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Knowledge Zenith EDR1 in-ear monitor

Rating:
4.5/5,
  • 2018-03-12 21.02.41.jpg Brand name: KZ
    model: EDR1
    Type: in-ear monitor
    Sensitivity: 120db
    In Ear Headphones
    Plug: 3.5mm
    TPE coated
    Strong anti-oxidation and anti-corrosion cable

Recent Reviews

  1. nxnje
    Punchy, Coherent, Sturdy. Best value in town EVER!
    Written by nxnje
    Published Jan 19, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Huge sub-bass extension, great bass, warm and not fatiguing signature.
    Price/Quality ratio
    Built like a tank
    Comfortable and not so much heavy
    Mids are recessed but have a natural tone
    Cons - Not a detail champion, treble hasn't the best extension ever
    Cable could be less microphonic
    Hello everyone,
    in this review i will finally put my impressions on one of the most famous products in the Chi-fi industry: I’m talking about the KZ EDR1, an old KZ product which gained a very good reputation around the web.
    I’ve decided going for this review as the EDR1 are the cheapest pair of IEMs sold by KZ, but even one of their best seller.
    I have been looking for them for so much time last year, then I decided to buy a pair some time ago (around 2 months ago). People were hyping them for their enormous price/quality ratio.
    They’re actually around 3$ on aliexpress, but I’m not gonna link the page of the shop as I’ve had some issues with their customer support and I don’t like supporting sellers who don’t deserve to be supported.
    I just wanna make a little premise: buying a pair of IEMs and having an enjoyable listening experience depends on many factors, that can go from the shape to the tips, from the ear canals shape to the sound signature, the cable, the source and so on.
    I’m not responsabile for different feelings of other people as everyone’s ears are different.
    Tests were made through 3 audio sources:
    - Galaxy s7 edge smartphone with Neutron Music Player and stock Google Music Player
    - AGPTEK M20 (Benjie S5’s European version)
    - Presonus Audiobox iONE connected to my PC without any enhancement

    PACKAGING:
    Nothing special, a simple carton box which has been already seen in other products in the same price range.

    photo5872836644900548576.jpg photo5899868155449290623.jpg

    CABLE:
    I have to say, nothing really exciting, very similar to the one used on the KZ ED9 but being less sticky and a bit softer. I couldn’t expect an enthusiast cable on a 3$ budget IEM but I’ve tried worse cables in the past.
    I bought the MIC version which features a microphone and a button on the cable which can be useful if you use a phone with them (it works well on my Android phone).
    Cable is unfortunately microphonic: not the heaviest microphonics ever but it is a bit annoying sometimes.
    You can solve clipping it with a “clip” you can buy for some cents on aliexpress or maybe wearing them with the cable that goes around-the-ear.
    Jack is angled at 90° degrees.

    photo5915786781717016615.jpg photo5915786781717016614.jpg


    BUILD QUALITY AND INTERNALS:
    Built like a tank, great metal shell; there aren’t many IEMs that are so well built in this price range as every IEM I know around 3$/5$ is made of plastic.
    They’re a bit on the heavy side, but the ED9 are heavier.
    Design isn’t the most innovative one, but I personally do not care about if we speak about a 3$ earphone.
    The shell hugs a single DD (Dynamic Driver).
    There’s a grill at the end of the nozzle which prevents earwax and dust to damage the IEM.
    Nozzle has 5mm diameter and its length is average (not long like the ED9s golden filter).
    Cable is not detachable but it’s ok: I mean, if these get broken you can just replace them with a little 3$ investment.

    photo5899868155449290618.jpg photo5899868155449290622.jpg

    COMFORT AND ISOLATION:
    As these have the cable falling straight instead of going around the ear, the majority of people will find these very comfortable.
    They're not the lightest earphones i've ever tried (sure less heavy compared to the ED9): i would say a little bit heavier than the Xiaomi Piston Fresh.
    Passive isolation is really good and with accurate tip rolling you can improve this even more.
    Personally, i'm using the spinfit like ones that came with my TRN v80s, that are a little bit different than these (internal silicone tube), but many will find the stock ones just fine.

