Im not going to sit here and tell you I heard angels sing when I heard the Salnotes Zero. We need to be realistic and ask ourselves how 20-dollar headphones usually sound. The answer, of course, for the majority, is between awful and a steaming pile of ….
So given how I liked everything about the Salnotes Zero before this section of the review, all they need to do to impress me is sound Meh. They don’t, though. In reality, they have some flaws but sound oh so good for a budget earphone; it’s really quite impressive.
The tuning is but far the highlight, and they got it spot on for a do-everything budget earphone that still bumps and sounds fun.
The bass can thump in the sub-bass region but remains tight and composed even when playing music designed to rattle your brain. It doesn’t crush your mids either and displays ample speed to deal with EDM and pop songs.
The midrange is a smooth presentation that is less prominent than the low end. I tested it with a lot of acoustic music, vocal and non-vocal, and came away impressed. The warmth adds some intimacy, but they have a slightly thick quality that draws you into your music.
Treble is nothing to write home about; it’s present and smoothly rolled off, but that’s an area many cheap earphones fail at. Sibilance tests. Here there is no sibilance but no natural sparkle either. It’s a safe presentation and the right choice for an earphone at this price point because while this treble doesn’t wow, not killing my ears is a perfect trait.
Technical performance is where you get more bang for your buck, moving your budget to higher ground. The detail retrieval and imaging are nothing other than perfectly acceptable, but again we must consider that other earphones at this price point are downright terrible. I can listen to the Zero all day long, and as long as I don’t try to do technical listening, I’m going to be very happy. Especially as I rattle that extra coin in my pocket.
Are the 7Hz Salnotes Zero the best earphones under $20? Probably but definitely one of them. KZ and Tin have some excellent budget bangers, and then there’s the VE Monk if you want a different flavor.
The Zero hit in all the right places. Cool design, excellent build, and commendable sound. Whether buying them as a backup or a primary, they are definitely one of, if not the best, for the money in 2022.
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