ZERO AUDIO-ear stereo headphone carbo Tenore ZH-DX200-CT

General Information

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CK Moustache

100+ Head-Fier
Link to my review and measurement index thread where one can also find a full review overview, more information about myself as well as my general-ish audio and review manifesto:

I only give full stars. My ranking/scoring system does not necessarily follow the norm and is about as follows:

5 stars: The product is very good and received the "highly recommended" award from me.

4 stars: The product is very good and received the "recommended" award from me.

3 stars: The product is good/very good, but not outstanding/special enough to get any of my two awards. ["Thumbs Up"]

2 stars: The product is only about average or even somewhat below that and somewhat flawed/flawed in some areas. [neither "Thumbs Up" nor "Thumbs Down"]

1 star: The product is bad/severely flawed to outright bad. ["Thumbs Down"]

Zero Audio Carbo Tenore


Personal unit.


Very simple plastic packaging.
Three pairs of differently sized silicone tips plus branded storage pouch (a case would’ve been nicer but a pouch is still better than nothing, and still okay in this price range).

Quite small shells, almost tiny.
Nice design; I like the carbon fibre and dark grey aluminium.
Build quality seems decent.

Soft cable but doesn’t appear very durable. The strain relief could be better. Integrated chin-slider.

One dynamic driver per side.

Zero Audio Carbo Tenore.png


Largest included ear tips.


W-shaped tonality with nicely implemented, strong sub-bass boost.

Lows start to climb around 600 Hz and reach their climax around 40 Hz, in the real sub-bass, with an elevation of around 12 dB compared to my Etymotic ER-4S. No roll-off below that, and as a result the Carbo Tenore have got a sub-bass driven boost without too much spillage into the midrange, which is nice.

The mids are tuned quite well, with only deep and bright voices being somewhat accentuated due to the fundamental range range lift as well as another mild one between 2.4 kHz and 3 kHz that I can spot when performing sine sweeps.
Due to their slightly u-shaped character, voices appear subjectively a bit recessed/further in the background of the mix.

One can hear a lift around 6.8 kHz and 7.8 kHz that is on the stronger side and adds some brightness to the mix. Tends to be somewhat annoying at times due to its quantity as well as since it is ultimately placed not high enough.
That peak can be basically eliminated with a really deep insertion, however that doesn’t feel natural to me as the ear pieces disappear almost completely in my ears that way, with only the cable/strain relief sticking out of my ear canals (which is most definitely not good and would, on the long run, potentially cause the cable to break as I would need to pull on it in order to extract the in-ears).

Overall, I would consider the Carbo Tenore as some of the clearly better-tuned w-shaped in-ears – much better than the subpar Anew U1 anyway.

Frequency Response:




ProPhile 8-Compensation


Decent (enough) for the price but certainly not among the best dynamic driver in-ears in this range. Below my Fostex TE-02, Havi B3 Pro I and TTPod T1 as well as the Fidue A65.

Aside from its location, the upper lift in the treble can be somewhat unpleasant (sharp) at times as the resolution is only average in this area; the Zero Audio would just have to resolve better in order to pull that elevation off more effortlessly, as the single note differentiation could be better in the highs.

About the same applies to the bass as the lower bass could use somewhat more differentiation and precision since the lows soften towards the sub-bass, nonetheless the tightness is ultimately still okay for dynamic driver in-ears although a good bit away from my single-BA Sony XBA-C10, MEElectronics A151p or dynamic driver Shure SE215m+SPE. After all, it’s still faster and audibly less mushy sounding than my SoundMAGIC E10. I’d also rate the general resolution and control a bit above my Logitech/Ultimate Ears UE200.


Fairly narrow to my ears and quite comparable to that of my Logitech/Ultimate Ears UE200.
While narrow, not flat though and with a bit of spatial depth, although a good bit away from sounding large, open or even layered.

Instrument separation and imaging are okay to decent but definitely collapse somewhat with more complex tracks being played; the Fidue A65, despite having a small soundstage as well, cope audibly better with fast and complex tracks when it comes to remaining clean sounding in regards to imaging.


Pleasant w-shaped tonality with a nicely implemented boost in the lows, although the higher of the two treble elevations can come across as too sharp at times.
Still decent enough technical performance but definitely not among the best dynamic driver in-ears in the budget range; nothing really stands out.

