The discovery thread!
Jan 12, 2018 at 2:06 PM Post #34,907 of 96,509
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I wrote this in another thread yesterday:
Initial sound impressions are really good maybe even on the same level as the LZ-A4 and Brainwavz B400. Isolation and ergonomics are also great while accessories are sub par and build quality is questionable (the MMCX connections are quite loose). Still a solid offering for the $115 I paid for them.

The bass is very good. I'm not a basshead and these have got all the bass I need while still not mixing too much into the higher frequencies. Soundstage is average and doesn't compete well compared to the Blue Ever Blue Model 1200EX, LZ-A4 and others that are very good in this area. That being said they're not bad i this regard either, just nothing special. I'd say that the sound is fairly well balanced, I was looking for something with more (sub)bass than the Brainwavz B400 and better isolation than the LZ-A4 to use when out and about and these fit the bill perfectly so far. Please remember that I've about had themfor half a day this far so things may changeover time.

These impressions are from today:

Today I brought the A&D D6 and B400 to work and used them both for several hours. Now I'm home again listening to the SD7 and they're very very good with less clarity and resolution than the D6 (which is extremely good on both of those) but better than the B400 in those areas. Midbass is quite similar to the B400 but the SD7 has more subbass, the D6 has less bass than both the others. The B400 are a notch darker sounding but apart from that and those differences mentioned above those two are pretty similar with their easy going presentation and extremely good layering. Tbh I think I might actually prefer the SD7 (but not by a largemargin and it could also be a bit of new toy syndrome involved).

I did also do a short comparison with the A4 just now and personally I think I still prefer the wider stage and more airy presentation fromthe A4 but both are excellent and it's a very close call. Next week I'll get the A5 to compare with as well.

Edit: Just for the record, all the IEM's mentioned above are very good but in different ways. This is indeed a great time to be in this hobby :)
 
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Jan 12, 2018 at 2:33 PM Post #34,908 of 96,509
The loose fitting mmcx thing. I notices it depends on the cable. From my most recent cables I bought on Aliexpress. I have a few that fit loose but some that fit tight. So not all the mmcx cables are the same it seems.

Excellent comparos. I would however give them a good burn in. They sound much better afterwards.
 
Jan 12, 2018 at 3:31 PM Post #34,909 of 96,509
The loose fitting mmcx thing. I notices it depends on the cable. From my most recent cables I bought on Aliexpress. I have a few that fit loose but some that fit tight. So not all the mmcx cables are the same it seems.

Excellent comparos. I would however give them a good burn in. They sound much better afterwards.

Yeah, today I noticed the same as you about the cables. The strange thing is that even the ones with a loose fit on the SD7 works perfectly well with my other IEM's.

Anyway, for the price I got these for they're a great bargain. I just love the comfort and isolation on them, it makes them very useful to me.
 
Jan 12, 2018 at 4:13 PM Post #34,910 of 96,509


I wrote this in another thread yesterday:
Initial sound impressions are really good maybe even on the same level as the LZ-A4 and Brainwavz B400. Isolation and ergonomics are also great while accessories are sub par and build quality is questionable (the MMCX connections are quite loose). Still a solid offering for the $115 I paid for them.

The bass is very good. I'm not a basshead and these have got all the bass I need while still not mixing too much into the higher frequencies. Soundstage is average and doesn't compete well compared to the Blue Ever Blue Model 1200EX, LZ-A4 and others that are very good in this area. That being said they're not bad i this regard either, just nothing special. I'd say that the sound is fairly well balanced, I was looking for something with more (sub)bass than the Brainwavz B400 and better isolation than the LZ-A4 to use when out and about and these fit the bill perfectly so far. Please remember that I've about had themfor half a day this far so things may changeover time.

These impressions are from today:

Today I brought the A&D D6 and B400 to work and used them both for several hours. Now I'm home again listening to the SD7 and they're very very good with less clarity and resolution than the D6 (which is extremely good on both of those) but better than the B400 in those areas. Midbass is quite similar to the B400 but the SD7 has more subbass, the D6 has less bass than both the others. The B400 are a notch darker sounding but apart from that and those differences mentioned above those two are pretty similar with their easy going presentation and extremely good layering. Tbh I think I might actually prefer the SD7 (but not by a largemargin and it could also be a bit of new toy syndrome involved).

I did also do a short comparison with the A4 just now and personally I think I still prefer the wider stage and more airy presentation fromthe A4 but both are excellent and it's a very close call. Next week I'll get the A5 to compare with as well.

