A 12mm dynamic-driver IEM from TFZ featuring detachable 2-pin connectors and a metal face-plate.

TFZ Series 4

Rating:
3.92857/5,

Recent Reviews

  1. Kervsky
    This Bass Belongs to Us
    Written by Kervsky
    Published Aug 30, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great responsive bass, a balanced mid-range and treble, good amount of detail and clarity, smooth and non fatiguing, good fit, build quality and design, good set of usable accessories.
    Cons - Lower mid-range can feel recessed compared to the forwardness of the upper mid-range, treble extension and clarity could be a bit better.
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    Introduction: The Fragrant Zither (TFZ) is a familiar name in audio circles having started back in 2015 with their eye catching designs and colors with the Series 1 to 5 and followed by their newer Exclusive series, King, Galaxy and their flagship, The Secret Garden. I'll be reviewing their Series 4 (Blue) today.

    I would like to thank The Fragrant Zither (TFZ) and Penon for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. You can buy the TFZ Series 4 at the Penon Store or locally if your retailer has them in stock.

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    Specification:
    Driver: 12mm dual magnetic circuit Graphene
    Sensitivity: 108dB/mW
    Frequency response: 5-40kHz
    Impedance: 16Ω
    Connectors: 2-pin 0.78mm
    Lowest power: 8MW
    Cable length: 1.2M
    Plug: 3.5mm

    Even with a big driver, the low 16Ω impedance of the Series 4 allows it to be easily used on mobile phones and with the 108dB sensitivity, achieve a loud volume of approximately 99dB at max volume on my Xperia XZ Premium. Sound quality does scale when using better sources up to the level indicated in this review using my WM1a.

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    Unboxing: The Series 4 came in a charcoal black rectangular box made of hard cardboard with branding and information written in silver. Removing the top cover shows the level of dedication to presentation that TFZ gives it's products with a stiff card (with foam behind the area where the IEMs sit) protecting the inner contents and showing the company catchphrase for the Series 4. Under that lies the IEM, embedded in a plastic tray and a separate box underneath it that contains the accessories included.

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    TFZ Series 4 earphones
    3x pairs of wide bore silicone tips
    3x pairs of narrow bore silicone tips
    1x pair of foam tips
    A soft carrying pouch
    A Silver plated Copper 0.78mm 2-pin cable
    A velcro cable tie (fastened on the cable)
    A shirt clip
    User manual & warranty card (Which I completely forgot to shoot, but yes, it's comes with the package)

    Overall the packaging is thorough and generous with the tips being as useful as the pouch and are all of good quality through and through.

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    Cable: The Silver plated Copper (SPC) cable is a mere 13 grams in weight, pretty light overall as well as quite flexible and smooth in texture. The cable is nicely braided and feels sturdy as you can stretch it a little bit due to the balanced braiding which aids in it's strength and flexibility. The 0.78 mm two pin connectors are simple transparent plastic pieces with a rather hard to see L and R letter mold to identify left and right. Those blocks hold the gold plated pins together and have an ear guide sheath acting as both strain relief and ear guide. The Y-splitter is a pendant type that sports the TFZ lettering and is made of blue translucent plastic.

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    The plugs are made of the same translucent material as the splitter and have a blue metallic plate on opposite ends that show the TFZ branding and website. There is a nice semi-flexible strain relief extending from the plug body and a nice looking gold plated 3.5mm plug. Overall the cable design is made to attract attention and impress, to which it does with the workmanship and aesthetics, though some may find this a little too much, your mileage may vary.

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    Build/Design: The Series 4 is a good fitting IEM that coupled with it's lightness can easily be worn for long periods of time and even sleeping with them in your ear. The metal like faceplate is quite near mirror like shiny and prone to fingerprints and it's where the Series 4 branding is printed on. The shell is a nice near transparent blue acrylic that is smooth and rather solid. There's a vent on the inner side near the nozzle and another on the faceplate. One helps with preventing driver flex when inserting and the other is the bass exhaust which is very likely one of the contributors for the Series 4's good bass dynamics. The nozzle is short but is slightly extended by an angled area from the base of the shell, there is a nice and prominent tip lip that allows for easy insertion of tips and provides a good secure tip connection. There is a metallic screen in the nozzle to prevent debris from falling into the Series 4. The 0.78 2-pin connector is embossed and surrounded by a clear acrylic block, insertion is easy and removal is moderately tight but not that hard to unplug. Dangling the Series 4 by the ear guide and bobbing it does not disconnect the connector to the IEM which is a good sign that it wont fall off easily.

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    Sound Analysis: Being the first TFZ IEM I'm reviewing doesn't mean it's the first I heard from the company, the S1 and S2 were particularly famous in the local audio scene with bass that was for the most part, a pretty good deal for the price and the rest on par for what you pay. Moving forward to the Series 4, I can't help but say that the bass is definitely better in quality and something that TFZ is really good at with tuning. So after running the Series 4 through several genres of music at over 200 hours, I'm ready to dive in and see how good this is. Note that the Series 4 was reviewed with the stock tips that came attached, it's quite comfortable and about as open as Symbio W,

    Bass: There's a very good level of sub-bass extension on the Series 4 that gives Way Down Deep's pounding drums a deep feeling that rumbles pleasantly and with a good natural sounding linger or sustain for guitars like on Lithium, which sound smooth with a hint of crunchiness. Bass impact on the Series 4 is above average with a good punch that is a bit tightly controlled, rendering the bass line beats on Cheap Thrills palpable, punctuating and a bit quick. Bass on the Series 4 seems to be a something TFZ has mostly mastered, displaying a tuning that is almost the right amount of bass strength, quantity, control, decay and quality that will sound engaging, relaxing and playful though it won't be enough for true blooded bass-heads.

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    Mids: The Mids on the Series 4 is pretty darn good, there's a very good amount of detail retrieval with good layering and above average separation that gives the mids an understated greatness. The lower mids are a little bit forward with good clarity and average thickness, mostly thanks to the good amount of control with the bass. Male singers have a nice presence on the Series 4 giving Bohemian Rhapsody a good and clear presentation of the song. It's the upper mids that really shine on the Series 4 though, there's a boost that moves the upper mids forward giving it a bit more presence, air and results in a more intimate female vocal performance from the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones; this incidentally also presents guitar strings in a crisp and clear manner. Some have mentioned that there's some shoutiness here but listening to my sources and with Jewel's songs, I hear none of it as there's pretty good control that results in an overall smooth mid-range performance.

    Treble: There is a little above average extension with the Series 4 that sounds natural in reach, a treble presented with good energy and air but also controlled well enough that harshness and sibilance do not occur. Details are on the average side, the same as clarity which does give a bit of crisp and some sparkle to the music, lending a bit of fun into the highs. Overall there is a sense of natural tone, smoothness and control that gives a good non fatiguing performance.

