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TFZ King Pro

  1. areek
    TFZ KING PRO: Fun & detailed
    Written by areek
    Published Aug 27, 2019
    Pros - Detailed sound, Great bass response, Good imaging and presentation, engaging v-shaped tonality, great for pop & alt. rock, stock cable complements tuning
    Cons - Recessed lower midrange, 8k peak, Sibilance on some tracks, long burn in(>100hrs), heavy cable splitter and useless chin slider
    Hello again guys, I am Areek Nibras, physician, father of a 1 yr old daughter and music lover from Bangladesh. I enjoy listening to most types of music & my sonic preference usually is warm & mid centric with non-offensive treble (see my gears page). Today I will be reviewing the King pro IEMS from The Fragrant Zither (TFZ). TFZ are a Chinese company who specialize in in ear monitors only, There products range from entry level to high end(750$) in ears. The King pro sits in the middle of that lineup at 169MSRP (penon audio) and is the highest prized iem in the King series. This IEM challenges the sub 200$ genre with a fun V shaped detailed sound for the avg. fun loving audiophile. Local retailer ‘Box Tech’ has introduced the TFZ lineup of iems in my country and this is the pair that I personally liked the most amongst their offerings under 200$.

    The TFZ King pro iems have been personally bought by me through the authorized distributor. It was a open box unit but very slightly used considering I got them just after 3-4 days of arrival. I am in no way affiliated with TFZ as well as Box tech. The review I'm posting is just my opinion regarding the product and it was not influenced by any means by anyone else.

    SPECIFICATION (taken from penon audio product page)
    · Driver: 12mm Dual-magnetic two-way graphene driver
    · Magnet material: NdFeB N50
    · Diaphragm material: graphene
    · Diaphragm diameter: 8.9MM
    · Diaphragm thickness: 6U
    · Voice coil material: copper clad aluminum wire
    · Frequency response range: 5HZ ~ 40000HZ
    · Harmonic distortion: 0.7%
    · Impedance: 55 ohms
    · Sensitivity: 108dB
    · Lowest power: 8 mW
    · Connectors: 2-pin 0.78mm
    · Plug 3.5mm straight
    · Magnetic flux: 9000KGS
    · Wire: core count 4 * 18 * 0.05 5N oxygen-free copper
    · Outer: high flexibility transparent PVC

    The iems come in a white brick shaped box. The front of the box has the name of the product written on it. On the back, there are some info regarding the manufacturer and a sticker on the bottom showing the color options of the model. The King pro comes in 4 colors- green, blue, red and gray. You can probably also choose a blue-red combo depending on availability. I have the green unit as it is my most loved color.
    The cover on the box slides off to reveal a transparent plastic cover beneath which the driver units are placed on a thick plating with cutouts for the drivers. After taking out the plating, the bottom portion reveals a white pelican like case, the ear tips, the cable and a manual. Simple but elegant packaging.
    The drivers are enclosed inside a beautiful cnc cut aluminum housing which looks elegent and gives the iems a premium feel to it. But this also makes the iems a bit heavier. The iems are ergonomically shaped for each ear & boasts a 0.78mm 2 pin female connector port on the front upper portion of the iems. The connector housing is plastic. This iem is designed to be worn with cable around the ear only. The driver nozzle has a perforated metallic guard inside the hole. There is a small porthole on the inner surface of the iem body near the nozzle. The nozzle itself is 6.2mm and should fit majority of aftermarket tips. The R/L markings are printed in white. On the outer side, the TFZ logo and icons are printed in white.
    00000IMG_00000_BURST20190828021714586_COVER.jpg 00000IMG_00000_BURST20190828021817673_COVER.jpg
    Speaking of tips, these come with 7 pairs of silicone tips, 3 pairs of wide bore tips in 3 (s,m,l) sizes and 4 pairs of narrow bore tips (s, 2m, l). I did not get any foam tips with these, probably they are not shipping those tips anymore. For me it isn’t an issue because I do not enjoy foam tips and the stock silicones complement these iems well, but more into that later.

    I have mixed feelings for the cable that came with it though. It complements the iems well in terms of both looks and performance. It is stated to be a 4 core 5n ofc copper cable according to penon audio website, however the tfz website is saying that it is a silver-plated copper cable. I personally feel it is spc comparing it to my other copper cables but I can’t be certain about this. The cable is about 4 feet long with ear hook guides near the driver end and terminated with a nice gold plated 3.5mm straight jack. The strain reliefs are quite good and overall the cable is nicely built. There is also a Velcro cable tie permanently attached to the cable, which is very convenient. However, the biggest flaw of this cable is the very heavy metal Y splitter and similarly heavy chin slider. These add unnecessary weight on the ear hooks and renders the chin sliders useless as they fall down because of their weight. This causes extra pressure on the back of the ears due to the downward pull of the cable. I wish they used a lighter material. Also, the lack of a shirt clip is noticeable.
    There is no microphone in this cable. If required, aftermarket 2 pin cables with mic can be found on Aliexpress.

    The iems come with a white plastic hard shell box that resembles some pelicans. It provides a good seal. The inside has 2 foam cutouts for top and bottom surfaces but those are not fixed with the body & can fall off if turned upside down. The size, although small enough for a pocket, will give your pants a tumor like bump (lol). Anyways, these are actually quite good for keeping the iems safe while carrying around.

    Fit, comfort & isolation:
    These iems are designed to be worn with the wire hooked around the ear. There is no option to wear these straight down due to the placement of the connectors. The iem fits snuggly on my medium sized external ears. I got the best fit/performance with the medium sized narrow bore silicone tips that came with these.

    After getting a good fit, the seal is quite good. The supplied tips are quite soft and flexible so they adjust well to the size of the ear canals. These do not fall at all on head movement. And a good fit also accompanies a solid isolation. During playback, I could not hear anything from 2 feet away. There is slight sound leakage which is not audible to anyone standing more than 2 feet away, so that’s good too. However, it is important to keep aware of the surroundings, especially if anyone plans to walk/commute with these.

    On the ears, without the cable, comfort is good. The buds extend slightly outside my ears just to allow the cable to be attached without any friction with my ears on the front.
    However, as I have previously mentioned, the cable is heavy due to the metal splitters, which causes quite a bit of downforce on the hooked part of the cable. This, along with the housing being heavy, can cause a bit of discomfort. It’s not painful, but I do feel that this adds to some stress, which is relieved on removal of the earbuds. I can’t wear them constantly for long listening sessions and need to take them off for sometime every 30-40 mins or so. Changing the cable to a lighter one I had helped with comfort a lot.

    The TFZ King Pro, overall has a very fun V shaped sound. Its dynamic drivers offer a very enjoyable listening experience and is likeable by the fun-loving audiophile. However, it’s not a perfect iem and has several drawbacks, which make it specifically enjoyable for pop/rock/alt rock type songs but not so suitable for metal/vocal tracks. Let’s get into it-

    Gears used-
    PC- Foobar2000/Tidal> Audio GD R2R11> DROP THX AAA 789> Kpro
    UAPP/ Tidal> Pioneer XDP 300R> Kpro
    Tidal> Oneplus 6> Tempotec Sonata (with or without)> Kpro

    Tip & cable rolling-
    I tried various tips with this unit. The unit itself comes with both narrow bore and wide bore tips. I also had some comply T-200s lying around as well as the symbio W tips. The narrow stock tips sounded the best to me as it made the bass articulate, mids and treble well controlled. The wide bore tips sounded less warm but with kind of wonky mids & highs. The comply tips ate some of the treble to give a smoother experience but also took some mids with it and is not recommended. The symbio tips sound very much like the stock except some added mid bass, but were the stiffest of all the tips.
    I also tried changing the cable to a ofc 8 core balanced one that I got from Aliexpress. That cable added some warmth to the base and made the vocals slightly fuller while taming the highs slightly. Which cable to use is a personal preference.

