TFZ KING LTD In-Ear Monitor Review
The W Shaped Magic
About TFZ (The Fragrant Zither):
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 King Ltd is identical to the TFZ King II In-Ear Monitor, with the exception of a special upgrade cable that comes only with the Limited Version (Ltd), which chances the sound significant.
I would like to thank TFZ and Penon Audio for providing me the King Ltd 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.
The MSRP price for the TFZ King Ltd is 149,00 USD and can be purchased under the following link.
Purchase Link: https://penonaudio.com/tfz-king-ltd.html
Package and Accessories:
The TFZ King LTD In-Ear Monitor is coming in a rectangular white cardboard box, which has a transparent plastic cover on the top that sports information such as brand and model description.
This box is containing the following items;
- 1 pair x TFZ King LTD In-Ear Monitor
- 1 pcs x King LTD 8 core upgrade cable with 0,78mm 2 pin connection
- 6 pairs x Silicone ear tips
- 1 pcs x White Carry Pouch
- 1 pcs x Shirt Clip
Design, Components and Build Quality:
The TFZ King LTD is producing the sound with a 12mm Double Magnetic Circuit Graphene Driver that and is available in four (3) different color options, which are grey, green and blue. My review unit came in blue color that looks pretty nice.
The general build quality of the TFZ Kin LTD pretty good without any quality issues such as burrs, openings, etc.
The monitor shell is made of two parts; the metal faceplate is made of aluminum alloy, while the main body (lower part) is made of PC (Polycarbonate) Material with a rubber oil spraying process.
The faceplate on the front of the monitor shell sports a round plate with logo. The left monitor shows the TFZ Female Portrait, while the right monitor has the regular TFZ Logo. There is also a small vent and screw on each monitor faceplate.
The main body of the monitor sports the angled sound nozzle and a small vent. You can also find the webpage of the company at the bottom of each monitor, which is printed in white color.
On the top of the sound nozzle is a metal mesh to prevent dust and earwax that could damage the driver inside of this monitor.
On the Top of each monitor is a standard 0.78mm female 2-pin connector.
The cable of the TFZ King LTD is using an eight-core wire design with 4 core of silver-plated oxygen-free copper wire and 4 cores of oxygen-free copper, twisted by using a special weaving process.
The 2-pin male connectors have metal (aluminum) housing, where you can find the left and right markings.
This cable sports has a metal Y splitter and a transparent chin slider.
The 3.5mm 3 pole (TRS) headphone jack has a straight profiled metal housing that sports the TFZ logo and is very well made.
Fit and Isolation:
The monitor housing is using the same shape that we know form other TFZ IEM’s, which are all pretty small and quite comfortable to wear. The isolation of the TFZ King LTD is on a average level and quite ok for the use in environments such bus, metro, train etc.
- Driver : 12mm Double Magnetic Circuit Graphene Driver
- Impedance : 16 ohm
- Sensitivity : 108 dB mW
- Freq. response : 5 Hz一40 kHz
- Lowest power : 8 mW
- Connectors : 2-pin 0.78mm
- Plug : 3.5mm (TRS) Unbalanced
- Cable length : 1.2m
The TFZ King LTD has a rated low impedance of 16 ohms, which makes it to an easy to power In-Ear Monitor that is quite suitable for the use with devices that have low amplification capabilities, such as mobile phones or tablet’s.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- IEM’s : TFZ King LTD, TFZ King II, iBasso IT01
- DAP/DAC/AMP : Fiio M9, Cayin N5II, Fiio M7, Audirect Beam, xDuuo XD10 Poke
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- B.B. King – Riding With The King (Spotify)
- 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)
- Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – Up Close “Album” (DSF) – Binaural Recording
- First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Spotify)
- London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Minor Empire – BulbulumAltinKafeste (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- ArminVan Buuren – Vini Vici (Spotify)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Spotify)
- 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)
The sound signature of the TFZ Ling LTD can be described as W shaped, in contrast to the most widely used V shape tuning. The subbass and upper midrange are emphasized, while male vocals are slightly in the background compared to female vocals due to the W-shaped sound signature.
The general presentation of the King LTD is slightly warmer than neutral and shows a strong subbass presence, with pronounced upper mids and a pretty forgiving treble range.
The subbass of the TFZ King Ltd is strong and shows good depth due to the W shaped sound signature. You can hear and feel this strong and deep bass in track such as Lorde’s “Royals”, Massive Attack’s “Angel” and Armin Van Buuren’s “Vini Vici”. The subbass shows more emphasis, quantity and impact than those of the midbass range.
