Letshuoer DZ4 Review
What interest this iem has cast upon the community. Today I am reviewing the Letshuoer DZ4 which comes from the good people of Letshuoer, to which I want to thank first, as well as Ivy Gao. The DZ4 just so happens to have three dynamic drivers as well as one passive radiator which if you’ve been paying attention is not a driver configuration, we see all too often… If ever. So, I was very happy to receive this set and find out what all the fuss is about.
Shuoer Acoustics was founded in 2016 by founder and CEO Danny To and co-founder Jeff Wong. It is apparent that Letshuoer seeks out the best in audio engineers, designers, and personalities to create products that are unique and visually appealing while sounding great. Each and every audio product that comes from this company seems to each have a distinct character which differentiates them from the rest of the products that we see in the Audioverse. Whether it be the driver configuration, look and aesthetic or sound qualities I just can’t help but think that Letshuoer prides themselves in achieving something unique and fresh.
We haven’t had many opportunities to try their iems or review them very often. Mahir was able to review the Galileo awhile back (Galileo Review). Also, I was and am wholly impressed with the Letshuoer S12 Pro (S12 Pro Review). I also personally purchased the Letshuoer D13 of which I never got a chance to review due to scheduling conflicts. Another set I use for my personal enjoyment is the Letshuoer Galileo which I listen to regularly but was unable to review. Perhaps I will at some point. I can say for sure that I am very impressed with the premium feel and design language of every iem that I’ve researched or tried from this company. I can also say with assurance that a tiny bump of dopamine drips when I see a new Letshuoer iem. Did I mention that I was happy to receive the DZ4 yet?
Let’s just get into it…
The DZ4 has been thrown into an ocean of iems which are all competing for your hard-earned money, and it is my job to steer you in the right direction. This is something that I take seriously. Money is tight for so many but in the same breath I feel everyone should have the privilege and ability to hear good sound at any price. I can’t wait to get into this review friends, let’s just jump past my usual long intro and get into this irrefutably unique earphone. The Letshuoer DZ4 everyone…
Also check out Mahir’s impressions of the Letshuoer DZ4 HERE
-Unique lightweight and sturdy build, I love the feel of this set
-Carrying case is very cool
-Very comfortable and lightweight iem
-Coherency between drivers
-Mids are forward, clean and detailed
-Female vocals, actually vocals in general thrive on this set
-Treble has good body
-Soundstage is intimate yet also very full
-Bass heads will be left wanting more, a bit bass-lite
-Bass lacks a clean contour and resolution
-Midrange may feel a bit too forward for some
-Treble lacks air and bite & not the most resolute
-Slightly thin note weight (is this really a con?)
-Separation of elements isn’t perfect
-This tuning will not be for everyone
Gear used for testing
Later Comparisons: Simgot EA500
Purchase the DZ4 Here:
Packaging / Accessories
Letshuoer provided a nice set of accessories with the DZ4. You get what you need and everything that you get is of good quality. That’s what’s most important. The box which arrived at my house has a very trendy look to it with a cool looking graphic. Once you open the box you are met with the DZ4. On the same level next to the DZ4 you’ll see the carrying case. Inside the case are the tips as well as the cable. All pretty standard here but I do find Letshuoer gives great quality accessories at this lower proc tag.
Letshuoer provides six pairs of eartips in total. They give you three pairs (S, M, L) of the Vocal tips which are black in color. They also give you three pairs (S, M, L) of some white Balanced tips. All of the tips are of decent quality, but I chose to go a different route and used the KBear 07 tips instead. I do find the 07’s suit me better sonically as well as seal better for my ears.
It’s interesting because Letshuoer labeled the tips as “balanced” and “Vocal” but to be honest they both have much of the same affect. Both sets of tips that Letshuoer provided have a narrower bore, or a semi-wide bore. Smaller in diameter than the KBear 07’s but wider than a tip like the KZ Starlines. Both sets have a firm flange as well. They are nice tips, no doubt. They will become useful at some point for me but I found the seal to be better with the 07’s.
Letshuoer provided a nice carrying case for the price. Actually, even adding a case with the packaging is nice. It just so happens that the case they add in with the accessories is halfway decent. It’s a cylinder type hockey puck style case made entirely out of a hard plastic and covered in a thin black rubber coating which feels soft to the touch. The lid screws on and off rather than sliding off which I think is a nice touch. You won’t have any unexpected lid openings with this case. As always, I must add that I really don’t ever use a carrying case but for those who do… this one is a nice addition. I have certainly seen better in the price point but c’mon, even adding a case is a thumbs up at this price.
