New Arrival! 100% Original KZ ZS3, Limited Quantity!!! Brand name: KZ Model: ZS3 Impedance: 18Ω...

KZ-ZS3 Hifi High-End 3.5mm In-Ear Earphone Headphones Earpiece Original Headset Bass Earbuds With Microphone

Average User Rating:
4.4/5,
  • New Arrival! 100% Original KZ ZS3, Limited Quantity!!! Brand name: KZ Model: ZS3 Impedance: 18Ω Earphone sensitivity: 98dB±2dB Frequency range: 20-45000Hz Interface: 3.5mm Gilded Plug Type: L curved Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm Products include: 1 * KZ ZS3 headphones(with mic) 6 * earmuffs

Recent User Reviews

  1. Viber
    5.0/5,
    "The ultimate Entertainment budget IEMs?"
    Pros - Great build quality, better cable than most Kz sets, very good for most genres of music, amazing for gaming and movies
    Cons - Memory wire takes an adjustment period, wish these came with a bag.
    I got these earphones as a review unit from Gearbest.com, i specifically requested to review these in light of my positive testing of my friend's KZ ATR which is a model below the ZS3.

    I wholeheartedly recommend buying from GB as they always provided me with the proper support\warranty\refunds for the products i bought from them.


    Product page:
    http://www.gearbest.com/on-ear-over-ear-headphones/pp_436717.html


    On to the review:

    Package\accessories:

    These came in a cardboard box. Inside you can find S\M\L sized silicone tips and the detachable cable.


    Z2.jpg

    Sound:

    At first I plugged them into my HRT HeadStreamer DAC/AMP and I was pleasantly surprised at how good these sounded without any EQ or burn in period. They provide a thick sound with an elevated Bass region, yet the Mids and Highs are very much alive as well.


    I think these do scale up with better equipment as they sounded better on the HRT than on my MOTO G (1st gen).


    Surprisingly, the biggest strongpoint of the ZS3 turned out to be performance in Movies in Gaming due to their great imaging. Action scenes in movies were very enjoyable as you can hear everything in the environment of the scene: from the crickets in the woods to the placements of gunshots being fired.

    In Gaming these proved to be even better, I played a multiplayer FPS game and I felt as if the ZS3 really gave me a "sonic image" of whatever was going around me.
    I was on the stairs leading to a 2nd floor of a building yet I could clearly hear that a flashbang was being thrown in the lower room to my left and I could hear the gunfight between the 2 other players. I could also hear the location of aircrafts above me without looking at the minimap.




    Z4.jpg

    Bass: The bass Is powerful and clean, very enjoyable for various Electronic genres. (Grade: 5/5)


    Midrange (500hz-2.5K): The Mids on these are full bodied, enjoyable and well separated from the bass even though these are a V-shaped set (Grade: 4.7/5)


    Upper Midrange (~2.5khz-5.2khz): This area is a bit harsher on the ZS3 as it is with all of the budget IEMs I ever tried, I tend to EQ it down by a bit on all of my earphones.

    Having said that, the ZS3 probably took the smallest EQ cut in this region to sound pleasant to my ears (about -1.5db) so maybe it's just my personal sensitivity to these frequencies. (Grade: 4.3/5)


    Treble: The Highs on these are fairly smooth/pleasant rather than harsh/detailed and are meant for long listening sessions, yet I don't find any lack of energy in this region. (Grade: 4.5/5)


    Fit:

    These took me a bit of time and practice to get used to, but after a few times of using them it became second nature to install them in my ears and deal with the memory wire.

