TFZ Balance 1 IEM Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TFZ Balance 1 Review

 

Introduction:

The company TFZ (The Fragrant Zither) is Chinese Company located in Shenzhen – China, which is specialized in the production of portable audio equipments like Earphones & In-Ear Monitors.

The TFZ Balance 1 is an In-Ear Monitor with a 9mm diameter dual magnetic circuit two-way graphene driver.

 

Disclaimer:

The TFZ Balance 1 was provided to me by the company TFZ via Penon Audio for review purposes. I am not affiliated with TFZ or Penon Audio beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.

 

Price:

The price of the TFZ Balance 1 is 39,90 USD and can be purchased under the link below.

Purchase Link: https://penonaudio.com/tfz-balance-1.html

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The TFZ Balance 1 came in a square cardboard box with a glossy blue surface that sports the product branding in iridescent lettering on the top of this box. On the back of those box is the product illustration and some technical details.

The box of the Balance 1 is containing the following items;

  • 1 pcs x TFZ Balance 1 In-Ear Monitor
  • 7 pairs x Silicone ear tips (1 pair came pre-installed)
  • 1 pcs x Carry Pouch

 

 

Design, Components and Build Quality:

The TFZ Balance 1 is an In-Ear Monitor with CNC engraved metal shell with a “Bullet Style” shape, which shows a pretty solid workmanship and is producing the sound with a 9mm diameter dual magnetic circuit two-way graphene driver.

The TFZ Balance 1 is available in two colors, which are silver and grey.  The overall build quality of the Balance 1 is very good and they are no unwanted quality issues such as burrs or any openings.

You can find the left & right markings one one side of the monitor shell which also sports the product model branding.

On the back side of the monitor shells are those stylish TFZ logos which are printed in white color.

On the front of the monitor is the sound nozzle that features a metal mesh on the top to prevent the insertion of dust and earwax in to the monitor.

At the bottom of the Balance 1 is the fixed cable that is protected by a transparent strain relief made of plastic material. Here you can also find two vents; one is near the sound nozzle while the other one is close to the cables strain relief.

The fixed cable of the TFZ Balance 1 features a transparent plastic isolation which has a very good sense of quality. This cable is not prone to mixings/intertwines which is a big plus point for a product in this price range.

This cable sports a silver aluminum Y splitter with TFZ logo branding.

The 3.5mm unbalanced (3 pole) headphone jack has a straight profiled metal housing with a nice build quality.

 

Fit and Isolation:

The monitor housing is small and quite comfortable to wear, while the performance in terms of isolation is on an average level that is quite ok for on the go or environments like bus, metro or train.

 

 

Specifications:

  • Driver              : 9mm dual magnetic circuit two-way graphene driver
  • Impedance      : 16 ohm
  • Sensitivity        : 106 dB mW
  • Freq. response : 5 Hz一40 kHz
  • Lowest power  : 8 mW
  • Plug                 : 3.5mm
  • Cable length    : 1.2m

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:

  • IEM’s                          : TFZ Balance 1, Tin Audio T1, VE IE Smalls
  • DAP/DAC/AMP         : Cayin N5II, Zorloo ZuperDAC-S, FiiO M6

 

 

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Spotify)
  • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
  • Leonard Cohen – You Wnt it Darker (Spotify)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Alboran Trio’s – Cinque Lunghissimi Minuti (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

The TFZ Balance 1 has a slightly warmer than neutral tonality. The bass is pretty fast and impactful; the midrange is showing a nice level of transparency and musicality, while the treble range is airy and quite detailed especially for this price range.

PS: This review is written after a burn-in process of approx. 80 hours and I have used the stock silicone ear tips.

 

The Bass:   

The bass of the TFZ Balance 1 is impactful but not overdone in quantity and is showing a mildly warmish character. The subbass region of the Balance 1 is fairly controlled and a touch higher in quantity than neutral. The subbass depth and extension on the other hand is above average.

The midbass of the TFZ Balance 1 are showing a good quantity, intensity and detail retrieval. It is fairly strong and punchy in its presentation, when it’s needed. The midbass character helps the TFZ Balance 1 not to sound too dry nor muddy and is giving the overall presentation a touch of fullness.

The bass of the TFZ Balance 1 is showing in general an above average performance in terms of speed, control and extension.

Instruments such like the contrabass or bass guitars are sounding pretty realistic in tonality.

 

 

 

The Midrange: 

The midrange of the TFZ Balance 1 sounds clean, transparent and pretty detailed for an IEM in this price range with a single dynamic driver unit.

Male vocals are sounding clean and detailed, while the fullness and lower midrange depth is on a sufficient level. Female vocals on the other hand are transparent and musical and showing more detail and realism than male vocals.

