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  1. B9Scrambler
    KZ AS10: *Slow Clap*
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Aug 13, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Detail and clarity - Bass performance - Price for performance
    Cons - Wasteful packaging with few extras - Tangly cable - Treble could use a boost
    Greetings,

    Today we're checking out the new AS10 from Knowledge Zenith (KZ).

    KZ has been dominating the hyper-budget market for years now, partly due to raw saturation, but also because many of their products are straight up good and worth your attention. With the ZST, their first hybrid, KZ upped their game. Since then, they've delved deeper into the hybrid market releasing various models with a variety of driver configurations and in the process have seen themselves rise out of the hyper budget realm and up against more established competition.

    The release of the AS10 sees a couple firsts for the brand. First off, it's their first pure balanced armature model. Like the ZS10, it features five drivers per side. Unlike the ZS10, inside each ear piece is a 3D printed structure which houses the drivers, guiding sound to two individual outputs visible in the base of each nozzle, protected from dust and ear wax by a sheer filter.

    The AS10 is also their most expensive model to date, firmly removing them from their roots in the sub-20 USD realm. It is worth taking a chance on the AS10? Absolutely.

    IMG_3825.JPG

    Disclaimer:

    Thanks to Lillian at DD Audio for sending over a sample of the AS10 for the purposes of review. The thoughts within are my own and do not represent KZ, DD Audio, or any other entity. There was no financial incentive provided to write this review. You can scoop up a set here;

    Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/KZ-Earphone-Resolution-Headphone-Cancelling/dp/B07G34D6PB/

    AliExpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32902758060/32902758060.html

    *Edit: Review has been edited to 4 stars. The more I use the AS10, the more the overly mellow treble presentation hinders enjoyment and sticks out as a flaw.*

    Source and Amping:

    For at home use the AS10 was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp with my Asus FX53V laptop sourcing music. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, Shanling M1, HiFiMan MegaMini, or HiFi E.T. MA8. The AS10 is very easy to drive so an amp isn't needed. A clean source is though, as it is very revealing. For example, it highlights all the electronic interference my G5 displays when interacting with the device.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when reading my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

    Specifications:
    • Drivers: 5 balanced armatures, per side
    • Frequency Response: 20-22,000Hz
    • Sensitivity: 106dB
    • Impedance: 32ohms
    IMG_3792.JPG IMG_3793.JPG IMG_3804.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The AS10 shows an evolution in KZ's packaging, though it's not one I'm fully on board with. The new matte black cardboard box is large, borne only with only the KZ logo written in a contrasting glossy font. On the bottom are a couple stickers, one showing the model and variant (cyan, no mic) and the other provides KZ's address and contact information.

    Opening the lid you find a dense cardboard plate glued to the back. On it is the KZ logo and the statement, “Don't forget. The original intension is use headphones to enjoy music.” It's a good message and reminds you to stay grounded. Inside the box the AS10's ear pieces are set within a large foam insert, left and right printed in large white font underneath. Further down is a wide metal plate engrave with the KZ logo, the AS10 model designation, and notification that they feature 10 balanced armatures in English and Chinese characters. This metal plate is actually pretty cool and is my favorite part of the new packaging.

    Lifting out the foam insert you find a small bag containing the small and large “Starline” tips (medium come pre-installed) and another bag holding the cable. There is also a QA certificate to appease those worried about KZ's quality control, a surprisingly detailed manual, and a warranty card for the AS10's one year warranty. How easy that will be to use for those outside of the Asia Pacific region I have no idea, but if my past experiences with dozen of reliable earphones from the brand is any indication, you won't need it.

    Going back to my initial statement, why am I not on board with this new packaging? Well, it feels wasteful. The AS10 has the same accessory kit you get with every other KZ. Tips and a cable. They could shrink this down to half the size, keep the nice metal plate which is befitting of what is currently KZ's most costly but still affordable earphone, and the experience would be just as nice but more friendly to the environment. I love me some cool packaging but there needs to be a reason for it. In the end, cool but unnecessary.

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The AS10's design falls in line with some of KZs other recent releases in the ES4 and ZS10. It features the same all-plastic build with clear faceplate showing off the crossover chip beneath. The rear portion of the housing is solid black, preventing you from seeing the inner workings. Not that you would have been able to anyway since the drivers are encased in a separate, 3D-printed chamber. Aesthetically it looks quite nice. Fit and finish is quite good too with everything slotting together neatly.

    You may think on first glance that there is no nozzle filter but look inside and you'll see it recessed within. The mesh is quite fine allowing you to see the two sound channel outputs, likely one for bass, the other for mids and treble. At the end of the nozzle, you notice the lack of a lip for holding tips on. In its place are three small angled protrusions which work just as well. The 0.75 mm 2-pin receptors are the same as those used on the ZS10 and other KZ's, so you have lots of other cables available to you should you wish to upgrade.

    Speaking of cables, the AS10 features KZs new and seemingly now standard braided copper cable. Cable noise and memory are minimal, but due to the length above the y-split and lack of chin cinch, it's pretty easy to tangle unless you wrap and store it neatly. I like this cable and think it's a pretty decent inclusion, though they really need to get on adding a chin cinch.

    The AS10's shell size sits right between the ZS10 and ES4, though it's not as deep as either giving it a much lower profile. This combined with light weight plastics and decent ergonomics makes it a comfortable earphone, pending you're using the right tips. Like the ZS10, the AS10's fit and comfort is somewhat tip dependent. The stock set is fine, but for me at least, they extended a little too far. My ears work best with shallow fit designs, so a tip that plays to this helps a lot. In my case, it was EarNiNE's medium silicone tips from the EN120.

    Isolation is alright, but nothing to write home about, especially if you're used to the sort of passive noise attenuation you usually get from all-BA earphones. Unlike most, there is a single pin hole vent in the housing which faces the ear. It helps relieve pressure upon insertion but also serves to let in outside noise. Without music playing, I can hear myself typing and cars driving by through the open window to my right. Add in some music at my normally low volume, and most of that goes away. This would be good for travel, but you'll likely have to increase volume a bit to compensate for some outside noise bleeding in.

    IMG_3806.JPG IMG_3808.JPG IMG_3810.JPG

    Sound:

    Tips: I ditched the stock tips and rolled with EarNiNE's single flange medium silicones because they were more comfortable than the stock tips, provided a consistently good seal, and kept the same sound signature as the stock tips. The below sound impressions were performed with these tips as a result. Spinfit CP100's were my go-to for the ZS10, but here they felt a little too long and as such caused minor discomfort. They also boosted mid-bass a little bit, throwing off the low end balance slightly. Wide bore tips like those from JVC brought out the treble quite a bit giving the AS10 some extra sparkle and energy up top. Not really needed in my opinion as the stock tune and resulting balance is already excellent. I didn't bother trying foams simply because Spintfits already increased bass, and foams tend to have the same effect.

    The AS10 is KZ's first go at an all-balanced armature product. Given the somewhat hit and miss nature of their hybrid earphones up to now, and that the use of dynamic drivers has pretty much always been their bread and butter, I had pretty low expectations. Of course I wanted it to be good, but it would contain their first bass-focused armature. I was expecting something very mid and treble heavy with a weedy, unsatisfying low end. Thankfully, that's not the AS10 at all. Since their bass tailored BA driver is the new kid on the block, let's start with the low end.

    The AS10's bass driver can kick. Seriously. It doesn't hit sub-bass notes quite as well as say, the ZS10, but that earphone has a big dynamic handling bass. Despite this, the AS10's BA moves nearly as much air, with better impact, speed, and overall agility. It's upper and mid-bass regions are dialed in too, keeping bleed from being an issue. Throwing on Kavinski's “Solli” for the first time, I was expecting silence in the opening moments, yet the reverberating sub-bass line was very much present. Out of my other BA-only earphones, only the B400 comes close to hanging with the AS10 on this track, though it still doesn't provide the same sense of rumble. It's very textured and detailed too, as evidenced when running through The Prodigy's “The Day is My Enemy”, an album full of grungy, low-fi bass that comes across quite muddy through something with an overly smooth and untextured low end. The AS10's bass levels certainly aren't going to please a bass head, but those who enjoy a slightly elevated and well controlled low end will be very happy with what the AS10 is doing. For their first time using a balanced armature for the bass, KZ absolutely nailed it.

    Heading into the mid-range, the AS10 takes on a more balanced approach than you might be accustomed to from the brand. Gone is the traditional v-shaped sound from, well, pretty much everything in their modern lineup. The mid-range is very prominent, easily going toe-to-toe with the highs and lows. Sibilance is kept in check as well, only rearing it's ugly head when it's present in the track, such as on The Crystal Method's “Grace feat. LeAnn Rimes”. Male and female vocals are both full bodied with a touch of warmth. I found them equally engaging with the AS10 not feeling more or less suited to one or the other, unlike most earphones. The clarity in vocals is pretty impressive too. On Gorillaz' “To Binge feat. Little Dragon”, you can easily hear the subtle clicks and snaps of saliva while she sings. Compare that track through the Shozy Hibki MKII. Those nuances are still present but are being smoothed over to the point of being difficult to locate. Timbre is handled well but is still slightly off, similar to how I feel about the Campfire Audio Polaris, with instruments sounding a touch lighter than they should.

    The two drivers handling the AS10's upper ranges are probably the weakest aspect of it's sound in my opinion, lacking the same level of refinement found elsewhere. This is a bit of a bummer given how lush and smooth the ZSA handled treble with it's single armature. Thankfully, the AS10 isn't bright like the ZSA with treble emphasis sitting just slightly above the ZS10. The lower treble is smartly emphasis, helping out greatly with overall resolution and detail without being harsh. The upper treble gives cymbals and other effects some shimmer, but not to the point of being overly sharp and causing fatigue like the TRN V80 or Kinera SEED.

    Sound stage is an area where I feel the AS10 excels. It is large and open with a fairly even roundness to it. The presentation does a stellar job of moving sounds forward and back, side to side, taking on a very layered and well-separated approach. There was never a time it felt congested or if the track was too busy to keep instruments in line. One of the benefits of using multiple drivers in my opinion.