    For the review, I chose to use the medium sized narrow bore tips and stock cable.

    The TFZ King Pro’s, out of the box had a very bright tonality with way too recessed midrange for my liking. However, I have given them 100+ hours of burn in time using pink noise and sine sweep as well as some regular songs that I listen to. The end result is a warmer, less peaky sq and slightly improved mid response. So, burn in is recommended.

    The best part of the king pro is definitely it’s bass response. It has a boosted sub bass which is followed by a more natural mid bass, which beautifully blends into the mids without any bleed. Too much mid bass tend to ruin the mids for me, so I loved how it did not. The sub bass has a visceral rumble and extended back as long as the audible range goes. The bass is beautifully layered, detailed, fast, impactful and there is a slight decay, which complements the sound. with Tracks like Boom Clap (Charlie xcx), Starboy, the hills(The weeknd), Doing it Right (daft punk), Sunflower(post Malone) sound delightful, effortless & clean. Pop, EDM lovers rejoice.

    The king pro’s biggest drawback is it suffers from lower mid recession. This makes these iems sound quite thin, especially with male vocals. Female vocals also suffer a bit. The recession stops at around 700-800hz and then is followed by a peak at 3-4khz. This causes a bit of sibilance to be heard, especially in songs with prominent/shouty vocal presence like Only hope- Mandy Moore or Hanging By A Moment- Lifehhouse. This is especially evident on bright sounding source. Vocals sound like they are a bit distant compared to other instruments. This is evident in most of the songs, especially in comparison to my isine 10. Instruments like piano, guitars which on the other hand sound very detailed, well separated, have good body and do not suffer from the recession much. King pro can handle complex midrange quite well. In general these sound very good with pop, alt rock, EDM, instrumental, orchestral tracks (Bleed by hot chelle rae, rather be by clean bandit, most muse songs) but sounds very thin & sibilant for metal, acoustic type tracks.

    The highs in these are certainly prominent and can make these iems sound bright on bass light tracks. These are very detailed, have enough sparkle & excellent clarity and makes for a very fun listening experiance. Their detail retrieval is almost at the level of the isine 10s. This was the buying point for me for these iems. However, there is complete roll off after 10khz & a sharp peak near 8khz frequency, which, while is okey for most of the tracks, can become a bit too much for the ears in those tracks with heavy treble presence. For example, the entire Stairway to heaven track sounded great to me till the part near the end where cymbals & high hats are in play. Also, Edge of the earth by 30STM sounded bright but tolerable in my desktop but not so in my sabre based dap. I did not have any issues with regular pop, alt rock type of songs. So this is something one should bear in mind. Anyone desiring brightness will enjoy this for sure.

    Soundstage and imaging-
    Being a closed back IEM, I have very little expectations with the soundstage and as expected, but it is surprisingly wide. I would say it has a soundstage of a small pub that hosts live performances. The instruments never sound congested, separation is reasonably good, unless we go to very complex treble heavy tracks. The imaging is excellent to say the least. In the track Glassy Sky by Tokyo Ghoul (thanks to Wahid Shams for the track), I could easily place the drums playing from behind and slightly below my head with lateralizing to the right in the end. I also tried some games (cricket 19, csgo) which were an immersive experience, although not at the level of the DT990 had or the isine 10. Overall, quite good.

    Device pairing-
    1. PC- Audio GD R2R11> DROP THX AAA 789> Kpro:
    The R2R dac provides some oomph to the mids making the kpro’s slightly fuller sounding while also taking some of the treble away. The 789 amp is very capable too. This is my most liked setup with the kpro.

    2. UAPP/ Tidal> Pioneer XDP 300R> Kpro: The XDP-300R uses ESS Sabre 9018 chip which gives a very detailed, punchy sound to the krpo. This is my most liked portable setup, however, some sharpness in certain treble heavy songs were quite noticeable. It was also more prone to sibilance compared to pc setup.

    3. Tidal> Oneplus 6> Kpro: The OP6 can run the 55ohm driver of the kpro with respectable volume. But it sounds very anemic & thin across the spectrum. Not very much recommended unless one uses a phone with a well implemented DAC.

    4. Tidal> Oneplus 6> Tempotec Sonata > Kpro: The sonata is a very dynamic solution compared to the dull on board dacs that my oneplus 6 has. The bass becomes punchy and more enjoyable. However, there is some treble boost which in most cases might be fun but in some cases is a hit or miss. Overall, quite good.

    Comparison with TFZLUX Tequila 1

    I had the chance to compare the kpro with the tequila as they were also available at local store. Tequila is a bit cheaper than the kpro but is a solid competitor. The tequila, with wide bore tips has less sub bass but more mid bass compared to the kpro. The mid bass has a tendency to bleed into the lower mids making for a muddier experience. However, the tequila is a more balanced sounding iem as it has good mid presence, which is better than the king pro. It also didn’t sound sibilant. But the king pro clearly wins in detail retrieval. The tequila also is less sparkly up top but it has an even sharper 8khz peak which might not go well with certain tracks. Soundstage is slightly wider on tequila but is a bit leaky. I could say the Tequila is a jack of all trades but master of none, while the king pro is actually a king of V shaped tune.

    Comparison with Isine 10 (reveal plugin)-
    I will keep this comparison brief as I do not find this to be a fair comparison, but it is currently the only in ear device that it can be compared to. The Isine 10 is an open back planer magnatic in ear headphone which sounds unlike anything else under sub 500$ (except for the 20s, lol). And with proper eq settings, these become even more exciting. The isine 10 is a very balanced iem when used with reveal plugin, it gets close to the Harman curve. The king pro can only match the isines in one thing, that is detail retrieval. Everything else is a win for the isines. The isine 10 is more dynamic, energetic and tonally engaging compared to the king pro. It has a very fast, tight, impactful bass. King pro bass is also very good, perhaps closer to the isines but is a tad slower and has a slight decay with lesser punch. The midrange of the isines is much fuller & balanced whereas the kpro is recessed and sometimes sibilant. The treble is more neutral & in control in the isines without losing any detail and sparkles & it never becomes too sharp like the kpro can. It is also more extended in the highs. Being open back, the isines enjoy a larger & more accurate soundstage which gives a more immersive experience. Overall, the kpro is very good in its own terms, but the isines are effortless.

