1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

TFZ No.3

Rating:
4.2/5,
  1. antdroid
    Review of TFZ Number Three
    Written by antdroid
    Published Aug 26, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good bass quantity
    Nice fit
    Surprisingly good sounding IEM for this price
    Cons - Mids are slightly recessed
    Treble can be a tad sharp
    Cable is terrible
    [​IMG]



    The Fragrant Zither (TFZ) has been making in-earphones for a few years now, however I have not actually had a chance to try any of them. Linsoul contacted me a couple months ago and sent me the newest TFZ, the No. 3 to try out and write a short review about, and so here I go.

    The No. 3 comes in a rectangular long box and comes with a set of tips, a carrying fabric pouch, and 2-pin cables. The cable itself isn’t all that great, as it isn’t very easy to use, tangles, and just feels awkward. I opted to use my own cables to pair with the No. 3.

    The shell of the TFZ No 3 looks a little large at first, but actually fits quite comfortably and does a good job of blocking out noise. The outside plate has a brushed metal look, however it’s just a decal, while the inner side of the shell is transparent showing off the driver and internals.

    Sound
    [​IMG]
    The TFZ No. 3 presents a V-Shaped sound signature which elevates bass and treble responses, while recessing mid-range. This typically is not a sound profile that I really like, but can tolerate when done coherently and not overly done, and for the most part the TFZ No. 3 does this well.

    Bass response is the thing that sticks out the most on the No. 3. It has good sub-bass response, which is deep, impactful, rumbly, and boosted. It doesn’t feel muddy either, and sounds quite nice. The natural decay is clean and present.

    Mid-range is coherent, though definitely behind the bass and treble in a typical V-sound. I found male vocals to be rich and full, while female vocals to be a little bit on the brighter side. The treble response is elevated and borders on harshness. While on most songs, I found the TFZ No. 3 to be on the good side of this fine line, there are occasional tracks where I found the treble boost to be a little fatiguing and bright.

    TFZ’s only redeeming quality is its soundstage, which is wide and sometimes engulfing. The added treble boost, also gives the sound profile some air and this makes instruments sparkle a bit and give a sense of good forward details.

    Comparisons

    [​IMG]

    While I kept the main content a bit short, I’d like to give a quick set of comparisons here, as there is just so much out there right now in this price range that is of good quality that it’s hard to sift through it all.

    TFZ No. 3 vs BGVP DMS and BGVP DMG

    [​IMG]

    This the comparison I feel like people really want to know about. These three IEMs share very similar sound signatures. The DMS is open-back and will leak and let sound in. That said, I think it’s a very fun and coherent in-ear. The DMG is the same but in a closed-back form but just a little bit muddier and brighter than the DMS. Both, however, sound muddy and less resolving than the TFZ No. 3. In fact, I found the No. 3 to sound better across the board in terms of bass qualities, mid coherency than both BGVPs. I do still like the DMS for it's openness however.
    TFZ No. 3 vs Moondrop Kanas Pro and Moondrop KXXS

    [​IMG]
    The No. 3 has more apparent bass boost than both the Moondrop IEMs. Some may find it too much, and some may find it just right. I actually do like how much bass the TFZ presents, although I do not in any way shape or form consider myself a basshead. It’s just a fun, yet good sounding bass response at this price point. The Kanas pro and KXXS have more muted bass, but it’s clean, punchy and just enough warmth to make me happy. The Kanas Pro is a smoother overall sound than both the KXXS and No. 3 and I find the KXXS and No 3 to be equally on the brighter side of what I like, but both are just toned down enough to be overly distracting and fatiguing. I find the KXXS to actually be a little more bright than the No. 3.

    TFZ vs Sony MH755
    [​IMG]

    Finally, I find the TFZ No. 3 to be an improved Sony MH755 earphone. The MH755 is ultra-cheap yet very fun and sounds quite good for it’s offering price of free99, or $8 on eBay. The MH755 was a bit too bassy though, and the TFZ No. 3 has the right amount of bass reduction yet still is ever present, and also has a slightly tamer treble response and better resolution.


    Overall
    In the end, I find the TFZ No. 3 to be a good buy at $109 and can stack up against IEMs above it’s price range. For a V-shaped IEM, I’d take it over the BGVP series of DMS, DMG, as well as the DM6. I’d personally prefer the Moondrop Kanas Pro over it, but that’s a sound signature choice. I can definitely recommend the TFZ No. 3 as a good fun In-Ear.

