Reviews by mrbuzzer

mrbuzzer

New Head-Fier
KB EAR KS2 is a Good Offering from KZ but Doesn't Push the Envelope
Pros: Comfortable and Light
Predictably Well Executed KZ Sound
Price is Under $25
Cons: Nothing Especially Exciting Here
Fans Will Like the V-Shaped Sound
Doesn't Really Advance the KZ Line
Okay let's get this straight. I have a drawerful of KZ brand earbuds and there is not really a bad one in the bunch, but if I put them on a comparative scale with each other, the KB EAR KS2 will not rank with my favorites. There is nothing really wrong with them. They can easily replace and surpass most of the cheapo smartphone earbuds out there, true. But this is getting to be a very competitive field, and KZ itself is a key driver in this competition. Some of their pieces, like my favorite KB04 or KZ ZS10 Pro, are really ear-knocking for the price. They compare closely with more expensive entries. This pair, the KS2, just doesn't seem to drive the brand forward in any significant way.

Knowledge Zenith spits out so many models that it is hard to keep up with. They are not afraid to use surprising multiple driver configurations, and they often strike upon something that a segment of their wide consumer base finds titillating. This unit under review here uses a simple single dynamic driver and single balanced armature, which is an underrated combination that can often be tuned to be extremely engaging. With this unit we have a rather commonplace V-shaped sound that is listenable, but not particularly exciting. Given the fact that these things costs less than $25, that may not be a letdown for many.

The KS2 is very well made, with it's plastic shell joints fitting together perfectly and it is typical KZ in its attractive plastic design and gem-like appearance. Lightweight cable-behind-the-ear IEMs seem to be all the rage at this time, and I must say that as a comfort obsessed wearer, I find this one very nice over a long listening session. The cabling is standard KZ, and on a number of my units I tend to replace that cabling with upgraded pieces, some from Linsoul, KZ's parent company. On this I didn't bother. I also absolutely would not upgrade the source when using these. My Astell and Kern SR25 showed more fault than favor with the KS2, and when I switched back to a simple smartphone source I was much happier. The sound has pretty precise highs for a model in this price range, but they can scream a little bit and become sibilant if the music pushes them that way. Mids are solid and boosted in the way that most V-shaped units are. Deep bass was satisfying enough for me, but I am not a pounder. Overall soundstage was actually the best feature here, with a wide and smooth presentation.

So again, let us say this: For the price this is a nice piece of gear and you should not be afraid to put it in your arsenal. Just keep your expectations in check.

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B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
This isn't a KZ. Nor is Linsoul their parent company. Oh boy...
E
Eaglehawk
Get the simple fact right before you do any...."review"

mrbuzzer

New Head-Fier
BLON BL-05s is a nicely made piece of gear for $50
Pros: Jewel Like Craftsmanship
Fun Green Color
Clean Tight Sound
Comfortable
Cons: Same Old Cheapy Cable
Can be Strident on Some Music
Not as Engaging as They Could Be
I will give you a succinct review because I don't believe a lot of blather handed out on trying to assess specific sound accents is much more helpful than the snobbish wine talk you sometimes hear at cocktail parties. Further, I see no need to list every damn song I used to review these IEMs with and brag about my eclectic musical tastes.Your time is too valuable.

The BLON BL-05s is the follow up to the highly gushed over BL-03, which many felt was a class leader in the bargain earbud category. But the entire unit was basically redesigned and re-tuned for a couple of reasons, one being that the predecessor sounded great but didn't seem well designed for humans ears. It was very uncomfortable. The other being that Linsoul, which I believe is the parent company of BLONS and a number of other highly ranked budget pieces, never seems to sit still and pushes out an unbelievable number of new designs and new buds almost monthly, although they claim to have spent a year redesigning the BLON BL-05. They used a very nice zinc alloy diecast body and tweaked the sound through a new 10mm carbon diaphragm. We still have the cheapy cable finished with a two-pin mount and pre-shaped ear wraps.