    Verdict:
    I really like these so i rated them 5/5.
    I view the ZS3 as a "must buy" and i think i'm going to buy a 2nd pair as backup.
    Sometimes when they're inside my ears I wonder if they're worth 9$ or 50$. :L3000:









    peskypesky likes this.
  2. kevingzw
    4.5/5,
    "Hi-Fi sound without the hefty price tag!"
    Pros - Lively and Engaging, Sparkly Vocals, Shimmery Cymbals and Above-average Seperation, Comfort and Fitment, Detachable Cable
    Cons - Glossy fingerprint magnet, Unnatural Highs on some tracks, Lack of a carry-case
    What's with the tacky company name:
     
    From what I gathered, Knowledge Zenith (KZ) is an infamous name in the budget Chinese Hi-fi community. Directly rivaling the likes of Xiaomi, 1More and other Chinese Conglomerates, KZ specializes in the mass manufacture of wallet-friendy earphones for the consumer who isn't willing to fork out copious amounts of cash for gaudy looking, multi-driver earphones. Over the past 3 years, the head-fi community has constantly sung praises with regards to the company's simple offerings and its no-nonsense approach in manufacturing. No frills, no pretention. What you hear is what you get.
     
    This is most definitely the case with the KZ Zs3, one of their latest offerings in the Southeast Asian Market. 
     
     
     
    Accessories
     

    The Accessories Package
     
     
     
    1 X Kz3 Drivers
    1 X 2-Recessed pin detachable cable
    3 X Pair of rubber tips
    1 X Instruction manual 
     
    With a 20 dollar iem, it is somewhat expected that the product at hand would have a sparse offering of accessories. The no frills ideology adopted by KZ is somewhat understandable. Corners had to be cut to produce a budget-friendly product. However, in light of recent iem offerings by Fiio with their F1 and F3 earphones, I expect at least a carrying case to be provided. Apart from the lack of a carrying case, the accessories included are enough to get you started. 
     
     
     
    Build Quality and Design
     

    Inear's Stagediver Series 
     
     
    Stealing its innovation from a reputable German company, Inear-Monitoring, the driver housings are shaped like the concha of our ears, replicating the signature "custom-universal" fitment of the Inear line of iems. The fitment of the actual earpieces are surprisingly comfortable. The weight of each driver is feather light, with its weight evenly spread across the ear. The cables are worn over-ear, with a recessed 2-pin connector cable. For 20 dollars, a detachable cable is unheard off, let alone a 2-pin cable commonly utilized in custom iems. The cable sheathing is springy and retains memory, clumping together like a ball of tangled wires. Despite its shoddy cables, the earphones themselves are smartly designed. 
     
     
     
    Sound Quality:
     
    Audio Setup:  Cowon Plenue D
                          Aune X1S + Spotify Premium 
                          Sony Xperia Z5 + Fiio K1
     
    My Selected Playlist:
     
    Moanin by Art Blakey and His Messengers (Imaging/Sound-stage)
    Lover Killer by My Brightest Diamond (Female Vocals)
    Loose (Remastered) by The Stooges (Fatigue)
    Handyman Blues by Billy Bragg (Male Vocals)
     
    Like my previous reviews, my summarized impressions will be featured at the end of this review. Do take note that I am not a firm believer in burn-in. YMMV. The Kz3 has 18 ohms of impedance and it is easily driven by weak sources. Like other dynamic drivers, more juice= more power. I would encourage other head-fiers to test the Kz3 both amped and un-amped. 
     
    Imaging/Sound-stage: Surprisingly, the Kz3 impressed me on first listen. The soundstage wasn't the most expansive "left-right" experience. However, the height and spacing between various instruments hit way above its pay grade. The overall sound was coherent, slightly bombastic with a punchy mid-bass region. Art Blakey's drum section comes to life, with the Kz3's enhanced V-shape sound signature. The wind section featured in the track had ample sparkle and airy treble for it to sound pronounced. Overall, the Kz3 left me impressed with its outstanding performance. I'll take this over "faux" channel separation any day.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Female Vocals: First off, I am a huge fan of My Brightest Diamond (aka Shara Nova) of Asthmatic Kitty Records, This test meant a lot to me and it's safe to say that the Kz3 did the track justice. The melodic trumpets and groovy bassline sounded lively and energetic, bereft of any sibilance or harshness. Cymbals and other instruments that are higher in pitch sound a little thinny, lacking a meaty mid-range for more accurate timbre. Shara's vocals, on the other hand, is presented in a forward manner, with her voice at the forefront. Not the greatest listen, but it certainly is the greatest relative to its low price point. 
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    Fatigue: The Stooges are the epitome of unadulterated rock and roll. Sharp snares, howling vocals and a cavalcade of messy power chords permeate their discography. With the track "Loose", there is no exception to that rule. The Kz3 presents the Stooges in a more "melodic" light. The bombastic basslines are present, the snares toned down a notch, Iggy Pop's wails sounding a tad timider than the original hotly mastered recordings. Nonfatiguing and musically engaging, the Kz3 does a great job at taming poorly recorded tracks. 
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    Male Vocals: Billy Bragg is an English Americana Singer-songwriter. Handyman blues is one of my favorite track of his in recent years. The low-end of his guitar is thick and heavy, with each pluck of the string resonating audibly with authority and presence. His mellow vocal range paired with his ballad-like guitar rhythm suits the elevated bass-response of the Kz3. It emphasizes the low notes well with superb tonality. A fine track on a fine pair of earphones.
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
     