    If you are interested, please check out the product at Linsoul.com or on the LSR-Direct store on Amazon. The links below are direct to product links:

      Light - Man and SoundChoice like this.
  2. baskingshark
    TFZ No. 3 - Fun basshead set
    Written by baskingshark
    Published Jul 8, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent bass in quantity and quality, suitable for bassheads.
    Treble airy, non fatiguing, no silibance.
    Good stock tips and cables.
    Fun signature.
    Timbre and tonality of voices/instruments spot on.
    Cons - Treble slightly rolled off at higher frequencies, so maybe not suitable for treble heads.
    Very good detail and clarity for a single DD IEM, but may lose to multi BA driver IEMs in clarity and microdetails.
    Mild mid bass bleed.
    As with a few other TFZ models, some aftermarket cables may not fit its perculiar 2 pin design (check out the forums on which cables can't fit it). Standard 2 pin cables can fit but they will stick up a bit.
    8 khz spike, that may make trumpets and horns a bit piercing
    May have hiss with smartphones/desktop - can be fixed (see details below)
    Disclaimer: I bought this IEM at my own expense and am not affliated to any company.

    Hi this is my 3rd review on this forum.

    Out of the box, my initial impressions were not very favourable, I found the bass over boomy and the mids recessed, with some harsh treble, but having burnt it in and listened more extensively, I am really really loving this IEM. So in the future, I have learnt not to make any firm impressions of any audio gear till more extensive listening.
    The TFZ No. 3 is very beautifully and vividly tuned. It is quite a fun set that will appeal to bassheads (like me).


    WhatsApp Image 2019-07-29 at 23.33.33.jpeg WhatsApp Image 2019-07-29 at 23.33.40.jpeg


    Specifications:
    - Driver: 11.4mm Double magnetism, double cavity, double voice coil, tesla magnetic group
    - Diaphragm: Diamond diaphragm
    - Frequency Response: 5Hz-40000Hz
    - Impedence: 20ohms
    - Sensitivity:108dB
    - Cable: 0.78mm 2 pin detachable cable


    Build:
    It is made of plastic, but is extremely light.

    The stock cable is detachable and quite thick and of good quality with no microphonics. I tried a few different cables, such as the NICEHCK 8 braided cable, but decided to stick with the stock one in the end, due to the sound signature and fit. The stock cable has no chin clinch though.
    Apparently some Headfiers have fedback that the cable connector is similar to some other TFZ models, and certain aftermarket cables may not fit the TFZ No. 3. You can still use a standard 2 pin cable but it sticks out of the IEM somewhat. (From what I know KZ para C type cables will not fit the TFZ No. 3, more info can be obtained from the forums on which cables won't fit the TFZ No. 3).

    It comes with many stock tips and after tip rolling a bit, I still found the stock ones to still suit me better.

    Isolation/comfort:
    These are one of the most comfortable IEMs I have ever used. I can wear it for hours with no issues. It is extremely light and ergonomic.
    The isolation is also excellent. I have used it in the subway or crowded areas with good isolation.

    Sound:
    This IEM is easily drivable from smart phones, and doesn't really need any amping. I tested this with a desktop -> Khadas Tone board -> Fiio A3 and android -> Tempotec Sonata HD. There is a hiss with smartphones/PC but this resolves when the music is playing. The hiss can be fixed with a simple inline volume controller, impedance mismatch device, or even a DAC or AMP.

    My initial impressions was that this was a V shaped tuning, but after extensive listening, it is more of a U shape, with mildly recessed lower mids (and boosted bass and slightly boosted lower treble/higher mids).
    For a single DD set up, the imaging, instrument separation, clarity and details are very good. Most of the details in the music can still be heard, but IMHO as a single DD Driver, it loses out to some other multi BA drivers in this area.

    Bass:
    Excellent bass (midbass and subbass) that is well textured, clear and detailed. Subbass extends very well with great quantity, and will be suitable for bassheads. The timbre is spot on and has a decay typical of DD bass. It has a mild midbass bleed, but some may prefer this for an added warmth in the lower registers. The bass is the most emphasized of the entire frequency spectrum, but I never found it overpowering other frequencies so far (having said that I'm a basshead). The bass is definitely my most favourite aspect of this IEM and it is just one level short of jaw rattling bass.

    Mids:
    It has slightly recessed lower mids, but a boost in the higher mids. As such, male voices sound softer than female ones to me. Vocals and instrument tonality/timbre is superb and make me feel like I am listening to singing from the first row of a stage.

    Treble:
    Lower treble is slightly boosted. I find sometimes horn and trumpet instruments may sound a bit harsh as there is a treble peak on the TFZ No. 3 at around the 8kHZ region. Otherwise the rest of the treble is non fatiguing, with no silibance and is very airy. There is a slight roll off in the higher frequencies, so maybe treble heads may not appreciate it. But nevertheless, most of the details are there and I can listen to the IEM for hours without fatigue. I never found the treble vocals harsh or shouty either.

    Soundstage:
    Average.

