Micro-tune your micro-details!
PROS: micro-detailed sound, 9 tuning filters, DD/BA/PE 6-driver tri-hybrid design, LOUD (impedance) switch, replaceable cable.
CONS: not the best selection of included eartips, springy cable with some microphonics, treble can get hot with some filters.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
This is not my first encounter with LZ (Lao Zhong) IEMs. Three years ago, I reviewed their A3 hybrid and found it to have a good price/performance ratio. Ever since that review, I heard lots of buzz about their follow up releases, including a high end Big Dipper flagship and a popular A4. I remember reading a lot of A4 praises, but for some reason decided to skip it and give a follow up A5 a shot. That one turned out to be a bit too bright for my personal taste (even with filter rolling), and I passed it along to another reviewer.
I wasn’t sure if A5 sound represents LZ’s new tuning direction, thus was undecided at first about their latest A6 model. But its hybrid config, featuring 6-driver design with DD, BAs, and PE Ceramic drivers intrigued me. On top of that, there was a peculiar LOUD button associated with impedance switch, and 9 separate filters organized in 3 groups. On paper, A6 had a lot of tech for $310 IEM, and my curiosity got the best of me. Now after spending a few months testing A6, I would like to share about it with my readers.
Unboxing and Accessories.
Unboxing experience here is just OK, nothing special. A bright red box under an exterior sleeve and a foam cutout inside the box to keep A6 and accessories secure during the shipping. No fancy artwork or graphics, just a logo and a name of the company. Would have been good to have some spec on the back.
The included storage case is small and cute, and in theory you can stuff filters and IEMs with a cable inside of it, but it’s a tight fit. Would have been nice to see a roomier case included. When it comes to eartips, you get one silicone set (S/M/L) with a larger bore opening and another silicone set (S/M/L) with a smaller bore opening. Plus, one pair of small blue foam eartips. While it looks like a decent selection, eartips itself are a bit thin and flimsy, not the best quality. I would have included more tips with firmer caps and a complete S/M/L set of foamies.
I usually don’t pay too much attention to manual, but here it’s very important because it goes into details of every individual filter, talks more about the spec, and explains the LOUD impedance switch. Don’t loose this manual, it will come in handy.
The included cable has a right-angled 3.5mm gold plated metal plug, rubbery jacket, metal y-split and matching retractable chin-slider. Pre-shaped flexible earhooks are integrated into the cable, next to 2pin connector plastic mold housing. Cable seems to be soft and durable, but it’s a little springy and has microphonics. The cable does its job and feels more secure when you move the chin-slider up to keep left/right sides closer together.
Since I have been migrating to 4.4mm cable termination, I remembered that not too long ago I received from Penon Audio a budget silver-plated replacement cable. I didn’t want to go with anything fancy since I have a lot of premium cables that cost more than A6 itself, thus decided to try it here. Cable has 4.4mm plug with carbon fiber insert, 4 conductors (inner twisted in pairs), cool aluminum y-split and round chin slider, no memory wire or pre-shaped earhook, and color-marked 2pin connector housing (red/blue ring). The cable is very supple, light, similar tonality as stock cable, yet no microphonics or springiness, and a lot more comfortable to wear.
When I looked it up on Penon, I couldn’t believe it was sold for $15.90 with either 2.5mm or 3.5mm termination, and either 2pin or mmcx connectors. For 4.4mm termination it was additional $1.60 option. So, for $17.50 it’s a no-brainer upgrade which I’m keeping permanently connected to A6. Also, I switched to Symbio eartips; eartips selection is subjective, but I couldn’t get a good seal with any of the included stock eartips.