    IMG_3811.JPG IMG_3816.JPG IMG_3819.JPG

    Select Comparisons: Volumes matched with Dayton Audio iMM-6

    Havi B3 Pro I: The B3 Pro I is an entry level audiophile staple. That probably won't be changing anytime soon. The AS10 is much more forward and aggressive than the smooth, laid back B3 Pro I. The AS10 is slightly more detailed, but also less smooth, particularly in the treble. The B3 Pro's mid-range is warmer and leaner, but naturally toned with more accurate timbre. The AS10's bass is only of the only superior aspects in my opinion. While it is more elevated which may not be to everyone's taste, it is notably more textured and better controlled while still providing more physical feedback from the lower bass regions. When it comes to sound stage the B3 Pro I has few equals. The AS10 puts up a good fight and presents with greater depth but slightly less width. I found the Pro I's imaging and separation very similar, with the AS10 providing a more layered presentation thanks to its added depth. Both are made from nice plastics, but I have to give the nod to the AS10 since the B3 Pro I's have a habit of crumbling apart for reasons unknown. Comfort goes to the AS10 too as it requires less finagling to find a secure fit. When it comes down to it, I really enjoy them both. For balanced and relaxing, I go to the Pro I. For balanced and energetic, I pick up the AS10.

    KZ ZS10: The AS10 is flat out better than the ZS10 in my opinion, just not in every circumstance. The AS10 has more balance everywhere which highlights the ZS10's slight upper treble, upper mid-range, and mid-/upper bass peaks. Even with those peaks, the ZS10 is the smoother, warmer, and more relaxed sounding earphone. Imaging, layering, and separation is very similar between the two, though I'd give the AS10 the edge as it feel more precise. Sound stage on the ZS10 comes across a little more airy, but doesn't toss effects quite as far as the AS10, nor is it as wide sounding. They're both quite pleasant in this regard either way. Build is equally good. I find the ZS10 fits my ears a little better, but overall they're pretty similar in terms of comfort and fit. The AS10 should be better for most given they are slightly smaller.

    Tin Audio T2: T2 is brighter with a leaner presentation that focuses more on mids and treble. Upper treble on the T2 has more energy and gives it a bit of tizziness not present in the AS10. Mids are similarly emphasized with the AS10 having more body and warmth. Bass doesn't have as much presence or impact on the T2, and rolls off earlier. The T2's leaner signature does a great job highlighting the detail it outputs, but listening to the two back-to-back you see this isn't offering any real advantage and that the AS10 pulls more micro-details. AS10 has a more forward presentation yet with greater sound stage depth and width. Imaging is similarly great, with the AS10 pulling ahead in separation and especially layering. Build and material quality goes to the T2, though I find the AS10 more comfortable and better isolating. Overall I find the AS10 more balanced and entertaining as a result of it's strong low end and weightier sound, with better technical performance to boot. That said, the T2's more sparkly, lean signature better lines up with what you'd think of as a traditional audiophile signature and is uniquely special among it's sub-50 USD peers.

    Kinera IDUN: As with the T2, the IDUN is brighter and leaner sounding with less bass emphasis. The IDUN's extra treble emphasis makes it more sparkly and energetic, but also more fatiguing than the AS10. It is also more sibilant, extending consonants beyond their intended end point. The IDUN's mid-range isn't as well balanced with less lower mid emphasis. It's also less well weighted, giving vocals a fairly lean presentation. While I don't mind this and in many cases enjoy a lean mid-range when done well (Astrotec Lyra Collection for example), many cite this as a negative so take this part how you will. I personally have nothing against the IDUN's mids and enjoy them a lot as is. I was never impressed with the IDUN's low end and found the AS10's bass is more textured, faster, more impactful, and with more sub-bass feedback. I find the AS10's sound stage larger overall, but the IDUN's imaging, layering and separation is about on par. When it comes to build and ergonomics, there is no comparison. IDUN all the way. Overall, I found the AS10 the more balanced, well-rounded, and entertaining of the two, but lacking the refinement expected of costlier products.

    Brainwavz B400: The B400 is fairly neutral with some added emphasis in the low end. It's also my favorite earphone, well, second favorite now that the Astrotec Delphinus 5 is on the market. The AS10, despite costing less than half as much, certainly gives it a run for it's money. It's nearly as detailed as the B400 with it's high quality, quad Knowles armatures, but does so with a touch of grain not present in Brainwavz's offering. Overall clarity is slightly less too. The AS10 simply lacks that extra layer of refinement. When it comes to tuning balance the AS10 drives up the low end a couple dB and adds in a little more treble energy, something that will be welcome for those that found the B400 lacking in the upper ranges. Both are very detailed and about on par when it comes to speed and control. The B400 sounds more accurate in terms of timbre and tone, befitting of it's neutral tune. The AS10 sounds a little more energetic and gripping. When it comes to sound stage and the qualities that go with it, the AS10 puts up a much better fight than it has any right to. The B400 still comes across more spacious with greater depth to it's layering and separation, but the AS10 isn't far off. When it comes to build they trade blows. The B400's cables are nicer, but the 3D printed housings leave a bit to be desired and I'd rather the AS10's dense plastics. The B400 is more comfortable though, and offers up improved passive isolation.

    Final Thoughts:

    Knowledge Zenith is the poster child of a brand that people love to hate. Kind of like Beats, but for budget gear that nearly anyone can afford. Some of it is certainly warranted without a doubt. KZ has made it a habit over the years to borrow designs from others, though this is common practice in the industry (doesn't make it right). They have also overloaded the budget market with a hilariously expansive lineup of similar products that potential customers have to either purchase to understand, or learn about through videos or by rooting through pages and pages of dense forum conversation. This year alone they've released the ZSA, ZSR, ZS10, ED15, AS10, and the ED4. I probably missed a couple, and there are even more to come before the year is up.

    Despite their issues, KZ is a brand that had kept my interest through the years as I've moved up the ladder, experiencing better and better gear. With the exception of the AS10 reviewed today, I have bought at least one of each and every unique model in my possession, over 30 of them at this point. Why would I do that? I could have saved that money and bought a top of the line product from a respected brand, maybe two. Sorry, but that's not me. I prefer to experience a variety of signatures and products, and KZ give me that freedom. They've got micro-drivers, dual dynamics, 1+1 hybrids, 2+2 hybrids, plastic bodied earphones, aluminum earphones, earphones with fixed or removable cables, products with tuning filters, and even more variety where that came from.

    The AS10 just adds to this already teeming lineup, but stands out as something truly new, different, and extremely capable. Sure, it's not as refined as other earphones crammed with balanced armatures, but it's also a fraction of the price and unlike some other KZ products (ZS5 anyone?), doesn't feel like we're beta testing it for them. It looks great, sounds amazing, and is more than enough earphone for most while retaining an affordable price.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scramber

    *If you enjoyed this review, feel free to stop by my blog, The Contraptionist, for more just like it.*

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)
    Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (Album)
    Elton John - Yellow Golden Brick Road (Album)
    King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians (Album)
    Infected Mushroom - Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz - Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack - Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac - Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco - F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone) (Album)
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DocHoliday
      Great review, B9!
      Very descriptive.
      Fun and professional!
      Looking forward to hearing that "Low Frequency" BA for myself.

      ......and those last two paragraphs convey my sentiments precisely.
      DocHoliday, Aug 21, 2018
      B9Scrambler likes this.
    3. B9Scrambler
      Thanks Doc. I hope they use that BA in other models. That with one of their micro dd for mids and treble would make for a killer budget iem.
      B9Scrambler, Aug 21, 2018
      DocHoliday likes this.
    4. muschem
      Great review! I picked these up while waiting on my FIBAE3s to arrive, and I really enjoy the value proposition they bring. No doubt less refined than many options, but nonetheless very enjoyable and affordable.
      muschem, Nov 26, 2018
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  2. antdroid
    The AS10: KZ Growing Up
    Written by antdroid
    Published Aug 17, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great Clarity and Detail Retrieval
    Wide, natural soundstage
    Warm and not muddy
    Comfortable and Secure
    Good Isolation
    Cons - Recessed Mids
    Rolled off Treble
    Not a fan of the appearance
    The KZ AS10

    P1020068.JPG


    Knowledge Zenith (KZ) has been making IEM headphones for a few years now and they seem to be releasing several handfuls of models each year. This latest flagship is a 5 balanced armature per shell earphone that may change many people’s opinion’s that KZ just throws as many drivers as possible into a shell and call it a day. Or perhaps they got lucky with this one, because it’s surprisingly good!

    Disclaimer: The KZ AS10 was provided to me by Lillian of LinSoul and DD Audio store for review purposes without bias. The following review is my own unbiased opinion on this headphone. My headphone reviews incorporate my own listening and measurements taken from the MiniDSP EARS measurement rig.

    Amazon Link: https://smile.amazon.com/KZ-Earphone-Resolution-Headphone-Cancelling/dp/B07G34D6PB/
    Currently $4 off coupon on Amazon!


    AliExpress link: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32902758060/32902758060.html


    Packaging/Build/Comfort


    The AS10 has an upgraded box compared to their previous models. The significantly larger black box flips open to show the pair of IEMs and a metal nameplate. Below the foam insert is an upgraded copper braided cable and card information.

    P1020063.JPG P1020070.JPG

    The new cable is a significant upgrade over last year’s flagship, the KZ6, whose cable was a disaster to use and wear and full of microphonics. Braided cables need to be standard with all IEMs and ear buds. This cable however has the awful memory wire shrinkwrap on it and is a bit messy to use for a braided cable. It's still an improvement upon the previous cables used by KZ. I opted to use my own braided cables using 2.5mm balanced connector.

    The housing is a half-moon shape with a transparent clear acrylic face. The transparency allows you to see board which houses the BA drivers. The opposite ear side is opaque with angled canals for insertion into your ear. These must be worn over-ear which I prefer personally.

    The shells are rather large, but they do fit comfortably in my ears and feel very secure. Build is good, though not as premium as some of their metal alternatives like the ZS6 and ZSA.

    As for tips, the standard star-tips are included as with many of the KZ models. These tips fit very well for me but I opted on my own silicone tips instead. I did not have success getting good fit with SpinFit CP145, and CP155 tips did not seal well enough for me. I also had some issues getting good seal with the foam tips I had available.

    Isolation on these were good and above average. They isolated plenty of exterior noise for me, even in louder environments so that I can focus on the music. They are not at the level of Etys or the like, but they are an improvement over competing IEMs like the Tin T2. It's very comparable to the Hibiki in isolation given that they have similar design and shape.

    P1020066.JPG P1020064.JPG

    Sound

    Overall, these IEMs have a slight V-shape, but are the closest to neutral I’ve heard KZ do ever. They do have recessed mids, and elevated low end but as I’ll describe below, it’s nowhere near the exaggerated levels of other KZ models.


    KZ AS10 - IDF Compensated.jpg

    The Bass is slightly heavier than what I call neutral and has some kick to it. I’d call the bass medium speed (not planar speed – but good for BA). The punch/impact of these is noticeably tamer than other KZ IEMs, but is substituted with more texture and detail, something that is a breath of fresh air.

    The mids are recessed, but with the reduced bass and treble gains compared to previous KZ offerings, they do not feel lost in the mix as their other brandmates. There are times of occasional muddiness though.