    Conclusions:
    I initially wasn't impressed with TFZ No.3 out of the box, but after listening for almost a week, it has steadily grown on me and I love it now. The excellent bass, great tonality, non fatiguing highs, and comfortable fit, can let me listen to it for hours.
    Definitely at its price point of about $100, I would recommend it to anyone who wants a fun but non fatiguing, vivid signature. I would say this is not the IEM for those who prefer critical listening and an analytical signature. Bassheads will like it for the great sub and midbass.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. RikudouGoku
      @baskingshark does the No.3 Have driver flex? The 2019 my love edition has it and it is kinda annoying.
      RikudouGoku, Jul 15, 2019
    3. baskingshark
      No driver flex for me at all. Could it be you have a defective IEM? Maybe u can ask the others in the forums about driver flex issues in the 2019 my love?
      baskingshark, Jul 15, 2019
    4. RikudouGoku
      @baskingshark got my No.3 Yesterday and can confirm that there is no driver flex (for me). I contacted TFZ for the 2019 my love and he sent me a new one ( just the Left piece that i got driver flex on).
      RikudouGoku, Jul 18, 2019
  3. SoundChoice
    Puncturing the balloon UPDATE-A more portable KPE?
    Written by SoundChoice
    Published Jul 4, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Discreet color doesn't draw attention
    Decent fit
    Nice packaging of accessories and cable
    Good treble and mids
    You didn't waste $300 on the metal shells
    They feel so good when you take them out of your head
    Cons - Recessed bass
    Muddied mids
    Wasn't given to me for free by someone at Linsoul
    Can't return to China for a refund
    UPDATE: After taking the advice of one of the commenters, I found that there was a cabling issue. I swapped out everything but the cable before shredding the 'phones. So yes, I'm an idiot. As a result, I'm upping the review to 4-stars. The earphone provides good full rich sound, something akin to a ZS10 Pro and yes, KPE with better fit. Does it now have slamming bass and a wicked V-shaped signature? No. It's got a textured bass, but not a thumping one. Isolation, by the way, is better than what you'd expect from a dynamic driver, given that they're, by definition, vented to the outside world. I'll leave this review up in its original state to memorialize my doltish stupidity. I knew I was going against the flow and posted it anyway because it's what I was hearing. Thanks for your encouraging feedback and helpful tips and support.

    ==

    Today's review is about the TFZ No 3. This comes during a hypestorm where people are comparing these to the Kanas Pro for half the price, indistinguishable from the king of under-$200 chi-fi. However, behold: this probably is the first negative thing anyone has said about these: if these sound like your KPE, return your Kanas Pro to the nearest Radio Shack for service. Now, hurl your arrows and slings!

    TFZ stands for The Fragrant Zither, but there is nothing fragrant about it, or zitherlike. More apt for: The Flat Zzzzzs. Why? Because to these ears, The No 3 was flat, boring, and put me to sleep.

    <close-up photo of a plain white box with black text>

    UNBOX

    The IEMs arrived in a box. The box is about twice the size of a typical KZ purchase, and you figure you're about to get double the fun. What you do get is a stiff piece of cardboard or something that feels solid when you replace it. It's not as impressive as, say, the worthless metal plate in the AS10 that makes you feel you won a special award. It's a nice box. It's a box that you can be proud of, show off to your friends, take pictures of and post to the forums, right before you throw it in the trash. Because the box is so large, you won't keep it to carry around your earphones.

    <photo of IEM on a wagon wheel coffee table resting against a rustic mug of lukewarm tea>

    ACCESSORIES

    The Floundering Zamboni also comes with a lot of nice tips of different sizes and colors. It comes with a flat cable that, according to some, doesn't tangle. This is partially true. The cable itself doesn't tangle, since it's not braided and more like the dual wires fused together flatly -- yet another way this is a flat IEM! -- in your typical plug you put into a wall outlet. However, the preformed hooks that go over your ears are so tightly curved that I had to spend about 20 seconds uncurling each one every time I wanted to use them. Further, the velcro strip that binds the cable is of such high quality that it will grip onto your clothes, your couch, the International Space Station, and anything that it comes into contact with, causing you no end to the fun of separating yourself from items around you.

    <picture of IEMs dangling from a tree>

    COMFORT AND FIT


    The shells are a plastic in a size that fit inside my ear. Not quite DM6 perfect, because nothing else is. But not 1st generation ZS10 behemoths either. Maybe a hair smaller than the ZSN/ZST shell. A decent fit. Nozzle-wise, as usual, none of them fit my ears, though the large came close to almost staying in. My go-to Comply-stuffed-in-a-Spiral kind of worked, but the bores must be somewhat larger, as not long of listening there became discomfort from the pressure of the tips on my ear. I have never had to tip-roll so comprehensively as I did with these, Symbio, New Bee, Spinfits, settling on the Final Type Es as the least annoying, final-e. The best part of the fit is the relief of pressure when you finally remove them from your ear.

