TANGZU ZETIAN WU HEYDAY: Crisp refinement

THE PLUS: 
-smooth organic near neutral balance
-effortless crisp and clean resolution
-safe and fatigue free tuning
-deep bass extension
-transparent mid range
-beautiful male and female vocal
-crisp airy and extended treble
-one of few planar offering proper sparkle and resonance
-mature tonality
-sturdy metal construction that look good too
-excellent modular cable

THE MINUS: 
-rather lean dynamic
-jack of all trades, master of none
-slightly recessed mid range
-softed texture and upper mids bite
-average soundstage
-mellow bass punch that lack proper definition
-while clean, space between instrument isn’t wide

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TONALITY: 8.5/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8.8/10
CONSTRUCTION: 9/10
SOUND VALUE: 8.5/10

INTRO

Tangzu is a rather fresh earphones company from China that start 2 years ago with it’s first offering the Tforce Yuan Li, at this time, yes, Tangzu was under the brand name Tforce but need to change due to copyright.
The Yuan Li receive good acclaim but fall into oblivion less than a year after it’s launch, it was a well balanced smooth and crisp L shape signature that we can call neutral with slight sub bass boost too, clean and transparent.
Yet, my real love affair with Tangzu begin with their first planar offering: the Zetian Wu.
Today, i will review the follow up of these, which are suppose to offer more balanced sound as well as superior technical performance due to the upgraded planar driver used. Oh, and the retune was made in collaboration with HBB aka Hawaiian bad boy aka the guy who was ban on headfi aka Bad Guy Good Audio Review.
Let see in this review if those keep the DNA of original Zetian Wu and push their technical performance even further.

CONSTRUCTION&ACCESSORIES

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To say the Heyday is a big upgrade in term of construction quality is an understatement, they are next-level going from cheap plastic with cheap ally backplate to all thick alluminium body made with 5 axes high precision CNC machine. The design is sumptuous too, with beautifully engraved chinese pattern. Unlike the fragile Zetian Wu, these promise long term durability and have this metal mirror finish that isn’t easy to scratch (yet still easy to finger prints).

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Surprisingly, these aren’t very heavy and the organic shape is very comfy, but not thinked for deep insertion.

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Another big improvment in term of accessories now is the modular cable included. Its a very high quality cable with thick 4 cores and silver plated braids. The interchangeable modular plugs are thick and heavy too, very very sturdy with a tight secure fit. At begining i find them too big and lean to appreciate this reassuring sturdyness.

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In term of packaging and accessories, again, it’s impressive and well thinked. The imagery cover of the box is tastefull and artfull, way more mature looking than waifu for example and will appeal to wider consumers in term of plain aesthetic. But it’s a bit oversized box and could have been 2 time smaller if i have to nitpick something.
The accessories are generous too, just the cable is enough to impress but we have a big carrying case too, perfect for travel since you can put alot of IEMs and cables and dongles in it. As well, we have 6 pairs of nice quality silicone eartips including the KB07 balanced eartips which i use with alot of IEMs with large nozzle. We have a pair of foams eartips too. All in all, very nice unboxing consumers experience.


SOUND IMPRESSIONS

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The Heyday are smooth neutral to balanced organic gentle U shape, with great sens of transparency and imaging and a creamy timbre. These aren’t for those seeking big fun, yet i would not say they are dead boring. Sure, we are into safe tuning territory, but with a twist. This twist is the treble crispness that add sens of much needed snap and energy, and the fact timbre is natural, not thin nor dry like some harman or DF tuned iem with similar DNA. Imaging an Aria with more mids and your not far from the Heyday.
Their different type of listener, some are impatient and want the fun to start as soon as they press play buton of their music source. The Heyday are rewarding in the long run, like a meditation that make you go deeper in your conscience and see your thoughs passing by in a sharp lucidity. They are mature yet not overly cerebral since they aren’t plain lean. You got gentle bass boost, gentle mids boost and hint more audacious treble boost, yet, delicate and meticulous in their presentation.

Are they L shape, U shape or W shape…the balance is so organic and cohesive, so liquide as a whole that it’s hard to tell. Thus the neutral terminology. One thing sure, if you own the Zetian Wu, these aren’t sounding the same at all, and it’s a proof that frequency graph is just half of the story and very overatted in audiophile community. Nobody will say they sound similar in fact, even if yes, tonal balance similarity is perceivable for experienced listener like me. Anyway, i will compare those 2 in this review so let’s go back to.…

Bass. Clean and docile, the low end have a sub bass focus with slight mid bass boost, it’s more about gentle slam than energic punch. The definition is good but not perfect in separation due to scooped edge that affect mostly the kick drum presence and dynamic. Yet, its a very realist bass experience that can impress with its natural resonance, i mean by that the toms resonance for example, which is well resolve and clean, it’s the lead impact that lack proper precision and sharpness in rendering. Texture wise, its good too, but quite a bit juicy and over polished. While not bass head, these aren’t what i would call bass ligh, bass roll off or anemic in bass department. Its a U shaped slam we have without lot of mid bass immediacy, and this permit to have good ”oomph” and enough sub hit vibrancy as well as this natural resonance without problematic bleed in the mids, which sit on it. The Heyday are not fitted for rap, EDM or big beat that need fast punchy boom, i dont think its made for bass lover nor basshead. These are more fitted for slow soul, classical, jazz and well anything that isn’t agressive in bass department and will benefit from a mellow punch and thick vibrant rumble.