    Despite the drawbacks, The TFZ King Pro iems hold their own in the sub 200$ genre with it’s fun but audiophile-oriented V shaped sound. It does 2 things right, bass & detail retrieval hitting well above the competition in these 2 segments. It also has a tonality that is very easy to like. For me, the king pro offers very good value & fits perfectly with my other audio gear & is a welcome change. I love these little monsters and can recommend to anyone looking for a sub 200$ iem with v-shaped coherent sound & is not scared of a little treble sharpness.
      kmmbd likes this.
  2. karmacoma7
    Was enjoying it for two months, now its broken.
    Written by karmacoma7
    Published Jul 20, 2018
    Pros - Liked the sound, sounds better than branded headphones for $500
    Cons - Broke in just two months
    Was enjoying it for two months listening for 2-3 times a week ( I have a lot of headphones).

    I must say, the burn-in really changed the sound form harsh treble to very pleasing.
    Could`ve recommended it for the LG V20/V30 or similar, but I have faced an issue.
    Just recently, I was happy how well it performs for a $150 model, however...

    Sound stoped coming from the left headphone. Cable socket in left headphone dangles. Pressing cable to the right restores sound for brief period. No contact in socket or bad soldering. Cable itself is ok ( checked by plugging in cable from right speaker.)

    Can't give more than 2 stars, since it`s broken in just 2 months.
    I hope the company will respond about the warranty.


    1. IMG_20180720_203747.jpg
    1. liquidrats
      You could get a replacement via lendmeurears....
      liquidrats, Jul 23, 2018
    2. RikudouGoku
      Have you tried different cables? or just switching the left and right cable?
      RikudouGoku, Jun 20, 2019
    3. FRZFLX
      Got the exact same issue on my TFZ No.3 Ti. Cable socket on the left side loose, still works, but now you got worried. Did you get your unit replaced?
      FRZFLX, Oct 22, 2019
  3. B9Scrambler
    TFZ King Pro: Hail to the Zither, Baby!
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published May 27, 2018
    Pros - Craftsmanship and materials - Refined sound - Large sound stage
    Cons - Overemphasized mid-bass - Weighty cable (y-split esp.)

    Today we're checking out The Fragrent Zither's (TFZ) second earphone in their new TFZLUX series, the King Pro. Like the Tequila 1, the first model in this premium lineup, the King Pro takes a step away from their lower end offerings in a number of ways and comes out looking all the better for it.

    Your eyes are first drawn to their new packaging style. It has you holding a simple white box with minimal printing on the front of the exterior sheath letting you know what's inside; The Fragrant Zither's King Pro in-ear-monitor. Out back this info in repeated along with some company contact info. Sliding off the sheath things remain uncomplicated with the bright red, blue, or green earpieces of the King Pro set within a flat white backdrop, 'King Pro' printed in slender lettering below. Underneath within a foam inlay you find a product manual, nearly the same enhanced cable they included with the Tequila 1, and a palm-sized Pelican style hard case which holds the spare tips; 1 set of medium foams, 3 pairs of small bore single flange (s/m/l), and 3 pairs of wide bore single flange (s/m/l).


    TFZ's new cable loses the silver plated feature of the Exclusive series in favor of a more straightforward quad-core copper cable, though it is still terminated in the 0.78mm 2-pin connectors we've come to expect from the brand. Also returning are the pre-formed ear guides that work exceptionally well at keeping the cable behind the ear, and with reducing noise transmission through when it rubs against your clothing. You still get some cable noise, though not enough for it to be a serious detriment in any way. One major improvement is to the male connectors which wrap around the female connectors. This change gives the pins some protection from bending and addresses one of my main criticisms with the connectors on the My Love II, Exclusive 1, 3, and 5, and the Series 4, none of which provided any protection for the pins once plugged in.

    Another change that I see as both a positive and a negative is to the materials used on the y-split and straight jack. Prior cables used dense rubber. With the new cable they've swapped them over to steel which certainly looks and feels more price appropriate. This also means they are significantly heavier to the point where it is a detriment in my eyes, though not to the extent as it was on the Tequila 1. The King Pro's shells are more ergonomic and do a better job of accommodating the weight. The now present chin cinch, a welcome addition, is also steel and quite heavy. This results in it slipping down the cable during anything more vigorous than walking, reducing it's usefulness. While flawed, it's a step in the right direction as I'd rather have a chin cinch than not, even if this one isn't particularly useful. The steel straight jack also retains the bulk of that found on TFZ's prior models which means it's going to be a tight squeeze for many cell phone and DAP cases. Too bad because it looks phenomenal.


    Whereas the shells on the original Exclusive King were a mix of plastic and metal, the King Pro moves exclusively to CNC machined aluminum whilst retaining the same basic shape, comfort levels, and isolation of the original King. I was expecting this material change to result in a noticeable increase in weight, but nope, not the case. It's large and curvaceous, and pending it fits in your ear is exceptionally form fitting. There are no sharp edges to scrape against your ear thanks to the flawless machining.

    Tolerances for fit and finish are excellent. Everything fits where it should and lines up correctly. Like other earphones using the same shell, vents are hidden within a small gap between the faceplate and main body of the earphone. The gap does stand out, but it's uniform in size all the way around and is clearly part of the design with a functional purpose to it. Paint application is handled well and the King Pro is free of blemishes. The left/right markers and website info printed on the back of each ear piece, along with the logos printed on the face of ear piece, are professionally applied. There is no blurring or smearing which I've seen from other brands. As has been the case with pretty much every TFZ I've tried, build quality on the King Pro is quite good.


    When it comes to sound quality the King Pro is no slouch either. The original Exclusive King is a fantastic earphone with a detailed and vibrant, neutral-leaning signature, and makes for a pleasant alternative to the more common, bassy hybrids that are still flooding the segment. It's lower treble can be a little brash and it is a touch dry in the mids, but those are minor flaws in the grand scheme of things. The King Pro, for the most part, retains the positives of the Exclusive King while making incremental improvements here and there that result in what is overall a smoother, warmer, more balanced, and more mature sounding product.

    Treble is still a prominent feature of the King Pro's signature, but not to the extent where I would consider the King Pro even remotely bright. Lower treble has been tuned down significantly compared to the Exclusive King which takes the bite out of the upper ranges. Cymbals are still vibrant and energetic but now fail to cross any thresholds into displeasure. Micro detail is pretty good too, but the slightly downplayed upper ranges mean it is less in-your-face than on other TFZ offerings. In addition, the King Pro's treble is very smooth and lacks the mild grain present in the Exclusive King and even the Simgot EN700 Pro. While not quite as liquid as the Brainwavz B400, the King Pro does bring more energy to the segment than that BA-only model.


    The King Pro's mid-range is a touch lean but is injected with some warmth. It comes across quite natural and even, with both male and female vocals sharing near equal presence. There is still a touch of upper-mid bias, but its not as prominent as it is on the Exclusive King. Where I see the King Pro as a mild step back from the Exclusive King is in the mid-bass/lower mid-range balance. The King Pro's mid-bass is slightly more emphasized and I noticed it tended to step up a little too far in some mixes, threatening to bleed over. This was particularly noticeable in Supertramp's “Asylum” where vocals were fighting for presence. Not an issue on the Exclusive King, B400, or Simgot EN700 Pro.

