nozzle
Blue line = blue nozzle
Purple dotted line = silver nozzle


monitor-mode.png

This is a LZ store page graph showing how the 5 tuning nozzles affect the sound signature while on the MONITOR switch.
Red line = red nozzle
Yellow line = gold nozzle
Black line = black nozzle
Blue line = blue nozzle
Purple dotted line = silver nozzle


The above pictures show how the tuning nozzles affect the 1.5 – 5 kHz regions. Once more, they are not gimmicks and they work as advertised. Although the tuning nozzles technically don’t touch the bass frequencies per se, as the ears take the entire frequency spectrum as a whole, boosting or depressing the upper mids/lower treble area will make the ears perceive the bass to be depressed/boosted respectively (see saw effect), so there will be perceived bass changes with the various tuning nozzles on.

I find the gold/red nozzles give a more neutral tuning, the silver and blue ones boost the upper mids/lower treble the most. The black nozzle is the default tuning nozzle the LZ A7 comes with, and it probably is the most middle of the road tuning and most all rounder as such.

The LZ A7 thus can be a multi trick unicorn that has a spectrum of rainbow coloured tunings from a neutralish tuning (MONITOR-Red nozzle) to various shades of neutralish/U shape variants, all the way to the V shaped tunings. POP-Black nozzle is probably the limit of the upper mids/lower treble boost as I am treble sensitive. I found the blue and silver tuning nozzles to be quite hot in the upper mids/lower treble on POP mode, with sibilance, especially at louder volumes/poorly recorded material, so they didn’t get much airtime for me. Though they may be preferred for trebleheads, or in certain music genres (perhaps for instrumental/vocal predominant music), as they gave a better clarity and hence perceived details.

Treble is a big can of worms though, as we all have different hearing health (due to age/occupational/leisure exposure), and treble frequencies are usually the first to be lost in these conditions. Also, we may have different pinna gain due to different ear anatomies, we use different sources, different eartips, play at different volumes (Fletcher Munson curve), and even use different cables (for the cable believers), and some are by default treblehead/treble sensitive.


So do explore to see what suits your preference, I like that LZ has provided different areas for you to finetune the signature for your preferred sonic preferences, music genres, moods and hearing health, via the POP-MONITOR switch and tuning nozzles (and thru the above variables in the last paragraph). The adage “different strokes for different folks” can be easily fulfilled with the multi trick unicorn LZ A7. The good thing about tunable sets like the LZ A7, is that there is also an ideal tuning option for treble amounts for different individuals.

A bonus headache (though a good headache to have!) is that aftermarket nozzles from BGVP, the NiceHCK M6, the LZ A6 mini, LZ A6, LZ A5 and Semkarch CNT1 also fit the LZ A7! I know some of these models are out of production or soon going to be (in the case of the LZ A6 and A6 mini), so I won’t dwell too much on this area, but existing owners of those models have an even greater number of permutations to play with to get audio nirvana on the LZ A7.


SOUND AND TECHNICALITIES IN DETAIL

So, as detailed above, with the tuning switches and nozzles, the LZ A7 can be coloured in various shades from neutralish variants to U shaped variants all the way to V shaped, it can suit different sound signatures from something mid/vocal centric to a more technical and bright signature. Diehard bassheads will unfortunately be the only ones left out as the LZ A7 is not basshead in quantity even in the most bassy sounding config, but the bass is a quality bass nevertheless, which we will discuss later in this section.

Soundstage on the LZ A7 is very wide, with good depth and height (depth > height). Soundstage however, is affected to some extent by the POP vs MONITOR mode, as a V shaped signature in the POP mode may give a more distant mids and hence a perceived wider soundstage. A more midcentric tuning as in the MONITOR mode will compress the stage width a tinge. Soundstage is not the easiest to estimate, but I would say the smallest stage I found on the LZ A7 is on the MONITOR-gold nozzle and/or MONITOR- red nozzle mode as those are perhaps the more midcentric tunings, whereas it is wider on the POP nozzle variants.

With regards to technical performance, the LZ A7 has one of the best imaging I have heard in a midfi IEM, with a very dark background allowing instruments to be pinpointed very easily. Music never sounded congested, with a good space all around. Details and instrument separation were very good, though probably it isn’t the absolute class leader for microdetailing at the midfi segment. Complex music, fast music and music with competing instrumentation/riffs are easily handled by the LZ A7. Clarity is somewhat dependent on which tuning nozzle/switch is used, as a boosted upper mids/treble would generally give a better perceived clarity.

The LZ A7’s note weight is moderate, but may be a tinge thinner with the blue/silver nozzles on. In the area of timbre, the LZ A7 has a very natural timbre for vocals and acoustic instruments (woodwinds, brasses, stringed instruments), this was a big surprise for me, considering it contains a BA/piezo driver, and these drivers aren’t usually known for good timbre compared to single DD types. The LZ A7’s timbre won’t beat some well tuned single DD sets in this department, but it may actually be better than some budget single DD sets for timbre. Perhaps at the higher upper treble frequencies handled by piezo drivers, I did detect a bit of a metallic artificial timbre for violins on occasion, but not many tracks feature violins playing so high, so I would think for general use, this may not be so apparent, and one must really be looking out for it to truly notice it.

Across most of the tuning configs, bass on the LZ A7 is more subbass focused than midbass focused. The subbass extends deep and moves air like most well tuned DD bass sets, with a slightly slower decay than traditional BA bass. The LZ A7’s midbass is punchy, but even at the most perceived bassy config, this is not a true basshead set in terms of quantity, but the bass is a quality bass, being on the faster side, with good texturing. On the most bassy config, bass does not bleed into the mids and it gives the mids and treble a lot of space to breathe.

Mids as discussed above, are very dependent on the POP vs MONITOR switches, and the upper mids area in particular are affected by which tuning nozzle you use. Midcentric and vocal lovers would like the MONITOR switch and can fine tune the upper mids region with the various tuning nozzles, whereas V shaped lovers can opt for the POP switch. On most configurations, the mids are very detailed, layered, natural sounding and transparent, aided by the superb imaging and soundstage. I liked that the LZ A7 sounded quite musical yet detailed, but without treading into being an overly analytical set.


The LZ A7 has quite good treble extension and air and details. As per the mids, the tuning nozzles will affect the lower treble quantity to some extent. The amount of treble quantity can be controlled as such, depending if you want more sparkle and brightness, or something smoother and less fatiguing. Overall, I would say the LZ A7 has a treble generally lying on the energetic side of the spectrum, maybe except with the red tuning nozzles.

Trebleheads will probably like the blue and silver nozzles. I’m treble sensitive and I prefer the gold and red +/- black ones, with the red nozzle being the most treble light of the configs. I didn’t use the blue and silver nozzles too much, but they do have their uses for me for certain music genres eg perhaps for instrumental/vocal predominant music. The POP-black nozzle mode is probably the limit of the treble I can take (but it is very non fatiguing and smooth in MONITOR-black nozzle mode), so the black nozzle is a useful baseline to see how much treble you wanna adjust from there. On the non blue/silver nozzles, cymbals sound quite natural and not splashy, unlike some other treble steroid boosted CHIFI. Sibilance was present some times on the silver tuning nozzle especially in the POP mode, but as discussed previously, this unicorn can give a preferred treble setting for almost everyone, from trebleheads to treble sensitive brethen!


COMPARISONS

I did most of my comparisons versus these other sets using the Monitor-Black nozzle config.


Westone W30 (3BA) ($400 USD)

The Westone W30 is a warm neutralish set. Timbre is worse on the Westone W30 and notes lack an edge definition/bite on the Westone W30. The LZ A7 easily beats the Westone W30 in technicalities (in the areas of imaging, instrument separation, soundstage and details). Isolation and comfort is about on par.

The LZ A7 is a complete upgrade in almost all areas, and it is more versatile too due to the tuning configs.


Audiosense AQ7 (1DD + 6BA) ($498 USD)

The Audiosense AQ7 is a mild U shaped set with a subbass boost, with some dampened treble frequencies. Soundstage is a tinge smaller on the Audiosense AQ7. For technical performance, both are very good sets in this area, but imaging is a tinge better on the LZ A7. The Audiosense AQ7 wins in the area of instrument separation and details. Both have fast and clean basses without midbass bleed.

The LZ A7 is slightly better in timbre for acoustic instruments.

The Audiosense AQ7 comes with better accessories eg a Pelican like waterproof hard case, and the shells look like semi customs and are quite beautiful.

Between the 2, the Audiosense AQ7 wins in microdetails, but I would give my vote to the LZ A7 for the more natural timbre, more tuning options and cheaper price.


Audiosense T800 (8 BA) ($298 USD)

The Audiosense T800 is an 8 knowles BA bright V shaped set. It has a vented subwoofer that makes the BA bass on the Audiosense T800 sound pretty close to a DD bass instead of a traditional BA bass.

The Audiosense T800 has a more “fun sounding”, in your face type of sound. Even on the most bassy config in the LZ A7, the Audiosense T800 still has more sub bass quantity but Audiosense T800’s bass is not as fast or textured as the LZ A7. The LZ A7 has better imaging, instrument separation, clarity and details and soundstage than the Audiosense T800. I also found the tuning is more refined and smoother on the LZ A7, with treble extension on most tuning nozzles being better in the LZ A7.

In the area of isolation and accessories, the Audiosense T800 edges it, with the Audiosense T800 having almost 30 dB passive isolation, very impressive for a non etymotic type deep insertion IEM or custom IEM. Plus the Audiosense T800 came with the aforementioned Pelican like hard case similar to the Audiosense AQ7 discussed above. Fit is better on the LZ A7 due to the smaller shell.

The Audiosense T800 is a very source picky IEM in view of the very low 9.2 ohm impedance, and it pairs well with sources with < 1 ohm output impedance (ideally as close to zero as possible is better). The Audiosense T800’s frequency response gets skewed with inappropriate source pairing especially if the source output impedance is too high. The LZ A7 is much easier to pair with sources. So one other area to consider if you don’t have an appropriate source on hand.

The Audiosense T800 has spent much time with me on the road, it has been my daily transit and stage monitoring driver for the last 18 months due to the great isolation and good technical performance, and it was my endgame IEM for 2019. The LZ A7 has landed and has taken the new title of midfi CHIFI end game today. I will still use the Audiosense T800 for stage monitoring due to the excellent isolation, but I have to admit here that the LZ A7 here is the better set in terms of sound quality. And we haven’t even talked about the 10 tuning configs on the LZ A7 giving it more versatility.


TRI I3 (1 DD + 1 planar + 1 BA) ($169USD)

The TRI I3 is a U shaped set, and sounds very coherent and well balanced despite the weird mishmash of driver types. It is very smooth and non fatiguing, but has an occasional 3 kHz spike that rears its ugly head during poorly recorded material or at louder volumes (Fletcher Munson curve).

The TRI I3 is much more power hungry due to the planars in the mids requiring some juice, and it needs amping to perform optimally, unlike the LZ A7, which is easier to drive. The TRI I3 is bulkier and heavier in shell size, and may be more uncomfortable for longer listening sessions. Isolation is also poorer on the TRI I3.

The TRI I3 has poorer details, less instrument separation, poorer imaging and clarity even when amped. The TRI I3 also has a higher treble bordering on dark, and perhaps wouldn’t be a good option for trebleheads, whereas the LZ A7 has better treble extension and airiness, especially on the silver/blue tuning nozzles.

For the mids, the TRI I3 has lusher and thicker mids (when the planars are amped), but the mids ain’t as transparent as the LZ A7. Bass wise, the TRI I3 is more midbass focused, compared to the subbass focused LZ A7 (on most tuning configs), but the bass quality is not as fast on the TRI I3.

The TRI I3 is famous for having a holographic 3D soundstage at the $150 USD price bracket (when amped). The LZ A7 actually has better width and depth in soundstage, but loses a tinge to the TRI I3 in the height department.


TRI Starsea (1DD + 2 BA) ($129 USD)

I know it is an unfair comparison due to the almost 2 – 3 times price difference between the 2 sets, but I view the TRI Starsea as sort of a poor man’s LZ A7, with the TRI Starsea having 4 tuning options (via switches only without tuning nozzles). Other than the LZ A7 having more possible tuning sound signatures than the TRI Starsea, the LZ A7 also has better timbre, a thicker note weight and a more refined tonality. The LZ A7 also has a bigger soundstage and better instrument separation, details and imaging.

