This is the type of sound that I mean when I say “Audiophile.” At this price, this iem is an absolutely easy recommendation, nailing a tuning that will satisfy pretty much anyone, and technicalities that are taking aim at every other planar to come out this year. The tuning of the Ze Tian Wu is truly masterful. Similar to the Dioko by Salnotes/7hz, the Ze Tian Wu tuning prioritizes clarity. But the Ze Tian achieves its exceptionally transparent tuning without sacrificing bass or over-emphasizing treble. Instead, they achieve this through some kind of actual wizardry.
One Reason this set is such a standout among its peers, is that the bass is present, versatile, and tuned to play nicely with the mid range. While the thump of kick drums might not always shake your ears, they are very fast and tight, so even though expression of impact might not translate perfectly on this set, the precision and clarity of low hits come across as lively and natural. The Subbass has more presence than the midbass, so there’s a good sense of atmosphere coming from the low end. The sub is not particularly textured, so it feels a little more airy and soft than rumbly. On the bright side, that gives the midbass a little more contrast, and allows it to compete with the larger presence of the sub. As a whole, the bass is very full and fulfilling, but maintains a healthy relationship with the mids - which is to say the bass is north of neutral, but not trying to steal the show.
As previously noted, Ze Tian Wu is a midcentric set that prioritizes clarity. And a lot of that work is achieved by making the mid-dominant instrumentation and vocals sound correct. I dont know exactly how the tuning is achieved here, but I can tell you that Ze Tian Wu has exceptional tonality and a sense of realness and physicality to instruments and voices. I don't know how to describe the mid tuning except to say it sounds true to real life, which is really the highest compliment I could give. And when you combine that extremely realistic tuning with the highly resolving planar driver, you have one very life-like set.
The treble is another element that is so well tuned on this set, that all I can really say is that they somehow got it to sound very life-like. It’s not elevated, so you don't get harshness or peaks unless the recording engineer intended them. There is great extension - plenty of air and sheen that come from the treble, and it just seamlessly transitions from the mids. A truly beautifully done treble.
As is typical for planars, the Ze Tian Wu has a fairly large presentation. The field extends from your ears outward, and unfortunately does not have a particularly round stage, which keeps this set from sounding truly 3-dimensional like some planar sets. Instead the stage extends mostly side-to-side, with only a limited front-to-back field. That said, the imaging is so tight on this set that, depending on the track, you can reach incredible levels of realness, to the point where I have mistaken sounds in my music for sounds happening in my environment. This iem has among the best imaging and separation I've heard in any iem, far outpacing its contemporary planar sets. The term “pinpoint accuracy” gets thrown around a lot when describing earphones, but this set actually deserves that label. When you close your eyes, you can tell exactly where an instrumentalist or ambient sound was taking place during the recording. And what's more impressive, and where some of my favorite iems fall short, is that the Ze Tian Wu can maintain this amazing accuracy during busy audio passages, allowing you to easily keep track of many simultaneous elements of varying sizes, coming from different directions and distances. And even without having a holographic effect, the Ze Tian Wu creates a formidable sense of immersion in the audio.
Also in line with the characteristics of a planar driver, the detail of the Ze tian wu is extremely good. But I'd even give the Ze Tian Wu an edge over most other planar sets, because Tangzu isn't trying to bombard you with detail by emphasizing treble. Rather, this more neutral tuning allows the detail to come to you as you listen, and sure enough, the more you listen, the more you notice how incredibly fast the driver is. Having the treble un-elevated comports with the overall natural sound of this iem, and allows the mid frequency details to stand out more, and making the overall sound at least seem more detailed to me.
This is the one to get. Ze Tian Wu is an absolutely stunning IEM that far outperforms its price point, and its competition. If you are going to buy one planar iem, make it this one. Between the packaging, accessories, aesthetic and some of the finest tuning in a planar iem, this earphone is an absolute bargain, and I can't wait to see where Tangzu Goes from here!