Tansio Mirai Zodiac

General Information

TSMR-12-ZODIAC-700x700.jpg

Specification
  • Driver configuration : 12 balanced armature drivers, 4-way crossover, 3 sound bores
    • 4 x low frequency (Sonion)
    • 4 x middle frequency (Sonion)
    • 2 x high frequency (Knowles)
    • 2 x ultra-high frequency (Knowles)
  • Sensitivity: 110dB/mW
  • Impedance: 32ohm
  • Socket : 2pin 0.78mm

Tuning modes
0 means turn off, push up to open, push down to off
100: Tuning 1-bass enhanced mode
020: Tuning 2-full frequency balanced mode
003: Tuning 3-medium-high frequency enhanced mode
120: Mixing Tuning 1
103: Mixing Tuning 2
023: Mixing Tuning 3
123: Mixing Tuning 4(lowest impedance)

Latest reviews

Pros: Reference signature with a subtle organic touch
Very open sounding, superb soundstage with pinpoint precise imaging
Superb transparency and resolution
Top notch treble extension and good lower treble energy delivered in a smooth and refined way
Superb balanced and very open sounding mids with good bite and smooth delivery
Bass is well extended, controlled and layered with good textures and impressive detail
Value for money
Cons: Isolation is only average (due to vented design, can’t have it all)
Bass might lack impact for bass-heads even with bass switch on
Manufacturer’s website : https://tansio-mirai.com/
Price : 1349$



Fit, Build & Isolation
The Zodiac feature a lightweight shell and the build quality is very good, the inside of the shells show the craftsmanship is very good up to the switches system with tight tolerances.

The fit is perfect with lightweight shells that you quickly forget once you wear them. The included tips are high quality, a good thing because the stem of the Zodiac is on the bigger side (over 5mm) and this means not everyone of your tip collection will fit. The fit is not too deep either which make the Zodiac quite comfortable especially for those who don’t like deeper fits.



Isolation is fair but not as good as TSMR-5 I reviewed earlier. This might be due to the vent port that is fairly unusual for an all BA IEM. I can only theorize that this port is used as a controlled vent for the 4 BA array used for the lows, we’ll see how it translates in terms of the Zodiac signature.

Introduction
I must confess I hadn’t heard much about Tansio Mirai before I reviewed the TSMR-5 but I am very happy that my fellow headfiers mentioned it as a brand to get a look into. Just like Fearless Audio, Tansio Mirai is one of the chinese brand to keep tabs on as they are getting quite a bit of traction among audiophiles that want to get high sound quality at affordable prices.

The TSMR-5 review clearly put Tansio Miraï on the map for me as a strong contender with great build and tuning knowledge. It’s one thing to be a solid option on a mid tier offering, another one to be able to contend in the higher tier.

Did Tansio Mirai hit a home run on their first attempt at a flagship IEM offering? Let’s see!


Sound

It didn’t take me a lot of time to realize the Zodiac is well above the TSMR-5 and clearly worthy of contending in the upper tier, I expected the Zodiac to be good but not by that big a margin over TSMR-5. The very first minute I clearly was impressed by the soundstage and imaging, the Zodiac is a very open sounding IEM with superb imaging and a very balanced signature with a subtle organic touch.

A very refined IEM for sure and one that does not usurp its flagship positioning, with great extension both ways, a solid midrange and smooth delivery all across the range while at the same time featuring good bite in the upper mids and good lower treble energy.

Let’s dive a bit more into the Zodiac signature!

Note : All the following impressions are provided based on setting 123 with all switches to ON.

Bass
The Zodiac bass is the epitome of audiophile bass done right : excellent sub bass extension, great but not overdone mid bass presence as well as good speed providing a great sense of rythm and a layered and detailed presentation with impeccable control. I was unable to get more information on the technical implementation so I can only theorize as to the purpose of the filtered vent ports but it would make sense to assume that it helps the ability of the Zodiac to exhibits great control as well as a layered presentation.

Sub bass extension is great, I ran Aphex Twin “Ageispolis” and Sohn “Falling” and on both tracks the massive sub bass is felt with very good power and impeccable control. This gives the Zodiac a sense of physicality somewhat of an exception to an overall smooth delivery.

The mid bass is spot on in quantity, which in my book is a strong but not overpowering bass line that does provide a sense of rythm while not take the attention away from the rest of the signature. This is exactly what the Zodiac delivers, and then some. The Zodiac exhibits an outstanding ability to portray a very detailed bass, with an onion like layering that seems to be limited only by the recording and source quality.

This is especially apparent on percussion rich tracks like african percussions from Guem “Le Serpent” : congas, darbukas and djembe are portrayed with such rich nuances of tone and textures that it’s quite a mesmerizing experience and you can almost feel the percussionist hands. Guem always says he is telling a story, it sure felt like a fascinating story with the Zodiac.