Like the Audiosense T800, the Tri Starsea is also a very source picky IEM in view of the very low 9.5 ohm impedance, and likewise pairs well with sources with < 1 ohm output impedance (close to zero is best). As per the Audiosense T800, the frequency response gets skewed with inappropriate source pairing, unlike the LZ A7 which is more source agnostic.

The LZ A7 is not 3 times better as the price would suggest, and diminishing returns are present the higher you go up in this hobby, but I would say if you can save up, it might be better to skip the TRI Starsea and just go for a higher tier upgrade in the LZ A7 in view of the more tuning options, less source pickiness and better technicalities/refinement.


Oriveti New Primacy (2 BA + 1 DD) ($300 USD)

The Oriveti New Primacy is a balanced, warm neutral set. The LZ A7 is faster, tighter and more textured in the bass. The Oriveti New Primacy has a smooth and somewhat veiled mids and treble, whereas the LZ A7 is more transparent in the mids, with greater treble extension and airiness and fowardness (dependent on tuning nozzle type).

The LZ A7 trumps the Oriveti New Primacy in technicalities (instrument separation, clarity, details, imaging and soundstage). The LZ A7 has better timbre for acoustic instruments. BA timbre is quite apparent in the Oriveti New Primacy for the mids and treble frequencies for acoustic instruments, with the LZ A7 sounding much more natural, maybe except in the higher treble frequencies handled by the piezos.

I also had a very bad driver flex with the Oriveti New Primacy, I gotta say it may actually be one of the worst driver flex I’ve experienced in the last 16 years of using IEMs. On inserting the Oriveti New Primacy, there’s a literal “clunk!” sound that makes me super worried something gets damaged inside each time I use it. On the other hand, I had no driver flex with the LZ A7, but YMMV, as driver flex is dependent on ear anatomy and eartips used to some extent. Driver flex aside, I also found the LZ A7 to be more comfortable for longer sessions.


Kinera Freya (3 BA + 1DD) ($249 USD)

The Kinera Freya is a U/V shaped set, with a beautiful hand painted shell, which is much larger in size. The Kinera Freya has better accessories too. Those external superficial areas are however the only areas where the Kinera Freya surpasses the LZ A7. In terms of sonic performance, it doesn’t hold a candle to the LZ A7. The LZ A7 is the superior IEM in the areas of technicalities, timbre and tonality and fit/comfort, and by quite a distance. The LZ A7 of course has 10 tuning configurations too, so it is more versatile. Unless you prefer looks and accessories over function, then the LZ A7 is definitely the better option.


Toneking Ninetails (1 DD) ($125 USD)

I know it is strange to compare the Toneking Ninetails (a single DD set) to a more expensive tribrid in the LZ A7, as the single DDs and tribrids have their different strengths and weaknesses among the different transducer types. But I decided to go ahead and compare them since the Toneking Ninetails has tuning nozzles (rear and front) to give 9 tuning signatures, 1 short of the LZ A7.

Just a bit of a background, the Ninetails is a Far Eastern “fox spirit” in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cultures, which can shapeshift to take the form of a human. So it is quite a good naming convention, as the Toneking Ninetails IEM had a rear and front tuning nozzle to give 9 different sound signatures, from neutralish to V shaped to basshead. The tuning nozzles are not gimmicks and they actually worked, and it tied in nicely with the Ninetails namesake and folklore.

The Toneking Ninetails IEM was a cult classic with good reviews among owners, but a lot of people were hesitant to purchase it due to the unconventional looking design. The Ninetails is actually quite well fitting and comfortable once you know how to wear it, but the LZ A7 is still more comfortable due to the more ergonomic and conventional profile.

The LZ A7 has better isolation and accessories. The Toneking Ninetails has actually one less tuning configs (nine) than the ten in the LZ A7, but the Toneking Ninetails can become basshead on certain configs with a jawrattling nausea inducing headache, something the LZ A7 cannot do, even on the most bassy config.

The single DD Toneking Ninetails has much weaker technicalities than the multi driver LZ A7, though the Toneking Ninetails has a better timbre for acoustic instruments, as per its single DD roots. The LZ A7 trumps the Toneking Ninetails in details, instrument separation, clarity and imaging, transients, speed and bass tightness. Though in view of the semi open backed design, the Toneking Ninetails has a slightly better soundstage (though at the expense of poorer isolation).


CONCLUSIONS

The LZ A7 is a formidable multi trick rainbow unicorn that leaves most of the other one trick ponies in the dust. The adage “different strokes for different folks” can be easily fulfilled with the LZ A7. It has a mind boggling 10 different sound signatures (giving various shades of V shaped to U shaped to neutralish sound signatures), to provide different palettes and hues to suit different sonic preferences, moods and music genres. Tip rolling (and cable rolling if you ain’t a cable skeptic) can even fine tune the tuning options further, in addition to other 3rd party tuning nozzles!

The LZ A7 also has great fit, good isolation, very good technicalities (especially imaging/soundstage) and a natural tonality. To top off the magical horn on this unicorn, the timbre for acoustic instruments is one of the best for a tribrid that contains a BA/piezo (except for the higher treble frequencies).

My nitpicks with this set mostly have to do with external appearances and accessories, and I’m quite sure most folks will find a preferred tuning option with the LZ A7, other than diehead bassheads.

Getting the LZ A7 is like getting 10 IEMs with 1 purchase (or even more if you explore aftermarket tuning nozzles), and it has my vote for midfi CHIFI of the year for 2020. I think that it can be an end game set for many in the midfi segment, but is there really such a thing as a mythical endgame unicorn in this hobby?
saldsald
saldsald
Thanks! Definitely considering to get a pair already!
M
MattKT
Thank you for such a thoughtful review and some great comparisons. Have you had a chance to compare the Lz A7 to the Fiio FD5?
baskingshark
baskingshark
Hi @MattKT , sorry I haven't heard the Fiio FD5, but perhaps we can get @RikudouGoku 's advise as he has heard both sets. FWIW, I generally try not to compare single DD types like the Fiio FD5 to a hybrid/tribid like the LZ A7. It's gonna be an apples to oranges comparison as the different transducer/driver types generally have their pros and cons. But let's see what master @RikudouGoku can advise here!

davidmolliere

Headphoneus Supremus
LZ A7 – Silver or Gold?
Pros: Scales up beautifully with more powerful and better sources
Superb transparency and clarity with silver filter in monitor mode, punching well above its price point
Excellent resolution with silver filter in monitor mode, again punching above its price point
Open soundstage and excellent imaging with silver filter in monitor mode, very good with black filter
Clear and articulate midrange with the black and silver filter in monitor mode
Forward and clear yet smooth vocals with silver filter on monitor mode, gold filters is a sweeter tone with similar qualities
Spot on treble tone with silver filter in monitor mode, a bit warmer and very natural and smooth with gold filter
Excellent balance of lower treble energy and smoothness with a very engaging presentation
Powerful bass in Pop mode, good sub bass physicality and mid bass slam
Sturdy build and very nice stock cable
Cons: Silver filter in Pop mode can be agressive with upper mids peaks, also causes sibilance on vocals
Pop mode is overall less coherent than Monitor mode, I wished there was a more linear tuning along with bass boost
Product Page : https://penonaudio.com/lz-a7.html
Price : 318$​

Packaging and accessories

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The LZ A7 come in a nice package with a pseudo wood finish and a very nice hard leather green carry case but I wished there was a holding compartment for the filters and switch tool there.

The filter holder is metal and you can screw the unused colored filters on it when you’re not using them. The switch tool is used to switch the A7 from Pop to Monitor mode. The switch is located on the metal faceplate.

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Note that the filters are color coded and easily identified. The notice for the filters and switch is printed in a small leaftlet that I found way too small to really be usable.

The LZ A7 user manual contains two frequency charts : one for Pop mode with all filters variants curves and one for Monitor mode with all the variants as well. Still, from what I can tell from the tiny graphs, Pop mode has more bass and upper treble presence while Monitor is more linear. The general peaks and dips are similar aside from the Red filter in both modes that seem to have a much more linear midrange with no peaks. All other filters seems to be variants of the same tuning.

Fit, Build & Isolation
The LZ A7 is a very sturdy IEM with a meta shell with black polished finish. The shape is reminiscent of shure IEMs in shape including position of the MMCX connectors but the bore is on the bigger side compared to shures. Given the material and shape, isolation is very good.

The filters include a grille that protects the driver from external elements. Everything is precisely machined and switching filters was flawless.

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The fit is very good for me with good seal and a stable secure fit. There are clear left and right markings both on the shell and cable, kudos for this.

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The stock cable is an 8 strands of 6N single crystal copper silver-plated cable and the sheathing reminds me of the ISN AG8 with a brown gold color that I find pretty classy. The cable is supple and the small gauge (my guess is 28 AWG) makes it a low footprint cable even with 8 wires. It features a single ended 3.5 termination.


Introduction
The A7 is the first IEM I have had the chance to audition from LZ Hifi Audio, although I had heard good things about the A4 and A6 but never had the chance to audition them so I’m coming to LZ with a fresh set of ears.

Sound
This is always a challenge to review IEMs featuring multiple filters because of how many variants are possible. The LZ A7 features no less than 5 filters along with a switch which equates to 10 different variant of the signature no less. A sound way to start with this kind of IEM is start with the baseline tuning, in the case of the LZ A7 the black filter is the reference position. The following overall sound impressions is therefore based on the black filter, with stock cable out of DX160.

With the switch set to Monitor, the LZ A7 is a clear sounding IEM with a fast, tight and controlled reference bass with decent punch. The mids are even bodied being neither full nor thin and overall it’s a clear midrange with good bite and no signs of harshness signs of a well mastered tuning. Vocals are clear and forward and my usual test tracks show no sibilance or harshness. Lower treble as good sparkle but the energy is well controlled and no hint of hotness, the tone is spot on to my ears. The stage is open with coherent and precise imaging, wider than it’s tall and deep though. Overall, the black filter with switch on Monitor is a very coherent reference tuning with vocal emphasis. This is quite impressive at this price point.

With the switch set to Pop, right the LZ A7 is clearly a more fun IEM with more bass presence down low and more sparkle up top. The bass is much more present with a significant boost. Sub bass now provides a real physicality that border bass head territory, mid bass has more presence and I had much more fun with my bass test tracks with a clear toe tapping factor. Compared to the Monitor setting, although they are not recessed per say mids take a back seat to bass and treble, vocal are neutrally positioned providing more stage depth. They have a smoother presentation with a warmer tone. Treble is consistent with the Monitor switch setting with a bit more energy and sparkle although the significantly more present bass balances this. Overall the black filter with switch on Pop is a fun tuning with a strong bass line, smooth mids and exciting treble.

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Now on to filters here are quick impressions based on Monitor switch first then Pop :

  • the Red filters provides a more linear but also darker presentation things are more balanced and smooth relaxing nature on the Monitor switch. In Pop mode this is a bassier and relaxed presentation, thanks to more linear mids and dipped upper treble. I prefer the Monitor setting on the Red filter.

  • the Gold filters provide a less linear presentation than Red but more than the black with less upper mids emphasis, with makes for sweeter vocals and is my favorite filter for vocals on Monitor mode as it strikes the best midrange balance for me being a bit fuller sounding and smoother with a slightly warmer tone. Treble is also a bit less sparkly and energetic than the Black filter. This is consistent between monitor and pop mode where pop mode has more bass presence, mids are fuller and less articulate with less vocal presence and more treble presence. I like the Monitor switch much better with the Gold filter.

  • the blue filters provide a brighter presentation over the black filter, with significantly more upper treble and upper mids presence, but a bit more bass than the black filter with a sub bass focus. Lower treble sparkle though is still spot on and not overly different from the black filter. Lower mids have less presence than the black filter to my ears making the LZ A7 overall a bright, punchy and thinner IEM on the blue filter with Monitor on. Switching to pop, bass is meatier with more mid bass, vocals a bit recessed and treble emphasized further. Again I like the Monitor setting better on the blue filter.

  • the silver filters provide the closest presentation to the black filter to me, it’s close to the baseline signature but I hear better transparency and clarity thanks to more upper treble presence. Upper treble is very refined and impressive with the silver filter. The stage benefits and is the most open of all filters in Monitor mode, with the most holographic presentation. Resolution is also at its best with the silver filters and I must confess I was impressed by the performance of the LZ A7 at its price point. Mids are balanced and consitent with my impressions of the black filter with better transparency and a similar good balance of bite and smoothness. This is a mature, mastered tuning and the silver filter are my pick for Jazz. Switching over to Pop, the silver filter looses quite a bit of its magic in my opinion. It sure get a lot more bass making the bass line more prominent, but vocals loose their magic and I found it exhibited sibilance at times compared to the silver/monitor setting. Similarly while upper treble remain just as good the upper mids are not as clear and it looses the coherence of the silver/monitor setting.
Now let’s dive deeper into my two favorite filters on the LZ A7, the Gold and Silver filters!

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Bass

Silver filter
The monitor mode provides a reference take with the silver filter, it’s a tight, fast and controlled bass with lots of detail and a sub bass tilt. It does convey the rythm nicely but lacks the engagement that you get from a more impactful bass and the bass line is a bit subdued at times. As we’ll see the beauty of the silver filter on the monitor setting lies elsewhere.

Switching to pop mode totally transforms the bass section with much more bass presence both sub and mid bass are affected. The bass line is much stronger and the LZ A7 bass is both more engaging and physical. But as we’ll see further down, this takes away a bit of what I consider is the magic of the silver filter mids and treble wise on monitor.

Gold filter
The monitor mode provides a natural sounding bass with good mid bass presence and moderate impact, it’s not a punchy but smooth bass delivery with good control. Sub bass presence is good and provides a good amount of physicality. The bass line has good presence but is not prominent in the mix either. I feel like decay is slower than the silver filter so it’s not only a matter of bass presence but also there is some damping happening here, frequency graph don’t tell the whole story.

Switching to Pop mode, there is much more sub bass presence with great physicality in both Sohn “Falling” and Aphex Twins “Ageispolis”. The bass is more seated on tracks that have more sub bass and provide a better toe tapping factor as well with a bit more mid bass presence. On the flipside, on bass heavy tracks the extra bass presence shadows the mids which take a seat back.

Mids

Silver filter
The monitor mode mids immediately struck me as impressively transparent : it’s a balanced midrange with superb clarity and separation and tonally spot on with very accurate instruments timbre. The resolution is nothing short of impressive at this price point and we’ll see how that relates to the treble performance of the silver/monitoring combo. There is something reminiscent of Cayin excellent YB04 and few IEMs manage to be highly transparent and with such a natural tone.

The lower mids are neither thin nor thick striking a great balance and contributing to this natural tone. Upper mids are a bit forward but show admirable restraint remaining smooth, sign of a well mastered and mature tuning. Again, call me impressed at this price range. Vocals are forward and clear and every minute aspect of the artist emotion is conveyed in a smooth way. Etta James “At last” is a good test and never did I wince when Etta goes to the upper registers, just to the limit but never accross. Hard to pull off. Male vocals don’t stand out as much as female vocals though, but I must confess I prefer a bit more lower mids to provide a more grounded portrayal of male singers. Don’t misread this, for example Pete Alderton “Malted Milk” or Big Daddy Wilson “Thumb a ride” were enjoyable with nuances aptly conveyed and the tessitura is beautiful and it’s not thin either so I am nitpicking here (because I do love the LZ A7 silver/monitor mids).

Now how does the silver/pop combo works for the LZ A7 mids? Well it’s a mixed bag in my opinion. The bass is more present so I think LZ thought relevant to boost the upper mids and there are peaks there that make them agressive to my ears, too much bite and prone to sibilance on vocals even on tracks that are usually not particularly problematic like James Blake “Vincent” or Gabrielle Alpin “My Mistake” were almost unlistenable.

Gold filter
The monitor mode provides a smooth and organic midrange with good lower mids presence tastefully done with a slight pleasing warmth. The mids retain some of the qualities of the silver filter here it’s a bit less transparent with the warmer tone but it’s still a very clear and articulate midrange with great clarity. Mainly it’s the same mids with a warmer tone and a slightly smoother presentation with a tad less upper mids bite. This makes for a fatigue free listen but not at the expanse of technicality as separation and detail are fairly impressive. Where the silver filter had me think of YB04 midrange, the golden filter is more along the lines of DK-2001.

Switching to Pop mode, I feel the overall tone is warmer with a bit more lower mids presence, the additional bass presence certainly gives a fuller tilt to the LZ A7. It’s also a more relaxed midrange and depending on what you’re listening to can be handy for thin/brighter recordings.

Treble

Silver filter
The monitor mode treble is once again a revelation at this price point, it’s spot on in terms of lower treble energy and tone making it an engaging and natural listen with smooth delivery. It’s also well extended in the upper section with a refinement that is utterly surprising at this price point. There is a lot of air and the resolution benefits greatly from the LZ A7 silver/monitor upper treble performance. On Guthrie Trapp “Buckdancer’s choice”, both electric guitars and percussions are beautifully portrayed. In totally different genres complex tracks like Infected Mushroom “Jeenge” and Stan Getz “Maracatu-Too” were quite impressive with the LZ A7.

Switching to pop mode, the treble is probably the most consistent with monitor mode contrary to bass and mids, but will definitely be perceived differently in the context of the overall signature in Pop mode. The upper mids peaks certainly make for a brigther sounding LZ A7 but it’s not due to the treble tuning specifically. For the same reason the increased bass presence makes it a much more fatiguing IEM with silver/pop.

Gold filter
The monitor mode with the gold filter is again quite close to the silver filter just with a warmer lower treble tone and a bit less upper treble presence. Despite the tone being warmer the lower treble energy is similarly engaging but more relaxed. Imaging and resolution are not as special as with the silver filter though but that’s natural, and remains very good.

Switching to Pop mode, I hear a bit more lower treble energy especially hi hats are more pronounced with higher percussions taking more space in the mix and also more electric guitar emphasis. This means on some tracks treble take over the mids in terms of presence. Despite the added presence, treble remain smooth.

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Verdict
I had no expectations coming into this review, as I have never heard another IEM from LZ Hifi Audio. The LZ A7 was a totally fresh look at a brand and I didn’t expect anything good or bad to begin with except a slight concern on piezo drivers (do those right is hard). On paper the LZ A7 sounded like another midrange tribrid with a filter system. After reviewing it though, I must say I am impressed by the maturity of its tuning and the value for money.

Not every filter / switch combination are equal though, but that’s were filter systems are interesting to match personal preferences. I clearly preferred the monitor switch position no matter which filter but I see the appeal of Pop mode. My main concern with Pop mode is the upper mids peak and the less balanced signature overall. Monitor mode is consistently more coherent although if bass is among your priorities it’s clearly the route to take.

With the Silver and Gold filters in monitor mode, I can either choose between a highly coherent reference IEM with superb transparency, resolution and imaging all with a smooth delivery and a level of refinement rarely found at its price point or a warmer tone and slightly more relaxed variant with the Gold filter.

I was so impressed by the LZ A7 silver/monitor combo that I decided to plug it to my Hiby R8. A combo that won’t make sense in the context of a 300$ IEM review but I had to check and let me tell you : in low gain / turbo mode the LZ A7 scales yet further with a bigger soundstage that benefits separation and imaging, as well as more powerful bass and even more refined treble and better textures. A hint that plugging into an amp would maybe make total sense especially something accessible like iFi Audio Zen DAC/amp. Note that I didn’t try a balanced mmcx cable for the LZ A7 connectors are very tight and I didn’t want to get the cable stuck to it but I suspect a balanced would provide benefits out of DX160 with the additional driving power.

Listening notes
I spent approximately 40 hours with the LZ A7, listening on iBasso DX160 and Lotoo PAW S1 using the stock cable. Also using AAW Capri ligthning cable out of the iPhone XS Max.

Special Thanks
Thanks to LZ for providing a review unit of the A7. As usual, this review is my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.

Accessories
  • Leather hard carry case
  • Set of S, M, L tips
  • Switch tool
  • Set of filters
  • 8 strands of 6N single crystal copper silver-plated cable, Length :1.2 meters, Plug:3.5mm standard single-ended
Specifications
  • 1 dynamic for low frequency (liquid crystal molecule coating composite diaphragm)
  • 2 BA for medium frequency
    (Knowles)
  • 2 BA for high frequency
    (Knowles)
  • 2 Piezoelectric ceramic ultra-high frequency
Frequency response range: measurable frequency response 5Hz-40kHz
Impedance: POP mode is 15Ω/ MONITOR mode is 13Ω
Sensitivity: 109dB/mW in POP mode / 113dB/mW in MONITOR mode, @ 1kHz
Distortion: <1%
Earphone pin: MMCX interface
Lacas
Lacas
hi, thanx for the great review :L3000: how did you like the pairing with DX160?
M
MattKT
Awesome review. I noticed that you've listened to both the Lz A7 and the Fiio FD5. How do they compare?
Dionietzscheus
Dionietzscheus
@ davidmolliere. Very nice review, for a superb iem. Using A7 with same gear you used for testing: DX160 and PAW S1, albeit with FiiO LC4.4C balanced cable; sound quality from the Sparrow balanced output with FiiO LC2.5C belies the fact that the A7 is a $338 IEM!

JasonLucas

New Head-Fier
LZ A7 Review
Pros: Excellent in all areas
Cons: Slightly expensive, can be bright and near harsh at times with half the filters
LZ A7 Review

10 mm dd, Mids are 2 knowles ba ,Highs are 2 knowles ba
Ultra highs pair of piezoelectric ceramic drivers 4 way crossover
Great fit, great build, good cable, very musical
Detailed treble excellent male and female vocals
Studio level sub bass, Bass is tight and quick
Neutral with red filters, black and pop great for edm
Pop and monitor setting were great with red filter
Excellent driver cohesion
More detailed then the tri i3
Speed texture , there’s nothing this iem can’t do well
With black filters they have insane detail and crisp mids and highs , on the bright side , right up to the limit
Great imaging with height width and depth in sound stage
Other filters are too bright for my taste
Plays well with low power and a quality dongle at low volume but needs amp to shine
Bass scales most with power
100% recommend, a6 mini sounds very similar, 75% as good for 1/5 cost
Black 0db
Gold -3dB
Red -8db
Blue +3dB
Silver +6db
1.5khz-5khz
dharmasteve
dharmasteve
"100% recommend, a6 mini sounds very similar, 75% as good for 1/5 cost"

Apologies in advance because personally I don't think the A6 mini sounds anything like the A7. As a separate issue the A6 mini has a great flaw. In the upper bass/lower mids there is what I call a big 'hole' where deeper vocalists like Tony Joe White disappear down. The fullness of his voice is lost. The A7 is a lot, lot better than the A6 mini.
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@dharmasteve Agreed, the A6 mini and the A7 are leagues apart.
JasonLucas
JasonLucas
Kinda depends on what filters and setting you are using right? I set them both for as neutral sounding as possible as the a7 is way too bright with half the filters to me. I heard a ton of similarities with the drivers inside of both. That’s just my opinion
Jack of All Trades, Master of Many
Pros: Sound, flexibility, versatility, built, ergonomics
Cons: No storage pouch, too much text on faceplate
LZ A7 Review
I’ve been lucky enough to receive two pairs of the LZ A7 from LZ themselves. The first pair was a prototype where I was asked to contribute with my thoughts on tuning, filters, ergonomics etc. The second pair is the final retail version that is the subject for this review.
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I’ve been a longtime fan of the LZ offerings and the company as his tuning does very often correlate with my preferences. My first encounter with LZ as a brand was the legendary A2 many years ago. Since then I’ve got most of their lineup, some bought by me and some review units from the company. The A4 is still one of my favorite offerings, the A5 was not that great for me in either sound (too v-shaped) or ergonomics, the A6 and A6 mini did definitely put them back on track for me personally so naturally I was very pleased and excited to get the chance to try out both the prototype and now see the end result with the retail version of the A7.

About me:
I’m a 48 years 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 on also IEM’s.

My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).

My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.

I do not use EQ, ever.

I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.

Introduction:
The LZ A7 are a pair of 7 driver hybrid (1 dynamic, 4 balance armature and 2 piezo) IEM’s that retails for $318.

They're now available on Aliexpress:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001599557650.html?spm=2114.12010615.8148356.5.4e996c5eeTNbop

The package they arrive in look pretty sleek in my opinion. In the package you’ll find a green (?) storage box, 8 pairs of silicone eartips in different design and sizes, a tool for the monitor/pop switch, a nice 8 core silver plated copper cable and of course the IEM’s themselves.
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I say the accessories are ok for the price but nothing special. If anything, I kind of miss a storage pouch to put them in when out and about.

The A7 are quite easy to drive and sound pretty good even straight out of my Galaxy S10. For the this review I’ve used the A7 with the Quedelix 5K and Radsone ES100 but I’ve used it with the Opus 1 and 1S DAP’s as well as the EIDA 9038 during the last couple of weeks.

The specs:
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

Ergonomics:
The A7 moves away for the quite bulky design on the A6 and head more towards the A5. This makes them more comfortable and they sit pretty flush to my ears making isolation quite good. I’ve used them for several shorter domestic flights and although I usually prefer headphones with NC on airplanes the A7 worked surprisingly well. From the included tips I find the medium ones with blue stem to work best for me but at least one more pair is totally fine for me. Since tips are as individual as shoes I’ll leave it to you to find your perfect ones.
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As for looks I kind of like the retro look on the A7 but I would have preferred that they kept the text on the faceplate the way it were on the prototypes instead of trying to fit as many letters as possible on them. A nice feature is also that the vents beneath the faceplates are colored red respectively blue indicating which one is the left and right earpiece. This is also marked with R/L on the MMCX connectors so it should be very clear for most people. Speaking about the MMCX connector I must say that I would have preferred a 2-pin connection since I find them to be more secure in the long run. That being said I haven’t noticed any issues with the connectors and they’ve worked well with the aftermarket cables I’ve tried with them as well.

Sound:
The overall sound of the A7 is well balanced, coherent and very natural. Although it’s difficult to review the A7 due to all the different tuning options it’s also impossible not to talk about them.

The A7 has a tuning switch on the housing named MONITOR/POP. Turning the switch to MONITOR rewards the listener with a more forward midrange. I don’t hear a big difference (if any) in bass and treble between the two settings but due to the shift in overall balance both bass and treble is perceived as less forward in MONITOR mode. During my time with the A7 I’ve com to realize that I tend to raise the volume in POP mode to get the midrange more to my liking and this results in higher lever of bass and treble. I typically use MONITOR mode at home and POP mode when being out in noisy environments.

In addition to the MONITOR/POP switch there’s also 5 different filter to choose from. From most to less v-shaped they’re silver, blue, black (stock), gold and red. I find both the silver and blue filters to be a bit quite similar and too bright for my taste but they’re still perfectly usable and I kind easily see people preferring a bright signature with high level of detail really liking them. I’m slightly more comfortable with silver than blue myself. The black filters are what come pre-installed, they’re really good sounding with most music and a great starting point to explore the many faces of the A7, personally I like them best with electronic music. The gold and red filters are my personal favorites depending on music and mode. The gold filters in MONITOR mode are the best for me with female vocals but they’re really great with all acoustic music. They offer (in MONITOR mode) a more intime presentation (especially on the vocal) than any of the other settings and give me that intimate feeling that I really love with female voices. The red filters are the most versatile ones for me as they sound great with all kind of music and I can enjoy both MONITOR and POP equally much with them. I generally prefer the A7 in MONITOR mode when listening in quite environments so MONITOR with red filters will be what I’ll be using for the impressions in the rest of this review unless something else is mentioned.

Bass:
The A7 has more subbass than midbass focus on all settings. The subbass reaches low and have good impact when the recording calls for it even in the least bassy setting. The quality of the bass is really nice and it has just enough bloom to give that yummy feeling when you’re just drawn into the music. I think that if the bass had been tighter and more dry the A7 would’ve been perceived as basslight by many people but the way bass is implemented now should make them enjoyable to most. The midbass is toned downed quite a bit and although this will probably put some bassheads off it does give a very clean and refined sound where the midbass never overshadows the higher frequencies. One thing’s for sure: I never perceive the A7 as clinical or boring, instead they’re very addicting despite having such a refined tuning. And, again, in situations that I’d like more bass it’s just two small switches away.

Midrange:
The midrange on the A7 are the best and most forward (MONITOR mode) that I’ve heard on any offering from LZ (the Big Dipper included!) to this day. Male vocals has enough weight to sound natural and female vocals are intimate and refined enough to sound just right. Even with very good offerings it’s not unusual for them to be better for male or female vocals but I must say that I find the A7 to be top notch with both. Once again the filters/witches will help to find just the right sound for every kind of music. Upper midrange is slightly boosted but despite this I don’t perceive any harshness except for in recordings where this is noticeable with pretty much every IEM’s. Both guitars and piano does also come across as very natural sounding to me. I find the midrange to have enough warmth to be very natural and highly transparent on the A7. It’s actually hard to say much more as it basically just sounds right.

Treble:
The treble on the A7 is very well extended and airy. Yeah, sure it can be a bit too much with some of the filters (silver, blue and occasionally black) but still not worse than many other offerings and still not too much to not be enjoyable by trebleheads. With black (more often than not), gold and red it’s just perfect for my preferences. It blends in perfectly with the rest of the frequencies in both amount and quality. With these filters I never find it splashy or tiresome but rather complimenting the great overall sound despite not being super weighty.

Stage and separation:
The A7 has a wide to very wide stage with a lot of air in its presentation. With POP mode the presentation is very wide with all the filters without feeling unnaturally or artificially large. Switching to MONITOR mode the midrange, as already mentioned, is pushed forward resulting in less wide stage as it usually does. Even in this configuration I’d still describe the stage as wide and definitely when the midrange presence taken into consideration. The exception to my ears is the gold filters that, in MONITOR mode, is the most intimate configuration possible with the A7 and is excellent for acoustic music with vocals (female in particular) making you feel like you’re in a small concert room with the artist singing just for you. The width and air does also contribute a extremely good instrument separation and combining all this with great depth and height gives a nice out of the head experience that not too many IEM’s are able to pull off as delicate as the A7 does. Microdetails and resolution are also extremely good without sounding clinical.

Comparison:
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LZ A6 ($310)
The A6, despite being the older sibling to the A7, comes across as the younger one that loves to party and scream out its opinions instead of enjoying a good glass of wine and debating different opinions. I really love the A6 and it was my favorite IEM’s until the A7 arrived and in some ways they still are but the A7 is definitely a much better allrounder. The housing on the A6 are much bulkier and although I find them quite comfortable to wear the A7 are clearly better in both ergonomics and isolation. Both have the LZ filter system and the filters are interchangeable but the A7 has more great combinations to me and can be al lot more reference sounding than the A6 can manage.

When it comes to sound the A6 is more v-shaped with quite impactful (but great quality) bass, a more distant midrange and a more energetic top end. There’s actually not a great difference in how deep the subbass goes on the two but the impact are bigger on the A6 as is the midbass quantity but the bass is also tighter making it very enjoyable and quite unique sounding. Despite its more beefy lower region the A6 has a thinner midrange, especially the upper part which takes this thinner presentation all the way up to the treble. The A7 is definitely a more relaxed listening while the A6 can be more engaging, the A6 is also more source and recording dependent than I find the A7 to be. The A6 need slightly more power.

Tansio Mirai TSMR-3pro ($269)
The 3pro is a great all BA pair of IEM’s that’s particularly strong in its vocal presentation, especially female ones.

The 3 pro are both more comfortable and isolate better. It does also offer a tuning system which includes three dip switches but are nowhere near as flexible and versatile as the A7. The 3pro has slightly more midbass while the A7 has better subbassextension and impact. The bass on the 3pro is also dryer making it less engaging. The midrange on the 3pro is more forward but also more boosted in the higher mids making them more shouty in direct comparison. The treble on the 3pro has a bit more body but does not have the same extension as the A7. A7 has wider, deeper and higher stage and sound both more natural and 3D. The 3pro needs less power.

Tri I3 ($169)
The Tri I3 are a dynamic, planar and BA hybrid that hits way beyond its price. They’re one of my all-time favorite value for money offering and it’s also a quite popular model so I include it here despite being almost half the price of the A7.

The I3 is heavier and bulkier compared to the A7. It’s also less comfortable and isolation is about the same. The I3 has more midbass impact while the A7 has better subbass extension and slightly while quantity is quite similar on both. The bass on the I3 is a bit slower than on the A7 making them more boomy in comparison. The midrange on the I3 is thick and lush while the A7 is more transparent and detailed, this is also true for the treble. Both of these are a relaxed listening experience but the A7 has more air in its presentation with wider stage in all directions and better instrument separation. The I3 needs quite a bit more power.

Conclusion:
So here we have a pair of IEM’s that goes head to head with the best I’ve got for fun (A6), vocals (3pro), reference (MT100) and value for money all-rounder (I3) all in one IEM with great flexibility. It sounds sublime with all kind of music and can be tuned to mode or place of usage to be just right all the time. This is definitely the best implementation of a tuning system I’ve ever come across not only because it can be tuned for different kind of music but the real magic is in the switches that let me enjoy them as much when riding the train or walking in the city (with enough bass) as in my favorite chair chilling at home (without too much bass), pure brilliance. If I would have to choose just one of my IEM’s the choice would, for the first time, be easy now.

As always with LZ there’s nothing boring about this offering, just pure enjoyment!
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dharmasteve
dharmasteve
Very good review. You have pushed me into 'buy the LZ A7' mode
M
MattKT
Thank you for such a thoughtful review. Have you had a chance to compare the Lz A7 with the Fiio FD5?

Dsnuts

Headphoneus Supremus
LZ A7 steampunk for your ears.
Pros: 2 pro base tunings you can switch on the fly. 5 filters each with varying degrees of emphasis in the upper mids lower treble region affecting tonality and sound balancing. Very good imaging with a natural tonality timbre and speed. Excellent instrument separation and detail across all parts of the sound bands. Plenty of treble sizzle and extension based on how you like your treble. Spacious and smooth no lack for technical prowess for the price range. Sound tuning goes from slight V to a more neutrally balanced tuning again based on how you like your tuning. Comes with a solid set of accessories with a good 8 core silver plated OCC cable in single ended. Love the soft canister case that comes with the A7. Extremely versatile, even more so with aftermarket cables and tips. One of the best if not the best performers in the price range. Medium sized egg shaped shell is very comfortable. Decent isolation.
Cons: Iron steam locomotive looks. Has grown on me actually.
LZ A7
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LZ has been at the forefront of some compelling offerings and the A7 being the newest has 7 drivers per housing with the ability of a user sound tweaking ability via tuning nozzles and 2 base tuning switch. The A7 has been a complete surprise to me since I haven't heard an LZ designed earphone since getting the A5 a while back. I can clearly tell they have refined the tuning and materials used for this iteration. So what makes the A7 interesting is not just the tuning ability but its stock sound signatures and how refined the overall sound is.
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The A7 CNC machined all metal housing is sturdy and has a unique look to the housing, a sideways oval shaped housing with a protruding nozzle angled toward the ear. The size is what I consider about medium in size, actually surprising that it stuffs inside the shells, 7 drivers. The dynamic is a higher end liquid crystal polymer composite diaphragm doing the bass chores, 2 Knowles BAs doing the mid frequencies, 2 Knowles BAs doing the highs and 2 7 layer piezoelectric ceramic drivers for the ultra highs. That is more than a handful of drivers in the mix and so these are LZs version of the tri brid formula.

I would like to thank LZ for the review sample you can read up some information about their other offerings and more here. There is an active ongoing thread about the LZ A7 here.