    <image of IEMs near a sunflower in front of a sunset>

    SOUND

    High: The best thing about these is the treble Generally, things were clear and distinguishable, without much sibilance. That doesn't mean there isn't any, just that I couldn't hear it, a result of playing my car stereo too loudly when I was a stupid youth.

    Mids: To me, without any scientific equipment to measure it with or anything, these were a jumbled mess.

    Bass: If you're billed as a single dynamic driver, there should be some bass. I mean, you could even be expecting lots of bass, since that's kind of the thing dynamics are known for, and oh by the way, here are some highs also. The Failing Zebra has no bass. Like, at all. It's great that they respond to EQ but I mean what's the point of buying a dynamic driver if you're going to +8 every single frequency under 500? If you want bass while listening to these things, go get a KZ ATR, plug it into an old iPhone 3, and hit play while the ATRs are resting on the table at medium volume seven meters from you with the No. 3s in your ears. A dynamic driver IEM that doesn't play bass or subbass is like a chainsaw that can't cut wood, but has a really nice paint job.

    <close-up photo of an IEM in the side of someone's head highlighting need of a dermatologist>

    COMPARISONS

    But how does the Freefalling Zelda compare with other dynamic drivers adjacent earphones?

    Kanas Pro: I famously had a problem getting a good seal with these and hearing bass. That's not the issue here. I had a good seal. There is just no bass. As a result, the Kanas Pro, while not being bass cannons, are superior overall, since you hear the song as it was intended, assuming you can get the pencil sticks counterweighed by anvils to stay in your head. (mystery bonus: check out link in this paragraph to find which IEM I actually enjoy).

    BGVP DMG: it's not even close. Get the DMG, put some Symbios or Comply foam tips on them, and enjoy some tunes with a fun signature.

    Senfer DT6: the DT6s are a better earphone, and a fraction of the cost.

    Really, if you want to spend $110 on some great sound, just get 3 orders of the KZ ZS10 Pro and call it a day.

    That's The Flat Zzzzs No 3. It's worse than number 2, it's number 3.

    tl;dr - You know how the v-shaped signature is like BASS-mids-TREBLE!!! Well, after really listening to these, trying my best to like them, the best way to describe what I'm hearing is:

    ᵇᵃˢˢ-mdis-TREBLE
    1. View previous replies...
    2. lgcubana
      Sounds like you reversed the connections. As the No. 3s do not lack bass

      Fitment: the largest provided silicone tips were not suitable for my right ear. Every now and then, the earpiece would start to walk itself out. Looking through my teacup of unused tips, I found the blue, T2 memory foam to be best; I’m not saying that the blue tips will solve your issues. Just that TFZ couldn’t provide tips for every possible ear cavity.

      Good luck
      lgcubana, Jul 4, 2019
    3. dharmasteve
      My guess is you have a faulty pair. These do not lack bass at all. They are actually an exceptional IEM.
      dharmasteve, Jul 8, 2019
      Light - Man likes this.
    4. Light - Man
      It sounds like you have a faulty pair or have the wrong polarity. The bass is very good and certainly not muddy. Vocals are also very good
      Light - Man, Aug 6, 2019
  4. cqtek
    And why not No.1?
    Written by cqtek
    Published Mar 31, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Quality of the lower zone, especially the sub bass.
    - Mids clean, clear, near and vivid.
    - Comfort and lightness, including cable.
    Cons - Absence of foam tips and rigid transport box.
    Introduction

    The No.3 is a new model of The Fragrant Zither, which uses the third generation of drivers built by the brand. It uses two magnets, two cavities and has a double voice coil. The magnets are a part of the Tesla magnetic group to offer a better and more realistic scene. The diaphragm is diamond and due to its high rigidity, can suppress harmonic waves produced, reducing distortion and improving clarity.

    TFZ No.3 01.jpg
    TFZ No.3 02.jpg

    Specifications

    • Driver: 11.4mm double cavity & voice coils, tesla magnetic group
    • Magnetism material: NdFeB N50
    • Diaphragm: Diamond diaphragm
    • Frequency range: 5Hz-40kHz
    • Sensitivity: 108dB
    • Impedance: 20Ω
    • Cable: 3.5mm silver-plated cable
    • Type of capsule connection: 2pin, 0.78mm

    TFZ No.3 03.jpg
    TFZ No.3 04.jpg

    Packaging

    The TFZ No.3 come in a white, elongated, simple and minimalist box, with the brand name and model on both sides. Its dimensions are 213x83x43. Its interior is equally clear and simple: the capsules are embedded in a mould covered with white cardboard. Underneath it is the cable. Another elongated box with accessories completes the contents:

    • A blister with 12 tips of white silicone SxMxL. In addition, there are a couple of medium tips inserted into the IEMs.
    • A clip.
    • A bag for storing the IEMs.
    • Instruction and warranty booklet.