Marc Lian

Pros: Balanced sound, lightweight, affordable
Cons: Weak cable
Let me preface this review by first letting you understand where I come from as I think that will give you some valuable perspective of my thoughts and opinions about this little gem. This also probably won't be a conventional review in that I describe in detail about the sound signature but I will make clear and efficient comparisons to well known IEMs.
So I am a music producer and audio engineer, I look for a balanced sound with my earphones and headphones as I do commercial work with them. I do not own a large stable of IEMs nor do I have plentiful experience with many IEMs out there. 
I am familiar with the HD 600, UE RR, SE215, ATH-M50x, MDR-7506 and DT770 Pro.
Out of the above mentioned it is the Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered that I am comparing the Carbo Tenore to. Yes, I am comparing these little IEMs to a $1000 custom IEM. They sound alike to me and I have no reason to have any bias as I spent the aforementioned $1000 on the UE RR. If anything I should bashing on the Carbo Tenores just like many other people before, complaining about how they are the flavor of the month or just "hype" as a measly under $50 earphone cannot possibly come close to a $1000 custom IEM. I attribute my objective opinions to the fact that I am a science guy, I'm all about the facts and proof, I am open to be proven wrong. Sure the UE RR is the better IEM of the two but is it $900 better? No. In fact the Carbo Tenore is better in certain aspects like the soundstage, it's just wider. And any advantages the UE RR has on the Carbo Tenore are marginal.
Needless to say I have been mixing and mastering on these guys and I have been very impressed, they work so well for me. Relatively comfortable and light, the only thing that lets it down is the build quality. Cable is thin and feels weak, so are the stress reliefs at both ends.
In my opinion these are truly underrated, I think they are expertly tuned and am bewildered by how a small sized dynamic driver can produce such detail and clarity yet deliver so much on the low end as well. If you crave for a balanced sound, I urge you to give these a shot they as are truly a powerhouse of an IEM.
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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Balance; clarity; head-stage; lightweight; fit
Cons: Cable microphonics; that lightweight cable feels short-lived...
Saw some glowing reviews for these, and thought that for under $40 on Amazon it's well-worth finding out what the fuss was about - in short: well worth it!
Set-up: LG G4 > USB Audio Player Pro (FLAC; ALAC) > Audioquest Dragonfly Black 1.5
They arrived from Amazon in a plastic box, but come with a neat cloth carrying pouch which is super handy - I use it for carrying around 6.3mm adaptor / Dragonfly Black / OTG cable etc. It comes fitted with a 'medium' size pair of silicon tips, as well as a smaller + larger pair of alternate tips. 
The 'medium' tips gave a great seal out of the box, and I haven't had to change them once. Isolation is fairly good, not excellent (as to be expected), and serves me just fine on public transport. The cable itself is super-fine, and feels somewhat flimsy - doesn't really inspire confidence that it's going to be a long-term proposition. The join to the main housing is a convenient 45-degree angle, but not terribly secure. It's prone to tangling(!), and the biggest 'Con' at this stage is that it's fairly microphonic - it picks up any bump, rustle, or exaggerated movement. I was able to mostly eliminate it by wrapping them around the back and over the front of my ears, which seems to keep them fairly secure and under control. Problem (mostly) solved. 
Sound Quality
This is my first foray into IEMs (beyond the ones that come with your smartphone...), and the first listen out of the box was a surprise, which in a word, I could only describe as "clarity". Great detail at all frequencies, without the muddiness/boominess that generally comes part-and-parcel with consumer-tuned earphones.
Bass: After a bit of break-in (whether it's the drivers or my ears, I don't know) I'm happy to say there's good detail and level of bass, which is controlled and fun. At first I felt I made a mistake not ordering the Carbo Basso (the more bass-heavy twin to the Tenore), but there's definitely slam there and I wouldn't want any more level. 
Mids: I felt the mids felt slightly recessed/laid back at first (and was EQ-ing up +1-2db at first), but have become accustomed to the amount now and am listening without any EQ. Male vocals are detailed and present, but 'laid-back' would be the best way to describe them.
Treble: is super detailed and clear, lots of shine - the star here.
Soundstage: I've heard from other reviewers that these have great soundstage - something I don't totally agree with. I think it's better described as 'head-stage' - it's fairly intimate, with a good sense of left/right, but not 3D or concert-hall-like by any stretch.
Overall: can't really fault for the price (or for many times the price, for that matter), and I'm happily running them as daily drivers on my commute. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase them again...which I'm feeling I may have to given how lightweight the build feels. 
Looking forward to comparing them to the Monk Plus which have just dropped on Massdrop!


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