Having as many drivers as the A7 it doesn't amount to anything if the tuning or the sound is not any good but here we get something that is actually not only done well but to put it simple, the A7 has to be one of the most versatile sounding earphones on the market.
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Build of the A7 with its all metal CNC milled construction has never been an issue even from my previous bout with the older A5. Looks sturdy enough for long term use and while the mmcx implementation is good, I do wish they will consider using 2 pins in future earphones. The nice canister case is welcomed to help carry the A7 and the included tips show some variety but could use a bit more. The type of tips include wide bored and narrow bored tips 3 sets of different types of silicone tips. In the end I am sure you will end up using your favorites anyway but what's included is not bad.
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Variety is key here since the whole idea of this earphone promotes tuning variation via nozzle filters and the tuning switch with 2 different base tunings. The 8 core silver coated OCC cable is also a welcomed addition to the LZ A7. What you get in the package is average here for the given price point. I know accessories are not paid much attention on most reviews but for me at least, it is like you're going for a job interview and you got your suit all nice and straight but you end up with a dirty pair of shoes on that interview. Not good. I have done many reviews where the earphones sound great but will knock down a point or two because there was absolutely no thought thrown in for the accessories. Mr. LZ A7 here gets a passing grade for the accessories but not anything worth noting at the same time. I do like the nice canister and the cable, the rest is just ok, usable standard tips.
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The looks of the earphones are debatable, it isn’t the most cutting edge looking or overly flashy in design. It's got a very old style retro steam ironworks look about the design that has actually grown on me. These are far from the look at me, I am fancy looking colorful models you see rampant on the nets. I do appreciate the understated looks of the A7 and is actually refreshing from the many flashy designs. Of course there will be many that will say the looks of the A7 could improve. For those folks, throw in the A7 in your ears and I am willing to bet you you're gonna forget about how they look.
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Sound analysis was done using a variety of daps and amps I use for review purposes. I like to use a variety for the sheer reason to get a better grasp of the base tunings of each earphone and also to see what type of sources matches up well with a given earphone. Fiio M15, Shanling M6pro, M5s, M3s, Ibasso DX160, Sony ZX300,Cayin Nii, IFI Black Label, and my IBasso PB3 amplifier.
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Let's start out with the base tuning and the switch on the back of the A7 that allows you to choose between the 2 main tunings, one option for pop and one for monitor. Both could have been separate earphones but the main difference is that pop allows for more bass enhancement giving the base tuning a slight V shaped signature and the monitor balances out the bass end with a bit more forward mids to provide a monitor like more linear balance to the tuning. So right off the bat the 2 different tuning options are the mainstay of the A7 sound signatures.
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Then you have the tuning filters used ever since the LZ A4. These tuning filters adjust pinna gain/ upper mids and lower treble having the most influence with a lesser affected tweaks to the mid treble upper treble emphasis. The adjustments are as follows.

Base filter is Black with 0 db gain or loss in the region
Gold filter -3 dbs of dampening
Red filter -8dbs of dampening
Blue filter +3 dbs of gain
Silver filter +6 dbs of gain.

With each filter you get an influence of the sonic tonality and overall sound balancing in the base sound tuning. Lowering upper mid bands gets you less emphasis for highlighting vocal and instrument performances but adding monitor mode will bring up the mid bands which effectively makes the sound more intimate and more linear. Lowering the upper mids emphasis will be the more popular tuning option for Western enthusiasts. Upping the gain using the blue and silver filters will be familiar to more Eastern enthusiasts.
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The stock black filter already has a good amount of treble emphasis and clarity so adding more upper mid presence to what is already there will be dependent on just how much upper gain you like in your tuning. I prefer the stock black filter with an aftermarket copper cable switched in pop mode or the gold filter is just about right in balancing out the tonality from treble to bass for my own preference using the included cable. The benefit here is that you get an option to tune just how much upper mid gain you want with these filters and you bet they work great. I know some folks like a lot of clarity and presence in their sound and you can get up to 6 dbs from stock black filter and or the opposite lower it by 8 dbs using the red filters.
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Monitor mode adds more mids and lessens the bass end which has an influence on stage perception. Pop mode does have the widest stage perception and better sound separation with the monitor mode having the lesser more intimate perception of stage and sounding a bit more fuller in note. For folks that like a more neutral tuning the red filter on monitor mode will get you closest to a neutral tuning the A7 offers but also offers the most intimate smooth even sound out of the filter combos. It is the flattest response from bass to treble and the A7 will surprise folks with just the sheer variation in the tunings you can do for yourself from there.
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If you throw an aftermarket cable and tips in the mix you can customize the sound even further, so the tuning variation here is an added perk of the design. You're not gonna get the sound to be basshead from neutral or be able to add a fuller thicker tone to the sonics but since the base tunings are done so well you're bound to find a tuning angle you like from all the options. Finding out just how you like you're A7 is half the fun of these earphones.
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Some more exotic tunings I have tried is by adding a gold plated copper cable, ISN GC4 with a wider bored Azla Senda fit tip and using the blue filter on pop mode. This will add a lot of sparkle and treble shimmer but the cable here offsets that upper mid edge a touch giving the best clean treble infused sound with the copper adding more fullness with the gold plating adding a bit of a richer tone to the sonics with the best bass ability.

You can try the opposite and get the most bass influence in pop mode but this time using the red filter also using a copper cable and wider bored tips. Biggest boldest bass with smoother mids performance with slightly less treble influencing the sonics to give a slight warmth to the tone. No drop off in detail or separation. This is the most musical sounding tuning on the A7.
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So all these sound tweaks will be possible due to the base tunings and the technical level of the earphones. The A7 has an excellent level of refinement across the board. Bass end is tight, punchy and digs deep with good proficient texture when called for. Mids are mostly neutrally emphasized with that variation in emphasis depending on the tuning switch and nozzles used.

The mids has some very good imaging and detail involved in the base tunings. Mids has some very well implemented layering and has some excellent note/ instrument separation. Instrument timbre is very natural sounding for BA base mids add to that very good imaging and the sound becomes impeccably clean and detailed. Lower treble here again is the main source of the tuning variation. You can make it brighter with more shimmer and sparkle giving the overall sonics a clean brighter tone to a slightly warmer hugh depending on filter and mode used.
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A7 utilizes some well placed vents on the outside of the shells probably used for venting the dynamic driver but the staging is done very nicely a wider sideways oval shaped in the stage imaging, it has more depth than height of sound giving the sonics a nice broad imaging to your tune. The stage of the A7 is exemplary of a well vented design and has music that plays outside of your head at times. The detail imaging level of the A7 plays well above the price paid here and I am certain folks will be pleased with the technical level, timbre and tonality of the A7 and that is even before you start messing with the filter variations.
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The A7 even with one tuning would have done extremely well at its price point but add to that a very versatile tuning option and you got something that stands above the $300 level earphones in the market. I do think LZ has a hit on their hands and for the price you really can’t do much better.
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Overall I would say the A7 has not only met expectations here but it has raised the bar on what to expect for the price range. Other manufacturers gotta take note. You can throw a flashy looking earphone with decent sonics but how's about giving 5 different tuning options with 2 base tunings that are both outstanding with a nice higher end technical level with an expansive stage to go with it. That is what you're getting in the A7.
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Not happy with how much treble you got on your expensive earphones? That's too bad cuz you can’t use these filters on yours. But you can on the A7. The value on the A7 is for real. If you buy one earphone a year. These have to be considered. If you're an eclectic music lover like so many here on headfi. These are most definitely worth taking a good look, Just because you can switch up the tuning when you feel like it. Something you can’t do for most earphones. Is there a value level for that? There should be.
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dharmasteve
dharmasteve
Great review. Again very articulate.
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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?
Dsnuts
Dsnuts
A7 general sound character leans a bit more toward neutral and the FD5 a bit more V shaped is a bit more colored in signature. Bigger bass impact and a more natural timbre from the FD5. A7 though has the edge in imaging detail but not by a large margine. If your trying to pick between the two earphones. That will come down to a more fun musical type tuning in the FD5 with some authoritative bass and excellent stage or if you want a more technical oriented tribrid in the A7 with a clean wide presentation of sonics.

A7 does have better versatility due the all the choices but FD5 has a great single dynamic tuning with a large airy stage. The catch on the FD5 is that they will not play well with brighter sounding sources. It is more picky of the sources you use them on. A7 sounds great on everything.

Wiljen

Headphoneus Supremus
The LZ A7 earns my highest score yet, yep, it's that good.
Pros: solid build, very versatile filters/tunings, excellent tonality, great detail and imaging.
Cons: Tips are very tight fit, requires tool to change modes, may be slightly bright for some.
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disclaimer: I have now had 2 LZ A7s. The first was a beta and the 2nd an early production sample. Both were given to me for purpose of review and signature tuning. I don’t have any financial affiliation with LZ but have owned every A model since the A2 with most of them still in my collection. I had purchased the A5, A6, and A6 mini myself so could be called a fan of the LZ house sound. If you have an interest in learning more, please see LZ’s website. To purchase, Expect stock soon at all the normal outlets.


Unboxing / Packaging:

The outer box is wooden book-fold with the LZ logo and name on the front and the specs etched in the reverse. Inside the book an orange tray (top layer) holds the tips and case in place. A black lower foam layer holds the filters, tool, and tips (in a plastic container). The cable is hiding inside the case. The case is worth discussing as it is the rounded lift top style in green leather with the LZ logo on the top. It is large enough to hold the cable and earpieces comfortable along with the tool and filters and a spare set of tips for those that want to take the accessories with them. Tip selection includes three different styles of silicones in small, medium, and large. Foams are not provided in the package. Five sets of filters are provided that allow tuning to suit your preferred signature. The filters are threaded into a small aluminum rod for safe keeping (nice touch and much appreciated). Overall its a complete kit with the only thing missing being the option of a balanced cable instead of the 3.5 single ended one.




Build/Fit:

While I liked the A6, its shape was somewhat polarizing as it departed from the standard by a good bit and some found it unattractive. The A7 returns to an A5ish aesthetic with a small rounded oblong shell in anodized black aluminum. It does not have a true faceplate as inner and outer shell are roughly equal halves. with a seam that runs down the middle of the mmcx connector housing. The outer face is vented with two slots under the name badge. Above the name badge a small switch that controls pop or monitor mode is set back just enough to keep it from being hit accidentally. Right and left are clearly marked on the connectors for easy reference. Nozzles are a separate threaded component that exit the forward most point of the inner shell with little or no rake. This provides fairly deep insertion and good isolation. Threads are the same as the previous generations so A6 or A5 filters will work although the newer filters provided with the A7 have resolved a moisture issue that was present in earlier generations. The BGVP DMG filters fit too as well as NiceHCK M6 so there are some 3rd party options as well. Shells are on the small side and sit in-ear rather than on it and are lighter than one might expect with the number of components packed inside. Overall I found comfort very good and isolation better than expected.





Internals:

There is a lot to talk about here as LZ has packed a ton into this relatively small shell. Lows are handled by a dynamic driver with a liquid crystal coated diaphragm, mids by a pair of Knowles balanced armatures, highs by another pair of Knowles balanced armatures, and ultra-high frequencies by a pair of 7 layer piezoelectric drivers using a ceramic piezo element. On top of the drivers, the A7 has two four-way crossovers, one for pop mode and a second for monitor mode. Because of this, the impedance and sensitivity is dependent on which crossover is in use. In pop mode, the nominal impedance is 15Ω with a sensitivity of 109 dB/mW while in monitor mode it is 13Ω and 113 dB/mW. Regardless of mode, the A7 is easy to drive and will make a good phone or tablet companion. I find it scales quite a bit qualitatively as micro-detail improves with better source, but quantitatively the need for extra power is just not there.


Cable:

The cable provided with the A7 is well made in 6N OCC using 8 cores in a braid from the 3.5mm straight jack up to the splitter then 4 strand braids above it. The splitter and Jack are barrel shaped aluminum housings in black. A glass bead chin slider is provided as well. At the north end, the MMcx connectors are in matching black aluminum housings with pre-formed hooks and L/R clearly marked on the side of the housing. MMCX connectors are tight but not overly so making the earpiece attachment a positive click. I had no issues with cutout or loose connections even with intentionally removing and reinstalling the cable repeatedly or twirling the cable while I had them in ear. I think most will find the cable of high enough quality that the ability to replace it, while convenient, is unnecessary.





Sound:

It is hard getting around it, the LZ A7 offers a large variety of tuning options including two crossover options, 3 tip styles, and 5 filter sets so defining how it sounds is largely dependent on which combination of those are in use. Before I use a single set of options and define how the A7 sounds to me, it makes sense to sort out the options and decide which of those options I want to use for the listening sessions.

Switches / Tips / Filters:

The crossover is the easiest place to begin as it is either set in pop or monitor mode and the difference is largely found between 200Hz and 1K. As can be seen from the FR chart, pop delivers a bit more scooped lower mids while monitor is a bit more level up through 1K where both start to climb and both retain a very similar signature above that point (at least until above 10K where they diverge again). Being a lover of mids, I settled on the monitor position.



Tips were a bit more of a toss-up as I liked the low end of the wide bore tip but the mids and treble favored the narrower style with the dark blue core. For purposes of listening tests I used the blue core narrower tip. For guiltly pleasure listening with the the switch in pop position, the yellow bore wide tips would get the call here.



Five filters come standard with the A7 with LZ listing the black as the reference point and the 4 others as either adding or removing from it according to the graphic below. To me, the this adds +3dB between 1.5k and 5k does little to define what it actually does so I ran comparison FRs to better define the tunings.




Ok, now that we have all the options figured out. This is how the LZ A7 sounds to me using the monitor mode, Narrow bore dark blue large tips, and the Red filter.



