The Fragrant Zither (TFZ) has been making in-earphones for a few years now, however I have not actually had a chance to try any of them. Linsoul contacted me a couple months ago and sent me the newest TFZ, the No. 3 to try out and write a short review about, and so here I go.
The No. 3 comes in a rectangular long box and comes with a set of tips, a carrying fabric pouch, and 2-pin cables. The cable itself isn’t all that great, as it isn’t very easy to use, tangles, and just feels awkward. I opted to use my own cables to pair with the No. 3.
The shell of the TFZ No 3 looks a little large at first, but actually fits quite comfortably and does a good job of blocking out noise. The outside plate has a brushed metal look, however it’s just a decal, while the inner side of the shell is transparent showing off the driver and internals.
The TFZ No. 3 presents a V-Shaped sound signature which elevates bass and treble responses, while recessing mid-range. This typically is not a sound profile that I really like, but can tolerate when done coherently and not overly done, and for the most part the TFZ No. 3 does this well.
Bass response is the thing that sticks out the most on the No. 3. It has good sub-bass response, which is deep, impactful, rumbly, and boosted. It doesn’t feel muddy either, and sounds quite nice. The natural decay is clean and present.
Mid-range is coherent, though definitely behind the bass and treble in a typical V-sound. I found male vocals to be rich and full, while female vocals to be a little bit on the brighter side. The treble response is elevated and borders on harshness. While on most songs, I found the TFZ No. 3 to be on the good side of this fine line, there are occasional tracks where I found the treble boost to be a little fatiguing and bright.
TFZ’s only redeeming quality is its soundstage, which is wide and sometimes engulfing. The added treble boost, also gives the sound profile some air and this makes instruments sparkle a bit and give a sense of good forward details.
While I kept the main content a bit short, I’d like to give a quick set of comparisons here, as there is just so much out there right now in this price range that is of good quality that it’s hard to sift through it all.
This the comparison I feel like people really want to know about. These three IEMs share very similar sound signatures. The DMS is open-back and will leak and let sound in. That said, I think it’s a very fun and coherent in-ear. The DMG is the same but in a closed-back form but just a little bit muddier and brighter than the DMS. Both, however, sound muddy and less resolving than the TFZ No. 3. In fact, I found the No. 3 to sound better across the board in terms of bass qualities, mid coherency than both BGVPs. I do still like the DMS for it's openness however.
TFZ No. 3 vs Moondrop Kanas Pro and Moondrop KXXS
The No. 3 has more apparent bass boost than both the Moondrop IEMs. Some may find it too much, and some may find it just right. I actually do like how much bass the TFZ presents, although I do not in any way shape or form consider myself a basshead. It’s just a fun, yet good sounding bass response at this price point. The Kanas pro and KXXS have more muted bass, but it’s clean, punchy and just enough warmth to make me happy. The Kanas Pro is a smoother overall sound than both the KXXS and No. 3 and I find the KXXS and No 3 to be equally on the brighter side of what I like, but both are just toned down enough to be overly distracting and fatiguing. I find the KXXS to actually be a little more bright than the No. 3.
Finally, I find the TFZ No. 3 to be an improved Sony MH755 earphone. The MH755 is ultra-cheap yet very fun and sounds quite good for it’s offering price of free99, or $8 on eBay. The MH755 was a bit too bassy though, and the TFZ No. 3 has the right amount of bass reduction yet still is ever present, and also has a slightly tamer treble response and better resolution.
OverallIn the end, I find the TFZ No. 3 to be a good buy at $109 and can stack up against IEMs above it’s price range. For a V-shaped IEM, I’d take it over the BGVP series of DMS, DMG, as well as the DM6. I’d personally prefer the Moondrop Kanas Pro over it, but that’s a sound signature choice. I can definitely recommend the TFZ No. 3 as a good fun In-Ear.
If you are interested, please check out the product at Linsoul.com or on the LSR-Direct store on Amazon. The links below are direct to product links: