It's nice to see V-Moda get back into the IEM market having been on the sidelines for four years or so. Previous offerings were solid but really not worthy of the V-Moda name if I'm being completely honest.
As you probably figured out, Zn means Zinc as on the periodic table and does actually mean something in regards to the headphones. Each dynamic driver is wrapped in the stuff, and V-Moda is firm on the idea that due to the "unique hardness and resonance nature" the buds deliver a more balanced sound."
These are IEM's for the mobile audiophile that demands better sound from their buds. They have even gone so far as to include some detachable ear hooks to keep them in place during exercise or more rambunctious activity. Even non-audiophiles are going to appreciate the sophisticated design and detail of the new V-Moda Zn. They just look and sound fantastic.
You are getting the best of both worlds, the functionality of a sports headphone and the sound quality of higher end audiophile sound quality of more expensive IEMs. The new 8 mm dynamic drivers deliver incredible balance and accuracy. I listened to every genre of music from classical to punk rock looking for weaknesses and found the Zn's capable across all of them.
The Zn's come with what they call BLISS 3.0 tips (Bass Level Isolating Soft Silicone) that help to keep in that bass and keep out the annoying outside noise. In other words, these tips create a great seal and help to maximize the quality of the driver's clarity and punchy bass.
The "diamond-back" cable is not just for aesthetics; it's quite good at remaining untangled, unlike most buds that turn into a clumpy mess when stowed. There’s a reinforcing fabric weave (Kevlar) that wraps around the length of the cable and V-Moda claims it to be 20x stronger than the industry standard.
The cable comes in both a one button and three button control for iOS users, and both feature a very sensitive mic. So if you need to take a call when you are out running or in a loud area, the mic will work quite well.
Ear hooks? Yes, these have always been an iffy proposition for me but the Zn's offer them up for the more active audiophiles. I've always been against sweating in my nice headphones, but these might change my mind, we'll see.
The Zn's come in at a very reasonable $180 MSRP considering their quality sound and construction. I've tested a lot of IEMs at this price point, and they just don't compare.
The Zn's do one thing that the others just don't touch, BASS. These little guys hit hard, and they make the music sound bright and exciting. The soundstage is also incredible, you can just close your eyes and feel like you are at the show or in the studio. Even in spite of owning considerably higher priced earphones, the Zn’s bass reproduction blows me away. The impact is tremendous. If you’re even remotely a bass-head but also value detail and other nuances in your music, you will fall in love these headphones.
These are not for someone looking for a flat or reference-like sound, these are dynamic IEMs that bring excitement to your music. Big bright sound with bottom heavy bass that will blow you away. You are going to have a tough time finding anything better for under $200