Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition Review
After recently reviewing the new HBB edition of the RaptGo Hook-X, I’m setting my sights on the Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition. I had a pretty good impression of the original Tangzu Wu Zetian, which I thought was a fun little piece that carried its $150 value exceptionally well. With the new HBB edition of the Wu Zetian seeing a price hike to $200, I’m cautiously curious as to whether the IEM carries the same value held in the original. We’ll be taking a peek inside the box, going over physical and technical design, throwing in comparisons with the original, and most importantly, going over what the Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition sounds like.
What’s in the Box?
- Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition IEMs
- 1.2 meter 2 pin cable with modular jacks
- 2.5, 3.5, and 4.4mm jacks
- 3 Pairs of “Balanced” Silicone Eartips
- 3 Pairs of “Bass Enhanced” Silicone Eartips
- 1 Pair of “Foams” Eartips
Look and Feel
Let’s start with what hasn’t changed: the Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition has the same crescent shape and size as the original Wu Zetian. The fit is easy and casual, and leaves me with nothing to complain about. It’s comfy, and provides a symmetrical fit into my moderately asymmetrical ear canals.
When it comes to style, build, and cable, we’re seeing some very welcome upgrades. The IEM shell is now cased in aluminum, giving the housing a noticeably more durable quality. It also gives the IEMs a new steely metallic shine, which, at least to me, looks much cooler and more serious than the kind of kitschy purple metallic look featured on the original edition. The case is now black and gold instead of red and gold, and the cable is light blue rather than brown. This new color scheme is far more cohesive than the original, and helps me see the new Wu Zetian as a respectable IEM rather than as a toy.
My favorite upgrade to see in the accessory department is the inclusion of a cable with 2.5, 3.5, and 4.4mm interchangeable jacks. The original Wu Zetian featured a cable with only one, non-interchangeable 3.5mm unbalanced jack. What’s more, the cable seems to have a great build: braided, well insulated, and sturdily connects to the interchangeable jacks.
The new build, look and cable sets the Wu Zetian Heyday Edition off to a pretty promising start.
Technical Design and Specs
The HBB edition of the Wu Zetian features a new tuning designed by HBB. The 14.5mm planar driver from the original edition has remained the same, but now features OCC joint wire in the speaker. Tangzu says these changes were made in pursuit of a more balanced signature with better resolution. Let’s see how that pans out.
|Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition
|14.5mm Planar Driver
|20 Hz – 20 kHz
Starting with imaging and staging, there are already some obvious upgrades from the original Zetian Wu. While I found the original to keep a linear, left-right stage, the Heyday edition pushes some depth into its imaging. This isn’t a crazy depth that extends into the room around you, but rather stays close to the head. With the original, I would describe pans as passing through my head, whereas the Heyday edition has the propensity to send pans closely in front of me and across my face. Even the modest amount of depth offered in the Zetian Wu Heyday Edition’s stage brings angular, spatial qualities into play that were absent from the original. The stage is still modest, but is nonetheless impressive and above average for a $200 IEM.
As literature from Tangzu suggests, bass and treble response alike were lightly attenuated for the Heyday edition. Interestingly, I wouldn’t say that the Heyday edition sounds less bassy; rather, the adjustments made to the lows and highs do more to elevate the midrange. The original Wu Ze Tian had a somewhat hollow sound with a distinctly V shaped tuning – fun for pop and electronic, but a bit limiting for other genres. While the Heyday edition may still be V shaped on paper, it carries this tuning with a lot more couth, giving more room for its mid range to add meat to mixes without detracting from it’s impactful, boom-bap lows and highs.
Aside from a new found presence in the mid range, the low end on the Heyday edition stood out to me for its improved resolution and detail retrieval. Where the original Zetian Wu was fixated on power and speed, the Heyday edition retains these qualities while exhibiting more refined low end timbre details. In short, low end has simply been tightened.
The new edition is capable of the same fun, bombastic sound as the original, but carries it out with less artificial flavor. One improvement that I was particularly appreciative of was the mid range amplitude relative to the treble amplitude. On the original Wu Zetian, acoustic guitars frequently scratched around their strummy, washboard-like transients but lacked a mid range body to back it up. The Wu Zetian Heyday edition still retains this tappy emphasis on transients, but places them on top of a new and well articulated mid range.
Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition Overall
The Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition certainly did not disappoint. I frequently find I’m let down by new editions of previous releases that sport significantly higher price tags, but Tangzu and HBB really delivered, giving the Heyday edition value that’s equal to, or perhaps greater than, the original. The new look, build, and cable would have gone a long way in winning me over, but hearing the sonic improvements for myself leaves me particularly impressed. The Tangzu x HBB Wu Zetian Heyday Edition does the original justice, and is one of my favorite additions to the $200 class of IEMs to have come out in recency.