*Stars Picker Audio Library has sent me the demo unit of the TFZ IEMs, T1s, T2 Galaxy, No.3, King Edition and TxBear1. They are the one and the only TFZ authorised dealer in Malaysia, all IEMs will be sent back to them after the review.
*The review will be done in the simplest way as I am having a tight schedule recently. However, the review will be mainly focused on audio quality and I can assure that we are doing our best to describe the sound. As always, the review will be done in an honest and unbiased manner.
TFZ T2 Galaxy (45USD)
I love how T2 Galaxy looks, I have the Gold Purple colour variant, which looks very special and unique, the combination of colour is beautiful too. T2 Galaxy shares the same body shape as the T1s Galaxy, but I prefer the colour work of T2 Galaxy anyway. T2 Galaxy employs 12mm Double magnetic circuit Graphene driver (which should be the same drive as the T1s), the IEM itself is quite light and fit nicely and quite comfortable in the ear. The cable is a double inserting needle silver-plated oxygen-free copper with a 0.78mm dual pin connector, I actually quite like the texture of the cable although it gets tangled quite often at least the quality is very good for an IEM less than 50 USD. Rated at 24 ohms with 110 dB mW of sensitivity and you can drive it easily with your portable source.
Sound quality is definitely a step up from the TFZ T1s Galaxy, T2 Galaxy has a more controlled treble and more active bass, with a warmer and smooth midrange. Treble has a slight boost but it never really sound sharp or disturbing unless your ears are really sensitive to treble, the treble amount itself never disturb me, I actually think the treble is quite appropriate for audiophile beginner which keep exciting at an appropriate amount but without becoming too piercing.
The midrange is very good and laid back, I think there is some recession of midrange but the timbre is appropriate, the body is appropriate, it is not thin sounding, the full-body sounding is very important for entry-level IEM, you will easily getting ear fatigue if it is thin sounding, so far the midrange is good. The midrange has a nice warmth and colouration too, the upper midrange (sibilant) is none to a minimum too like I said, I really like the timbre of the midrange here, a nice touch for such an affordable IEM, TFZ certainly know the correct way to keep the cost low, the midrange is euphonic to ears.
What about the bass? For the majority of audiophile beginner, they will say it is bass light, while personally, I do think that the bass is a little inadequate especially in the sub-bass region, the bass doesn’t have enough weight and impact to really make you toe-tapping, the size of the attack is quite small as well, in my honest opinion bass is not T2 Galaxy strong suit, it is there when you call for it, but definitely not fun and interesting enough to wow your friend. Decay is fast
So? What? I can only listen to Pop songs? How about those RnB, hip hop and techno? Don’t you worry a bit, they are all still listenable with T2 Galaxy, the groove and rhythm are actually quite good, you still can hear the bass, it is there, it just doesn’t has a big body, weight and impact to impress your friend, but I can assure you that T2 Galaxy is not bass light.
The soundstage is average for the price and nothing to write home about, however, it is a quite open sounding, not airy or spacely but it is good enough that you will not feel like the sound is forcing into your head.
So conclusion? I definitely recommend a beginner to buy the TFZ T2 Galaxy, mostly because of the midrange performance that is so good for the price, the overall timbre of the T2 Galaxy is quite spot on and appropriate as well, I also quite like the fitting of it (TFZ provide 6 pairs of ear tip for you to choose), even for an experienced audiophile, if you want something easy on your ears and wallet, T2 Galaxy is a nice choice as well. To be honest, I will recommend buyer to skip the IEM below 40 USD and directly jump to at least to 50 USD (or higher) segment, the sound is just way more appropriate and technically better, you just need to be sure that it suits your sound preference.
TFZ No.3 (80 USD)
No.3 sounded extremely musical and it is U-Shaped kind of frequency response, the treble can be a little sharp sometimes but most of the time it is still under control, at least treble has good attack and presentation, the presentation of treble can make music more exciting but I will not describe it as piercing. Especially anything over about 5k is pretty dull, although lower treble has a slight boost here (you will have some sibilant here). This is the treble that will excited listeners but never get super bright, but I can see one might think it is too bright if they are treble sensitive.
The midrange is recessed, not extremely recessed but we can hear that there is slight of muddiness going on, if you are listening to pop this is not a big issue anyway, the rhythm and groove of the music are nice, most of the time the music still show off with enough clarity, body and presentation of midrange.
Bass is definitely thumping, weighty and solid, it is a very satisfying bass and both of the mid and sub-basses are definitely boosted, size of the bass is very big and there is a lot of vibration and low-frequency pressure going on at the low region here. The bass is so satisfying that you can blow your ears if you listen at high volume level with techno etc, although I do think the bass can be more punchy and tight, but not an issue here, the quality of the boosted bass is satisfying enough, I can say if you are a bass-head you will love this IEM.
