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.
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.
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