LZ HIFI — one of the most active and ambitious Chinese brands, mostly known for its technically advanced and impressive IEMs such as A5, A6 and A6Mini, has decided to extend this series to a budget class by introducing new models with similar design. New models — Z04A and Z05A — are looking like twins at a first glance, share the common shape and packaging with the most expensive «A» models but have different feature in the essence. Z04A is based on single dynamic driver with bio-cellulose diaphragm whereas the dynamic driver of Z05A features carbon nano-coated diaphragm. Since the externals, build quality, accessories and fit are similar, reviews of both units would have 2 parts with many text in common, with mostly of the differences in the sound quality testitng part. This is part 2, describing LZ HIFI Z05A. Part one is avalable HERE
LZ HIFI Z05A techical specifications:
- Driver: dynamic driver, carbon nano-coated diaphragm
- Frequency response range: 15Hz — 30kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Sensitivity: 110dB
- Cable connectors: MMCX
- Cable: 1.3m, 3.5mm single-ended stereo
- Designed according to CTIA IECQ standard
Note: Both units were provided by PenonAudio in the exchange for honest opinion and review
Packaging, design and build quality:
Z05A comes in a small orange boxes with matt black covers. LZ branding, model names and short technical specifications are printed on it while the box itself has only a brand logo. This packaging design follows the guidelines of flagship «A» series, the only difference is significantly smaller overall dimensions of the box.
Inner box compartment has a special foamy insert for IEMs and one large opening for storage case which also contains all the accessories.
- Z05A IEMs
- audio cable with MMC connectors, mic and inline remote
- 6 pairs of silicone eartips
- storage case
- user manual & QC leaflet
Shape as well as the overall design of both models look very familiar if you ever faced «A» flagship IEM series of LZ HIFI brand. Each shell consists of two pieces: aluminum top cover (blue for Z05A or black for Z04A) with neat white brand name and polished shiny edges and a base, probably made of aluminum as well.
LZ HIFI doesn’t mention base material anywhere and it is hard to take own guess since it has soft-touch layer on top. So, the material underneath might be either aluminum or even polycarbonate. This soft-touch coating wasn’t there in flagship models. Like the feel — soft, less slippery and would be less irritating in cold temperatures.
Shell components are perfectly aligned, very thin opeining between the top cover and base. Output nozzles potected by aluminum grills are a part of the unibody construction. MMCX ports are drawned inside and don’t protrude from the case. Two compensational openings per channel: one is at the corner of the top cover and another one is near the output nozzle.
Build quality seems to be decent. Small details like markings, grills and ports are neat. One concern goes to the soft-touch coating which is not that durable as known from the experience of interacting with other equipment. Another one is about not that tight fit of MMCX connectors inside the receiving ports. Only time would tell…
LZ HIFI didn’t change their mind about what the stock cable should be like and still include thin cables in soft silicone braid into their boxes. No complains towards the furniture — good aluminum splitter, limiter, audio jack and MMCX connector housings with extra branding. And thanks that this cable is detachable.
Moreover, since Z05A is a budget model — cables are equipped with inline remote and mic to use both models with smartphones.
Let’s say that the fit of Z05A is similar to a flagship «A6» series, a bit better and more secure than with the regular bullet-like type of IEMs (Cozoy Hera C103, Periodic Audio Be, Mg, etc) and bit worse than any pseudo-custom type of IEMs (Kinera Idun, Magaosi K6, Hidizs Mermaid MS1, MS4, etc). I would rate shape like this to be second best after the pseudo-custom. Quite secure and tight fit if the output nozzles have enough length and if there is a good choice of eartips + the supporting earguides. Evrrything is here, therefore — both models feel quite comfortable. Although, I would never try to run or excercise in IEMs of this shape. Active walking is fine, checked.
Tested with HiBy R6Pro DAP
Lows and midbass:
Z05A model shows quite good performance with moderate texturing of bass, great extension and a bit moody feel. Bass is not heavily elevated and mixes in a weighted manner. The extension is quite good. Decay is on the slower side but still keeps up with the overall composition. In simple words — bass characteristics are very similar to Z04A model but the amount of bass is deliberately reduced to form a better balance with mids. Same tracks would not have this extra accent on lows while similar warm influence to the tonality would be left unchanged.
Very good impression of midbass section. Midbass is deep, tight and powerful. Drums are natural, stand out a bit in the mix which creates more engagement but never gets irritating. Extra volume and pleasing afterglow is influenced by the lower range which is not that disturbing as in the case if such influence was coming from treble.
Mids and vocals:
Z05A has uniform sounding mids, with enough thickness and body to all instruments and voices. Sound is pereceived as being natural, balanced and dense. This makes it a universal and not irritating during the long listening. Female and male voices don’t have severe difference in gain and perceived similarly. Although, the resolution is not that great since the treble doesn’t step in very much. Sweet warm timbre of mids is present here, which eliminates hisses and lisping plus the distinctive presentation of sound in overall (as for the single dynamic driver).
Z05A are only slighty V-shaped IEMS — both the treble and lows are not too accented while treble range also peaking in the lower region. It sounds thick and massive, even a bit less extended and transparent in comparison to Z04A despite the more interesting declared AFR range figures. Again, I wouldn’t say that it sounds bad… It is just creates a feel of the whole sound picture being perceived as quite balanced. Extension and clarity of the treble don’t impress but neither disasppoint — good overall presentation.
Soundstage is only moderate due to the lack of layering between the ranges, exceptional clarity and transparency of the treble. The main virtue is the instrument separation in mids that make both models stand out from the crowd of other dynamic models in this segment.
Sound in overall:
Z05A sound could be descirbed as slightly V-shaped, with warm timbre, tending to dark tonality due to pronounced portion of lows. Midbass is perfectly presented, mids are thick, natural and well-expossed. Treble is perfectly balancing lows but lacks the some clarity and extension. Suitable for most of the music genres, more universal.
Compared to BQEYZ KB100:
KB100 are one of the best models in ~$50 price range. It belongs to hybrid types where dynamic unit is responsible for lows and midbass and balanced armature does a perfect job of delivering treble and adding exceptional resolution to mids. Z05A is another model (together with Z04A) in this price segment that would be a great contender to KB100. It has better extension on lows and more power on midbass, whileit would also sound more balanced. Only the lack of resolution and treble clarity would not let it be an easy choice.
Compared to TFZ King Exclusive:
King Exclusive is a mighty single dynamic model from the respected TFZ brand. Love the bright sound with exceptional treble clarity and mighty lows. Comparing it to Z05A, I would say that Z05A is a direct competitor, winning over King in terms of much more comfortable fit and more balanced tuning.
Sincerely, I’ve expected less… Another budget model from LZ HIFI — Z05A worth the attention. More models are stepping into this battle for lower budget with the same high sound quality. The approach of LZ HIFI towards building their budget models on the base of expensive flagship A6 series works perfect — IEMs sound very good, provide extra features and have comfortable fit. Moreover, it goes to both models reviewed recently — Z04A and Z05A. The only choice left is whether to go with bassy and emotional sound or more balanced one…