I don’t have as many IEMs in the same price range and with the same sound signature as A6, but I figured the ones below will give you some idea for the reference. In every case I made sure IEMs were volume matched, and I used LPGT as my source. Also, I was using LZ’s stock cable and Symbio eartips.
A6 vs Simgot EM3 – A6 soundstage has more width, while staging depth is very similar. A6 bass has more impact and deeper rumble. EM3 bass is similar in quality, just scaled down in quantity. Lower mids in both have a similar leaner body, but upper mids sounds more natural in A6 while EM3 is a little thinner in comparison. But even with that, both have a revealing brighter mids with micro-detailed retrieval of details. With treble, EM3 sounds crisper and thinner, a little more fatigue, something you can also get in A6 depending on the filter. But in case with A6 you can fine tune the sound with a different filter, while with EM3 you can’t. Simgot EM5 has an even brighter and harsher treble, relative to how I hear it with my ears. I know some people have a lot of tolerance for crisper sound, and my opinion here is subjective.
A6 vs HiFiMAN RE800 Gold – A lot of similarities in this comparison. Soundstage of A6 has just a touch more width, but otherwise they are very close. Both have a similar bass extension and impact, except A6 bass sounds tighter and with more control going into lower mids, while RE800 bass has a little longer decay. Mids are very similar as well, perhaps with a little more body in RE800. Treble is where I hear the biggest difference with RE800 being very crisp and more fatigue. With LOUD off and some of the filter combinations, A6 treble can sound as harsh, but you have an option to fine tune it, to make it more natural. With RE800 – you can’t do that.
A6 vs InEar SD4 – Soundstage of SD4 is noticeably smaller, bringing the sound closer to you with a more intimate presentation while A6 expands it wider and further out. Bass has a similar mid-bass punch, but A6 has more sub-bass rumble, extending deeper. In lower mids, A6 is leaner while SD4 sound has more body, sounding a little thicker. Upper mids are smoother in SD4, while more revealing/micro-detailed in A6. SD4 treble is bright and crisp, it reminded me a lot of A6 with some of its filters, but a big difference here is that you can micro-tune A6 treble to sound more natural, like I have it now with dark blue filter and LOUD impedance switch on.
As a common theme in this comparison, A6 can sound as bright and crisp, making it harsher (to my ears) in a similar way as other IEMs. But the big difference here, with other IEMs I have to play around with various eartips, often switching to foamies, while in case of A6 you have more tools at your fingertips, switching impedance and filter rolling, and then also trying different eartips.
In this test I used A6 with a stock cable, dark blue filter, LOUD on (to lower impedance), and with Symbio eartips. In every pair-up A6 was very easy to drive, except with my smartphone which required iEMatch.
Lotoo PAW Gold Touch – wide soundstage with more out of your head depth than width. Signature is more W-shaped balanced (keep in mind filter and switch setting), tonality is on a brighter side, more revealing. Bass has a nice analog lift with a deeper rumble and an average speed mid-bass punch. Mids are leaner, with less body in lower mids and more focus on upper mids/vocals, lots of clarity, excellent retrieval of details, closer to micro-detailed level. Treble is very crisp, airy, extended, and with this particular combination of filter, impedance switch, and eartips – sounds non fatigue.
Shanling M5s – wide soundstage, perhaps even a touch wider than LPGT in this pair up, with the same out of your head depth extension. W-shaped balanced signature with a little more natural tonality due to warmer sig of M5s. Bass has a little more impact here, with a deeper rumble and a more elevated mid-bass. Lower mids are closer to neutral, have a little more body in comparison to LPGT; upper mids have excellent retrieval of details, and sound more natural. Treble is crisp and airy, nicely extended.
Cayin N5iiS – wide soundstage with more out of your head depth than width. Signature is W-shaped balanced, with a brighter, more revealing tonality. In this pair-up bass hits hard and sounds even bigger, more mid-bass punch than sub-bass rumble, but mid-bass seems to be a little more elevated. Lower mids are leaner, while upper mids are revealing, have lots of clarity and micro-details. Treble is crisp and airy, good extension; lower treble is a little crisper in comparison to other sources.
iBasso DX120 – wide soundstage with more out of your head depth than width. Under the same filter/eartip config, the signature is slightly more mid-forward, not as balanced. I hear the bass with a good extended depth and impact, but a little less quantity in comparison to other pair ups. Lower mids are lean, upper mids/vocals are a little thinner, revealing, detailed, with lots of clarity. Treble is crisp and airy, just a little brighter and harsher in comparison to other pair ups.
Hiby R6 Pro – wide soundstage with more depth than width. Signature is W-shaped with all three frequency groups maintaining a nice balance, and at the same time each one also having a nice individual emphasis. Bass has a deep rumble and elevated mid-bass punch, very articulate and layered. Mids are leaner, more revealing, very detailed, nicely layered. Treble is bright and crisp, airy, extended. In a regular R6, the sound is very similar except treble is a touch smoother and bass is a little more elevated.
Samsung Galaxy S9 – doesn’t work connected straight to the phone, the hissing level is 10x higher than the song itself, most likely due to A6 impedance. But once you add iEMatch in series, problem goes away. The sound has a wide soundstage with a nice out of your head expanded depth. Signature is more W-shaped with a more natural tonality. Bass goes deep and extends with a nice rumble, mid-bass has a strong punch, mids have a little more body, excellent retrieval of details, not bad layering and separation. Treble is crisp and airy, and more natural in comparison to some other pair ups.
While iEMatch is a must-have to use A6 with my smartphone, I also tried it with other DAPs, and it made an improvement by adding more weight to the bass, giving lower mids more body, and making treble sound more natural by smoothing out peaks, taking some sparkle away without reducing airiness.
LZ A6 was almost a missed review opportunity. As a matter of fact, even when I received it and went through group A and some B filters, I set it aside because I thought it was too bright for my personal taste. I came back to it later, to give it another chance, going through all the filters, trying different eartips, switching the cable to get better fit, and I ended up being very pleased with results. It’s clear that LZ didn’t just “glue” together various drivers, but actually designed a premium IEM with impressive fine-tuning capability.
Some IEMs have switches and others use filters with various degrees of boosting different frequencies. A6 offers you a degree of fine-tuning the sound, to get down to the exact level of your preference (and tolerance). This tri-hybrid design has a great analog quality bass and micro detailed layered mids. But the shining star here is PE treble which like a chameleon changes its sound in response to filter-rolling and LOUD switch. Take your time to go through all combinations, and you will be rewarded!