    The presentation is not as luxurious as in Tequila 1, on the contrary, it is quite austere. There are no foam tips or a rigid transport box.

    TFZ No.3 05.jpg

    Construction and design

    The shape of the capsules is almost semicircular, with a relatively large diameter and thickness. They are made of transparent plastic, except for the mouthpieces, which are metallic and gold-plated. On the inside of the external face there is a plate that looks like metal, marbled gray. It shows the logo of the brand and the name of the model. The inner faces are written "TFZ-IEM" and the letters R and L inside a circle, to indicate the channel.

    The two-pin connector is made of transparent plastic and is different from that of the capsules.

    The diameter of the nozzles is 6mm and they are slightly longer than those of Tequila 1. A dense metal grille protects the interior.

    TFZ No.3 06.jpg

    The cable is plastic-coated and flat, but thick. The inner wires are silver and look somewhat thin. The connector cover is straight, grey and light metal. The plug is gold-plated. The divider is made of plastic covered with a grey light metal plate. There is no piece for the adjustment under the chin. The cable has a velcro strap to pick it up.

    Contrary to what may seem, the plastic of the cable is not at all rigid, but is very flexible and not at all microphonic. It's one of the best plastic-coated cables I've ever tried.

    The design is eye-catching because it is transparent: you can easily see the large dynamic driver inside. He is guilty of the outer size of the capsules.

    All in all, the external metal plate, the transparent capsule, the golden nozzles and the semicircular design, provide a very attractive elegance that does not go unnoticed.

    The plastic used for the capsules, although sufficiently rigid and thick, gives a false sensation of fragility. But on the other hand they allow the No.3 to be very light.

    TFZ No.3 07.jpg

    Adjustment and ergonomics

    In my ears fit well, but in smaller ears not so much: I have been able to check with another person, whose ears are different from mine and the fits are not so perfect. Personally, for me they are more comfortable, comparatively speaking, than the TFZ Tequila 1. Their fit is more natural and softer. In this sense, the material used is an advantage (plastic), in addition to being more rounded. The insertion is something deeper, at the limit of being superficial.

    TFZ No.3 08.jpg

    It is true that No.3 are bulky too, that is why, if the fit is adequate, neither movement nor rotation is possible. The alteration of the sound is minimal since the fit is quite firm, in this sense, above his brothers, the Tequila 1. Their shape, somewhat more ergonomic, facilitates daily use and walking with them does not pose any problem, just keep in mind that the insulation is above average, so you have to be careful when walking through the city.

    TFZ No.3 09.jpg

    Sound

    Profile

    The No.3 profile is halfway to a V or U IEM. They have a greater emphasis on the sub-bass zone and the upper-mids and lower-high zone, as well as a rebound over 8-9kHz.

    Although TFZ is well known for its power in the lower zone and the No.3 do not detract in this sense, its enhancement between 2 and 5 kHz, gives it much clarity, a clearer and brighter shade, than a predominantly bass.

    TFZ No.3.png

    Bass

    The No.3 profile is halfway to a V or U IEM. They have a greater emphasis on the sub-bass zone and the upper-mids and lower-high zone, as well as a rebound over 8-9kHz.

    Although TFZ is well known for its power in the lower zone and the No.3 do not detract in this sense, its enhancement between 2 and 5 kHz, gives it much clarity, a clearer and brighter nuance, than a predominantly bass.

    TFZ is TFZ and its stamp is patent again in this area, but this time its footprint is different. The area is not as big or as wide. Thus, the generated sound is different, being the narrowest range, it interferes less in the mids.

    The speed is good towards moderate, the lows never become diffuse at all. The definition is also remarkable but the body is not so complete.

    TFZ No.3 10.jpg

    Mids

    The high mids of the No.3 have a clear emphasis. This fact detracts from the warmth of the voices, but brings extra clarity and definition, especially to female voices. Meanwhile, male voices feel a little more distant.

    The accent in the sub bass isolates the mids and they are perceived more separated, detailed and fine. The range is not so compact either, but it sounds wide, clear, clean, close and more decongested. Although the level of detail is good, these are not analytical IEMs that offer very high micro detail, but the resolution is that of a good dynamic driver.

    TFZ No.3 11.jpg

    Treble

    Starting from emphasized high mids, the highs start descending to rebound around 8-9 kHz. The upper zone is somewhat sharp and thin, without becoming crisp. The extension is moderate, but provides a good level of luminosity and air to the whole, offering a sound with a good level of detail, separation, definition and resolution.
    TFZ No.3 13.jpg

    Scene, soundstage

    The scene is moderately good, with a clearly perceptible width and depth. Instrumental positioning is sometimes sensitive to the close-up presentation offered by No.3, diluting into closeness.