    Both male and female vocals sound somewhat natural, albeit flat at times and sometimes miss a little bit of zing due to the recessed mids. EQ responds well in this region and adding a slight gain around 400Hz to 800Hz and 2-4kHz helps fill in the voids. Other than that, both male and female vocals are full-bodied sounding while at times can be flat and dry. Sibilance is never an issue on these IEMs, which on the KZ6 was a dealbreaker for many. Vocals are very smooth overall.

    In my measured Frequency Response graph, there was a noticeable drop off at around 4KHz. It was a steep collapse that reminded me of something I’ve seen in some planar magnetic headphones. This drop does cause some unnatural instruments and a little lost of edge. I don’t know if this is where a cross-over between BA drivers are or not, but EQing this area was a bit challenging. Raising it to fill in the void caused severe tinny sounding vocals and instruments and the only way to correct it was to raise all the mids with it, but that messes up everything else along with it. In the end, I only raised this region by 3dB similar to what I did at 400Hz.

    The treble region is tame and rolls off around 14KHz, but I never feel like I am missing any detail or hearing any lack of energy or air to cymbals and violins in rock, jazz and classical tracks. This area is not bright and is very pleasant to the ears.


    Detail/Clarity/Soundstage/Etc.

    Instruments are well separated and these IEMs pick up a surprising amount of detail. I was very impressed with this aspect of the KZ ZS6 and while it’s been several months since I’ve last listened to the ZS6, I believe the AS10 exceeds them significantly in detail retrieval and separation. During some transitions between the upper bass and low mids to the upper regions, there may be some slight loss of detail due to the recessed mids though. This is more apparent when listening side-by-side with something more neutral like the Tin Audio T2.

    Soundstage is very open, natural, and wide gives the impression that strings and guitar plucks are coming from either side of me; not within my head.

    Overall:

    I enjoyed listening to this IEM overall. It’s easily the most refined and mature sounding KZ product I’ve heard so far with a warm-netural presentation and reduced v-shape signature. The AS10 has impressive clarity, detail and width, while retaining a smooth, relaxing mid-range. The biggest drawbacks are rolled off treble and recessed mids.

    I’m impressed with this KZ product and looking forward to their next product, the BA10. One thing to note, is that I think people who enjoy the Tin Audio T2 with Vent Mod (i.e. covering the inside hole with a piece of tape to increase low end response) will enjoy this IEM. That said, you will be trading some more forward sounding intricacies and detail from the T2 with an overall smoother, warmer and more bodied sound in the KZ AS10.



    Some Comparisons:

    P1020073.JPG


    KZ6 – this was talked about several times in the review

    Tin Audio T2 – The T2 is one of the closest to neutral sounding IEMs under $100. It’s a much leaner sounding IEM and may sound cold compared to the AS10. Vocals on the AS10 will be more full-bodied, natural, and less harsh than the T2. Detail retrieval is similar on these two with the T2 being a little more forward sounding with the T2 maybe a smidge more detailed and AS10 having slight muddiness between the transition between upper bass and mids that lose some details here and there. The AS10 has a larger soundstage and improved imaging. The AS10’s low end is warmer and slightly exaggerated while the Tin Audio T2 is closer to linear in the bass department with some roll off sooner.

    Update: Tin Audio T2 with Vent Mod Comparison -- The T2 with vent mod increases the bass gain while retaining a similar sound signature in the mids and treble. The Vent mod actually is punchier and heavier in many tracks compared to the AS10. The T2 however remains very detailed throughout the mids and treble and may sound a little more detailed than the AS10 does.

    For a more detailed T2 vs AS10 analysis: http://www.antdroid.net/2018/08/tin-audio-t2-vs-kz-as10-in-depth.html

    https://smile.amazon.com/TIN-Double...B07DL2FPBL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&keywords=tin+t2

    KZ AS10 vs T2 vs T2 Vent.jpg
    Tin Audio T2 vs Tin Audio T2 with Vent Mod vs KZ AS10 - IEM Diffuse Field Compensation

    Shozy Hibiki Mk2 – While the AS10 is somewhere in-between a V-shaped and a neutral headphone signature with the slightly recessed mids, the Hibiki Mk2 is mid-forward with heavy emphasis on vocals. These are practically opposite sounds. They both share a warmer sound, but the Hibiki is much more narrow width and can sound very congested and claustrophobic, while the AS10 is very open and wide.

    https://smile.amazon.com/High-Definition-Headphones-Dynamic-Earphone-Detachable/dp/B07F8PBVD3/ref=sr_1_1?&keywords=shozy+mk2

    AS10 vs T2 vs Hibiki Mk2.jpg
    Tin Audio T2 vs Shozy Hibiki Mk2 vs KZ AS10 - IEM Diffuse Field Compensation

    images

    1. KZ AS10 - THD.jpg
      paulindss, DocHoliday and Otto Motor like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. antdroid
      antdroid, Aug 18, 2018
    3. Otto Motor
      Thanks, I bookmarked your blog.
      Otto Motor, Aug 18, 2018
      antdroid likes this.
    4. paulindss
      A-Grade review mate. Congratulations.
      paulindss, Aug 25, 2018
      antdroid likes this.
  3. Johnny Mac
    Knowledge Zenith AS10, budget flagship.
    Written by Johnny Mac
    Published Aug 28, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Price, Coherent sound all over.
    Cons - Package, no cable cinch.
    Intro

    They say the higher number of drivers in an IEM doesn’t translate to stellar sound quality but instead how it was implemented. The tendency of determining the performance of an IEM by solely relying on the number of drivers used in an IEM is a topic that will get audiophiles want to chime in, and speaking of audiophiles, it is safe to say that most are no stranger to Knowledge Zenith, popularly known as KZ. Their aggressive marketing strategy and their spam of numerous product launches for prices that are cheap in comparison to other audiophile offerings have made them the ultimate choice for new audiophiles hungry to be in the scene. What we have now to realview is their current flagship in terms of their pricing scheme, the KZ AS10 which was provided by DD Audio in exchange for an honest review, you can secure a pair for $55-$65 depending on store discounts from their respective stores in Amazon and AliExpress. The KZ AS10 is spec’d out with a whooping 5 Balanced Armature per earpiece, 20-22,000Hz Frequency Response, 32 ohms Impedance and a 106dB Sensitivity. I tried to dig out more information about the BA’s used on the AS10 and hit no luck, no further information is present on any of their marketing platforms.

    Packaging and Build Quality

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    The AS10 was packaged on a black matte box with nothing but a subtle KZ logo on the front and some minor company and product information sticker on the side. Opening the flap will reveal KZ’s special note: Don’t forget, the original intention of using earphones is to enjoy music (changed for correct grammar and spelling, not that its important). That was a nice conditioning note in my opinion, one that will remind you of the AS10’s price when judging its performance. The package included 3 silicon tips (S, M, L) with the medium tips pre-installed. The foam inserts had a metal plate with the KZ logo and the reminder again that this is a 10BA IEM. Underneath the foam inserts were the silicon tips, warranty card and a manual on how to use the AS10 and not much product details. It also hid the cable underneath which was a 1.2M round braid copper cable on a gold plated 3.5mm L-plug with strain relief both on the jack and the Y-split yet no cable cinch which would have been appreciated since the Y split sits lower than most cables I have tried. The cable is easy to store and easy to tangle as well even though it’s a braided cable and glad to have found that it isn’t microphonic as well when used on the go.

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    The memory wire on the cable near the .75mm 2pin connection had a thin metal strip to aid in the memory wire conforming to your desired shape. The IEM itself was a smoky black on the faceplate and a solid black on the shell leaving no way to admire the insides yet it has a clean maroon chamber with the KZ logo in gold print and the L and R markings near the 2pin sockets. The included silicon tips that came with the AS10 is clearly a mismatch for it and it is highly recommended to get a 3rd party tip hence in this realview, the JVC Spiral Dots M was used due to its perfect bore size that matches the AS10 nozzle nicely, at 1st it was weird not seeing a nozzle lip to aid with tip security however the Spiral Dots didn’t come off when the IEM was removed for the duration of the realview, do note as well that the mesh for the AS10 nozzle is embedded inside providing a tube-like aesthetic where one might think that the mesh came off.

    Tonality

    Knowledge Zenith aka KZ has been ruling the budget level market for sometime now and is already a household name in various audiophile groups specially in the SEA region but this is my 1st KZ IEM to have ever get intimate with, I am not familiar with the KZ sound but the AS10’s tonality lies on the warmer sector of IEMs, throughout the duration of the realview, the signature of the AS10 doesn’t alter much irrespective of the ear tips and file format used which is a good thing to see on this price range, we’d find out later on if this scales well on various sources given its 5 BA setup, I have used the Opus 1, Hidizs AP200, Sony ZX1 players all churning out 16/44 FLACs and the Sony CAS-1 desktop system for the realview.

    Lows

    The Lows has never been my preferred frequency when considering my affection for an IEM and providing sufficient low-end is enough for my preference. The AS10’s performance on the low-end is composed where the sub-bass extends in a clean transition for the frequencies to mesh well with the lows, it presents the midbass with a thump that is full bodied and impactful that doesn’t linger. The Black-Eyed Pea’s Greatist Hits playlist in FLAC 16/44 was a joy to run through as the low-end performance of the AS10 was panned equally providing pleasurable and non-fatiguing low-end experience. This is not your bloated type bass IEM that just throws the whole dynamic off but the type that allows cohesion across frequencies.

    Mids

    Tackling the Midrange frequencies for the AS10 gives it a smooth ambiance feel and the vocals are energetic and lifelike in delivery although it is on the softer side in its presentation, male vocals are breathy and often times emanates reverb that gives it a distinct sense of air even for softer modulations of the masculine gender. Female vocals mimic the sense of masculine presence, Norah Jones’s Come Away with Me and Land Del Rey’s Cherry was lush and full, inviting and will indulge the listener to relax and take it easy. Even Foo Fighter’s Best of You still retains the authoritative vocal presence and still clear and had great resolution. I even used the AS10 for movie watching for its great performance on the midrange.

    Highs

    Great low-end, Great midrange and a touch of subtle sparkle on the highs would make the AS10’s highs its official weakest link which if targeted specifically will still find one losing out, listening to Angela Bofill’s Angel of The Night on the AS10 is a luxury you can afford without being at risk of piercing highs.

    Soundstage and Imaging

    It is a joy for any ensemble member to find their band having individual awareness of where to position themselves amidst sudden and abrupt formation and the AS10 does this well. Soundstage is less than that of a cinematic feel yet no congestion as well is observed, it handles dynamics well and imaging is fleeting yet articulate. There is definite detail retrieval. The Spiral dot tips did well for the seal and isolation aspect for the AS10 and would recommend it over the Comply T500 and Final Audio tips after using all 3 ear tips.