I’ve always had a penchant for Letshuoer cables. They’ve always seemed to provide good cables for the price. I love that Letshuoer understands that cables matter. They are important to the consumer. Many of us really dig a nice cable. Now, the provided cable won’t blow your mind, but I do believe that it is one of the better cables in the price point. In fact, it’s basically the same exact cable as in the Letshuoer X-Gizaudio Galileo.
The cable itself is a 2-pin 216-strand 4-core Monocrystalline Copper and Silver-Plated cable that is nicely chunky and ends with a 3.5 single ended jack. Meaning, it isn’t so fat that it becomes a usability issue and isn’t so thin that it looks like a budget chifi cable either. It’s nice. I like the color matching that Letshuoer did with the DZ4 earphones. Both have shades of light tan to off white and all the accent colors match nicely. This cable took a keen eye and an ability to understand the consumer. Of course, for any balanced listening on a balanced source, I did go with the Letshuoer Galileo’s 4.4 balanced cable. Both cables are very close in material and size with subtle aesthetic differences. This is a nice one folks.
Build / Design / Internals / Fit / Drivability
The DZ4 was constructed and crafted in a collaborative effort with HeyGears 3D printing aficionados. Let me just say that I love the look and feel of this set. I wouldn’t call it the most robust and structurally durable of all iems but the feel of the DZ4 is great in hand and on the ears. The Shells are made of a quality plastic material 3D printed by HeyGears. The Faceplates are made of anodized aluminum with a semi-open design. The mesh takes the shape of a “Z” and for all I know this is a legit semi-open back. The nozzles are medium length, not too long and not too short. At the top are the female 2-pin connectors. Overall, it’s a nice build and a unique shape.
The look of the DZ4 is not the usual run of the mill looking iems. The off-white coloring with the red Z on the faceplates is minimalist but also very unique and different. This set looks solid in my opinion. Leave it up to Letshuoer to create something that nobody else has made.
Like I’ve mentioned, the DZ4 is a 3DD + 1 PR (Passive Radiator). Letshuoer decided upon three 6mm titanium domed dynamic driver and one 6mm passive radiator. Each driver is connected to a series of tubes and a two-way crossover. In fact, the drivers are connected directly to the 2-Pin receptacles via a flexible crossover board. The driver setup is also very unique. Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a setup with this arrangement.
One thing which caught my attention right away was… How is the passive radiator actually operating? A passive radiator should be in a sealed encasement and tied directly to the Woofer so to allow deeper lows without losing efficiency. Passive radiators have been used for some time. Just not in something this small except for a few sets, that I know of anyways. Now, I’m not claiming to understand it all, there are much smarter people than me to do that. However, there are some in the hobby who have brought up very good points. Namely “Hawaiian Bad Boy” from Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews (from YouTube) through some Facebook posts. He mentioned ways to modify the DZ4 that is worthy of being checked out. Anyways, he along with a few other really influential people in the hobby have mentioned the issues regarding the implementation of the passive radiator in the DZ4. Just thought I’d add that into this review.
The DZ4 fits me very nicely. Now, I did have to use KBear 07’s largest tips to get a perfect seal, but I don’t consider this set a difficult fit. The part of the shell which rests in the ear is very smooth and rounded to sit nicely without irritation. I have no clue if the DZ4 will fit you, the reader, but I can’t imagine too many people having problems. Unless of course you have alien ears, in that case… there’s probably no helping you. I do think that most people will enjoy a great and comfortable fit. Isolation is average in this set, and I did experience some slight sound leakage but nothing out of the norm.
The Letshuoer DZ4 is rated at 12 ohms with a sensitivity of 104 db’s. I found the DZ4 to be relatively easy to drive to good fidelity. I had no issue using 3.5 single ended on my Ifi Go Blu. Stepping up to balanced 4.4 was even better to my ears. This pairing was decent with the Go Blu’s CS43131 dac chip, but I experienced a quick step up in sound quality when I went with the Moondrop Dawn 4.4 which uses the same chip. That said, the sound is much more mature on the Dawn and more clean, analytical & punchy.
Listening with a couple of my daps I found the DZ4 begin to max out in its scalability. For instance, I listened with the iBasso DX240 on medium gain and note definition became crisper and the soundstage gained some width as well as separation. My favorite way of enjoying the DZ4 came by way of the Shanling M6 Ultra. The Ultra uses a AK4493SEQ dac chip with its super resolving velvet sound tech and the DZ4 simply synergized. Listening on medium or low gain was more than enough for this set.
