TFZ — short of The Fragrant Zither — probably the most productive IEM brand from China. Lots of interesting models for different taste and wallet. Looking at the lineup — it seems that TFZ is mostly concentrated on dynamic models and rarely uses other types or drivers or its combinations. Focusing and mastering a chosen technology is the source of success of TFZ series, no matter the price brackets. My experience with this brand covers King Pro, Tequila, No.3, X1, X1E and My Love IEMs. Either of those deserves an «A» score or solid «B», at least. Only No.3 have some controversial results but its successor — TFZ No.3 Ti — got very warm welcome from the community. Hope that I’d get a chance to review it one day but today’s topic is Secret Garden HD — 12mm single dynamic driver IEMs packed in the most comfortable custom-type shells.
TFZ Secret Garden HD technical specifications:
- Driver type: 12mm double magnetic circuit graphene driver
- Impedance: 30Ω
- Sensitivity: 108dB mW
- Frequency response range: 5Hz — 40KHz
- Audio jack: 3.5mm, straight, gold-plated
- Cable connectors: 2-pin, 0.78mm
Packaging, design and build quality:
Secret Garden IEMs come in pretty small square-shaped box that states main technical specifications at the back side. Traditionally for TFZ — prints include shiny part with brand logo.
Box compartment is divided into three layers: top insert holding IEMs, box with cable in the middle and storage case with the additional accessories at the bottom.
- Secret Garden HD IEMs
- audio cable
- 6 pairs of silicone eartips
- 1 pair of memory foam eartips
- storage case
- user manual
Storage case is pretty standard — this design is shared across many brands, the only change is the brand logo at the top cover. Concerning the spread, there should be a third-party vendor that designs, manufactures and supplies such accessories to diferent companies. But the design is good — plenty of space inside and secure lock mechanism.
In overall, the design of Secret Graden HD IEMs is very close to be perfect. Unibody shells are made of acryl. Transparent front exposes aluminum inserts underneath with tiny but accurate brand logo and model name. Inner parts contain serial numbers in gold.
The rest of the shells are glossy black except for the compensational opening at the top edge outlined by decorative aluminum rings.
Sound output nozzles are protected by aluminum grills. Cable port bases are made of transparent plastic and rise above the surface for ~1.5mm. This serves a role of the additional protection against cable connector bending and breaking off.
Stock cable is thick, made of 4 twisted lines in black silicone braid. 3.5mm audio jack is packed into aluminum housing and ends up with pretty long bending protection. Y-splitter is made of black plastic and also contains TFZ brand logo. On the opposite side, cable ends with flexible transparent earguides and plastic housings of IEM connectors. Mic effect is absent.
Once again — I think that this type of «custom» shells is the best current option mass market has to offer. Secret Garden HD might look bulky but the fit comfort and feel are excellent, thanks to that custom shape and flexible supports.
Tested with Hidizs AP80 & HiBy R6Pro DAPs
Lows and midbass:
Main strength of Secret Garden HD IEMs is the amount of textures those IEMs are capable to resolve in lower region together with the accurate and weighted delivery. Depth of bass is not outstanding but the accuracy and detalization are both very satisfying. Lows are not overpowered or overemphasized — just the right amount. Separation from the other ranges is also good and bass always stays perfectly legible. Midbass portion sounds powerful and natural with enough volume and pleasing tightness while reproducing drums. Some rare harsh peaks are spotted in certain compositions, while in the most of the others — everything is perfectly controlled.
Mids and vocals:
Mids are a bit laid back in comparison to lows and treble while staying pretty thick and showing very small gain advance on female vocals and upper portion instrumetns. Seems that the «HD» suffix stands for increased treble that would create the additional (artificial) clarity and resolution on mids. Yes, the resolution is pretty high, especially on female voices, strings and bows but the negative outcome is the presence of screaming notes at higher volume levels. In general, this won’t become a problem unless a person is too susceptible to this range or the track is originally recorded with the excessive gain on treble range. Other than that — natural sounding, warm and thick mids with good «mellow» effect, pleasing for the genres like blues, jazz, soul, vocals, etc.
As already been stated — treble is a bit more accented here in comparison to mids and sound on the same level as lows. With slow music genres everything is good — clarity, airiness and detalization are high, making sound picture complete and mature. Although, going higher on volume or switching to instrument-saturated music treble would expose some flaws — sounds start to mix together and to cast the excessive influence on upper portion of mids which leads to screaming notes on female vocals and some instrumetns.
Secret Garden HD IEMs demonstarte good layering and instrument separation in lows and mids while treble is playing a distuctive role at higher volume and brakes the whole perception. With blues, jazz and slow rock everything stays fine — moderate soundtage with defined width and depth… trying metal or orchestra — hard to build the imaginary stage due to mixing of the instruments.
Sound in overall:
Sound of TFZ Secret Garden HD can be described as slightly V-shaped, with defined, texured and shaped bass, laid-back and mellow mids, slightly accented and well extended treble. Particularly good for slow music genres with limited amount of instruments. Tend to mix sounds at higher volumes.
Comapred to LZ HIFI A6Mini:
LZ A6Mini are hybrid IEMs based on single dynamic + piezo driver that adds the resolution and clarity to the sound. In fact, the sound of A6Mini is more detailed and crisp on treble, also forcing mids to sound more thin and vivid. The main advantages of Secret Garden is the texturing of lows with more accurate delivery. And much better fit.
Compared to SHOZY & NEO CP:
CPs are pure armature dirver IEMs with exceptional resolving potential in mids and treble parts but limited extension on bass. Secret Garden HD are more capable in terms of lows (more powerful and natural), midbass (more natural) but lack the extension and accuracy on treble. Both sound quite balanced, mellow and thick.
Compared to Moondrop Kanas PRO:
Kanas PRO staying one of the best IEMs concerning its price. I would say that Secret Garden cannot move Kanas from the pedestal in terms of sound quality but definitely much better in terms of fit. Sound os Kanas PRO is more mature, with better layering and separation and showing no tendency to mix instruments.
TFZ Secret Garden HD — another example of how the name resembles the sound quailty and purpose of IEMs. «HD» suffix clearly states the accent on treble that increases the perceptible resolution but skewes the entire balance towards V-shaped sound. Secret Garden in its name remids of quiet and slow music those IEMs are really better off with. Any slow genre with limted amount of instruments sounds smooth, natural and mature. Blues, slow rock, jazz, soul, launge — this is the genres perfectly reproduced and which TFZ Secret Garden HD are recommended for.