    The separation is noticeable, all the luminosity, the air, the proximity and the certain brightness, plays in favour of a clear, detailed, clean and clear presentation.

    TFZ No.3 14.jpg

    Comparisons

    Anew U1

    Leaving aside the clear differences in sensitivity, in favor of the TFZ, the U1 offer a warmer sound, with a certain greater darkness, but at the same time the highs are finer and sharper. Although the No.3's tone is brighter and clearer, that treble band is softer. The profile of the U1 has a more pronounced V towards the bass, with the mids somewhat deeper and duller. On the other hand, the general character of the TFZ is clearer and diaphanous, providing greater luminosity and a greater sense of openness. The voices are more present and vivid, although some wheezing is more likely to escape, comparatively speaking. Meanwhile, the Anew offer a more relaxed and comfortable sound for long listening.

    TFZ No.3 vs Anew U1.png

    The lower zone is similar in both, being somewhat more extensive in No.3. The level of depth is very similar in both, although the speed is greater in the U1.

    The separation and definition is greater in No.3, as well as the level of detail, mainly due to a more prominent middle zone. At scene level they are similar in width and depth, only the proximity of No.3 can alter the perception in this aspect.

    In terms of construction, both the cable and the capsules, the Anew offer a more luxurious, distinguished and eye-catching finish.

    TFZ No.3 15.jpg

    Ikko OH1

    Looking at the frequency response graphs, at first glance you can see more similarities than differences. Both IEMs have similar mids, with the emphasis on their high part being wider on No.3. Even the treble seems more present than in the Ikko. Of course, the lower zone also has more gain, more sub-bass and more extension. But how does all this translate into the final sound of both? Despite these obvious differences, there is one physical quality that provides a greater disparity: the drivers used. While the Ikko use a dynamic driver and a Balanced Armature, the No.3 only use a dynamic driver. This way, although the curves resemble each other in their middle zone, the sound is not the same in this part. Clearly the OH1 are more analytical, precise, defined and with higher resolution, while the No.3 are warmer and more compact. The lower zone in the TFZ is sensibly more present and this affects the rest of the frequencies, clouding, comparatively speaking, their sound. Thus, it cannot be concluded that the No.3 are OH1s with a plus in the lower zone, because each driver produces a clearly differentiated sonority: the definition and detail fall on the band of the Ikko, while the bass punch and warmth go towards the No.3.

    TFZ No.3 vs Ikko OH1.png

    At scene level they are very close, despite the remarkable definition of the Ikko, the punch of the No.3 offers more dynamics and a feeling, in my opinion, of greater depth and a little more width. However, the OH1 provides a more oval scene feel, where the mids are somewhat more distanced, while the ends are closer, contrasting with the close-up sound of the No.3.

    In terms of construction, the Ikko are metallic and the No.3 are made of plastic, however I prefer the cable of the TFZ.

    Finally, comfort has its pros and cons in every model. The Ikko are more comfortable, their smaller size fits better, compared to the larger volume of the No.3. But the OH1 nozzles are shorter, offering a more superficial insertion.

    TFZ No.3 17.jpg

    TFZ Tequila 1

    The rich brother of the No.3 does not have a sub-bass response as powerful as the No.3, but his mid-bass is more prominent, offering more body and a more complete low zone. Bass of Tequila 1 are faster. They also have a warmer profile, which is very noticeable in the voices. In No.3 the mids sound finer, with greater clarity and proximity, accentuated by their greater emphasis on this area. While in Tequila 1 the mids enjoy greater forcefulness and power, they are also softer and safer. The high mids and low treble of the No.3 are brighter and can generate more wheezing, comparatively speaking, than Tequila 1. But they also offer some more detail and resolution.

    TFZ No.3 vs TFZ Tequila 1 Blue.png

    In terms of scene they are very similar in width, but the depth of the No.3 is appreciated greater and with more separation. However, Tequila 1 offers a greater sense of openness.

    As a conclusion, Tequila 1 is more visceral, powerful, warm and open, No.3 being somewhat deeper, cleaner, clearer, with more brightness and a little more detail, offering a finer sound.

    Conclusion

    No.3 is a V-alternative that offers a more focused sound in the sub-bass and high mids. In addition, their mids are closer, with nearby voices and very enjoyable. Its profile differs from the typical V of sunken, darker and distant mids, guaranteeing a more vivid, clear and sharp listening, without treble hammerings.

    Despite the size of its capsules, the fit is soft and firm, guaranteeing a high level of comfort both in long listening, as in daily use and outdoors. In addition, they possibly have one of the best plastic-coated cables in their price range.

    And, of course, a low zone with the TFZ stamp.