I don’t think you need anything greater than a decently powered dongle dac. I think with something like the Hidizs S9 Pro or the Moondrop Dawn 4.4 you will be more than happy. On most mid-range daps like mine, I would go with low to medium gain. I noticed that the DZ4 steps up to the sound signature of the dap you are listening to which is a nice quality. No source I tried was a bad pairing in my eyes.
Note: Prior to critical listening I made sure to burn-in the DZ4 for roughly 100 hours. Due to the fact that the DZ4 employs three Dynamic Drivers, I found it necessary to give this set quite a lot of time doing so. To be honest, I do feel some slight changes occurred for the better after this burn-in period. Also, I performed most of my critical listening using the Shanling M6 Ultra. All listening was done using flac files stored on my devices using UAPP (Most time spent with UAPP), Hiby Player or Poweramp.
The Letshuoer DZ4 is a U to W-shaped set with a warm/neutral tonal color while it caters more to the warmth than to its neutrality. The DZ4 has an organic and analog sound that comes across even vintage to some degree. Like an old cassette tape but very clean in its approach. That may sound like it is contrasting attributes but to me it’s not wrong. The fine lines at the outer edges of note definition are somewhat fuzzy in the low-end, tight and resolute in the midrange, and smooth in the treble, but throughout the spectrum the fundamental body of notes is clean and dense. The timbre is natural, organic, untreated, and unprocessed. The sound is musical, it’s precise and energetic. The sound is also pretty holographic and smooth for the price.
However, there are certainly issues that I’ve noticed with the sound, regardless of whether I like it or not, which should be addressed. I will try my best to do so later in this review. I actually find the sound to be pretty charming in its stock form. Despite that, some modifiers in the hobby have stated through trial and error and great knowledge and understanding that you can drastically improve the sound in certain areas by taking out the passive radiator and gluing over the open hole. I have to add this into this review for full transparency and maybe it’ll help someone who purchased the DZ4 and would like to try out this modification. Now, many people enjoy the stock form of this set, as do I, but I am not everyone else and if there is a way to make it better then… That’s a good thing. Check out this video from BGGA HERE.
Back to “stock” sound
Ya know, upon first listen I was moderately struck by how nice these sounded. I enjoy forward vocals. Illuminated and clean vocals is a major part of my library and the DZ4 does this nicely. However, I only initially listened for about 20 minutes and the DZ4 went straight to burn-in. In spite of my initial impressions and after much time of actually critically listening to the DZ4 I have come to the conclusion that I think this set will be slightly polarizing for the community. You’ll either love the DZ4 or you won’t. Plain and simple. I for one am drawn into this set and it’s tuning. It’s inviting to me and sucks me in as I’ve had a very nice time in this critical listening process. There is this odd mixture of neutral and warm, open and intimate, forward and pulled-back that is very interesting.
Between the 20’s
First off, the bass is not what one would expect from an iem with a passive radiator, as the bass is somewhat laid back. I found this out when I actually tried out some of my low-end test tracks. There’s some slight robust thump in there, but not what I was expecting from a triple dynamic driver set. The midrange is forward, and I love this quality to the sound, but I know that some will take issue with it. I enjoy the lush and full vocal rendering as to me the DZ4 is a vocal lovers set. The treble is rolled-off and not very sparkly or shimmery to my ears, and the weakest point if the DZ4 in my opinion. I don’t hear any real vibrance up top, but it isn’t as dark as some have said, again my opinion. All in all, the tuning is different. Not bad by any stretch, but I don’t think it’ll fit some hobbyists’ preferences. Does it fit my preference? Yes, I actually like it quite a lot. Of course, it isn’t my favorite, but I like the DZ4. The reason; the DZ4 just sounds good. I will try the modification out after the stock review and hopefully it’ll get even better.
The low-end comes across as full, yet without concrete & tactile definition. The sub-bass has meat to it and adds a sense of physicality yet without the gritty texture that I listen for. The bass as a whole is slightly laid back or toned down. The best way to describe it is that it’s still effective at providing some thump when needed but not ultra hearty and deep, maybe lacking some dynamism. The bass isn’t slow, which is nice, but it simply doesn’t have the texture and “feels” to the degree that I like to hear. Not that the DZ4 is absent from it because there is a decent energy & rumble. I’d call it “almost pillowy” but also pretty tight and moderately punchy. I hesitate to call it pillowy, but no other word truly fits the description for me. I liken it to a low-pitched drone and rumble covered in a slight layer of cotton. You lose a titch of definition and resolution. Still pretty darn nice.
Let’s put it this way, the bass region is not the selling point of the DZ4, but I would also argue that the bass region is not bad by any means. There is still some thump there and the mid-bass still has a sense of slam as well as punch and the bass region will replay most genres which prescribe to more low-end activity… pretty well.