    Soundstage: There is a good level of stage with the Series 4 where the horizontal width is generally the same as the vertical depth. Sounds come from outside the ear canal and extends around 3-4 inches around the head. The front back of the head stage reaches around an inch. Overall there is a natural expansion of sound and a good feeling of space. Congestion isn't very apparent but can sound a bit close to each other on busy tracks. Imaging though not pinpoint accurate, is generally accurate.

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    Conclusion: The TFZ Series 4 is a good all rounder IEM that has great ability with bass, a good level of presentation with mids, specially with female vocals and really nice non fatiguing treble. There's a balance in the frequencies, and embellishments were applied to give a good listening experience in all genres but also found that the Series 4 does really well with Jazz music from the likes of Clair Marlo (Till They Take My Heart Away), Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, and the usual suspects like Norah Jones. There's a nice emotive way the music is rendered that is relaxing, enjoyable and engaging. Couple the sound with a good and eye catching design a a quite generous and very usable accessory set, the Series 4 is a sensible buy for someone looking for a good all rounder at this budget range.

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    Sound testing was done using a Sony WM1a (Primarily), a Hiby R6, Zishan Z1(for comparison), Audirect Beam (for computer convenience) and a phone (for checking driveability) volume matched to 90.X db of max volume for safe hearing below 8 hours of use and calibrated using a 1kh tone on a dedicated DB Meter, all sources patched through a switcher. More information will be available on the About Me page (once I find the time to write it up.)
  2. B9Scrambler
    TFZ Series 4: All-in-One?
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Feb 22, 2018
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Nice build - Clean sound - Get lots of "stuff" for your dollar
    Cons - Has no identity of it's own in TFZ's lineup - Heavy - Bulky jack
    Greetings,

    Today we're checking out the Series 4 from The Fragrant Zither (TFZ).

    I've reviewed a slew of TFZ products to date, many of which share housings, packaging, and other aspects with the Series 4. You can only say the same thing in so many ways, and as a result many aspects of this review will sound familiar. That's because the Series 4 is familiar. There is a lot of redundancy in TFZ's lineup. That can be good in that you know you're getting a decent product. It's bad in the way that you've seen and heard one, you've kinda seen and heard them “all”. Feel free to skip to the sound section if you read my reviews of the Exclusive lineup or Series 2.

    Let's take a look at the Series 4, yet another perfectly solid outing from TFZ.

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    Disclaimer:

    The Series 4 was provided free of charge for the purposes of a fair and impartial review. The thoughts here are my own and are not representative of TFZ, Penon Audio, or any other entity. There is no financial incentive for writing this review. The Series 4 currently retails for 99.00 USD over on Penon Audio; https://penonaudio.com/tfz-series-4.html?search=series%204

    Source:

    For at home use the Series 4 was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, HiFi E.T. MA8, F.Audio S1, or Shanling M1, all of which brought it up to listening volume without any effort.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, MacaW GT600s, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.

    Specifications:
    • Sensitivity: 108dB / mW
    • Impedance: 16 ohm
    • Frequency response: 5-40kHz
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    Packaging and Accessories:

    The Series 4 comes in the same elongated matte black cardboard packaging as the Exclusive 1,3, and 5. TFZ and Series 4 branding can be found on the front, and contact information for TFZ on the back, all printed in a contrasting silver font. Lifting off the lid you find a cardboard sheet backed in foam which is there to protect the Series 4's outer metal face plates from scratches while they are nestled in a plastic tray. Inside the tray in the cable, neatly tied up with a Velcro strap, along with the foam tips. There is also a smaller cardboard box containing the rest of the accessories. In all you get;
    • Series 4 earphones
    • 2-pin 0.78mm silver plater removable cable
    • 4 pairs of wide bore silicone tips (s/mx2/l)
    • 3 pairs of small more tips (s/m/l)
    • 1 pair of foam tips
    • Carrying bag
    • Shirt clip
    This is a pretty extensive kit of accessories and should be pretty much everything you need to get going.

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    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The Series 4 uses a very large, familiar shell that can be found in use on a number of other TFZ products, like the Series 2, My Love II, and the Exclusive King. The plastics are dense and durable, as is the metal faceplate. This thick metal plate and the hefty 12mm drivers within make the Series 4 surprisingly heavy, just like the King and the all-steel Exclusive 5. The shells are quite ergonomic though, which combined with an over-ear cable does a good job of spreading out the weight resulting in something that it still quite comfortable.

    The cable is the same braided one found throughout the TFZ lineup, for better or worse. The cable itself is quite nice; flexible, fairly well-relieved, low on memory, and slightly thin and tangly above the y-split due to the built-in cable guides. The y-split is a massive hunk of rubber imbued with the TFZ logo. The straight jack is not particularly long, but is overly thick which will cause issues for those looking to use these with case protected cell-phones.

    As with every other earphone using this shell, isolation was mostly just okay. Sitting at my desk at work, using them to passively block sound (no music helping out) I could clearly hear myself type, cars on the nearby road, people chatting as they walked through the parking lot, birds chirping, and everything else under the sun. Tossing on the included foamies boosted isolation to the point where I could hardly hear any outside noise. A pretty stark difference really. If strong isolation is important to you, I highly recommend picking up some extra foam tips at the time of purchase to get the most out of the Series 4's varied isolation capabilities.

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    Sound:

    Tips: The medium wide-bore tips seemed to give the most balanced sound whereas the small bore tips boosted mid-bass slightly. I stuck with the pre-installed medium wide bore tips since they provided the right fit and sounded good.

    The Series 4 seems like a good entry to go with if you like the TFZ look, but have been turned off by reports of boosted treble. The Series 4 has similarly good extension at the King and Exclusive 5, but is a little harder to drive and shifts frequency emphasis around at the extremities, dialing back sub-bass umph and both upper and lower treble. While they definitely sound like they would slot naturally into TFZ's Exclusive lineup, they're a bit more relaxed and easygoing.

    Treble is tight and quick with a smooth decay but comes across a touch dull, lacking the sparkle and shimmer of the Exclusive 5 and King. Detail retrieval falls just behind those two as well, more in line with what you'd get from the Exclusive 3, but without that model's more natural tone and timbre. The Series 4's presentation is less tiring though.

    The Series 4's mid-range is typical TFZ, and that's a good thing. Set slightly back behind the treble and bass, it remains clear and coherent even during complicated tracks and with big bass threatening to bleed it's way up into the lower mids. The Series 4's slightly dry tonality makes them a little more suitable to male vocals in my opinion, as female vocals tend to lack warmth and fall a little empty.

    Bass is mid-bass focused with good extension but too little sub-bass emphasis, at least for my tastes. Those who found the Exclusive 5 too sub-bass heavy should be right at home here. Bass here is a little on the slower side, especially when running up against the King and 5, but still punchy and well controlled and with the same amazing texturing you'll find everywhere else in TFZ's lineup.

    Sound staging comes across spacious, but again, less open than what you'll get with the King or 5. Are you seeing the trend yet? Imaging is precise and layered with good separation of individual elements, but the more intimate nature of the Series 4's presentation takes away from those qualities ever so slightly.

