TFZ Essence

deltecdpa

Head-Fier
Strong sound... Essence
Pros: - Great bass and sub bass performance
- Realistic timbre, clear yet warm mids
- Bright and detailed treble
- Vivid and dynamic
- Confortable fit
- Solid build and nice look
Cons: - At times the bass is overpowering
- Low smoothness could annoy treble sensitive people
- Driver flex
- Basic accessories
This is my first TFZ iem, after reading good reviews of some models I want to give a try to a DD only iem, coming from some hybrid multi-drive iems by CCA, NiceHCK and Kz.

PACKAGING: The box is nice white cardboard, inside the iems placed in foam plastic, 6 pair of tips S, M and L, 3 pair white with narrow bore and 3 pair dark grey with wide bore, plus one pair M size, dark grey, attached to the iems.
The cable is a good 4 core 3,5 mm, well built, no chin slider, but it comes with a velcro strip, wrapping it tightly on the cable it become a chin slider, maybe not beautiful to look but does the job! Then, warranty card and instructions, Chinese/English.
Adequate, not great. They were offered on Aliexpress with a free TFZ white hard carryng case and a free BT earbud set (Smabat at-20) Nice!

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BUILD AND FIT: Excellent built, almost seamless, well rounded everywhere. Clear resin body, inside the DD is enclosed in a metal mould gold color. The look is attractive, with reflections of yellow gold that change with lighting and angle to a multicolor pattern... the tiny writing "TFZ Essence ", embossed inside, does not disturb this look. The Essence is available in this gorgeous look only.
Connection is 2pin 0 78, with the charateristic TFZ variant, so that it has a shallow protrusion from iem body. Metal nozzle, with a lip to keep the tips in place, and fine metal mesh to keep dirt outside.

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The dynamic driver is beryllium coated double voice coil double cavity that, as far as I can understand, is two frequency divided and work similarly to a coaxial speaker, with the center of the diaphragm working as a mid-tweeter and the outer ring as a mid-woofer. Sound wise it seem promising.
There is a vent, in the picture below it exit under the "Essence" writing on the left side, on the right side it exit under "Tfz" writing. Good that it sits on the outer side, so it don't get blocked when weared.

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To me, they are very confortable, I can use for long time. The fit is excellent, no sharp edges and the nozzle is long enough to allow medium insertion, achieving great outside noise isolation with the right tips. There is noticeably driver flex.

SOUND: I was attracted by the TFZ trademark, the bass response. @cqtek time ago published the FR of the LIVE lineup, showing a continuous increasing towards the lower frequencies, still increasing at 20hz even if slighter! Very different than my beloved NiceHCK M6 that has a hill with the top from about 100hz to 60hz, then roll-off towards the lowest frequencies. Mid-bass bleed, and excessive upper bass thump, that forced me to equalize to reduce it and unveil more subbass.
I cannot find any Essence FR graph, I can only guess it follows a similar bass-path as the LIVE lineup.

Said that, I gave a quick listen ootb, some electro tracks. Good, deep bass (mmhh, I don't remember so strong subbass with M6), mid-treble recessed and dark ... first impression is so so, but the overall tonality is right, ok just a quick "look" before the recommended burn-in 4-5 days (someone wrote, maybe not necessary so long, but I am not in hurry) with a mix of tone sweeps, white /pink noise (made with Audacity) and some songs in repeat all. Finished, now I listen with more accuracy!

PART 1 * Source Aigo Z6 pro.
Those Essence needs a proper and long burn-in... the sound clearly open up from a dark L-shaped ootb to a mild W-shaped profile.

BASS - As I noticed ootb, there is no bloaty bass bleed, the subbass is powerful, really deep, full, and became tight and faster than ootb. Engaging and funny. But with some bass heavy tracks it gets even dizzyng at high volume! The upper bass, as said, is clear and clean from any bloating, fast and tight. Is not covered by the subbass, rather surrounded by it. I think bassheads will be happy with Essence, but I would prefer a more balanced profile. This subbass power doesn't cover the rest of the range, but takes away my attention too often! Someone reviewed as "serious bass cannons", it's not wrong.

MIDS - The tonality and timbre is right. Detailed and dynamic, mids are neutral/warm and realistic, a bit recessed in lower mids (male voices are clear and bit distant) and a bit forward in upper mids (female tones more prominent) Instruments and keyboards are very nice, rich in nuances and detail.

HIGHS - Neutral, natural and dynamic. No harshness, good extension and sparkle. No unwanted peaks, highs are bright. Detail level is good.