    The King Pro's low end is reasonably thick and robust with the above mentioned mid-bass bias. Extension is still excellent and the texture is there, but I found visceral feedback lacking for my preferences, especially noticeable when coming from the Exclusive King. It is fairly snappy though with great separation and a natural decay, easily handing Meshuggah's drumming on “Born in Dissonance”. Against the Tequila 1 the King Pro seems slightly slower and with less emphasis, but is more controlled and capable. The EN700 Pro has better mid-/sub-bass balance with improved texture and similar extension. The quad-BA B400 has a similar mid-bass tilt compared to the King Pro but is a notable step up in terms of speed and texture, though it lacks the depth and visceral feedback of the King Pro's titanium coated dynamic drivers.


    In terms of sound stage the King Pro is quite impressive. It gives off a good sense of distance with reasonably accurate imaging and fantastic separation, though to my ears falls a good couple steps behind the B400 in these areas. Layering is quite good too, but lacks depth. This is readily apparent on tracks that have particularly intimate sections, such as the final moments of Culprate's “Undefined” where the vocalist closes the song whispering directly into your ear. Where other earphones like the B400, EN700 Pro, and Tequila 1 handle this well, placing the vocalist within an inch of your ear, through the King Pro she sits much too far back, losing the effectiveness of including such a section in the song in the first place. The King Pro just doesn't do 'intimate' with much effectiveness in my opinion.

    While I find the King Pro quite detailed, it is lacking something in absolute resolution. Moving from a low quality Youtube or SoundCloud rip to a FLAC file of the same song doesn't net the improvement I would expect. The King Pro has a habit of smoothing out imperfections which is something the Exclusive King does not do. While this is great in terms of flexibility and makes the King Pro fairly consistent regardless of the source or quality of track, it doesn't do much if scaling up to higher quality equipment. On the plus side, the King Pro already performs at a reasonably high level, so the lack of scaling isn't a huge hindrance. You can enjoy it out of pretty much anything you plug it into which is never a bad thing.


    While it doesn't quite perform at the same level as my top two sub-200 USD earphones, the Simgot EN700 Pro and Brainwavz B400, the King Pro doesn't fall far behind. The only thing I really ever found myself fighting was the weight of the cable, the y-split in particular. If TFZ were to change that to a lighter, less intrusive material, the King Pro would be all the better for it. Still, that aspect is nothing more than a minor annoyance and is easily overshadowed by the remaining positives. The King Pro is a very well-rounded and reliable performer with a refined sound and familiar design that makes for a pleasant ownership experience.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Disclaimer: Thanks to Penon Audio and TFZ for the complimentary review sample. The thoughts within this review are my own and do not reflect TFZ, Penon Audio, or any other entity. There was no financial incentive provided to write this review.

    The King pro retailed for 169.00 at the time of review and could be picked up here; https://penonaudio.com/tfz-king-pro.html

    Sources: For at home use the King Pro was powered by my TEAC HA-501 desktop headphone amp. For portable use it was usually paired with the Auglamour GR-1 or Walnut F1 paired with my Shanling M1, LG G5, or HiFi E.T. MA8. The King Pro is easy to drive and doesn't seems to scale much at all, though should you run it through a good amp like the HA-501 you might notice a small improvement in low end control and detail.

    • Driver: 12mm titanium crystal dual-chamber dynamic
    • Impedance: 55 ohm
    • Sensitivity: 108 dB/mw
    • Frequency Response: 5 hz – 40 khz
    • Lowest Power: 8 mw
    Some Test Material:

    Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)
    Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (Album)
    Elton John - Yellow Golden Brick Road (Album)
    King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians (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 - F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone) (Album)
      DocHoliday, Otto Motor, rfsux and 2 others like this.
  4. suman134
    "Here comes the king" (pro)
    Written by suman134
    Published Apr 6, 2018
    Pros - Beautiful, impactful bass. Huge stage, very good top end extension. Very good details. Built like a tank. Fantastic imaging and separation.
    Cons - Mids are slightly on the leaner side. Heavy.

    The Fragrant zither, better known as TFZ has raised its head as one of the biggest Chinese brands in the world of audiophile. They only make dynamic driver earphones with dual magnetic drivers. Their series 5 first gen was caught the eyes of bass-heads with its pounding bass. After a few revisions they now came with Exclusive series. And the released the King pro as an upgrade to the Exclusive king with 2pin connector. I had the exclusive king, and it was one of the best $100 earphone. Most of the Reviewers and the audience too concur with that.

    The King pro being a upgrade gets better looks with metal housing and retains the 2pin interface. Houses 12mm deal magnetic two way graphene driver with 8.9mm diaphragm. Comes in 4 colors, Green, blue, red and red + blue and is currently priced at $158 it faces competition from.. its brother TFZ Series 4, Earnine EN210, iBasso IT01 and Fiio F9 pro.

    You can grab one from here:- (I Would like the thank LMUE for the review Unit)



    • Driver: 12 mm Dual-magnetic two-way graphene driver
    • Magnet material: NdFeB N50
    • Diaphragm material: graphene
    • Diaphragm diameter: 8.9MM
    • Diaphragm thickness: 6U
    • Voice coil material: copper clad aluminum wire
    • Frequency response range: 5HZ ~ 40000HZ
    • Harmonic distortion: 0.7%
    • Impedance: 55 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 108dB
    • Lowest power: 8 mW
    • Connectors: 2-pin 0.78mm
    • Plug 3.5mm straight
    • Magnetic flux: 9000KGS
    • Wire: core count 4 * 18 * 0.05 5N oxygen-free copper
    • Outer: high flexibility transparent PVC

    ABOUT ME:-

    Some of you might know me, I have more than 80 reviews here in head-fi. I am an admirer of balanced sounding earphones without much emphasis on bass and specially mid-bass, and if it has mid bass, decay has to be snappy.

    I have been called a mid-head, was ridiculed for it, but man, for me all the magic happens here. For some mids are not a big deal, they don’t listen to much vocals but I am more of a person who likes a good balance between vocals and instruments.

    I like my highs with good amount of spark and energy, its better if it has good extension. An early roll off is a no no. But then the price of the earphone comes into play. One can't ask an sub $50 earphone to have fantastic extension and that is understandable. You get what you pay for.

    I listen to all kind of music, specially soft, alt and pop-rock, some pop (no K-pop, sorry) with good vocals and instruments, I don’t care about the artist, he should make some sense with his words and should not be a bit too cheesy.


    The King pro Comes with a premium looking box.

    First thing you see is the earphone itself without cables attached. There is a cable in the other chamber of the box, all the color variants come with the same rose gold cable. You will find 6 pairs of rubber tips in S/M/L sizes and a pair of foam tips , stuffed into tip holders inside a hard carry case, now this is a very good addition to the package and will keep your precious safe from harm. There is a Shirt clip too and some documentation completes the package.

    The king pro one of the most complete accessories set in its price range.



    Like most of the TFZ earphones the King pro too looks stunning with CNC machined all metal housing. The body and front nozzle are made out of a single piece of metal and the back plate is fused into it. There are two vents where the two pieces meet, giving the drivers some space to breath out those bass airs.

    The King pro is on the heavier side of the weight scale but one doesn’t need to worry about it thanks to its over the ear wearing style. Size on the other hand can be a problem for people with smaller ears. It fits perfectly inside my ears and nicely stays in place. If it keeps slipping out you should use the foam tip which comes out of the box. Or just.. Clean your ears.

    The .78mm 2pin cable with nicely braided 4 cores is one of the lightest and equally supple 2pin cable you will find in the market. The cable guides are without any internal wire support, giving it a more comfortable fit. There is no microphonics to worry about either. But the heavy Y splitter weights it down a bit, thank fully this has a cable or say chin slider.