    Overall I find the Series 4 a good earphone and a nice listen, but compared to the equivalently priced Exclusive 5 and King it almost always feels a step behind.

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    Final Thoughts:

    The Series 4 is a good earphone and had I come across it as the first of the TFZ lineup, not one of the last, it undoubtedly would have left a greater impression because it's a fantastic all-rounder. However, it really doesn't do anything to make me want to choose it over any other TFZ. The Series 5 has more visceral, impactful and engaging bass. The King is more detailed and has a more expansive and capable sound stage. The Series 3 performs technically about as well but at a much lower price and via a smoother signature. The Series 2 and My Love II perform almost as well, but are much less expensive and as a result are the better value.

    I just don't see where the Series 4 is supposed to fit because it does nothing to carve out a niche for itself in what is a very capable, but redundant lineup from TFZ. Unless of course that is the point. It's meant to be the ultimate do-all. I suppose my conclusion would be; if you're having a hard time deciding between a number of TFZ models, get the Series 4... It's is a little bit of everything without being the best at anything. It's the best form of “settling”.

    Thanks for reading.

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    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)
  3. crabdog
    More eyecandy from TFZ
    Written by crabdog
    Published Oct 27, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great design. Ergonomics and comfort. Decent eartip variety.
    Cons - Shouty upper midrange
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    TFZ is an audio company that has had a fast rise to popularity since they started with their Series 1, 3 and 5 earphones. I've been a long time fan, especially since I reviewed the TFZ Balance 2M which is a great sounding IEM. Recently their latest Exclusive series won the Japanese VGP authority awards 2017. Today I'll be checking out the TFZ Series 4 to see how it stacks up.

    Disclaimer

    This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. I'm not affiliated with the company and all observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

    The TFZ Series for retails for $99 at the time of writing and is available from Penon Audio: https://penonaudio.com/TFZ-SERIES-4

    Specifications
    • Driver: 12mm dual magnetic circuit graphene driver
    • Sensitivity: 108dB / mW
    • Impedance: 16 ohm
    • Frequency response: 5-40kHz
    • Connectors: 2-pin 0.78mm
    • Lowest power:8MW
    • Microphone: None
    • Plug : 3.5mm
    • Cable length: 1.2M
    Packaging and accessories

    The Series 4 comes in a long, slender black box with the logo and model printed on the front in silver. After opening you see a long card with a couple of slogans on it. Lifting out the card reveals the earphones secured in a plastic tray and a smaller cardboard box beneath that. I quite like this unboxing experience. It's nicely presented and not over the top. Here's what you get inside:
    • TFZ Series 4 earphones
    • Shirt clip
    • User manual & warranty card
    • 3x pairs of wide bore silicone tips
    • 3x pairs of narrow bore silicone tips
    • 1x pair of foam tips
    • Soft carrying pouch
    • Detachable 2-pin cable
    • Velcro cable tie
    It's great to see some different eartip styles included in the package. The shallow fit, wide bore tips are actually big enough for my large ear canals and of good quality and very comfortable.

    While the carry pouch is good for storing the earphones it won't give much protection if you're carrying it around in a bag or pocket. A clamshell case would be preferred but of course a carry pouch is better than nothing at all and is a welcome addition.

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    The included cable is an improvement over the one that comes with the Exclusive King. It's similar in style and build but is more substantial and thicker below the Y-split while retaining the same pliability. It comes with a pre-shaped, clear plastic tubing which I find a much better solution than memory wire. The Y-split is a circular, translucent plastic with the TFZ logo on it. It's a little large but I like it. Kudos to TFZ for having the balls to do things differently. Similarly the straight plug is made of the same translucent plastic. It's wider than average which might cause difficulty with some phone cases but for me is not an issue whatsoever. Strain reliefs are good from top to bottom.

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    Build, comfort and isolation

    This model comes in two color variants, gray and blue. Like all of TFZ's recent models the Series 4 is drop dead gorgeous for a UIEM. It's similar in size and shape to the Exclusive King and in my opinion looks better even than that. With it's transparent plastic housing and metal faceplate, both of which are immaculately joined together with a uniform and very tidy seam.

    An angled nozzle with protective metal mesh protrudes from the housings and includes a proper lip to secure the eartips. All the edges on the IEM are rounded and smooth and there are no visible inconsistencies or flaws found anywhere. There's a nice weight to them that makes these feel substantial and premium. From the inner side you can clearly see the large 12mm dynamic driver.

    Like all recent TFZ releases the Series 4 comes with detachable 2-pin 0.78mm cable which for me is a welcome change from the often unreliable MMCX type. Build quality overall is exceptional for an earphone at this price.

    In terms of comfort I find the Series 4 to be really good. I can wear these for hours on end no problem at all. The shape of the housings with their smooth edges, angle of the nozzle and over-ear wear combine for a comfortable experience.

    Isolation is about average for me personally but I feel that those with smaller outer ears will likely find them above average for blocking outside noise.

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    Sound

    Gear used for testing

    Acoustic Research AR-M20

    ATC HDA-DP20

    JRiver/flac > Arcam irDAC-II

    TFZ IEMs have always been easy to drive and the Series 4 is no exception with its 16 Ohm impedance and 108dB / mW sensitivity. These can be paired with any low powered device like a smartphone and still sound good.

    The general signature of the Series 4 is a punchy but still linear bass with a boosted upper midrange and well extended treble. There seems to be a definite trend in a lot of Chi-Fi IEMs that boost the upper mids and reduce the bass to achieve a more "audiophile" type tuning but in a lot of cases it comes across as a cheap fix. Luckily TFZ gets it largely right but it's not perfect.

    Note that my measurements are not 100% correct but you can get a pretty clear idea of the general frequency response.

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    The bass is a high point in the Series 4, just as it was with the Exclusive king. It's fast and punchy without being overbearing or showing signs of bass bleed. The sub-bass in particular is really nice. It has a physical presence that you can feel in your ears but just like the mid-bass it's more linear and plays its role rather than trying to be the star of the show. Daft Punk's "Lose Yourself to Dance" is a great track to highlight the Series 4's fantastic sub-bass control. Overall it's tight and well presented with good texture.

    Midrange has a nice energy for sure but that upper midrange emphasis can become fatiguing after a while. It gives an impression of extra detail but when things get busy in a track you can hear things becoming congested and layering is only average. There's a dip in the lower mids that can make it sound a little thin and anything falling into the upper midrange tends to dominate the overall sound which isn't always a bad thing, for example when people want to get close and personal with female vocalists. Clarity is excellent and what's particularly impressive is that despite the emphasis on upper mids there's very little to no sign of sibilance.

    Treble has good extension and timbre but sits at the back of the upper mids so tends to get a little lost on occasion. This does however also mean that it is not harsh and has good control. The sheen of cymbals sound natural with some air and sparkle but the treble for the most part is a bit distant.