Not for bassheads
The DZ4 is absolutely not for bassheads! You’ve been warned. I know, I know… you think, “Triple Dynamic Driver iem, Passive Radiator?!! This set should rattle my eyeballs!” In fact, my JBL speakers have passive radiators… Whoohoo!! Bassheads rejoice!!……….. um……… no friends, this is not that set. I’d actually argue that the DZ4 is somewhat bass lite. So bassheads will not love this set and the passive radiator is likely not implemented correctly, just based on sound alone. I haven’t had the chance to delve deep into the driver implementations, but I’ve wondered since I saw the first graphic from the promotional material “how” this passive radiator is actually working when there is a semi-open faceplate. I’m sure it will all come out soon, but beyond that the DZ4 is not for bassheads. Still, pretty good for my library. Basically, I’m not really missing much.
The DZ4 certainly has a sub-bass focused low-end. You will get some good feels down low but not the type that sonorously bellows in the deep with a hard surfaced attack. This is somewhat true when listening to “Paradigm” by The Head and Heart, a track I go to often in my reviews to showcase the haptic vibration of an iem. The DZ4 shows more of a fast rumble and there is bite, but I hear almost a recession to the sound. It’s pushed back a bit, which is not normal. Honestly, the DZ4 is very close but also, it’s so far away. This sub-bass is still robust, it’s still reverberant to a degree but it doesn’t give off that depth and deepness of both sound and feel that I look forward to, with a slight lack of forward energy. That said at least the sub-bass is speedy, it decays rapidly even if the attack isn’t as direct. I could’ve just said that the sub-bass lacks some dynamism, but that’d be too easy. It isn’t the best my friends. It isn’t the worst either.
The mid-bass is mildly held back as well. It still has some good thump, but it too is not the most tactile and reverberant mid-bass I’ve ever heard and again, lacks a sense of dynamism. That said, the mid-bass is still punchy, still has slam and still represents most genres just fine. This is not a boring mid-bass as it’s quicker and more supple and can replay rapid bass notes to a degree. Note definition isn’t the best in the world but also… it isn’t terrible either. I think the problem is the DS4 doesn’t reach the potential that I was looking forward to, which may be skewing my thoughts to a degree, but in the end, it isn’t bad.
The mid-bass is also a titch soft for something like a good bass guitar riff. You won’t hear a fully meaty bass guitar that brings that gravelly grungy density to the sound. Just not quite there. Kick drums sound more placid at the surface. They do sound nicely hollow and have the boom I look for, yet they also sound pushed back a bit, or recessed. This can be heard on “Billy Jean” by Weezer (Michael Jackson cover). There isn’t any fuzziness at the note’s edge whatsoever and there is some weight to the sound on this song, but it’s almost like a veil covers the energy from escaping. Please understand that I am being ultra critical here. Most hobbyists may be able to overlook this.
Downsides to the bass region
The worst part of the bass region is that it isn’t anywhere near what I was hoping for. Truthfully, I don’t know what I should have expected. For those who are bassheads, I think you’ll definitely be let down as well. The DZ4 will not have enough emphasis down low, and you’ll be left wanting. I find resolution down low needs some help, but all in all, it’s a warm and speedy low-end that simply lacks that last little bit of full-bodied definition. Perhaps a little more tactility and grunt would’ve helped to round out the low-end. I’d like to hear better separation of sub & mid bass as well. During casual listening it doesn’t bother too much though.
All things considered, the bass isn’t what I expected, but also it isn’t horrible either. I don’t hear any mid-bass bleed into the midrange, and I don’t hear any masking from the bass region over any other frequencies. The bass is pretty nimble, slightly out of focus but there’s enough weight down low for most genres. The question would be if it is enough for you, the reader. As for myself I certainly like a bit more of a concrete note definition and more of a tidy but authoritative punch. Also, there are earphones in the price point that render the bass a bit better.
The midrange is a more neutral/warm take on things. The mids are generally up front and center and are for the most part… the “center of attention” and one of the selling points of the DZ4. If you are a vocal lover, then the DZ4 will be a fantastic companion to you as I feel this set emphasizes and accentuates the vocal ranges. The midrange sounds organic, smooth, atmospheric & tight, but also dense and weighted. The midrange is smoother but comes across coarse and crisp when needed. I hear nothing that is grating to my ears as far as vocal centric type tracks are concerned. Come to think of it… I hear nothing grating as far as any other type tracks are concerned as well. I hear no sibilance or weird timbre issues and nothing shouty. Truly a great sounding midrange.
