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Yinyoo Z&W Earbuds: "Who lives in a Pineapple under the Sea?" - [Review] 🇬🇧

Vorwort:

Wer erinnert sich noch an mein Review der Venture Electronics Monk Plus Earbuds?

Laut Titel auf der Produktseite der Yinyoo Z&W Earbuds sollen diese besser als ebenjene Monk Earbuds sein – wobei es auf der Shopping-Plattform AliExpress definitiv keine Seltenheit ist, dass Händler und Hersteller in der Produktbeschreibung und im Titel der Annonce „besser als [XYZ]“ schreiben und dabei beliebte und oft hochpreisige Modelle erwähnen, was hauptsächlich daran liegt, dass diese Begriffe als Keywords dienen sollen, um das Suchmaschinenranking der individuellen Produkte zu erhöhen.




Besser als die Monk Plus Earbuds zu sein, stellt eigentlich keine große Herausforderung dar – die Earbuds, die tonal den EarPods von Apple stark ähneln, klingen zwar für die fünf-plus-sonstwas Dollar, die sie zusammen mit dem Versand kosten, anständig, sind gut verarbeitet und besitzen einen recht trockenen und schnellen (, wenngleich nicht übermäßig detaillierten) Bassbereich, dennoch ist das gesamte Detailniveau nicht unbedingt überragend.
Aus diesem Grund müssen die Z&W Earbuds in ebendieser englischsprachigen Rezension auch gegen die EarPods von Apple antreten, die eigentlich zu Unrecht häufig schlechtgeredet werden, da sie für 30$ eigentlich recht ordentlich, wenngleich (auch klanglich) definitiv nicht perfekt sind. Andere starke Gegner, gegen die die Yinyoo Z&W Earbuds hier antreten müssen, werden die MrZ Tomahawk Earbuds sein, die ich irgendwann im letzten oder vorletzten Jahr gekauft habe.

Ready… Fight!


Introduction:

Yinyoo is a Chinese reseller and manufacturer of audio products who has a webstore on the popular shopping website AliExpress. Besides their own products that currently range from inexpensive earbuds to hybrid in-ears in the medium to upper three-digit dollar range, they also resell other manufacturer’s in-ears and earbuds on their web shop.

Some time ago, they contacted me. They had found my audio review site, “Kopfhörer-Lounge”, and liked my honest and professional evaluations, so they said, and that they were interested in showing and sending me some samples if I was interested.
What they then showed me were the Yinyoo Z&W earbuds, and I agreed to receive and honestly review them, no matter how negative, neutral or positive the review might turn out, because I thought that they looked rather nice, especially their cable.

So here we go now.


Technical Specifications:

MSRP: $39, though the deal price of ~ $29 seems to be the standard/normal retail price
Available Colours: 2 (gold and silver)
Driver: 15 mm dynamic driver
Impedance: 32 Ohms
Cable length: 1.2 m (+/- 3 cm)


Delivery Content:

The delivery content is surprisingly similar to the Kinera H3 that arrives in a similar cardboard box with a magnetically attached flap and the same carrying case that can be found inside, however with a different branding.


The Z&W earbuds come with two pairs of black and two pairs of grey sponge/foam covers, as well as a shirt clip.
Given the price, receiving a carrying case that is even actually fairly nice is a huge plus.


Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

Do the earbuds look somewhat familiar to you? They do? Well, this is likely because their housings’ shape and design is pretty much identical with the Venture Electronics Monk +.


The Z&W earbuds are made of shiny silver plastic that imitates a chrome finish. However, it really is just plastic and feels rather cheap and light. The perforated black plastic cover in front of the driver looks and feels more premium and stable though – and also resembles the Monk +’s shape.


The deeply saturated, dark copper cable is a true highlight, especially for the price range. It consists of four conductors below the y-splitter that are twisted/braided, as you would (usually) only find on more professional in-ears. But as it seems, nowadays even inexpensive in-ears can have such a premium cable that alone looks like it could retail for definitely more than $30.
The plug and y-splitter are made of aluminium and appear premium as well.
The cable is very flexible but has got one flaw that many inexpensive products share: it lacks a chin-slider.

=> Summary: premium cable with cheap feeling chrome imitation plastic earbud housings.