    TFZ No.3 18.jpg

    Sources used during the analysis

    • Burson Audio Playmate (OpAmps V6 Vivid Dual + V6 Classic Dual).
    • F.Audio S1

    TFZ No.3 16.jpg

    Purchase link

    https://penonaudio.com/tfz-no-3.html

    You can read the full review in Spanish here:

    https://hiendportable.com/2019/03/31/tfz-no-3-review/
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Assimilator702
      What does.....”and of course a low zone with the TFZ stamp” mean? Is it a reference to the TFZ signature bass sound? Which is a better value right now? The IKKO OH1 @$140 or the TFZ No 3 @ $97? I listen to all genres but they have to do Metal well.
      Assimilator702, Jun 15, 2019
    3. cqtek
      TFZ is well known for the ability to create very good dynamic drivers, and the quality of the bass they generate is something that, I think, is very particular: its seal of guarantee and quality, do not disappoint in that aspect. Being the IKKO OH1, very good, they are more analytical than the TFZ No.3. I think that the quality/price ratio falls in favor of the TFZ, unless you look for that more neutral sound and with less bass, which give the OH1.
      cqtek, Jun 16, 2019
      Assimilator702 likes this.
    4. dharmasteve
      To me this is quite an accurate review in terms of the sound profile of the No.3. What is a little unusual about this IEM is that although the bass is sufficient it is not V shaped. Mids are relatively forward. Highs on high/treble predominant classical is excellent, but bass tends to usurp the highs a little. The No.3 is very efficient but loses the width of soundstage a little. The No.3 is good for mobile phones as it does not take a lot of driving. I really like the TFZ No.3 a LOT.
      dharmasteve, Jul 1, 2019
      cqtek likes this.
  5. IryxBRO
    TFZ No.3 — bassy and warm single dynamic IEMs
    Written by IryxBRO
    Published Feb 13, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - good bass extension, decent midbass, good stage, warm timbre
    Cons - slightly recesses treble
    Another take on TFZ (The Fragrant Zither) brand and their single dynamic driver IEMs — No.3. Last time I have been dealing with TFZ King Exclusive Upgraded dynamic IEMs and was quite impressed with the clarity of treble and amount of lows a single driver of this type can reproduce. Let’s see how this model would do…

    [​IMG]

    Prior to start, we would like to share some of TFZ brand (which stands for The Fragrant Zither) background. This brand was found in year 2015 by a group of audio enthusiasts whose idea was the product personalization and precise niche targeting. Since that time, TFZ has managed to release more than 15 products and their subsequent versions in IEMs and overheads categories, whereas sales of some of those are measured in thousands (like KING, for example). Currently, TFZ is not only selling in more than 30 countries, but also cooperating closely with professional musicians and music bands which derives the further experience for this brand in audio equipment design and tuning. Furthermore, TFZ won Japanese VGP award twice (you can find the record about that on VGP website). This award is given for the best innovations, market developement or most popular products.

    Consequently, we would consider TFZ brand as already matured that automatically shift our expectation a bit higher.

    [​IMG]

    TFZ No.3 technical specifications:
    • Driver: 11.4mm double cavity & voice coils, tesla magnetic group
    • Magnet material: NdFeB N50
    • Diaphragm: diamond diaphragm
    • Frequency response range: 5Hz-40kHz
    • Impedance: 20Ω
    • Sensitivity: 108dB
    • Cable connectors: 2pin, 0.78mm
    • Cable: 1.2m, silver-plated cable, 3.5mm jack
    Packaging, design and build:

    TFZ No.3 comes in tall white box with brand logo, name and contact data imprints which is a standard for TFZ packaging.

    [​IMG]

    IEMs are held in place by the soft top insert, cable and additional accessories are located in separate smaller boxes.

    [​IMG]

    Box contents:
    • TFZ No.3 IEMs
    • audio cable with 3.5mm jack and 2pin, 0.78mm connectors
    • 7 pairs of silicone eartips
    • cable clip
    • soft protective pouch
    • short user manual
    [​IMG]

    Absolutely love the look of No.3 IEMs… Transparent plastic body exposing the hardware part was always more attractive for me than anything else. I would not trade that even for stainless steel as long as the sound would not be improved.

    [​IMG]

    Presence of metallic layer with surface grinding and model name under the top cover is another good design element that makes transparent case less vulgar :wink: Anyway, driver and its veins are still exposed through the transparent inner side.

    [​IMG]

    Shells are made of two parts but you would hardly see the joint and there is no gap whatsoever. I’ve also been able to find two tiny compensational openings per each channel. One is located above the central part of the driver and another one is shifted to the top edge.

    [​IMG]

    Sound output nozzles are made of aluminum, covered with aluminum mesh and look as if held by thread. No chance to screw it out cause it is glued at place (pity, isn’t it?).

    [​IMG]

    Channel indicators are printed on the inner parts of the shells.

