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New IEM KZ D-Fi.

MacClintock

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There is a new IEM from KZ, the D-Fi. It is a brand with some controversies, but this one is really good. It has an all metal shape and four tuning switches that moderately alter the bass. The tuning is excellent. If you get a better cable and nicer tips (I use Azla SednaEarfit Xelastec), you have a great IEM for less than $50 altogether. It is pretty close to my favorite target, which is HarmanIE2019v2 below 1kHz and oratory1990 above, quite similar to the Truthear Zero:Red, but not quite as relaxed between 1 and 4 kHz and even smoother treble above 10 kHz.
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Chyżwar

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It is pretty close to my favorite target, which is HarmanIE2019v2

They can also be very close to the Etymotic curve (in the XR version, the picture shows the Etymotic curve in the studio version, which has less bass). Very good IEMs, which unfortunately many people ignore because it's KZ.

d-fi.png
 

Adamant11746

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It is pretty close to my favorite target, which is HarmanIE2019v2 below 1kHz and oratory1990 above.
Would you be willing to share the CSV for that target? I've been EQing to the oratory1990 target lately, having discovered I slightly prefer it over Harman, but I do feel like it has a bit too much bass. Your target seems like exactly what I've been looking for.
 
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MacClintock

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Would you be willing to share the CSV for that target? I've been EQing to the oratory1990 target lately, having discovered I slightly prefer it over Harman, but I do feel like it has a bit too much bass. Your target seems like exactly what I've been looking for.
Sure, but it is very simple. Since the oratory1990 (USound) target and the HarmanIE2019v2 targets are identical at 1 kHZ, I just stitched them together. Harman below 1kHZ and oratory1990 above. But note that the oratory1990 target does not have more sub-bass than the Harman one, it has just more mid-bass/lower midrange.
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Below is a txt version of it (which serves to be read in many squig sites, for example).
 

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MacClintock

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They can also be very close to the Etymotic curve (in the XR version, the picture shows the Etymotic curve in the studio version, which has less bass). Very good IEMs, which unfortunately many people ignore because it's KZ.

View attachment 296115
It is also pretty close to the Tangzu Wan'er, and costs about the same, but has a much nicer shell and will most probably endure longer.
graph (13).png
 

Adamant11746

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Sure, but it is very simple. Since the oratory1990 (USound) target and the HarmanIE2019v2 targets are identical at 1 kHZ, I just stitched them together. Harman below 1kHZ and oratory1990 above. But note that the oratory1990 target does not have more sub-bass than the Harman one, it has just mor mid-bass/lower midrange.
Thanks! I didn't actually mean there was too much sub-bass, I meant bass as in the whole spectrum below 150-200hz or so. It doesn't really matter what I meant though, since the target did exactly what I expected and hoped for. By the way, I don't have the D-Fi but I do have the ZVX. As you can see it's pretty similar except for the larger and broader treble peak (which used to be one of KZ's signatures). I think it's another underrated KZ IEM, although I won't be buying anything else from them. It's not really due to to their disaster of a PR department, but more because I can't find small enough tips for my ears! (The only reason I can use IEMs at all is that the Spinfit CP155 tips on my Truthear Zero taper quite a bit. They don't go in all the way, but they're good enough for now and more comfortable than headphones.)
graph.png
 
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MacClintock

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Thanks! I didn't actually mean there was too much sub-bass, I meant bass as in the whole spectrum below 150-200hz or so. It doesn't really matter what I meant though, since the target did exactly what I expected and hoped for. By the way, I don't have the D-Fi but I do have the ZVX. As you can see it's pretty similar except for the larger and broader treble peak (which used to be one of KZ's signatures). I think it's another underrated KZ IEM, although I won't be buying anything else from them. It's not really due to to their disaster of a PR department, but more because I can't find small enough tips for my ears! (The only reason I can use IEMs at all is that the Spinfit CP155 tips on my Truthear Zero taper quite a bit. They don't go in all the way, but they're good enough for now and more comfortable than headphones.)View attachment 296404
True. I usually don't have dificulties finding the right tips, either some of the stocks ones do or some spinfits. With the D-Fi that was different, either the tips were to big for my ear canal, or they wouldn't remain on the nozzle. Only the Azla SednaEarfit Xelastec resolved that issue.
 

markanini

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I gave it a listen to still my curiosity. First the included tips have an odd fit that allows for a lot of vertical movement on the nozzles. Second the white tips are so delicate, one piece had a tear out of the box!