    Soundstage is one area that TFZ does really well and that's the case again with the Series 4. It has more width than depth but feels pretty expansive for something in its price range. Listening to "Mob Mentality" by Earthside presents the vocals up front and center with instruments reaching out to the edge of the headspace. There's good spacing and positioning of separate elements making music immersive with touches of excitement.

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    Comparisons

    Kinera H3 ($99 USD)

    The H3 is an interesting IEM with lots of potential but some drawbacks that make it ultimately mediocre. It has slightly less mid-bass and noticeably weaker sub-bass than the S4. It's just as comfortable if not even more so with its more rounded contours. The lower treble peak makes it quite sibilant and edgy to listen to. It's vocals are a little more recessed in comparison to the TFZ. While both are competent entry level IEMs The Series 4 has an edge in audio quality. The H3 does however have a more comprehensive accessory bundle including a very nice carry case and an excellent cable.

    Toneking Nine Tail ($125 USD)

    The 9T is more evenly spread across the frequency response making it less in your face but ultimately more relaxing and better for longer listening sessions as the Series 4 demands a little too much of your attention and can be fatiguing to listen to depending on the type of music. Bass levels on the 9T are a bit lower and it doesn't have the same reach in sub-bass nor is it as textured as the S4. Midrange has more body on the 9T and is more even without any noticeable peaks. Toneking's offering has better layering and separation and overall a more cohesive and organic sound as well as the custom tuning options provided by the various filter combinations.

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    From bottom left to top right: TFZ Series 4, Toneking 9 Tail, Kinera H3

    Conclusion

    TFZ remains one of my favorite entry level earphone brands. With each new release their sound becomes more refined but the real standout is their impeccable style and build quality. They produce some of the best looking IEMs under $100 without a doubt.

    The Series 4 is a great sounding earphone, particularly if you're a fan of boosted upper midrange. The bass is exquisite, carrying texture and authority while retaining a linear level and the sub-bass is among the best in its class.

    Build, aesthetics, detachable cable and good accessory bundle - what's not to like? Simply put, the Series 4 is a perfect example of why TFZ is well deserving of their fast rise in the IEM market and I'm already looking forward to see what they bring out next.
      Bansaku and B9Scrambler like this.
  4. audio123
    TFZ Series 4 - Smooth Operator
    Written by audio123
    Published Sep 10, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Smooth Midrange, Linear Bass Presentation, Solid Build Quality,
    Cons - Treble Extension
    Introduction
    TFZ started out in 2015 with a debut line up that consists of TFZ Series 1,3 and 5. Since then, they have come up with new products in Exclusive 1,3,5, King and Series 4. In this review, I will be reviewing the Series 4. I would like to thank Penon Audio and TFZ for this review unit. You can purchase the Series 4 from https://penonaudio.com/TFZ-all-models/TFZ-SERIES-4 .

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    Unboxing
    The Series 4 comes in a rectangular black box with a silver TFZ logo at the top and words “SERIES 4 IN-EAR-MONITOR” in silver colour at the centre. At the back of the box, you get the information of TFZ in different languages and a sticker showing the colour of the iem. The Series 4 that I will he reviewing is grey in colour. After removing the lid, you will see a thin sheet of semi-hard paper sporting the words “TFZ MAKE EVERY SONG AMBILIGHT BEAUTIFUL LIKE THE STARS” in silver colour and with a cushion at the back to protect the iem. You will be greeted with the iem after removing the paper and there is an accessories box.

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    Accessories
    In the accessories box, you will get an instruction manual, warranty card, 1 pack of eartips and a soft carrying pouch.

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    IEM Build & Design
    The Series 4 has a glossy grey faceplate with the model name “TFZ Hi-Fi Series MONITOR SERIES 4” printed on it. The shell is black in colour. There is a vent near the edge of the iem and on the inside too. I find the build quality solid. You can notice the dynamic driver in the iem as it is slightly translucent. It utilises 2-pin 0.78mm flushed socket for the detachable cables. The shape is quite good for my ears as the iem sits in my ears rather comfortably. The nozzle is slightly angled and it prevents earwax from going in with a metal mesh. Overall, the build quality is good and it is constructed well.
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    Cable Build & Design
    The cable is 4 core braided. On each of the 2 pin connectors, there is a L & R marking on the inside of the left and right respectively. There is a memory wire area and the cable is enclosed in a transparent heat-shrink tube which is very flexible. Moving on to the y-splitter, it is circular and matte black with the TFZ logo on it. Lastly, the jack is 3.5mm gold plated with strain relief. On the housing of the jack, there are 2 small rectangular metal plates with one sporting the words “TFZither.com” and another one sporting just “TFZ”. There is a smooth surface to the jack housing. Overall, the cable is flexible with minimal microphonics.
    upload_2017-9-10_17-1-6.png


    Sound Analysis

    Lows
    The sub-bass of Series 4 is extended well. There is a good rumble with it which helps to accentuate the overall sub-bass presentation. I find it rather punchy and it is tight. The mid-bass is controlled and slightly authoritative. The bass operates in a rather clinical approach since the decay is fast with details. The quantity of the bass is quite sufficient and with a linear presentation to it, there is maturity shown. The bass texture is rendered smoothly and it is very soothing to listen to. In addition, the bass transits beautifully to the lower mids but I feel there should be more quantity to the lows so the lower mids will not sound lacking in body. Overall, the linear presentation of the bass and its extension makes it a smooth listen.

    Mids
    The Series 4 midrange is spectacular especially the upper mids. The lower mids has a decent amount of body. I feel there should be more quantity to avoid hollowness in the male vocals. The upper mids has a good emphasis and female vocals sound particularly sweet and intimate. The midrange is very smooth but there is a slight nasal feeling in the lower mids department. The details retrieval is excellent and there is a good layering. Next, I personally do not find the upper mids shouty and there is a tight control on it. There is a good balance of musicality and technicality here. Overall, with a good resolution and boosted upper mids, female vocals shine here.

    Highs
    The treble is extended decently but the extension does not hinder the vocals performance. There is still energy and sparkle should have more quantity to it. There is no sibilance and harshness as the treble is rather controlled. The amount of air is decent and it certainly helps to improve the imaging. The clarity is not expressed technically due to the rather laid back details. There is a slight definition with not much of a crisp. Overall, the treble is smooth in a laid back manner and it can be improved with more air, sparkle and extension to give a more complete performance.

