Review: LZ Big Dipper – A Star

TECHNICAL SKILLS and SOURCE MATCHING

Technically the LZ Big Dipper is quite strong and comparable to many high level IEMs. First of all it has very good resolution across the whole spectrum. It has a very clear and seperated sound thanks to the black background. Sure it’s not something like over 1500USD IEMs but it’s still very impressive for the price it’s going for. Once again it pleases in those regards and exceeds my expectations.

Soundstage-wise it again is quite impressive as it sounds airy and stage dimension is great in terms of width. Depth-wise it’s not super impressive like the IEMs that go for double the price. Because of the flatter bass response and missing texture of lows, depth takes a hit. But it’s no way bad, still very good, especially with something reference like the TOTL Walkman WM1Z.

Separation is wonderful if you leave the 1st switch closed. If you open it to get more bass kick, it veils the mids a little bit unfortunately. So you don’t get the best resolution that this IEM offers that way. But if you can live with a flatter, reference-like bass character than you can leave the switch off and enjoy a great instrument separation. In addition, transparency across the mids is wonderful at all times. Especially listening to female vocals is a joy. You can hear their voice perfectly clear as long as the recording is well mastered.

In terms of source matching I recommend bassier sources to compensate the bass character. My Sony ZX2 and the Sony WM1Z served me well in this regard as they both give great bass response and warmness. Of course the WM1Z is in another league. On the opposite side, I wouldn’t recommend sources that give a cold and clinical presentation.

LZ Big Dipper has a 25 Ohms impedance 115db sensitivity. So it’s easy to drive and every kind of DAP or phone should drive it without a problem.

SMALL COMPARISONS

vs. Oriolus Forsteni: I think Forsteni and LZ Big Dipper share a similar character in terms of mids and treble, but Forsteni has a more textured bass with its dynamic driver. On the other side, I think Big Dipper has better mids overall, and much better soundstage as well.

vs OriolusOriolus is my special IEM. And LZ Big Dipper can’t touch its amazing bass response of course. Other than that, I think Oriolus has a wider and deeper sound stage and a more coherent presentation overall. It sounds warmer but has a better background as well. Therefore it has a better separation. For the Big Dipper’s side, mids are more open and energetic. Treble is more pronounced with similar amount of extension but it’s so hard to deny the amazing Oriolus’ cohesiveness.

vs LZ-A4The obvious versus. The A4 was such a big hit in my opinion. But to be honest, except the bass succession, the LZ Big Dipper is better in every way, as expected from the price. Mids and trebles are way better than with A4. A4 has great bass, no doubt about it, and has an atmospheric sound which is very special. But technically it’s Big Dipper by a margin.

vs UM MartianMartian has a great bass quality and quantity, which is superior to Big Dipper. Mids are similar in terms of openness and tone as well as trebles. The differences are the sound stage and bass presentation. Bass is superior on the Martian, but the sound stage is wider on the Big Dipper. They’re evenly matched so it’s up to you as always.

SUMMARY

I think LZ is spot on with the LZ Big Dipper, as in my eyes they proved themselves with this one. I had my doubts when I first saw the news, because you don’t usually see a big step up from Chinese brands in this short time. Also, we’ve seen many companies that released higher priced products right after a successfull budget product. LZ-A4 was great, one of the best values in the market to me, but this is a nice move from LZ to wink higher class levels of IEMs.

There are some points to improve here and there, such as the bass presentation and treble succession (I mean the 3rd switch, it’s good when it’s off). But I can’t say anything about the mids, resolution and the sound stage for the price as they’ve left me an excellent impression.

I hope LZ will upgrade this monitor in the future as I want to see what this man can achieve with even more technical opportunities.

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews is the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.

12 Comments

  • Reply September 17, 2017

    Albert

    How does the big dipper compare to the UERR ciem? I’m thinking of getting one or the other.

    • Reply September 21, 2017

      Berkhan

      Haven’t listened to that one. Sorry.

  • Reply October 20, 2017

    Baronic

    How does it compare to the Shure 846?

    I currently own the phonaks 232 for the past 5 years and am looking to upgrade.

    I have tested the westone’s w series and i felt like the w40 was similar to the phonaks 232. I did not like the w60. i liked the w80, but it was over budget

    I also tested the shure 846 and liked it. I could get it used. cheaper than the LZ Big Dipper. What are your thoughts in comparison to the these headphones based on my preference?

    • Reply October 20, 2017

      Berkhan

      I don’t like the SE846 personally but it’s been a very long time since I listened to it. For a musical and mid oriented sound reproduction I recommend you to get the Big Dipper.

  • Reply October 20, 2017

    Baronic

    thanks for the reply!

    do you know if the big dipper with zero switches has the same sound with the 3 switches, but all 3 switches turned off?

    am thinking of getting 2 switches for bass and mid to play with, as i doubt i will be triggering the trebles. but dont know if thats the same as 3 switches with 2 switches triggered (bass and mids)

    • Reply October 22, 2017

      Berkhan

      No problem.

      Yes, that’s why they sell it with switch options. If you buy the no switch version, you’ll get the sound which is equal to all switches turned off.

      So yes, it is the same.

  • Reply January 23, 2018

    Sam Smith

    How is the big dipper with mid and high switch on/off compared to Noble Sage?

    Which do you prefer?

    • Reply January 23, 2018

      Sam

      Please don’t mind the name 😀

      • Reply January 23, 2018

        Berkhan

        Hi 🙂

        I haven’t listened the Noble Sage. And since this one was a loaner, I don’t have it anymore to compare with other IEMs.

        • Reply January 24, 2018

          Sam

          My bad. Didn’t notice your name above. It was Linus who made the review on Noble Sage.

          Thanks.

  • Reply October 2, 2018

    Niel

    Hi there I was wondering how the lz big dipper stacks againsts iems such as fitear togo 334, campfire fire andromeda, ie800 and campfire vega, just small comparisons of any of those iems will give me some idea of how the iems sounds and which I need to go over, most of my music is rnb and hippop

    • Reply October 4, 2018

      Berkhan

      I would go for the FitEar because it has very special mids and great sound stage. However it doesn’t have a quality bass.

      In that case you can get the Big Dipper, it’s better then the IE800. I don’t know about the Vega, I’ve never listened to that one.

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