    In Conclusion:
     
    After a barrage of tests from many different sources, I can simply say the Kz3 is a fine addition to any collection. Its forgiving price tag, solid build quality, and engaging sound signature are enough to warrant a purchase. Alongside my Fostex te-04's, this serves as a fine respite from my daily drivers. 
     
    The sound is engaging. lively and energetic. The shimmery treble while detailed enough, lacks any harsh peaks. The mids are present, without any shouty upper mids. The bass has a nice mid-hump that doesn't bleed into the mids (for me at least). It is any easy must have for the budget oriented audio enthusiast. The Kz3 is an excellent pair of earphones and is easily KZ's best offering yet. For the head-fiers that are interested in snagging a pair, do follow the links listed below: 
     
     
    AliExpress: 
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2016-Original-KZ-ZS3-Noise-Cancelling-Headset-With-Mic-Hifi-Sport-In-ear-Earphone-Dynamic-Driver/32679857635.html?scm=1007.13339.60109.0&pvid=8f606813-4754-4a21-9a4c-58853e86e7ef&tpp=1&src=google&albch=search&acnt=479-062-3723&isdl=y&aff_short_key=UneMJZVf&albcp=266121556&albag=7593673036&slnk=&trgt=dsa-42862830006&plac=&crea=64152518716&netw=g&device=c&mtctp=b&memo1=1t1&gclid=Cj0KEQiAgJTGBRDLr5_az_Ouk44BEiQAIxaA4hOzwedgAWjbaaFYkfuUUdZVg557K-A_cRRCR7O_NFoaAsDe8P8HAQ
  3. gemmoglock
    4.0/5,
    "Fun sounding affordable IEMs"
    Pros - Fun sound fits instrumental music well, sound is controllable with EQ and other tweaks, less than 18USD
    Cons - Bass is more controlled than the other KZs but can still be boomy, stock cables limit sound, troublesome fit/tip adjustment
    This is my first review so bear with any shortcomings please! I have had countless advice from many KZ owners that I can't fully keep track of, but I should definitely credit our common space the KZ thread. I know that many people have different view on the same IEMs due to fit, preferences, production flukes etc so if there are different view I want to clarify I'm not rejecting them, just adding my own for everyone to consider and interpret :) Specs: 18ohm impedence, 20-45000hz frequency range 108db/mw sensitvity 8mm DD (may be inaccurate due to inaccuracy of translations etc)
     

     
    First things first, my music preferences and purchase background:
    I listen to almost anything except heavy metal. Currently I favour pop with a EDM/house twist (Ellie Goulding, Flo Rida, Robin Schulz), vocals (Sara Bareilles, Jackie Evancho, Pixie Lott), jazz (Hiromi, Nikki Yanofsky, Steve Gadd, Keiko Matsui), musicals and soundtracks (even Frozen?!) and classical music.
    Given this range it is horrid finding good cheap earphones due to the wide gamut. Flat signatures are incredibly boring to listen to and sometimes do not do justice to the music anyway, while fun signature don't fit all my tastes. I was tiring of the one-dimensional, mid-centric approach (albeit smooth and singable vocals) my Aurvanas gave and wanted some of the kick of my Ultimate Ears models without the kind of boomy rubbish bass some expensive brands offer. Totally by chance, I stumbled on the KZ thread (link on top) and there it went!
    Testing was done primarily with my Fiio M3 playing primarily 320k MP3s and FLAC files, occasionally on my ThinkPad via MusicBee ASIO4ALL/WASAPI on stock soundcard. For now I will just summarise: ease to drive is about average (33% volume is about enough on the commute with the M3) and not too sensitive (so I won't get background hisses in a quiet room).
     
