TENHZ K5 Hybrid 4-Driver In-Ear Earphone (Audbos K5)

B9Scrambler

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Build and comfort - Refined sound with useful tuning filters - Great carrying case
Cons: Sub-par cable and tips - Packaging riddled with spelling, grammar, and formatting errors
Greetings!

Today we're checking out an impressive hybrid from Tenhz, the K5.

A couple years ago Knowledge Zenith (KZ) stirred the pot and started a new trend with the creation of their uber successful budget 2+2 hybrid, the ZS5. Tons of other companies hopped on the hype train to try their hand at the format, such as the BGVP DM5, BQEYZ KC2, TRN V80, Revonext QT3s, among many others. Even KZ took at stab at it once again with the ZS6.

At 99 USD, Tenhz's take on this format is the most expensive I've come across. Does it do enough to warrant a more premium price point than it's peers? Let's find out.

Disclaimer:

Thank you Lillian from Linsoul for arranging a sample of the T5 for review. The thoughts within this review are my subjective opinions based on a couple months of use. The thoughts here do not represent Linsoul, Tenhz, or any other entity. At the time of writing the T5 retailed for 99 USD. You can check it out here on Linsoul.com or through their Aliexpress store, DD Audio.

Personal Preferences:

I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. My preferences vary greatly and as such I can appreciate a wide variety of tunes. The HiFiMAN RE800 Silver, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that are enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

Sources:

I spent most of my time with the K5 paired up with the Shanling M0 or Radsone Eastudio ES100 paired to the LG G6, LDAC enabled. It was also powered by my TEAC HA-501 with the ZiShan DSD or HiFi E.T. MA8 acting as the source. The K5 doesn't need to be amped, but I find the presentation slightly cleaner when it is.

Specifications:
  • Drivers: 2 dynamic + 2 balanced armature
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 40,000Hz
  • Impedance: 32ohms
  • Sensitivity: 99dB
  • Maximum Input Power: 10mW
  • Distortion: =/< 2%
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Packaging and Accessories:

The K5 comes in the same packaging as the P4 Pro with a nearly identical accessory kit. Primarily a matte white, there are some flourishes here and there on the front. Along with the usual branding, there is a glossy image of the earphones themselves with the cable attached. Also present is the statement “Completely Transparent Headphones”. Not sure if they're referring to the sound or build. A clipart style image of a record and player arm wraps around the bottom left and onto the left panel. On the rear you find a fairly extensive specifications list and a paragraph explaining the K5 and it's features via roughly translated English. You might think that by now these companies would have worked to improve the quality of translations given how popular Chinese earphones have become in primarily English speaking countries. Not that it really matters though, since most people will extend maybe a cursory glance at the package before tossing it out. Below this paragraph is a frequency response chart free of the usual stylized flourishes popularized by more mainstream brands. Lastly, there is an accessory list. One item of note is “headphone cable with microphone”. No mic here.

Pulling the interior tray out from the top via a white ribbon, you find the tray is split into two sections. The top half is filled with a very premium looking and feeling, magnetically sealed leatherette carrying case proudly displaying a small metal plaque emblazoned with the Tenhz Audio name and logo. This thing is nice and a very cool inclusion. The second segment contains the earpieces and tip collection placed within a foam insert. Underneath is the cable, neatly coiled and wrapped, and the spare filters. In all you get:
  • K5 earphones
  • MMCX cable
  • Leatherette carrying case
  • Single flange silicone ear tips (s/m/l)
  • Memory foam tips (s/m/l)
  • Silver filters
The foam tips are of decent quality using a fairly dense, almost rubbery foam. I have quite a few of these kicking around and find they last a lot longer than Comply equivalents. Easy to wash too, if necessary. The silicone tips are the same generic set you get with numerous other budget earphones. While they work, they didn't give me an ideal seal so I swapped them out after my initial listen for some Spintfit CP100s.

