Love and Brilliants
- New and interesting sound profile, more balanced.
- Vibrant and present mids.
- Very good soundstage level.
- Some design details may not be to everyone’s liking.
- The carrying bag is made of textile, rather than rigid.
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To date, and based on all the models I have tested, TFZ is not very fond of making big profile changes between them. And that’s something I’ve criticised in recent reviews. But lo and behold, it’s as if TFZ read me and responded immediately. Actually, that’s not the case, because I’ve been waiting for this model for a long time and my comment was recent. Be that as it may, I was commenting that TFZ tends to move in similar profiles, ranging between U-V. And the My Love IIIs have the same profile. But something has changed in the My Love IVs. First of all, the shape of the capsule and the cable, as well as the price (almost half the price), are very different. Even the packaging is different. And so many changes also affect the sound. And how, you may ask? By drastically softening the low end, which is what TFZ is clearly renowned for among all fans. Is it possible that TFZ has given up one of its most outstanding features? Well, it seems so, and we will now take a closer look at this surprise from TFZ.
- Driver Type: K60 dual magnetic dynamic driver with two frequency crossover. Nanometric diaphragm.
- Frequency response: 5Hz – 40kHz.
- Impedance: 40 Ω
- Jack Connector: 3.5mm
- Capsule connection type: 2Pin 0.78mm
- Cable length: 1.2m
Surprisingly, even the packaging has changed. And I like that. TFZ had fallen into a simplistic mode where every box was the same as the last. Not that it’s a revolution, but it’s different. The box is squarer, still white, with large black letters embossed and written horizontally. This way you can read the model, while the brand name is much smaller. Nothing else on the main side. The back side is not very clear, not even a trace of specifications, just the brand address, warranty seal and little else. The dimensions are 146x101x33mm. In reality, the box is a sleeve and with the help of a cloth tape, a black cardboard tray can be slid in, as if it were a drawer. This reveals a large, ecru-coloured cloth bag with the name of the brand written in black letters at the bottom left. Inside is the entire contents. It is as follows:
- The two TFZ My Love IV capsules.
- One 4-strand silver-plated copper cable.
- 3 pairs of white transparent silicon tips, with wide channel, sizes SxMxL.
- 4 pairs of white silicone tips, this time less transparent, with medium channel, sizes SxSxMxL.
- 2 Cards, one with serial number
- 1 user guide.
- 1 cloth bag.
The cloth bag is a bit big and I prefer the more rigid boxes. The two sets of tips are much appreciated, although some foam ones would have completed the set.
Overall, TFZ has slightly improved the packaging, but without being surprising.
Construction and Design
The capsule is different from version III. Those had a strong semi-custom shape. The IV’s are much softer and rounded, they do not have any protuberances. The outer face has the shape of the African continent, but more rounded. Only the lower apex is more tapered. The outer face looks metallic, being opaque and shiny, but I think it is not. Written on it is «LOVE», the «O» being composed of four brilliants, a design susceptible to comments that could have both detractors and defenders. Even the pink colour goes along with it. It is worth noting that it can be chosen in silver, but no one is spared from the brilliants. The inner side is translucent and the large dynamic driver can be seen inside. The connection is 2Pin 0.78mm and is mounted on a small, shallow, transparent plastic plate. The nozzles are projected, have a length of 6.5mm, are metallic and have a relatively thick grille of the same material. Their diameter, in the outermost area, is 6mm. In the middle of the inner side there is a hole, which coincides with the centre of the driver. Next to it is the lettering in a white mole, which indicates the channel.
The cable consists of 4 twisted strands. The conductor is made of silver-plated copper. The cable has over-ear guides and the 2Pin 0.78mm connection is protected with an angled sleeve. There is no pin and the splitter piece is a thick silver cylinder with a number written in black. The plug has the same diameter and is slightly longer. It has a flat face and on it is written «LOVE», where the «O» again has 4 brilliants inside it. The plug is gold-plated, 3.5mm and there is no possibility to choose a balanced cable. Finally, the cable comes with the classic Velcro strap with the brand’s web address.
