TFZ (The Fragrant Zither), a well known Chinese brand from Shenzhen established in 2015 and manufacturing dazzling audio video equipments for couple of years. Their IEM line up is unique and vibrant and priced even from 30$ to 350$. TFZ King Series, Queen Series, Secret Garden Series, Exclusive Series, these are some well known product line up from TFZ. TFZ also introduced their X1 true wireless IEMS along with BC-02 Bluetooth cable few months ago. This is my first TFZ product and I would like to thank Penon Audio for sending me this TFZ TEQUILA 1 review unit. For this review I have not received any kind of compensation from TFZ or Penon Audio. At least 50 hours of Burn-in is given before any serious listening.
For this review I have not received any kind of compensation from TFZ or Penon Audio. At least 50 hours of Burn-in is given before any serious listening.
TFZ also introduced their X1 true wireless IEMS along with BC-02 Bluetooth cable few months ago. This is my first TFZ product and I would like to thank Penon Audio for sending me this TFZ TEQUILA 1 review unit. For this review I have not received any kind of compensation from TFZ or Penon Audio. At least 50 hours of Burn-in is given before any serious listening.
Driver – Dual-magnetic two-way Graphene driver,
Magnet material – NdFeB N50,
Diaphragm material: Graphene,
Diaphragm diameter – 8.9MM,
Voice coil material – copper clad aluminum wire,
Frequency response range – 5HZ ~ 40000HZ,
Harmonic distortion – 0.5%,
Impedance – 20 ohm,
Sensitivity – 105dB,
Magnetic flux -9000KGS,
Wire – core count 4 * 18 * 0.05 5N oxygen-free copper,
Outer sheathe: high flexibility transparent PVC,
Box Size – 11 cm*6 cm *17 cm (W*D*H).
Buying Link – https://penonaudio.com/tfz-tequila-1.html
Packaging is exactly what you can expect from a premium product. Overall a black and white theme can be noticed. Black Matt finished outer sleeve & entire TFZLUX branding has been done on it using silver ink. Inside the sleeve the IEMS are placed top of a paper mounted foam sheet and protected by a thick clear plastic. Beneath that, everything (Carry case, Cable, User manual) is securely placed inside a foam padded white box.
Tips are placed inside the carry case and properly organized. Cable nicely organized using a white piece of Velcro and surprisingly the 3.5 mm plug is also protected by a cover. So packaging has been done with utmost care and feels way premium than its price. Great job TFZ.
What’s in the Box?
TFZ TEQUILA 1 (Blue, Fan/Radioactive design),
3 pairs of Wide bore super soft silicone eartips,
3 pairs of medium bore super soft silicone eartips,
1 pair of white very soft foam eartips,
White water proof Carry case,
Design / Build
It’s built like a tank and yes I am serious about this comment. Perfectly machined aluminum and smooth Matt finish, with a 3 part design but fixed such a way that it feels a single unit and robust. My unit is bright blue one and the middle copper goldish band on both the shells perfectly matches with cable’s color and design.
Tequila 1 is an open back IEM and the faceplate (Leaf/Fan) grilled design adding a unique look to it. A fine mesh is applied inside to save the drivers from dust and dirt but no doubt dirt and moisture going to enter inside if not handled properly. Strangely no such sound leakage is there that we expect from an open back IEM. The nozzle is short but angled properly accordingly in ear alignment. Fat tip lip is there but again no filter mesh has been applied. Those 3 holes on the nozzle look like 3 sound tubes coming from multiple B.A drivers but TFZ Tequila 1 doesn’t have any B.A driver inside. A fine mesh is inside the nozzle to keep dust away still handle Tequila 1 with care.
The cable is just gorgeous. Medium soft and very well built. This 8 core shiny OFC cable is designed by TFZ keeping style, durability, and sound in mind. No it’s not an aftermarket re branded cable; stainless steel 3.5 mm gold plated plug, stainless steel Y spliter, stainless steel chin slider and extra long 2 pin connectors with TFZ branding proves that this cable specially designed by TFZ for TFZ .
The Y spliter may feel heavy but the weight is helpful to keep the wire untangled even without a shirt clip. The ear hooks are soft and very comfortable to wear. Be careful while inserting the cable. Cable L, R, logo should match IEM R, L logo, otherwise polarity mismatch would produce distorted sound. Sound wise these cable is doing its job fine so haven’t tried any third party cable while listening.
The Pelican like white waterproof case is extraordinary. Even foam padding is applied inside. The case is a bit small and you have to careful when putting your IEM with cable inside the case.
Provided foam tips are also very good. For this review I have used mainly those wide bore silicone tips. Changing tips also changing sound a bit and I have discussed those changes in sound analysis part later in this review.
TFZ Tequila is very comfortable to wear, the rounded shells perfectly fits inside your ear. The nozzle is short and tips don’t go too deep in your canal still it manages to fit and give proper sound isolation.
Tequila1 is easy to drive and very efficient, almost performed same and good with each and every source. Tequila 1 maintained a remarkable balance between impedance and sensitivity, very easy to drive and on other hand friendly with noisy sources too. I have used my
DAP – Fiio M3K, Cayin N3, Fiio M7,
DAC AMP combo with PC – Fiio Q1 Mk2+ Topping NX3s stack, Fiio Q1 mk2 stand alone, Audioquest Dragonfly Black, Fiio Q5, Schiit Modi 3+ Fiio A5.