    Soundstage
    The Series 4 has a good soundstage for both the width and depth. I find the expansion to be fairly alright to avoid congestion. It helps to aid the overall positioning of vocals and instruments. The stage is just what you would expect from an iem at this price point.

    upload_2017-9-10_17-3-36.png

    Comparisons
    TFZ Series 4 vs TFZ Exclusive King
    The Series 4 has less sub-bass quantity and extension than the King. The King is more authoritative. Its sub-bass performance is more clinical and impactful, leading to a more engaging listen. The King is tighter with faster decay. Rumble on the King has more speed and demonstrates it technical performance to be more superior than the Series 4. The mid-bass on the Series 4 is more laid back while on the King, it packs a punch and results in more dynamics. Due to the more exciting bass nature, the King appears lively. The lower mids on the Series 4 has more body than the King. The quantity is more so male vocals would not sound hollow and it has a more organic feel to it. The upper mids on the King is more forward and there is a better mastery on it so female vocals sound more intimate and engaging. I feel the midrange is less congested than the King. In the treble section, the King has more extension and details. The King is more prone to sibilance and harshness than the Series 4. The air presented from the King is more than the Series 4. The treble on the King is extended better with more articulation. There is just more clarity on the King. The Series 4 has a slightly wider soundstage while the King has the better depth. The resolution of King is better as the sound has more definition to it. Overall, it really depends if you like more emphasis on sub-bass and upper mids (King) or a smooth and controlled sound (Series 4).

    TFZ Series 4 vs Kinera H3
    The Series 4 has similar sub-bass quantity but it is less extended than the Kinera H3. The bass on the H3 is more crisp and tight. It is better emphasised on the H3 with a quicker decay. There is a quicker rumble on the H3. H3 presents the bass more cleanly and there is a better bass definition. The mid-bass quantity on both is around the same. The way how Series 4 tackles the mid-bass is more laid back. In the H3, there is more weight to it and enhance the overall dynamics. The lower mids on the H3 sound more dry. The upper mids on the H3 is more forward and there is more crisp to it. This results in a more organic performance. In the treble section, the H3 has better extension with clarity to it. There is slightly more air and sparkle on the H3. With more definition, the H3 definitely outshines Series 4 in this aspect. Lastly, the Series 4 has more soundstage width than the H3. There is better depth on the H3. I feel the instruments and vocals positioning is more accurate on the Series 4. The resolution of both is very similar. I find the Series 4 to be more mature in vocals presentation although it has less dynamics than the H3. The H3 is more v-shaped sounding.

    TFZ Series 4 vs Westone UM Pro 10
    The Series 4 has better sub-bass quantity than the UM Pro 10 and it is better extended. The bass of the Series 4 is presented with more control and tightness. Furthermore, the bass texture is being rendered smoothly. The overall bass just digs deeper than the UM Pro 10. Moving on to the mid-bass, both are equally laid-back. The definition on the Series 4 is slightly better. There is an equal amount of rumble on both. The lower mids on the Series 4 has slightly more body than the UM Pro 10. I feel Series 4 does male vocals more justice than the UM Pro 10. The upper mids on both are very similar. In the treble section, both are extended to a similar extent. There is slightly more air on the UM Pro 10. The sparke on both is lacking. Moving on to the soundstage, there is better depth for the Series 4. UM Pro 10 width enhances the imaging and it is portrayed better than the Series 4. The resolution of UM Pro 10 has an edge over the Series 4.

    Conclusion
    The Series 4 is an excellent iem that has a linear bass presentation and a smooth midrange with boosted upper mids. The build quality is quite solid. The accessories are quite sufficient and the cable provided is of good quality. Overall, the TFZ Series 4 is another winner by TFZ for its impeccable smooth midrange.

    upload_2017-9-10_17-4-28.png

    For more reviews, visit https://audio123blog.wordpress.com/ .
  5. ustinj
    A revisit to TFZ's first offerings: Series 4
    Written by ustinj
    Published Aug 29, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - natural bass quantity / presentation, progressively more mature tuning, build quality / detachable cable, value
    Cons - midrange not tonally perfect, slight dip in clarity in lower treble, almost gaudy jack and splitter
    TFZ Series 4: Improving...

    Overall: 4.5/5 stars

    I've been a fan of the TFZ IEMs for a while now, and I was ecstatic when Penon Audio reached out to me with the TFZ Series 4 IEM for review. So big thanks to Penon -- I am in no way associated with Penon Audio and this review will be my own thoughts. This will be concise and to the point, I will try to be as forward as possible with my thoughts and avoid unnecessary padding/fluff. Please understand that hearing is subjective and I am only describing how the Series 4 sounds to my ears. I will include a set of frequency response measurements in case some are objectivists and like that stuff.

    upload_2017-8-29_0-53-22.png

    The TFZ Series 4 was a surprise, as the "Series" lineup hadn't been visited for a while. The Series 5 impressed me, and was no longer the TFZ's featured products after the introduction of several other lines such as the Balance and Exlclusive series. The King then proved TFZ's ability to create enjoyable, technically capable IEMs at a relatively low price. So when a new release from TFZ sporting the older "Series" moniker, while also being a lower number than the previous (4 versus 5) was unveiled, I was instantly curious.

    Packaging and IEM Design

    upload_2017-8-29_0-52-43.png

    The Series 4 is packaged in a box similar to that of the exclusive series -- a thick oblong, matte black box, printed in reflective silver text. The box is compact and makes good use of it's available space, as many value IEMs nowadays seem to spend a lot of time on a large box with over-the-top presentation. At the same time, it looks good and works well; I have no complaints.

    Accessories

    Included with the Series 4 is the familiar "leather" carrying case branded with a silver TFZ Logo (black bag for black Series 4, white bag for blue Series 4). Additionally, there are 6 pairs of silicone tips included excluding the tips attached to the IEM (7 total). There are three wide-bored tips in S/M/L sizing, as well as three narrow-bored tips. The tip attached to the IEM by default is the wide-bored medium tip. There is a shirt clip for the cable included.

    I personally would prefer to ditch the carrying bag and opt for an actual carrying case instead.

    upload_2017-8-29_0-52-15.png

    The IEM itself is shaped similarly to the previous Series IEMs, as well as the Exclusive King -- it's on the larger side of things, but the smooth curves of the shell prove to be very comfortable for me. The metal faceplates are engraved with the Series 4 title as well as company name. Similar to the King, the weight of the IEMs is somewhat on the heavier side due to the metal plates. I personally don't find the weight too bothersome, but it can certainly be a deal breaker for a few people out there. I am a fan of the shell quality, as it feels very thick and sturdy.

    The 2-pin jack protrudes slightly from the shell of the IEM, though not enough to be an issue. The cable slides in with a tad amount of resistance, not too much but bordering too little -- I don't think they will come detached from the cable unintentionally.

    Cable

    Thankfully, TFZ has since made a majority if not all of their IEMs compatible with a 2-pin detachable cable. This is a highly-sought after feature that not only gives reassurance to the owner, but also sets it above many of it's competitors in a similar price bracket.

    upload_2017-8-29_0-51-57.png

    The cable itself is decent. The wire material is soft and lenient, coated in dark-brown bronze sleeving and braided with 4 cores. However, I don't really like the detailing on the cable components. The TFZ y-splitter is a bit larger than necessary. The 3.5mm connector has an obscenely large diameter and doesn't fit through many phone cases I've tested. The result is a cable with good material, but held back by its flashy appearance and resulting impracticality. There is no chin slider.

