Many of us might not have heard about Tozo and I too wasn’t exactly aware of it. You guys know that I don’t prefer wireless earphones leave alone the budget offerings. But what caught my eye are the hybrid drivers we get inside the Golden X1 tws IEM. Hailing from China (designed in USA), this IEM not only has hybrid drivers, it has ANC and couple other rare features.
Priced at $150 or $130 when in sale this IEM is something I felt can provide us with one of the best possible details and a wider spectrum. I will compare this with the Technics ATH-AZ60, a highly capable ANC equipped, backed by an excellent software tws IEM that I have been using for the last 6 months and undoubtedly is one of the best tws buds available in the market.
Get one from these links:
UNBOXING AND ACCESSORIES:
We do not get a lot of stuff inside the box but that’s okay. Once we open the box, we are greeted by the charging case and the buds are placed above it. There is 6 pair of tips and a USB C to A cable for charging. Some documents round up the list of things out of the box. Nothing fancy.
I do not have many complaints when it comes to build quality of the carry case. It’s small and feels fairly sturdy. The size is small enough to carry around and easily fits jeans watch pockets. I like the little LED that show the amount of charge left and the L/R indicator is helpful when busy. We get a charging/battery full/low indicator just under the cap which looks cool in my opinion. The availability of wireless charging is the kind of future proofing I love. It has IPx6 waterproofing to protect against rain and sweat.
What I don’t like is the inability to use tips of our choice inside the case. It has to be short.
I like the build quality of the buds too. We get a vent for the DD driver to breathe and few other openings for the mic and ANC. The size is small with an ergonomically designed inner shell and a short stem that provide good grip inside the ear. Material used is plastic and that’s okay. It feels sturdy and solid so no issues there.
OPERATION AND BATTERY:
Operation isn’t a rocket science for anyone. I don’t use tws buds a lot but it didn’t take me long to get hold of the operation.
Left side bud works for
1. tap once to toggle between ANC on and Ambient Noise modes and tap thrice to turn ANC off.
2. Hold the touch for volume down.
3. Double tap once to start the same song again and twice for previous song.
Right operation is similar too.
1. Tap to play/pause and take/end calls.
2. Hold for volume up.
3. Double tap to skip to next.
4. Activates the voice assistant of the device, Bixby in my Samsung.
I used the TWS bud for decent listening sessions of 3-4hrs each day, listening to music or watching WEB shows and it took me more than a week to drain the case to the point it didn’t charge the buds and buds have less than 20% battery. Practically one can easily get more than 25-30 hrs of battery life with ANC on.
If you look closely, we don’t get a big vent like structure to cancel the ambient noise but we have 3 small vents for it. I am not totally impressed with the cancellation but it’s decent and gets the job done. Let me show you guys the app and the ANC settings.
First thing that caught my attention are the hybrid drivers. X1 has a 12mm DD paired with a Knowles driver. We rarely get this kind of setup with ANC and along with the Earprint feature available in the app, X1 can adjust to the listening capabilities of the user.
I was optimistic about the details it can deliver thanks to the extra BA driver. I have used a lot of hybrid IEMs with this kind of setup so I knew what to expect but I didn’t realize Tozo can surprise me with a bassy and V shaped signature. Does this help vocals? Let’s find out.
P.S. I am not using Ldac to save some battery life and using a Galaxy Note series device for this review.
I know what DD in a hybrid setup does and have a lot of experiences of DD bass, 9-10 mm DD are common and they can deliver enjoyable lows. I was expecting similar performance from this 12mm DD but I didn’t realize that this IEM has a surprise for me. I was shocked by the amount of bass punch and area of impact this tws IEM has, it can easily compete with the best bass head IEM. It’s simply one of the bassiest IEMs I have ever heard. Notes fire upward and then move sides ways providing a combination of impact and area covered I hadn’t experienced in a long long time. When it hits, it stays a hit and the rumble, the movement of air is something unavailable with most of the wired IEMs at this price. Sub-bass is good, has excellent extension and very good presence. Mid bass is more voluminous with unexpected body and slam. It’s not thick or slow, far away from being wooly, the decay speed is very good with well defined notes and yet this IEM has an impact that easily rubs shoulder with bass head IEMs.
I find it to have very good dynamics. It does feel a bit reluctant to hit the upper bass notes as they decay and end with a softer note in the mid bass region just like a bass head IEM but still has decent lower-upper bass presence.
Delightful for bass heads and general users, might not be similarly pleasing for a purist.
I am sure that the DD driver ends its services before the 1khz mark. The reason why I feel this is because of the larger than life presentation and heft of the lows is more than enough for the 12mm DD to handle. The biggest reason is I can feel the change in note’s presentation and their accuracy. Notes get suddenly tighter and even though the transition phase is nicely handled with very good clarity, it doesn’t have the similar level of energy and things do start to slide down a bit.
We are treated with a V/W shaped signature but it’s not a deal breaker at all. We have similar dip in most of the chi-fi hybrid IEMs at this price while the highly loved Shuoer S12 is even more W (or V) shaped.
Both male and female vocals have nice clarity with high quality timber and tonality. Instruments have very good edge definition, decent body and the transparency is very good too. The only issue I was able to find is the slightly short note height with the instruments around the vocals. It isn’t in the similar level of the lows or highs.
The good news is we get very good contrast of back and foreground acts. Sonics and cue placement are very good and similar to similarly priced wired hybrid IEMs.
I have had a lot of hybrid IEMs in this price and except a few like Ikko OH10, OH1, One Custom Jr., And few other absurdly thick sounding IEMs like Bravery, no other IEM did badly with the highs. Thats the strength of hybrid IEMs. Their dedicated BA driver usually doesn’t fail to deliver sparkly and lively details and the Golden X1 doesn’t disappoint either.
We get a rich and detailed treble region that exceeded my expectations. I was tired of TWS IEM’s inability to deliver high quality details and carry good amount of energy till the upper treble region. Thankfully this thought never crossed my mind with the X1. I find it soooo good that I have been using it daily without the FOMO of treble definition I used to get with cheaper and even flagship offerings like Momentum TWS.
Even when we have a BA driver at work, there is no uncomfortable aggression to worry about and I was able to do 3-4 hrs without any fatigue.
STAGE AND IMAGING:
One of the best thing about the X1 is it’s stage. Irrespective of if you are using ANC or not the stage is well spread with very good all round extension.
Imaging is much better than what I was expecting. It’s precise thanks to high quality transparency and control. There are no issue with instrument density either, it’s fairly even.
VS Technics AZ60:
I know what I can expect from a $150 hybrid IEM. I was skeptical about the TWS nature of the X1. I have used flagship TWS buds from Sennheiser ans Sony and they too were unable to deliver good treble definition and energy. It gave rise my FOMO the treble region with wireless products and I avoided them.
To my surprise Tozo Golden X1 is a relief. Mostly because of the BA driver that delivers wired like resolution and definition without getting stressed. I loved the form factor, battery life, my wife loves it too, it fits her small ears without any problem and doesn’t fall out either. In short, X1 is a very capable IEM irrespective of it connecting wirelessly and can take on wired IEMs without any issues thanks to the hybrid setup.
The biggest USPs of X1 are it’s
1. Exceptional extension at both ends
2. Stupendous bass delivery
3. Form factor
4. Wireless charging.
The only thing I didn’t like is the inability to use tips of our choice or else, Tozo Golden X1 is one of the best if not the best TWS IEM under $300.