    [​IMG]

    2pin connector bases are stiff, don’t have any free play and stand out from the shells. Сorresponding cable connectors fit nicely, thanks to the special sockets in their housings. This design works better than having flat connector bases and provides better protection from the side load.

    [​IMG]

    Stock cable features very thick semi-transparent braid, silver-plated cores, sringy earguides, aluminum jack, Y-splitter and length limiter housings and connectors made of transparent plastic. Mic effect is not an obvious issue here.

    [​IMG]

    Fit:

    Natural shape, low weight, fairly thin profile and good earguides provide quite comfortable fit with the moderate level of outer noise isolation. Fit might be even better with less resilient earguides that tend to pull IEMs up but this is easy to improve by heating earguides and giving it more comfortable shape.

    Sound quality:

    Tested with HiBY R6Pro & Hidizs AP80 DAPs

    [​IMG]

    Lows and midbass:

    Lows are undoubtely the most developed and accented range of TFZ No.3 IEMs. Bass reach is deep, extension is quite impressive. It is not too fast but not too slow either to sound detached. Despite quite big amount of presence the resolution and textring are only moderate — bass is kind of diffused, bleeding and might overshadow other ranges. Such bass behavior clearly influences the overall tonality and makes IEMs sound fairly warm and dark. Bassheads would appreciate :)

    Midbass is decent — powerful, tight and full bodied. Same moderate speed of lows does affect drum articulation and dynamics but it doesn’t make drum sound less engaging. Warmth and thickness created by the bass influence and secondary role of the treble result in rare but interesting drum reproduction with the emphasis on volumetric parameters of soundstage.

    [​IMG]

    Mids and vocals:

    Mids have been tuned to sound stirking and emotional by elevating upper mid range and lowering the opposite range. Consequently, male vocals sound a bit thin and distant whereas female vocals are brought to front, better exposed and feel more appealing. This sometimes leads to a bit of shouting and harsh peaks with female singers that would greatly depend of the quality of recording and audio source tonality. Apart from that, midrange is quite warm and show good resolution for a dynamic driver. Most of the instruments have enough room and defined boundaries and would not tend to mix. I would prefer upper mids to be less agressive and vivid to call those IEMs trully warm.

    [​IMG]

    Treble:

    In contrary to TFZ KING series, treble is the least present and accented range here. Feels to be located behind both — lows and mids, also influenced by the lower end and sometimes even gets overshadowed in the most bass-heavy tracks. Teble and especially its lower range is enough here to supplement and enrich the sound but not quite enough to add the exceptional clarity or transparency in order to neutralize the emphasis of bass. Therefore, treble extension and presence are moderate and might require to play with different eartips for those who like more crispness or brigtness (silicone eartips would sound righter than foamy ones). TFZ No.3 are definitely made as an opposing and warm sound towards bright KING series.

    [​IMG]

    Soundstage:

    Scene width and depth are more than average due to deep and volumetric lows, good instrument separation in mids and exposed female vocals. It might been even larger if treble had more gain but this would also change the entire tonality and make No.3 IEMs less distinguashable from the rest of the gang.

    [​IMG]

    Sound in overall:

    TFZ No.3 sound can be described as fairly warm and dark, with the emphasis on lower end, decent midbass, resolving, emotional and appealing mids and recessed treble. Mostly suitable for slow music genres like blues, soul, lounge, jazz, etc.

    Compared to Tanchjim DarkSide:

    [​IMG]

    Tanchjim DarkSide is very good and close rival in terms of sound quality and tonality. Similarly warm and dark, those IEMs also stand aside from various indistinguashable bright tonality models. The main difference with TFZ is better texturing of lows and better presence of treble. At the same time, mids are similarly skewed towards female vocals, bass is not that deep and fit is worse. So, I would recommend TFZ No.3 for bassheads and Tenchjim DarkSide for more universal listening.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion:

    Despite some sound tweaks that might apply to upper mids portion, I consider TFZ No.3 as a good choice for audio fans who prefer the sound of dynamic drivers over any other technology. Along with great deep bass reach, decent midbass, wide stage and emotional mids, these IEMs possess quite unique warm and dark sound signature which is very rare nowadays. Most of the models from other brands in this price range would be sounding more similar to each other and tend mostly towards the brighter tonality. Good that TFZ wasn’t afraid to create something different and brought us this option. Therefore, whoever thought of bassy and warmer sound of comfortable dynamic IEMs should put an eye on this choice.

    You can buy TFZ No.3 at PenonAudio store
    1. audiohurric4ne
      can you compare these to the kanas pro? i have the kanas pro and looking for a side grade, minus the upper mid peak of the kanas pro and a little more bass. is no.3 a good pick ?
      audiohurric4ne, Apr 25, 2019
    2. kusanagi03
      can you compare its Highs to the ZSN pro (very bright highs on some tracks) how does it differentiate
      kusanagi03, Jul 18, 2019