TFZ X3 True Wireless IEM Review
TFZ X3 TWS IEM Review
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 X3 that I will now review for you is a True Wireless (TWS) In-Ear Monitor that features two (2 x) Balanced Armature drivers, Bluetooth 5.0 with apt-X codec support, touch control and more.
The TFZ X3 TWS IEM 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.
The MSRP price for the TFZ X3 is 129,00 USD and can be purchased under the link below
- Purchase Link: https://penonaudio.com/tfz-x3.html
Package and Accessories:
The TFZ X3 came in a black box which is wrapped with a white cardboard cover that features the company branding and illustrations of the product.
Inside the box are the following items;
- 1 pair x TFZ X3 True Wireless In-Ear Monitor
- 5 pairs x Silicone ear tips (1 pair came pre-installed)
- 1 pcs x Charging Case
- 1 pcs x USB Type-C Charging Cable
- 1 pcs x User Manual
The Design, Build Quality, Fit & Comfort:
The TFZ X3 is pretty small, lightweight and comfortable to wear True Wireless In-Ear Monitor that features a “Dual Balanced Armature Driver” configuration. Each Monitor has a build in 40mAh battery and a receiver that supports the latest 5.0 Bluetooth standard.
The monitor shell is a combination of two parts, the upper part that we call “Faceplate” and the rear part which is the main body of the X3 made of plastic that feature internal like the BA drivers, battery, PCB, etc..
The front part (faceplate) is in metallic/silver color which shows a rounded deepening that sport the TFZ brand logo. This surface has also three openings; two of them are for the microphones while one is for the LED status indicator.
The deepening with a round shape is a multifunctional touch sensitive surface that works pretty stable.
The rear part which is made of plastic material shows the Left/Right indicators and features two metal dots that are the connectors for the charging port located inside the metal caring case.
Here is also the sound nozzle with a filter on the top prevent the insertion of dust and earwax in to the monitor.
The TFZ X3 has comes with a small carrying & charging case which is made of metal material with a glossy surface. On the top of this charging case is the TFZ brand logo.
At the rear surface of the case are printed some details like battery capacity, origin of the product and model description.
When you open the case you will see the seats for the Monitors and a led indicator that lights up when you put the Monitors in to the seats. The surface of this area has leather like texture that looks pretty nice. These seats do feature a magnetic surface to ensure tight connection for the charging process.
At the left side of the case is the USB Type-C charging port and a LED status (charging) indicator.
The case has a solid look and feel which is a nice accessory to protect the monitors and to increase the operating time on the go.
- Driver Type : 2 x Balanced Armature Drivers
- Frequency response : 20Hz – 20kHz
- Bluetooth version : BT5.0
- Bluetooth distance : ≤20m (in barrier-free environment)
- Charging case battery : 350mAh
- Earphones battery : 40mAh*2
- Battery Life : up to 7 Hours
- Charging time : ≤2 hours
- Audio coding format : SBC, ACC APT-X
- Support for A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Each monitor has a build in battery with a capacity of 40mAh that should offer an operating time of approx 7 hours with a single charge. My tests do show a battery life with an average of 6.5 hours which is petty close result to the specs.
The charging case with a capacity of 350mAh can charge each monitor up to 3 or 3.5 times, which means about 21 hours.
Pairing, Navigation, Call Quality and Signal Strength:
The signal strength and operating distance of the TFZ X3 is pretty good. Outdoors, in a barrier free environment you can get a connection distance up to 20 meters that seems to be pretty realistic but a bit unstable, while the maximum stable connection distance is about 8 meters.
The pairing process of the TFZ X3 is pretty simple. You only need to turn on the left and right monitors by the first use, after that the pairing process will be done automatically.
The touch sensitive surface of the X3 works pretty well. Gestures like volume up (right earpiece) volume down (left earpiece), dual click for call answer or play pause and many more are quite useful.
When it comes to the call quality and isolation I can confirm that it is on an average level.
Please not that the TFZ X3 has no feature like active noise cancellation, while it performance should be pretty ok in fairly noise environments like bus, metro strain, etc.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- TWS IEM’s : TFZ X3, HiFiMAN TWS600
- Source : FiiO M11 Por, Samsung Galaxy S9+, iPad Air2
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Photek – Hidden Camera (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kHz)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Opeth – Damnation (Wav 16bit/44kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Elton John – Your Song (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Black Star (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Unplugged Album (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- London Grammar – Interlude (Live) (Flac 24bit/88kHz)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
The overall sound performance of the TFZ X3 was a big surprise for me that I didn’t have expected from a TWS IEM at this price level, because it doesn’t sounds like other True Wireless (TWS) IEM’s on the market that does come with a traditional single dynamic driver configuration.
The X3 shows a sound with more refinement compared to other IEM’s at the same price range. The main reason could be the dual balanced driver configuration that is pretty well tuned. The TFZ X3 offers a bass response that is lightly pronounced, soft and warmish in its tonality, the midrange is transparent, emotional and smooth, while the upper midrange & treble region is mildly accented and forgiving in its presentation.