    If your ears are of the size to accommodate the King pro inside it, it’s a very comfortable earphone. There are no uncomfortable side to it, everything is nicely rounded, nothing uncomfortable except the weight maybe. Let it be the cable guide or the earpiece, the series 4 is a pleasantly comfortable earphone.

    The rubber tips seal very well and if you want more comfort, use the foam tips.


    IMG_20180322_155453.jpg IMG_20180322_155328.jpg


    Like all the TFZ earphones the King pro uses an interesting earphone housing single driver with dual magnetic circuits and voice coils which acts like two drivers but actually are one.

    It has a warmer and V shaped signature with natural and uncolored timber to it. A bass head will love its sub-bass power, a details hog will like its ability to deliver fantastic separation and very good amount of details.

    Driving the King pro is a child's play, anything can drive it. It's that easy. Let it be your mobile phone or lowly powered DAP, anything and everything will drive the King pro with ease and matchability is very very good.

    FYI the king pro has 100+ hours on it, I am using my Plenue R and D for this review and stock single flange wide bore tips on the earphone. Use wide bore tips for lesser bass and narrow bore tips for bigger bass. As the tips used matters big time.


    The king pro is tuned to sound fun and it succeeds to entertain, a bass lover will enjoy it to the fullest.

    What was your last bass head earphone, mine was Wooduo2 (the bass power house), that one had nonsensical amount of bass, lacked much of details sadly. King pro qualifies as a bass head earphone and the best thing is that the King pro has far better details, texture and definition.

    The problem with bass heavy earphones is that they can't control the bass notes, any note around the bass region tends to fire up both sub-bass and mid-bass even when one of these is lacking. Which is not the case with the King pro.

    The King pro's bass is very well defined, sub-bass and mid-bass notes are nicely separated from each other while delivering a class leading punch and impact. The sub-bass reach and rumble is better than 99.99% of the earphones in the market which includes DK-3001and UE-900s too. In other words, when it hits, it hits hard and big with very good amount of air and the full bodied impact leaves a lasting impression. Mid bass feels better thanks to the faster decay. Its slightly better than the King exclusive. There no mid-bass emphasis to worry about.

    I love the way it maintains the bass notes. It doesn’t have any kind of shyness when it comes to it, its tuned outstandingly to deliver effortless bass notes. When there is sub-bass you will be served with visceral impact.

    I have no doubts in saying that one will be hard-pressed to find a better bass response than this for this price. You are treated with fantastic amount of details and definition and notes presentation is fantastic too. You are not going wrong with it as even I tend to miss the bass impact, body, sub-bass reach and sub-bass rumble after I switch to other earphones.


    The V shaped tuning pushes the mid range a bit into the valley. This mid range is not as forward as the bass but has very good amount of details and resolution.

    Now the transition from upper bass to lower mid is not as good as the Earnine EN210 or the more superior UE900s but still is better than Fiio F9 and Meeaudio M7 pro. The King exclusive and Series 4 are better in this regard.

    Leaving the Lower mid behind, the King pro has very good amount of details. Vocal notes are more precise with slightly sharper and deeper notes compared to the King exclusive and Series 4 duo. The King pro's vocals are more true to the nature than most. Its neither thick nor overly sharp. Both Female and male vocals sound more natural and accurate. Vocal notes are presented with beautiful texture, resolution and transparency, it is far more satisfying than the competition.

    Instruments too are up to the mark. they have nice attack and bite which the Series 4, Exclusive king and specially fiio F9 lacks big time, F9 pro sounds slightly better. Thanks to the maintained energy with the upper mid range, instruments are lively with really nice details, clarity and transparency. There is no sibilance to worry about, one can easily have long listening sessions.

    The king pro's big plus here is the size of the stage which is huuuuggee!! Comparable to the 64audio U3 and bigger than the Exclusive king in every dimension. Nothing for under $200 can come close to the King pro's stage size.


    I will say it again, this is how you do it. brands like Vsonic should take a note from TFZ. This how you maintain energy and extension without being hopelessly sibilant and sharp.

    The King pro has very good forwardness and energy with its top end. There is beautiful spark to it, nothing bothering at all unless you don’t like energy (yes energy, not sibilance) with your highs. It's got the details and extension worthy of writing home about.

    Thanks to its fantastic amount of effortless details you are treated with a presentation unlike anything else. Let it be pianos, trumpets or cymbals the sharpness and the finishing of the note along with the presentation is really nice. All you do is sit back.. and enjoy!!

    Helped by the huge stage the King pro is very good with its layering and separation. There is plenty of air between the instruments and instrument placement too is up to the mark. This is one of the best highs you will see on an around 200 dollar earphone.

    AGAINST THE ODDS:- (source - plenue R)

    VS EN210:-

    First thing is EN210 sounds smoother and has better balance, it has bass with respectable sub-bass impact but is just a fraction of what the King pro delivers.

    Mid range is very much comparable, both have very good details, EN210 delivers a hair more micro details with King pro delivering 3-4 times bigger stage and better instrument placement. Highs of the King pro has better energy and extension to it, but the EN210 can't be written off, it has acceptable depth and energy.

    All in all it’s not a real competition for the King pro. But if you want accuracy EN210 is good. (210 doesn’t have removable cables)

    VS iBasso IT01:-

    The hotly talked earphone from iBasso really lacks sub-bass depth and impact size when compared to the King pro. Lacks some definition too. Decay is similar but sounds more mid-bassy.

    Mids are a similar story, IT01 sounds decent against King pro, king pro sounds more natural and smoother and thanks to its huge stage size, it just brings the IT01 down to earth, the IT01 has a decent stage but sounds more hollow. Highs too are a similar case. King pro has better imaging and details. And the stage helps the Pro to deliver fantastic instrument separation.

    If you can forgive the weight, IT01 is not in the league if the King pro.

    VS Fiio F9 pro:-

    This lacks the bass impact, body and fullness, King pro delivers huge bass in comparison but lacks with decay making it more enjoyable. Both have good control over the mid bass.

    Mids on the F9 pro have better details, sounds more transparent but doesn’t have the engulfing stage of the king pro. Instrument placing is not on par with the King pro, which just blows everything away with its stage and imaging. Highs of the Fiio has some of the best bite but king is not behind. Very good details and energy into the spectrum and similar extension.

    F9 pro aims for accuracy and gets on the King pro when it comes to details. King pro sounds smoother, cleaner, more natural with a huge stage size.

    VS UE 900S:-

    Recent reduction of price has brought the EU 900S in to the realm of mid rangers where nothing really delivers the Amount of details and cohesion of the same quality. Nothing mentioned in this article delivers more details than this. And the sonic abilities of the 900s is mind blowing too.

    It lacks bass impact size and body, has good depth but King pro has better, bigger sub-bass presence. Needless to say that UE900s has faster decay.

    Mid range is far more detailed on the 900s with very food micro detailing and equally good instrument placement thanks to similar mid range stage size. Instruments sound more leaner with better precision. Highs are equally good with very good energy and extension but sounds clumsy in front of the King pro.

    Again, the stage size of the King pro is Huge!!