    Synergy

    The AS10 did well with pairing it over various sources, from bright, neutral and warm sounding sources, it didn’t exhibit heavy adapting behavior when paired with such sources yet only sounded fuller when fed with more power. I have enjoyed it most off the Sony CAS-1 with its ability to give the AS10 its well-blended frequency delivery and smoothing the low-end impact even more. Overall pairing the AS10 on a source that would enable the low-end to exhibit a cleaner sound will make the AS10 sound its best.

    Conclusion

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    KZ has flushed the budget level market for some time now and have always eluded me, given the feedbacks I have heard from other previous KZ users, the AS10 is a great IEM to start exploring the KZ line which allowed me to hear what they are capable of. The build quality is something to be improved specially that nozzle design and the ear tips included would have made the AS10 a better package overall. The cable quality is great for its price and adding a cable cinch will complete make it even greater. The AS10 sound performance enables a cohesive sound across all the frequencies resulting in an experience that will welcome any user to the KZ dominion on a good note.


    Check out more realviews on my page, http://audiorealviews.site
  4. Dobrescu George
    KZ AS10 - Improved Budget Performance
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Sep 29, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - - Coherent Sound
    - Linear Midrange with no oddities
    - Very nice texturing and detail
    - Smooth treble
    - Enhanced quick bass with a good amount of detail
    - Clarity, Dynamics, Satisfying overall presentation
    - Good noise isolation
    - Cable is not microphonic
    - No Driver Flex
    - Good overall comfort, you can even jog wearing them
    Cons - - Treble is rolled off, almost non-existent
    - Package does not include a carrying case, but it includes some parts that aren't quite as useful
    - Comfort with small ears may not work quite as well
    - Cable doesn't seem quite that trusty and it is a little tangle-prone
    - They have a bit of void, best insert and pull them out slowly
    KZ AS10 - Improved Budget Performance

    We reviewed KZ ZS10 recently, and we thought it would be a good idea to also look into AS10, which is supposed to be a tweak signature from its bigger brother, this time the IEM on a super budget running on an all-BA configuration. We're going to give you the detailed report on how it performs in this Audiophile Heaven review.

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    Purchase Link (Linsoul Audio): https://www.linsoul.com/product-page/KZ-AS10-Earphone

    Purchase Link (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/KZ-Earphone-Resolution-Headphone-Cancelling/dp/B07G34D6PB/

    Purchase Link (Aliexpress): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/KZ-...rbud-Headphone-with-0-75mm-2/32902758060.html

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    Introduction

    We don't know who KZ is exactly, but we know that they are from China, and they do not directly respond to mails, instead most of the aftersales service being taken care of by stores who sell them. Happily, Linsoul Audio, the store who sent us the review sample, is a very friendly and reliable place, and you won't have any issues getting errors fixed, especially with their super friendly customer policy, and of course, they also sell those on Amazon, so you're in for a treat in terms of customer satisfaction.


    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with KZ or Linsoul, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by KZ or Linsoul or anyone else. I'd like to thank Linsoul for providing the sample for this review. The sample was provided along with Linsoul's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review will be as objective as it is humanly possible, and it reflects my personal experience with KZ AS10. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in KZ AS10 find their next music companion.



    About me

    https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/about.html



    Packaging

    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:


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    The package is simple, tiny, but it includes a fair amount of accessories for the price paid.

    You get a larger package than with ZS10, which still holds the record for the smallest package we ever received, but this shouldn't be that important, considering that you're purchasing it for the contents rather than the package.

    The package includes AS10, the cables for them, and a selection of tips to be able to use them.

    The metallic design part is also removable, but we couldn't find any usage for it outside of giving the package a more fun design.


    All in all, AS10 costs around 70 USD, so we could have expected a carrying box to be included as well, but otherwise, the selection of tips is good enough, and the cable is of high quality, so we can't complain.



    What to look in when purchasing an entry-level In-Ear Monitor

    https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/what-to-lookl.html



    Technical Specifications


    1. Product Name: Original KZ AS10 In-ear Earphone
    2. Brand: KZ
    3. Model: AS10
    4. Earphone type: In-ear
    5. Impedance: 32Ω
    6. Earphone sensitivity: 105dB/mW
    7. Frequency range: 20-22000Hz
    8. Interface: 3.5mm Gilded
    9. Plug Type: L curved
    10.Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm
    11.Color: Black, Cyan
    12.Whether with cable: Yes
    13.Earphone interface: 2 Pin
    14.Whether with mic: Optional
    15.Detachable cable: Yes
    16.Driver unit: 5 Balanced Armatures Per Side



    Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

    The main IEM body is made out of plastic, with a transparent outer shell that showcases its inner components, especially the crossover board. The transparent shell is an aqua blue in color, making AS10 look quite sexy in person.


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    The IEMs have detachable cables based on the 2-Pin connector, which is quite awesome to see on a budget IEM. The main cable is a little tangle-prone, but it is not awful, the cables has ear guides which help with the fit and comfort, and the cables are rather resilient, so you shouldn't worry about wearing them while on-the-go.

    There are no microphonics with AS10.

    The comfort is rather good, and isolation is on the really good side of things. The IEM does create a void and has no ventilation, being an all-BA setup, so we recommend pulling them slowly out of your ears and inserting them slowly to avoid any ear damage.

    Now, the IEM itself will flaunt its number of drivers, thing which we don't really fancy as the number of drivers isn't always connected to the sonic performance and quality of a IEM, but we can't really complain about the fact that they managed to place in 5 BA drivers per ear for just 70 USD.

    All in all, KZ AS10 is well build, well put together, it is comfortable and isolates well, the only drawback there being the cables, which aren't of the highest quality. The cables being replaceable though, you can always swap them for a higher quality ones, if you desire so.




    Sound Quality

    The sonic presentation of AS10 is much better than that of ZS10. We had quite a bit to complain about ZS10, as they had an iffy midrange and it was too colored to really recommend to most music fans without trying them first, but we also praised ZS10 for their absolutely amazing detail and texture presentations.

    Now, AS10 is quite a different story, they have a moderately bass and midrange-centric sound, with a really strong sub-bass, thicc midrange, and with a really smooth and not overly present treble.

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    Starting with the sub-bass and the bass, the bass is most surely enhanced, and it feels like the centric part of the sound. It is a natural to slightly quick sound, somewhat uncharacteristic of an all-BA driver setup, but we feel they did a great job on the bass quantity, AS10 being able to satisfy even most bassheads, only the most diehard bassheads yearning for even more.

    The midrange is characterized by two things, its fluff thiccness and its incredible texturization, which is given by the large number of BA drivers KZ fit in there, as the midrange is generally quite natural, without any oddities like ZS10 had, rather being quite natural in its overall tone. All in all, if you like a thicc and textury midrange, for 70 USD, the amount of detail and texture AS10 has is a real treat. Depending on the song, the midrange tends to be a little more forward than the bass, leading to a slightly mid-centric sound more than a bass-centric sound.

    The treble would be their weakest point, as it is smooth and relaxing, without much bite or presence. Those won't work so well with Rock and metal, but they will do an awesome job with pretty much anything else, like Electronic, Jazz, Pop, etc. Describing the treble is quite complicated, as it is barely there, a really smooth, smoothly textured, friendly and overly relaxed presentation that doesn't necessarily make them boring, but they surely aren't edgy or treble-happy.



    Soundstage

    The soundstage of KZ AS10 is on the large size, at least when it comes to its width. They are basically quite wide sounding, without much height, and with a fair amount of depth. This kind of width combined with the thicc midrange and with the deep bass create quite an engaging overall presentation that helps them gain some ground when it comes to being fun.



    ADSR / PRaT

    The ADSR and PRaT (Texturization) is natural to quick, characteristic of BA-drivers. Both the bass and the midrange are characterized by quick speeds, overly detailed textures and micro-details, along with a slower, smoother treble presentation.



    Portable Usage

    The portable usage is pretty good.


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    KZ AS10 doesn't require any special conditions to be enjoyed, they sound good out of anything, except for hissy sources, as those are quite sensitive to hiss. Otherwise, they are a fair performer, they isolate well, they sit well in one's ears, and they don't get very slippery.

    In terms of portability, they lack a carrying solution, so we can't say they are perfect, as you'll need to either get a third party carrying solution, or place them in your pocket, which, together with their tangle-prone cables, may result in a little mess.


    The comfort while walking and jogging is quite good, although they are on the larger side, they tend to sit well fixed in one's ears thanks to the tips's surface texture, along with the ear guides, especially after properly adjusting them. It is possible to run with them, but a smaller IEM may be preferred. The other thing you need to consider while jogging with AS10 is their cable, which is light, but may get in the way sometimes.



    Comparisons

    We tried selecting the most relevant IEMs to compare KZ AS10 with, considering their price and performance.


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    KZ AS10 vs KZ ZS10 - The comparison to ZS10 is quite easy, as the two are quite different. The most basic version is that KZ made AS10 as a response to ZS10, as AS10 doesn't have that Dynamic Driver as the ZS10 does, but this bears quite an impact on the overall sound. The package, accessories, and most important things, being the same, we'll only dive into the sound. The most major difference is in the midrange, where AS10 has a very neat and clear midrange without any hops, dips or peaks, and ZS10 has a rather colored midrange that can be described as strange. It is no doubt that some people will prefer ZS10, but we feel that most people who are going for a IEM from KZ will go fro AS10, as they provide the more balanced, more linear and natural midrange.

    KZ AS10 vs iBasso IT01 - This review wouldn't be any fun if we compared AS10 only to IEMs less expensive than itself, so we'll try to doing this with a real performer. Starting with the package, IT01 has a better cable, comes with a carrying case, and it has a larger number of tips included in the package. Of course, it also costs more. The comfort is similar, and maybe even better with KZ AS10, since IT01 does have driver flex for some users, where AS10 can't have any driver flex, no matter what one does. Now, onto the sonic performance, the most major difference is in the tonality, where IT01 is clearly a V-shaped IEM, with a recessed midrange, an enhanced bass and treble, a nice bite, nice sparkle, and nice bass, being a good fit for any kind of musical style, as long as you like a little sparkle, where AS10 is more of a smooth performer, with a forward midrange, a strong bass, but with almost no treble to speak about, making it more of a relaxing IEM, so if you're looking for this kind of signature, the decision should be rather simple. We'd also like to note that on an overall level, AS10 has a little more textures and a bit more detail in the midrange, but it lacks the treble part almost entirely compared to the sparkle of IT01, so the choice will be rather simple between the two.

