TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - Ziigaat Nuo
The Ziigaat Nuo have been sent to me by Linsoul for me to try out and share my opinions in this review. No special requests have been made and, as always, I will do my best to be as unbiased as possible.
You can find a link to the Ziigaat Nuo via Linsoul by visiting the version of this review published on my blog. As always, it 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
Anyone who follows the budget segment of IEMs will have noticed that suddenly Ziigaat is appearing in a lot of posts and conversations. While the brand name may be new, they have actually been around for quite a while, producing IEMs for other brands that are more commonly known in the IEM world.
Recently they brought out a few models under their own brand name and have made quite some noise on the scene, in a good way. As always, it is possible that a lot of the excitement is part of the FOTM but, even so, it can’t be denied that they have built themselves a good name in a very short time period.
The Nuo, which is the model I have here today, is a 10mm LCP dynamic driver that has been designed in house by them, showing that they are not just grabbing a driver and printing a shell for it. The Nuo is also priced at a very low 20€, which places it well inside what I consider the ultra-budget range (sub 50€).
So how does it fare against some of the other very capable sets at this price? Well, I guess that is what we are here to find out.
If you are looking for a beautiful and elegant presentation, well, this is not one of those cases. The outer sleeve of the box reminds be of a blank VHS from the 80s, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just that it is not going to win any prizes here.
The contents are ground breaking either, containing the IEMs, a simple black cable and 3 sets of simple black silicone tips. Even the included documentation, in other words the warranty card, is just a small piece of paper printed on both sides.
But none of this is a complaint! With a budget of 20€ (well, a lot less than that at cost price), I certainly don’t expect, or want, them to spend it on things that are not connected to the sound performance.
Build and aesthetics…
Moving on to the IEMs, there is nothing really flashy going on here either. Using simple black semi- translucid shells, with plain black face placetes that show the Ziigaat logo on one side and “ZiiPluse Series NUO” on the other, both in white, they are not offensive but do not look like the cost more than they do either.
The cable follows the same strategy, a simple rubber black twist that turns to single after the split, is fitted with metal connectors and hardware, along with a plastic chin slider. Again, nothing that stands out.
What I will say is that they are extremely light and they are also very comfortable in my ears. The included tips are nothing special but work well with the IEMs, lending to an overall “simple but works” set up.
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.)
Now we get to the good part, the sound that these IEMs can give us for just 20€. The may have a bit of an emphasis on the higher ranges on occasions but in general they are pretty well balanced and stay very clean throughout the whole spectrum.
Here is the usual look at the graph of their frequency response in comparison to my usual preference as reference:
Starting off from the bottom, there is not a huge amount of rumble although the subbass is present. There is a lot of cleanliness in the lower ranges, subbass and midbass, which may give the sensation that there is less bass than there actually is, however, when tracks hit hard in those lower ranges, the NUO don’t hold back.
With my obligatory “Chameleon” test, there is no huge wall of subbass, yet you can still appreciate the notes that are hitting down low, they are just clean and articulate, and that runs into the midbass also.
Listening to “Long After You’re Gone”, there is body to the guitar, along with a sensation of punch when the body is tapped, yet it is clean. In fact, they remind me a lot of the 7Hz Zero (the originals) in the way that the low end is presented, just with a slight movement of focus from the subbass to the midbass.
There is no fatigue from the midbass, with the electric guitar of “Crazy” having that low end reverb which is easily appreciated yet not overpowering. The midbass and the mids in general are possibly the most impressive part about the NUO. Not due to quantity but quality in this price range.
The mids do not seem to be scooped out or miss anything at all, with male and female vocals sounding very articulate yet natural. The detail in these ranges is also very impressive for a set of 20€ IEMs, with things like the electronic bass of “No Sanctuary Here” sounding impressive and punchy but not taking away from the natural sound of actual bass guitars.
As we move through the upper mids, they again remind me a lot of the 7Hz Zero, a set that I really like the upper mid tuning of. Things are nice and upfront but not overly harsh, not taking away the spotlight from those lower ranges, presenting a nice balance to my ears.
As we move into the treble areas, here is where things are not quite how I would like them to be. There is a nice sensation of air and extension yet it is a little peaky, giving a bit of a synthetic touch to some tracks and overly emphasizing sibilance on other tracks such as “Hope Is A Dangerous Thing”.
Depending on the music of choice, this can lead to some fatigue. If the songs are already mixed towards the brighter side of things then the upper ranges can be overly ephasized and can lead to them becoming tiring over longer sessions.
As I said, detail is very respectable in the lower and mid ranges, with it being also pretty decent in the higher ranges also, just with the risk of coinciding with certain peaks that can give it a bit of a fake feel, again, depending on the music chosen.
I wouldn’t say that these have a very large soundstage yet they do manage to provide a sensation of space between layers with tracks like “Strange Fruit”. Here the vocals are very close together but don’t seem to be standing on one another, keeping a nice separation between those vocal layers.
There really are some amazing sets of IEMs available in the ultra budget range and I think that the Ziigaat NUO certainly deserve to share a table with them. I can’t say that they are the best 20€ IEMs that I have ever heard but that is definitely down to personal preference and not due to clear performance issues between the sets.
The NUO give far more than anyone would have ever guessed possible from a set of 20€ IEMs not long ago, and even now, when there are multiple sets of great IEMs at this price point, they are still up there amongst the best.
I think some people may find them a little tiring if their music selection doesn’t do well with the focus towards the upper ranges, but again, that is going to be due to personal preference (in music and tuning) and not because the IEMs are not worthy of their price point.
There is a reason why Ziigaat is getting a lot of mention lately and the NUO are another part of that reason.
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