Instruments have a more natural timbre, and all share an analog quality listening on the DZ4. I hear this “analog version” of a precise & detailed replay that can sound very silvery, bird sweet, and eurythmic to the ear, rather than analytical, dry, and crisp. However, I also find detail retrieval in this area to be very well accomplished. Transients move along quick with decent decay while holding onto the DZ4’s atmospheric approach. There’s also a nice solidity to the body of each note yet the separation of objects on a stage is average.
The lower mids present male vocals up front and focused. Males come across slightly smooth, warm & even slightly thin, but they also have substance, and with a ubiquitous presence. Songs like “Grace” by Rag’n’Bone Man shows-off on the DZ4 as his vocals have very nice texture and depth with a slimmer profile. Call it lean muscle mass, it’s svelte but also compact and holds onto the meat of the fundamental tone to his voice. I hope that makes sense. The timbre isn’t weird and there aren’t any strange little artifacts floating around at the note edge. Another song is “Curse of the Blackened Eye” by Orville Peck which also sounds fantastic listening on the DZ4. His lower pitched brawny voice has a natural sounding accentuation against the rest of the mix. To say it another way, I enjoy how well Orville’s voice is distinct and singular next to the instrumentation around him. I could keep going but basically, males sound well drawn out, clean & smooth, and with nice note structure.
There were reports of the midrange sounding as though there is a “cup” effect? I don’t hear this. However, I must report that some have said as much. At least on the set I am listening to with the Shanling M6 Ultra, or any source I have for that matter. I heard nothing odd in this regard. There’s no boxy cup effect that I have heard. However, my experience is not everyone else’s.
The upper midrange is another area where the DZ4 earns their salt. In my opinion anyways. I find female vocals to be graceful, effervescent and flat-out very nice on the DZ4. The vocals sit forward, out front, intimate and are highlighted in a non-offensive way. At times it’s nice to hear a little nudge forward to pronounce female voices. The DZ4 has that forward lean but not enough to feel forced or overcompensated in this region. In truth the DZ4 has a nice ear gain. It’s not abrupt and it’s not uneven or shrill. The females on this set sound sweet, luxuriant, lush, and have a nicely organic timbre that comes across realistic to my ears. There’s a hint… thee slightest hint of shimmer. Other than the slight shine from the ear gain, everything else is simply a creamy or milky take on a female or male voice as each and every inflection or intonation of those voices sounds enriched and gratifying.
Listening to “How Long Will I love You” by Ellie Goulding is a heartening experience. Ellie sounds so very soothing with every feathery straight line vocal note. She sounds simply golden and mellifluous, and I say these words as exact descriptions. There is a sweet vibration that she taps into with this set. It triggers something deep in my temporal lobe, friends. The DZ4 has a way of accentuating the subtle softness in her voice and giving that softness some texture, body, and most importantly the DZ4 has an ambience of musicality and rhythm in its approach. Every slight modulation of her voice feels feathered and engrossing. Similar tracks will get the same treatment as the DZ4 excels in sheer musicality in this region in my opinion.
“Skeletons” by Suzannah is another song that takes a softer and more melodic voice and adds in this layered and honeyed tonality that is buttery smooth without a rough edge to be found. Her voice has this southern drawl against a western leaning musical backdrop and the atmosphere is very authentic and is captured nicely. The strings of the guitar are nicely sharp, and the harmonics decay pretty swiftly while Suzannah’s voice glides perfectly in their own lane. There is certainly a slight shimmer that sounds lifted and mood inducing. Another cool thing is that the micro-details do seem to illuminate nicely on this track, or any track for that matter. Also, right out the gate, the macro-dynamics begin to show on the DZ4 listening to this track. The sound is full and big in its auditory expression.
Downsides to the Midrange
The downsides are coincidentally the same as its upsides; for some, the vocals will be too far forward and intimate. Not everyone is like me and enjoys such an experience, and I get it. To those people, the DZ4 may not work for them. The midrange could use a more articulate resolution enhancement and cleanliness. That said, the midrange also comes across above average in details despite this, and the minutiae within this region is fairly easily heard. There is precision there and it is one of the selling points along with the vocal playback in the midrange. Take note, I said “in the midrange“.
The treble region I would have to say is the biggest downside for most hobbyists concerning the DZ4. I say this because there is an audible roll-off up top which kind of kills any air or sparkle, or any real luster. Is this a huge problem? Well, not completely for me but yes for some. In fact, for many this may be a problem. As for myself, I do wish I could hear a more uplifted treble. Then again, I don’t know what that would’ve done to an already forward vocal in an already forward midrange. All energy and brilliance aren’t a complete no-show as there is some slight gloss up top, but for the most part the treble does come across smoother, cozier, held back and warmer than some would like. I don’t think it’s a complete miss as the sound as a whole comes together nicely though I’m quite positive this will be an area of contention for some of my friends in the hobby.