    KZ AS10 vs FiiO F9 - FiiO F9 is also another competitor interesting to compare AS10 to. The F9 we reviewed before was more expensive than AS10, but again, this is a big part of the fun, comparing them to something that is at least as expensive or more. The package is clearly better for F9, it comes with better cables, better carrying solution, more tips. The build quality is comparable, but F9 is well-vented, smaller in size, and even more ergonomic, making it a more comfortable IEM as well. Now, onto the sound, it is rather different. F9 is one of those balanced-neutral IEMs, with a bright sound, a slower bass, a slightly recessed midrange, and a slightly hot treble, making it a neutral-signature-lover's dream, while AS10 is much more smooth in the treble, has more texture in the midrange, more bass impact, deeper bass reach, although it has nowhere near as much treble or sparkle, in the treble F9 being worlds better than AS10. The detail and texture levels are better on AS10, of course, in the bass and midrange, since F9 has a considerably better and more present treble. All in all, we feel that our readers will go for F9 if they want a neutral-balanced IEM, and they will go with AS10 if they want a smoother-treble, midrange-forward, more bassy IEM.




    Recommended Pairings

    KZ AS10 isn't quite that dependent on a good pairing, but they tend to respond fair to better sources, due to their quick drivers, so a better source may provide better textures, and a more refined overall sound. They are quite sensitive to hiss, meaning that they will reveal the hiss from a hissy source like Hiby R6.

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    KZ AS10 + HIDIZS AP80 - HIDIZS AP80 is an excellent source when it comes to its price-performance ratio, as it provides a quick, neutral to warm, fun sound to them, with a nice width, without cutting away too much of their already smooth and relaxing treble. AP80 can also do a few tricks on its own, which make it a great purchase, but most important, it has a really impressive sound, it has a nice UI, it works nicely, and it is not quite that expensive, if you want to stop using your smartphone for music (AP80 will sound better than most smartphones for sure).

    KZ AS10 + FiiO M7 - FiiO M7 is even better than AP80 in terms of texture and detail, it has an even better overall User Interface, but it costs quite a bit more, so if you're looking for a really portable solution, but if you're not budget constrained, we feel that FiiO did an awesome job with M7 and it is totally worth looking into, especially if you may later get some bluetooth headphones that will be able to take advantage of M7's amazing BT abilities.

    KZ AS10 + Shanling M0 - Shanling M0 is the direct competitor of AP80, and it makes just an awesome of a deal, providing a similar sound, similar performance, but with an even smaller body, and with a slightly more grippy volume / selection wheel. On the other hand, the design is more cool and edgy with AP80, making the choice between them be more of a choice in terms of aesthetics, as well as a few other abilities they have, which we'll explore in our upcoming reviews on both. Still, you can't go wrong with either, and M0 will also provide a neutral to slightly warm sound with AZ10, and will give them a wide and impressive overall soundstage and presentation.



    Value and Conclusion

    We need to remind you that we're reviewing an IEM costing about 70USD, being quite inexpensive for a IEM that sports 5 BA drivers per ear. Still, it isn't like it is below 25 USD, so we expect quite some performance for it, and we can't excuse lack of performance based on a low price at this price point.

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    Starting with the package they come in, KZ AS10 have a nicely designed package, and they do have high quality tips, and a cable that is fairly good included with them, but they don't come with a carrying solution, which is a little questionable for them.

    The build quality is really good, basically the best we'd expect at this price point, with a medium-large plastic shell, a transparent aqua-colored top, and with a rather nice-looking overall design. The cables are connected to the IEMs by a 2-pin connector, there is no driver flex, and they don't have cable microphonics.

    The comfort and isolation is also quite good, the isolation is almost in the levels of extreme, while the comfort is quite good, except if you have small ears. The good comfort is given by good-grade tips, which don't get slippery, and by a very ergonomic shell body shape.


    The sound is mid-centric, with a strong bass, and with a smooth and relaxing treble. They do have a lot of detail and texture, thanks to their all-BA design, and they do play really well with almost any music style, besides rock and metal, where you may want a little more brightness and sparkle.

    All in all, for 70 USD, this is an amazing IEM, especially if you like a smooth treble, or a strong bass and midrange, and if you prefer your music to be well-textured in the midrange, with a quick but large bass.


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    If you're looking for a IEM that will surely impress you at a really low price, this is one of them, and especially if you're a bass and midrange fan, but if you like a smoother treble, we feel you should totally add them to your short list.

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    Purchase Link (Linsoul Audio): https://www.linsoul.com/product-page/KZ-AS10-Earphone

    Purchase Link (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/KZ-Earphone-Resolution-Headphone-Cancelling/dp/B07G34D6PB/

    Purchase Link (Aliexpress): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/KZ-...rbud-Headphone-with-0-75mm-2/32902758060.html


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    Playlist used for this review

    While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

    Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
    Eskimo Callboy - Frances
    Incubus - Summer Romance
    Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
    Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
    Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir

    Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
    Manafest - Impossible
    Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
    Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
    Doctor P - Bulletproof
    Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
    Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
    SOAD - Chop Suey
    Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
    Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
    Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
    Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
    Eminem - Rap God
    Stromae - Humain À L'eau
    Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
    Metallica - Fuel
    Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
    Masa Works - Golden Japang
    REOL - Luvoratorrrrry

    Korn - Word Up!
    Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
    Fever The Ghost - Source
    Fall Out Boy - Immortals
    Green Day - Know The Enemy
    Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
    A static Lullaby - Toxic
    Royal Republic - Tommy Gun
    Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
    Skillet - What I Believe




    I hope my review is helpful to you!

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    Contact us!


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  5. ngoshawk
    KZ AS10-Knowledge Zenith’s budget flagship
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Oct 7, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Fairly unique look.
    Solid build.
    Good overall sound, especially in this price bracket.
    "Good" bass.
    First silicon tip I have actually liked.
    Good overall sound, with enough detail to keep you interested.
    Does not have that typical (to me) treble boost at this price, and I'm glad.
    Cons - The cable tangles.
    No carrying case!
    The cable tangles.
    Many options at this price
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    The KZ AS10 was provided to me by Lillian from Linsoul sound (DD-Audio store), and can be purchased at their Amazon site: https://www.amazon.com/KZ-Earphone-Resolution-Headphone-Cancelling/dp/B07G34D6PB/ or Aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32902758060/32902758060.html. All that was asked in return was an open honest review. I would have it no other way.


    Initiale:




    From @b9scrambler, … KZ has been dominating the hyper-budget market for years now, partly due to raw saturation, but also because many of their products are straight up good and worth your attention. With the ZST, their first hybrid, KZ upped their game. Since then, they’ve delved deeper into the hybrid market releasing various models with a variety of driver configurations and in the process have seen themselves rise out of the hyper budget realm and up against more established competition.

    The release of the AS10 sees a couple firsts for the brand. First off, it’s their first pure balanced armature model. Like the ZS10, it features five drivers per side. Unlike the ZS10, inside each ear piece is a 3D printed structure which houses the drivers, guiding sound to two individual outputs visible in the base of each nozzle, protected from dust and ear wax by a sheer filter.

    The AS10 is also their most expensive model to date, firmly removing them from their roots in the sub-20 USD realm. It is worth taking a chance on the AS10? Absolutely.


    *My initial notes, important here for the initial findings:


    Cable is a mess…tangles every time I try to unwind it. Not acceptable. After roughly 50 hours of burn-in, I tried the AS10’s on a windy walk at our daughter-units Futbol practice. The cable (even with the issues) was quiet and functional. I burn in units of which I test because I feel that a potential customer will want to know what the unit in question sounds like after 2-3 months of use, not out of the box; since it will only sound that way once. Where-as a burned-in unit will be the state in which we use the item in question for a good…long…time. Whether you believe in burn-in or not is not the question, but as stated above the use after time is the important part.


    Bass like A&D D2…overwhelming at times…tamed somewhat with time.


    The first thing I noticed was a good seal utilizing the included silicon tips, which have a nice relief groove to them. Think making a cone, and how you cut the paper to make one and you get the picture. To me this makes sense in aiding the seal, giving a more form-fitting approach. Not sure I can tell the difference, but on this VERY windy night, the seal was quite good. And so was the quantity of bass. Running the critter through my QP2R, the sound was rich, and full of bass depth. That depth of bass was not the cleanest of which I have heard, but pretty decent nonetheless.


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    The overall sound reminded me of the open-air bowl at which I heard Don Henley in San Diego many decades ago. Good and full, but it was obvious we were a distance from the stage. While the mids may have seemed recessed as a result, I hold that it was the laid-back nature of the signature, instead. There are IEM’ of which the mids certainly are recessed, but this is again the overall presentation, almost U-shaped to me. I may be wrong, but that is the impression at which I started.


    Specs from Amazon site:

    Product Name: Original KZ AS10 In-ear Earphone
    Brand: KZ
    Model: AS10
    Earphone type: In-ear
    Impedance: 32Ω
    Earphone sensitivity: 105dB/mW

    Frequency range: 20-22000Hz
    Interface: 3.5mm Gilded
    Plug Type: L curved
    Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm
    Color: Black, Cyan

    Whether with cable: Yes
    Earphone interface: 2 Pin

    Whether with mic: Optional

    Detachable cable: Yes
    Driver unit: 5 Balanced Armatures Per Side



    Songs used:

    Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:

    REM-Losing My Religion
    Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
    Coldplay-A Message
    Coldplay-White Shadows
    Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
    Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
    twenty one pilots-Trees
    twenty one pilots-Car Radio
    twenty one pilots-Heathens
    Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
    Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
    Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
    Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
    Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
    Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
    Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado

    Comparison equipment:

    MEE M6 Pro Gen2
    TinAudio T2 Pro
    Meze 11Neo
    AAW-Shozy Hibiki MK2

    MacBook Pro through Audirect Beam
    Shanling M0
    Shanling M3s
    Questyle QP2R
    Aune M1s
    Ruizu D05

    [​IMG]

    Unboxing:

    Coming in a subdued black box, which opened like a book from the right, one is presented with the IEM at the top, and accessories below. As someone else stated (and I agree) the packaging while tasteful is wasteful. Especially since the KZ doesn’t come with a case. I find that more and more in the items received, and I must say I do not like it. Include a case…please.


    Two plastic halves glued together of different material highlight the IEM. Fingerprint-prone black plastic holds the model number as well as which ear the critter goes into. Also listed is “10 balanced armature,” noting the TOTAL number of BA’s in the pair, since this is a 5/side BA pair. The other half looks like a small circuit board what with crossovers and resistor connections visible. I get the impression KZ wanted something a bit different, and they succeeded. I’m not sure if I like the look, but I rarely purchase an item for the looks (I drive a new Prius, so…)



    [​IMG]



    A detachable 2-pin brown cable give the KZ-AS10 a subdued look, which is counter to the circuit board. A nice touch, if it weren’t for the “tangleability” of the cable. The strain reliefs on both ends are semi-hard rubber, which give a good feel, counter to the cable itself. Memory sleeves are long and pliable, a nice touch. Don’t get me wrong, the cable is very nice, as it is tightly wound below the Y-splitter and gives a very solid sound; but this is one of the more tangle-prone cables I have encountered lately. In mountain-biking terms, I call this “Stiction.”



