Disclaimer: I received the LZ Big Dipper from LZ HiFi for around 2 months on loan. I’ll ship it to another reviewer very soon.
When I reviewed the fabulous LZ-A4, I had no idea that LZ would come up with something like this, but they did. The LZ Big Dipper looks like a creation of a true audiophile mindset. Compared to A4, LZ chose to go with a classic monitor design with 7 Balanced Armature drivers per side.
However just like the unique filter mechanism on the A4, LZ has something different to offer in this one. It has up to 3 switches to change the sound character. And, you can purchase it with the ones that you choose. Let’s say you want to order the single switch version. That switch will change the region that you pick. You want it to change the lows? Then you’ll have it. You just want to alter the trebles? There you go, it is up to you. It’s all your choice when ordering.
The price list is as follows:
Basic: 620 USD
1 Switch: 700 USD
2 Switch: 780 USD
3 Switch: 860 USD
I talked about the roots of LZ and how Lao Zhung started it all in LZ-A4 Review , hence you can check it out first. Besides, LZ-A4 is a fantastic In-Ear for the money, therefore I recommend you to read it if you haven’t yet. It also made it to our Universal IEM Recommendations list right after its review.
So this new monitor from LZ is something else, especially when you think about their previous offerings, as they were dominated by dynamic drivers (A3 and A4). Lao Zhung went with a full Balanced Armature design with the LZ Big Dipper. Of course these design choices have some ups and downs and I’ll get to those points shortly in the sound section.
DESIGN, BUILD and FIT
Just like with the switches, you have some choices about the looks of the LZ Big Dipper. As you can see it looks like a Custom Monitor in a demo shell. I didn’t ask anything concerning the design and it arrived in a clear shell with a brown wooden-like faceplate. The clear shell allowed me to see inside of the monitor, and it also allowed me to take some cool close-up photographs. As you can see it’s quite busy and packed on the inside with all the bores, cables and drivers. It’s also packed with switches and electronics of course. I have no idea what technique is used or what the technology is that allows it to change the frequencies, but it surely looks very cool.
Build is just like a nicely crafted CIEM. I didn’t notice any flaws with it. The shell is very nice and smoothly finished. LZ decided to make the nozzles aluminum with filters mounted. Be careful about the filters as they can fill up with earwax. Keep them clean. The monitor is built very well in my opinion as I’ve seen many IEMs and CIEMs before. Therefore I can easily say that this is one of the best in terms of build. Just like I wrote in the LZ-A4 Review, this kind of products from China have started to become real good in terms of quality. Great job by LZ.
The cable has a professional look, and it shares no resemblance with the previous cables from LZ. Of course it has 2-pin connectors with an angular shape. It reminds me of the connectors of Ultimate Ears and Unique Melody. The cable itself is quite thick like an aftermarket one and it feels very sturdy from top to bottom. The only negative point I can bring up here is the length of it. I would prefer a little shorter cable, not just for the portability standpoint, but also I think the carrying case doesn’t have enough room for storing the monitors. They could’ve chosen a bigger case. It fits, but you need to work on it to close the cap. I actually liked this case as I did with Heir HISO, but unlike Heir, this cable is a little big for the case.
If you remember the StageDiver series than you probably know what a semi-custom monitor is. That means you will potentially get a CIEM type of fit, without going through the process. Indeed LZ Big Dipper fits great and isolates great, with a design that fills your ears perfectly. You just need to find the proper tips for your ear canals and that is easy when the fit is that good. I recommend small tips, as it goes quite deep in your ears. LZ’s tips in the box are quite fitting for that but I preferred a little more rounded silicone tips. Your experience may vary of course, but in my case I can’t say anything negative about the fit. One of my friends who tried it also confirmed that it has such a great fit. This monitor indeed has a great shape for most ears out there. So that’s another important plus on LZ’s side together with the build quality.
Continue to read the sound impressions by clicking HERE or on the page numbers below.