Review by Mhark Jhoshua Q. Torres
The Fragrant Zither also known as TFZ by many was established in 2015 by group of young people full of individual passion and pursuing uniqueness (that was from their website). As of today, they have around 10 models and the most infamous among them in the Philippines is the TFZ Series 2 which comes in 9 different colors. TFZ is growing so fast that it tramples some contender that started few years earlier, they specialized in single-dual magnetic graphene dynamic driver (DD), their current top of the line IEM is the TFZ King Pro which has good reviews online. It is said that the TFZ will be releasing 3 variants of their multi-BAs IEMs namely secret garden, before I forgot some of bands uses their monitor for live performances such as Black House Band, and Dongman Band.
The TFZ T1 Galaxy
The unit that we reviewed was from UrbanAudiophile, thank you for letting us borrow your unit for a bit. We tested the color black variant since it is available in blue, red, red and blue and black, it comes with a thick, tall box with premium minimalist feels (especially for around $30 IEMs). The cable is fixed but looks durable, the braid quality is far better than the TFZ Series 2 but is thinner, it is equipped with N52 magnet, dual-layer dynamic driver and dual sound cavity, lastly it shares almost the same shell with the TFZ Series 2 without the ring like vent.
The TFZ T1 Galaxy comes with a white, thick and tall box with premium minimalist feels, they also changed their logo recently into a much more appealing one as compared to the past logo. The T1 comes with a total of 7 pairs of silicone tips, 3 of which are wide bore and the latter are narrow bore, it is being held by a hard cardboard while 1 pair is already equipped to the T1. It also comes with a white carrying pouch and a shirt clip, the pouch is a dirt magnet and I wished it to be black so that it won’t look messy even after long usage.
Fit and Comfort
The shell of TFZ T1 Galaxy shares the same shape with TFZ Series 2 and KZ ZST, just like my previous review it fits well without any pain even after 1-2 hours of listening, the fit is good as well given that the proper ear tips are equipped. It is worn over the ears as the memory wire cuddles your ear, it’s good because it won’t detach easily like bullet type IEMs, though the isolation isn’t as good as custom like IEMs like QDC Neptune, Magaosi K5 and other mid tier to high tier IEMs.
The sub bass is fairly good, it has good extension and depth but the quantity and texture is on the average side, the rumble is audible but it is quite smooth though it is not soft, the sub bass of the track believer sounds energetic enough and has good depth but again due to the smooth presentation the details and texture suffers a bit. For the mid bass, it is powerful and quite big, again it is presented in a smoother manner as compared to the Series 2 and Exclusive 3, there is no audible bass bleed and the overall bass presentation is fast and punchy.
The tuning of T1’s mids is far from Series 2, the lower mids can handle male vocals with ease since it has the right amount of warmth and smoothness resulting to the mids sounding full and far from being hollow nor dry. The overall mids is smooth and clean but are quite recessed as compared to the bass but sits almost the same distance as the highs making it a slight L shaped IEM. The upper mids has the right amount of warmth as well Reese’s voice from machine in men sounds calming and moderately sweet, it doesn’t sound muddy nor shrill tackling female vocals very well, the upper mids features good sweetness even it is not intimate sounding at all.
The highs is made for long hours of listening, it is never sounded aggressive to my ears, the sparkle is just enough for non treble listeners. The asphyxia is my to go treble testing track, the extension is good and the details is good as well, it is detailed and not as smooth as the bass and mids but still packs good amount of details. It never sounded sibilant nor piercing for my ears (treble sensitive), the overall treble is just the right tuning for me, not aggressive but still retaining good amount of airiness, texture and details though it doesn’t decay quickly.
Sound Stage and Resolution
The sound stage is surprisingly wide as compared to Series 2 and KZ line ups, it never sounded congested nor confined resulting to better imaging and resolution, the width a depth are both good it’s not as wide as concert halls since it is an IEM but for a budget IEM the sound stage has good depth, height and width. The resolution is quite inferior as compared to the Series 2 because of the smoother overall presentation but it can handle complex tracks better because of the mids and highs being slightly recessed.
Sound Signature and Synergy
I used my Ibasso DX90 as DAP during the review which is known to be flat/analytical to a bit warm, the T1 has slight L shaped sound signature as the mids and highs took a back seat to give the center stage to the bass, the bass never overpowered other frequencies instead it gave good amount of warmth and body to the overall tonality. I believe that it is best paired with flat or bright DAPs/DACs to retain the laid back tonality or to make the treble a bit more forward.
The T1 tramples the ZS5 in the bass region, its sub bass better depth, better quantity and texture, the mid bass is punchier and smoother as compared to the tight and round approach of ZS5. The mids of ZS5 still sounds hollow and dry but not as much as ZST, it is more forward and may sound thin when tackling male vocals as compared to T1 but T1 has more warmth, body and smoothness, the upper mids of ZS5 has good clarity but sounds shrill and sibilant, it is more forward than the lower mids, while the T1 still retains ample of body and smoothness without a hint of sibilant. For the highs, the ZS5 may be well extended, clear and has good sparkle but it is too thin and may be piercing for treble sensitive listeners that is why I’ll choose the slightly recessed and airy presentation of the T1
The TFZ T1 Galaxy is the smoothest IEM that I’ve ever heard, the bass is a bit emphasized and forward while not overpowering other frequencies, the mids are greatly touched with warmth giving that full sounding, non-sibilant mids while retaining a bit of sweetness and the treble that has enough extension and sparkle but decays bit longer. The L shaped sound signature is a bit rare and the non removable cable and lack of details are worth the compromise for this smooth sounding with wide sound stage IEM.