The bass quantity of the TFZ X3 is not as high compared to other TWS IEM’s that do have a dynamic drive, while it is quite successful in terms of speed, detail and tightness.
The subbass depth of the X3 is on an average level and shows a moderate intensity of rumble. But where the X3 really shines is the bass response with its pretty fast and accurate presentation, which makes it successful while listen to natural instruments like guitars and violas.
The midbass region of the X3 is more highlighted compared to the subbass area which shows a slam effect that is accented and strong in its presentation. A big plus point goes to the control of the midbass that doesn’t bleed in to the midrange and that performs pretty well with instruments like drums in fast passages of genres like metal music.
The general bass quantity of the TFZ X3 is on an average level that should be enough for genres like Jazz, Classical and Acoustic music. But it shines in terms of speed and control which is nice ability for a True Wireless IEM.
The midrange of the TFZ X3 is more highlighted than the rest of the sound spectrum and shows a soft, smooth and musical character. The midrange shows a performance that is above its price tag, especially in terms of transparency, airiness and resolution. The naturalness, energy and detail level of the midrange really surprised me!
The lower midrange shows a good level of depth and warmth, and doesn’t sound dry or to thin in it’s tonally. The fullness of this region is on a sufficient level which makes vocals fairly musical and natural to listen to. The level of clarity and detail is pretty good whiteout to show any remarkable muddies. The upper midrange on the other hand is pronounced and pretty balance makes female vocals transparent and musical without to be sibilant or harsh. Female vocals do have a warmish and emotional tonality, with good level of extension which makes them very pleasant o listen to.
Instruments do have a warmish and musical tonality and everything from the guitars up to the violins do sound pretty natural. Vocals are slightly more upfront compared to the instruments that are step behind them. The TFZ X3 is also quite successful in terms of instrument and vocal separation. Guitars do sound a tad warm, bassy and fairly detailed. Violins are slightly bright without to sound harsh or sibilant, while the violas are pretty emotional.
Upper Midrange & Treble:
The TFZ X3 has a fairly soft and smooth upper midrange that sounds quite controlled. It is not very upfront or recessed and do sound pretty balanced, without to feel shy. The upper midrange intensity and extension of instruments like violins, pianos or flutes and of female vocals is on a good level for a True Wireless In-Ear Monitor.
The treble range of the TFZ X3 is not as highlighted like its midbass or upper midrange. The tonality is a bit warm, soft and forgiving. The focal point of the treble range is the lower treble range (presence), while the upper treble range shows a roll-off, which makes the overall treble extension a bit short. This region doesn’t show any aggressive presentation which is an advantage for a fatigue free presentation that makes the TFZ X3 ideal for people with treble sensitivity and for the use of longer listening periods.
Instruments like hi-hats do come slightly from the background and do show an average intensity and extension. Other instruments like crash cymbal do sound pretty good in terms of speed and control.
The treble range shows in general an average level of brightness and airiness, without to sound veiled or muddy which is a positive point for this frequency region.
The soundstage performance of the TFZ X3 is pretty similar in both width and depth directions which are in general on an average level, while the level of airiness and the ability to separation instruments and vocals is one of the best I have heard from a TWS IEM.
TFZ X3 versus HiFiMAN TWS600:
The HiFiMAN TWS600 has a brighter, thinner/leaner and more neutral tonality compared to the TFZ X3 TWS IEM, which has a warmer and fuller presentation. The bass character of the TWS600 is in general pretty linear. The subbass of the TFZ X3 shows a better level of depth compared to the HiFiMAN TWS600. The midbass region of both In-Ear Monitors is quite successful in terms of control and speed, while the X3 has the upper hand in terms of impact and intensity.
The midrange of the HiFiMAN TWS600 shows a more sterile, neutral and dry tonality compared to the warmer, fuller and more musical character of the TFZ X3. The lower midrange of the TFZ X3 has the upper hand in terms of depth which makes it more successful with male vocals. The upper midrange performance of both TWS IEM’s is pretty good, but the TFZ X3 sounds more musical and emotional compared to the HiFiMAN TWS600 which is a bit dry in direct comparison.
The treble range of the HiFiMAN TWS600 is more pronounced, has better extesion and shows a more neutral tonality compared to the TFZ X3 that has the upper hand in terms of control.
The soundstage performance of both the HiFiMAN TWS600 and TFZ X3 is on an average level in terms of expansion in both directions. The main difference is that the TWS600 shows more slightly more width and the X3 better depth.
The TFZ X3 is a great option if you are looking for a True Wireless IEM with a musical, soft yet detailed sound character that comes with a competitive price. The small stylish metal case, good battery life and the comfortable wearing experience are also some remarkable features that do complete the great sound experience.
Pros & Cons:
- + Tonal Balance & Timbre
- + Musicality
- + Battery Life & Ergonomics
- + Great Value for the Money
- – The Metal Case is a Fingerprint Magnet
- – Upper Treble Extension