I tested the BL-05s through my Astell and Kerns A&Norma SR25, which is a very neutral and sweet sounding player. I switched out the stock cable a few times and plugged in an upgraded Linsoul Tripowin core silver plated cable which was tipped with a 2.5mm end for the balanced output on the SR25. This provided a very noticeable difference in clarity, power and substance in the bass end. But I doubt few will bother with that upgrade.

The BL-05s in mint green as shown is a very unusual and I think appealing design. They look like little jewels. But much more importantly, I found them very comfortable for lengthy earing. What the hell good are your expensive highly rated earbuds with their delicious sound profile if you can't wear them without pain for more than 5 minutes. The BL-05s seem to just meld into my ear. They are not the lightest pieces but they do not protrude excessively nor do they torture the ear canal. The shaped ear wrap exerted just the right amount of pressure and even lived in harmony with my glasses. Very much an improvement over the predecessor.

Now for the sound: Up until a couple years ago you could not touch this type of precision and detail for less than $250. Now you get it for $50. The highs are very detailed and crisp, although sometimes they get a tad screachy. But they are very clean. A few hours of break in also helped. The mids are truly exceptional, giving nearly perfect timbre to vocals and substantial depth for instruments falling into that hard-to-get-right middle range. The bass is very much a function of earpad fit. The set comes with the usual layout of half a dozen or so styles, including some weirdly thin-tipped versions, but I ended up digging something out of my collection to get a snugger fit and therefore some very nice bass extension. Not as heavy as some head knockers might prefer, but adequate and not boomy.

My problem with the overall sound is something I can only describe as integration. All the aspects on their own are very capable, very clear and nicely staged. But the overall musicality is just a tad lacking. It doesn't always fit together perfectly to make an engaging experience. My gold standard in this class is the KZ ZS10 Pro, for the same price, I can keep them in my ear and a smile on my face forever. The BLONS just don't quite bring the same smile. Don't get me wrong, they are excellent and you should probably buy them for your collection. But they aren't perfect yet.

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mrbuzzer

New Head-Fier
Pros: Well rounded and mature sound
Nice extended treble without being annoying or harsh
Never tedious for extended listening
Cons: Still not a big fan of the KZ braided cable
KZ just keeps turning out top flight earbuds at an outstanding rate and it is getting hard to keep up. It gets to the point that you are going to be guaranteed a certain listenable quality piece for $50 or less, and it's just a question of your preference in tuning and comfort levels. The new KZ ZSX is a perfect example of this phenomenon. This gear bills itself as a 6 driver per side IEM with a newly developed higher frequency balanced armature driver and, like others in this lineup, it is quality made metal face plate and very attractive, although perhaps a little bulky for some. I am not a huge fan of the braided cable that now seems standards on the KZ line, but at least this model had the more comfortable and springy ear wrap at the attachment points, which is a must for me. I can wear these without discomfort despite their weight.

My impression on sound is that this KZ ZSX is a much more mature and less in your face presentation that some of the previous KZs I own, like the ZS10Pro, which is a similarly styled over the ear unit. The ZSX puts the music together is a more holistic way and, after some break in period, I noticed some nuances in male vocals that I hadn't heard in some of my earlier KZ models. When I upgraded to a better source unit, or popped an Audioquest Dragonfly on the iphone, the quality and smooth presentation became more obvious. The sub bass in substantial but well controlled, The mids are clean, nothing spectacular, but the treble stands out as detailed with a nice reach and a touch of sparkle but not in an annoying way. It is simply about as listenable as you are going to get at this price point and a very attractive package as well. I will follow up later after I spend more time with the ZSX.

mrbuzzer

New Head-Fier
Pros: Comfort
Nicely tuned sound profile
Attractive design
Can wear for hours
Cons: A tad V shaped tonally
Not crazy about cable tangles
I own a bunch or earbuds and I like to talk about them so, hence, here is a very concise review of one of the many KZ models out there. I don't believe in lengthy reviews because time is precious. There are other things to do.