Edit: Just for the record, all the IEM's mentioned above are very good but in different ways. This is indeed a great time to be in this hobby :)

I understand where the weird font on the KZ ZSR shells come from now! A lot classier on the rhythmos.
 
Jan 12, 2018 at 10:41 PM Post #34,911 of 96,509
Yeah, today I noticed the same as you about the cables. The strange thing is that even the ones with a loose fit on the SD7 works perfectly well with my other IEM's.

Anyway, for the price I got these for they're a great bargain. I just love the comfort and isolation on them, it makes them very useful to me.

Did I mention how good they sound in balanced? They are unreal in balanced by the way. If you have a 2.5mm Trrs mmcx cable and a source to use it in. It will surprise you.
 
Jan 13, 2018 at 2:09 AM Post #34,912 of 96,509

LZ A5 – Starting the year right, the Prodigal son returns

Initial Impressions


Introduction
I have to say that LZ is one of the few brands in this lovely hobby of ours that has never ceased to amaze me, not only because of the quality of their releases, but also because of their willingness to listen to their customers and at the same making major strides. The A5 is no exception in this regard.

Disclaimer
I want to say a big thank you to LZ and NiceHCK for providing me with a sample unit. I have received no compensation for writing about the A5 and this piece represents my initial opinion and should be taken as such. I reserve the right to change my opinion as time goes on.

General
Truth be told, it was only recently that I learned of the A5 and that it was already in production and most importantly, the release date wasn’t too far off. I have been using the A4 as my daily driver since reviewing it, and so naturally I am quite interested to try and see how the A5 turns out.

LZ truly shines when it comes to tuning their products, but their ergonomics can leave a lot to be desired. So looking at the A5 design it appears that they went back to the drawing board to set things straight and I am happy to say that they have hit a home run when it comes to ergonomics. Good on them for not resting on their laurels after success with the A4 and Big Dipper.

Enough with the jibber jabber, lets move on to the good stuff!

Unboxing


As you can see the A5 comes in a very understated and minimally designed black box, going for the whole minimalism look I suppose. I guess it's what's on the inside that counts more (at least thats what I like to tell myself when looking at the mirror lol).

The A5 is fastened securely in the box and is sure to survive the most bumpy of journeys. I do wish that the packaging included more accessories, would have been a nice touch. Some documentation and warranty details are also included for your reference. Who reads manuals anyway lol.

Build Quality
The housing is dark shell that is smooth to the touch, sporting a red wind logo on the side. The housings feel light, sturdy and decidedly premium. I cannot overstate just how far LZ has come along in the ergonomics section. These just disappear into you ears. LZ has clearly been listening to customer feedback.



The included cable is wrapped in a cloth/fibre sheath. It is resistant to tangling but prone to transmitting noise, which seems noticeable while walking around the house. I should mention that I detest adjustable earhooks/guides and so I was unhappy to see it included on the stock cable but it's not the worst implementation I have seen. I am adjusting albeit begrudgingly so.



I kind of wish the included cable was terminated in a balanced connector with various adapters to extended functionality, especially in light of light accessories.

The included tuning filters are screwed into a small metal block - which I find to be convenient. No need to worry about filters falling out or losing them somewhere, just leave them screwed in. But as with the A4 filters, one must be careful not to lose the little black rubber rings that are screwed onto the filters. They will not just nilly will fall off, but all the same something to keep in mind.

General
For initial testing I tried to streamline things and stuck to sources I am greatly familiar with, that is to say my Macbook pro and FiiO E17K. I didn't find the A5 too hard to drive and I was easily able to attain listening levels with my laptop and cellphone without having to resort to a portable amp.

The LZ A5 is a 4 BA + 1 DD beast and it sports 4 different tuning options, each with a different color. I have taken tuning information from the manual and prepared it in a more visually pleasing manner and this time I made sure to watermark the damn thing(I am looking at you massdrop lol!).



As you can see from the table above, the affected frequency range is wider and not as targeted as the A4, for better or for worse.

Option paralysis is a real thing and I for one am glad they have streamlined the tuning options. When it came to the A4, out of the possible 18 or so tuning combinations, I mostly used 2 or 3 at most. For the A5 it seems have greatly simplified it and improved the quality of change produced by each filter combination. As the old adage goes, quality over quantity. Unless of course we are talking about Pizza because I am ALL about that quantity over quality life.

From my initial listening, this is how I hear it:
In order of increasing brightness - Red > Gray > Black > Blue

I am going to go ahead and say that the black filters are my favourite and I suspect many will feel the same way. All my sound impressions are based on the black filters. My full review will touch upon more detailed impressions for all the filters, as well as how it sounds running balanced.