Granted, it isn’t some dire situation, and the ear gain does help to bring uplifted energy to the lower treble up marginally or as much as it can anyways, but the roll-off is noticeable. What I hear is a broad note body that is plump, stout and darkish and without the proper fine-lined articulation. You won’t hear that hard edged and exact profile of treble notes with a sense of brilliance that we typically like to hear. I think of the note edges within the DZ4’s treble like a soft cotton silhouette which lines a textured and full body. It won’t “rate” High in my ratings at the end of this review, but it doesn’t mean it’s a bad treble. There are some redeeming qualities that I do enjoy. The DZ4 is actually quite smooth and relaxing. The treble just needs some definition, some natural contours and some emphasis to lift the whole of the mix. However, when the sound is packaged as a whole, it doesn’t sound bad to me at all.
The DZ4 treble region is speedy enough to catch up to Billy Strings banjo tracks like “Ice Bridges” with a good body, a slight loss of transparency yet a rounded 3D type sound or euphonic type sound. The body of the notes moves along okay, with a firm attack while the decay lags a hair. There is some crispness but it’s seemingly overlayed in a warm veil. I don’t find this a big issue on other tracks that don’t prescribe to speed and precision as it simply isn’t as noticeable. Also, more rhythmic sections of treble come across much better, more melodic, yet still lacking some brilliance and extension.
The treble region is warmish/dark, yet still has some roundness and punch in the treble and there is still a strong sense of musicality and tunefulness. Harmonics are a bit attenuated and without that good organic resonance, but the treble is not without decent macro-details. To be honest, I’m already sick of explaining it because I find it difficult to do so. Let me just say, when I package the treble “as a whole, with the rest of the mix”, it sounds nice to me. Certainly, the treble is a “part-to-a-whole” that may not be accentuated nearly enough but is able to walk in good step with the rest of the mix.
Downsides to the treble region
This entire treble section has been a downside. However, to break it down in the simplest of ways; the treble is too warm and too under accentuated. I find this treble to be very safe, and most will yearn for more BITE. Most will want more brilliance, more Shine, and some may want to hear a more defined profile and structure to the notes within the treble region. Also, treble Heads will not fancy the DZ4.
The soundstage on the DZ4 is intimate for the most part. However, not intimate in the way that the soundstage is small or congested. The DZ4 has a very big and immersive listening experience. The best way to describe the soundstage is to simply say that it is “full”. I feel like sound stretches to the edge of my minds soundscape and fills it out in all directions. I hear a more layered type of sound with decently good depth. Nevertheless, the stage also comes across intimate. It isn’t pulled back like a large auditorium where the sound is in front and spread wide. It’s up close but full in the way it fills the stereo image in my mind.
The soundstage isn’t a flat plane of sound. I am going to try to explain because it’s worth explaining, there is a three-dimensional aspect to the sound that is tall, wide and even slightly deep as well. I hear a stereoscopic and almost sculpted type of holographic image when listening. The sound wraps around me, yet it’s also drawn close to the ear. If none of this makes sense, then I’m very sorry and I will try to do better in the future. Honestly the stage is very unique and i do enjoy this aspect of the DZ4.
I find the DZ4 to do an admirable job of separating elements of a stage. I do think it’s an uphill battle to a degree and the tuning makes it tough to accomplish clean separation all the time. Think of an intimate & full stage. Now picture the sound close to the ear, vocals, instruments etc. Try to think of these instruments and voices as having a smoother, tone and timbre that doesn’t have that illuminating brilliance to it. This isn’t exactly the best recipe for separation of elements on a stage. However, I would say the DZ4 is about average. Not the best, but also not a “con”. Obviously in more congested tracks you will find the DZ4 having a harder time in this area.
Imaging follows a hand in hand walk with separation. Instruments and voices hold their perfect spots on a stage, delineated and discernable, somewhat lucid and distinct. Yet the edge lines are fuzzy (mostly in the bass and treble regions), the stage is intimate, the sound is full and there isn’t always that sense of air between elements. Still, placement on a stage is actually pretty nice on the DZ4 and while separation isn’t perfect, I find the imaging is well accomplished. Again, just like the separation, if a track has complicated & fast paced musical arrangements than the imaging may become a bit blurred, but all in all Letshuoer did pretty well here. Above average I’d say.