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Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

The K5 features aluminum alloy shells with a beefy octagonal design. On the face is the Tenhz logo laser etched into the powered finish so that it is nearly hidden unless the light hits it just right. L and R markings are etched into the protrusion for the cleanly integrated MMCX ports using the same technique, as is the model name on the inside. Fit of the three component parts (inner shell, outer shell, and nozzle) is excellent with no unsightly gaps and tight seams all around. The threading for the nozzle filters is smooth and well-crafted. As long as you line them up properly, they screw into place with little to no resistance. Lastly, there is a pinhole vent up top in front of the MMCX port ensuring no driver flex or pressure build up upon insertion. Overall the construction of the K5's ear pieces is pretty outstanding and I have little doubt they'll last a long time.

The cable is pretty average in my opinion, despite looking quite similar to one of my favourite cables. Where most of the competition is including really high quality braided cables with their earphones, the more traditional single-strand cable here comes across somewhat basic. The clear sheath revealing the shimmery wires within looks fantastic, but it's a touch thin and on the stiff and springy side. The straight jack is very small with a flare that makes gripping it easy, but the strain relief is too stiff to provide any real protection from tugging. It also looks very similar to the jacks I've got on a few sub-10 USD earphones. The simple, relief free y-split is much the same and doesn't quite mesh with the angular design of the ear pieces. Things improve leading up to the MMCX plug where you find an outstanding set of preformed ear guides which oddly enough, have a slimmer section at the very end acting as extra strain relief. Cool. The plugs themselves are compact, clear sections of plastic that look pleasing to the eye and feel durable. It's a decent cable.

You'd think the K5 would be uncomfortable thanks to the angular design. For me at least, that could not be more wrong. Despite the unconventional shape, they're some of the most comfortable earphones I've ever worn. All the edges are rounded and smooth and despite having four drivers in each ear piece, they're quite small so there is little worry about them pressing uncomfortably into your outer ear. The nozzle is a fairly standard size so you can swap on pretty much whatever tip you want, another thing that helps greatly with comfort.

Isolation is not a strong suit of the K5 so it isn't an earphone I'd want to take with me on the bus. With music on at my usual low volumes and a video playing through my laptop speakers in the background, I could still follow along with the video no problem. Out in the chaos of our local coffee shop, the volume needed to be raised quite a bit to counter the noise. Foam tips help, but not as much as you'd want.

Sound:

Filters: The K5 comes with two filters, neither of which has documentation stating what they are for. In my experience, the pre-installed gunmetal filters would probably be called “treble” and the alternate silver filters”balanced”. I wouldn't call either a “bass” filter since the perception of bass doesn't elevate under either configuration. Both filters are surprisingly smooth, especially when you consider the BA's are tucked into the nozzle and quite prominent when the filters are off. The “treble” filter let's the upper ranges shine and makes the K5 feel light and airy. The “balanced” filter draws the treble in quite a bit which brings the mids forward and evens things out. I bounced between both filters during my time with the K5 since I liked them both quite a bit, something I don't often do with interchangeable filter earphones.

The K5's treble is well extended with a fairly light, nimble presentation. Decay is quick but not unrealistic so the crashing cymbals on Supertramp's “School” carry with them an appropriate amount of energy. Notes are well weighted with an airy feel giving the upper regions of the K5 strong definition and clarity. I couldn't sense any graininess or unpleasant peaks, especially with the “balanced” filters which make the upper regions of the K5 a fair bit more mellow. If you're treble sensitive and find hybrids a bit too aggressive, the K5 might be right up your alley.

The mid-range is set back slightly but that's about the only criticism I can levy at it. The upper mids aren't shoved forward making female vocals strident, and instead are nicely balanced with the lower mids. This lets Sarah Barthel and Big Boi's vocals play off each other well on Big Gram's “Fell in The Sun”. Guitars have a solid attack and crunch to them too as evident on Havok's “D.O.A”, yet can still be soft and nuanced as evident running Porcupine Tree's “Baby Dream in Cellophane” through the K5. I quite enjoy the mid-range presentation of the K5. It sounds accurate, detailed, and very dynamic.