    [​IMG]



    No slider is provided to cinch the cable close to your head in activity-mode, but this isn’t really meant to be used for those purposes. Overall a nice cable, with drawbacks.

    The included tips have that relief groove, and I must state that they seem to provide a better seal. To the point, where I haven’t even switched to my standard Comply’s. Good seal, good fit, good sound. Much to like there, and worth a look as an option to most included silicon’s. Something I do not think I have ever stated!

    As per my standard bearing, after an initial listen I put the AS10’s on my Shanling M0/Opus #2 combo for over 50 hours. As stated previously, I believe this helps the potential customer understand how the critter will sound down the road. Believe in burn in or not, it doesn’t matter to me. I do it for your benefit.



    [​IMG]


    Initial:

    My first impressions were coming off of some lower priced units, and I must state that the bass took me away. Deep, almost rumbly in nature, I was impressed. But knowing that this might have been placebo effect from the other cheaper options, which were oriented towards a brighter signature, I withheld judgement. I did read from a couple of reviews that the KZ is very good at the bass level for a BA IEM. I would concur as well. Hooked to the QP2R, as well as the Ruizu D05, the KZ happily came along for the ride. Another good initial pairing was the Shanling M0. A happy pairing all were. I did notice immediately that the AS10 is easy to drive, even at 32 ohms. On all, I had to turn the volume down several notches from the other I am testing concurrently. So, source should not be a bother.


    Delving further:


    Bass is strong and vibrant, but a bit muddled in Don’t Panic from Coldplay. Same on Dragonfly from Ziggy. I will say that the more I listen, the more accustomed my ears appreciate the bass. Think of that brighter Spring day, but with the first sign of allergies looming on the horizon, and you get the picture. Enjoy the sound of the bass for what it is, not what others are. On certain songs where I know the bass should be there, such as Senorita from Los Lonely Boys, I was left wanting a better push of that bass. Acceptable, yes. Better than many other budget offerings from the region? You bet, but a bit behind other manufacturers in the same category regarding quality. Good for a 5 BA unit as well.


    I say this often, and it does again apply here: the mids hold the music together, but here it is from a recessed V-shape. Almost polite in nature the mids tend to hold down the fort though, in quiet confidence. Neither sharp, nor quiet you can tell that the mids lie behind the other sounds, and in this instance, it is all right. On songs such as Ziggy’s excellent Lighthouse you hear both cases. Behind the excellent vocals and guitarwork and tying the sound together. This is all right in my book, as I often find mids, which are too forward grating in nature, and become tedious in which to listen for longer periods.


    That said, with good treble comes the benefit of the mids tying together the overall sound. I do not like peaky or brittle treble, and with the AS10, I am not disappointed. Neither shouty or peaky, the treble rings through true and accurate. Not the most accurate of treble I have heard, for this price it is quite good. Ringing through Stevie Ray Vaughan’s sensual Montreaux ’85 version of Life Without You defines pretty accurately the treble sound for me. Stevie’s voice can be gravelly and sensual in the same sentence. And here the KZ represents both accurately. I was not left wanting better definition in this range. Slightly warm in tone, the upper end was defined by the snap of snare, the succulent stretch of his guitar licks on the solo, and Reese’s melding of the keyboard into a sound, which was very good and listenable. I cannot say that about all I have heard recently with this same song. Good stuff, indeed.


    [​IMG]


    Soundstage/Separation/Instrumentation:



    On the more closely guarded sides to me, the soundstage is neither wide nor deep. Adequate would be a good descriptor. Left in the vein of a middle sized-venue, the sound sits a bit forward and up in the soundstage box. As if you had a floor seat to an excellent concert looking up to the artist and music. That said, there is sufficient detail in which to know where each instrument lies. Separated through decent layering, I could differentiate where the instruments lay pretty well with a concerted effort. If I just listened, it became harder but not uncomfortable or worth the bother. Dragonfly comes through fairly well and clear. Here that bit of middling bass shines through, but not to the point that it becomes bothersome. I can live with it and be quite happy.


    Comparo-extraordinaire (all done on the Shanling M0):


    KZ AS10 ($69.99) v Meze 11Neo ($59):

    Right off the bat, you can tell that the KZ has a deeper reach of bass that the Meze. There is more bass as well. The Meze has a cable prone to microphonics to boot. So, with that you might think there is nothing in which to compare the two, and it is a landslide for the KZ. Well, not really. While the AS10 is quite good for the price, the Meze does provide nearly the same sound for a bit less money. I find the detail retrieval of the 11Neo to be a bit ahead of the KZ as well. There is more mid-presence in the AS10 than the 11Neo, but not quite as well defined. The KZ is good, especially when you consider the price, but throw in the ability to wear the 11Neo down (and it stays) and you get closer to each other. Plus, the Meze does not have that tangle of cable…only the microphonics of cord. The 11Neo has a bit better reach up top, and control to me. If I had to choose, though the KZ AS10 would come out on top.


    KZ AS10 ($69.99) v AAW-Shozy Hibiki Mk2 ($65ish):

    Anytime IEM’s run in the same price venue, you would expect there to be somewhat minute differences between them. At least that would be what one expects. Here, though you do not really get that. The Hibiki has a more forward mid-centric sound, with less bass quantity. Compared to the KZ, the bass of the Shozy is quite tame. It is there, just not as punchy as the AS10. Driver count, and configuration can certainly account for this, but while I state that there is still much to like regarding the Hibiki. A quick listen back and forth yields a more open signature with the Shozy. Almost refreshing in nature, the Hibiki gains its following from a very solid midcentric sound (to me) as well as that openness of sound. Honest is what I called it in my review. I stand by that. Plus, it has a much better cable tactility-wise in my opinion. If you want deep, dark and rich go for the KZ. If you want a more open sound, then choose the Hibiki. You really cannot go wrong with either, though.


    KZ AS10 ($69.99) v MEE Audio M6 Pro Gen2 ($49.99 + $15 for custom plate):

    Much harder to drive through the M0, the M6 Pro G2 comes into this fight with a disadvantage. But, with better bass control, the playing field evens back out. Again, there is more depth on the KZ, but better control and better upper bass quality. Cleaner would be a good way to describe that difference. Running a bit wider sound stage, you get more air in the presentation through the MEE Audio as well. This little critter fast became a favorite upon arrival and is now my go to when working out. That said, the KZ certainly competes with that deeper reach and a bit less shouty in the mids. MEE told me they smoothed out the mid-section while giving better definition to the bass from the G1, and I would concur that they have indeed made a more pleasant signature. But the AS10 competes well and is easier to drive.

    Cymbals sound a bit artificial out of the KZ, with the G2 sounding every bit like they should. The KZ sounds good overall but compared to the MEE a bit of artificiality comes through. Where the KZ shines is in true bass rumble. The MEE has some, but there is a hint as opposed to an actual punch. I was left wanting the bass rumble of the first gen but do find this signature quite acceptable.



    KZ AS10 ($69.99) v Tin Audio T2 Pro ($59, retail):

    Left late, the T2 Pro was a sudden addition to my queue, timed with the Linsoul Massdrop. Having been thoroughly smitten with the “regular” T2, I eagerly anticipated to Pro. I was not disappointed, either. But again, the KZ proved its worth against the newcomer. With better bass, it tilted towards a landslide. BUT, and that is a big but (haha) the T2 Pro had a trick up its sleeve…detail retrieval. In talking with others, and perusing the written word, the goal of the T2 Pro was better detail presence. And I can state that this is indeed what happened. Plus, the T2 Pro does better the AS10, by a good bit. If detail interpretation is foremost in what you are looking for, then you would be hard pressed to better the Pro. It is excellent in that area.

    [​IMG]

    Comparo du DAP:


    As stated above, all of the comparisons between IEM’s was done with the excellent little Shanling M0. And a very nice little critter it is. Typicasl slightly warm Shanling sound, with enough power to drive most thrown its way, the M0/AS10 combo is quite pleasant. I know, I use that phrase a good bit, but that would be an apt description. Nothing stands out too much, either good or bad. A bit intimate of sound stage if you must ask for a downside. But well worth a listen.


    Not so very long ago, the wonderful Aune M1s came my way as a result of a lucky win (wooHOO!). As I really liked the borrowed M1 I had at one time, the M1s raised the bar for Aune so-to-speak. With a more neutral sound, and better detail than the little M0, I thoroughly enjoyed the sound. Not only would I recommend the AS10, but wholeheartedly the M1s as well. Good wider sound stage, excellent layering and enough power for most, this is one fine pure music player. The KZ/Aune pairing is a favorite of mine recently, and one in which I can confidently recommend.


    Moving up the food chain, I have yet to find anything, which does not work well with the QP2R. There is a reason it has displaced the Opus #2 as my reference DAP. Again, without the frills of WIFI and BT to encumber it, the sound is pure bliss. That said, here is where the AS10 starts to be out of its depth a bit. Only a bit. For once you set foot into this vaunted territory, you had darn well bring the goods. And while the KZ does, it simply cannot sound its best at this level. That lack of detail, and a slightly brittle upper end begin to show here. Masked successfully by the “lower” DAP’s, it cannot hide here. So, if you want the KZ AS10 (and you should), do not aim too high with your source.



    Le Grand Finale:

    So, all those words…many, many words above. Which if taken at face value make a pretty decent read if I may say so selfishly. But, those words are written with purpose and accountability. Purpose, because I find it my duty to present what I hear, whether it is good or bad. Accountability because sometimes I contact other reviewers for a Chautauqua regarding the critter in question. We talk (I listen/read) and respond about subtle nuances of what we have on hand. And since I am at the deficiency, I do rely upon what other reviewers hear by asking them how area X sounds when using unit Y. I rely upon this due to my aforementioned deficiencies. But sometimes, those same reviewers query me with what I hear, because they know I make up for my deficiencies by listening for those subtle differences. So, a nice two-way street results and we have no car crashes…



    [​IMG]



    As a result of the above, I can recommend the Knowledge Zenith AS10. If you want an affordable 5 BA/side critter, with very good bass for a Balanced Armature unit, then the AS10 might be just what you are looking for in an IEM. I would try and find a different cable to keep on hand as well, because I cannot recommend the cable. It is a tangle mess, albeit one that does sound quite good paired with the AS10.


    I’d like to thank Lillian from Linsoul Sound for the continued faith in the reviewer, even in good or bad. It was again, my pleasure at reviewing this little critter, which is worth a listen.