    Sound:
    Let's get to the elephant in the room, they sound really good! After UE discontinued cheap models like the 200-600 it was really difficult to get a fun yet controlled signature. But here we are! Written with about 20 hours of burn in (for those who believe in it but I'll get to that later).
    Bass - Not enough for a basshead, too much compared to things like Etymotics. I found them similar to my UE400/500, in that the presence is definitely strong. Overall it is controlled but depending on some tracks, it can boom too much. I don't specifically look out for sub-bass as my ears only pick out notable things, but suffice to say sub-bass should be fine as I don't have issues of mids being drowned out. For me coming from my past earphones I have EQed down the best just by one notch. I thought I would not like the bass, but it gives a very warm live sound for my Jazz tracks which I like!
    Mids - Average but in a good way. No smooth lushness of my Aurvana BAs but they do what they need to do. I wouldn't call it forward but they are more present than some more extreme v-signature IEMs. In orchestral string lines they aren't the lushest around, but it presented no unnatural elements (unlike cymbals) which allowed it to pass for listening.
    Treble - Extension is decent. Somehow manages to be sparkly without being sibilant, which I like. My instrumental music cannot do with hiding treble just because of sibilance. One of the less grainy trebles compared to other KZs. Only criticism is that cymbals due to sparkliness sound a tad artificial. Funny thing is other than cymbals female vocalists etc. sound fine to my ears. But this is really nit-picking and I have not heard natural cymbals from many IEMs that are not TOTL.
    Soundstage and signature - I have too few earphone tests to try out, but soundstage definitely wasn't offensive. It felt like the width was average, though over time I'm starting to appreciate its 3D positioning. It is still quite subtle so do demo it or ask some others who can do an A-B comparison of soundstage. Signature is v-shaped. Can't test the frequencies but a more pronounced bass boost than the treble (if at all). This leads to a generally warm feeling on stock cables.
    After a few days of listening I didn't detect major differences in sound. I personally believe that burn in is neither all-important not fiction. There is burn in but not so much so you have to take extreme measures. I listened to my music, ran some pink/white noise back at home when free/remembered to, and just took care not to blast the volume too loud. KZ recommends 5mins to multiples of 20hrs depending on which manual/product page you see so take it easy and chill :) These earphones are pretty detailed. Someone mentioned hearing singers' breath sounds but I didn't feel that big a difference. I did enjoy a little bit of added touches like drum brushes and other graduated actions which might not be obvious unless listening in a quiet place.
     
    Build quality, ergonomics
    These are cheap IEMs they are alright for the price. No fatal flaws for my set though some have sworn by buying multiple sets in case. The shell pieces could be joined more closely, but the only issue I had was a loose nozzle filter than threatened to drop into the sound tube. Thankfully it is only an issue when swapping earbud tips (will explain why below why so much swapping is needed...)
    Average is starting to become overused but for lack of a better word, the removable cable connectors are average. Not loose but not the tightest/most secure around.
    Shape is like it or hate it. It is not a flush design and the shape doesn't fit all perfectly, although KZ's Chinese press kit claims they averaged out the ear dimensions of the general population. They worked ok for me, but some had to take ages with tip swaps to achieve something decent. This shape also limited the sound isolation of the IEMs, slightly below average.
    All KZ cables (stock and upgrade) have a thin memory loop over the ears. Currently I find them irritating to mould but that's only because I came from Aurvanas without memory cables. Branded ones from other companies definitely are easier to mould and use than these, but all get the job done. I will continue monitoring but I have noticed that in spite of the over-ear wearing there is still some microphonics. Adding a tie further up the y-split is what I'm doing to reduce it for now.
    I cannot emphasise more but trying different tips (compulsory for all IEMs anyway) is very important for the ZS3 to avoid messing up the sound signature and regarding it as a waste of cash. Really sensitive to fitting here.
    I am leaving out an unboxing section as the box is super small and super simple. IEMs, separate cable, separate tips, instruction cards. The box is around the size of cigarette case.
    Update: after about 1 month my left ZS3 stopped having sound. After A-Bing the problem was identified as the ZS3 itself, as swapping cables were fine. I am now on another new set of ZS3. The first pair saw quite a few times of switching between silver and default cables. This time I will only switch to silver and leave it there, hopefully switching less will let it last longer!
     
