Disclaimer: We received the LZ A5 directly from LZ HiFi. It goes for $269. The unit does not have to be returned. LZ is not affiliated with Headfonia, and they’re not a site advertiser. Big thanks to LZ for sharing this review sample.
LZ HiFi had sent us a couple of nice monitors last year and one of them (the LZ A4) still keeps its place in our Universal IEM Recommendations. The other one was the Big Dipper and that one also left good impressions on me, with its changeable sound and great fit. They didn’t stop there though, releasing this LZ A5 soon after.
Since we have reviewed LZ products twice already, there’s really no need to give much information about the brand all over again. You can check out the LZ A4 Review for that, and we can go straight to design & build topics, and the sound after.
ABOUT LZ A5
The LZ A5 is the 4th product from LZ HiFi and once again consists interchangeable nozzle filters to give its users the option for different sound characteristics. The internal configuration comprises of 4BA Drivers and 1 Dynamic Driver. The previous release, the Big Dipper was released with a full 7BA setup, but with this model Lao Zhung returned to the hybrid tech.
The nozzle filters operate within the range of 3KHz and 10KHz, giving boosts or drops around that particular region, between +2 and -2 dbs to be exact. So in theory, these nozzles would only affect the upper mids & treble, but let’s see how it goes in the sound section.
Since I only received the monitors in the carrying case, I won’t comment about the package content.
DESIGN & BUILD
The LZ A5 is a lightweight monitor which is made from 2 pieces of aluminum material with a black matte finish. There’s a seam between the two pieces which is quite visible, and I suppose the pieces are put together with some kind of glue as there aren’t any screws that can be seen. This reminds me the FiiO F9 and F9 Pro monitors, as well as some old Westone IEMs. To me, the overall build is OK for the price.
The cable is flexible and soft and has a good quality 3.5mm plug, but I’m not sure if I like the memory wire on it. Filters are aluminum. They’re very easy to screw and unscrew from the shell. Be careful not to drop and lose them around, since they’re very small and easy to lose if you ask me. Try to keep them fastened to their kit and in the package.
In terms of design; the overall matte finish looks cool with that wing logo engraved on top, although the logo is hardly authentic. The left & right marks are easily visible which is important to me, detail-wise. The shape is very smooth and rounded. There aren’t any edgy points on the shell. This smooth design is a very nice welcome after the unorthodox shape of the LZ A4.
With the in ear headphones, fit is one of the most critical things and the A4 model was not very good regarding that. First of all it was quite heavy, and the shape was not ear friendly at all. And isolation-wise it has an open back design so all in all it wasn’t the best monitor for a good fit and for blocking outside noise.
This time with the A5 the shape is pretty much like the FiiO F9 models that I liked for good fit. So if you find the suitable tips for your ear canals, everything is smooth and the IEMs are easy to insert and remove as well. Since the earphones are lighter this time around, you don’t feel much discomfort either. So you won’t have a hard time fitting these IEMs at all. They also don’t stick out which makes them a good option for nap time listening. Isolation depends on the tips you use and the best ones for that are of course the foams. When you use silicone tips you have to select the good fitting ones to your canals, otherwise you will lose the seal. In my case, I used foam tips because I can’t get the silicone tips work with my ears most of the time.
If we wind the clock back to last year, to the LZ A4 review to be exact, we can see impressive bass but not so impressive mids & trebles. The overall sound was a v- shaped one with a recessed mid response. I expected a more linear and natural response from the A5. Although I put the A4 to our recommended list, I knew that it wasn’t the most natural or reference sounding earphone, so with that in mind, I had some expectations from this model, coherency-wise.
The LZA5 is a clear sounding IEM with a very detailed presentation for the price with very good dynamics. It’s mostly coherent and more balanced compared to the previous A4, and has good technical abilities such as resolution and detail retrieval. It has a good positioning and a realistic sound stage although it’s not that wide and deep compared to A4. So technically it’s a better IEM compared to A4, but the A4 still retains its quite unique, atmospheric sound.
The LZ A5 has a good hitting bass that feels very good with electronic & house or trance music, which can be a good factor for lovers of those genres. It gives the IEM a great engaging nature, leaving you wanting to tap your feet. It’s pretty tight and recovers very well. It’s not overpowering the other frequencies, although being a little bit strong in sub bass, but that doesn’t go to the extent to sound bloated or bass heavy.
Mid bass is not that accentuated though, which takes away that certain warmness and organic / charming presentation that I love. Excessive mid bass is one of the worst things for genres like Jazz & Classical, but a little recessed response is not very good either. Nonetheless, I think this response is not unacceptable at all for this price range. The mid bass is under control and eludes the mids cleanly so that’s a good plus. I would prefer a little bit less sub response and an additional quantity to mid bass, but it’s still pretty good. It also helps the IEM to sound spacious as an addition. The bass of the LZ A4 wasn’t the most natural bass either, so I won’t criticize it too much.
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