Review: LZ-A4 | Get to the LZ!

Disclaimer: I got the LZ-A4 from LZ Hi-Fi as a free sample, in exchange for an honest review. The MSRP for LZ-A4 is $195 USD.  The unit does not have to be returned. LZ is not affiliated to Headfonia or me.

INTRO

Last couple of years went really fast for Chinese manufacturers. We never expected this kind of performance from them in this sector -well at least I didn’t- and let’s face it, they arguably make the best price/performance products in audiophile industry.

More importantly, they no longer make cheap products with no durability or style. There was once a perception that suggests if a product was from a Chinese brand than that means it’s low on quality. Times have changed. Because by now they already know; low pricing is not enough to attract the attention. The general quality is equally important and that includes every aspect of the package.

So long the idea of “Chinese products are not good”. No, they’re great and here we have the LZ-A4 IEM in our hands, proving exactly that.

LZ

The name is very short right? It also sounds very nice to spell. Actually it’s Lao Zhong in short, an audio enthusiast who likes to build IEMs.

Let’s give you a little background information about LZ and continue:

Lao Zhong describes himself as a “Hi-Fi Enthusiast”. He was a technician repairing home appliances before, and he began to have an interest in speakers and the mechanics behind them roughly 20 years ago. After that, he created his own speaker about 10 years ago. He began to make IEMs in 2015. He has a professional studio and owns a registered company. The company has 7 people working inside, including himself.

“Lao” means “old guy” or “old looking” in Chinese. So basically he’s an old guy called “Zhong”. The old man knows what he’s doing and which type of sound he wants to achieve. I can confirm this; because LZ-A4 is clearly a giant killer.

OTHER THAN SOUND

Like I told, if you expect a cheaply made product you’re at the wrong article. LZ-A4 is tough, it’s built to last and tuned to sound great. So everything you would expect from a good quality IEM is in the package.

The box has a professional look with the black color mixed with red shiny letters. The brand logo and name is there together with the model designation. There’s also a small description, remarking that this is an “Atmospheric presseure style Hybrid Earphone“. The package, like what we’ve been used to seen from Chinese brands, is quite generous. There are 11, yes 11 pairs of tips provided. That’s a lot. It never hurts to have lots of tips in your possesion. You can also use them on other IEMs for a long time. The carrying case is a little big with a spacious interior and it closes with a zipper. Looks really nice and sweet as well (girls confirmed that). You also have couple of documents about the product.

The build quality is top notch. When you think about changeable filters on both sides, you can suspect there could be some fragileness but that’s not the case. Filters themselves are quite robust, and you rotate them like screws to attach them to the earpiece. It’s simple and well executed. The body of the earphone is also very well done and leaves no questions unanswered regarding the long-term durability. The material is all metal and gives a nice premium feeling, as well as a little weight. That weight is not a problem regarding the fit. It also has detachable MMCX connectors, which is always a good thing. So all around they’ve done a top job at this price range.

The shape is quite awkward to be honest. But when you find the proper tips for your ears, LZ-A4 fits fairly good. I didn’t expect it to be comfortable when I first saw the design but it was a nice surprise for me. Still, you shouldn’t expect a great fit with this design and shape. All I can say is don’t underestimate it when you see the pictures. Also you can wear it both flat or around the ear.

Isolation is not the best part about this IEM. Even if you roll the best tips for you it’s still far from great because it’s not designed that way. It has an open-back so some sound leakage is no surprise. Don’t worry though as these are definitely not open earbuds. It’s just when you compare with the traditional IEMs, these fall a little bit behind because of the open-back design approach. But that design has more benefits than losses and you’ll see that in the sound section. As usual, I chose foam tips for getting the best seal. Your experience could be different of course.

Before going on with the sound, I should tell you that this IEM is a result of a long design and working process. It’s been developed carefully with the audiophiles in mind. They manufactured the first prototype last year and sent them to some reviewers and folks on Head-Fi. Then they received some feedback and continued to develop the IEM. The housing is changed drastically after that as well as the inclusion of detachable connectors.

Continue to the sound section on PAGE 2

Review: LZ-A4 | Get to the LZ!
4.35 (87%) 40 votes

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Berkhan has been loving the personal audio since he was a little boy. He has a pair of good ears and eyes, as a good photographer and reviewer. He's added to the crew by Lieven.He's in love with warm sounding gear, a good Scotch and smooth Jazz music.

15 Comments

  • Reply March 14, 2017

    Kristian Lindecrantz

    Great read and well executed review! I love these reviews of more affordable stuff, stuff you can actually try out without an extra mortgage. I’m all about ch-fi these days so please keep these reviews coming!

    • Reply March 15, 2017

      Berkhan

      Thank you Kristian. We’re open to every kind of stuff. It’s interesting to see the developments from China and we will continue if we can get in touch with people.

  • Reply March 15, 2017

    Baha

    Great review! Loved it. Do the sound of these improve if you use them with a portable dac/amp? Like the oppo ha2?

    I’m not into IEMs but I’ll give these a try in the future!

    • Reply March 15, 2017

      Berkhan

      Thanks Baha. I didn’t try them with a DAC/AMP so I don’t if these excel with some amp poweri but I can tell they’re driven easily. You can check Head-Fi thread for that.

  • Reply March 15, 2017

    tony

    It is a very good review. http://www.lzhifiaudio.com

    • Reply March 15, 2017

      Berkhan

      Thanks for the link Tony. Cheers.

  • Reply March 18, 2017

    wasaki

    nice iem but Audeze isine 20 is the best value right now .

    • Reply March 18, 2017

      dale thorn

      Do you hear a difference because of the iSine’s planar technology? It sure costs a lot more.

  • Reply March 18, 2017

    Dave

    Great review. It is great to see really good things happening at a price people might actually be able to afford.

  • Reply March 20, 2017

    Bhargav Desai

    Great review!
    Would anyone know how these fare against Trinity Audio Delta/Delta II

    • Reply March 20, 2017

      Berkhan

      Thanks!

      I can’t comment on that but I hope someone will.

  • Reply March 20, 2017

    Juan

    Hi, I would like to ask you about the A4’s amplifier neccesities. Are they easy to attack, let’s say with a Galaxy S6 or Lg V10 or do they need a special or dedicated amplifier? I have been an audiophile for decades and it is my first time with IEMs. I am used to listen to only loudspeakers, ATC SCM 50 nowadays. I also owned time ago a Stax SR 507 earspeakers, which I liked for their speed to music, although not comparable to the ATC in that respect nor in holography and musical scale. As I told you, I’d never tried noteworthy IEMs so your review left me intrigued. I need a pair for listening music at bed, mainly because I have discovered to love this new habit. So the question is if with a Galaxy S6 is enough to get a decent sound, not audiophile quality. Thank you very much for your review and enthusiasm.

    • Reply March 20, 2017

      Berkhan

      Hello Juan.

      Yes, a smartphone would be goo enough to power these. No amp necessary. If you hook up a portable DAC/AMP to your phone than you can have better sound quality. Even so, you will get a decent sound from your Galaxy or LG.

      • Reply March 20, 2017

        Juan

        Thank you very much for your quick answer. Then I am going to the next step: buying a pair of LZ A4. Hope to write you again to comment my impressions on the “real thing”. Thank you again for taking my attention on your very informative review.

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