    Sound Impressions

    At last -- this is the first TFZ product I've heard that truly, objectively, and subjectively does NOT have significantly boosted bass. The overall characteristic of the TFZ 4's sound is summarized by a linear and natural bass, a moderately to heavily boosted upper-midrange, and a decently-extended treble with a slight lack of clarity.

    -


    Here is a frequency response measurement of the Series 4. This is recorded on an IMM-6 with a silicone tube -- the primary difference from crinacle's measurements is that mine has a slight notch at 2.3kHz that I'm not bothered enough to fix.

    [​IMG]

    Bass

    With a more linear-leaning presentation to the bass, the TFZ Series 4 is possibly the most faithful tuning yet brought forth in TFZ's lineup. Subbass has solid extension and rumble, it reaches to the depths of my hearing and doesn't feel anemic or weak. Midbass is very controlled and relatively natural in attack / decay. I don't find quantity lacking at all. A majority of bassheads will not be pleased with the quantity of the TFZ 4's bass. I think what impresses me most about the bass presentation of the Series 4 is the overall control and maturity of its tuning ... it is a nice change to see TFZ moving towards this type of sound signature in contrast to their previous IEMs which have mostly been some variation of the same curve (v-shaped).

    Midrange

    The midrange follows the previous, well-known TFZ Series tuning. The lower midrange sits relatively in line (no longer recessed per se due to the less exaggerated bass), while the upper midrange is boosted quite a bit. This works out quite well for female vocals and some male vocals, as it tends to make the higher vocal registers more musical and gives them a desirable sense of bite and clarity (though occasionally shouty). However, this is not without its drawbacks in the Series 4's case. I don't find the midrange recessed. However, the lower midrange can sometimes feel hollow, resulting in a thinner, slightly papery / nasal timbre (though it is definitely less of an issue here, than it was on the TFZ King). Thankfully, sibilance is less of a problem on the TFZ Series 4 when compared to the previous King and revised Series 5, though not completely eliminated... Midrange resolution is good and it shares its technical ability with the TFZ King.

    Treble

    It took me a while to pinpoint why some instruments came off as a bit blunt or 'blurry' when the upper midrange was easily boosted, but it turns out the issue is with the lower treble. It has fair extension and respectable air. However, there is a lower treble scoop out that takes away from the overall IEM's clarity. Small details and laid-back details in mixes can sometimes feel lost, as well as peaks of high frequency instruments can feel a bit unnatural in their presentation as a result.


    Brief Comparisons

    I'm going to compare the Series 4 briefly to two relevant IEMs that are currently trending.

    TFZ King

    The Series 4 does not have that immediate "wow" factor that the TFZ King had, as the King demonstrated more capable and obvious 3-dimensional imaging. However, it does remain competent in this field as instruments have a decent directional placement. The Series 4 sounds a bit wider horizontally, but compressed in the axial forward-backwards directions; in this case the TFZ King did not immediately sound restrained while it is more noticeable on the Series 4.

    However, I find the more controlled and maturely-tuned bass of the Series 4 to be of high upholding over the Exclusive King in terms of tuning. The King also demonstrates tendency to highlight sibilance and be a bit harsh / hot on some tracks. The Series 4 dials this back a notch, but in turn loses a bit of clarity in the lower treble. Also, the Series 4's midrange feels less choked out and thin compared to the King. The King has noticeably more powerful, exaggerated sub-bass rumble than the Series 4.

    In summation, I'd go for the TFZ King if I'm looking for a more v-shaped bassy sound and don't mind extra treble energy that can sometimes border harshness / sibilance. The Series 4 is more maturely tuned, the bass is more controlled and natural with a less choked out midrange, though it sacrifices a tad bit of clarity in exchange.

    Kinera H3

    The Kinera H3 has come up as a strong budget contender in the past few weeks for good reason. A lot of the appeal comes up from its multi-driver hybrid setup at an appealing price -- however, I find that the TFZ Series 4 competes just fine with the H3, having some advantages and some disadvantages against it.

    The H3 has an upper edge in bass tightness as well as treble clarity. The H3's bass is tight, though it sounds a little less natural and more emphasized compared to the Series 4. The H3 also has significantly improved treble clarity over the Series 4, which is its primary downfall. The H3 slightly outresolves the Series 4.

    The Series 4 sounds far more natural than the H3. The more neutral bass tuning is less bloated than that of the Kinera H3. The H3 is overall more noticeably v-shaped than the Series 4. TFZ 4's midrange is more natural than that of the Kinera H3 (which consistently sounds a bit sucked out in the lower midrange and suffocated in that regard). Series 4's overall vocal timbre feels more accurate than the Kinera H3, but it is still not completely tonally correct. The Series 4 is also smoother and more tame in the upper midrange, as the H3 tends to highlight sibilance more frequently.

    Kinera H3's cable wipes the floor with the Series 4's -- H3 cable is slimmer and more attractive to look at. The splitter is more compact and has a chin slider.

    Conclusion

    What sets TFZ apart from the competition, in my opinion, is that they have been recently releasing IEMs that seem to improve upon previous models. See -- in this case, I'm torn because Head-Fi.org only allows 4 and 5 star ratings. I think the Series 4 sits in a nice place somewhere in between, similar to the previously reviewed TFZ King.

    The Series 4 demonstrates TFZ's ability to not only improve upon their previous models, but also to release a variety of tunings that can be appreciated by many. I find the more tame bass response of the Series 4 as a breath of fresh air, and the tasteful upper-midrange bump to pair quite well with it. If they could slightly fill in the lower treble dip, being the IEM's primary weakness, it would be undoubtedly worth a 5 star review.

    10% - Packaging & Accessories: 4 / 5
    20% - Build Quality & Design: 4.5 / 5
    50% - Sound Impressions: 4.4 / 5
    20% Value: 4.5 / 5

    Overall: 4.2 / 5


  6. Moonstar
    Graphene the Hi-Fi material of the future?!
    Written by Moonstar
    Published Aug 24, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great look and fit
    Replaceable cable option
    Good price to performance ratio
    Non fatiguing sound tuning with a good amount of detail
    Well controlled bass and treble region
    Cons - Midrange sounds a bit recessed
    Soundstage could be a bit wider (depth is ok)
    Hard case is missing
    TFZ Series 4;
    Graphene the Hi-Fi material of the future?!

    I would like to thank Penon Audio and TFZ for this review unit. This product was provided free of charge for review purposes in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Purchase Link: https://penonaudio.com/TFZ-SERIES-4
    Manufacturer website: http://www.tfzither.com/


    Introduction:

    The company TFZ (The Fragrant Zither) is located in mainland China in the province Shenzhen and is a manufacturer for high-end audio and video products that we know since the last two years with it’s popular IEM (in-ear monitor) line, the TFZ Series 1/3/5 and the Balance 2/2M.