    Tweaks:
    As hinted by the sound signature and ergonomics, many users have had their tweaks. When writing this I haven't gotten much addons except the KZ silver-coated copper upgrade cable so I will share what I know.
    Most important change you should consider is getting the 10USD silver cable. Swapping it is easy due to the connectors, just look out for right and left. Tried them and noticed indeed the sound became clearer, slightly less warm and the signature leveled out. The bass was less strong and the trebles were a tad smoother. Of all these changes I must frankly admit the most obvious two are the clearer sound and the less strong bass. This make the resolving detail another step better than the Shure SE215 I demoed and never liked for its muddiness despite good efforts for a smooth likeable sound. So long as the price is within budget go for it. Love professional look from the braided cable too (although some suggest getting the ATR instead with the same money, read the KZ thread). 
    For the sceptics who do not believe in cable upgrades, I thank @CoiL for his measurements. They explain why I am hearing a difference. The issue is that the stock cable while durable is so meh that a simple cheap replacement will already improve sound, unlike branded cables with a much smaller improvement compared to each other.
    Next is earbuds. Many people have tried changing around for better fit and sound. For me fit is not an issue but I have widebore tips and KZ star tips on order to hopefully dial in the bass a bit more for my mixed music collection and will update again.
     
    Comparisons
    I had the fortune of demoing other KZ sets and one unlucky Senfer 4in1 from my local contact who brings them in for resale. Not sure about the burn in but I am sure they are accurate as they are roughly in line with others' comments. All comparisons were done in stock form (tips and cables)
     
    ATR: Basically a lower-energy, more laid back approach to the ZS3. Other than less (but still prominent bass) it is similar to the ZS3 for mids and highs. Key difference is bass and soundstage. Bass is less but arguable a bit tighter than the ZS3.
    ATE/ATES: Don't bother, they are the predecessor of the 2016 ATR which tightened up the bass and smoothened the original's grainy treble.
    ED12: This Amazon review sums it up the best honestly so read it. Particularly the W signature which is effectively ATR with boosted mids and treble too. Some have criticised the ED12 heavily, they may be right but I suspect it is again fit issues like the ZS3. The ED12 honestly was closest to my mid-centric Aurvanas but I decided on the ZS3 as overall the signature sounded more engaging for my music.
    ZST: ZST is a very difficult IEM to compare and review. I am waiting for my set to arrive but the one I demoed had a split personality. The bass was a bit boomier than the ZS3 yet treble was smooth and clean due to the BA, which affected coherence especially on instrumental jazz tracks. The treble is definitely the best quality of the whole bunch just that the signature was just weird. Rumour has it they sound comparable or better than the ZS3 with burn in (urgh not again) and silver cables (urgh more money spent) so I have given in to temptation and ordered them for the 11/11 sale. Really appreciate treble that is present yet not irritating (that's why I play the viola not violin too HAHA)
    I think ZS3 has the widest soundstage then ATR and ED12 roughly the same. Don't quote me on soundstage as usually I pay more attention to sound in terms of what frequencies are emphasised. ZST is excluded as the split personality just messes with my head in stock form...
    Senfer 4in1: Too bad for Senfer the contact had one set on him. So much more coherent than the ZST I didn't know how many BA/DDs there were. BUT the treble was a no-go. More grainy AND sibilant than the ATE (which is the grainiest KZ I heard). Barring fit and production flukes I wrote this on off. Like ZST in stock form, no point having coherent signature 80% of the time but 20% keeps messing up your music you listen to. 
     