    [​IMG]
      williamclarkonet and B9Scrambler like this.
  6. Cinder
    KZ AS10 Review: Cheap Champion
    Written by Cinder
    Published Oct 15, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good bass extension, good build quality, secure 2-pin connectors, visually attractive cable, good detail levels, competitive with other IEMs at this price-point
    Cons - Sparse accessories, odd color choices, no chin-slider on the cable
    [​IMG]

    KZ AS10 Review: Cheap Champion

    KZ is a veritable titan of the audiophile industry. While you won't see their ads plastered in Hi-Fi magazines or their precious flagships displayed in carefully padded display cases, you can easily find their products being discussed on audiophile forums scattered across the internet. KZ’s specialty is producing “audiophile-grade” IEMs at an affordable price-point. The norm for KZ has always been “build an IEM for $15–$25, make it sound good, sell it online” and for the most part they’ve stuck to the “make it sound good” part of the formula. Until recently, KZ has kept to the “$15-$20” part of the formula pretty strictly. Today though, I’ll be covering the KZ AS10, an IEM that places a bit higher up on the pricing ladder, coming it $65.99. Has KZ been able to successfully break into a higher price-point? Or have they failed to produce a competitive IEM at a new bracket with more competition?

    The AS10 can be bought here, from Penon Audio.

    About My Preferences: Heads up, I’m a person! As such, these words are my opinion, and they are tinged by my personal preferences. While I try to mitigate this as much as possible during my review process, I’d be lying if I said my biases are completely erased. So for you, my readers, keep this in mind:

    • My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass.
    • I have a mild treble sensitivity.
    Source: The AS10 was powered like so:

    HTC U11 -> USB-C adapter -> earphones

    or

    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones

    or

    HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones

    or

    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones

    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    Tech Specs
    • Sensitivity: 105dB
    • Impedance: 14Ω
    • Frequency: 20–40000Hz
    • Plug Type: 3.5mm
    • Pin Type: 0.75mm
    • Line Length: 120±5cm
    • Weight: 25±3g
    Sound Signature
    Sonic Overview:
    The AS10’s sound signature and listenability are highly disputed, for some odd reason. Maybe it has to do with manufacturing variances producing different sound signatures, but I can’t say one way or the other — All I can share with you today is what I hear, so please bear that in mind.

    The AS10 has a warm-tilted, and bass-friendly, V-shaped sound signature. Its upper and lower treble are elevated past its midrange. Speaking of which, the AS10’s midrange is more heavily weighted towards the lower-end, giving the AS10 that nice warmth that adds some nice weight to instrumentation. The AS10’s bass is also elevated past its midrange, peaking at the midbass and slowly rolling off towards about 40Hz.

    Sonic Breakdown:
    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy, Little One, Show Me How To Live (Live at the Quart Festival), Now

    The AS10’s upper register is elevated past its midrange, extending well into the upper treble. As such, it has an “airy” appeal to it. The AS10’s treble timbre is excellent. It articulates and places high-hats and cymbals with precision and finesse. Songs like Now by Paramore really shine; there’s some relatively complex use of the high-hats going on it the background throughout the majority of the song that tends to be overrun by the other treble-based sounds. The AS10 captured and made audible the hitting of the high-hats for nearly the entire song. This is an impressive feat, especially when backing it against the AS10’s relatively modest price.

    As for sibilance, I hardly heard any. While there were one or two instances where I thought you could maybe, just barely, consider some odd sharpness as sibilant, that would be pedantic, even by my highly-sensitive standards. Even largely-sibilant songs like Satisfy were pleasant to listen to. The AS10 dodged every single instance of sharpness that would have made my ears hurt on many other “detail-oriented” IEMs.

    Overall, I am very happy with the way KZ tuned the AS10’s treble. This is the first time I’ve been completely satisfied with the way that they’ve tuned the treble on one of their IEM. A lack of sibilance, natural tonality, and excellent detail capturing, make it something that I think a lot of similarly-priced IEMs will struggle to compete with.

    Midrange: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams, Too Close, Little Black Submarines

    Given the AS10’s overall V-shaped sound signature it comes as no surprise that its midrange is recessed. The thing is, I don’t really mind it; the recession isn’t particularly severe, nor does it generate a muffled tone. In fact, the AS10 sound quite expressive to my ear. Guitars, drums, and other instrumentation are easy to hear and are decently capable of expressing texture making strings a pleasure to listen to.

    I found that the AS10’s warmer sound signature favored male vocals over female ones. While the margin is small, it is noticeable. That said, the AS10 expressed admirable intelligibility for both genders.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    Given the AS10’s low price-point and ambitious crossover design, I expected the bass to be more or less of a mess. To my pleasant surprise, it is not; it is weighty, quick, and relatively precise. The AS10 competently staged and displayed the bass guitars of Moth. Tonal accuracy is good too, if not a bit sterile for my tastes. That is, however, more than likely an artifact of using a balanced-armature-based woofer.

    In electronic songs such as Gold Dust and In For The Kill, the AS10 performed well. Mid-bass bloom was above-average in quality and it rarely ever got out of control or spilled into the midrange. And the sub-bass is extended too — though it does flatten out at the lowest parts of In For The Kill’s bass line.

    Packaging / Unboxing
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The AS10 features some of the nicest packaging used by KZ to date. It is functional, somewhat protective, and compact. That said, there isn't really a whole lot inside of it so doing some minimization wouldn't hurt either.

    Build
    Construction Quality
    [​IMG]
    The AS10’s shells are built entirely out of plastic. Underneath the transparent faceplate, you can see the board used by KZ to run the crossover circuit for the AS10’s five drivers (per side). This is a relatively unique design choice that highlights how experimental the AS10 is for KZ. I do appreciate the interesting visual cues that such a design choice makes, though I do think that some tweaking of the color pallet could serve the AS10 well.

    [​IMG]
    The AS10 features removable cables. It has adopted the 2-pin standard (0.75mm) and executes its adoption well. The tops of the AS10’s shells reveal the female 2-pin connector in a stark red. My unit holds the cables in well, even after rigorous daily use. Time will tell on how well these connectors hold up, but I see no outstanding flaws that would indicate rapid failure.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The AS10’s cable is quite good. Rather than the re-using the underwhelming cable from the cheaper series KZ has decided to step up its game. Gone is the multi-grain pasta aesthetic of old and in is a look of class. The dark copper color you see is achieved by KZ coating a bare copper wire with a translucent black plastic. I am impressed with the relatively low amount of body held by the AS10’s cable and the degree to which it is free from microphonics.

    The 3.5mm jack housing, Y-splitter, and MMCX housing are all made out of a tough rubberized plastic. It has an interesting texture that isn’t visually distracting from the cable’s aesthetic.

    [​IMG]
    The AS10’s cable features memory-wire ear hooks. These enable you to sculpt the hooks to your ear’s specific shape. This comes in handy when wearing the AS10 in high-winds or when using it while being active.

    Comfort
    The AS10 is a big boy, and as such, won’t be very comfortable for listeners with smaller ears. Given its longer nozzle, I do not have any comfort issues with the AS10. Naturally, this will change according to each person’s individual aural anatomy, so be aware that your mileage will vary.

    Accessories
    Per the KZ mentality, the AS10 has a sparse accessory package. Inside the box you’ll find:

    [​IMG]
    • 2x spare silicone ear tips
    Yep, that’s it. But given how high-quality the cable and IEM are, I don’t find myself too upset. Sure, I have to find my own carrying case, but for additional $5 I would need to purchase one, I don’t think I can find a better IEM that actually comes with a usable carrying case. At least not one that I would personally use.

    Comparisons
    1: Rose Aurora ($70)

    The Aurora has a thicker midrange and a less controlled mid-bass. While it does have a more resilient sub-bass, that doesn’t make up for the loss of clarity in the mid-bass, nor the overly-warm tonality in its midrange, compared to the AS10. The AS10 has a more pronounced upper-treble as well, aiding in its display of “airiness”. Given the difference in age and technology in the two, I’d say its safe to say that the AS10 is a child of a different, better almost, generation of IEMs. So while some might find that the Aurora lines up better for their preferences in terms of midrange tonality, I think most will appreciate the AS10’s take on music far more.

    2: Brainwavz B150 ($75)

    Bear in mind that this comparison was done while the B150 was outfitted with foam ear tips. This should, however, be considered fair since they were included in the box with it.

    The B150 has a flatter sound signature and a less pronounced 3KHz and 6KHz spike. So it offers a more neutral take on music than the AS10. The B150 puts up a surprisingly good fight to the AS10 with its single balanced-armature driver. So while it doesn’t quite catch everything that the AS10 does in the lower register, it has an advantage in the midrange and treble in terms of cohesion and extension. After all, the B150 doesn’t have to mess with crossovers, passive or otherwise.

    Summary
    The AS10 is a very well crafted IEM. For its price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a similarly-tuned IEM as competent as it. The five-driver configuration that it spouts isn’t just a gimmick; KZ has truly leveraged everything that their 3-way crossover has to offer. So while you might have to pick up a carrying case or some after-market ear tips if the included ones don’t suit your fancy, it’s worth it; this price segment is highly competitive and the KZ AS10 sits near the top of it.

    As always, happy listening!
  7. DallaPo
    KNOWLEDGE ZENITH AS10 | 5*BA | Rating: 8.8
    Written by DallaPo
    Published Oct 19, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - good bass for a balanced armature driver in the price segment.

    detailed sound, especially in the mids and treble.

    interesting, natural sound
    Cons - sub-bass roll-off too fast

    some mid-bass bleeding

    some peaks in the higher mids
    This review was made possible by LINSOL AUDIO.
    https://www.linsoul.com/product-page/KZ-AS10-Earphone
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    Intro
    When Knowledge Zenith announced their first pure BA driver in-ear release, this made many Chi-Fi hearts beat faster. After all, a pure BA driver configuration can only be found in much more expensive models and KZ quickly made it clear that the AS10 as well as the BA10 will be available for less than 80 €. In comparison to the numerous hybrid models of KZ these are however also clearly more expensive.

    Whether KZ really lived up to the high expectations will be shown in the test. It is especially exciting how the AS10 perform in the low bass range!


    Handling
    The AS10 uses the design of the ES4 and ZS10, which also use a transparent housing with a visible PCB.

    Because the sound openings are very large, it is not advisable to use the largest foam/silicone tips, as this could cause pain when wearing them.
    I also don't know what makes KZ so vehemently rely on their wire reinforcement in their cables, which impairs the wearing comfort somewhat.
    Apparently we get new cables from the ZSN, which have preformed earhooks with rubber tube reinforcement.

    The insulation is very good in both directions, and since there are no dynamic drivers, there is no need for the possible plop effect when inserting, which can be caused by negative pressure in the ear if there are no ventilation holes or are covered.