Bass on the K5 is prominent but doesn't really do anything to draw your attention. It does not come across as being particularly punchy and it doesn't provide a lot of sub-bass rumble, but it still has a snappy decay as heard on the simple drumming on Porcupine Tree's “Stop Swimming”. It's kind of weird but pleasing at the same time, and despite being prominent plays more of a support role due to the somewhat soft, lightweight feel of it which really sticks out on Culprate's “Undefined”. It can actually be quite relaxing. I think part of this is due to the fairly smoothed out texturing.

The K5's sound stage to my ears is excellent. Certainly above average. It has a ton of depth and can be quite wide which gives tracks a very lively and dynamic feel since you'll find elements playing at wildly varying distances. BT's “Antikythera Mechanism” does a great job of showing this off with effects zipping rapidly from channel to channel while softer beats pitter patter in the background. Imaging is also handled well with small movements being picked up and easy to discern, though the size of the stage does make it a little more vague then an earphone with a more focused or confined sound. Layering and separation were never an issue in my time with the K5, likely thanks to all those drivers combined with the overall spaciousness of the presentation.

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Select Comparisons (volumes matched with Dayton iMM-6):

Alpha & Delta D6 (99.00 USD) Treble filter on K5: The Delta's single dynamic drivers are brighter than the K5's hybrid setup, even with it's “treble” filters installed. The D6 puts less emphasis on the upper treble giving it a less organic and more detailed, clinical presentation. I prefer the K5's treble sinve the D6 can give cymbals an unnaturally, crunchy feel on some tracks. They have a similarly impressive sound stage. I'll chalk that up to the D6's HDSS tech which in my experience gives earphones are very open feel. The K5 does sound slightly wider and deeper though. The K5's mid-range is warmer and less forward, with clarity that is just a step behind, but it sounds more natural and timbre accurate. Bass on the D6 isn't as elevated but has better extension and a firmer, more authoritative feel to it. On one hand I like the D6's more energetic presentation, but on the other hand the K5 sounds more natural and realistic. The D6 can also be tiring thanks to the lower treble emphasis.

When it comes to build both are nice. The D6's braided, silver-plated cable is spectacular but fixed, so that might be a deal breaker for some. The hardware is especially nice with a large spring acting as strain relief for the 90 degree angled jack. I prefer the K5's ear pieces though. The D6's are chrome fingerprint magnets and can be uncomfortable due to their girth and shallow fit. The K5's power coating feels more durable and looks nice, plus the low profile fit is immeasurably more comfortable.

Macaw GT600s (99.00 USD) Balanced filters on both: These two have a similar presentation with the GT600s' 1+1 hybrid setup having a darker and more mid-bassy feel than the K5. Treble on the K5 is more energetic with improved extension and a tighter, cleaner presentation with greater control. GT600s' mid-range is slightly thicker and warmer with a touch less detail and clarity. Timbre is about the same. Bass on the K5 extends more but lacks the slam of the GT600s, though neither is anything to write home about in that department. Both have a larger than average sound stage with the K5 excelling in imaging accuracy, layering and separation. I enjoy both earphones but the K5's extra treble energy and deeper bass wins me over.

When it comes to build, the GT600s looks and feels like the more premium product thanks to it's use of heavy brushed steel and Gorilla glass logo inserts. It's filter system is also a big beefier and feels more durable since you remove the entire nozzle and not just a slender cap at the end. The GT600s has a nicer cable too being that it is braided with quality steel hardware and better strain relief. Comfort goes to the K5 easily. The GT600s' shape isn't as ergonomic and requires some mild fiddling to get them into the perfect spot. Once in they're fine.

Final Thoughts:

Looking past the K5's entertaining spelling, grammar, and formatting errors on the packaging, average accessory kit (minus that quality pleather case), and reasonable cable, you're getting a very capable earphone. It has a smooth, coherent signature with some functional tunability thanks to the included filters, and a wonderful sound stage. It's above average sound quality is backed by excellent long term comfort and durable, well crafted metal shells that would look pretty slick paired with a higher quality third party cable. Unlike the HiLisening HLS-S8 which suffered from similar presentation and accessory issues, the K5 is actually worth the 99 USD being asked. Well worth a look.