Try to avoid warm sources if possible. Surprisingly My boring Fiio Q1 mk2 created best synergy with Tequila1.
Tracks / Albums Listened
- Adele – 21
- Amber Rubarth – Wildflowers in the Graveyard
- Eagles – The Very Best Of The Eagles
- Eric Clapton – Riding With The King (Tidal MQA)
- Eric Clapton – Slowhand
- Billy Joel – The Stranger (Legacy Edition)
- Pink Floyd – The Best Of Pink Floyd- A Foot In The Door (2011 Remastered Version)
- Michael Jackson – Scream & Thriller
- Sia – This Is Acting (Deluxe Version)
- Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
- Legends- Elton John
- Michael McDonald – Wide Open
- Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
- Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
- Sting – The Best of 25 Years
Graphene drivers, Beryllium drivers, Carbon Nanotube drivers or something else …. Personally this specifications doesn’t matters to me. The ultimate value of a product is its real-time performance in contrast with price. Comfort is another criteria and Tequila1 is comfortable enough for long listening sessions, so now the last and most important part is left to evaluate. Out of the box Tequila1 is a ‘U’ shaped tuned IEM but after 50 hours of burn-in it improved a lot. Graphene drivers may really need proper burn-in to mature or whatever the reason is burn-in must for Tequilla 1.
Entire lower frequency part is emphasized in TFZ Tequila 1 but sub-bass section where Tequila really shines than mid bass. Sub-bass rumble is just mesmerizing. Both quality and quantity wise lower frequency response is awesome. Weight and depth is just perfect; speed is fast & accurate, the texture is also easily noticeable. With medium bore tips sub-bass become a bit blunt so if you want well textured bass stick with wide bore tips. With Foam tips sub bass emphasis is totally suppressed but speed is now super fast.
For example songs like ‘The Long Run’ by Eagles, ‘Another Brick in the Wall ’ by Pink Floyd, ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson and ‘Instant Crush’ by Daft Punk ,Tequila 1 sounded almost perfect without compromising a single hit of drum sticks. So full marks for Bass.
Out of the box Mids are slightly recessed but after almost 20 hours of burn-in things started changing and after 50 hours of usages Tequila 1 completely recovered that relaxed Midrange. Now lower Midrange is totally transparent and natural. Upper Midrange improved a lot and even a bit forward then lower Midrange. Female vocals are much crisper than male vocals now. Same thing happened with my Ibasso It01, after burn in Midrange is now even sweeter and quite natural. Good news is no bass bleed noticed in Tequila 1.
Songs like ‘Set Fire To The Rain’ by Adele and ‘Are You Ready For love? – Maxi ’ by Elton John sounding just perfect, personally not expected that much from a bass heavy IEM, but TFZ Tequila 1 performed very well. BTW with foam tips Mids are more prominent than before.
Both lower and higher frequency boost is present in TFZ Tequila 1. Higher frequency part is well extended and no random spike noticed. Trebles are airy and sparkling. Even a touch of harshness is not there. With capable sources Tequila 1 can bring those rich controlled trebles.
In the opening of the song ‘You Make Loving Fun ‘by Fleetwood Mac I can easily count those 3 strokes on Cymbal. If you want to experience those sparkles I strongly suggest ‘Key to the Highway’ by B.B. King and Eric Clapton, and with my Topping NX3s those sparkles are mind blowing.
Soundstage & Imaging
Soundstage of TFZ Tequila 1 is wide and has good depth but lacks height a bit. Good amount of space is there. With warm sources sometime it feels overdone. Imaging is also very good, instruments can be clearly identified. In busy and complex tracks the space between voice and instruments can be noticed easily. For example the song ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’ by MJ, the imaginary stage is just phenomenal.
Ibasso IT01 Vs Tequila 1
TFZ Tequila 1 has more sub bass than IT01; Midrange is also more forwarded than It01, better built quality than It01 too. IT01 is light weight and fits better in ear. Sonically Tequila 1 has better resolution and better soundstage than IT01. Imaging is better in IT01 though.
Tequilla1 Vs Whizzer Kylin A-HE03
Tequila 1 offers better sound and design than Kylin. Bass is boomy in Kylin but Tequila 1 managed to output bass in more controlled way. Midrange is also way better than kylin. Vocals are more forwarded in Tequila1. Treble is extended in Kylin but lacks the sparkle where Tequila’s treble part is sparkling. Tequila 1 is much more fatigue free than Kylin even soundstage is better in Tequila 1.
Tequila1 Vs Fiio Fh5
Built and design wise both FH5 and TFZ Tequila 1 is unique and beautiful. Fh5 offers better ergonomics design than Tequila 1. Sound wise they are totally different. Fh5 is darker in tonality, good but slow sub bass. Tequila 1‘s sub-bass performance is tight, fast and accurate. Midrange is sweet spot in Fh5 but TFZ Tequila 1 managed to perform acceptable too. In treble part Fh 5 is relaxed but in Tequila 1 it’s more energetic.
TFZ Tequila 1 is a complete package,Good design, great built, fun sounding, and with complete supplied accessories, you don’t have to think twice for aftermarket tips, cables and carry case for Tequila 1. Tequila 1 is not for any specific genre of music, it’s designed to be a part of your playlist. Whatever you play Tequila 1 would left you with a musical hangover.