VS Shozy Blackhole:
One of the biggest competitors of the Zen is the similarly equipped Blackhole. Yes, it is a totally open back IEM which barely has any isolation but it’s the sound which matters. Even though both IEMs have dynamic drivers these two sound totally different from each other.
Zen has bass body and meaty slam, Blackhole has smaller body, faster decay and smaller volume. Both have equally impressive texture and details but Shozy lacks the rumbly feel. Once we cross the lower region.. Shozy shows its vim and vigor!! It has sharper instruments, more attack much more transparency and call for total attention. The open back provides excellent finishing to each note with better definition. Shozy do not lack the slightly bit of upper treble energy like the Zen.
Zen sounds more organic, lush and smooth in comparison while the Shozzy being the aggressive one.
VS IMR Mia:
IMR Mia is similar to what Zen is for the Blackhole. Mia Houses a couple of EST drivers for highs, a piezoceramic driver and a dynamic driver for bass.
It has the versatility of changing the sound with nozzles but in any situation it does not have the sub-bass rumble and depth of the Zen and mid-bass is more prominent. With nozzles its decay speed can be controlled. If found the Mia to be equally impressive with texture but can lack a bit of details. From mid range on the Mia lack the bite or attacks of the Zen while the treble region lacks some finishing definition and separation. These EST drivers do not have the EST decay speed and that is a bit of concern.
Mia hits back with its stage!! It is much bigger in all directions. Doesn’t matter what, it has a better holographic image.
VS Custom Art Fibae 4:
The good old Fibae 4 houses 4 BA drivers and is a supreme IEM if driven properly. Can the Zen keep up? The short answer is yes and no.
Fibae 4 has better sub-bass reach and similar rumble, the mid bass is softer while delivering similar decay speed. Mid range and the instruments have better finishing sharpness and the extra bit of definition of found here. It does not lack intricate detail’s transparency either. The treble region is similarly energized with slightly lacking upper treble energy. Zen pulls ahead with stage width and its ability to engage and better cohesion.
Technically Fibae 4 is slightly ahead, but the Zen is more fun and easier to fall in love with.
What do we want from a flagship? From all the earphones I have heard I think a flagship should exhibit the best a brand can put out. A flagship should sound clean and must have expressive dynamics, expansive imaging, uncompressed and detailed notes. A flagship should not sound dull and better be engaging. This 13.5mm Single Dynamic driver IEM is a flagship on its own. It has all the traits what makes a Flagship. It might not have more of some of these things but I have not heard an IEM like this, the definition, realism and texture shown by this is captivating. Every IEM has some flaws, this has a few too. It does lack some finishing sharpness, cymbals don’t crash with contrast and lack some crispiness. Treble could have been a bit more energetic, especially the upper treble region. And mind you that none of this is a deal breaker as this calm and relaxed signature caters to many of us.
Doesn’t matter what you want from your IEM, putting the Zen down is a tough task. It is very emotional and involving IEM. If you are an enthusiast, this must be in your ears, unless you want truck load of attacking details and sparkly highs.
Zen is the IEM version of the “Friendly neighborhood Spiderman”, mightily lovable and jolly!!