SOUNDSTAGE - Is not huge, good depht and width, I find it enjoyable and intimate. Nice 3D feeling, even if not very wide.

PART 2 * Source F.Audio FA3S
The good @cqtek also published the FR of the F.Audio FA3, that I think it could be applied to the FA3S too, showing from about 100hz a gradual sinking until reaching -6 dB at 20hz. Roughly is the opposite of what the Essence does (I repeat, guessing the FR is similar to the Live 1,3,X) How this may affect the Essence? Let's hear!

BASS - The roll-off of FA3S made the subbass more balanced, without affecting its thunderous power, clarity and great depht. It seems even more tight and fast. At times is still overpowering, but some light-bass tracks became more funny! I appreciate how it keeps present and deep even at low listening volume.

MIDS and HIGHS - The FA3S sounds more neutral than Z6pro, losing a bit of warmth in favour of clarity and air.

FURTHER TWEAKINGS: I bought an aftermarket cable to use the balanced output, but can't find an affordable 3.5 mm TRRS with TFZ connector, so I took a 2,5 mm 8 core occ (the FA3S has both 3,5 and 2,5 balanced outputs, along with the 3,5 mm normal unbalanced)
While the bass is unchanged, the mids and trebles became more resolving, detailed and clear, keeping quite warm. Also the soundstage gets more spacious. Not big difference, however, but a better connection can always add something more!
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TFZ stock cable vs. aftermarket cable.

COMPARISON - NiceHCK M6 (2dd+4ba) On the bass range, the Essence is better. M6 bass is thick but too enhanced on upper bass, resulting in bloaty mid-bsss, subbass is partially covered (lowering upper bass frequencies with equalizer somehow improves this, is not the ideal way but the bass gets overall enjoyable) and is muddy, not very deep. This is clearly noticeable with a track by Bassotronic - Bass, I love you (the name says it all... is popular on car audio shows when it comes to mega-subwoofer workout! But is nice melody too) while the Essence play the subbass notes clearly, phisically, tightly, with M6 they are weaker, muddy, and the lowest frequencies are almost missing. Of course, not only with Bassotronic! On mid and treble area, they are both musical, full and tonality is great, but while the M6 covers with warm velvet, the Essence is silky. M6 relaxing, warm and smooth, Essence more aggressive, bright, dynamic, detailed but no harsh.. I like them both in the mid-high range, like a more cuddling, even quite fast, Mercedes M6 vs an exciting, but still able to provide fair comfort, Maserati Essence... Soundstage is a bit better on the TFZ, wider. My preference goes to the Essence, mostly due to the greater bass performance, and for the better fit in ear. M6 confortable too, but the shallower insertion makes them easier to fall out. The TFZ also allowed me to turn off the equalizer...

Kz Zsx and CCA C12 (both 1DD+5BA)
Not a full fair comparing because they cost about 1/3 than TFZ, but can be interesting. The bass range is somehow half way between Essence and M6 (no equalizer required!)it get deep and strong close to the Essence, but muddier, lesser textured. Not much bleed into mid-bass.
Mids are warmer, with lower mids recessed and upper mids more enhanced and a bit shouty. The trebles are smoother, even fairly extended and detailed. Soundstage is similar to the M6. V-shaped, both enjoyable but clearly lesser capable. Good quality-price range, however.

CONCLUSION - I like them a lot, engaging and fun-tuned but still musical and fairly warm. They are not smooth, they are vivid, maybe treble sensitive might not enjoy those TFZ.
Imho, best paired with bass rolled-off sources to keep their powerful lower range balanced.

Rating for this set (F.Audio FA3S + TFZ Essence vs + NiceHCK M6 - both balanced connection, TFZ has equalizer off, M6 has equalizer on)
Bass 9+ (vs 7,5)
Mids 8 (vs 8)
Highs 8,5 (vs 8)
Soundstage 8+ (vs 8)
Dynamics 8,5 (vs 7)


Final OT...I built a small armor for the 2,5mm jack to fit on the F.Audio FA3S
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I always concern about protect the jack from shocks using the 3,5mm connectors, I consider pretty mandatory to protect the 2,5mm, it look so thin and fragile... yes, the FA3S may look strange (to not say uglier...) but safer!
cqtek
cqtek
I hope you enjoy them very much!
Fawzay
Fawzay
How is this compare to the tfz live X?
shenzhenaudio
shenzhenaudio
Nice review, thank you.
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