    After the success of this IEM’s, the company have released the TFZ Series 1s/3s/5s and a new DD (double dynamic) driver model The King.

    The latest line up is now the Exclusive 1/3/5 series and at least a target model for female consumers that are called My Love.

    The TFZ Series 4 that I will now review for you is a special release of the TFZ Series.



    Package and Accessories:

    The Series 4 comes in a relative small rectangular black card box.

    20170818_113133.jpg

    The box includes the following contents;

    • 1 pair TFZ SERIES 4 IEM
    • 1 pcs. of cable with 0,78mm 2 pin connection
    • 1 pair of ear hook
    • 1 pair of foam ear tips
    • 3 pairs of silicone ear tips with wide-bore
    • 4 pairs of silicone ear tips with regular-bore (1 pair is comes pre-installed)
    • 1 pcs. of Collar Clip
    • 1 pcs. of Soft carrying pouch
    20170818_113318.jpg

    The first thing that I find out is that TFZ has not provided any hard or semi hard case in the box.

    I know, it’s not a deal breaker especially for this price but it would be better to provide a hard case instead this good looking soft pouch. I think that this is the only downside in terms of accessories.

    20170824_172301.jpg

    The eartips inside the box are soft and comfortable, 3 pairs of those have a wide-bore and 4 pairs of this have a small bore 1 pair is comes pre-installed). There is also a pair of soft foam tips that are very comfy.

    20170824_172442.jpg

    The good thing of the ne TFZ Series is the detachable cable option. The cable that comes with the Series 4 has a 0,78mm 2 pin interface and feels sturdy and without any microphonics.

    20170824_174730.jpg 20170824_174703.jpg

    This cable has a Y- Splitter with a TFZ logo that has a nice look. The only downside of the cable is, that it is prone to interlace. Earhooks and the collar clips are nice extras that I didn’t use.

    20170818_112906.jpg

    Specifications:

    Inside the Series 4 is a 12mm diameter Dual Magnetic Circuit Graphene Driver. But what is Graphene?

    Graphene is a thin layer of pure carbon. It is a ultra thin and strong material. Some scientists call it the material of the future. So in short the driver inside the TFZ 4 is a graphene coated driver that is ultra flexible and strong. But it doesn’t make any sense if this has no positive effect to the sound, but this will be mentioned later.

    20170824_172553.jpg 20170824_172621.jpg

    The TFZ 4 is an easy to drive IEM (16 ohm) and you don’t need any amplification to go loud. This IEM works great with a Smartphone but benefits from a good source like a DAP (Digital Audio Player).

    20170818_113039.jpg

    Technical Details:

    • IEM Type : Universal In-Ear Monitor
    • Driver Type : 12.0MM Dual Magnetic Circuit Graphene Driver
    • Sensitivity : 108dB / mW
    • Impedance : 16 ohm
    • Freq. response : 5-40kHz
    • Connectors : 2-pin 0.78mm
    • Lowest power : 8MW
    • Plug : 3.5mm
    • Cable length : 1.2m


    Design, Fit and Build Quality:

    The TFZ Series 4 looks and feels very premium, especially for the retail price of 99 USD.

    It has a plastic shell with a glossy metal faceplate. It feels sturdy and is well crafted. The fit and size of the monitor is one of the best in its price range.

    I have worn it for more that 3 hours a day without any discomfort. The seal is above average but I didn’t expected more for this price J

    Albums & tracks used for this review:
    • Dire Straits – Money For Nothing (DSF)
    • Stevie Wonder - Rocket Love (DSF)
    • Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (DSF)
    • Diana Krall - So Wonderful (DSF)
    • Dr. Chesky’s Binaural Album (Flac 24bit/192Hz)
    • Otto Liebert & Luna Negra - The River (DSF)
    • Metallica - The Black Album (Flac 24bit/96Hz)
    • Aretha Franklin – Ain’t No Way (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Michael Jackson - Bad Album (Flac 24bit/96Hz)
    • Mile Davis - So What (DSF)
    • Daft Punk - Random Access Memories Album (Flac 24bit/192Hz)
    • Kraddy - Be A Light Album (MP3 320Kbps)

    Sources used for this review:

    IEM : Rose Cappuccino MK2, Vivo XE800
    DAP : Fiio X5 MK3, Smart Player (YinLVMei) D200+, Zishan Z2, Ipaid Air 2

    20170818_112832.jpg

    The Sound:

    I wrote this review after 150 hours of burn-in with my DUNU double flange ear tips (not in the box included)

    As I mentioned before, the TFZ Series 4 has a Dual Circuit Graphene driver under the hood. This is my second earphone in my collection that has a Graphene coated driver and I know that this driver benefits from an intensive burn-in period. My DIY MX760 Graphene earbud sounded horrible at the first hours of listening. But after 100 hours it started to shine.

    The TFZ 4 sounded already good out of the box, but this IEM sounds better and better after 100 hours. I think that Graphene and Titanium coated drivers benefits more form burn-in than traditional PET or PEK diaphragm drivers.


    a) Tonality:

    The TFZ Series 4 is a quite warm sounding (comes from the 100 Hz range) IEM with a V shaped sound signature. It has a non-fatiguing tuning that is ideal for long listening periods.


    b) The Bass (Subbass and Bass):

    The bass is where the TFZ really shines. It is well controlled punchy and fun sounding. There is a good amount of space between bass and lower midrange. I didn’t expect such a good tuning for an IEM that cost 99 USD. The subbass (20 – 60 Hz range) is well presented.

    Bass heavy instruments like bass guitar don’t struggle that much (a big plus point). The texture and layering is good, much better than my old Vsonic GR07 BE. The resolution is above its price range and the result will make many people happy.

    c) The Mids (Lower midrange – Midrange – Upper midrange):

    The TFZ Series 4 is not a mid centric IEM, but that doesn’t mean that Vocals sound bad, they are a bit recessed for my taste but not too much that it sound unnatural.

    The clarity of vocals and instruments is above average with a small amount of stress that comes from the lower midrange, especially form the 450 – 500 Hz range that can cause to a muddy presentation in some bass intensive tracks. But I think that this is in an acceptable level especially for this price. The upper midrange (2 Hz to 4 kHz) is the best part of the mid section.

    There is no stress or irritation that comes from the 3 kHz range. As a result, female vocals sound great and male vocals sound good. The Vsonic GR07 BE sounded a bit more musical and realistic.

    d) The Highs (treble – upper treble):

    The treble section of the TFZ 4 is well controlled. The clarity and definition pretty good. Since the treble is not overpowered, most tracks that I tested out didn’t sounded harsh or ear piercing like the Vsonic GR07/GR07 BE


    The overall presentation is fairly transparent and not too distant. The resolution is above average and much better than my old GR07 BE.

