TFZ Exclusive 5 Review – Sound Like Salted Caramel


Design –

The Exclusive 5 has one of the best constructions I’ve encountered at any price. Sure, they’re not as striking as the Campfire Audio earphones, but their all metal build is similarly solid and their fine brushed finish and embossed print very much exceed their asking price. The Exclusive 5 is available in silver, black and blue, I was highly impressed by the raw silver colour that I received which allows the natural texture of the metal housings to shine through.


As aforementioned, the Exclusive 5 boasts a 2-piece metal build though the housings feel appreciably denser than regular aluminium earphones like the K3 Pro. Although TFZ don’t state the exact housing material, the Exclusive 5’s are likely constructed from stainless steel or brass due to their very high weight. Further compounding upon this impression of solidity is the earphone’s finish; both earpieces were perfectly formed with a very consistent brushed texture that provides some lustre without coming off as gaudy. The two halves of the shell were very well joined with very minimal seam and only a slight difference in the direction of the brushed finish.


I also didn’t notice any scuffing or scratching of the brushed finish during my month of testing which bodes well for their resistance to long term wear. The outer faces are also tastefully designed with embossed exclusive text and a laser etched model numbers granting the earphones with a more industrial look. In silver, the earphones are eye catching in the best possible way, their build easily bests some earphones costing many times more, I really can’t praise the exclusive 5’s build more.


Ergonomically, the Exclusive 5’s are a medium sized earphone that don’t disappear in the ear but find great comfort with their smooth, ergonomic styling. And despite their weight, they are small enough to maintain comfort during longer listening sessions and avoid forming hotspots. I didn’t struggle to find a strong seal though some driver flex was evident and they do protrude a tad too much for perfectly comfortable wear whilst sleeping (though considerably less than the King and Kinera H3). This comfort is aided by their well-angled nozzles of medium length and bore size, accepting a wide range of aftermarket ear tips. The nozzles are also integrated into the inner face rather than glued on like the Magaosi K3 Pro which insinuates greater longevity.


But despite their over-ear fit, the Exclusive 5 isn’t the most stable fitting earphone due to its heavy weight and slightly smaller size which permits some movement within the ear, eventually working them free. As such, they weren’t usable running or other vigorous activity but they did stay put fine during general commute and home listening. In addition, the Exclusive 5 is a vented earphone with an obvious opening on the front face and a smaller port on the inner face. Isolation is above average but considerably worse than the fully sealed King; they are not ideal for noisier areas and definitely not for air travel however, their bassier sound does somewhat offset their reduced ambient noise reduction.


And like every other TFZ Exclusive earphone, the 5 utilizes a non-recessed 0.78mm 2-pin removable cable that was reliable during extended testing. The connectors are slim and low profile, exiting the earphones at a comfortable angle. The pre-moulded cable guides are not obtrusive but provide absolutely no support as they are incorrectly angled. In culmination with the 5’s heavy housings, this only exacerbated their unstable fit. That being said, the rest of the cable is very good, TFZ are using a smooth, braided silver plated copper cable that is super supple and well resists tangles, better than the stiffer unit on the King in fact. The cable is also well designed in terms of durability with outstanding strain relief on both the plug and y-split. Unfortunately, the plug isn’t case friendly, I had to remove the case from my X7 and HTC 10 in order to achieve a reliable connection.

Next Page: Sound

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.


  1. matt colquhoun on

    So I purchased the EX 5 and DELIGHTED I did. IMO it beats the iBasso it01 on sound and build. When i bought the it01 I was actually wasn’t expecting it to be so smooth and uncontrolled in the sub bass. The EX 5 is brighter but not fatiguing (I’m treble sensitive and it hits the line for me perfectly). The bass on the EX 5 is just… WOW. This is sub woofer bass, this is full sized headphone bass… and done just perfect as it never clouds the mids… everything else is just so clear.

    What i like most is the timing of music… everything is so fluent (is that the right word?).

    The detail on offer is better than the iBasso it01.

  2. matt on

    Hi Ryan, another great review. I’m looking at the Ex 5 (£70) for just a good fun, jump about town or on the train listen. I’m also looking at the Basic (£60) tho. I already have the LZA4 which is great but I’d like a bit more detail /clarity in the mids/highs and less bass bloat. I use Black/Black as favourite.

    … and here’s the Q you get asked most… what would you recommend?

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hi Matt,

      It’s a tough pick between the two. The Basic is slightly more balanced and less bloated as it has more sub-bass and less mid-bass than the E5. The E5 is more V-shaped overall however, it has more clarity, especially within the highs. If you want a clean bass presentation that still has heaps of slam, a smooth midrange and crisp but otherwise dark high-end, the Basic is excellent, it also isolates and fits much better. I would say the E5 is more fun sounding with its bigger mid-bass and brighter top-end, it has more air and a better soundstage. The E5 also really nice build quality though it’s pretty heavy so it doesn’t disappear in the ear like the Basic.


      • matt on

        Thank you Ryan, I went ahead and bought the Ex 5… and I’ve just saw the Basic at £50 refurbished on eBay UK from reputable online shop so might buy that too lol.

        • matt on

          Out of curiosity what is your daily headphone of choice or do you stick solely to IEMs?

  3. Kyle on

    How do these compare to the ibasso it01 and fiio fh1? Which sounds best?

  4. Jeff on

    I just got the Kinera H3’s, and while I really like the sound, I am not sure I’m sold on the amount of bass provided. While before I bought them I had read both the reviews for the TFZ Exclusive 5’s and Kinera H3’s, and ultimately decided on the H3’s, I am wondering if you think it’d be worth also getting the TFZ’s if I want a little more bass I can ‘feel’.

    Or do you think it might be a better idea just to be happy with the H3’s and save the money for a pair of IEM’s that’s definitively better than both the TFZ’s and Kinera’s?

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hard to say really, both iems are similarly bassy, the Exclusive 5 is more v-shaped to my ear. When shopping for your next earphone, maybe look for one with a sub-bass emphasis because a lot of earphones boost mid-bass instead which is more or less how the Kinera’s sound.

      • Jeff on

        Thanks for the reply. The reviews made it sound like the TFZ’s were bassier. I’ll hold off for now.

  5. Martin on

    What would your choice be out of Oriveti Basic or 1More Quad driver.

    Or can you recommend any IEMs in the £100-200 mark. I love deep bass but i also like them to sound balanced as i love jazz fusion and acoustic music too.

    Thank you for all your efforts in your informative and welcome site


    • Martin on

      Sorry. I meant to include these as an option as well as the Basic and 1More

      • Ryan Soo on

        Hard to say, if you’re looking for balance, the Basic and TFZ 5 aren’t the most even, linear earphones though they also aren’t horribly sculpted either. For acoustic, I might take the Basic since it’s smoother with a more natural midrange, treble isn’t super sparkly or airy but has a little more aggression that makes acoustic sound nice and crisp. The 1More Quad is more balanced than both, it has nice clarity and a great soundstage, it’s a good choice if you don’t mind the ergonomics and lack of removable cable. Pinnacle P1 is a pretty good option as well unless you’re treble sensitive of wants loads of sub-bass but deep and mid-bass are organic and full. It’s a good all-rounder and the tuning is nice for acoustic.

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