TKZK Wave Review: Another Wave in the Ocean?

Pros: Comfortable Fit, Pleasant Tuning

Cons: Detail, Lack of Extension

Driver Setup: 1BA + 1 DD

Price: US$36

Intro

Disclaimer: This review set is a demo lent to us as part of a Singapore review tour. This review is written of my own accord and all thoughts here are my own.

I had to do some searching up on TKZK and only then did I find out that it was a subsidiary/sister company of TinHiFi, with a focus on producing for the budget market. The Wave seems to be their debut IEM and comes in at a price of around US$36 with some sales at $30 at the time of writing (Black Friday), featuring a hybrid 1 Balanced Armature + 1 Dynamic Driver setup. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Accessories (Score: 6/10)

The accessories are pretty bare but get the job done. It comes with just one set of silicone tips in 3 sizes and a pouch. I’m not a fan of the baby blue colour, but it is what it is. It doesn’t really bother me as I don’t see myself using pouches anyway.

Build Quality and Fit (Score: 8/10)

Build quality is pretty decent for its price. Though I’m not the biggest fan of the wave aesthetic, I thought it felt pretty solid and durable in the hands. It looks like a resin shell as opposed to the regular plastic ones you usually see in budget sets. The included cable is a rather basic one, reminiscent of the ones that used to come packaged with older KZ IEMs. In short, not the fanciest, but seems durable enough.

What I especially liked was the fit of these IEMs. They were well shaped, not too large, and sat snugly in the ear. I had no issues using these for hours.

Sound (Score: 7.0/10)

Sources

  • Lotoo Paw S1
  • Hiby R5
  • Samsung S10e

Music listened to

  • NEEDTOBREATHE
  • Greenday
  • Joscho Stephan
  • Linkin Park
  • Akdong Musician

Bass

Bass has a good presence and warmth, though it’s a little rough along the edges. I liked that the mid-bass was controlled in quantity and not too bloated. However, there is an absence of punch and articulation, a lot of thuds. This is especially apparent on drumsets and more sophisticated, fast-moving basslines.

Mids

The lower mids are a little recessed, with the tuning being mildly V-shaped. Vocals are very pleasant on the TKZK Wave, without much unnaturalness in tonality. The biggest caveat here is that the Wave struggles to handle more complicated layers, with a rather one-dimensional presentation. I appreciated the clarity in the upper mids, enabling female vocals to really shine on this IEM.

Treble

The treble is quite tame and continues the pleasantness from the mids and shows no signs of sibilance of harshness. However, it has noticeable grain, and struggles with higher frequencies, revealing the Wave’s limited technical capabilities, which it shouldn’t really be faulted for at its price. To give credit where it’s due, the treble is coherent with the overall tonality.

Overall

The Wave boasts a good tuning and sound signature and hence is very versatile across genres. These work when powered from your cell phone, and work well right out of the box. Don’t expect too much from detail retrieval and imaging from this set considering the price range they are at.

Conclusion

These are a good option at their price range and they really did well with getting a pleasant tuning out. The upper mids are smooth and dodges any harshness or metallic timbre. At their current price, the Wave doesn’t stand out that much due to the saturation in the budget IEM market. However, they are a fair pickup at $30, considering how they nailed the fit on these on top of the tuning. The Wave is a solid debut IEM from TKZK and I’ll be looking out for more from them.

Overall Grade: B

70%
Sound
75%
Value
70%
Design

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