Basically, I don't know where you can find an earbud more capable for $20 than the KZ ZSN Pro. They are certainly not perfect, but you have to consider a price-to-perfection ratio when reviewing equipment and this one is high. I have a lot of IEMs and have never been crazy about the over ear style, but I have to tell you these are the most comfortable buds I own. You can wear them for hours and they pretty much disappear. Don't underestimate this. IEMs can sound great but if they don't stay in your ear or hurt, then forget it. These are much improved over most earlier KZ models because they have a flatter casing and a very nice pre-formed cable hook for around the ear. The tips are back tilted and fairly deep. Overall a nice combination.

This is a dual driver hybrid setup with a 10mm dual magnet driver and a balanced armature. KZ is all over the place with armature and driver setups, and usually they go in the right direction with new models. The ZSN PRO is an improvement over earlier iterations and, while not the most detailed or bass solid you will hear, the overall sound profile is very listenable and non-intrusive. The music seems to have a sweet and correctly tuned middle frequency which nicely brings out vocals without being too forward. The highs don't pierce. The bass is not head rattling but is solid enough to be quite satisfying. The overall profile is very immersive for the price.

The build quality is typical KZ of late, very solid, attractive metal plate in matte zinc and detachable cabling. Not a fan of the braided cable because of some tangling issues, but these seems to be all the rage right now. But overall, if I had a $20 bill in my pocket and wanted to hear some music, I would head in this direction.

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mrbuzzer

New Head-Fier
For KZ ZS7 in In-Ear
Pros: Rock Solid Bass
Mids and Highs Very Worthy
Five Drivers Tuned Well
Listenable and Comfortable
Nice to Look At
Cons: Cable Too Long and Tangles
Fairly Heavy
Tips Not Great
I was provided this product from KZ but I am a fussy user and honest reviewer and often will tell you what I don't like as well as what I like. I like to write a basic and simple review that gets right to the nuggets. If you have time to read reviews that turn into treatises then you will find plenty of other writers on this site who do that.

Background: I have three other pair of KZ earbuds, including some earlier units like that KZ ATE and KZ ES4, both of which I did not especially care for. I do my testing with the manufacturer's cable because I think most listeners will do the same. I do step up and listen through a Pioneer XDP-300R for some testing, as well as just straight from the source Iphone. I listen to all kinds of music including hi res and also stream on TIDAL and Spotify.

As I mention in the headline here, the ZS7 is a substantial step forward for KZ in terms of sophistication of drivers, number of drivers, overall sound, finish and comfort. This is a very good sounding IEM, and even though I am not a huge fan of over-the-ear buds, I have found myself defaulting to these lately with regularity because the sound has grown on me and they are relatively comfortable. And don't kid yourself about comfort friends. You can have the best sounding buds in the world and if they feel like crap in your ears you are not going to wear them. KZ has recently focused on a flatter and more ear-friendly fit. I personally like the memory cable that comes with the KZ ZSN Pro, but the shapeable close-ear section of this unit works pretty well also for wrapping around the top of the ear.

The sound on these babies is pretty terrific. I am not a bass head, in fact I don't like much boom, but the 10mm dynamic driver used for bass on this unit is solid as a rock, deep and not oppressive. It doesn't overtake the mids, but you know it is there. The articulation and tuning of the four other drivers (that's right there are 5!) is excellent. Clean, concise, and natural. I test mostly on vocals, and these things do a terrific job with an unmasked ease on both male and female vocals that compares well to about anything I have heard recently. The highs are able to hit the secret spot for IEMs where they are clean and extended without making my ears bleed with sibilance. This is simply really good tuning by KZ engineers.

Not a huge fan of the braided cable. It is very long from the y split to the ears and I think is prone to tangling, but this is the cable KZ seems to be set on for now and I have learned to live with it. The comfort and overall sound quality of these babies makes up for any other deficiency and I highly recommend them. You will find yourself wanting to hear them more and more as they improve with burn in. I am done.

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