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Tangzu Wu Zetian Review

There has been a lot of discussion about planar IEMs this year. More of them are popping up, and they’re getting quite affordable too. Previously unknown brands, at least in the states, are garnering acclaim like Raptgo and Tin HiFi. Tangzu is not a manufacturer you may be familiar with, but they have also entered the market with their own model. It only costs $149, giving audiophiles on a budget another potentially great entry-level option. Can the Wu Zetian join those ranks?

What You Get

  • Ze Tian Wu In-Ear Monitors
  • Semi-firm leather carrying case
  • 3 pairs of “Balanced” silicone eartips (S/M/L)
  • 3 pairs of “Bass Enhanced” silicone eartips (S/M/L)
  • 1 pair of “Foams” silicone eartips
  • Detachable 5N ONC 1.2 meter braided cable (2 pin to 3.5mm, 4.4mm balanced version also available)
  • Tangzu Drink Coaster 

Tangzu Single

Look and Feel

On the outside, the Wu sports an eccentric design. While it’s mostly made of plastic and aluminum, the outer shell certainly gets its style points. Its faceplate is inspired by Chinese patterns that are meant to symbolize royalty and superior craftsmanship.  This makes the Wu feel quite special and aesthetically pleasing. The shape of the WU is more standard but well-built for an ergonomic fit. With the WU, you get a comfortable enough listening experience that should last you for many hours without any extended pressure or fatigue.

Tangzu cable

Design

The Wu is a planar IEM with a 14.5mm driver. It should provide a clean and balanced signal flow with minimal distortion. I drove the Wu with the IKKO Heimdallr and a simple lightning adapter for my iPhone, and I received all the volume I expected from both. With 16 Ohms of impedance, the Wu should boast a strong output from any device.Tangzu Pair

Soundstage

One of the best qualities of the Wu is its soundstage. No surprise there, considering that this is another planar IEM. Here you hear a good amount of space presented to you, with wide staging and a tall image. A lot of planar characteristics are translated well, and the environment the WU is able to reproduce is better for it. Spatial imaging is very much out of your head, and the sound elements have a lot of front-facing positioning. It cares less for strict accuracy, wanting more to provide an airy performance that feels more ethereal. Instruments appear distinct and have dimensions, but don’t separate all that well. Even though the soundstage can be considered semi-holographic, the actual presentation can appear flooded with busy tracks. I found those track selections which are more focused on creating texture than musical progression paired perfectly with the Wu’s soundstage sensibilities.

Low End

If you’re looking for a meaty bass timbre, the Wu will deliver that for you. While the Wu isn’t all that thick in its tone, the bass will still offer a sizable body. Each bass note is granted a sizable growl that establishes a gripping foundation for the timbre. Its resolution is helped by the even distribution of frequency content that keeps the bass from exaggerating its response. Its vibration is compelled to a throaty feel, while the mid-bass mostly flattens out, leaving room for clearer bass instruments.

Mids

While the midrange is spacious, it lacks some emphasis. I don’t think any part of it feels hollow or recessed in a destructive way, but its tone isn’t very distinct. Instruments don’t carry the most articulate localization in the mix, but performances still offer a clear presence. The issue I have here is that there just isn’t much drive to a lot of frequency bands. They’re never dull, but don’t accentuate any major characteristics that make an exciting tone. Single notes never quite come alive, aside from some upper-midrange coloration that flavors vocals quite nicely. Overall, the mids don’t bring much attention to themselves, but I don’t think it hurts the sound signature as much as it should.

Highs

Here is where the frequency response really shows its teeth. The treble on the Wu is mesmerizing, providing sparkle and airiness that engulfs the top end with a crisp resolution. Its details ring outward, and tail off naturally, with a coating of texture that makes its presence glisten in the mix. There are so many instances of listening to the Wu where the highs just effortlessly shine throughout the sound signature. Hi-hats sizzle and female vocal performances have a perfectly digestible sibilance that underlines their tone. For me, this is one of the most fun treble profiles you can find on an IEM for this price.

Summary

Not everything about the sound is perfect, but its best qualities far outshine its shortcomings. Its bass and highs are pretty stellar for the price, and the soundstage grants you enough of that planar feel to be immersed in. The Wu has a unique design as well that stands out from the competition and has no problem matching that with comfort. With the Wu, you get a great planar IEM for less than $200, and it will definitely make me look forward to anything Tangzu does in the future.

Pros

Cons

·         Good soundstage

·         Exciting bass

·         Rich treble

·         Unique design

·         Comfortable

·         Price

·         Underemphasized midrange

The Tangzu Wu Zetian is available here. 

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