Sound impressions with white medium tips, switches 1 & 2 on:
The presentation is mid forward. Fairly clean tuning. Slight low end mud, and slight mid harshness, on occasion. Free from objectionable treble sharpness.
Voices are nicely present, articulate and intelligible, but not very intimate. Drums and percussion have nice snap, but sound small. Only moderately immersive. Distinctly favors hard rock due to the mid forward sound signature. Non-distinct staging.

Reminiscent of 7Hz Salnotes Zero, fixes the hot treble and lean bass, but with it's remaining quirks it's not substantial enough to suggest as an upgrade.

Overall I think it just barely qualifies as good value for $30. $20 Truthear Hola has better accessories. $25 7Hz Zero can sound more resolving and intimate. $20 KZ EDA Balanced has a better tonal quality, even if it's a bit grainy. D-fi would be close to an allrounder recommendation in the price bracket, if only for the caveat that with the included tips there's a higher chance you won't achieve good fit, or longevity.

Comparing to Truthear Red, in response to OP. There's no competition, Red handles all of my playlist fabulously, from orchestral to hard rock to EDM. But that's comparing a $30 set to a $55 set.
 
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MacClintock

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I gave it a listen to still my curiosity. First the included tips have an odd fit that allows for a lot of vertical movement on the nozzles. Second the white tips are so delicate, one piece had a tear out of the box!

Sound impressions with white medium tips, switches 1 & 2 on:
The presentation is mid forward. Fairly clean tuning. Slight low end mud, and slight mid harshness, on occasion. Free from objectionable treble sharpness.
Voices are nicely present, articulate and intelligible, but not very intimate. Drums and percussion have nice snap, but sound small. Only moderately immersive. Distinctly favors hard rock due to the mid forward sound signature. Non-distinct staging.

Reminiscent of 7Hz Salnotes Zero, fixes the hot treble and lean bass, but with it's remaining quirks it's not substantial enough to suggest as an upgrade.

Overall I think it just barely qualifies as good value for $30. $20 Truthear Hola has better accessories. $25 7Hz Zero can sound more resolving and intimate. $20 KZ EDA Balanced has a better tonal quality, even if it's a bit grainy. D-fi would be close to an allrounder recommendation in the price bracket, if only for the caveat that with the included tips there's a higher chance you won't achieve good fit, or longevity.

Comparing to Truthear Red, in response to OP. There's no competition, Red handles all of my playlist fabulously, from orchestral to hard rock to EDM. But that's comparing a $30 set to a $55 set.
Very subjectivist talk with little basis. There is only a relevant (more than 1-2dB) difference between 1 and 4 kHz, otherwise the have basically the same FR and that is all that matters soundwise for an IEM.
 

markanini

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Very subjectivist talk with little basis. There is only a relevant (more than 1-2dB) difference between 1 and 4 kHz, otherwise the have basically the same FR and that is all that matters soundwise for an IEM.
Do you know the consequence of elevated 1-4 kHz? Ask any audio technician, it makes drums sound small, it makes the mids harsh and forward. Like I've reported.

You paired this set with $30 aftermarket tips to make it useable. A better recommendation would be to get Truthear Red which includes good quality tips and a well balanced stock response. That way you don't have to support KZ, who pays people for favorable reviews https://www.archyde.com/kz-is-accused-of-offering-1000-to-reviewers-for-a-positive-review/ and revises products after they have been reviewed https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/hbb-x-kz-pr2-planar-iem.44403/ & https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/12wgmpl
 
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MacClintock

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Do you know the consequence of elevated 1-4 kHz? Ask any audio technician, it makes drums sound small, it makes the mids harsh and forward. Like I've reported.

You paired this set with $30 aftermarket tips to make it useable. A better recommendation would be to get Truthear Red which includes good quality tips and a well balanced stock response. That way you don't have to support KZ, who pays people for favorable reviews https://www.archyde.com/kz-is-accused-of-offering-1000-to-reviewers-for-a-positive-review/ and revises products after they have been reviewed https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/hbb-x-kz-pr2-planar-iem.44403/ & https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/12wgmpl
Ok, so firstly, I also have the Truthear Red and like it a lot, but one could argue that it is maybe a tiny bit too recessed at the ear gain region (1-5kHz), not even being below the HarmanIE2019 target, but even below the oratory one (see graph of original post here). I can't say that I don't like it, but would not call it more natural the the D-Fi.
Secondly, what the brand KZ is concerned, granted they are quite dubiuous with some strange decisions, additionally to the two you mentioned is also the one with not-working drivers. But with this specific IEM, the built quality of the shell is exellent and with the Sednafit tips (more about $10 a pair) and an aftermarket cable (another $10), I have got a solid, beautiful, good sounding IEM that rivals many of 10 times the price and more (for example 64 audio and other laugable companies).
 