Bass:

Sub-bass is present with good control and texture, but is not elevated above the rest of the signature. (yes, I see the very mild elevation in the FR plot, but to hear it, it is all very level). What is perhaps the most surprising is how good the textures are all the way down into the sub-bass where things usually start taking on a monotone character. Speed is quite good with slightly slower decay giving the A7 a very natural sound with good note weight while at the same time not sacrificing clarity. Mid-bass follows very much the same pattern with solid slam when called upon and dropping into the background when not. Clarity again is quite good and tonality is excellent. The only negative one can really level here is that the tuning is not particularly fun, and that is easily changed with the black filter for those looking for more low end emphasis.

Mids:

Lower mids are well detailed, clean, and in-line with the upper mids giving both male and female vocals roughly equal presence with both cutting through other instruments well. Guitar growl is quite good as well with good attack speed. Strings have a very natural voice on the lower end but do at times pick up a hair more energy than they need at the very top. (Honestly a comment that probably should be in the treble discussion). Most of the times strings sound well rendered and the only time I feel they have a touch too much energy is in the upper most octave of the violins range. Whether this is peizo or ba is hard to guess and it can be adjusted with EQ if it becomes a touch too much during listening sessions. I only found this on a couple of recordings as it is a range that is rarely the focal point for violin and I had to search out material to confirm that so chances are unless you go looking for this, you may never find it. Overall I find the mids very natural with excellent vocal timbre, good string tonality and fantastic reproduction of acoustic guitar. 40 fingers guitar quartet sounds insanely good on these.

Treble:

Treble is very well extended with roll-off above my hearings limit and energy quite good throughout without getting hot in the process. As we move up, the treble stays fairly level with good detail and micro-detail. Snare rattle has a crisp lead edge and is well defined and cymbals have a nice sharp clang without being metallic or clicky. The A7 has a good amount of air and sparkle at the top end and feels fairly spacious as a result. If there is one thing to note, while quite good, the red filter/monitor combination is the most treble reduced version of the filter combinations and it is hard to call treble lite. While not overly bright, it does have enough energy that some may find it fatiguing. It did a good job of walking the line for me, but I am not as treble sensitive as some.

Soundstage / Imaging:

Stage is very good with slightly more depth than width and a good sense of height as well. Seating the orchestra is straight forward with good separation between instruments and very good layering contributing to the overall. Imaging is among the best I have heard with motion being easy to pinpoint and positions being very tight. Even movements around center stage are precise which is a hard thing to pull off. I found no tendency to thicken as tracks got busier and despite trying, couldn’t find any compression even with my favorite test tracks for inducing it.


Comparisons:

LZ A6 – Those expecting the A7 to be the follow on to the A6 will be dissappointed as the A7 is not the same tuning, fit, shape, or much of anything else other than sharing the same LZ name. Shape is much closer to the A5 and signature is revised quite a bit. Bass is a bit more naturally voiced and has a bit more sub-bass rumble while A6 was a little faster in the low-end and a touch cleaner as a result. Mids are more present on the a7 with improved detail and tonality compared to the A6. To my ear, female vocals are much improved in timbre and while they retain good energy, they sound much more lifelike on the A7. The top end has about equal extension but again not the same tuning with the A6 having more sparkle while the A7 is a bit more reserved but also a bit more realistic. Imaging is better on the A7 as well while stage may slightly prefer the A6. I think the biggest difference is the fact that the A6 was superb at some things and only adequate at others while I have yet to find a genre where the A7 falls down.

Dunu DK2001 – This has been my benchmark at the price point and is in my estimation the current “One to beat” at roughly $300. To start with, the cable favors the Dunu as its modular setup is a step above the one provided with the A7. Build quality is roughly equal with both being very solidly made. The 2001 is slightly larger and harder to get a good fit for me, but not enough larger to be a deal breaker for many. Sound wise, both are multi driver hybrids and both of these largest strength is their natural tonality. These two have more in common than not. I find the A7 to have slightly more rumble at the bottom and a touch more air at the top. I’m torn as sonically these two are near twins and the kit on the 2001 is better.

FLC 8s – While the FLC8s has been around quite awhile, I still find it relevant thanks in part to its myriad tuning options and its solid bass signature to build on. Both are solid builds with the FLC8s being smaller than the A7 and that alone may make a difference for those with small ears. Sound wise both have solid base signatures to work from with the A7 having more sub-bass and slam while the FLC8s may have a touch more mid forward presentation by comparison. Detail favors the A7 as well. What really separates the two for me is how easy and natural the A7 sounds when A/B tested against the FLC8s which sounds a bit thinner in the lows and weighted in the mids.

Cayin YB04 – The YB04 has a more premium feel to the shell but is substantially larger than the A7 and more matched to the A6 in size. This alone may win the A7 some points. The Provided cable with the Cayin is also a step up from what comes with the A7. Once we move into sonics though, the tables turn. The YB04 has typical BA lows with a pronounced drop-off in sub-bass quantity while the A7 rumbles away all the way down into the high 20s before becoming noticeable. Bass is faster on the YB04, but more weighted and authoritative on the A7. Mids are great on both and it is hard to find fault with either here. The YB04 may be ever so slightly more detailed while the A7 is more natural and a bit more flowing. Treble favors the A7 again with a bit more natural feel and a bit more air without being fatiguing. Its hard to go wrong with either, but the A7 is more well rounded and natural sounding.


Thoughts / Conclusion:

Well after a couple weeks of listening to first a beta and then the final release of the LZ A7, I knew it was extremely good. When I sat down and graded it out, it outscored the Empire Ears ESR which was my current high scorer. Granted, it was only by 0.1, but all the same, it outscored the best I have scored to date. I had to go get the ESR out and try them side by side just to see if it really did deserve the score and you know what, it does. The A7 is very capable across pretty much all genres and can be as big a V or as flat a line as you want to make it and it does all of that well. With 10 different tuning options in the box, and additional options available, you have a ton of flexibility. For example, the Gold filter from the NiceHCK m6 may be my favorite yet on the A7 as in monitor mode it brings it to damn near dead neutral. If I could only have one IEM right now, this would be it because it can be about anything I want it to be, can be driven well with most sources, and sounds pretty fantastic regardless of which tuning is in use or which genre I am playing. The technicals on the A7 are coming very near top of the line models and honestly my beloved Jerry Harvey JH13 is not enough better to justify the cost. If you can swing the cost, pick up an A7. Yeah, its that good.

Bass - 8/10
Mids - 8/10
Treble - 8/10
Soundstage - 8/10
Imaging - 8.5/10
dharmasteve
dharmasteve
You are a tough judge of IEM's, but really consistent. You clearly know your stuff and your reviews are trustworthy. If you rate it I know this is a very good IEM.
M
MattKT
Awesome review! Have you had a chance to compare the Lz A7 with the Fiio FD5?
Wiljen
Wiljen
Not yet, hopefully soon

RikudouGoku

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Versatility god, can play my entire library
TOTL tuning
Extremely big soundstage
Extremely detailed
Very good instrument separation
Imaging is in its own league
Excellent timbre
Wooden package box
Value
Cons: MMCX connectors on the shell arent as tight as on newer MMCX iems (Fiio FH3, Ibasso IT00 for example)
Too much text on the faceplate makes it look ugly and unprofessional
"Piezo flavor" affecting cymbals but mostly violins that play very high notes
Tool needed to switch the switch (pun not intended)
Tips could be better in quality (quantity is certainly good)
Cable could be better too
Hard to put on tips on the nozzles
If you wanted an LZ A6 upgrade with the same unique sound, this is not it
20200918_163950.jpg


Disclaimer: I received this unit for free from LZ, thank you very much and thanks to @peter123 for being the intermediary.

Disclaimer 2: Pros/cons are from the perspective of the POP-RED config which is my favorite.

Price: 320-330 usd

Specifications:

Driver: LCP DD, 4 Knowles BA, 7-layer Piezoelectric

Frequency range: 5 - 40 000Hz

Impedance: Pop = 15 Ω, Monitor = 13 Ω

Sensitivity: Pop = 109dB/mW, Monitor = 113dB/mW @1kHz

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Accessories:

S/M/L silicone narrow bore tips

S/M/L silicone tips

S/M/L silicone wide bore tips

Tip storage box

Green carry box

Switch switching tool (= sim card ejector)

5 tuning nozzles


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Cable: The stock cable is an 8-core 6N OCC (“single crystal”) SPC cable. Measured at 0,43 ohms so it is decent. Metal build for the divider and splitter with a working chin-slider. It is a very soft cable and similar to other 3rd party 8-core cables. I would recommend changing it to the Faaeal Litz copper cable or the Kbear Rhyme, if you want to since those 2 are one of (if not) the best cables out there for value at a very low price.

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Build: Made out of metal that is polished so it feels very smooth. There is a visible line that indicates where the shells are put together. The nozzles are also made out of metal and they all have a lip for the tips. L/R markings are indicated near the mmcx connector in clear white color and the vents are also marked blue/red for L/R too.

Fit: Fits me almost perfectly, without driver flex too. Size is smaller than the previous A6 but average in terms of iem sizes.

Comfort: Very comfortable and useable for longer sessions.

Isolation: Since it covers most of my ears and fits so good the isolation is actually quite good. But since it is vented on the outside, it isn’t top tier in isolation.

Disclaimer 3: I will be referring the A7 as the config type from here on, so it is easier for you to keep track on where you are.


MONITOR-RED:

Setup: Ibasso DX160 (low gain, volume around 34), Faaeal Litz copper cable 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Lows:
Very clean and textured bass. With very natural speed/tightness so it suits a lot of genres from rock/metal (that needs a faster and cleaner bass) to hip-hop (that needs a more powerful and not too fast bass). Sub-bass focused but not too different from the mid-bass since this is a neutral signature.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), very tight and fast while it is very textured, every single bass strike is very distinct and clean although quantity is slightly lower than I would want it to be. The (02:55-03:01) section with the chopper is clean.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), quite tight and fast with good texture. Needs a bit more quantity to make it more fun though, but it is very clean.

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extension is very good but doesn’t rumble or punch very much so it isn’t as fun as I would like it.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), quantity is pretty good although would like some more quantity. texture, speed and tightness are very good.

Mids: Vocals are very natural, clean and detailed. With very good vocal balancing between male/female. Tonality is spot on with different songs either needing more thinness, thickness, warmth and brightness and the MONITOR-RED can reproduce it.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), very tonally correct vocals without being too bright or too warm so it is very natural, and it is very detailed/clean too.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), Same as above.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), it is sharp.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), Quite sharp.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), clean and detailed but tonality is a bit too warm for the vocals.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), A bit too thick but it is otherwise very tonally correct and clean/detailed.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), the electric guitars are a bit sharp and is very detailed but does get fatiguing.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), a bit sharp and is a bit intense, so it needs a bit reduced treble quantity.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), the cellos are very textured and sounds very natural with its tonality and is detailed/clean. While the violins aren’t as tonally correct as the cellos, since it needs to be brighter for the violins.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), very natural and tonally correct.

Soundstage: Very big soundstage but the imaging is the impressive part, it is the best imaging out of all my iems.

Tonality: Neutral signature that is not fatiguing or boring and is very tonally correct for my library. Timbre is also very good and extremely impressive for a tri-brid.

Details: Very detailed.

Instrument Separation: With the imaging being as good as it is, together with the very good separation makes this a very technical iem that can handle every track I throw at it without getting chaotic or muddy.

Songs that highlight the IEM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjeYCOQ10D8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq6Q_uaJF4k https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za8aapTmp44 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoCD5wZEgo4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxuVzaNne7Q https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iewWMqeMpqU

Good genres:
Rock, metal, Pop, Jpop, Kpop, Hip-hop, OST, Orchestral, acoustic

Bad genres: None, it is extremely versatile and handled everything I threw at it. Some bass focused genres like Trance and EDM might need some more sub-bass quantity to make it more fun but that’s it.


Comparisons (MONITOR-RED):

IEM: LZ A6 (Pink), Cable 175 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Extension is a bit lower on the A6 and has more punch quantity, is much tighter and a bit faster while it has more texture and is cleaner. But rumbles more on the MONITOR-RED and sounds more natural (A6 is a bit too tight).

