This year I have been seeing a lot of output from the 7HZ brand, with new products coming out at a pretty rapid pace. It has only been a few weeks since I covered their last IEM, the Salnotes Dioko, and they already have another model for me to listen to. This time 7HZ is using the Salnotes name to bring forth a new twenty-dollar IEM with audiophile characteristics called the Zero. More of these have been popping up, such as the Moondrop Chu, further expanding the budget-fi marketplace. Is the Salnotes Zero a worthy addition to that selection?
What You Get
- Salnotes Zero
- 2pin cable with 3.5mm headphone jack
- 5 pairs of silicone tips
Look and Feel
Each new 7HZ IEM has had an interesting design, but the Zero has a much more standard appearance in comparison. The build of the shell still has a coolness to it, but it never appears as striking as other models in 7HZ’s library. While the Zero might have a more plasticky look and feel to them, that only makes up the main chasis of the IEM. The faceplate is completely stainless steel, which adds to the Zero’s overall value as well as style. This is also the most ergonomic fit for 7HZ and feels the most simple to wear. Expect good support and comfort for multiple hours.
The Salnotes Zero uses a 10mm dynamic driver with a metal composite diaphragm. It is tuned using an N52 magnet for a more accurate response.
- Impedance: >32ohm
- Sound pressure level: 108dB/v@1kHz
- Frequency response range: 10-20000Hz
Recently there have been some twenty-dollar earphones that have gone above and beyond with their soundstage. Forming a certain expectation with 7HZ, I wasn’t let down by the Zero. Of course, it doesn’t do too much outside the realm of standard clear imaging, and it won’t knock your socks off with its spaciousness. However, the Zero should be lauded for how well it organizes everything going into it. All of the sound elements come through in a space that feels totally representative of the intended mix, with solid positioning and even takes on some slight airiness that helps open the stage a bit more. It still has a more linear presentation, but a standard stereo image with some good layering is more than you are going to get on most twenty-dollar IEMs.
Nothing about this bass is going to pop right out at you, but it does a good job of establishing a body to the frequency response. There’s some clear presence to the lows here, but the energy of the frequencies can vary. It is not a very sizable response but is still able to showcase some grip from underneath, with a smooth textural appearance that shakes up the tone well for some satisfying impact.
I was pleasantly surprised by how full and natural the midrange came across on the Zero. A good amount of gain is given to most elements in the fundamental and upper-midrange area. This helps bring out the instruments and vocals significantly, granting more drive to the performance for higher engagement with their timbre. The sound elements come through clearly and with strong definition, resulting in a performance with a distinguished identity.
Although some may not be fond of the bite the treble shows, I believe the Zero to have a gratifying high-end spark. It’s admirable for an IEM to show some extended detail in the highs without being overtly bright, but some should be aware of the peaks that do cut through the timbre at times. I’ve always been okay with a bit of peakiness in my treble, so I never found it to be a problem here. I enjoyed its height and flavor, appearing crisp and refined for a twenty-dollar IEM.
You really can’t critisize much with a nice sounding twenty dollar earphone. Cheaper audiophile IEMs have been an ongoing theme this year, and the Salnotes Zero definitely won’t be the last. For now, I particularly enjoyed the Zero for its great clarity and reliability. A great pic if you’re looking for something affordable with more detail than what is normally warranted.
The 7HZ Salnotes Zero is available from Linsoul.
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