So No.3 is only for bass-head? I don’t think so, although bass-head will definitely be happy with it for the price, I actually think that audiophiles that have a tendency to a bassy sound will like it too, take myself, for example, I love how the pop, jazz and Reggae sound through No.3, of course, I also enjoy how bass-heavy music genre sound with No.3. Anyway, if you don’t like too much bass in your music, No.3 is not for you. The bass is significantly boosted and always present in the music. If you listen to pop and want something with lesser (or appropriate) bass, you better save your money and get the T2 Galaxy.
TFZ King Edition(100 USD)
King Edition use TFZ third generation of driver, which is 11.4mm double magnetism (Tesla magnetic group), double cavity, double voice coil and diamond diaphragm, the driver seems quite advanced and I am happy to see King Edition adopt such a high tech driver in a 100 USD IEM, better, the driver is based on the No.3 driver that has won the Japan 2019 VGP SUMMER authority award. The casing of the IEM is a very solid Aluminium/Stainless Steel, it is a very robust design and quite heavy, the heavyweight is not affecting the comfort level of the IEM though, it is still a nice IEM to wear, however, I quite tolerate when coming to IEM and headphone comfort level. The overall impression of King Edition is pretty sturdy and robust, if not because of the sound tuning port that makes use exposed to moisture and atmosphere easier, I will not worry a bit about the reliability of King Edition in long run.
The cable is a pure silver cable with dual 0.78mm pin connector, I am once again glad to see TFZ always choose to implement replaceable cable for their line up, for IEM at this price I will not recommend the user to change cable to alter the sound signature, but it is good when the original cable has broken and you need a replacement.
There is a sound tuning port at the IEM’s housing for you to fine-tune the sound when you switch it on and off the difference is quite noticeable, at first I can’t really hear the difference out because I have generated some ear fatigue after listening to various IEM in a short period, but I brought it to the office and experienced it with something like Hotel California by The Eagles (Hell Freezes Over), and the differences are very noticeable when the sound tuning port is in ‘ON’ position, the sound is generally has a better spread and air, I also think that the soundstage is wider and the sound is overall cleaner and has more air. When the sound tuning port is in ‘off’ position, however, the soundstage feels like tighten up a bit and thing become more dimensional, warmer and intimate, you can get more ambience out of it and the vocal is calmer too. The differences are definitely there and I love how TFZ utilize the switch here, you can fine-tune the sound following your personal preference. Between, there is a tool included in the package for you to switch the sound tuning port, nice touch as the tool is a cleaning tool as well.
So how is the sound quality?
King Edition is a very musical IEM, I often thought of the word ‘liquid’ and ‘sweet’, the sound signature is quite thick and weighty, carry the full body of sound and give you ‘romance’ kind of sound, sound beautiful and give you good impact and ‘flow’ of the music, it is a very musical IEM, it is not mellow and there is still energy in the spectrum delivery, I will not use it for something like critical Classical music listening, but for anything don’t need absolute accuracy King Edition will definitely shine, I truly enjoy the sound of the King Edition. To my ears, it has a similar weighty kind of sound tuning as the No.3, but overall more refinement along the sound spectrum with less edgy, the treble also darker.
I will describe the sound signature in ‘on’ position, I will be talking the sound quality in ‘on’ position later on.
The treble is not bright but has good energy in this region. I even think the mid and upper region of King Edition is recessed by a bit. The treble is not offensive in any mean, it has a reasonable transient in the treble, but the extension is not particularly extended. Detail level is good and I like the quantity here, it is not something that I will say as completely dull or dark, but it is not bright (lower treble still has some boost) to be sure. Treble has a good proposition. When I turn the sound tuning port to ‘off’, treble is more recessed and the extension takes a hit again, resolution and detail level are lesser.
The midrange is quite forward because of the duller treble and upper treble, vocal still has enough body and sparkles, if you turning up the volume above average listening volume the vocal is even more forward, definitely not a bad thing if you are listening to Pop. Detail level is average, but I like the energy and body here, listening to rock music and the energy level is very energetic (don’t confuse energetic with bright, this thing is not really bright except for the lower treble), you can definitely touch the soul of the music and tap your toe like a happy foot, the attack is never tiring and keep punching you, I feel like I am younger now, in our local dialect I will describe it as ‘SYIOK’, means absolutely satisfying.
Bass is definitely boosted, the quantity is less than No.3 but it has more ambience and decay is more timely, the bass is not really fat and tubby but it is always there, the bass is not as ‘syiok’ as what you can get from the No.3, pure bass-head will think it lack amount and rumble, but for a pure audiophile, the bass will be simply too much, so I will say the bass quantity is about at the middle of being ‘audiophile’ and being ‘bass-head’, but one thing for sure, this is a very musical and engaging music experience, if you already have some kind of ‘audiophile’ sounding IEM/Headphone, I recommend you to get King Edition just for something different and musical, and if you are not the ‘pure’ ‘audiophile’ that seek for accurate and correct sound, get this and add more fun to your music.