All in all, a much softer capsule, with mouthpieces that may allow a deeper insertion, although the diameter works against it, in this sense. Lots of brilliants and a «bold» design that may not be to a more universal taste, although this should be completely irrelevant.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
The smooth curves of the capsules and the projection of the nozzles seem to suggest a deeper insertion. But the 6mm diameter may be too much. In my case, I don’t go beyond medium or shallow insertion, having to resort to very large tips to maintain the seal and position. I think that if the mouthpiece had been narrower, a deeper insertion could be achieved, as the design of the capsule allows it. However, if only a shallow fit is achieved, the capsules just kind of float, barely touching the ear parts. In addition, the projection of the mouthpieces and their stop make the tips not sink too much into them, achieving a greater distance from the mouthpiece grid, with respect to the outside of the tips. In this way, tip-rolling can be quite entertaining, mainly because of the adjustment.
Of the two sets of tips that come with the product, one has the more classic shape, with a 4mm gap and taller tips. The other one has a 6mm hole and are flatter. Personally, I prefer the latter. The sound I get with them is closer, more complete and richer, being able to better appreciate the details, the nuances and, especially, the texture of the bass.
The profile of the TFZ My Love IV has completely thrown me off. So much so that I find it hard to place them. The vocals enjoy a remarkable presence and so do the first highs. However, TFZ could never forget the low end. Although, in this case, it is a rather contained and relatively linear low end, which does not stand out, in emphasis, above the rest of the bands, something that is unusual within the rest of the TFZ headphones in my collection. In this way, I could say that the My Love IVs have a balanced profile, with a slight bright tendency.
When the low end of a TFZ is not the predominant range, it seems strange to me. So much so, that I think they’re broken. But no, they’re not, a broken low end wouldn’t sound as good as these My Love IVs do. And when it’s not their emphasis, or even their depth, that’s what’s most remarkable, it’s their texture that predominates. Without being bass heavy, or even light, we are left with a balanced low end, with a good average between presence, roughness, descriptive capacity and respect for the rest of the bands. However, it is true that it lacks emphasis in the extreme sub-bass, which limits the classic, more corporeal, deep, abyssal and perceptive sensation. On this occasion, the LFOs do not penetrate our ears as we are used to from TFZ. It is the mid-bass that is the highest point of a lower range, I repeat, quite linear from here on. In terms of speed, the My Love IVs do excel, being quite effective in this respect, offering a sudden fade with very little decay. Their stroke is dry, but agile. Their timbre is natural and uncoloured. In this sense, TFZ does very well, recalling the classic sonority of its other models, but with less power, even keeping a certain level of darkness that makes it appreciable. Overall, the result is quite good, even for the midrange, as there is no intrusion, no bleed, although there is a clear trace of warmth, without it being predominant.
On the other hand, it is not a very developed bass and although it has a good level of definition and resolution, the recreation of planes is somewhat more limited. However, as I said, the texture is appreciable, with a good dose of roughness, something that enhances the beauty of the low end.
It is hard to believe that the voices are the main protagonist in a TFZ, but they are, above the bass, which is present without disturbing, being quite noticeable, but lagging behind the human sounds. However, even if this is the case, no one should think that these voices are clearly predominant, but rather that they are present, but not overpowering. The result is a net balance between bass-mid-treble, where the emphasis is on the voices and the first treble. Best of all, though, is the mutual respect. There is a clear separation between all the bands, where the intrusion is very low, so the sounds flow quite freely, but very well blended, offering a reciprocal support to enrich the musicality and the scene. Despite the profile described above, the My Love IVs are not analytical, but rather softness prevails, more so in the mid-range. This is something that is instantly felt in all the voices, because they are smooth, wide and with a generous body, extending to the left and right of the frequency range. They are not very textured, warm rather than bright, and have a tendency towards sweetness rather than subtlety. Their predominance is not intimate, their projection is more ethereal, gaining in height while retaining that width. The voices can be recreated in a zenithal way, but their sweetness prevents a greater descriptive level, I don’t think they are appropriate for unravelling nuances and details in the vocal surfaces, although they are neither bland, nor sparse, nor sterile. I insist, they are more sweet than delicate, more smooth than analytical.
