TFZ King In-ear Earphone Review

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Design –

The King’s have an unorthodox negative profile fit that reminds me of universal adapted custom earphones. They well earn their asking price with an incredible density and solidity in the hand and a striking metallic blue colour scheme that is catching without being gaudy.

DSC02270-27The housings are primarily plastic though the outer faceplates are metal. They actually feel like stainless steel rather than aluminium and the earphones incredible weight contribute to that impression. The plastic portions are thick and feel denser than most acrylic earphones including much more expensive models from Westone and Shure. The plastic and metal components are both perfectly finished and are mated very well, creating a sleek design. The outer faces possess an almost pearlescent quality, changing colour as they reflect light from different angles. All of these little features contribute to an earphone that is both tactile and visually captivating.

DSC02269-26During wear, the earphones continue to impress with superb isolation, seal and comfort. Though they have very large housings, as large as the EN700 Bass but considerably wider, they achieve comfort through their very ergonomic forming. Those with smaller ears may experience comfort issues though I found the King’s to conform almost perfectly into the grooves of my ears, achieving faultless long-term comfort. That being said, I didn’t forget I was wearing them due to the weight of the housings and they do protrude quite a bit from the ear; you can’t sleep wearing them though wind noise when out and about is reasonable due to their smoother styling. The smaller Oriveti Basics do provide similar comfort and their vastly lighter, smaller housings make them the better choice for runners or those who like to sleep wearing earphones.

DSC02272-29The Kings have reasonably short nozzles though when equipped with the Dual flange ear tips, achieve a depth of fit similar to the longer nozzled Shure SE215’s. Of the Simgot EN700 Bass, Oriveti Basic and Magaosi K3 Pro, the King easily isolates and seals the best, they are almost at the level of the Shures, just with a shallower fit. Their fully-sealed housings produce vacuum like isolation when combined with foam ear tips, perfect for any kind of travel, though they do produce notable driver flex upon insertion. I did experience some stability issues due to those metal faceplates which place the earphone’s weight very laterally and, when combined with their shallower fit (with single flange tips) and lack of ear guides, the earphones to have a tendency to wiggle themselves loose with activity. That being said, I would consider the earphones to have a really solid fit overall and they were rock solid in general commute.

DSC02273-30Like the EN700 Bass, the King’s also lack a removable cable though TFZ has since released a variant with a removable cable (and at the same price!). The 4-core unit on the King also isn’t as nice as the 8-core unit on the Simgot earphones though both are far more manageable than the tacky unit equipped on the K3 Pro. The King’s cable is smooth and doesn’t catch on clothes, it also doesn’t pick up too much microphonic noise when walking. Unfortunately, the cable has quite a lot of memory though they are compliant enough to coil and store.

DSC02268-25The cable also terminates in a 45-degreeplug which works well from both an amp and from a portable source within the pocket. Of note, there is no offset on the plug so if you have a particularly tight phone case, the plug may not fit. The cable routes over the ear though they have no ear-guides at all. This wasn’t too much of an issue in my testing, I actually prefer this type of fit in many circumstances, though the springy nature of the cable did make it prone to flicking over the tops of my ears. The angled connectors do somewhat help to route the cable comfortably over the ear despite the absence of guides and twisting the cable helps to keep them in line.

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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.

19 Comments

  1. Have formed a desire to get these but am very worried about that housing size. But I have no real way of knowing just how big it is. What I do know is that I once bought these IEMs called Revonext QT3 and found them impossible to wear the to size ( and maybe shape too). Would anyone here possibly be able to tell me how the TFZ King housing size compares to those ?

    • Hi Hugo, depends what you’re looking for. In terms of detail and resolution, I would think so, but if you want more bass, the others will likely suit you better.

  2. Hi Ryan,
    Thank you for reviewing this fantastic item. Can you compare TFZ King and RHA MA750 which one is better. Thanks

  3. Hi Ryan,

    Great work reviewing this product. Just a simple question; i am planning to upgrade from my Piston 2. I was planning to go for the Yamaha EPH-100 but with this being in the same price range i have a decision to make. I mostly use the news set to play games and watch movies and listen to music occasionally. Which one do you think suits me best considering i really like my Piston set.

    • Hi Amin,

      Unfortunately, I haven’t heard the Yamaha’s so I can’t provide direct comparison or recommendation. I would perhaps point you towards the TFZ Exclusive 5, it is similar to the King with a nice soundstage and resolution but it is also more v-shaped with a warmer low-end that will be better suited towards films. I think it will be a more natural progression from the bassier Piston earphones and you get the added benefit of a removable cable over the Yamaha while retaining a nice metal build.

      Cheers,
      Ryan.

      • Hi again Ryan,

        Thank you very much for the reply. The reason i mentioned Yamaha was because of the 2016 guide of recommended earphones where Yamaha was the next step from Pistons. However this review persuaded me to look at my other options in the same price range as well. Now that i know that i should rather go with TFZ 5, it basically comes to price and availability for me. Thanks again.

  4. Hi Ryan,
    Great,detailed review. Can you please compare the Fiio f5 and Tfz king based on sound quality alone.
    F5 is cheaper and both have removable cables. Does the sound quality justify the kings higher cost? Also in your opinion which is the best iem under 100 usd for sound?

  5. Hi Ryan,

    I would like to know how these compare to the popular VSonic GR07 mkII and HiFiMan RE-400. I’m looking for something balanced along those lines but brands like VSonic are hard to find here now.

    I like a little treble sparkle but am very sensitive to harshness and sibilance. I love good mid-mids but not too much high-mids. Thanks beforehand for your advice.

    • Hi Darryl,

      Based on your sound preferences it doesn’t sound like the King will be a perfect match; it has a bright midrange with female vocal emphasis and treble is moderately forward and aggressive. It is relatively balanced but not nearly as neutral as the RE-400, the King has substantially more bass and treble than that model. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard the GR07 mkII in quite a while so I can’t provide comparison.

      • Noted, thankyou so much for your reply!

        Looks like I’m gonna have to plan a long trip to the big city to demo all of these side-by-side, instead of just order from home. So many choices!

  6. Hi Ryan, thanks for the review! I would like to know how they compare to the Fiio ex1 gen2, as I feel the ex1 gen2 also leans bright. Would this be similar? I’m trying to find an alternative or an upgrade to the ex1 gen2 which I quite like!

    • Hi Sofia, the King has a notable advantage with fit, seal and isolation which are all very good, the EX1 2nd Gen doesn’t isolate much at all. The King is much more balanced, the EX1 2nd Gen has a considerably more recessed midrange. Perhaps the V-shaped K3 Pro will be a better fit if you’re coming from the Fiio.

  7. Hi Ryan
    Just want to know how this will compare to the 1more triple driver since they are in the same price range

  8. Hi Ryan,
    Great review for another fantastic chinese iem. I’ve purchased en700 bass after reading your review and they should be here soon. I see that you have given the highest rating to Kings, but I think they would be too bright for me. I’ll also let you know my feedback when I get my hands on en700 bass.
    Btw, which iems you will review now? LZ A4 by any chance?

    • Great to hear Shaan,

      Really, the quality difference between all of these earphones is not humungous so buying one that fits your preferences is the best decision. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the A4 in depth, unfortunately. Also, hope you enjoy the Simgot’s!

      Ryan.

  9. MarkMcCoskey on

    Might have to check these out. I switch between HiFiMan RE-400a’s and Etymotic Research HF5’s. Thanks!

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