Comfort, Isolation:

The comfort will of course be highly dependent on your individual ear anatomy.
For my large ears, comfort is really good and the earbuds also seal well (within their limits of course).

Due to the good cable, microphonics are reduced to a minimum and can be even lowered when inserting the earbuds regularly but guiding the cables around the ears.

Outer noise isolation is, which is not that much surprising given these are earbuds, pretty much not present at all.


Sound:

My main sources for listening were the Cowon Plenue 2 as well as the Stoner Acoustics UD125.

As usual with earbuds, the sound one will hear is strongly dependant on one’s personal ear anatomy and especially how well the earbuds seal and how tight they fit.

Tonality:

Foam covers versus no foam covers – that is the question… that you will have to answer for yourself. Earbuds (may) react differently to when foam covers are applied – the Yinyoo Z&W however react quite as expected, with a treble reduction and moderate bass boost due to the better seal.

Without foam covers, the treble is noticeably on the bright side and definitely tuned for clarity – lots of clarity actually, even to the point that it also affects the lower treble/upper midrange and shifts the timbre to the brighter side, with vocals and pianos as well as trumpets being off by sounding just too thin.
However, the midbass is surprisingly potent, along with a warm root that however doesn’t affect the lower vocal range by much. While this is typically what one would desire from the root/fundamental range, I think that more warmth and thickness in the upper root/lower midrange would have been a better choice to make the midrange more balanced when using the earbuds without any foam covers.

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As someone who detests to use earbuds with foam covers (due to the hygiene and comfort, but also because they look and feel cheap), I just had to try the Z&W with them wherefore I applied the black ones that came included.
And voilà, this was the mature sound I expected. Bass quantity was increased by a few dB, however the treble was also reduced by a great margin, removing its overdone glare and uber-clarity without making it appear dull or dark at all (it was still elevated). As a result, the midrange became much more balanced sounding as well (hooray!).

Sound signature-wise, when using the foam tips, the tonal tuning is still on the v-shaped side (elevated bass and treble), however the highs are so much more pleasant and become rather soft instead of overly clear.
In the highs, I can spot an elevation between 5 and 6 kHz, as well as another one between 8 and 10 kHz. The former is responsible for the timbre in the upper highs being somewhat off with cymbals that are on the more metallic but fortunately soft side which is because the elevations are not narrow or peaky but even and rather broad.
Extension past 10 kHz is really good and reaches 15 kHz without an audible roll-off.

The midrange – shows a mild elevation in the lower mids as well as a just as mild elevation in the upper midrange, resulting in the mids taking a moderate step back without sounding thinned out or much recessed. Instead, low vocals gain some fullness whereas brighter singers sound somewhat airier.

There is a bass bump between 250 and 60 Hz, however the lows’ emphasis starts to increase higher, in the area of the lower midrange. To my ears, this elevation is around 6.5 dB north of neutral (Etymotic ER-4S), however with the typical impact and slam of a dynamic driver.
The area between 100 and 50 Hz is surprisingly capable for an earbud when it comes to slam, and even 40 Hz, the beginning of the real sub-bass, is still audible, however just barely. Realistically, one could say that the Yinyoo Z&W reach down to 50 Hz with still relevant and audible music information but of course start to roll off somewhat earlier.

Is the tonality nice when using the Z&W earbuds with the foam covers? Oh yes, it certainly is. It’s got slam and warmth, garnished with fullness, however there is also a relatively good midrange timbre and does not lack brightness or clarity and is balanced. Solely the 6 kHz range could be slightly reduced to make cymbals a bit less metallic.

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As someone who definitely prefers to use earbuds without foam covers, I would have wished that Yinyoo would have applied a damping layer of foam/sponge on the inside of the earbuds so the treble would have been reduced without the user being “forced” to put on the foam/sponge covers.

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All further tests and comparisons were performed using the earbuds applied with the black foam/sponge covers they came with.

Resolution:

… is surprisingly good keeping in mind these are $30 earbuds and no in-ears.


The Apple EarPods received mixed reviews for their sound quality, however for around $30 (yes, I actually even bought my EarPods on Amazon instead of using the ones that came with several iDevices), they were even able to beat several western in-ears in terms of timbre and resolution. And they are darn great sports earphones with a really nice remote control anyway.

The Z&W earbuds manage to resolve even somewhat better despite costing about the same.