Leaving aside the voices and other descriptions, I will now comment on the rest of the elements in the middle section. The instruments, despite their good prominence, are slightly behind the voices, especially those whose fundamental is born in the first half of the middle range. On the other hand, they do match each other in colour, texture, descriptiveness, timbre and clarity. Best of all, nothing sounds thin, but the sound is quite full, even though softness in the execution and representation of sounds still predominates. The light is still not complete, these are not fully clean or hugely separated IEMS. They possess a great level of cohesion and musicality, something also classic in the TFZ, that more fluid and continuous sound, which prevents a dark and clear background from being easily seen. The second half of the midrange, although more influential, does not add the flare I am used to with this kind of tuning. This is relatively good, on the one hand because it makes the final profile more pleasant and allows for longer listens, as well as being more permissive with sibilance. On the other hand, this slight lack of expressiveness in the upper midrange limits a more open, clean and luminous sound, which does not eliminate the warmth that is carried over from the lower midrange. In the end, this ambivalence places the My Love IVs as great all-rounders, very special for many musical genres, although I would say that they are ideal for rock, pop, vocal genres of course, without forgetting metal and other instrumental genres. In electronic genres, they can cope well, due to their remarkable bass quality, but a little more presence, power and punch in the bass can be missing.
The My Love IVs have possibly one of the best and most complete mid-ranges I have ever heard in the TFZ IEMS I own.
The treble starts with controlled flaring, it feels like the most emphasised part of the whole range. Still, it’s not a deliberately high-pitched sound, it’s as if this area doesn’t affect the rest of the band too much. It is true that it could imply a more accentuated sibilance, but it sounds very natural and controlled. The annoying sibilance becomes more subtle and realistic, without being annoying. It is somewhat surprising to play my tracks most susceptible to this effect and hear an unexpectedly satisfying resolution, within the level of treble that the My Love IVs possess. Test totally passed.
In the second of my treble tests, the treble is clear but not over the disturbing limit. You can notice how their crackle is evident, but with a measured emphasis and extension. I think that the rapid decay afterwards manages to control them in this first flash, so that they do not exceed the threshold of presence for average ears. Perhaps more sensitive people might find them a little more unpleasant.
The treble is clearly noticeable as coming from a dynamic driver, due to its thickness and colour. The treble is not analytical or thin, but has a definite but perceptible slimness, not so sharp, which helps in its restraint and naturalness. Thus, their definition does not appear complete, nor is the level of resolution very high. It is TFZ in this range as well, and the fluidity of the sound persists, though to a lesser extent, of course, despite having an excited presentation. I would like to say that this more liquid feel of the sound takes away from the more piercing and lacerating crunch, replacing it with a projected, but realistic, dynamic, natural and more pleasant tone.
Another plus point is its extension, something that emphasises the remarkable level of the area. Thinking about it, the highs of these My Love IVs remind me of the highs of the TFZ Live X, both in their tuning and in the final result. It’s clear that they don’t reach their level of definition, but their tuning is similar. Really, TFZ has had a good model to imitate, achieving the intention and something more.
Although the separation is not very high, the scene appears wider than usual, gaining in height and a sense of three-dimensionality. The scene is not really huge, but it does feel quite airy, with a very good sense of ethereal, vaporous, semi-spherical rendering and good extension. There is no out-of-head effect, but realism reigns, but there is no sense of stuffiness, no trace of intimacy. For a TFZ, I’d say it’s very good, with perceptible positioning, not very defined, but well focused, despite the fluidity of the sound, something that limits a more accurate and precise placement.
As I say, the separation between contiguous sounds is not very good, but the separation between bands is. The ranges do not overlap and I think this is the point that allows the sound to expand in all three dimensions.
At about the same price, there are the Hidizs MS2, a hybrid with a 10.2mm DD and a Knowles BA 33518. Both have similar shapes, with the MS2 being slightly larger, less slender on the outside and less rounded on the inside. The construction is very similar, without brilliants, of course, but with a lighter weight. They have the same 2Pin connection and the cable is thicker and nicer on the TFZs, although the connectors are more beautiful on the MS2s. The packaging is very similar in terms of accessories, only the Hidizs come in a hard case, rather than the simple cloth bag of the TFZs.
