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If I wanted the "TFZ sound" are these good to start with? Or are they kind of just as good as any TFZs?
What I'm trying to find out. There are so many chifi IEM's now, I can't keep up with which ones are good anymore
I guess there are two ways to view chi-fi; 1) try to get better sound for less money and only have to buy 1 (or not so many) to accomplish it or instead of spending, say, $800 on a top of the line unit, you get that many more to try out via the chi-fi route. Nothing is perfect anyway and if you're like me you wind up with 30 headphones/earphones as it is.
Spot on. I have yet to get any full size chifi cans, though that's probably going to change very soon, but with IEM's it's gone from "flood the market with crap" to "flood the market with passable products that have pretty good price to performance" to "flood the market with so many IEMs punching well out of their price range that the entire pricing model of IEM's feels like it's undergoing a massive shift"
I no longer see up to like 300-400$ IEMs worth it anymore, China may not be going up against the big boys in the $1k bracket yet, but I wouldn't bet on the big names to come out victorious in the long run. And now that China is clearly feeling confident to break into the full size headphone market, we're going to see the same thing. Good for us consumers, but might wreak havok on some companies. I would suggest shifting towards a premium build/materials to stand out and make their price points feel worth it once China floods the market with great cans.
You might just have to take a dip and explore. My first chi-fi were the TFZ exclusive 5. I already had Shure 215s which are very popular and solid IEMs, but I enjoyed the TFZs more for the lively sound and deeper bass extension. I liked the clarity of the highs, but felt they were a bit harsh/fatiguing, which is common among a lot of chi-fi IEMs. Then I got some KZs and quickly took to them. They had good bass, lively sound, and even clearer, airy highs while being less fatiguing. Also comparing them to the TFZs afterward, I found the TFZs to have a muddy quality I didn't notice before. The TFZs are still great, especially considering the price, but I found once you have more than one set to compare against, you can quickly form opinions of what you prefer. Also, having a set (not necessarily TFZ) that you can have people compare against whatever IEM is on sale helps a lot. It's all subjective, but at least having something you're familiar with to compare helps making decisions.