Mids. Natural, dense enough and well centered with clean transparent clarity and great layering. Creamy and focus, the tone is right and the presence is smoothed yet not recessed. Female vocal sound more bodied and upfront, while male vocal are clean but a hint thin. We don’t have the planar timbre noise with those, the texture richness is understated yet not polished to the point of dullness. Sure, i find the mids a bit overly safe, in the sens it doesn’t open by itself and feel over centered and even distant in dynamic. Note weight lack authority and definition, so while piano note drop we don’t get excited and the natural resonance which could be appealing lack the proper lead hit, so this take you out of it’s musicality. Pinna gain isn’t overly boosted, quite safe, and I can say the same for upper mids even if a bit more lively than lower mids. Those are soft, liquid mids that have an organic cohesion and laid back presence.

Treble. This is surely the most exciting part of tonality, and it’s not as dark as first Zetian, we have air, crispness and even hint of sparkle. For a planar, this already deserve an applause. But imperfection can sometime mean musicality and the Heyday have thinner lower treble than the Zetian, which make the listener focusing in upper treble snap and microdetails, which aren’t the most generous and not always fully restitute. This tend to highlight percussions, since it’s metallic instrument that will have extra presence and energy, the treble is only freqeuncy range where dynamic feel lively and not too homogeneous in dynamic loudness, yet, we have tamed impact still that will affect natural sens of resonance and decay, this is very evident when listening to clavichord which sound a bit dry and lean, bit distant and not open. In classical or acoustic music the amplitude scaling of dynamic loudness is diversify, way more than pop or digital instrument music, strangely, when violin want to express louder it feel tamed in decibel scaling, making sound projection unrealist and quite boring, this tend to keep all sound layers at same loudness level and making the differentiation of them harder. So, violin lack texture and proper presence definition, it lack substance. I can say that for every acoustic instrument, definition edge is softed so we don’t have a vividly crisp and clean resolution. Nonetheless, its a refined treble, delicate and fatigue free, safe with this slight upper treble boost pass 10khz that struggle to fully open the sound as it should but instead add not always well balanced micro part of texture or details. Acoustic guitar sound very sparkly but a bit thin, so the treble magnify crispness over fullness in high pitch instrument and sound rendering.

Now, for the soundstage, it’s rather average, but not overly intimate or closed up. Its wide, minimaly tall and just enough deep to make the spatiality U shape since center stage is a bit recessed and more distant but doesnt project mids in this space to make it truely deep.

Imaging is quite improve from first Zetian, yet it’s due to more transparent timbre and less resonant-warming bass. I don’t think they excell at this price range, due to compressed layering that affect space between instrument. If i complaint about definition edge, it will sure affec proper separation definition too ,which is the case here. But we can explore the condensed sound layer and pinpoint some instrument so it’s not plain bad, yet, you will need to give psychoacoustic effort!

COMPARISONS

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VS TANGZU ZETIAN WU

Simply put, the Wu are lusher, thicker and bassier with similar overal balance but the bass is more boosted and upper mids too, but it was already safely tuned to the choice to tame upper mids for Heyday is questionnable, this affect dynamic separation alot and favor a lean crispness. So, the Heyday are clean, leaner and more neutral, treble is suddenly more resolved and airy, yet, less textured and crunchy….even if the Wu weren’t very agressive in that department. Treble is more extended too, and deliver higher amont of micro details in a effortless way while the Wu focus on whats important to extract but lack sparkle. Bass is more punchy too, and even feel more separated in bodied presence…yet,can go muddy more easily when sub and kick are playing togheter. Strange.
Spatiality have trade off in both case, WU is wider and taller but less deep than the Heyday. Imaging is without a doubt superior with the Heyday, both in layering and clean static positioning.

Overall result of Heyday is a more refined crisp neutral Zetian, with superior resolution and technical performance, yet i do find the musicality of Zetian more appealing and especially more dynamic in rendering, denser in timbre and more versatile for different music genre.