The DZ4 is an odd cookie. Honestly it doesn’t do bad at all in the detail arena. I find micro-detail retrieval to be well above average. I’ve already pretty much explained the sound as best I could, but I’ll say it again; the sound is analog, natural, smooth, and intimate with a sense of richness. This is great for a musical sound but doesn’t always bode well for micro-details. I say that but the DZ4 detail retrieval is actually very good.
Simgot EA500 ($79)
The infamous and fantastic Simgot EA500. The phenom. I wouldn’t be wrong if I called it the… “BUDGET KILLA”! I’m only partially kidding. In all seriousness the Simgot EA500 is a bona-fide stud in the price point and a very tall order for the DZ4 to compare against. Good thing this comparison isn’t about “which is better”. I actually reviewed the EA500 earlier in the year (Simgot EA500 Review) and I must say, I am still loving this set. Without question I regard it as a top 5 under $100. Still, this comparison is meant to hopefully help you understand at least a little bit about what the DZ4 sounds like. This is why I choose something that many folks already may own, or may have heard, or at least seen reviews for. Simgot has been on a crazy tear, like a brushfire they’re sweeping through price points with only ashes and debris in their wake. Okay, I may be going a bit too hard, but you get the sentiment.
The Simgot EA500 is an all-alloy beauty with a 10mm DLC single Dynamic Driver and a beautiful design. Well balanced across the mix, the EA500 is a warmish/neutral U-shaped earphone with a penchant for energy, cleanliness and an innate ability to replay most any genre very well. This is one area that the DZ4 may not be able to match as the DZ4 has a slightly more particular sound. The EA500 leans a hair more to the neutral side of things but tonal color is close between the two. I think both sets have a lively and energetic sound, both have very nice dynamism, but I feel the EA500 just has a bit more expressive macro-dynamics. However, the DZ4 has the more euphonic and layered sound to me.
The DZ4 has a slight bit more rumble in the sub-bass, but it is only by a slight margin. The EA500 has a much denser and more guttural haptic feel though. Neither set are basshead worthy, but the EA500 has a more contoured and clean bass region. I find the EA500 has better slam in the mid bass by a good margin with a very satisfying boom for bass drops. The DZ4 has less definition and is looser in control but probably has a speedier bass region. The DZ4 also has a bit less texture for bass guitar and kick drums. I do like the EA500 a bit more in this area.
The midrange in both sets is very well done. Both iems do vocals very well but the DZ4 has the edge here. The DZ4 is a bit more forward, smooth, and holographic in the midrange. However, the EA500 has better note weight, better transient behavior and a more taught and precise note decay. The EA500 runs the risk of being slightly closer to a shouty sound, although I don’t necessarily think either set is shouty. I suppose for those sensitive to it you may consider the EA500 grating to the ear. Timbre goes to the EA500 by the smallest of margins. I just feel that the EA500 sounds more authentic to a realistic sound in this region. However, if I was judging soley on the ability to render and playback vocals… I’d have to give the nod to the more colored sounding DZ4. The DZ4 are simply wonderful for vocals, and this takes nothing away from the EA500’s vocal chops. I’d also say that the DZ4 has a hint better detail retrieval in the midrange with better layering and depth to the sound. Small margins people.
The Simgot EA500 comes across quite a bit more lustery and shimmery with a more efflorescent and lively treble. That said, the DZ4 has a fuller treble with less chance at coming across peaky. Basically, less offensive. I feel the EA500 has a more detailed treble region, but this is easily debatable. What the EA500 has is more clean treble bite with a crisper leading edge at attack and perceivably tighter decay and better audible extension up top. Basically, the DZ4 is less bright while the EA500 was tuned with more of an emphasis.
In the end
I have this natural affinity for the EA500. Something about that set that brings joy to my heart. However, I may be prisoner of the moment here, but I am drawn to the sound of the DZ4 as well. When all is said and done, I just cannot overlook how good the EA500 is. I think the EA500 fits me a bit better, but I absolutely enjoy the sound of the DZ4.
Is it worth the asking price?
This is the big question, is the DZ4 worth the $89 dollars that Letshuoer is asking? Is it a good buy? Are there other iems at or around the price point which would make more sense? To answer this question for you I’d have to ask a question; what is your preferred sound signature? Do you love upfront vocals? Is bass quantity something that you need in your music? Are you the type who wants the treble to have a sense of brilliance and luster? I would ask these questions because they are absolutely necessary to answer the question in the title of this section.
The DZ4 is very particular in its tuning. Extremely particular. Which also will make it very polarizing. Mark my words… There will be those who won’t be very happy with the sound of this set. They will regard it as if it isn’t worth the price of a budget KZ set. On the filpside, there will be those who celebrate the tuning and absolutely love the sound. We are all very much different and no one person is the gate keeper to what sound is “good” or “right”. I do have a feeling that as reviews begin filtering out that each one will either be “love” or “hate”. That is what the DZ4 is. As for me, I really enjoy this set.