    The upper treble (5 khz - 18 khz) is well presented and gives a good amount of sparkle and a airy presentation. It is not as airy like my Rose Cappuccino MK2 that is one of the best in my collection, but this wouldn’t be a fair comparison. The Vsonic GR07 at the other hand sounded too harsh for my taste and didn’t have enough control over the upper end.

    e) Soundstage and Imagine:

    The TFZ Series 4 has a good soundstage and a fairly ok imagine. The soundstage is not as huge or expansive as some more expensive multi BA/Hibrit IEM’s like the Rose Cappuccino or the Oriolus Fosteni, but that doesn’t mean that the Series 4 is a claustrophobic sounding IEM.

    Instruments are well placed and there is enough space for each instrument and vocal so that you can imagine the atmosphere in a live recorded track.


    20170818_105647.jpg

    Conclusion:

    The TFZ Series 4 is a well build IEM with a good price to performance ratio. This thing looks sexy and you have the option to change the cable to enhance the overall performs to another level.


    I had a brief listening experience with the Magaosi K3 Pro and think that The TFZ Series 4 is a good alternative in this price range and significant improvement over my old Vsonic GR07 BE.

    Summary (plus and minus):

    + Great look and fit
    + Replaceable cable option
    + Good price to performance ratio
    + Non fatiguing sound tuning with a good amount of detail
    + Well controlled bass and treble region

    - Midrange sounds a bit recessed
    - Soundstage could be a bit wider (depth is ok)
    - Hard case is missing













  7. Cinder
    Another Stellar Addition to TFZ’s lineup
    Written by Cinder
    Published Aug 13, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Shiny metal faceplate, solid construction, 2-pin cables, punch and full bass response, sweet treble
    Cons - Can become uncomfortable after long listening sessions, no hard carrying case
    [​IMG]
    TFZ Series 4 Review: Another Stellar Addition to TFZ’s lineup

    I’ve heard quite a few TFZ IEMs, but had the luxury of reviewing none thus-far. While their first-generation lineup didn’t wow me, their continued innovation and increase in quality has left me quite impressed. The TFZ Series 4 follows hot on the heels of the Exclusive 3 and Exclusive 5, but is actually currently more expensive. The nomenclature confuses me, but the sound sure doesn’t. Even at it’s $99 price-point it puts up one hell of a fight against other giants in it’s price bracket.

    You can find the TFZ Series 4, here, on Penon Audio, for $99.

    Disclaimer: This unit was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. I am not affiliated with TFZ or Penon Audio beyond this review. These words reflect my true, unaltered, opinion about the product.

    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.

    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.

    Source: The Series 4 was powered like so:

    HTC U11 -> USB-C adapter -> earphones

    or

    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones

    or

    HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones

    or

    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones

    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    There were small, but noticeable, changes in tonality and bass solidity when running the Series 4 through a neutral amplifier.

    Sound Signature
    Initial Impressions:

    The Series 4 is a fairly warm IEM that makes use of a typical boost to the vocals and mid-treble. Sub-bass and midbass are well-paired. The lower mids are placed behind the bass, and the upper-mids and treble are boosted past the bass. Overall it’s a fairly cohesive tuning that sounds natural to the ear.

    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy

    Treble has a nice sweetness and is well-bodied. While it’s not as clean and precise as, say, the GT100s, it is pretty good. Attack and decay are natural, giving the Series 4 some air. Treble-bound instrumental separation is also fairly good though certainly not the best in this price range.

    There is no sibilance what-so ever on the Series 4, even on my most poorly-mastered tracks.

    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams

    The Series 4 has fairly recessed mids, especially towards to bottom end of the range. In spite of their subtle tuning they still sound good. A natural, if not overly-precise, timbre lends them a pleasing tonality. Electric guitars have a great crunch to them and the plucking of acoustic guitars sounds pretty darn good.

    Vocals sound good and have slightly above-average intelligibility. The Series 4 is partial towards female vocals, though not by much.

    Detail retrieval in the mids is above average, but won’t wow any seasoned audiophiles.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    The bass on the Series 4 is pretty darn good. Undeniably punchy, cohesive, and very well extended. Bass guitars are definitely audible and defined, something many IEMs at this price range can’t pull off too well.

    Bass drops are equally as impressive. While it can’t compete with IEMs that have multiple dynamic drivers tuned specifically for the lower register, the Series 4 puts up a really good fight in the bass department. Sub-bass rumble is great too.

    Packaging / Unboxing
    There Series 4 comes in about the kind of box I’ve come to expect from a $99 IEM: soft cardboard and compartmentalization. There’s nothing wrong with that, and if simpler packaging means more money going to the actually product then I’m all for it.


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    Build
    Construction Quality

    The Series 4 is sturdy in the hand and premium to the eyes. An inspection of the driver housings reveals that the Series 4’s massive 12mm dynamic driver is enclosed inside a clear plastic shell with a very substantial polished-metal face-plate bolted in place.


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    TFZ’s new IEMs use removable cables for the most part, and the Series 4 is no exception. It uses a raised 2-pin connector surrounded by a somewhat stress-resistant plastic. It’s a pretty decent implementation of 0.78mm 2-pin, so no complaints here.


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    The nozzle is a little stout for my tastes, giving the Series 4 a more shallow insertion depth. It has a reasonable lip that keeps earbuds snugly in place-but at the same time, doesn’t make it such that you need to contract Hercules to remove them.


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    The Series 4 comes with a 4-core braided cable. Below the Y-splitter the cable’s geometry is that of a double-twisted cable, and above it, a single twisted cable.


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    The Y-splitter and 3.5mm jack are both covered in a soft semi-matte plastic. While it’s not visually up to my stylistic standards, I generally leave the judgement of such things to my readers. In terms of construction, however, there are few complaints to be had. I would definitely recommend that TFZ to get better Y-splitters, though. These ones do not disperse mechanical stress too well and really do nothing to prevent wear and tear on the cable.

    Comfort

    For an IEM as big and heavy as it is, I would have expected the Series 4 to feel unwieldy and intrusive in my ears. This is actually not the case, and I have been able to go three or four hours at a time with it in my ears before I experienced any semblance of irritation.

    Accessories

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    The Series 4 comes well-equipped with accessories. Inside the box you will find:

    • 1x set of foam eartips
    • 3x sets of wide-bore eartips
    • 3x sets of standard-bore eartips
    • 1x soft carrying pouch
    • 1x shirt clip
    The eartips are pretty good actually, and the foams, though white and easily dirtied, are also functionally pretty darn good. High isolation and comfort makes them a great choice.

    The pouch isn’t half bad either and closes snugly. While I wish there was something a more protective included in the box the pouch will surely do.

    Summary
    TFZ did it again, delivering a good looking, well-built, good sounding, and reasonably priced IEM to consumers. While I had some small complaints about the cable and the lower-mids, I found every song I heard through it to be an absolute joy. So if you are looking for a new IEM around $99, definitely check out the Series 4.

    I've gotten some feedback that certain individuals cannot view my images the way they are currently formatted. Here are some un-formatted and directly linked images:

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      bubblebutt, scott1, EdyT and 5 others like this.

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