Back to one of my genres of predilection, John Coltrane “Equinox”, Elvin Jones drums have nice punch and girth, Steve Davis bass guitar good hefty weight and Coltrane Tenor Saxophone has a nice satisfying growl. This track is portrayed as well as I have ever heard it. Color me impressed.

Setting the bass switch to OFF, sub bass has less presence and the Zodiac looses its physicality but it's still very enjoyable. Mid bass presence is more reduced with much less presence and overall this result in a less bodied presentation.

Mids
The Zodiac midrange is characterized by remarkable transparency thanks to a delicate balance : just the right amount of fullness to provide body to the airy presentation, just the right amount of upper mids presence to grant instruments spot on bite while remaining smooth at tall times and a spot on timbre for vocals and instruments alike.

The Zodiac simply gets out of the way and paints a very accurate and highly detailed picture of the midrange : it’s a smooth yet vivid presentation, with lots of details and great separation between instruments with a very open soundstage. Each instruments has great space, but the overall coherency is high therefore it doesn’t sound artificially separated.

Lead instruments as well as vocals are positioned slightly forward, there is no artificial sense of depth but rather a sense of depth provided by superb imaging that does stand out on the z axis. The Zodiac soundstage is very natural and participate in the “live” feeling you get when listening, especially through a very good source on very good recordings this is really a stunning attribute.


Vocals are beautifully portrayed, both male and female and I enjoyed both Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo’s soulful duo, “Quizás, Quizás” has never sounded better.

Setting the mids switch to OFF, the mids balance remains similar the balance between lower and upper mids is unchanged, the switch seems to affect vocals and lead instruments placement. The slight vocal and lead instrument emphasis with the mids switch to ON reverts to a balanced presentation with mids switch to OFF. I do prefer the extra clarity of the vocals with the mids switch to ON but it's useful to have the ability to choose.

Treble
The Zodiac is an IEM with superb upper treble extension which is key to its excellent resolution, air and refined presentation.

It’s not in your face let me show you what I can do kind of treble but more like just the right amount of presence to actually present exquisite details without loosing any naturalness. The lower treble follows the same philosophy with a nice balance between energy and smooth delivery, the Zodiac is never fatiguing but it sure packs plenty of excitement especially with the treble swicth set to ON.

Snare drums packs good crispness and snap, cymbals have a satisfying sizzle, electric guitar buzz with energy and piano and saxophone overtones are exquisite. This might explain why I found myself enjoying my favorite Jazz albums a lot with the Zodiac, in fact I think I have a new favorite IEM for the genre.

Setting the highs switch to OFF, the Zodiac upper treble presence and lower treble energy is reduced significantly. While resolution is close, there is less air and shimmer. The treble energy is still very good but less exciting. I could see how the highs switch OFF could be appealing to more treble sensitive people. It retains the refinement but to me the Zodiac is a more exciting IEM with the treble switch ON.


Verdict

It’s a hard venture to build a flagship IEM in the current market for any brand, let alone a brand that has no track record in the upper segment other than solid lower and mid tier offering like the TSMR-5 I reviewed recently. On paper, even harder to distinguish itself as a multi-BA offering in a time where tri-brids multiply. A switch system is always nice to have but is certainly not enough as others have ventured there as well, like the QDC Anole VX I recently reviewed.

One thing surprised me when I received the Zodiac : a vent port, for a BA array is quite unusual and I am still a bit puzzled that the product sheet doesn’t mention it or the lack of information on why it was implemented. Implementation interrogations notwithstanding the Zodiac has the chops to compete in the upper segment : resolution, extension both ways, transparency and clarity are all in line with flagship performance and it’s definitely what matters here.

If you’re looking for a smooth and transparent IEM with superb soundstage and imaging that packs good punch down low, open transparent mids with good bite and refined upper treble then the Zodiac deserves your consideration!

You can find the original review here with additionnal select comparisons :
https://iem.reviews/2020/02/13/tsmr-zodiac-stellar/

Listening notes
I spent approximately 140 hours with the Zodiac, listening on Cayin N6ii with E01, Lotoo PAW 6000 and Lotoo PAW Gold Touch with the stock cable, PW Audio N°10 and ISN AG8 balanced upgrade cable.

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

Accessories
  • Cary case
  • Switch tool
  • Stock 4 wire SPC cable
Specifications
  • Driver configuration : 12 drivers, 4-way crossover, 3 tube
  • Sensitivity: 110dB/mW
  • Impedance: 32ohm
Last edited:
josesol07
josesol07
Awesome review!! I would love a comparison with Thieaudio Voyager 14.
davidmolliere
davidmolliere

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