    After almost 3 years KZ has also decided to change its packaging. This package doesn't have any more content (cable, 3 pairs of silicone tips, headphones), but it looks better.


    Sound
    Now it's time to get down to business. Basically the AS10s are very balanced IEMs with accentuated good resolution mid-range, airy, detailed treble and appealing bass.

    This doesn't come from a dynamic driver, like the previous hybrid models, but a BA driver (woofer) takes care of the low frequencies and that surprisingly well with some compromises.
    What is quickly noticeable is the lack of pressure and the rapid drop in the sub range. The bass is partly very dry and sterile, but fast and precise, because the inertia of the dynamic drivers doesn't matter. That's a bit of a matter of taste. However, the midrange bass is really good and to the point. It also provides the AS10 with a warm sound without being overly accentuated, even if it slips into the midrange.
    As accurate as the bass plays here in quality and quantity, I lack a bit of sub-bass, which is especially noticeable with electro.

    The mids are really great, also because they come out better than many other KZ models. The lower mids are warm, due to the more dominant midbass and with a good body. The higher mids, however, are very clear and detailed, but also emphasized, which in rare cases can lead to unpleasant peaks if it favors the music. But you have to turn it up a lot until it hurts.
    In general the AS10 are very loud and can be driven easily. In comparison to many other in-ears I need less volume of the end device to achieve the same result.
    The stage of the AS10 isn't one of the biggest, but it isn't too intimate either. I would describe it as pleasant and very spacious. The separation works perfectly and is also due to the good tuning of the individual BAs.

    The highs crown the very good overall impression, even if they are not particularly remarkable in comparison to earlier models, which does not make them worse. They are airy, bright and radiate some brilliance. They don't tend to unpleasant peaks and also treat the sibilants very relaxed. This is where it must have been applied in music production in order to get it out in an exhausting way. I would wish that they would play a little further and roll-off a little later. In and of itself, however, KZ has the best heights to offer.


    Outro
    KZ can meet your expectations, even if, as so often, there is still room for improvement. For example in the sub bass range, or an even finer tuning of the drivers, stage size and height extension. But at some point this can no longer be achieved in terms of price, even if the AS10 with its price tag also has higher class competition, so that it certainly doesn't stand alone with its quality. While KZ was often able to outperform the competition in the price class around 20 €, it is no longer so easy in the higher price segment.

    Nevertheless KZ doesn't miss out even in the higher class and delivered a remarkable in-ear, which belongs to the most interesting models of the company in terms of sound, but also technically.
    I'm curious about the BA10, which is also equipped with 5 BAs and possibly makes the small flaws of the AS10 forgotten.
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  8. lllandline
    2 bad drivers vs. 3 good ones
    Written by lllandline
    Published Oct 21, 2018
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Everything (also, they are loud as hell), but
    Cons - 5k-7k freq range is painful and kills your happiness, which you still can achieve with these headphones, but only through equalizing.
    You thought that ZS6 were painful to listen to? oh boy

    I hate long, barely practical reviews (say hello to most of the reviews here), so:

    Lows are excellent, freaking powerful, very strong, early roll-off+strong attack - no mud at all, they will punch your ears and you will ask for more. Finally, I can safely say that Sony MDR-EX650 are completely defeated, and I won't repair them.
    Mids are ear-rape, and I mean EAR RAPE, just like in any cheap headphones, the most painful freq range of 5k to 7k is overpowrered to the point where you can't enjoy them (despite their giant soundstage) and I can say that 3k is an overkill, too.
    Higs are there, but unless you tame the mids with an eq you won't enjoy their full power, which is there, by the way.

    Instrument separation - strong, T2 (lame (for some) lows, awesome mids, bland neutral sound) and ZS6 (semi-lame lows AND mids, with awesome highs) can't get on that level. It's still five drivers, after all.
    Sound stage - big and consistent, it is painful to listen to this headphones, but you just can't stop.
    Beware: you can develop some sadomasochistic tendencies.

    Fit: they are big. BIG (and smooth). And they fit my ears perfectly, also no driver flex at all (as there are no dynamic drivers to flex). Yes, they are comfortable if you have big ears.

    One side-effect - T2, ZS6, ZhiYin z5000 and MDK-ESS ASY sound weak and pathetic after listening to this headphones.
    Listening device - Xiaomi MI 5S on Android Pie, with Qualcomm Shoebox drivers and AINUR audio modification with turned off compander. I guess that it is an equivalent of a 100$ music player.

    Do I regret buying them (they cost me 50$ on sale) - YES, they sound better than any other budget headphones, but it's like listening to a demo of 300$ ones.
    You absolutely need a 10-20 band EQ.
      Rocktim likes this.
  9. darmanastartes
    Surefooted
    Written by darmanastartes
    Published Apr 26, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - great instrument separation, imaging, and soundstage, natural midrange, bass authority and articulation
    Cons - tame treble, midbass bloat
    INTRODUCTION/DISCLAIMER:
    DSC01740.jpg

    The KZ AS10 is an in-ear monitor with five balanced armature drivers per side. KZ is the brand that started my Chi-Fi journey years ago with the ATE. Since then I have owned the KZ ED9, which I liked, and the ES4, which I disliked enough to return. I also own the C10 from KZ’s sister company, CCA, which is my go-to recommendation for a sub-$50 hybrid IEM.

    The AS10 is the most expensive KZ model I have evaluated so far, retailing for $59.99 on Amazon at the time of this review. The AS10 was provided to me by Linsoul Audio in exchange for a fair and objective review.

    SOURCES

    I have used the KZ AS10 with the following sources:

    Windows 10 PC > JDS Labs The Element > KZ AS10

    Pixel 3 > Fiio BTR1K (Bluetooth Apt-X) > KZ AS10

    Windows 10 PC > Fiio BTR1K (Bluetooth Apt-X) > KZ AS10

    Pixel 3 > Apple USB-C to 3.5mm dongle > KZ AS10

    I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium.

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    DSC01938.JPG
    The KZ AS10 comes in a black rectangular cardboard box marked with the KZ logo on the front panel. Stickers on the bottom panel indicate the mic and color options as well as the contact information for the manufacturer.
    DSC01951.JPG
    The box has a flip cover which opens to the left, revealing a foam inlay containing the earpieces and a metal plaque. Behind this inlay are two translucent white plastic bags containing the AS10’s removable cable, 3 sets of KZ Starline eartips (S, M, L), a user manual, a QC pass chit, and a warranty card. The AS10 does not come with a carry bag or case.

    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN
    DSC01884.jpg

    The AS10 earpieces have piano black plastic housings with transparent faceplates. The housings are on the larger side with deep nozzles. The AS10’s KZ-branded circuit boards are visible behind the transparent faceplates. Although I love this look, there are many who do not. The model name, “Left/Right,” and “10 Balanced Armature” are printed in silver on the top face of the black plastic housing. “L/R” are also identified on the transparent faceplate above the cable connection.

    Each earpiece has a tiny circular vent near the top of the inner face of the housing. The AS10 is an all-BA design, so driver flex is not a concern.

    The nozzle does not have a traditional lip for securing eartips, and instead has 3 small protrusions along the edge of the nozzle. This worked just as well as a lip in my experience.
    DSC01855.jpg
    The AS10 has a copper-colored braided 2-pin cable with an L-shaped 3.5mm jack. The KZ logo is printed on the jack housing. The cable has pre-formed plastic ear-guides and “L/R” markings on the 2-pin housings. There is no chin-adjustment choker, and the Y-split is around halfway-down the cable length, roughly 2 feet from the bottom of the 2-pin connections. The cable is not as tangle-prone as the cable included with the CCA-C10, but is still problematic in this regard. Microphonics are minimal.

    COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION

    The KZ AS10 is intended to be worn cable-up only. The wide housings and relatively deep insertion depth make the AS10 tolerable at best from a comfort perspective.

    Noise isolation is above average relative to dynamic driver or hybrid designs, but not as good as the Tenhz T5, a sealed all-BA design.

    The AS10 accepts a wide variety of eartips. The relatively deep insertion depth makes getting a good seal easy. I used the small silicone eartips from the Fiio F1 for my listening.

    SOUND

    The KZ AS10 has a warm, mildly-V shaped tuning.

    The AS10 emphasizes mid-bass slam rather than sub-bass rumble. Sub-bass is present and well-extended but not visceral. Bass articulation is quick and precise. Bass texture is dry and clinical. The mid-bass hump bleeds into the lower mids, thickening deep and growled male vocals and causing distorted electric rhythm guitars to come off as boomy.

    The lower mids are slightly recessed and a tad warm. Both male and female vocals are clear and full-bodied. The upper midrange could use a touch more presence. Both male and female vocals, while natural-sounding, come across a bit flat.

    The treble, while smooth and inoffensive, has a plastic-sounding timbre. Resolution is adequate for the price, but the AS10 is lacking in sparkle.

    Imaging and instrument separation are very good. Soundstage is slightly larger than average for the price point and compares well with more expensive IEMs.

    MEASUREMENTS
    AS10.jpg
    My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface with a resonance point at 8k. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing and without compensation. Measurements above 10k are not reliable.

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING

    With a sensitivity of 105dB and an impedance of 14ohms, the AS10 can be easily driven to adequate listening volumes by a smartphone. I did not notice hiss with any of my sources.

    COMPARISONS

    KZ AS10 [$62] vs Simgot MT3 [$66]
    AS10 vs MT3.jpg

    The Simgot MT3 has slightly more prominent and extended sub-bass. The MT3 has slightly more textured bass. The AS10’s bass is better articulated, with more precise attack and decay. The MT3’s mid-bass hump rolls off earlier and does not bloat the lower midrange as much.

    Male vocals are more prominent on the AS10. The MT3’s lower midrange does not exhibit the boominess that can be heard on the AS10. The MT3 has a livelier but more aggressive upper midrange, which makes vocals sound more exciting at the cost of sibilance. The timbre of the MT3 is thinner than the AS10’s. Distorted electric guitars can be too bright on the MT3.

    The MT3’s lower treble rolls off earlier than the AS10’s, but is harsher, splashier, and grainier. The MT3 has more air and sparkle. The AS10 has more realistic transients.

    The AS10 has better instrument separation, a larger soundstage, and more precise imaging. The MT3 is slightly harder to drive. The MT3 is more comfortable thanks to its smaller housing. The MT3 comes with a wider variety of eartips, a nicer cable, and a mesh carry bag.

    CLOSING WORDS
    DSC01654.jpg
    The AS10 errs on the side of caution, presenting a safe tuning that is unlikely to offend. Build quality and technicalities are very good for the price point.
      Mark K likes this.