    King pro really defines what an earphone can do for under $200. It delivers impactful bass with very good sub-bass rumble without losing composure or details. One just can't love ahead of it if looking for bass. Mid range too defines the class with its exceptional tonality, notes thickness, stage size and instrument placing. Highs too have equally good details and energy.

    If you are looking for a $200 earphone, look no further, the King pro can deliver a foot taping experience. A total value for money earphone. Gold standards in my eyes.

    I hope you like my review. Cheers, Enjoy your music.
  5. ryanjsoo
    TFZ King Pro Review – Resolution
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Mar 16, 2018
    Pros - - Excellent resolution
    - Spacious stage
    - Striking design and build
    Cons - - May be too bright for some
    - Slightly thinner midrange presentation
    Introduction –

    One can tire of the current trend of “pro” earphones, where manufacturers make subtle tweaks to slightly under-performing models and sell them at a higher-price; it’s like selling the beta version of a software then charging buyers again for the finished version. Though we’ve no doubt had some terrific models as a result, with earphones like the Simgot EN700 Pro and Fiio F9 Pro quickly becoming fan favourites, one can’t help but think, this is what the EN700 and F9 should have been! It’s a small frustration and I don’t doubt the value offered by any of these models, but it is a scheme that represents how audio has become a business, not just a hobby.

    With that said, TFZ have no such issue. By glancing at TFZ’s current popularity and market presence, it’s hard to believe that the company is just a few years old. They have a range of IEMs, all offering impressive quality at modest price points. The King was already a very well-performing earphone, that didn’t disappoint in either signature or technical performance. As such, I see the King Pro as a refinement and improvement, rather than a patch for an original error. At $170 USD, the King Pro is considerably more expensive than the vanilla King. But it brings a wealth of changes including a gorgeous all-metal build, improved cable and completely reworked internals. More details here and store link here.

    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Chi Kong Hui from Penon Audio very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the King Pro for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

    Accessories –

    The King Pro has a more premium unboxing experience than past TFZ earphones with packaging more inline with larger manufactures. Sliding off the outer sheath reveals the earphones and hard case within a cutout inlet.

    The case is nice, an imitation Westone Vault case, one of my personal favourites. It’s a lot more protective than the pouch included with the original King. Inside are a variety of ear tips. TFZ include two sets, 3 pairs of small bore tips and 3 pairs of wide bore tips.

    They also provide a pair of foam ear tips that provide a little more isolation. Unlike the original King, I actually preferred the large bore tips though I eventually settled on JVC Spiral Dots that sounded a little more coherent and provided a stronger seal.

    Design –

    Essentially identical in shape to the original King, the Pro elevates itself through premium materials and improved finish. The Pro’s aluminium housings are available in a rich blue, red and green, all with a satin finish that catches light in interesting ways. The print is laser etched as opposed to printed and the tolerances are tight, with even seams and just very, very minor defects on one gold ring of my right earpiece.

    The King Pro feels absolutely solid and surprisingly dense in the hand. As with the King, it’s a larger earphone, though it achieves comfort through ergonomic shaping. I didn’t find the Pro to form hotspots during my month of testing, lending it well towards longer listening sessions. Moreover, the King Pro isolates well, retaining bass presence and detail during commute and public transport.

    It’s not the most stable earphone due to its heavier housings, but I experienced no issues during commute besides some wind noise. Though well-built, some glue was evident in the seam between the outer face and main housing. This could be unit specific and didn’t affect performance. Interestingly, the King Pro has no driver flex which is a step up from the King.

    The King Pro uses a 0.78mm 2-pin removable cable. The connector protrudes slightly from the earphones with a recessed plug on the cable itself, so though compatible with aftermarket cables, they may protrude too much. The cable itself is thin but solid. It feels fairly soft but has a little memory. The plug and y-split are metal but their weight can feel cumbersome at times. The pre-moulded ear guides weren’t well-shaped for my ears but were easily reformed using a hairdryer. I vastly prefer this over a memory wire solution.

    Sound –

    Tonality –

    The King Pro carries TFZ’s house signature realised through greater balance and technical aptitude. It has a sub-bass focussed low-end, slightly brighter midrange and enhanced air up top. This may sound familiar coming from TFZ’s previous Exclusive earphones. So what really differentiates the King Pro from the original King is its introduction of greater midrange body. Ultimately, the King Pro is more natural and realistic while remaining just as resolving.

    Bass –

    The King Pro has a full, dynamic low-end with excellent transience and control. Sub-bass holds focus through modest emphasis. Rumble is clear and defined with enough quantity to foster physical impact and retain fullness in louder environments. It’s tight and well-controlled with greater extension than the original King; and the Pro easily keeps pace with complex and faster-paced tracks. Mid-bass has a hair of emphasis but remains quite balanced overall. This produces slightly larger bass notes though it doesn’t sound remotely rounded, tubby or bloated in any way. As such, the King Pro’s low-end is impressively transparent.

    Upper-bass is slightly attenuated by comparison, heightening bass/midrange separation. That said, it is noticeably more linear than past TFZ earphones. So though it maintains the same sense of transparency and vocal clarity, it sounds more integrated and natural overall. Still, from basic description of its signature, one isn’t able to fully-appreciate the King Pro. In many regards, it’s very similar to the original King and even the IT01 to an extent, though the way it executes this style of tuning is masterful. Speed is its greatest asset, alongside accurate tone that keep its lows composed. The King Pro doesn’t sound overdone, rather sounding full yet defined and well-separated.

    Mids –

    Though more natural than past TFZ earphones, mids remain slightly cool and thin due to the Pro’s recessed lower midrange. The King Pro also has a clearly brighter signature, I wouldn’t characterise it as a mid-focused earphone, but it is very clear and discerning of fine details. It’s also a very transparent earphone due to its cool/neutral tone, and one with very defined layers. Male vocals are slightly laid-back, but never sound explicitly recessed due to their excellent definition. Lower-mids don’t present as hollow or strained, though the King Pro still errs on the side of clarity over natural timbre.

    On the contrary, instruments and female vocals are brought forward; presented with the same superb clarity, just with greater focus. And, as the King Pro is gradual in its emphasis and fairly linear in its transitions, female vocals extend well while remaining accurately articulated. What’s most impressive about the King Pro is its well-judged lower-treble. This serves to smooth its midrange, counteracting the effects of its attenuated lower-midrange to produce what I would consider to be quite a refined presentation. The King Pro compliments its refinement with terrific resolution and, due to the nature off its treble tuning, sibilance is not enhanced and vocals retain plenty of density.

    Highs –

    The King Pro refines the signature pioneered by the original King. Where TFZ’s prior flagship focussed on aggressive foreground detail and heightened air, the King Pro trades some crispness for more natural body and greater detail retrieval. It does so through a more restrained lower-treble that lacks the immediate bite of the King, but enables more accurate instrument body. It’s still a crisp earphone and a very detailed one. As such, instruments sound more coherent within its image due to more accurate placement, and the Pro’s sound is both more textured and more realistic. This is most notably highlighted by strings and cymbals that have impressively natural decay and shimmer.

