Master Of Bass
- Nearly must-buy for bass lovers, they are some of the best V IEMs in their price range.
- Design, construction and presentation: they are almost a jewel.
- The slightly short nozzles and their cylindrical, fat design could cause some lace problems.
- Weight of cable connectors.
- Those who prefer less bass, better abstain.
Link to the Store
TFZ, the brand also known as The Fragrant Zither, was founded in 2015. Since then they have released a good handful of IEMs, with prices ranging from $40 to $360. In all its models you can see its commitment to take care of the design, offering a particular elegance, sometimes unusual, but always eye-catching, which surely does not leave anyone indifferent.
The model I present below is possibly one of the most daring designs I have seen in this price range. But it is true to the philosophy of the brand, elegance, innovative design and a certain sense of exquisiteness and luxury. Not in vain, Tequila belongs to its new luxury series, called TFZLUX.
- Drivers: Dual-magnetic two-way graphene driver
- Magnet material: NdFeB N50
- Diaphragm material: Grafeno
- Diaphragm diameter: 8.9mm
- Voice coil material: copper clad aluminum wire
- Frequency response range: 5HZ ~ 40000HZ
- Sensitivity: 105dB
- Impedance: 20 Ω
- Magnetic flux: 9000KGS
- Harmonic distortion: 0.5%
- Wire: core count 4 * 18 * 0.05 5N oxygen-free copper
- Jack Connector: Straight, gold-plated
- Type of capsule connection: 2 pins 0.78mm
The box has dimensions of 168x114x60mm. It comes completely wrapped in transparent plastic as a seal. The cover is completely black, the letters of the brand and the model are silver. On the back there is a sticker that indicates the color of the selected IEMs.
Once the cover is removed, the box is completely white. A rigid, transparent plastic cover protects the IEMs, which are also encased in a hard foam support covered in all-white cardboard, with nothing more than the model name on the bottom. Once the plastic lid and cardboard holder are removed, you see a foam mould containing a white Pelikan-type box, a brochure and, underneath it, the cable. Inside the box there are two cardboard blisters with 3 pairs of white silicone tips each, in SxMxL sizes. One set of tips has a narrow inner diameter and the other has a wide inner diameter. The capsules come with two medium intermediate channel tips. Also comes a pair of white memory foam tips.
The packaging is very neat, distills elegance. The «unboxing» sensation is very pleasant. All the details are very well chosen and the materials are of high quality.
In this price range it is one of the most select packages I have been able to open, according to what the TFZLUX brand implies.
Construction and design
The design of the capsules is unique and totally genuine, based on two thick cylinders, one red and one blue, with a golden ring around it. Its back is open and its lid varies according to the model. In this case, my model has three trapezoidal openings that give a glimpse of a grille. In the center of the conical lid, there is a golden ring, further accentuating the exclusivity of the design. On the other side of the cylinder, the nozzles are inclined. They are of the same material and colour as the capsules, forming a single piece. At the top there are three holes through which you can see a black grid and dense, from there the sound flows. The nozzles have an approximate diameter of 5.5mm and are not very long.
Attached to the sides of the cylinders are two pieces of translucent plastic, inside of which are the connections of two pins. The connectors fit tangentially to the capsules.
In my humble opinion it is one of the most beautiful and daring IEMs I own.
The cable doesn’t lag behind when it comes to boldness. The plug is a very heavy and fat cylinder, it could be perfectly steel. The splitting piece is a cone cut from the same material. And the adjustment piece is a ring of the final diameter of the splitting cone, also of steel, presumably. All these solid parts make the assembly heavier than usual. The cable is made of 4 copper cores, covered with transparent plastic. It is not so thick compared to metal parts, although it has a remarkable malleability, is not at all rigid and has hardly any memory effect. The two-pin connectors are covered with transparent plastic. The cable that comes out of them is protected by a rigid plastic that gives them shape to fit over the ear.
Among other details, such as the white letters inscribed on the inside of each capsule, as well as the engraving on the gold rings, only accentuate the luxurious finish and construction of the attractive Tequila 1.
A final particularity to bear in mind is that when opened, the sound comes out and can be heard by people close and/or in quiet environments.
Adjustment and ergonomics
After the waste of imagination in its design and construction, it remains to see if its fit and ergonomics are at its height. At first the capsules are quite voluminous and their shape is not one of the most ergonomic on the market. I want to think that my ears are a normal size and I’m lucky that I’m doing well with almost all the IEMs I have. Tequila 1 is no exception: they fit quite well, they fix well, they don’t rotate easily, and the sound doesn’t change even if they move slightly. The only problem is that the nozzles are somewhat short, so I had to look for the longest tips I have in my collection. In this way I have achieved that the adjustment, although superficial, is firmer and lasting, getting a better seal and therefore, better sound and insulation.
But I can’t help but think that Tequila 1 can generate some fit problem in smaller ears, due to its size.
The profile of Tequila 1 is not entirely clear or completely defined. In my opinion it’s about some IEMs in warm V, where the mids are not backward and the highs are not very prominent. There is emphasis on the central area of the lows and a soft peak in the low highs. And although the most remarkable thing about Tequila 1 is the low zone for its quality, the rest of the frequencies are not penalized at all.