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), tighter, faster, more textured and cleaner on the A6, also sounds more natural while at the same time is more fun due to the quantity.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), tighter and much faster so it is cleaner on the A6. Texture is similar but otherwise sounds better on the A6.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Quality is similar but recessed vocals on the A6 while the timbre is much better on the MONITOR-RED. Tonality is very similar though, but ends up sounding much more natural on the MONITOR-RED due to the timbre and the vocals not being recessed.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Very similar on both, they both have some sharpness to the female vocals but is a bit sharper on the A6.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Much more natural and tonally correct on the MONITOR-RED, where it is lacking some thickness/warmth on the A6. It is more detailed and cleaner on the A6 though.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), It is a little bit sharper on the A6 with the electric guitars. But sounds cleaner and more detailed on the A6 while it is much more natural on the MONITOR-RED due to the timbre being much better.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Much more texture with the cellos on the MONITOR-RED and more texture with the violins with the A6 while it is much more natural on the MONITOR-RED due to it not having the same “piezo flavor” that is in the A6. It is cleaner and more detailed on the A6 though.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), Much more detailed and cleaner on the A6 with much more air and better extension. But much more natural on the MONITOR-RED.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Soundstage, instrument separation and details are much better on the A6. Timbre but especially Imaging on the MONITOR-RED outclasses the A6 and is in its own league though.

Overall: The A6 is a much more unique sounding and fun experience with better technicalities while the MONITOR-RED is a more natural and neutral iem.

The piezo in the MONITOR-RED doesn’t seem to work as much as on the A6, that would explain why the soundstage is bigger and has more treble air on the A6 while the timbre is much better on the MONITOR-RED.

IEM: Fiio FH3, Faaeal litz copper cable 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Extends lower, rumbles more, punch quantity, tightness, speed, texture are all much better on the FH3 (also sounds more natural, detailed and cleaner) no contest here.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), Tighter, faster, more texture and quantity on the FH3 while it sounds more natural, detailed and cleaner no contest here too.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), tighter, faster and more texture on the FH3 while it is more natural, detailed and cleaner.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), More natural and better timbre on the MONITOR-RED along with details and at the same time doesn’t have the slight sharpness the FH3 sometimes gets here. They are very similar in tonality but a bit warmer on the FH3 due to it having more bass quantity.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), sharper on the FH3.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), They are very similar in tonality but is more natural on the MONITOR-RED due to it being a tiny bit warmer and the timbre being better.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), A tiny bit sharper on the FH3 but sounds cleaner. While it is a bit more natural on the MONITOR-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Violins are more tonally correct on the FH3 but better timbre on the MONITOR-RED. While the cellos are more tonally correct, better timbre, detailed, textured and more natural on the MONITOR-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), More tonally correct, more natural and cleaner on the FH3.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Soundstage, details, instrument separation and timbre are better on the MONITOR-RED while the imaging is in a league of its own.

Overall: Bass on the FH3 is better than the MONITOR-RED. Mids and treble are better on the MONITOR-RED. Technicalities are also better on the MONITOR-RED.

The FH3 is a much more fun iem with spectacular bass quality/quantity, while the MONITOR-RED is a more reference/neutral iem (although the tonality is very similar on both).



IEM: Tanchjim Oxygen, Faaeal litz copper cable 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), rumbles a bit more and extends lower on the MONITOR-RED. The punch is tighter and a bit faster on the Oxygen while texture is similar. Tonality wise the MONITOR-RED sounds more correct since the Oxygen is too bright here.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a bit tighter and faster on the Oxygen but lacks some quantity that is on the MONITOR-RED and the MONITOR-RED has better texture. Tonality is much better on the MONITOR-RED since it sounds much more natural since it is a bit too thin and bright on the Oxygen.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a bit tighter and faster on the Oxygen so it is cleaner. But it can be a bit sharp on it while the MONITOR-RED is more natural and tonally correct.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), The Oxygen has a bit more natural female vocals due to the tonality being brighter so it suits it better. While the MONITOR-RED has some more warmth in the low-end that makes it sound more natural there.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Much sharper on the Oxygen while it is more tonally correct on the MONITOR-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Much more natural on the MONITOR-RED due to it being way too bright and thin on the Oxygen.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), Much sharper electric guitars on the Oxygen.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), The violins are a bit more tonally correct and natural on the Oxygen while the Cellos are more tonally correct, better textured and similar timbre on the MONITOR-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), More tonally correct on the MONITOR-RED and more natural since it is too bright on the Oxygen.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Timbre is a bit better on the Oxygen but overall naturality is bottlenecked by the tonality which does not suit my library. Soundstage is similar in width but is a bit deeper on the MONITOR-RED, details and instrument separation are very similar while the imaging is better on the MONITOR-RED.

Overall: The MONITOR-RED is better than the Oxygen for me since it sounds much more natural due to the tonality and is closer to my “true neutral” while the Oxygen is bright neutral.



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POP-GOLD:

Setup: Ibasso DX160 (low gain, volume around 33), Faaeal Litz copper cable, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Lows:
Very clean and textured bass. With very natural speed/tightness so it suits a lot of genres from rock/metal (that needs a faster and cleaner bass) to hip-hop (that needs a more powerful and not too fast bass). Sub-bass focused over mid-bass but both are quite even.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), very tight and fast while it is very textured, every single bass strike is very distinct and clean while quantity is good enough. The (02:55-03:01) section is very clean (cleaner than on the MONITOR-RED config).

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), quite tight and fast with good texture. Quantity is at a level where it is fun and enjoyable (but having a bit more would be better).

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extension is very good and has rumble while the punch is impactful and makes it fun.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), quantity is good, texture, speed and tightness are also very good.

Mids: Vocals are very natural, clean and detailed. With good vocal balancing between male/female. Tonality with female vocals are for the most part better than on the MONITOR-RED config but can be a bit too bright sometimes, while male vocals with higher pitch sounds more tonally correct on this config but lower pitched male vocals are a bit too bright and needs some more warmth.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), while the vocals are very tonally correct (more than on the MONITOR-RED) the instruments are a bit too bright so it sounds less natural and more fatiguing on this config.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), The vocals aren’t as natural as on the MONITOR-RED config because it is a bit too bright and the instruments are a bit more forward than the vocals.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Quite sharp.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), Very sharp.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), very clean and detailed while it is tonally correct. The bass is also warm enough to sound natural without it affecting the male vocals in a bad way.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), cleaner and more detailed than the MONITOR-RED config but tonality for the vocals is slightly worse since it lacks a bit of the warmth it needs.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), the electric guitars are very sharp.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), sharp and is too intense, so it needs reduced treble quantity.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), the violins/cellos are very textured and sounds very natural with its tonality and detailed/clean.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), It is very detailed and clean but tonality is a bit too bright.

Soundstage: huge soundstage that is much bigger than the MONITOR-RED config but imaging isn’t as good (still on a very high level).

Tonality: U-shape

Details: Incredibly detailed.

Instrument Separation: Incredible separation/imaging.

Songs that highlight the IEM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F42qhxxz5_4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxqDNr1V4ek https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcu_vicoeUE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYZIUtDAFIw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek7C5GurYOw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipI1qRFo1Us

Good genres:
OST, Orchestral, Trance, EDM, Acoustic

Bad genres: Jpop, Kpop, Rock/metal can be a bit too bright and shouty.


Comparisons (POP-GOLD):

IEM: LZ A6 (Pink), Cable 175 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Extends lower and rumbles more on the POP-GOLD. Punch is tighter and faster on the A6 while texture is similar and punch quantity is a bit higher on the POP-GOLD.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), bass quantity is a bit higher on the POP-GOLD, while it is tighter and faster on the A6 while texture is similar.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), tighter and faster on the A6, but much more texture and quantity on the POP-GOLD so it sounds much more natural while staying clean and detailed.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), POP-GOLD outclasses the A6 here, tonality, timbre, details are much better and vocals aren’t recessed.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Both are as sharp.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Very similar tonality but since the timbre on the POP-GOLD is better it sounds more natural on the POP-GOLD.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), Both are similarly sharp.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Much more texture with both the violins/cellos on the POP-GOLD while it is much more natural due to it not having the same “piezo flavor” that is in the A6. It is cleaner and more detailed on the POP-GOLD.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), Similarly detailed and clean but with more air and better extension on the POP-GOLD. Much more natural on the POP-GOLD.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), A bit bigger soundstage on the POP-GOLD. Details and instrument separation are also a bit better on the POP-GOLD. Timbre but especially Imaging on the POP-GOLD outclasses the A6.

Overall: The A6 is a much more unique sounding and fun experience while the POP-GOLD is a more natural iem. The A6 is more V-shaped while the POP-GOLD is more U-shaped.

IEM: Fiio FH3, Faaeal litz copper cable 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), rumbles more and extends a bit lower on the POP-GOLD. The punch quantity, tightness and texture are better on the FH3 while speed is similar.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), tightness and speed along with quantity are similar, texture is a bit better on the FH3.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), texture, speed, tightness and quantity are very similar but sounds a bit better on the POP-GOLD due to it having much better instrument separation.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), More natural and better timbre on the POP-GOLD along with details and at the same time doesn’t have the slight sharpness the FH3 sometimes gets here. They are very similar in tonality but a bit warmer on the FH3 due to it having more bass quantity.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), similarly sharp.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), They are almost identical in tonality but is more natural on the POP-GOLD due to it having better timbre.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), sharper electric guitars on the POP-GOLD.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Both the violins/cellos are much more natural on the POP-GOLD due to having better tonality, texture, details and timbre.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), A bit more tonally correct, more natural and cleaner on the FH3.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Details, soundstage, instrument separation and timbre are much better on the POP-GOLD.

Overall: Bass on the FH3 is much better than the POP-GOLD. Mids are better on the POP-GOLD. Treble is better on the POP-GOLD. Technicalities are also better on the POP-GOLD. The FH3 is a much more fun iem with spectacular bass quality/quantity, while the POP-GOLD is a more technical but still quite similar in sound profile (although it is U-shaped instead of the L-shaped FH3 and that the tonality is very similar on both).

If you listen to bass focused songs, particularly Sub-bass focused genres (like trance, EDM) the FH3 is the better choice for you, for everything else the POP-GOLD wins.



IEM: Tanchjim Oxygen, Faaeal litz copper cable 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), More textured on the POP-GOLD. Rumbles more and extends lower on the POP-GOLD. Tightness and speed are similar, but sounds much more natural on the POP-GOLD due to the Oxygen´s tonality being too bright.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), Tonality is much more natural on the POP-GOLD, while the bass quantity on the POP-GOLD is higher and tightness/speed are a bit better on the Oxygen but texture is better on the POP-GOLD.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a bit tighter and faster on the Oxygen so it is cleaner. But it can be a bit sharp on it while the POP-GOLD is more natural/tonally correct and has more bass quantity.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), The vocal tonality is similar on both (a bit brighter on the Oxygen) but the instruments are better on the POP-GOLD while it is too bright on the Oxygen. Sounds more natural and detailed on the POP-GOLD.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Much sharper on the Oxygen while it is more tonally correct on the POP-GOLD (although still sharp on the POP-GOLD).

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Much more natural on the POP-GOLD due to it being way too bright and thin on the Oxygen.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), sharper electric guitars on the Oxygen.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Violins are a bit more tonally correct on the POP-GOLD but timbre is better on the Oxygen. While the Cellos are more tonally correct, natural and textured on the POP-GOLD.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), More tonally correct on the POP-GOLD and more natural since it is too bright on the Oxygen.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Timbre is a bit better on the Oxygen but overall naturality is bottlenecked by the tonality which does not suit my library. Soundstage, details, instrument separation and imaging are better on the POP-GOLD.

Overall: The POP-GOLD is more technical and more fun at the same time, it is also quite good as a reference set (since the bass and treble boost isn’t that big). The Oxygen really only performs better in timbre but as I already mentioned, the tonality bottlenecks it quite a lot for my library so It doesn’t sound more natural than the POP-GOLD anyway.


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Pop-Red:

Setup: Ibasso DX160 (low gain, volume around 35), Faaeal Litz copper cable, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Lows:
Very clean and textured bass. With very natural speed/tightness so it suits a lot of genres from rock/metal (that needs a faster and cleaner bass) to hip-hop (that needs a more powerful and not too fast bass). Sub-bass focused over mid-bass but both are quite even. It is very similar to the POP-GOLD config but since the treble quantity is lower here on the POP-RED config, it means that you can increase the volume much more without the treble bothering you. So, you can experience the bass better here.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), very tight and fast while it is very textured, every single bass strike is very distinct and clean while quantity is good. The (02:55-03:01) section is very clean (but not as clean as on the POP-GOLD config but cleaner than the MONITOR-RED config). Tonality is the best on this config since it is a bit too bright on the POP-GOLD and is cleaner sounding than on the Monitor-RED config.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), quite tight and fast with good texture. Quantity is enough to make it fun and sound natural.