    The King Pro also demonstrates far more control than prior models and highs never encroach upon stridence or peakiness as on the original King could. That said, the Pro retains great air through a focus on the middle treble frequencies. As a result, it doesn’t have the darkest background and some lower-treble details can become overshadowed. However, as the Pro also lacks the upper-treble peak of the King, it still sounds fairly clean and well-composed. Moreover, the King Pro extends more linearly and slightly further into the highest frequencies, benefitting resolution and providing a little extra sparkle. Not only does the Pro’s more gradual, integrated emphasis’ flatter foreground details with greater realism, its more realistic body enables noticeably stronger background and micro-detail retrieval.

    Soundstage –

    The King Pro has a relatively spacious stage that is well-balanced between width and depth. It lacks the out of the head scale of certain earphones like iBasso’s IT01 mostly due to its more forward midrange. However, imaging is very strong, reinforced by greater balance and linearity combined with excellent transience. Though slightly thin with a little middle-treble glare, the King Pro has very defined and well-detailed layers. It’s a well-separated earphone on account of its excellent end to end extension, enhanced transparency and slightly thinner body. As such, the King Pro is well suited towards faster and more complex genres.

    Driveability –

    The King Pro has a high 55ohm impedance partially redeemed by a 108dB sensitivity. As such, it requires a fair amount of voltage to achieve higher listening volumes, though it’s also more consistent in signature between sources than most. Despite this, I found the King Pro to be fairly well-driven from a good smartphone. The cheaper Q1 MKII provided a nice bump in accuracy while more expensive DAPs provide greater balance and resolving power. Still, the King Pro isn’t overly picky with its sources despite its higher impedance and it is both very consistent and hiss resistant in return.

    HTC U11: Slightly greater mid-bass presence creating a warmer tone, less controlled sub-bass. More v-shaped signature on account of a smoother, more laid-back upper midrange. Vocals are clear but can lack some extension. More width biased presentation, less spacious and separated. Nice resolution, reduced detail and micro-detail compared to DAPs. No audible hiss.

    Fiio Q1 MKII ($100): Softer sub-bass, slightly warmer mid-bass. Lifted lower-midrange creates a full midrange. Smooth, slightly laid-back upper-midrange. Crisp, slightly forward detail presentation, nice micro-detail retrieval. Darker background sounds cleaner. Stage properties are similar to the X7 II, though imaging is less precise. Still very coherent, nice separation if a little warm. No hiss.

    Fiio X3 III ($200): Enhanced mid-bass and slightly attenuated sub-bass creates a warmer, fuller sound. Slightly lifted lower-midrange produces more full-bodied vocals. Upper-midrange is more laid-back which is subjectively more balanced. Well-detailed, slightly narrower soundstage, defined layers but less separation. No audible hiss.

    Shozy Alien+ ($450): Slightly more organic source though quite transparent from mid-bass through midrange. Extended sub-bass with slightly enhanced impact. Slightly forward vocals, clear and slightly full-bodied. Slightly lifted lower-treble; clear, crisp presentation with forward details. Great treble extension, darker background but great resolution. Modest soundstage size, well organised and separated. No audible hiss.

    Hiby R6 ($630): The R6 delivers slightly enhanced sub-bass impact but is fairly neutral in tone. Mids are linear but are slightly clearer due to the R6’s lifted lower-treble. Details are more upfront on the R6, it is very crisp. The R6 has great extension and resolution, its stage is very wide with great separation. No audible hiss, the King Pro was not affected by its output impedance.

    Fiio X7 II ($650): Mostly balanced pairing, very slightly larger bass notes, nicely transparent midrange. Treble has a slight bump in energy, lower and middle treble have a hair of emphasis. Doesn’t have the darkest background but has pleasing air and clarity. Stage prioritises coherence over dimension, great imaging and transience. Still has great separation due to transparency, very clean image. No hiss.

    Comparisons –

    TFZ King ($100): The Pro carries the same basic shape as the King but implements more premium full-metal housings. As such, the fit and isolation on both is similar though the Pro is slightly heavier. The Pro has a superior cable to the King, it’s a little softer with more premium terminations. Both use 0.78mm 2-pin connectors though early King’s, such as mine, have a fixed cable.

    The King is a more sculpted earphone where the Pro’s emphasis’ are more evenly metered. The King’s low-end sounds similar to the Pro and measures similarly too. Both are agile, and defined but the Pro demonstrates slightly greater control and separation. The Pro has a similarly recessed lower-midrange, but its midrange is a lot more natural due to reduced treble colouration and a slight centre midrange lift. As such, its vocals sound smoother, more refined and more naturally bodied. This is most noticeable with male vocals that are more natural and less recessed, female vocals are also smoother while remaining very clear and extended. Lower-treble is the greatest differentiator and I’m sure it’ll divide buyers. The King has a noticeable lower-treble emphasis where the King Pro is more neutral.

    As such, the King is considerably more detail forward, sounding more articulate, aggressive and crisp. On the contrary, the Pro sounds more natural and it retrieves more detail as it’s more linear; the King sounding thin and tizzy by comparison. Both have middle treble emphasis with great air, however, relative to its smoother lower-treble, the Pro has even more air at the cost of overshadowing some lower-treble details. On the contrary, the Pro extends further and has better retrieval of micro-detail. Both craft a large stage, the airier, less upper mid-forward Pro has larger dimensions. The Pro both images and separates better as it is less peaky and more linear in general.

    Despite the release of the Pro, I still have a lot of respect for the original King as it’s almost as technical and more engaging in its tuning. Its main downfall is its thin midrange, especially regarding male vocals. That said, many will prefer its more aggressive detailing even if the Pro demonstrates greater nuance throughout.

    iBasso IT01 ($100): The IT01’s plastic build doesn’t even compare with the meticulously crafted King Pro. That said, both are comfortable and well isolating earphones, the IT01 is slightly more stable due to its lighter housings. The IT01 has a softer, thicker cable that feels more premium than the King Pro’s cable, though both are removable/replaceable.

    The IT01 is immediately more v-shaped where the King Pro is brighter and more balanced. The IT01 has greater sub-bass emphasis, but isn’t as tight or controlled as the Pro down low. The King Pro has a slightly cleaner mid-bass, its low-end isn’t as impactful but is more linear, detailed and defined. The King Pro has a slightly more recessed lower-midrange so it doesn’t sound quite as naturally bodied as the IT01. Male vocals are slightly more realistic on the IT01 though also more recessed. The King Pro sounds more neutral in its upper midrange where the IT01 is slightly more organic.

    The IT01 has slightly laid-back female vocals where the King Pro is slightly forward. The IT01 has noticeably more lower-treble crispness than the King Pro. That said, it is thinner and slightly less detailed. The King Pro has noticeably more middle treble, it has a lot more air and extends better at the very top. The King Pro is generally more revealing and resolving though the IT01 sounds cleaner. The IT01 has a wider stage but considerably less depth. The King Pro images slightly better, both are very well separated.

    Simgot EN700 Pro ($150): The EN700 Pro is also entirely metal, both feel very solid. The Simgot may even have a slightly higher level of finish as its seam is a lot smaller than the King, though this could be by design. The King Pro isolates a lot more making it the clear choice for frequent commuters. Both use 2-pin removable cables, the EN700 Pro’s 8-core cable is softer and sturdier.