Midbass and Bass:
The midbass area is less pronounced than those of the subass region, but is able to reproduce good slam. The midbass quantity will satisfy most users, except of some hardcore bass lovers such as bass-heads.
The bass of the King LTD is quite transparent and shows an average speed that is enough for most genres such as rock, pop, electronic etc. while its a bit slow for faster genres like metal music.
Instruments such as drums, snare drums and bass guitars have a strong emphasis, while bass guitars are showing a slightly thick and soft tonality.
The midrange of the TFZ King LTD is slightly recessed due to the W shaped sound signature and is showing a slightly warmer than neutral presentation. The midrange sounds in general clean, spacious and pretty transparent.
The vocal performance of the TFZ King LTD is in general successful for an In-Ear Monitor in this price range. The Male vocals are positioned behind female vocals and are coming a bit from the background. Male vocals such as Dave Gahan, B. B. King or Eric Clapton are sounding musical, pretty transparent and clear, without any noticeable hollowness or mixing, while female vocals are a tad warm, transparent and vivid.
The female vocal performance is above average due to the upper midrange tuning that is adding detail and extension. There is also no negative situation such as harshness or sibilance.
The instrument tonality of the TFZ King LTD is slightly warmer than neutral and is showing a vivid and clean presentation. The presentation of instruments is in general not too thick or thin and is showing a nicely done balance. The pianos are slightly bright, pounced and lifelike, while acoustic guitars are transparent and musical and are showing a hint of warmness. The acoustic guitar performance in Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged” album was quite pleasant to listen to it.
The upper midrange of the TFZ King LTD is more forward positioned than the treble range and sounds also more detailed. The King LTD sounds pretty controlled in situations when instruments are showing high distortion.
The upper midrange transition of the King LTD is in general fairly soft and controlled and there are no remarkable drawbacks such as lacking of extension.
The treble range of the TFZ King LTD is not as pronounced like its upper midrange and subbass region and is showing a soft and forgiving presentation. The most detailed area in the treble region is the lower treble area. The hi-hat’s in jazz music are pretty prominent and are showing a good extension, while the crash cymbals don’t showing any negative situations, except for a little lack of extension.
The TFZ King LTD does not have a very wide soundstage and the general performance is on an average level that is suitable enough for hearing several instruments at the same time without any remarkable mixings. The stage depth of the King LTD is more successful than the width, which is also an important factor for its quite silent background.
TFZ King II versus TFZ King Ltd
The main difference between King LTD and King II is the wire specification, which is an 8 core wire design (4 core are of silver-plated oxygen-free copper and 4 cores are of oxygen-free copper). This cable is the reason why the King LTD has a rather W shaped signature instead of the V shaped sound signature that the King II has.
The King II has a warmer tonality than those of the King LTD. Both In-Ear Monitors showing a good subbass depth and extension, while the subbass of the King II is showing more rumble than those of the King LTD.
Both the King II and the King LTD are showing a moderate midbass quantity and impact. The midbass impact of the King LTD is grater than those of the King II and is also slightly cleaner.
When it comes to the bass speed, both IEM’s are nearly equal with a moderate speed.
The midrange of these IEMs is slightly behind the sound spectrum, while the tonality of the King LTD is slightly more neutral than that of the King II.
The lower midrange of the King II is more pronounced than those of the King LTD, which makes the King II a bit more successful with male vocals. When it comes to female vocals, the King LTD sounds more transparent and vivid due to the higher upper midrange emphasis.
The instrument presentation of both IEM’s is fairly musical, while the King LTD sounds slightly more detailed, cleaner and spacious.
The upper midrange of both In-Ear Monitors is musical and fairly controlled, without any remarkable sharpness. The upper midrange of the King LTD is more pronounced and shows slightly better extension than those of the King II.
The treble range of both In-Ear monitors is a bit more recessed compared to the upper midrange and the lower treble area is more pronounced than those of the upper treble region that displays also more detail.
The treble of the King LTD is brighter and a bit more airy than those of the King II, while the extension and detail retrieval is nearly equal.
The soundstage performance of both In-Ear Monitors is on an average level and shows more depth than width. The stage width and depth are equal for both IEM’s and I could not establish any superiority in this field.
TFZ offers with the King LTD a small and comfortable In-Ear Monitor that looks nice on my ears. The W shaped sound signature that is quite pleasant to listen and the 8 Core Hybrid cable, which is not only a marketing gimmick make the King LTD to a good choice in this price category.
Pros and Cons:
- + The Clearness and Detail for the Price
- + Fatigue Free Treble and Upper Midrange
- + Comfort, Built Quality and Esthetic
- + 8 Core Hybrid Cable
- – Missing of Sparkle in the Treble Region
- – Depth of the Stage