As TRN’s sub-brand, FZ doesn’t fail to offer the same quality or even better as what TRN is doing with their releases. And in this article, I’ll be comparing two IEMs from FZ to help confused audiophiles determine which one has a sound that will best fit their preferences.
The FZ Liberty Max and the FZ Liberty Z2 are part of FZ’s Liberty product line. They almost share the same sound signature, which is V-shaped and I’ve already reviewed them separately. If you want to check out those reviews, I’ll link them here.
FZ Liberty Max vs. FZ Liberty Z2: Sound Signature
The FZ Liberty Max has a V-shaped sound signature with a little hint of warmth.
It has a decent amount and extension in the bass region but this isn’t enough to carry the energy of most tracks. The clarity and resolution of the lower region is another thing to note with this IEM.
The mid-bass isn’t as powerful as the sub-bass, but it’s still a great addition and contributes a lot to the warmth of the sound signature of the Liberty Max.
The midrange of the Max is okay – the instruments sound nice, but the male vocals are more forward than the female vocals. The treble also has a nice extension and doesn’t have any harsh peaks or sibilance, and the reason behind this is the lower region overpowering the highs.
The FZ Liberty Max is for you if:
- You like a warm V-shaped sound.
- You like your treble region elevated but free from harsh peaks.
- You like a safe-sounding earphone.
With the Liberty Z2, I’d say that its sound signature is more of a neutral V-shaped type.
Unlike the Liberty Max’s well-extended lows, the bass region of the Liberty Z2 lacks depth which causes the lack of rumble for the sub-bass and the punch for the mid-bass. Also, the note weight of the Liberty Z2 is lighter compared to the Liberty Max.
The midrange is recessed but not to the point where it’s considered laid-back. I also noticed the wideness of the midrange, which causes it to lack its tightness.
Going to the treble, for an IEM at this price, I think it’s decent enough but an improvement would be nice. The treble isn’t as energetic, unlike the Liberty Max but the good thing about this is that only minimal sibilance occurs.
The FZ Liberty Z2 is for you if:
- You like neutrality in your sound.
- You like a bit of sibilance in your highs.
- You like your sound less heavy.
FZ Liberty Max vs. FZ Liberty Z2: Sound Quality
These two IEMs almost have identical sound signatures, but what makes them unique from each other are the technicalities and the quality of sound they produce. Let’s discuss this further below.
With the FZ Liberty Max’s technicalities, I feel that its soundstage has nice width and depth. The layering and separation also do well and are above average considering its price.
Also, the noted weight of the bass is heavy, yet the clarity it produces is off the charts.
With the quality of the midrange, I first noticed the inequality in the presentation of the vocals. Male vocals tend to be more forward than female vocals. This is because of the heavy note weight that goes well with the lower note of the male vocals.
Meanwhile, the treble is pretty smooth and decent. Ride and crash cymbals are rendered with crisp and sparkle, but it could be better if you’d ask me. The treble also doesn’t roll off even at the busiest tracks.
The FZ Liberty Max is for you if:
- You like heaviness in your sound.
- You like male vocals to be more forward than females.
- You like your treble smooth.
The FZ Liberty Z2’s technicalities aren’t impressive as the Liberty Max. The soundstage of the Liberty Z2 isn’t that good and it also doesn’t have much width and height like the Liberty Max. The Liberty Z2’s layering and separation of instruments are decent, but the Liberty Max does it better.
Even though its technicalities aren’t as good, the Liberty Z2 does better in other aspects.
The bass is thick but also shallow. It has a nice rumble but lacks the dynamics that bass heads usually look for. Compared to the sub-bass, the mid-bass of the Liberty Z2 is more noticeable but lacks substantial details – it’s more quantitative than qualitative.
The midrange is also recessed like the Liberty Max and it suffers a similar problem wherein there’s an inequality in the presentation of the vocals. The difference is that the female vocals are more forward compared to the male vocals.
Despite the recession, instruments are still in front and presented with natural tonality and nice timbre.
With the treble, the high-resolution rendering of the highs produces a grainy sound and leads to a sound balance that is off. However, the presence and impact of the highs are still there. Sibilance is also minimal, which is good news for treble-sensitive listeners.
What I like most about the Liberty Z2 is that it sounds more natural than the Liberty Max.
The FZ liberty Z2 is for you if:
- You like your sound to be more natural.
- You like female vocals to be more forward than males.
- You like a treble that has high-resolution rendering.
FZ Liberty Max vs. FZ Liberty Z2: Caveats
These two IEMs are worth more than their price, but it all comes down to their cons.
The FZ Liberty Max’s downside would be its unnatural sound because of the overly done note weight of the lower region.
Another issue would be the earphone itself. When comparing the two IEMs, I noticed the lack of power in the volume of the Liberty Max compared to the Liberty Z2. At 60% volume, the Liberty Z2 can block most of the noises from outside, while the Liberty Max’s peak would be at 100%.
What’s good with the Liberty Max is its technicalities, such as the sound staging and layering. They’re nicely tuned and do a lot considering the IEM’s price.
Moving to the Liberty Z2, I think it’s a toned-down version of the Liberty Max in terms of its technicalities. It also has a decent soundstage, but less massive than the Liberty Max. The layering and separation were also good, but the Liberty Max does it more smoothly.
What stood out with the Liberty Z2 is that its sound was more natural than the Liberty Max.
For me, the better choice would be the Liberty Max. The only problem with this IEM is the unnatural sound, but all in all, the nicely done technicalities and warm V-shaped tuning defeat the Liberty Z2.
Ultimately, it’s all up to the listener’s preference.
If you want an IEM without an overwhelming experience, go for the FZ Liberty Max but if you prefer a high-resolution and natural-sounding IEM, go for the FZ Liberty Z2.
Shaik, a college student, part-time musician, and proud fur parent. Currently pursuing his degree in architecture.
As a part-time musician, Shaik enjoys expressing his self creatively through music. Whether it's writing original songs or performing covers, music is a significant part of Shaik's life