Review - Fosi Audio SK02

Review - EPZ Q5

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TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - EPZ Q5

The EPZ Q5 have been sent to me directly by EPZ for me to try them out and to share my opinions in this review. EPZ have made no requests and understand that I publish my honest opinions, good or bad, where I try to stay as unbiased as humanly possible.

The Q5 are available from the official EPZ store on Aliexpress here: https://es.aliexpress.com/item/1005005790619423.html

As with all links I share, this is a non-affiliate link.

To avoid being repetetive in my reviews, you can find all the info about how I create the reviews, equipment used, how I receive the products and how to interpret my reviews by visiting: About my reviews


Intro…

EPZ are a company that I really didn’t know anything about except for having seen a few images of the actual IEM I am reviewing today. I have not read any reviews of their products, nor seen any measurements, and when they reached out to me to offer to send a couple of models, saying that I had been recommended by a friend in Spain, I honestly didn’t know who they were.

I am always interested in trying out things I know nothing about, as long as it doesn’t involve any drama from the people who want to send it. This is something that happens more than you can guess, with people requesting all kinds of things that I just politely decline. I do this for fun and if I can’t review something on my own terms and be totally honest about it, well, there are plenty of other things out there to try out. I am not anyone special as a reviewer, I don’t have tens of thousands of followers, but the one thing I do have is a job that is nothing to do with my reviews (although it is audio related), so I don’t need to make any income from the reviews (in fact, I actually lose money) and I certainly don’t need any more stress than my real job brings me. So if I can’t have fun, then I’ll do something else.

But anyway, as always, I am rambling on about nothing of value to this review and the only reason I started on this tangent is because EPZ reached out to me and I knew nothing about them but as they were very easy going and just wanted me to check out their stuff, I was happy to do so.

The Q5 that I am reviewing today (yes, this is an actual review, not just me going on about irrelevant things) is available on their Aliexpress store for around 55€ at the time of putting this review together. Their listing says that it is a “10mm dual magnetic circuit dual cavity ceramic carbon nano piezoelectric horn”, it is actually a 10mm dynamic driver, so I am not sure where the piezoelectric horn comes into play. Other specs are listed as having a 109db sensitivity with a 26 Ohm impedance.

My search on Google didn’t actually bring back any stores that seem to carry the Q5 other than Aliexpress and Amazon Japan, although I may be missing something.

So, let’s take a look at this set of IEMs that falls outside the ultra-budget category of sub 50€, but only just.


Presentation…

As always, I like to point out when something is different in the presentation side of things and the box of the Q5 is actually quite unique, at least in comparison to IEMs that I have received.

The outer cardboard sleeve is nothing unusual, although it does feature a largish design in bronze, with the model, make and information that EPZ started in 2019 (so they are not new). There is also a slogan that reads “Sound for the custom pleasure in it”, which is the usual case of something that is probably a very nice phrase in Chinese losing elegance once translated.

On the sides there are some basic specs and also a 5th anniversary logo, while on the back we get the graph and more detailed specs. All of these are in the same bronze colour.

Upon removing the outer sleeve is where things get interesting with the box. Rather than a lift off lid, or some kind of sliding system, the box actually hinges in the middle, with the two halves of the top dropping to the sides and the center popping up. This reveals the a small card cover that opens like the front of a booklet, which shows Q5 in the center and reads “Five years of prosperity and glory” underneath, again, all in the same bronze colour.

I find the way the box opens to be rather unique, although it doesn’t make it too easy to access the contents. The main part of the box reveals the IEMs in their foam cutouts, with a semirigid storage case beneath with the cable and 6 sets of tips. In the bottom of the box, an accessories box if included that contains the documentation, user manual and a microfiber cloth.


Build and aesthetics…

The first time I came across a photo of these IEMs, they were the black version and  it was in the Meze Advar thread on Head-Fi where somebody pointed out how blatantly similar to the Advar they are. There is no denying that the aesthetics are almost identical to those of the Advar, which means they are a very good looking set of IEMs.

The EPZ are well built, with a 3D printed resin shell that honestly looks like ceramic, with that same bronze look in the center circle. They even use the same text around that center circle in this case reading “EPZ Audio started in 2019”.

The version I received is the white one which I personally think looks even better than the black one, with bronze coloured hardware on the white cable that matches the IEMs.

Honestly, these IEMs look great, seem to be very well built and give an impression of being of a much higher price point than they actually are, it is such a shame that they decided to copy the Advar aesthetics as they seem to be capable of making high build quality. I know that they are certainly not the only company that does this but it doesn’t make it any better.


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, etc.)

Getting past the negativity of the copying of the Advar in the aesthetics department, we can forget all references to the Romanian brand and judge the Q5 on their own merits. They are not similar in sound to the Meze in any way (or in price point), but that does not mean that are not a good set of IEMs for what they bring to the table at their price point.

As always, let’s start off with a look at the graph comparing them to my usual preference:

The subbass is present at a level that I find more than adequate, with a performance in the lower ranges that is very respectable for a set of IEMs at this price point. It may not be the most amazing subbass out there but it is difficult to really pick faults with it. “Chameleon” shows the lower notes to be fairly quick and controlled, with the low ranges not affecting the overall performance of the IEM.

The midbass is similar in its performance, with a clean response that has just enough body to give a little bit extra to the lower notes of the acoustic instruments that I enjoy. “Crazy” being my usual fatigue test for midbass does not come across as overly present and is well controlled, meaning that this frequency range does not become fatiguing for me.

The transition into the mids is clean, however, there is a slight lack of presence in mids that can leave certain vocals a little hollow, especially due to the response we get as we climb into the higher mids and lower treble.

The upper mids range is just a touch too high but it would not really be an issue is it wasn’t for the peak at 5kHz as we go above it.

Yes, my dreaded 5k peak! It has been a while since I listened to a set of IEMs with such an emphasis on 5kHz and I’m afraid I find it very uncomfortable. The higher notes of electric guitars, vocals and even percussion comes across as very harsh and it is something that I find I am allergic to. It really makes the Q5 a difficult listen for me.

Moving past the 5kHz mark, there is also quite a bit of presence in the upper treble, which does add air and brilliance to the sound but at the same time it sums up to the upper mids and 5k peak, putting a large emphasis on these ranges and making things come across as very bright.

While I wouldn’t say that the lower range is lacking, at least not for my preferences, it is not enough to counteract the upper ranges and these lead to a tuning that can make the result harsh and even quite thin.


Conclusion…

I have said it in the past many times, I am someone who suffers a lot from 5kHz peaks and the Q5 puts a lot of emphasis on that exact frequency, maybe it could be called the Q5K 😉

This means that I have a major issue in being able to enjoy these IEMs, which I feel is a shame, because I think they are a well built and good performing set of IEMs, even if I am not keen on what they have done with the aethetics (not because I don’t like them, I love them, just that they are not original).

I do have another set of EPZ IEMs that I haven’t listened to yet and I hope that the things that stop me from enjoying this set are resolved on that set, but I guess I will let you know when I find out.


All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link
 
All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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