Pros: Tuning, Value, Tonality and Timbre
Driver Setup: 10mm Dynamic Driver with Metal Composite Diaphragm
Disclaimer: This IEM was bought at full price and this review is written of my own accord and all thoughts here are my own. The 7Hz Zero is available for purchase here should you find yourself interested in a pair, or feel free to use your own links.
To be completely honest, I felt nothing for these when I first saw pictures of them on release. Tacky, toy-ish-looking earphones that looked like they were put together with scrap materials. I thought there was no way they would be good, and it took some convincing from the community and friends to try one. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say I was happy to be proven wrong.
Accessories (Score: 6/10)
Accessories are minimal, like the ultra-budget KZs I’ve reviewed before. Just a minimal, functional cable, and a few tips. The tips came in all the bright colours you could think of, straight out of the Microsoft PowerPoint Standard pallet colours. It’s all you need to get going out of the box, and no complaints at this price point.
Build Quality and Fit (Score: 7/10)
Build quality is surprisingly good. Despite the tacky colours and cheap-looking aesthetics, the shell feels quite solid in hand and would seem capable of taking a beating. There is a metal faceplate as well, which might be an attempt to stop these IEMs from looking too cheap lol. In terms of fit, I would say these fit me alright, though it does not have the most conventional of moulds. I would say it’s more comfortable than the Chu but less than the QKZ VK4.
Sound (Score: 7.7/10)
Frequency Response Graph of the 7Hz Salnotes Zero
- Apple Dongle
- Lotoo Paw S2
- Hiby R5
- SMSL M200 / Schiit Magnius
Music listened to
- BORNS – Blue Madonna
- Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song
- Michael Buble – To Be Loved
- Mumford & Sons
- The Lumineers
- Cowboy Bebop
- Nutcracker Suite
- Dvorak 9th Symphony
One of the first things that struck me was how tastefully the bass was done. Granted it wasn’t the most technical low end but the balance and the tonality were brilliantly done for an IEM in this class. For comparisons, it’s warmer and a little bassier than the Moondrop Chu, but not in a way that
The musicality of the bass stretches into the mids. The flavour of the mids is one that doesn’t try to do too much and instead presents a tame and controlled matureness to the sound. Instruments like violins, saxophones, and vocals have a rather full-bodied sound.
The treble is very pleasant. It extends very well for its price range, contributing to the overall organic timbre. Although the extension isn’t very high, and the treble is rather muted and laid back, it adds an additional dimension to the sound and helps in the imaging and layering of the music. This is especially noticeable in the overall completeness of instrumental tonality in orchestral tracks and the way percussions are presented.
The 7Hz does take on some character from the source and hence has some form of scalability with your gear, especially on gear that can provide slightly more power.
The biggest complaint would be that the overall sound seems a little veiled in terms of technicalities and left me craving for a bit more detail, but that is definitely my mind comparing the Zeros to IEMs way above its price range.
Overall the Zero has a rather fun and musical tuning that puts a smile on my face within the first few tracks of listening. The best part was there was very little fatigue from the tuning and the smile stayed there throughout the listening session.
Moondrop Chu (Review here)
The Moondrop Chu is a very pleasantly tuned IEM in around the same price range. It loses out to the Zero in construction because it has a fixed cable, and I found the Zero significantly more comfortable. In terms of sound, the Zero has a warmer tuning, so it would suit people looking for a bassier tuning, and I think the Chu is a little more one-dimensional than the Zeros. The detail in the upper mids and treble is a little better on the Chu though.
QKZ VK4 (Review here)
I won’t mention too much about the VK4 since it has been revised, but comparing it to the old set I currently have, which I previously held in high regard as a budget king, I preferred the comfort of the VK4s to the Zero. However, I preferred the imaging and musicality of the Zeros. The VK4 is a little more flat-sounding.
7Hz has once again pulled off another excellent release, and in all its gaudiness in design, the Zero pulls its weight in its tuning and musical presentation. Who would I recommend the Zero to? I would say it’s a perfect IEM for anyone entering the hobby, and wanting a more mainstream tuning but done well. I’m guessing that a greater proportion of people would prefer this tuning over that of the Moondrop Chu due to the more prominent lower end on the Zero. For self-proclaimed audiophiles, this is still an inexpensive cheap thrill that may blow your mind.
The 7Hz Zero is one of the most complete IEMs I’ve ever seen in the $20 price range and it’s posing a threat to the plethora of mediocre IEMs in the sub-$100 range. It has never been a better time to step into this hobby, getting such an enjoyable piece of gear for the price of a meal at the restaurant. The Zero is a nod to the cliché adage – Never judge a book by its cover.
Overall Grade: A
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