VS Raptgo Hook X HBB

The Hook is more W shape and open sounding, just a slight notch brighter yet still smooth with hint of warmth. Bass is better rounded, more bodied and punchy and rumble is thicker too, it seem faster as well, hint more excited in impact too. Mids are more open and fowards, thicker in timbre, less transparent clean and lean than Heyday, less organic in timbre and have hint more upper mids, thus the slightly brighter perception that benefit attack grip and make both violin and electric guitar have more lead in attack as well as more edgy definition. Mids of Heyday feel darker yet has well or perhaps even better resolve, this is due to overly smoothed edge of definitiona s well as less vivid dynamic that tend to make mids sound more distant, less alive and articulate in presence. Treble while smoother and more liquid with Heyday have hint more brilliance and sparkle, so it’s crisper while the Hook is snappier and crunchier as well as less thin sounding and more ”3D” in highs perception since again, the highs struggle to fully open with the Heyday since they are tamed in loudness scaling.
Spatiality i way taller and wider with the Hook, center stage isn’t as deep as the Heyday which feel like a flat imagery that we can dig deeper in it’s transparent layers, yet this layering feel more compressed too, not well separated in space and a bit static, unlike the Hook which have holographic spatiality with dense moving sound layers and wider space between instruments. Imaging is a notch superior as a whole with the Hook, in macro perception with more air to flow between instrument, the Heyday migth feel cleaner in layering, yet, they mix togheter to closely and create an organic creamy fog as a whole, only upper treble feel cleanly separated in fact, as well, bass can be hard to position, everything feel overly center staged.

All in all, it’s evident that the Hook X HBB are more muscular and engaging in dynamic, less compressed in staging and to my ears superior in both tonality and technicalities.

VS BQEYZ Winter

Ok, these are slightly similar in fact, but again even if near neutral the Winter sound more engaging and lively, with more impactful mid bass and more upfront upper mids. The bass isn’t as clear, clean and detailed as the Heyday, more bright in texture but better define in impact. Mids are more rough and less lean and refined and transparent than Heyday, hint more shouty too so overal tonality is brigther and more vivid with the Winter. Now the treble is extremely impressive with the Winter, but suddenly more centered in stage, its faster, crisper and more fully restitute in texture and micro details, it add sens of air too while the highs of Heyday are smoother and daker with sudden brilliance that can occur for metallic instrument, but it feel a bit unbalance, more so than Winter which have a more energic balance that don’t suffer from slight brilliance spike poping out of no where.
Spatiality is very different, Heyday is wider and perhaps hint deeper, while Winter offer a strange spatiality, not the most realist, as if we have stereo rendering + extra little speaker for center stage, if feel fake open compared not smoothly open for the Winter. This make the Heyday more competent and accurate in imaging and layering, which is rather bad for bass and mids with the Winter while superior in treble section positioning than Heyday.

All in all, while the Winter is more captivating and offer snappier crisper treble, bass and mids aren’t as refined and technicaly competent as the Heyday which make me conclude the Heyday is my favorite one.

VS TINHIFI P1plus:

Ok, the P1plus are even more neutral like an inversed L shape with boosted upper treble that add lot of clean air, snap and sparkle. What it first is how faster is transient response so their no doubt for me technical performance are superior to Heyday. Bass is notably less boosted, yet its more textured for kick drum but sub bass is way more roll off than the Heyday, yet even if less boosted, the punch is better perceive and more tight and edgy. Mids are notably more present and upfront, with higher resolution and better separation and imaging, while more neutral it sound less lean in dynamic too and open up naturaly, we have more note weight in lead impact too, making dynamic less muddy and smoothed. Treble is star of the show of P1plus and from another league i would say, we have faster attack, more snap, more air, more extension and way more micro details that can will fully restitue texture as well as permit a natural well resolve resonance of instrument sustain-decay. Spatiality is a bit less wide but notably deeper, more airy and clean. Imaging is from another league, with faster better separated layering and sharper better resolve positioning.

All in all, Tinhifi P1plus is still the Planar master of technicalities, like the HZsound Mirror it’s very hard to detrone even more so at it’s 120$ price of nowaday. Yet, its less full sounding and smooth than the Heyday, and it’s tonality is more accessible for laid back listening, timbre not being the most charming when it come to P1plus.

CONCLUSION

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Tangzu evolution is just mind blowing, I mean….it only make 2 years they are around and already scale up in term of tuning maturity and knowledge. While i adore the first Zetian Wu, there no doubt it’s less refined in balance and more of a emotional and fun guilty pleasure that i would never repent off!

While we have a trade off in term of fun factor for the benefit of higher resolution and smoother balance, it’s in fact something to applause audiophile wise.

The Heyday offer a clean, crisp, organic and immersive musicality with effortless detailing that few IEMs can achieve in this price range, it’s a rich listen that will reward the listener in the long run due to it’s revealing transparency.

Sure, the sub bass focus make the punch a bit too mellow for a lively listen, so these are more for audiophile seeking neutral to crisp L shape tonality or fatigue free listen that isn’t dark or plain dull sounding.

I already know that the reception of those will be similar to Moondrop Aria, so, if you are like me a fan of the Aria, these are logical upgrade.

Well done Tangzu, and your true potential begin to blossom with the Heyday, so I will sure follow your marvelous evolution.

———-
PS: I want to thanks Tangzu for sending me this review sample after I manifest my curiosity about them (due to overwhelming love of the Zetian WU). I’m not affiliated and this review is unbiased and 100% honest as always.

You can order the Zetian Wu Heyday Edition directly from this official seller here (non-affiliated link):
https://www.linsoul.com/products/tangzu-x-hbb-wu-heyday

For more diversify video reviews, give a look to my youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv4rfIhJhTZzOxlZNrJaM2Q

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