“To me” and “for me” I will answer this question. I enjoy the sound of the DZ4, a lot actually. Granted, it has obvious issues. Yet, even with the issues, in my opinion the DZ4 is a good sounding set. The DZ4 is a nicely built set as well, and it’s also a set that is well accessorized for the price point. Even with the driver questions, the passive radiator implementation issue, the lack of resolution in the low-end, lack of cleanliness at note ends, or the lack of treble emphasis… the DZ4 sounds great to me. I can only relay what I hear, and this is the absolute truth. Granted, the DZ4 is not my favorite and I do feel there are a mountain of great iems in the price range.
The DZ4 is worth the asking price to me. We have a great build, a dope look that is unique and different and a sound that places vocals on a pedestal. Letshuoer added in a nice cable for the price, a nice case, and nice eartips as well. It’s a good package. No doubt about it. Now, if it was me pricing the DZ4 I would ask $79.99 for it. That would be a good price in my opinion. The DZ4 is not an all-rounder type set and doesn’t do well for all genres of music and likely won’t please everyone. However, for the accessories and good sound as a whole… $89 isn’t bad.
Note: all ratings are based upon my subjective judgment. These ratings are garnered against either similarly priced sets or with similar driver implementations or styles with the unique parameters of my choosing. In the case of the Letshuoer DZ4 ratings below, that would be $50 – $100 iems in any configuration. Please remember that “ratings” don’t tell the whole story. This leaves out nuance and a number of other qualities which make an iem what it is. A “5” is exactly average and please take into consideration the “lot” of iems these ratings are gathered against. $50-$100 US is a broad scope of iems and so seeing a 9 better mean something special. My ratings are never the same and each set of ratings tells a different story. Each time you read one of my ratings it will be unique to that review. Basically, I create a Rating that makes sense to me.
-Build Quality: 8.8
Have I ever expressed how little I enjoy ratings? I don’t like anything that doesn’t come with nuance. I’m the same way in life. Nothing is black and white because there is gray everywhere, or “color” if we are being literal. However, I am digressing here. I sit too long on these ratings friends; I dwell on them. In the case of the DZ4 these ratings almost mean nothing, and it’d be better to exclude them altogether. However, I’m a gamer so imma play the game.
For instance, I gave the DZ4 a 7.5 in technicalities. Is this fair? I mean, above average details in the midrange and treble. The bass doesn’t really do so well in this regard but all in all… better than a 7.5 in detail retrieval alone in the $50-$100 range. However, there are other attributes which fall under the “technicalities” label. Separation is average, imaging is slightly above average, but the soundstage is pretty intimate. Now for me, I like this intimate stage, but I have to be a bit more objective when ratings come into play. So, I figure 7.5 is justified against the field that this rating indicates. Do you see why I have a problem with Rating things with such broad strokes when you only really get the full picture when things are broken down. I have an issue with each of the sound ratings in similar ways and could break down each one. So, take it with a grain of salt.
Get it right
You have to also think of the amount of crazy good iems which reside between $50 to $100 US. It is a long list of nice sets. Giving the DZ4 a 9.0 in timbre must mean something pretty special. Or a 9.0 in the midrange. However, a lot is lost in that. Nuance my friends. There’s always more to the story. This is partially why my reviews are ridiculously long most of the time. Just to explain myself, lol, and I’m not always that good at doing that (explaining myself). Anyways, I truly don’t ever want to disappoint any of you, I want to get it right so that you get it right. Not everyone is made of money. Lord knows I grew up with nothing and so I understand very well what $89 means to the great majority of people who read this.
To conclude this review, I have to emphatically request that you check out other reviews as this has been one of the more difficult reviews for me to navigate through. Again, mark my words, others WILL have differing opinions. We are not all the same. Some may have better or worse hearing even. We don’t all have the same gear to listen to these earphones with, we all have different likes and dislikes as well as different libraries of music. Most importantly, not all of us reviewers have been down the same audio road. We are all at different parts of our journey, However, I do believe that most of us have only good intentions and want to help the consumer. So, please finish this review and jump onto other reviews to hopefully help you make an informed and educated decision.
I want to thank Ivy Gao and the good people of Letshuoer for providing this unique iem to me for a feature at mobileaudiophile.com. I also want to thank you, the reader for taking your time to read the thoughts that I have about the Letshuoer DZ4. Take good care and try to stay as safe as possible. God Bless.