Thanks for reading!

- B9Scrambler

***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

Some Test Tunes:

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
Tobacco – screw*d Up Friends (Album)
Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
Always different tastes. I like bad earphones, lol. K5 doesn't come across metallic to me, but I also don't find it quite as smooth as I made it seem in the review now that I have them in for another listen. That said, I've been spending all my time with the CA Andromeda/IO/Polaris V2 so I'm not entirely surprised. Compared to the stuff in the review, the K5 is pretty smooth and less offensive.
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
Tonality and timbre are fairly close to sounding right, if not a little on the lighter side. Still well within what I expect for stuff in this price range. No idea where my Series 4 is but I expect the K5 would be my preference. If i recall correctly the Series 4 was fine but lacking character and blended in with the rest of TFZ's lineup. Pretty forgettable.
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
I'm sure you can find better in this price range but the K5 is still a safe rec for me. Not expensive, well built, inoffensive signature with solid technicals. Not hype worthy. Just a rock solid earphone. @harry501501 if you want some specific comparisons you'll have to wade through my backlog and make some suggestions. I've covered so much the last couple years I can no longer keep track of it all. Sorry.

suman134

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Nicely detailed Mid range and Treble. Good amount of micro details. Fantastic build quality. Very good accessories pack.
Cons: Thinner, metallic, unnatural tonality. non-cohesive sound. Could have a bit more bass.
INTRO :-

I have been reviewing some BA based earphones lately. But here I am reviewing the Tenhz K5, previously known as Audbos (I previously reviewed the P4). Audbos was one of their OEM. Tenhz, the Chinese manufacturer has now taken the matter in to their hand. They Have a few earphones in their kitty ranging from $80 to $200.

The K5 is a dual BA dual Dynamic earphone with a 4 way cross over, with 2 sets of acoustic tuning filter for 2 different sound signatures. Priced at Around $95 it comes in three colors, metal Grey, silver and black, faces very tough competition from other chinese makers like KZ, TFZ and Kinera. I will compare this with the TFZ Series4, Earnine EN210 and IT-01.

I would like to thank Selina from Tenhz for the Review unit.

Specification:-

Speaker drive mode :2Balanced armature+2Dynamic

Impedance : 32 Ω ±10%

Frequency Response : 10Hz---40KHz

Sensitivity :99±2db

L&R Channel Banlance Sensitivity :≤2db

Max Input Power :10mW

Length :120cm±5cm

wire material :Tpe

Plug material :3.5mm gold-plated

Distortion : ≤2%

ACCESSORIES & PACKAGING:-

There are 6 pair of tips out of the box, 3 pair of foam and silicone tips in S/M/L sizes. There is a straight plug 3.5mm cable, there are 2 sets of acoustic tuning filter for 2 different sound signatures, the reference filter is already installed on the nozzle. An aptly spacious case and a some documentation sums up the package.

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BUILD AND CABLE:-

K5 is all metal, the company claims it to be an aluminum-magnesium alloy shell, it feels premium and one don’t need to worry about the durability of this earphone, I myself tried a few drop tests from various height ranging from 2 feet to 5, just to check if the shell will come off under shock, it didn’t.

The audio cable and MIC cable have similar attributes, both have memory problems, both are bouncy thanks to the rubber coat on them. Both the cables have straight 3.5mm jack, lack chin sliders and have memory cable guides. The MIC has average voice clarity at the receivers end.

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COMFORT AND SEAL :-

The fit with silicone tips is good but swapping that with foam tips gives a more secure fitting.

Thanks to the longer nozzle the K5 is reasonably comfortable, but can be uncomfortable for those who have narrower ear canals as the nozzle is wider than average.

Thanks to the wider bore, the nozzle doesn’t go deep into the ear hence seal is just average.