As mentioned earlier, the A5 wasn't terribly hard to drive, but I found it to really come alive when driven by a good DAP, which is the way it should be. So if you want to see what the A5 can do, use a dedicated dac/amp such as the FiiO E17K for example.


I know I have been rambling on and complaining about the A5, but the truth is, none of my complaints are about the SOUND. Because that is where it blew me away. With the black filters on, the A5 is making me feel things I haven't felt in a long time. But before I get to that, I should mention that the degree of isolation is bonkers because I legit feel cut off from the rest of the world while using the A5, so please watch where you are going when out and about while using the A5.



Sound Impressions
I would describe the A5 as sounding spacious and truly larger than life. Regardless of what you may be listening to, the A5 just sucks you in with a sense of realism and depth that was missing from a4 and earlier iterations. It sounds true to life, very much like a good set of speakers.

Detail retrieval and presentation gets top marks. The details are not all thrown at your face like "HEY LOOK YOU CAN HEAR THE JANITOR COUGHING FROM THE FLOOR BELOW THE RECORDING STUDIO" but rather in a musical way. You can easily follow a specific part of the song or instrument without losing track of it in the mix.

On that note, I found the positioning of instruments and spatial cues to be wholly convincing. This is helped along with a realistically (I really need to buy a thesaurus) proportioned soundstage. What's more, there are times where it seems the sounds are coming from outside my head. ASMR and binaural recordings were quite convincing and easily gave me goosebumps.

This time around, the filters don't seem to be tweaking the bass overtly. The bass is fantastic, carrying a lot of weight and rumble in the sub bass region, with nary a midrange bleed to be seen. In fact, it is all too easy to make out textures of bass notes and the superb separation helps keep it in play without coming off as bass heavy. If you can't tell already, I LOVE the bass, it is well proportioned and has nice impact, helping bring percussion and string instruments to life. The sub bass rumble is remarkable and very reminiscent of a speaker setup

The midrange was spacious and full with lots of layering and details. Guitars sound full and crunchy and vocals are intimate and full of texture. While you can't make out what the singer might have had for breakfast, its detailed enoughtthat you can hear all the little harmonies in the background. The transition from bass to midrange is seamless, lacking the sudden transition one might find with inferior hybrids.

The treble will greatly depend on the filter used. When using the black filters, I found it to be balanced with the rest of the spectrum. It carried micro detailing and helped paint a wide soundstage while adding a bit of sizzle up top. As someone who is treble sensitive, I didn't find it to be strident or forward for the sake of being "AUDIOPHILE" friendly. The black filter sounds quite natural and effortless, sounding detailed without coming off as harsh. Vocal and Instrumental Timbre is well preserved and presented in all it's glory.

Conclusion
Overall, the A5 renders a very cohesive presentation where nothing sorely sticks out. The sound is complex and layered and musical at the same time. I found it to excel with eclectic music collection which spans many genres. While I can't guarantee that your field recordings of lions mating will sound true to life, most songs will sound like the bees knees.



My initial impressions are strong and I am looking forward to trying out the other filters more. Truth be told, the black filter set already sounds so good that I don't feel the need the try out the others.

And now I leave you with a shot of my face as I listen to the LZ A5

 
Jan 13, 2018 at 2:48 AM Post #34,913 of 96,509
Did I mention how good they sound in balanced? They are unreal in balanced by the way. If you have a 2.5mm Trrs mmcx cable and a source to use it in. It will surprise you.

Yes I totally agree. I've used them balanced from the Geek Out 2A, Opus#1 and the Aune M1s and they sound extremely good with all of them.
 
Jan 13, 2018 at 8:49 AM Post #34,914 of 96,509


I wrote this in another thread yesterday:
Initial sound impressions are really good maybe even on the same level as the LZ-A4 and Brainwavz B400. Isolation and ergonomics are also great while accessories are sub par and build quality is questionable (the MMCX connections are quite loose). Still a solid offering for the $115 I paid for them.

The bass is very good. I'm not a basshead and these have got all the bass I need while still not mixing too much into the higher frequencies. Soundstage is average and doesn't compete well compared to the Blue Ever Blue Model 1200EX, LZ-A4 and others that are very good in this area. That being said they're not bad i this regard either, just nothing special. I'd say that the sound is fairly well balanced, I was looking for something with more (sub)bass than the Brainwavz B400 and better isolation than the LZ-A4 to use when out and about and these fit the bill perfectly so far. Please remember that I've about had themfor half a day this far so things may changeover time.