    photo5899868155449290621.jpg


    SOUND:
    Let's get into the part of every review that really helps someone deciding if to buy something or not.
    I usually listen to: EDM and subgenres, with preferences on Dubstep, Future Bass, Euphoric Hardstyle, Bass House, Midtempo, Downtempo, Darkwave, DnB, but i even listen to many vocal tracks, moreover from female singers.
    Low end is very important for me, so i always search a little emphasis in that zone, with the higher part of the spectrum being brilliant and airy, without being sibilant and fatiguing.
    Mids can even be recessed as soon as it sounds natural.
    V-shape is my preferred signature.
    EDR1 are easy to drive, and are loud and engaging even connected to a smartphone.
    - Sub bass: great extension for the price, superb sub-bass reproduction. These really RUMBLE in the lower region, not easy to achieve mantaining a good extension without being too aggressive like many others IEMs.
    - Bass & Mid-bass: good response even there. There's a little lift on the mid-bass that makes the sound warmer.
    I would say we have a good and impactful bass response that doesn't go boomy.
    Bass is anyway controlled and brings out the power when called in, without being too much overemphasized compared to the other parts of the spectrum.
    Kickdrums are well refined and textured: kicks details just sound like they do in my DAW without being "gummy": many earphones in these price range just put everything on the bass, with a very rapid tuning that doesn't take care about the coherency between the parts of the spectrum.
    - Mids: recessed with a warm tone. V-shape can be felt very well here.
    The majority of cheap earphones are tuned like this.
    Female voices sound airy, retaining some intimacy.
    The middle part of the spectrum has a natural tone even if not at the center of the scene.
    - Treble: we can't see these are detail champions.
    We can hear a little emphasis on the lower treble that gives some brilliance and a good sense of space in the tracks.
    Even if the detail retrieval is not top notch, i prefer this treble tuning if compared to the ZS3's treble.
    - Soundstage: excellent for the price range, great widht, good height, above average depth (always considering the price range), thanks to the dip in the mids and the emphasis on the lower treble that helps giving a sense of open space.
    - Instrument separation: good, not excellent. If we listen to complex tracks with many instrument layers, the EDR1 show their difficulties.
    The absolutely don't get very bad, but limits are just there and we can't complain for the price.

    SUMMING UP:
    I have no problem in congratulating KZ for showing the world what can be done with 3$ in the audio gear world.
    This is definitely the product with the highest "price/quality ratio" i've ever tried.
    Having in my hands ZS3, MEMT X5, KZ ED9, KZ ZS6 and many others, i can say that KZ EDR1 just go very near to the ED9 and MEMT X5 with 1/4 of the price.
    Limits are there as i've already written: they miss the little more detail of the MEMT x5 and the overall dynamic of the ED9, but we're speaking about a 3$ earphone.
    ED9's low end is more controlled with the EDR1 being a little more engaging and powerful. The EDR1 miss a little bit of texture and structure that ED9 shows.
    They're still dominating the ultrabudget price bracket and i hope even more people is gonna try these: they're really worth a try and a chance to be your daily mate for travelling or walking down in the streets.
    Great for bassheads, maybe not to be used as an all-rounder, awesome for every day "street" use considering the excellent isolation. Super suggested for simple and impactful tracks, electronic music and related.
    What can I say more.. you'll have 3 less euros in your payment card! :D
      B9Scrambler, hqssui and filo9s like this.
  2. DocHoliday
    For the inner basshead in you!
    Written by DocHoliday
    Published Mar 14, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Inexpensive
    Comfortable basic barrel design
    Sturdy metal housing
    Sturdy cable, Y-split and 3.5mm jack
    Deep Bass
    Warm overall presentation
    Cons - Rolled off treble
    Recessed midrange
    61laS6dbaoL._SL1500_.jpg
    I received my Knowledge Zenith EDR1 way back in mid-2015. The key word in that sentence is "received" because my pair was gifted to me by the owner of the Official KZ Headphones Store. Just as Knowledge Zenith was starting to become a rising tide I had written several reviews of the first three or four KZ models (EDSE, ED3 "Perfection", ED9 & ATE) that I had purchased. After hearing the aforementioned models and subsequently writing the reviews, I put in an order for several backup pairs of each one I reviewed and, as a thank you, the store owner included a set of complimentary EDR1's in the package.

    Considering how far KZ has come in the relatively short period of time, three years, I thought I would do a series of reviews of KZ's earlier "single dynamic driver" offerings such as the various ATE models, ED3 models and others that may have slipped under your radar if you are arriving a little late to the party over on the "Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread", which is quickly approaching 30,000 posts.
    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/knowledge-zenith-kz-impressions-thread.698148/

    Before we get started on the EDR1, there are a few things you need to know.