CAUTION:- don’t use earphones where you have to be aware of your surroundings like driving and walking on the road, stay home and enjoy your music or at gym.

SOUND QUALITY:-

My impression was bad initially, I felt, here comes another which I will not like to review. But around 120hrs of burning changed my mind. The mid bass settled down, the sub-bass came up a bit and most importantly the treble region gained admirable amount of energy and extension.

The K5 is V shaped, the mids are in the valley, specially the vocals. You should have heard it before burning in.. it was worse.

The K5 sounds warmer with a darker tonality and has a metallic timber. Not the most natural sounding earphone for sure. It sounds very analytical, emotionless.

P.S. The earphone is burned for more than 150 hrs and I am using stock foam tips for this review. The K5 is slightly less sensitive but can be driven from mobile phones, no amping needed.

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BASS:-

It uses two dynamic drivers, bigger of the is two is responsible for the

Compared to the Magaosi K3 pro the K5 has very similar bass attributes, let it be sub-bass, body or decay. Quantity and slam is slightly bigger.

The K5 doesn’t have a huge bass response, In fact it's not a bass friendly earphone. It still has a nicely rounded body, an average sized slam with low amount of air to it. The quantity and body are more than the EN210 but is far less when compared to the TFZ series4 or king, the twins are oozing with bass prowess, with huge impact and slam.

There is okay amount of sub-bass, it doesn't go very deep but has some rumble to it. Mid bass has a bit more energy but with some of the best decay in this price range it delivers better note presentation than the TFZ twins. As far as sub-bass is concerned the EN210 has the best reach.

Thanks to the accuracy with decay, the K5's bass has good amount of details and texture, it might not be the most detailed or has the best texture for the price but details is better than the Schmitt S10 and even the S20.

MID RANGE:-

Lately I have been reviewing BA based earphones and none of them were this much "V" shaped. When the typical BA sound is married with a metallic timber, things are sharper with an unnatural tonality. It does give it an edge when it comes to the amount of details. The K5 picks plenty of micro details. It's one of the most detailed $100 earphone available in the market as of now. It bites with sharper notes and on your face king of details.

The K5 exhibits plenty of attack, leaner notes makes the mid range feel thin and less emotional. EN210 does admirably

in this regards.

If the Schmitt S20, S10 and TFZ twins were thicker, the K5 vocals are considerably sharper, over doing the accuracy and precision both male and female vocals can use some thickness to them.

Going with the rest of the spectrum the upper mid range too has plenty of details and sharpness to them.

Stage is just average, very intimate and more inside the head, it has good height but lacks with width and depth. The TFZ twins are bigger in every direction when compared to it.

TREBLE:-

I have been dying to review an earphone with an energetic and lively top end. The K5 delivers at last.. Sigh of relief. Are people getting allergic to top end spark and energy? I hope not. If you are, trade with caution, as the spark might scare the kitty.

The K5 has very good amount of treble energy. IT doesn't lack details or definition and stand out with its accuracy. Extension and amount of details it delivers too is class leading, far better than any of the earphones mentioned in this article. It really delivers on my needs for extension and treble spark. Sigh..

Separation of instruments is good, thanks to sharper notes which let air between instruments. As the treble stage is considerably small, both layering and instrument placement is average.

The overall imaging and resolution of the K5 is very good. Its like a High res picture, you can see the details but it's not much engaging.

COMPARISON TABLE :- (out of 10)

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Just for information :- This evaluation is an opinion of mine and only mine. It is subjective to differ from person to person. If you prefer to deny, you are welcome.

CONCLUSION:-

The biggest strength of the K5 is the amount of details it can deliver, putting all the 4 drivers to good work, it produces some of the best in class treble details, extension and energy. The biggest problem with it is the unnatural timber.

If you though your last earphone was subpar with details and lack treble extension and energy, get the Tenhz K5. Given than you can adjust to its un-cohesive, unemotional sharper notes presentation.

Its not for those looking for a Hip sound, it is for someone who is serious about his micro details.

Hope you guys are having a nice time. Cheers, Enjoy.

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