    Conclusion
    Overall, the ZS3 is really good for the money. Most issues I had were resolvable, particularly in sound where there are mods available and the bass of the ZS3 appears to be responsive to some EQing. Other than a slightly unnatural/grainy treble (ONLY cymbals) which can't really be EQed (at least on my Fiio) and is really only a very small problem, it is an engaging signature to listen to music with. Build is also acceptable and allows you to get one of the cheapest over-ear IEMs with removable cables around. Surprising thing I enjoyed is despite being cheap and consumer oriented in sound they still let you be analytical when you wish (picking out cymbals and recording noises). A great replacement to the entry/mid level UE sound I have not heard as my UE earphones started dying from poor reliability. Now they will probably last me till I make the jump to CIEMs or IEMs like the UE900s, which is praise enough. 
     
    I spent very brief listening sessions and definitely they are more worth it than the Sennheiser Momentum In-ears, A-Jays, Mee M6Pro (too v-shaped and tip sensitive), Shure SE215 (MUDDY), Audio-Technica IM-70 (overhyped less muddy SE215). So far the only other appealing signatures I have heard are the Aurvanas I used to own (if you can accept less bass) and the Audio Technica ATH E-40 (great sound that is more balanced and controlled and extended than the ZS3, to me the best value in the entire ATH IEM range that is what the SE215 and IM70 should have been). So if you are on a low budget, stick with the ZS3s. The only other exception I would have considered is getting the 100USD ATH-E40s if I had the money.
     
    Can't emphasise the importance of finding a good fit and not obsessing over burn in before judging earphones!! Learnt that the hard way with my Aurvanas where I only discovered its bass after 9 months and heard it only for 3 months. Also, average is not a bad thing. It is rare to have cheap earphones that give sound that you can't find fault with. Coherent overall signature makes particularly instrumental music sound much better than imbalanced sound (e.g. good bass poor treble).
     
    I have spent too much time writing this so for queries PM me, I will reply when I have caught up with my work :/
     
    Updates
    I am now using the ZS3 with KZ star tips. The difference is minimal to me. The star tips seem to just let the sound of the ZS3 flow more freely, so I hear a little more boomy bass. But overall I prefer it as the whole frequency range just seems to have a thin (very thin) veil lifted off. My wide bore tips were cancelled in transit but I'm happy enough with this. Were driven easily by my Fiio M3 before I sold it. Overall with the upgrade cable and starline tips, it is starting to sound less boomy bass overall and I am starting to find the sound actually quite lifelike, as what the Amazon review above stated.
     
    Burn In
    I feel burn in has benefits still, but not so much that you should run dedicated burnin sessions. What I advise is to burn in overnight when you just receive your IEMs. After that is free and easy as listening to music is also burning in too. Just take note initial burn in and listening should not be done at loud volumes as they may damage the hardware. A break every few hours helps too.
    I usually burn in by looping a playlist of downloaded noise from https://archive.org/details/TenMinutesOfWhiteNoisePinkNoiseAndBrownianNoise on my PC/DAP. For phone, you can use this Chinese app from 1More that works on any earphones and Android phone: http://img.1more.com/2013/10/10/10/2013093013530025.apk Although in Chinese the icons are self-explanatory with minimal setup needed. More explanation at: http://bbs.xiaomi.cn/t-11165083 but use Google Chrome's translate function!
     
    Got a Shanling M1 to replace my Fiio M3. I don't have time to review, but the M1 is really one power-packed tiny thing with DSD-PCM transcoding. I can't any difference from DSD to 24/192 FLAC of the same track so that isn't the most important. It works great on low gain and seems to be just a bit more detailed versus the M3.
    SpiderNhan and emblem like this.

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