    About me:
    I tend to prefer a relatively neutral sound signature with a slight emphasis in both bass and lower treble, which is basically a mild "U" shaped sound signature where midrange frequencies are left intact and unaffected. I find that an absolute neutral sound signature usually lacks enough energy for the genres I enjoy most, which are Classic Trance and Progressive (early Tiesto, Markus Schulz, Otello, DT8 Project), Chill Out, Breakbeat (Hybrid & Burufunk Remixes) and 80's & 90's (New Order, Secession, The Cure, Siouxie & The Banshees, Depeche Mode). Sure I listen to Verve Remixed, Sade, Bach, Ella Fitzgerald and everything in between, but as of late the bulk of my listening pleasure is focused on the aforementioned genres.

    About IEMs:
    Take note when you read IEM reviews that when the reviewer gives his/her opinion regarding the sound that there are many factors that shape the final sound an IEM delivers to one's ear.

    Those factors include:
    1 - Shape & size of reviewer's ear canals. (shallow/deep, wide/narrow)
    2 - Shape & size of eartips (round/cone, single, double or triple flange)
    3 - Materials of eartips (silicone/foam)
    4 - Shape of IEM (and/or angle of nozzle) can cause fitment issues for some.
    5 - Source (quality of DAC in smartphone, laptop, digital audio player)
    6 - Source (power rating) is it amplified/unamplified.
    7 - The IEM itself (driver flex/trapping air in canal causing muffled sound.
    8 - The Reviewers ability to hear all frequency ranges (age plays a factor).

    Most consumers are unaware of how much weight each of these factors hold in rendering a final verdict. This is why there is such a wide variance in not only ratings, but the description of an IEMs sound. An unaware consumer purchases a perfectly fine IEM but has difficulty keeping the IEM in the ear or he/she does not satisfactorily seal the ear canal with the included silicone eartips (this is a common occurrence) and the consumer summarily dismisses the IEM as sub par. Another consumer purchases the same IEM but experiences a perfect fit and seal and has nothing but praise for the same IEM. Sealing the ear canals AND HAVING THE EARTIP FIRMLY AFFIXED to the IEM nozzle is the only proper way to use in-ear monitors. I can think of no audio equipment that is subjected to such praise or ridicule as the in-ear monitor. As if that's not enough, there is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to IEM eartips.

    Materials (silicone/foam) have different dampening effects on final sound.
    Shape of the eartips (olive-shaped, cone-shaped or other-shaped) can have different dampening effects on final sound based on how much space is between the IEM nozzle and your eardrum and how well the eartip has sealed the ear canal.
    The aperture of the eartip's opening (wide-bore/narrow-bore) will have dampening effects on the final sound.

    The easiest way for you to experience the different effects I am discussing is to take your current on-ear earphones or over-ear earphones, pick a song full of energy, put the earphones on and let them sit naturally over or on your ears. Listen to the music for two minutes. After two minutes, using your hands, slightly press the headphones closer to your eardrums. Notice the change in the sound. Is there more/less bass? Is there more/less treble? Did the vocals slightly slip forward/back?

    Consider that on-ear and over-ear headphones have a driver that sits approximately 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from your eardrums and by pressing the headphones 1/4" closer to your eardrums the sound changed. Now consider that an IEM driver sits anywhere from 3/4" to 1/4" from your eardrums and the slightest changes (angle, depth, shape, material) can have up to three times more of an effect due to the proximity of the IEM to the eardrum.

    For this reason, I think it is wise to invest a nominal dollar amount on different eartips to find an eartip that works well for your particular ear's anatomy. This way you experience everything the earphone tuner intended for you to experience. Some IEM manufacturers supply multiple sizes (S/M/L) and/or materials (silicone/foam) of eartips to increase the odds that the consumer achieves a satisfactory seal, but even this is not foolproof. If this information holds any interest for you, there are a plethora of aftermarket eartip brands to look into, such as "JVC Spiral Dots", "Spinfits", "Comply Foam Eartips" or "Znari Foam Eartips", "Creative Aurvana" and others. If you really want to fine tune things, then you might find yourself doing what I do, which is scouring Amazon for inexpensive earphones that appear to have silicone eartips that have a shape that typically work well with my ear's anatomy.