markanini

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Dazerdoreal

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I tried them out. A few impressions:

- I dont know about the expensive stuff, but among all the IEMs I tried it is the first one without some obvious peak in the upper treble. Big plus for me.
The amount of "air" is low but quite well-balanced.
- The treble is generally relaxed, on lower bass settings it is slightly shouty in the pinna gain area, just as you might expect from the measurements.
- From experiences with other IEMs I expected to prefer a rather low bass setting, but for now my favorite pick is "Up Down Down Down (UDDD)" which is slightly above the default "DDDD". It still does not feel "bassy" at all, probably this would not even be enough for most people.
- This is probably because the shell is rather big and I cannot insert it as deeply into my ear as I would like to. Comfort is my main problem with them.
- The default cable of the D-Fi does not have this little piece of plastic where you can put them on more tightly (I hope it is understandable what I mean, I am not a native speaker). This is necessary for me to get at least a decent seal. I tried the 7hz Zero cable at first, but then I had a little rattling sound in the left driver. Finally it worked with the T2 DLC cable.
 

Dazerdoreal

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I tried out a lot of tips from other IEMs and I found one which suited this one pretty well. Now I have a bit more bass and also the upper treble is also on the correct level now. It is also slightly more comfortable (still just okay, not good).

By the way, by checking out the measurements of Ian Fann I realized that there are bass settings which rather push mid-bass and others which rather push sub-bass. So you can control more than just the sheer amount.
 

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markanini

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I meant to follow up on my experience with a second D-fi for a while, better late than never. At first I got the switch version. On the graph it looks very much in line with my personal preference. In my ear it sounded weird. A washy mid characteristic and a muted treble, a step back from other budget sets I've tried in the last years like 7Hz Zero 1, Truthear Hola and and Truthear Red just to name a few that had a cleaner and more coherent response. I read some reports on the non-switch version being better, so when I stumbled on a deal on Aliexpress I took the chance. Once it arrived I loaded up a playlist of familiar songs, and it was pretty much the same thing, only more bass, all attempts to EQ the weird mids and highs to failed just like the switch version. Swapping the tips with every one I had that would fit the nozzles was also fruitless. Needless to say I don't recommend the D-Fi. I later stumbled on comments in subjectivist circles on how the D-Fi sounds like nothing special despite measuring similarly to some coveted IEMs. It's not likely putting it down based on price, given the Tangzu Waner was constantly praised in that community, and Waner is a cheaper IEM than D-Fi. So I don't think I'm the only one experiencing some kind of frequency response mismatch between the coupler and my own ears.

EDIT: Before anyone supposes I'm biased or questions my hearing ability. Please get on my level first. These are important issues to me, that's why I took the steps to become a trained listener according to Harmans protocol over a year ago. The same protocol used to differentiate trained from untrained listeners in the famous headphone target curve papers, by reaching level 7 on the How to listen app. I've also trained informally as a consequence of on and off work as an audio mixer. Identifying sound characteristics, and finding ways to adjust them according to the requirements of a song is a routine task, and I believe the accumulated experience is uniquely helpful for judging issues in the realm of audio reproduction. Doing audio work also teaches you a lot about how your auditory perception can deceive you, something you cant learn from merely listening critically.
 
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InfiniteJester

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I meant to follow up on my experience with a second D-fi for a while, better late than never. At first I got the switch version. On the graph it looks very much in line with my personal preference. In my ear it sounded weird. A washy mid characteristic and a muted treble, a step back from other budget sets I've tried in the last years like 7Hz Zero 1, Truthear Hola and and Truthear Red just to name a few that had a cleaner and more coherent response. I read some reports on the non-switch version being better, so when I stumbled on a deal on Aliexpress I took the chance. Once it arrived I loaded up a playlist of familiar songs, and it was pretty much the same thing, only more bass, all attempts to EQ the weird mids and highs to failed just like the switch version. Swapping the tips with every one I had that would fit the nozzles was also fruitless. Needless to say I don't recommend the D-Fi. I later stumbled on comments in subjectivist circles on how the D-Fi sounds like nothing special despite measuring similarly to some coveted IEMs. It's not likely putting it down based on price, given the Tangzu Waner was constantly praised in that community, and Waner is a cheaper IEM than D-Fi. So I don't think I'm the only one experiencing some kind of frequency response mismatch between the coupler and my own ears.
FR are commonly smoothed instead of showed raw. I think that is the reason why some very terrible IEMs measure well. The smoothing is hiding a lot of little peaks that destroy any satisfaction you could get from the set.
 
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