These impressions are from today:

Today I brought the A&D D6 and B400 to work and used them both for several hours. Now I'm home again listening to the SD7 and they're very very good with less clarity and resolution than the D6 (which is extremely good on both of those) but better than the B400 in those areas. Midbass is quite similar to the B400 but the SD7 has more subbass, the D6 has less bass than both the others. The B400 are a notch darker sounding but apart from that and those differences mentioned above those two are pretty similar with their easy going presentation and extremely good layering. Tbh I think I might actually prefer the SD7 (but not by a largemargin and it could also be a bit of new toy syndrome involved).

I did also do a short comparison with the A4 just now and personally I think I still prefer the wider stage and more airy presentation fromthe A4 but both are excellent and it's a very close call. Next week I'll get the A5 to compare with as well.

Edit: Just for the record, all the IEM's mentioned above are very good but in different ways. This is indeed a great time to be in this hobby :)
Nice impressions Peter specially the comparison with A4 is really helpful ,
 
Jan 14, 2018 at 5:40 PM Post #34,915 of 96,509


I wrote this in another thread yesterday:
Initial sound impressions are really good maybe even on the same level as the LZ-A4 and Brainwavz B400. Isolation and ergonomics are also great while accessories are sub par and build quality is questionable (the MMCX connections are quite loose). Still a solid offering for the $115 I paid for them.

The bass is very good. I'm not a basshead and these have got all the bass I need while still not mixing too much into the higher frequencies. Soundstage is average and doesn't compete well compared to the Blue Ever Blue Model 1200EX, LZ-A4 and others that are very good in this area. That being said they're not bad i this regard either, just nothing special. I'd say that the sound is fairly well balanced, I was looking for something with more (sub)bass than the Brainwavz B400 and better isolation than the LZ-A4 to use when out and about and these fit the bill perfectly so far. Please remember that I've about had themfor half a day this far so things may changeover time.

These impressions are from today:

Today I brought the A&D D6 and B400 to work and used them both for several hours. Now I'm home again listening to the SD7 and they're very very good with less clarity and resolution than the D6 (which is extremely good on both of those) but better than the B400 in those areas. Midbass is quite similar to the B400 but the SD7 has more subbass, the D6 has less bass than both the others. The B400 are a notch darker sounding but apart from that and those differences mentioned above those two are pretty similar with their easy going presentation and extremely good layering. Tbh I think I might actually prefer the SD7 (but not by a largemargin and it could also be a bit of new toy syndrome involved).

I did also do a short comparison with the A4 just now and personally I think I still prefer the wider stage and more airy presentation fromthe A4 but both are excellent and it's a very close call. Next week I'll get the A5 to compare with as well.

Edit: Just for the record, all the IEM's mentioned above are very good but in different ways. This is indeed a great time to be in this hobby :)

I was not so impressed initially as I was using my phone. Probably because of Dolby settings, some instruments sounded unnatural. But when I tried it with my AP200 it sounded really good.

Looking forward for your impressions and comparison with A5.:)
 
Jan 15, 2018 at 2:43 AM Post #34,916 of 96,509
Decent 2.5mm balanced cable from Penon

IMG_20180115_130750.jpg
 
Jan 15, 2018 at 3:04 AM Post #34,918 of 96,509
Decent 2.5mm balanced cable from Penon


I got this in the mail too. It took 3 weeks for delivery. It's well built too. It connects very firmly. A little too firm.
 
Jan 15, 2018 at 3:44 AM Post #34,919 of 96,509
I have them from Penon as well and the quality of the cable is great considering the price.,works well with my Ibasso IT01..
On 2nd thoughts i think these may need some burn in. Out of the box they sound rather muddy! This is in comparison to a fiio mmcx balanced cable i have which is well burnt in. I am currently using this on the whizzer A15.

I got this in the mail too. It took 3 weeks for delivery. It's well built too. It connects very firmly. A little too firm.
Yes i agree well built but the sonic qualities are yet to shine. Firm.. my god it took the life out of me to detach it from adv sound Model 3.. phew! :wink:
 
Jan 15, 2018 at 12:23 PM Post #34,920 of 96,509
20180113_163307.jpg I just got this cable. For $30 and free same day shipping with Prime it's a no brainer. You can see in the comments that D's also reviewed it favorably. I have it on my Pioneer CH9T. It's fantastic and sounds really good.

G&V 2.5mm 4-pole Balanced Cable, MMCX connector, 1.2m, SE-2BA-SL-L https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073PXZ38P/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_zmoxAbQZW5NPB
 

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