The instrument presentation of the TFZ Balance 1 is clean, soft and natural. Instruments such like guitars and violas are sounding pretty realistic and have good detail retrieval for an entry level In-Ear Monitor.

 

Upper Midrange and Treble:

The upper midrange of the TFZ Balance 1 is nicely pronounced and gives the overall presentation, especially female vocals a clean and lively tonality without to show any remarkable sharpness or sibilance.

For example; the presentation of instruments like flutes and guitars are fairly detailed, while the extension is successful for an IEM in this category.

When it comes to the treble range I can say that the TFZ Balance 1 is showing an adequate airiness and extension, while the level of detail retrieval and the sparkle is pretty good for a sub 50 USD IEM.

One other good thing about the treble tuning of the Balance 1 is that there is no remarkable sharpness in the lower and the upper treble range, which is important for a fatigue free listening experience, especially for longer listening periods on the go.

 

Soundstage:

The TFZ Balance 1 has a quite successful soundstage performance for an IEM at a price of only 39.90 USD. The soundstage is pretty wide and the while the depth is above average. The instrument separation is quite good and the positioning of instruments and vocals quite accurate for an entry level IEM.

 

Comparison:

TFZ Balance 1 versus VE Monk IE Smalls

The VE Monk IE Smalls has a noticeable stronger lower frequency presentation, while the TFZ Balance 1 sounds more balanced in this sound spectrum.

The subbass of the IE Smalls shows more quantity and intensity than those of the Balance 1. But the Balance 1 has the upper hand in terms of attack and decay, which is faster and shorter.

The TFZ Balance 1 is superior in terms of midbass control and detail retrieval, while the VE IE Smalls is a bit uncontrolled and slow in this regarding.

The bass of the VE IE Smalls is a bit too boomy, it is more prominent and is showing a longer decay compared to those of the Balance 1.

The midrange of VE Monk IE Smalls sounds a bit hot and muffled compared to those of the TFZ Balance 1, due to the strong mid-bass emphasis which is bleeding from time to time in to the midrange.

The Monk IE Smalls performs pretty well with male vocals, while it’s missing some sparkle and transparency for female vocals that the TFZ Balance 1 has. The Balance 1 shows more transparency and sparkle while listening to female vocal or instruments like violas of flutes.

The VE Monk IE Smalls has a significant roll-off between the upper midrange and treble range that makes it more suitable for long listening periods in the cost of losing detail and definition. The TFZ Balance 1 is superior in terms of treble detail and extension.

The soundstage of the TFZ Balance 1 sounds more expansive than those of the VE IE Smalls narrow presentation. The Balance 1 is superior to the IE Smalls in terms of soundstage depth and width.

 

 

TFZ Balance 1 versus Tin Audio T1

The TFZ Balance 1 has a warmer and more musical tonality than the Tin Audio T1. The TFZ Balance 1 is showing noticeable more subbass intensity, rumble and better extension than those of the Tin Audio T1.

The midbass of the TFZ Balance 1 has also more emphasis and fullness compared to the Tin Audio T1 Balance 1, while the Tin Audio T1 sounds a tad too drier in this regarding. The Balance 1 shows also better speed and control.

The bass of the TFZ Balance 1 has shows in general more detail, fullness and impactful than those of the Tin Audio T1, which is a bit lifeless in this regarding.

The midrange of the TFZ Balance 1 sounds slightly fuller and warmer in tonality than the Tin Audio T1. Both male and female vocals are more successful with the Balance 1. The lower midrange tuning especially the depth is making male vocals more emotional, while the Tin Audio sounds a bit thin in this regarding.

The upper midrange of the TFZ Balance 1 shows better emphasis, extension and detail retrieval than those of the Tin Audio T1, which makes female vocals and instruments like violins and pianos more lively and realistic.

The treble range of the Tin audio T1 is more balanced and slightly more controlled than those of the TFZ Balance 1. The TFZ Balance 1 is more successful in the lower treble (presence) region, while the Tin Audio T1 has the slightly edge in the upper treble (brilliance) area. The Balance 1 has in general the upper hand in terms of detail retrieval of the treble range.

The soundstage of the TFZ Balance1 shows better width, while the Tin Audio T1 has slightly more depth.

 

Conclusion:

The TFZ Balance 1 is a quite successful product for the price in terms of both, sound and built quality. It offers a solid and comfortable to wear monitor housing, which has a fixed cable that is pretty durable and not prone to mixings. The nicely tuned V shaped sound signature on the other hand performs better than many other competitors in the same price range. All this aspects are making the TFZ Balance 1 to a very good option for this price range.

 

 

Pros & Cons:

  • + Nicely tuned sound signature
  • + Clarity and Upper midrange detail
  • + Build quality and Ergonomics

 

  • – Cable is not detachable
  • – Soundstage depth

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