    The EN700 Pro is just as balanced overall but lies on the opposite side of the spectrum as a warmer, more natural earphone with slightly laid-back mids. The King Pro has greater sub-bass extension and impact. The Simgot is slightly bassier with greater focus on mid-bass, creating a warmer tone but also introducing some bloat. The King Pro is more transparent and defined down low, demonstrating greater control. Lower-mids are more upfront on the Simgot, producing a fuller midrange. Male vocals are slightly more recessed and slightly warm where the King Pro is slightly cool. Upper-mids are smoother on the EN700 Pro and more neutrally positioned. The King Pro is slightly forward and more neutral in tone.

    It has greater clarity and extension with more linear transition into lower-treble. The EN700 Pro has slightly enhanced lower-treble that has greater contrast next to its smoother upper-midrange. As such, it sounds crisper than the King Pro and is just as detailed if not slightly more so. The king Pro has a lot more air while the EN700 Pro sounds cleaner and more balanced. The King Pro extends better, delivering greater resolution and micro-detail. The King Pro has more depth than the EN700 Pro but a little less width. Both image very well, the EN700 Pro is a little more balanced while the King Pro is faster. The King Pro has better separation on account of its cooler sound with exception of treble where middle-treble can overshadow other elements.

    Fiio F9 Pro ($150): The F9 is a considerably smaller earphone that shares a similarly solid aluminium build. The Fiio is built slightly better with a finer finish. Both are comfortable and isolate similarly, the King Pro slightly more. The Fiio uses an MMCX removable cable, the balanced cable is softer than the King Pro’s cable but doesn’t feel as sturdy.

    The Fiio is more v-shaped compared to the King Pro, especially with regards to treble which is very aggressive on the F9 Pro. The F9 Pro also has greater bass emphasis with a modest bump in mid-bass. However, it doesn’t extend nearly as well King Pro which is more physical with greater impact. The King Pro is also more defined and neutral in tone as its mid-bass is cleaner and more controlled. The F9 Pro’s midrange is more similar to the original King than the Pro. It is very clear but also thin due to a recessed lower-midrange, narrow band centre midrange emphasis and aggressive lower-treble. Though the King Pro’s lower-midrange is just as recessed, it’s more linear through its centre midrange to lower-treble. As such, it sounds a lot more natural with greater body and texture.

    Vocals are more forward on the King but presented with greater refinement. The F9 Pro has great crispness to its sound, imbued by a clear but polarising lower-treble accent. As such, the F9 Pro has more foreground detail, but it tends to overshadow higher elements. It also has a cleaner background where the King Pro has a lot more air and instrument body. Still, both the F9 Pro and King Pro extend very well, providing high-resolution, though this is more evident on the more linear King. The King Pro has a larger soundstage with better layering and instrument placement. Both are well separated, the King Pro more so in its low-end, the F9 Pro more so through its midrange.

    1More Quad Driver ($200): 1More products are renowned for their build quality and the Quad Driver is no exception. It feels denser than the King Pro and more meticulous in its construction. The King Pro isolates more and has a more stable over-ear fit. The Quad Driver also has a fixed cable that feels relatively sturdy but also quite stiff and springy. As such, the King Pro is the clear choice for commute and travel.

    The Quad Driver is a u-shaped earphone, warm and slightly dark above a small lower-treble spike. The Quad Driver is bassier and considerably warmer, with a mid and upper-bass focus. It has less sub-bass extension than the King Pro, and a much smoother texture. On the contrary, the King Pro is more agile, a lot cleaner and more defined. Lower-mids are enhanced on the Quad Driver, producing a warm, full-bodied midrange that contrasts to the very clear, transparent King Pro. The Quad Driver has a considerably more recessed centre midrange, creating more laid-back vocals. It sounds veiled next to the very clear, extended King Pro though I wouldn’t characterise the Quad Driver as an explicitly veiled earphone in isolation. Upper-mids are a little more forward though the King Pro has more intimate female vocals yet.

    The King Pro is a lot clearer while the Quad Driver is full and warm. Treble is slightly crisper on the Quad Driver due to its spiked lower-treble. However, it’s thin and peaky, producing a thin, inconsistent instrument presentation. Though not as aggressive, the King Pro is a lot more linear and a lot more detailed. It extends further, delivering greater resolution and a lot more air. The Quad Driver also produces quite a large stage though the King Pro has a huge advantage when it comes to separation. The Quad Driver is very three-dimensional in its imaging due to its well-bodied background layers though I wouldn’t characterise it as especially accurate.

    Dunu Falcon-C ($200): The Falcon-C also has terrific build quality with liquid metal housings that feel super smooth and impeccably finished. The Falcon-C is considerably smaller and may be more comfortable for smaller eared listeners. The King Pro isolates a little more though both are more than adequate for public transport. Both use removable cables, the Falcon-C cable is softer and thicker, but also has a rubbery exterior.

    The Falcon-C’s signature is quite similar to that of the King Pro, but its midrange isn’t as forward and its treble is more even between lower and middle treble. As such, it’s slightly more engaging and u-shaped. Sub-bass is emphasized on both, the Falcon-C is slightly tighter while the King Pro is slightly meatier. Both are very defined and agile, the Falcon-C a little more so. The Falcon-C has a similar midrange presentation, its neutral to slightly cool in tone and brighter in signature. That said, the Falcon-C is less upper-midrange forward, with similarly positioned male vocals combined with more neutrally positioned upper-mids. It’s more natural and has a cleaner presentation than the King Pro at the cost of a little extension and clarity.

    The Falcon-C has a moderate lower-treble emphasis that extends quite linearly into a similarly elevated middle treble. The King Pro has less lower-treble and more middle-treble, it sounds brighter and airier as a result. The Falcon-C on the other hand, is more detailed and crisper in its delivery. It also has a darker, more composed background and extends just as well into the highest registers. I find the Falcon-C to be more resolving, aided by its cleaner top-end that lacks the glare of the King Pro. On the flipside, the King Pro has a larger soundstage, especially regarding width. Its layers aren’t as detailed as the Falcon-C, and instrument placement isn’t quite as good, but it has greater separation.

    Verdict –

    Audio is ever growing. And as a hobby grows, it becomes less leisure, more business. It only takes a glance at the fundamentals of business, to realise that Pro earphones are not good for the consumer. Budget earphones aren’t profitable in the long-term, offering potentially years of use with little incentive for upgrade for the majority of users; they aren’t perishables and all modern models effectively fulfil similar requirements. In turn, manufactures introduce planned redundancy; inherent flaws and monthly upgrades to maintain sales. It goes without saying that many buyers feel remorseful, even cheated; as if the original model they purchased has been reduced to a marketing tool for the new and improved. When that improvement appends a flaw, it becomes almost a necessity.

    The King Pro doesn’t change this, but as mentioned, one can treat it as a refinement rather than a replacement. Because the Pro isn’t a must buy for owners of the King. It’s objectively superior, as it should be, but some will surely prefer the original’s crisper detail presentation. It does have the heftiest price increase among recent Pro releases, though it is also the best performer on a technical level, as the original King was in its respective price class. I’m especially enamoured by the Pro’s improved build quality; this is a stunning looking earphone with a rather unique design and a surprisingly ergonomic one despite its size. Its bright signature won’t suit everyone, nor will its cool midrange. However, the King Pro is a godsend for lovers of female vocals and clarity, and few will find issue with its top notch end to end extension and control.

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