In terms of sound the profile has similarities. The Hidizs are very easy to move, while the TFZs need more power to deliver their best sound. The MS2s are more dynamic and exciting, especially in the low end and treble, something that does not seem to be demonstrated in the FR. The ratio of the low end to the midrange makes them more perceptible in the lower range. In addition, they have a subtler, more energetic, faster and punchier hit, with a lot of dryness, their speed, precision and impact is very noticeable. In fact, the MS2s have a very high quality bass. Meanwhile, the TFZs have a more relaxed low end, with slightly less impact and a little less power. It feels softer and less energetic, slightly longer and with a slower fade. Although the timbre and naturalness are similar in both, sounding quite similar, except for the technical differences mentioned above. Another thing to take into account is the width of the bass, in the MS2s it feels more defined and narrower. The TFZs have a thicker bass and extended midrange. In the Hidizs, the bass is narrower and more focused in the mid-bass.
The more analytical and defined profile of the MS2s is especially reflected in the midrange and treble. Their sound is cleaner, with a darker and better separated low-end. The TFZs are smoother, warmer and more fluid. It is clear that these are two different representations and each will have its fans and detractors. The subtler, sharper, higher resolution and analysis profile is represented by the MS2. While the warmer, smoother, homogeneous, sweeter and more fluid profile is represented by the TFZ My Love IV. In terms of dynamics, the greater sense of dark background and contrast between silence and notes gives a step forward to the Hidizs. In terms of timbre, the warmth of the TFZs and the brighter spot of the MS2s is noticeable. The voices are wider on the My Love IVs and have more body, sounding lighter on the Hidizs, more delicate as well. The male vocals have more presence on the TFZ, perhaps due to the more extended body towards the bass. In a way, the projection, representation and execution of the voices have their differences. In the Hidizs they sound more isolated and differentiated, which brings them closer to the listener. In TFZ, their representation is more ethereal and vaporous, even gaining in height. The instrumentation follows the patterns that characterise both IEMS. In the Hidizs, the subtle details of the instrumentation can be better observed, in a more defined environment, capable of extracting more nuances and individualising them in a better way. The TFZs have a more musical, less detail-emphasised representation, something that softens their profile towards a quieter, less exhaustive sonority. In addition, both IEMS have a different midrange and treble distribution. While the high end of the Hidizs is thinner and lighter, with a greater power of definition, it is very useful in that analytical sense. On the other hand, the treble in the TFZs is wider, more noticeable on its own, rather than as a complement to other notes, helping less in the detail of the rest of the notes. It may seem that the sharper treble of the Hidizs is more penetrating, but in quantity, the treble of the TFZs is greater. Naturally, the final sonority is different, somewhat more delicate and piercing in the Hidizs, taking up more space and energy in the TFZs.
The soundstage is rendered differently in both IEMS. In the TFZs it seems to occupy more space, it feels larger and more voluminous. The sharper rendering of the MS2s gives it more separation, but it feels more hollow, being more concrete. The fluidity of the My Love IVs seems to expand the scene, but the amount of air in the Hidizs also expands the sounds into three dimensions. It is a different representation, both have a good sense of height and three-dimensionality, but the representation is different. The MS2s have a more accurate and precise provenance, with a more defined pattern. The TFZs with their more liquid, even gaseous sound, blur their background with a tendency to occupy more space.
TFZ has totally surprised me with the profile of this new model. For this occasion, the low end of the new My Love IVs has been significantly softened, allowing the rest of the bands to stand out. It’s almost like a Live X, with that clear bass roll-off and even a subtle gain in treble and extension. But it’s the mid-range, particularly the vocals, that are a complete winner. I have never heard such full and present vocals in previous TFZ models. And, despite the clear softening of the low end, the TFZ bass is always of quality. As a result, the TFZ My Love IVs are a celebration and a clear recommendation for all those who think that TFZ can’t make balanced IEMS, with their highly appreciated dynamic drivers.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- E1DA #9038D.
- Hidizs S9 Pro.
- Earmen Sparrow.
- S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN.
- Burson Audio Playmate.
- ACMEE MF-01.
- Tempotec V1-A + Hidizs DH80S.
- Tempotec Sonata E35.