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extension is very good and has rumble while the punch is impactful and makes it fun.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), quantity, texture, speed and tightness are very good.

Mids: Vocals are very natural, clean and detailed. With very good vocal balancing between male/female. Tonality is spot on with different songs either needing more thinness, thickness, warmth and brightness and the POP-RED can reproduce it.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), very tonally correct vocals/instruments without being too bright or too warm so it is very natural, and it is very detailed/clean too. Best tonality with the instruments than the 2 other configs but a bit worse than them with the vocals on tonality.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), The vocals aren’t as natural as on the MONITOR-RED config because it needs a bit more brightness and needs a bit more vocal quantity. Instruments are very tonally accurate though.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), it is sharp.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), Quite sharp.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), clean and detailed but tonality is a tiny bit too warm for the vocals but is very clean and better than the MONITOR-RED config.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Not too thick or too warm so it is very tonally correct and very clean/detailed.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), the electric guitars are a bit sharp and is very detailed but does get fatiguing.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), a bit sharp and is a bit intense, so it needs a bit reduced treble quantity.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), the cellos are very textured and sounds very natural with its tonality and is detailed/clean. While the violins aren’t as tonally correct as the cellos since it needs to be brighter for the violins.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), very natural and tonally correct but the vocals needs a bit more quantity.

Soundstage: extremely big and deep soundstage.

Tonality: Bass-boosted neutral. Timbre is extremely good and the “piezo flavor” is only noticeable on violins that is playing very high notes.

Details: Extremely detailed.

Instrument Separation: Extremely good separation and imaging

Songs that highlight the IEM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F42qhxxz5_4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve1LNJEIKUE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRVj8yU_zdo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAgPH1CWiAw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_YgT_ePnuw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zoBpYfo9WU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY2IvI7_vL0

Good genres:
My entire library, it is extremely versatile and can handle everything I threw at it.

Bad genres: None in my library



Comparisons (POP-RED):

IEM: LZ A6 (Pink), Cable 175 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Extension is similar but rumbles more on the POP-RED. Punch is tighter and faster, texture is a bit better and punch quantity is higher on the A6.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), tighter, faster, more textured and cleaner on the A6, Quantity is higher on the MONITOR-RED and sounds more natural.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), tighter and faster on the A6, but much more texture and quantity on the POP-RED so it sounds much more natural while staying clean and detailed.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Quality is similar but vocals are recessed on the A6 while it is not on the POP-RED and the timbre is much better on the POP-RED. Tonality is very similar though, but ends up sounding much more natural on the POP-RED due to the timbre and it not having recessed vocals.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Very similar on both, they both have some sharpness to the female vocals but a bit sharper on the A6.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Much more natural and tonally correct on the POP-RED, where it is lacking some thickness/warmth on the A6. It is more detailed and cleaner on the A6 though.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), They are similarly sharp with the electric guitars. Sounds cleaner and more detailed on the A6 while it is much more natural on the POP-RED due to the timbre being much better.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Much more texture with the cellos on the POP-RED and more texture with the violins with the A6 while it is overall, much more natural on the POP-RED due to it not having the same “piezo flavor” that is in the A6. It is a bit cleaner on the A6 but similarly detailed on both.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), A bit cleaner on the A6 but similarly detailed on both with much more air and better extension on the A6. But much more natural on the POP-RED.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Similar soundstage, details and instrument separation on both. Timbre but especially Imaging on the POP-RED outclasses the A6.

Overall: The A6 is a much more unique sounding and fun experience while the POP-RED is a more natural iem but still pretty fun. The A6 is more V-shaped while the POP-RED is more bass-boosted-neutral. The POP-RED is much more versatile though and can play everything in my library, while the A6 isn’t very suited for Hip-hop (due to having too tight bass) and acoustic songs (due to the timbre).



IEM: Fiio FH3, Faaeal litz copper cable 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Similar speed, rumble and punch quantity. But tighter and more texture on the FH3 while it extends a bit lower on the POP-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), Extremely similar bass here, the biggest difference is that the tonality is a bit brighter on the FH3 but that is due to the treble and not the bass directly.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), Also very similar bass here but the better technicalities on the A7 shows itself, where it is a muddier on the FH3 in comparison due to the instrument separation.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Tonality on the FH3 is a bit better with the vocals (but is a bit sharp though) while instruments are a bit better on the POP-RED. Timbre is better on the POP-RED.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a bit sharper on the FH3.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), They are very similar in tonality but is more natural on the POP-RED due to it being warmer and the timbre being better.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), A tiny bit sharper on the FH3 but sounds cleaner. While it is a bit more natural on the MONITOR-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Violins are more tonally correct on the FH3 but better timbre on the POP-RED. While the cellos are more tonally correct, better timbre, detailed, textured and more natural on the POP-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), A bit more tonally correct and cleaner on the FH3 but timbre is better on the POP-RED and sounds a bit more natural.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Details, soundstage, instrument separation and timbre are better on the POP-RED.

Overall: The POP-RED is essentially an upgraded FH3 in everyway except the bass which is either a tie or a win for the FH3 depending on what you are listening to. With more sub-bass focused genres like Hip-hop, EDM or Trance the added sub-bass quantity and texture will make it better on the FH3, while the POP-RED is much more versatile (where the FH3 can have a bit too much bass quantity, especially for acoustic songs).

IEM: Tanchjim Oxygen, Faaeal litz copper cable 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Extension, rumble, punch quantity and texture are better on the POP-RED. Speed is faster on the Oxygen while tightness is equal. Tonality is much better on the POP-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), Tonality is much more natural on the POP-RED, while the bass quantity on the POP-RED is higher and tightness is a bit better on the Oxygen but texture is better on the POP-RED and speed is similar.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a bit tighter and faster on the Oxygen so it is cleaner. But it can be a bit sharp on it while the POP-RED is more natural/tonally correct and has more quantity.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), The vocal tonality is similar on both (a bit brighter on the Oxygen) but the instruments are much more tonally correct on the POP-RED while it is too bright on the Oxygen. Sounds more natural and detailed on the POP-RED.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Much sharper on the Oxygen while it is much more tonally correct on the POP-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Much more natural on the POP-RED due to it being way too bright and thin on the Oxygen.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), Much sharper electric guitars on the Oxygen.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Violins are similarly correct in tonality while the Cellos are more tonally correct, textured and better timbre on the POP-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), More tonally correct on the POP-RED and more natural since it is too bright on the Oxygen.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Timbre is a bit better on the Oxygen but overall naturality is bottlenecked by the tonality which does not suit my library. Soundstage, details, instrument separation is better on the POP-RED while imaging is similar.

Overall: The POP-RED is better than the Oxygen for me since it sounds much more natural due to the tonality and isn’t fatiguing at all while it is fun at the same time.

IEM: LZ A7 (MONITOR-RED), Faaeal litz copper cable 4.4mm, Final Audio Type E LL tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Very similar but a bit lower extension, rumbles more and higher punch quantity on the POP-RED config. While speed, tightness and texture is also a bit better on the POP-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), A bit tighter, faster and with more quantity on POP-RED while texture is similar.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), A bit tighter on the POP-RED but very similar otherwise, and instrument separation is better on the POP-RED config so it is cleaner on it.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), the female vocals are a bit more forward on the MONITOR-RED config and more tonally correct on it.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Very similar in sharpness but a bit cleaner on the POP-RED due to it having some more treble quantity.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), More natural on the POP-RED config due to the tonality being more correct and also sound cleaner and more detailed on it.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), The electric guitars are sharper on the POP-RED config.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Extremely similar but tonality on the cellos are a bit more tonally correct on the MONITOR-RED while the violins are a bit tonally correct on the POP-RED

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), More natural on the MONITOR-RED config due to it having more female vocal quantity.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Soundstage, details, instrument separation are better on the POP-RED config. Timbre is very similar while imaging is better on the MONITOR-RED.

Overall: The POP-RED is a bit more V-shaped (without recessed vocals) in comparison to the MONITOR-RED that is neutral. Technicalities are better on the POP-RED config except for the imaging that is better on the MONITOR-RED and timbre that is equal.

IEM: Blon BL-03 (mesh mod), Cable 196, JVC Spiral dot ++ L tips

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Rumbles a bit more on the 03, but extends lower on the POP-RED. Punch quantity is very similar, but is tighter, faster and more textured on the POP-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), bass quantity is a bit more on the 03, but tightness, speed and texture are better on the POP-RED.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), The speed on the 03 can’t keep up and makes it bloaty, while it is much cleaner on the POP-RED. Tighter and more textured on the POP-RED too.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), tonality on the vocals with the 03 is a bit better due to it being brighter, but otherwise the POP-RED sounds much better.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), A bit sharper on the 03.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Tonality is better, more detailed and much cleaner on the POP-RED.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), A tiny bit sharper on the POP-RED with the electric guitars.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Timbre with the violins on the 03 is better and a bit more tonally correct. The cellos on the POP-RED is more tonally correct with more details and texture.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), Tonality on the 03 is a bit better and also sounds cleaner due to the treble quantity being higher on it.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), The 03 is outmatched by the POP-RED in every single factor from soundstage, details, instrument separation to imaging. Except the timbre that is comparable but better on the 03. But otherwise the 03 sounds like a mess in comparison on more technical tracks.

Overall: Besides the timbre, the 03 clearly isn’t in the same league as the POP-RED.



IEM: Tin Hifi P1 (EQ, High Gain), Faaeal litz copper cable 4.4mm, Azla SednaEarfit Light Short ML

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Extension, rumble, tightness, speed and texture. Everything in the bass is better on the POP-RED.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), Tighter, faster and more textured on the POP-RED while quantity is a bit lower on it but is much cleaner.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), Sounds muddy on the P1 in comparison. Speed, tightness and texture are much better on the POP-RED.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Tonality on the POP-RED is a bit better because it is a bit brighter. But the female vocals on the P1 are simply godly. The POP-RED is not on that level, but not far from it.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Similarly sharp.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Same here as on OldToday, but the planar flavor is much more noticeable (especially the cymbals) here than the piezo flavor on the treble so it sounds more natural on the POP-RED

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a tiny bit sharper with the electric guitars on the P1.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Tonality and timbre on the P1 with the violins are a bit better, although the texture and details are better on the POP-RED. Cellos on the POP-RED are better on tonality, timbre, texture and details.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), Tonality, details and timbre are much better on the POP-RED.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), Soundstage, details, instrument separation, imaging and timbre are better on the POP-RED.

Overall: The POP-RED is better in every way except the mids. But since the planar flavor is much more noticeable (P1 is bad with cymbals while POP-RED is worse with violins playing on higher notes) with the P1, the POP-RED might still sound more natural overall even with acoustic songs that are vocal focused. Also, the P1 absolutely requires a lot of output power from the amp and/or EQ that means that the price on the P1 is quite close to the POP-RED in the end. The POP-RED is a better recommendation overall.



Conclusion: The A7 is a stunningly good iem with a tuning that I consider TOTL and with excellent technicalities that (can, on POP-GOLD or the other configs with more treble) surpass everything else in this price range that I have heard so far. Couple that with the fact that the A7 has 10 different tuning configs with 5 different tuning nozzles and 2 switch settings (POP/MONITOR). Without the unique flavor from the piezo driver (that is present on the LZ A6, but gives it a very unique sound) and instead sounds extremely natural, it is an easy rec. Thanks for reading this super long review!

Cable source:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/resistance-of-cables-pics-comments-and-links.907998/

Reference/test songs:
Tin Hifi P1 EQ: Preamp -7dB, Band 1: 80 Hz, Q:0.64, Gain: 2dB and Band 2: 150 Hz, Q: 1.1, Gain: 4.5dB
Last edited:
dharmasteve
dharmasteve
Well now I've got my LZ A7 I can concur. We'll done for sticking to your guns...as we say in UK. A great IEM by any standards. I do love it when an IEM is a game changer. For me a lot of dosh, but worth every penny. Right now this and the TRi Starsea are on another level. Brilliant IEM.
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
M
MattKT
Amazing review. I really enjoy the spreadsheets you have comparing IEMs!
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