The quality of the lower zone is preceded by the reputation of the brand. In this sense it does not disappoint: all serious lovers should buy a TFZ to enjoy them. This is my sincere recommendation. Based on this assertion, the only negative point that I would put here, would be a certain lack of greater emphasis on the sub bass, to enjoy a greater point of depth. But it’s still a high demand because the range is excellent and highly enjoyable for bass lovers like me.
The area is built on a great punching power, a missile fast impact, recovery and return to hit in the mid bass. The depth is perceived not so accentuated, but easily insulated mentally.
The body of the bass is extremely compact, with a color and texture very particular, as a seal of the brand. The bass is detailed, laminable and stratified, it extends well both widthwise and deeply.
Dignified to be enjoyed.
The lows extend in presence to the lower mids, interfering very slightly in that area, due to its great punch. Nothing serious at all, as they bring extra warmth and packing. The male voices sound thick, with some darkness/distancing, but wide and warm, with a soft texture and medium detail. The female voices have a fairly similar presentation, offering a very homogeneous mid-range exposure. The upper mids have a rebound of emphasis, which brings beneficial clarity and a little more proximity to female voices and guitars.
As can be expected from a warm V-profile, the mids are not extremely detailed or analytical, but are more cohesive, fairly full-bodied and homogeneous, to the detriment of very high separation. The degree of resolution is good, according to the characteristics already commented. However, the musicality is greater and the dynamics are also higher, contributing to a moderately forceful global perception of the mids.
The low highs begin to rise, but below the greater emphasis of the low zone. They then descend to rebound slightly above 10kHz. The highs follow the tonic already described: homogeneity, thickness, smoothness and consistency. The high zone is not piercing, nor penetrating, nor sharp, it is not the look of Tequila 1. Contrary to their name, they do not scratch. But they do extend and are perceived openly, without creating hisibilances and bringing a much needed clarity and cleanliness to a sound characterized by bass of great magnitude.
The sound is pleasantly open and spacious, I suppose the rear openings play in this direction and help to decongest it greatly. The scene is rather round, almost hemispherical, with a more than acceptable positioning. The separation is good, due to its distinguishable clarity. The detail is on a par with its resolution. But they are not analytical EMIs, but warm and musical, but without being excessively relaxed.
Leader of the massive sound par excellence, the TK12s are triple drivers with a somewhat atypical configuration, which provides a low area with a lot of weight. And this zone is quite similar in the graph of both IEMs, but in the TK12s the power is comparatively higher, it is difficult to overcome its more frontal and massive sound. That greater power sometimes translates into somewhat longer, slower bass, but also deeper bass.
Tequila 1 is more balanced, with more advanced, lively and descriptive voices and mids. In addition, the low trebles have greater presence and brightness, generating more clarity in front of the darkness and the warmer, duller and not so defined sound of the TK12s. There is only a fictitious feeling of more air in Toneking due to the emphasis around 9kHz. Fictitious because the sound is clearly more vivid, revealing, descriptive, detailed and musical in Tequila 1.
The separation is greater in Tequila 1, with better resolution and sensation of space, in front of a more distant and diffuse sound, except in its lower zone. The scene in both is different, the TK12s have a wide scene generated by a sound that flows more liquid and expands. The sound of Tequila is more direct, close, with great dynamism. This fact somewhat reduces the scene in depth, but is still far from being narrow.
Again another classic triple driver against the Tequila. The Dunu have more emphasis on the sub bass and a more linear low zone. The problem with this linearity is that it continues to the middle zone, offering a duller and almost muddy sound, with a feeling of congestion and lack of clarity. Lack of emphasis on the upper-mid and lower-high contribute to this feeling. Meanwhile, Tequila offers as much or more punch in the bass, with all its virtues, as well as much more light in the mids and highs. Their sound is clearly more dynamic and lively, cheerful, with better detail, resolution and clarity.
The Anew U1 is one of the DD I’ve liked the most lately. They present a different tonality to Tequila. Although they have a very good low area, it doesn’t extend as far towards the mids, and descends a little earlier. In this way the lower zone is not perceived as large and wide. But it has a certain advantage of interfering less in the mids. The voices in the Anew sound thinner, while in the Tequila they are somewhat closer and warmer. In general the U1 have a finer and more detailed presentation, the Tequila are rounder and tighter. There is more air and separation in the Anew, due to their virtue of threshing frequencies. The change in tonality is easily expressed: Anew are cooler and more analytical, while Tequila is warmer and more exciting.
The profile is presented more in V in the Anew, due to some greater distance in the voices. In Tequila this V is lower, with a greater balance in the voices and mid zone, closer and present.
There is no clear winner here, the choice of one or the other IEM will depend on personal tastes.
The Bass Lovers are in luck: this is a round product, like its sound, compact and without fissures, forceful in its signature and luxurious in its forms and design. Built like a jewel, packaged and presented as such, Tequila 1 shows how much they can offer, not only in its low area, where they are masters, but also in the rest of frequencies and other sound parameters.
Pour me another glass, TFZ.
Sources used during the analysis
- Burson Audio Playmate (OpAmps V6 Vivid Dual + V6 Classic Dual).
- xDuoo X3II.