2020 has been a strange year for all of us.
For me, who has always been into music and listening to tunes - intimately and not just on the radio - for at least 2 hours every day, it has allowed me to indulge myself with some audio toys.
This post by me on www.head-fi.org probably shows how far I have fallen down the audiophile rabbit hole...
My ears seem to be contrary to the popular consensus and my initial reaction was my Nios + mx had the edge over the Z1Rs - and after having spent alot more time with them I'm still of this opinion (including the Nio with the m15 apex (which is my preference)).
The Nios seem brighter with better mids to my ears - I like to hear words when they're meant to be heard - eg the ansaphone message in the chromatics "there's a light out on the horizon".
Or "aound [sic] for the aesthetic" by VANT.... Nio just does it better imo.
I completely agree with the consensus re the bass - Z1R is better/more controlled but not by much.
I don't like to eq - prefer bit perfect. No spikes in the treble for my 54 year ears. Comfort and seal is fine now I've done some tip rolling - smaller is better.
Honestly - if I'd got the Z1Rs first I would have stopped looking but I was put off by the fit issues reported by people and the Nios just looked like they'd be really comfortable (which they are) and up my street re the bass- I wasn't expecting to get everything else too - mids and highs (both IEMs)! Shocker!
Unfortunately for my pocket I got the Nios first; but I just had to audition the Z1Rs because of all the positive reviews everywhere.
They're sufficiently different and both excellent to justify me keeping both. But if I could only keep one pair it would be the Nios. Finally, anyone reading these posts and holding off on pressing the trigger on a kilobuck iem like either of these because you can't imagine they will be much better than say the fearless s8pro (circa £400 retail) or acscustom emotions (circa £800 retail), which I bought, don't worry. They are!
If you can get hold of something like this do it - you won't be disappointed! Not maybe worth twice as much but a significant jump up in quality - like moving from a standard definition tv to HDTV, except for your 's