TxBear1 (109 USD)
TFZ TxBear is the series that using Balanced Armature driver and the TxBear1 that I am having is the entry-level, which only using 1 BA driver in each earpiece, the top of the line, TxBear10 (730USD) use 10 BA drivers in each of the earpieces, that is insane, hopefully, I will get my hand on it one day, but let us start with the lowly TxBear1 first.
Normally I hate to brag about packaging and outlook of an IEM, but to be honest, I am really impressed with the look of the TxBear1, I have no idea TFZ crossover with which company but the bear looks super cute and nice in the IEM, without being looking like a girly IEM, men like me can wear it too and will attract girls easily. The cable is quite thick and quality is decent, it is 8 core single crystal copper silver-plated cable with 0.78mm dual pin connector. I especially love the IEM storage case that comes together with the IEM, it is big and sturdy enough, something we can’t get it even in the higher price range of IEM. I like what I am seeing here in the package, but like I said, if the IEM doesn’t sound good enough then all of these are not important at all.
So how exactly does TxBear1 sound? The sound signature is very ‘balanced armature’, which is what I am expecting from a BA, kind of an energetic and transparent treble, clear and transparent midrange, fast and tight bass, fast sounding and highly detailed. These are all the good terms, but BA is often related to emotionless, cool sounding, bright, bass-light, flatter dynamic range. While I say TxBear1 sound very Balance Armature, but in fact, I never really think that it is bass light, yes the dynamic level is not high but I will not say it is dead flat either, the transient of it actually quite good with very decent speed, the sound signature is very clean and clear, clarity and speed are decent, the way the sound move is move with muscle and the driver definitely define ‘shape’ of the sound very well, there is a fast decay to the bass, if we are comparing to TxBear1 to the dynamic driver IEM and yes the emotion and fun level definitely fall behind similar pricing IEM with a dynamic driver, but it is not too bad, of course, if you don’t like the BA sound signature then you will dislike the TxBear1.
TFZ tuned the TxBear1 nicely and I believe TFZ want to make an excellent technicality IEM at this price range, the sheer technicality aspect of TxBear1 is very high, an energetic, bright and airy treble, present, a transparent and clean midrange, with clean, fast decay and tight bass, if you are listening to some instrumental work, such as the Classical music and Jazz that need to show off the timbre of the instrument, TxBear1 will do it nicely for the money, I am not saying TxBear1 is an absolute IEM for Classical music, but at this price range, I think the Txbear1 sounded very ‘correct’ and clean to let you enjoy the Classical music and instrumental work.
I actually quite enjoying the TxBear1, but there are some problems too. As like most single BA driver IEM, the sub-bass is significantly rolled off, and the bass simply is not big in size and amount, in another word the dynamic level and musicality of TxBear1 is not good enough, it is not a bad thing if you are the one that enjoys clean sound and don’t like to have too much bass in the music presentation.
However, I can accept the level of bass, but the older I am the more I dislike sibilant present in the vocal, the sibilant level is simply too much that I try to avoid playing female vocal on it, the sibilant is too much and it is quite annoying to my ears, this is my major complaint of this IEM, don’t get me wrong though, some guys will love the sound of it, I used to love this kind of sound tuning when I just started my journey, but nowadays I appreciated a more musical approach in music presentation.
I actually start to grow interested and love in TFZ products after I tried their products, I love how they tuned their IEM and they seem to know what to do with the tuning for a different group of people, most of their products that I have tried has a good sense of musicality and I really wish to try more of them, especially their higher tier IEM, will I recommend them? Exactly, I can recommend them with a total of my heart.
T2 Galaxy for those who like Pop music and dislike too much bass in it, this is an IEM that has a good level of coherency that let you entertained by the music.
No.3 for those bass-head, and like the music to have absolute impact and energy, with not-so-recessed midrange performance, this is a very entertaining IEM for the money.
King Edition might be my favourite out of the bunch, it is a much more refined IEM compared to the No.3, but if you like to have more bass and attack in the music then No.3 is a better choice, however, I can assure you that King Edition is already some of the very satisfying bass levels.
TxBear1 seems like a very good choice for people looking for clarity, detail and speed, those who seek transparency over musicality, I do think that if there are 3 BA drivers then it will be more refined sounding, but it is what it is, the bass is a little lacking in level (although I won’t say it is bass light), and the sibilant is simply too abusive to my ears. I still see people will love this kind of sound signature, but if you hate sibilant then you should really look elsewhere already.
Thanks again to Stars Picker Audio Library to give me a chance to listen to these gems.