Aug 30, 2017

ARRIVED! TFZ's EXCLUSIVE 5! ...and here's an unboxing and the beginnings of a Review.

So the Exclusive M5 by TFZ arrived today.
PRETTY excited,I've immediately got them "burning" in.
I thought I'd take a few snaps, get my first, "fresh-from-the-box" impressions up in here.
Note ; not going to list specs, as you can read them yourself on the Description page.
First thing to say...THE BOX....It's a very attractive, celo-covered, minimalist black box with a lift-off top. It's a matte black that's a bit on the frictiony side, which made it a bit tricky to open- they need to put a pull tab somewhere to help us get it open. The logo and text on the surface are a refined silver.
The inner cover for the IEMs is also black with the silver inscription " TFZ Make every song AMBILIGHT ** Beautiful Like The Stars"

(working on uploading images...but Massdrop isn't loading them for some reason, so all I am getting is this nice Masdrop logo-may have to add my images as replies to my own post, sorry about it).

Once opened, the contents are firmly packed, neatly arrayed.
It comes with a nice little black, soft, draw-string carry pouch, one set of Complys, several sets of silicon "olives", and one set of two-flange silicon tips. There's no paper inside the box discussing the contents.( If you want to know anything about them, other than how "elegant and trendy" the makers think they are, you have to look them up online
I am 3-flange silicon user for most IEMs... so we are trying out the 2-flange-rs first up.
These are metal housing with braided soft cable,(think MEE P1 Pinnicle cable), with a 2-pin jack at the IEM, ear "hooks" which are just pre-formed soft plastic sleeves over each IEM cable right up to the insertion that gives some form for over the ear use. I don't find them annoying or irritating in any way.
Mirophonics are limited, especially once one gets below the splitter. There is no slider to snug the cables. btw. A bit tangly,(especially with the ear hooks), but not bad, and it hangs straight, is a comfortable length. Would have liked having a slider.
I really like metal-housed IEMs. I have the MEE P1, the RHA T20s, Echobox Finder X-1 in my stable of IEMs. I like the solidity of the feel in my ear, the solid, sort of heavy and indestructible feel in the hand.
The 2-pin IEM jack is nice, inserts snugly, and feels stable in each IEM. There's no wobbling or loss of connection,(as many have complained of with the NuForce), and this is to be expected with a 2-pin connect. Wish some of my others had the 2-pin...
First "virgin voyage" sound impressions- The sound is coherent, all voices are presented fairly well. Feels a tad jangly and a bit harsh in the mids and uppers, but these should settle as run-in does its magic. As is typical with most IEMs, the bass and low mids benefit from deeper insertion and some of the highs become less stridulent. I can sense that these will improve nicely with run-in. The manufacturer recommends 80 to 150 hours of run-in time, which seems like a LOT.
So that's my first notes about this IEM, "fresh-from-the-box".
I'll get into more detail after some appreciable run-in. Because these just aren't ready yet. Need a bit more 'cooking' to get right.




*I am more of a cans fan, so my IEM roster is a bit "thin".....but I believe that I have enough of them to do some fair comparisons of IEMs within the bracket, and give folks a bit of info to work with, should they do a "re-drop" of these IEMs.
** Not sure what they are going for here. It's meant to be a reference to TV lighting... Developed by the Phillips TV manufactory.
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Day 2&1/2 of run-in:

Okay.
So the harshness and random shrill-ness is pretty much gone.
We are beginning to hear where these are MEANT to go.
Pretty mellow bass-present but not overwhelming, mids and highs are still a bit too forward but not particularly horrible.
As in, pleasant but could be better.
The details are starting to shine, clarity has improved DRAMATICALLY.

Two things that I find defeating, at this point;
1) They are PRETTY DANG LARGE. If you have smallish ears/ear canals, these might be a problem for you.
It's tricky getting deep enough insertion for the bass to become adequately present. I am having to go with my Etymotic triple flange tips to get the nozzles aimed into my ear canals adequately.
2) Also a fit thing- the placement of the pin-in, where the 2 pins plug into the iem, is uncomfortable. When you have to push the iem into your ear as deeply as these need, that hard plastic square tends to push against the concha cartilage. Now this is going to differ from one set of ears to another...but I had a cousin with bigger ears than mine try them on, and his experience of this is the same.

Since FIT and COMFORT are premium issues, when one is talking IEMs , these get reduced by several points on a 1-10 Audio Goodness scale. I mean, if IEMs don't fit properly enough to have great sound without a bunch of tweaking, or the discomfort is a distraction to your sounds, then they just aren't going to be the ones you wear.

Right now, these are coming in at a 6.7- which will be updated if sound improves more, and if the fit manages to get more comfortable for me.

Thanks for the review and pictures!
Hope you really enjoy them.
Pics, as promised:

The Box;

Got it open...

Contents;

The ear-pieces with the double flange silicon on;


About ready to plug the pins in...

I like that the min-pin had a cover on;

Assembled and ready to start run-in;

More detail of the packaging. The little box on the right holds the ear-tips.


BTW... they are already starting to sound better. Less harsh.
TiffanyPoodleslide
Arright.
DONE.

So. Here's my final summary of this review:

Sound has improved dramatically with lengthy run-in.
Clarity much better, shrilly harshness gone,(even with operatic sopranoes!), bass is more "roomy" and nice sounding, but still a little "light in the loafers".....unless you REALLY jam them into your ears, but then the uppers suffer.
Like the mids and the highs. Very adequate.

Comfort is tricky.
I am going with my early impressions that these are just too big to be all that comfy or GREAT sounding for just everybody. Either the nozzle needs to be longer to get the sound correctly into the canal, or the body needs to be less FAT. Because these are pretty frucking fat. I had to go with a 3 flanger silicone to make these particularly listenable. If the body were just a tad smaller, like the MEE P1, or the RHA T20, they'd have been just fine. The odd, sleevey ear hooks don't really fix this, as they are just sleeves, no shape-holding wire in there.

Conclusion; Decent price for an ADEQUATE sounding universal IEM that has some significant comfort/fit issues for anybody with medium-to-small ears. A solid 6 out of 10. Look into MEE P1s or the RHAs, if you seek a solid IEM with better fit and performance at a similar price point.
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