    The Knowledge Zenith EDR1:
    61Di+WWGwyL._SL1500_.jpg

    Lately, I've been spending a great deal of time with the ZS6, ZSR, ES3 and ZS5(i). Finding the time to fit in models like the ATR, EDSE and this EDR1 has become increasingly difficult so I thought it would be best to set aside KZ's newer crop of IEMs, revisit some of the earlier offerings that afforded me an inexpensive education about my preferred sound signature and review the models that slowly pulled me into the audio-enthusiast hobby. Every once in a while you can check back to see which classic KZ models have been added to the list, but today we'll be focusing on the EDR1.

    In my humble opinion, the EDR1 would be a very good in-ear monitor for commuters to use if commuting involves trains, planes and buses. The simple barrel-type housing and 3.5mm nozzle make it easy to get a good seal if you are adept at tip-rolling and find an eartip that works for you. For my ears the silicone eartips off of my Philips SHE3590 in-ear's installed on the EDR1 are just about perfect.

    So, what do we have with the EDR1?

    We have a decidedly and unashamedly "V" shaped sound signature that would likely be more palatable to those with treble-sensitive ears and those that prefer a warmer presentation.
    61mVSsOJ+uL.jpg

    Treble:
    The upper-treble on the EDR1 is definitely rolled off, hence the "commuter" IEM recommendation. I would even go so far as to say that the mid-treble is halfway rolled as well. It's still there but a smidge of it is lost in the attempt to roll the upper-treble. For the most part the mid-treble is fine but compared to KZ's more recent hybrid offerings the EDR1 definitely lacks the definition and resolution that the balanced armatures bring to models like the ES3, ZSR and ZST.

    If you have a particular use in mind for the EDR1, such as using them for commuting purposes, then the rolled off treble is a welcome attribute that can help mitigate hearing-loss. Why? Because it is common practice to gradually increase the listening volume on your source in an attempt to drown out the barrage of ambient noises that surround you.

    To determine upper-treble limits I always choose a problematic track like Toni Braxton's "He Wasn't Man Enough For Me" or Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ". The micro-detail is thoroughly omitted and/or truncated to a degree. You'll miss those micro-details, but you'll save your hearing because the treble on those tracks can push into the stratosphere if an in-ear monitor has treble extension a few decibels above the waterline.




    In the end I would give the treble a 6.5 to 7.0 on an overall scale, but for commuting purposes I'd give it a 7.5.

    Midrange:
    The midrange of the EDR1 is decidedly recessed; more than I prefer but not severely recessed. It's very evident on Above&Beyond's "We're All We Need" and Portishead's "Roads", the latter having vocals that should be at the forefront. I prefer more presence in the vocals, but if I'm out and about town with the EDR1 I wouldn't necessarily complain because there are always trade-offs when it comes to using IEMs. Sure, my ES3 with detachable cables at $20+/- would do a better job, but the EDR1 at $5-$10 is sufficient and is still easy on the pocket WHEN you snag them on the back of a chair or doorknob and inadvertently rip the cable from the IEM housing.





    Bass:
    This is where the EDR1 really brings "it". The sub-bass on these is basshead quality that goes deep and does not distort. While commuting, the surrounding truck and bus engines will not drown out the bass on these (provided you have a good seal). The mid-bass does bleed a bit into the midrange but these things are FUN!




    Soundstage/Imaging:

    One thing that you will find to be consistent in KZ in-ear monitors is that they typically have very good imaging and the EDR1 is no exception. Soundstage has average depth and average width which goes just to the tips of your earlobes.

    The following tracks will showcase the EDR1's uncanny ability to portray a decent picture in your mind's eye for a $5 IEM.



    At the end of the day I'd say the EDR1 is well worth the $5+/- you'll have to pony up to add a pair to your collection. It's better than just about anything you'll find at your neighborhood big box store for $20 or less, aside from the Philips SHE3590, which is an IEM that caters to those who prefer a brighter more airy presentation.

    61WH2BTqfiL.jpg

    The KZ EDR1 is currently still available at GearBest.com. I would bet that KZ doesn't produce these any longer, meaning once the current stock sells out they're gone for good.

    https://m.gearbest.com/earphones/pp_216169.html
      archdawg, Damz87 and Slater like this.

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