The bass is a bit more on the softer side while control is still good – it doesn’t sound too mushy or muddy. As a result, it becomes subjectively more textured and bouncier, which can also be fun on energetic recordings because the lows can become almost somewhat “tactile”.
Detail retrieval could be a little higher in the lows – but is definitely more than okay for the price, and even a bit more than one could ask for when considering the nice cable the earbuds have.

Speech intelligibility is quite good. Oh yes, it definitely is. Small nuances, especially with more complex tracks, are certainly better distinguishable when comparing the Yinyoo earbuds with Apple’s EarPods.

Separation in the highs is quite good as well but does not reach the level of the MrZ Tomahawk or Shozy Cygnus.
While the highs are a bit emphasised in the middle and upper treble, their nature is rather soft wherefore they are still inoffensive and don’t carry any sibilance or harshness.

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Can you listen to music with the Z&W earbuds? You certainly can, and their level of details is rather nice for the price. Sure, you cannot and should not expect the performance of better earbuds or in-ears, but what you get for around $30 is fairly nice and definitely sufficient for casual listening.

Soundstage:

The soundstage is rather open and fairly wide, with a really good amount of depth although there is overall more spatial width than depth.

You cannot and should not expect the imaging precision and separation of better earbuds or good budget in-ears, but the presentation is still good enough for the price to not become too muddy.

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In Comparison with the other Earbuds:

Apple EarPods:
From my point of view, the Apple EarPods are a bit underrated and often “thrashed” for no reason. For the ~ $30 they cost, they are actually rather decent sounding while of course not perfect (for example, the upper midrange elevation wouldn’t have been necessary and could have been a tad weaker), and their cable is definitely a weak point. However, their speed, tightness, resolution and separation is certainly not bad for the price at all, and I occasionally like to use my EarPods for sports (mainly running) because they are relatively comfortable (although I prefer to add Earhoox for improved fit and stability).

The Z&W earbuds have got the much better, more premium cable and a proper carrying case while the EarPods feature a very nice remote control and the more premium housings that definitely received a lot more hours of research and development. The EarPods, in contrast to the Z&W, also have a chin-slider.

The EarPods have got a lesser bass emphasis, are less warm/full in the root, have got the brighter midrange (due to a peak in the lower treble/upper midrange) and are darker than the Z&W earbuds in the middle and upper highs. One could definitely say that the Z&Ws’ tuning is more realistic when using the foam covers.

When it comes to bass, the Z&W appear a little more textured and detailed while the EarPods are slightly less “bouncy” and appear a bit quicker/tighter. Midrange resolution and speech intelligibility are a bit better on the Z&W as well, and the separation in the highs is also a bit cleaner on the Yinyoo.

The EarPods’ soundstage is wider while the Yinyoos’ is deeper.

MrZ Tomahawk (no foam covers):

The Tomahawk earbuds also come with a nice carrying case and shirt clip, however with more foam covers (that I do not use though).
While the Z&W earbuds have got the more premium cable, the Tomahawks’ has got a chin-slider. MrZ’s earbuds have got the much more premium feeling and looking housings that are made of metal instead of cheap chrome-lookalike plastic.

The Tomahawk earbuds have got less bass and warmth. The Z&W have got the fuller sounding lower midrange while the upper midrange is comparable (the Tomahawks’ is just slightly airier). The Tomahawk earbuds are less emphasised around 6 kHz and therefore less metallic in the highs and a bit brighter around 10 kHz (but not harsh or sibilant either and also feature a rather soft treble).

The Tomahawk earbuds resolve somewhat better in the midrange and treble. Their bass is tighter and a bit more detailed as well.

In terms of soundstage, the Z&W earbuds have got more spatial depth while the Tomahawk earbuds are slightly wider. In terms of separation and placement, both earbuds are on-par.


Conclusion:



The overall presentation is pretty good for the price: you get a nice carrying case, four pairs of foam/sponge covers, a really high quality cable that alone is already easily worth the money, and an adequately detailed presentation with a v-shaped sound signature that is quite well-made – however only if you are using the sponge/foam covers, else the treble will strike with too much brightness, glare and an unnatural timbre.
So if you are someone who likes to use foam/sponge covers with earbuds, the Yinyoo Z&W earbuds will be a nice purchase in the $30 range, however if you do not like to use foam/sponge covers, you should better stay away.

GearBest