Knowledge Zenith(KZ) AS16 PRO

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PLUG TYPE: 3.5mm


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Muhamad Aditya

New Head-Fier
Pros: + Good Build Quality
+ Depth Bass
+ Good Bass Impact
+ Clear Vocal
+ Good Treble Extension
+ Very Good Technical
Cons: - Bad Packaging
- Tricky Fitting
- Texture Bass Not So Good
- Timbre BA Still Feel It
- The Vocal Body Is A Bit Thin


Hi, let me post a review here. On this occasion, I happened to have the opportunity to review one of the newest iems from KZ, namely the KZ AS16 PRO How about a review? So just take a look...


Before starting the review, I would like to thank Yuwan Tara for lending me the unit for my review. Disclaimer also, even though this is a loan unit for this review, this is purely my own opinion & writing without any mixture from other parties, so I apologize if the review is not good or not suitable 🙏. Finally, for this review, I purely used the eartips & cable that came with the iem so that the output was pure sound from the iem, for the source I used a Redmi Note 10 Pro cellphone & DAC dongle Tempotec Sonata BHD, finally for the media I used YouTube music. OK, that's all for the intro, let's get straight to the review.


- Packaging :

Firstly, what about the packaging, there hasn't been any improvement in this segment from KZ, with the KZ Starline eartips being less comfortable & the vermicelli cable being of ordinary quality. The most different but like "what are you doing" is the box which is a bit bigger & the items are colored. The rest really has no difference or improvement at all. The score (6/10)

- Build :

As for the housing build, it's quite good, it's made of resin which is relatively solid & comfortable to listen to. Coupled with a nozzle made of aluminum. Yes, for a no complaints build, it might not be the best but it's good enough for me. The score (7/10)

- Fittings :

This fitting is a bit tricky, for me, who has rather large ears, this isn't a problem at all, but maybe for some people it could be a problem in itself. It has a fairly large housing similar to the Rhapsody cca but with a rather large & long nozzle. So for small ears it might not be suitable. The score (6.5/10)


- Bass :

It has a medium bass quantity, slightly more dominant in the sub-bass section with good extension in the rumbling which is quite okay, the bass is quite clean, the speed is also quite fast, the impact is also quite good, but unfortunately the bass texture is not as good or not as good as the IEM single dd generally. For the bass, the score is (7.5/10)

- Mid :

As for the Mid itself, it has a rather thin weight. For the male vocals it's not too good, for the female vocals it's still okay, for me the female vocals are still good here. The vocal presentation is quite advanced, clear, open, energetic, clarity is also good & quite sweet. Sibilance & shouty are also minimal here. Unfortunately the timbre is still a little less natural, the BA sensation is still felt even though it is minimal. Yes, for the mid the score is (6.5/10)

- Treble :

As for the Treble itself, the execution of this iem is quite good, a bit smooth but has good extension. The treble body is also quite good, not thin, the treble detail is also nice, there is an airy sensation & it doesn't feel sharp or piercing. Yes for the Treble the score is (8/10)

- Technical :

Technically, this iem is quite good. Dy has a fairly wide stage, the width is a bit more dominant, the depth-height is also good. From Clarity, detail & Micro detail the execution is also quite good.

The separation is also neat, the layering is also good, the imaging is also executed well, it feels 3D & the transient speed is also good. Overall the technical aspects of this iem are well executed & is the best segment in this iem. The score (8.5/10)


Honestly, when I made this review, I didn't know how much the price in Indonesia would be for the segment versus just being random.

- Versus 7hz Sonus :

It's clear that the overall execution of the Sonus tuning is much better, more balanced, more allrounder, maybe I just like the treble here better than the Sonus, it feels like the execution is better. The more bite, the better. Make a technical 11-12 or a little good sonus. Overall, I still prefer Sonus.

- Versus EPZ Q1 Pro :

In fact, I personally prefer the AS16 PRO Maybe in the mids the Q1 PRO wins hands down & the bass is also a bit better objectively. But in other sectors from bass, treble & technical. The AS16 PRO For the bass, maybe the AS16 PRO So I personally prefer AS16 PRO.


KZ AS16 PRO Yes, this iem could be an option if you want to try an iem with the sensation of multi BA configuration. Yes, for me personally, this is a must try. The overall score for this iem is (7.5/10).
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100+ Head-Fier
KZ AS16 Pro (High Impedance Version)... Something Not To Be Frowned Upon
Pros: build quality
non-fatiguing sound
Cons: none at this price point
probably the size for some
I got this one from KZ's official store on Sho++ee. I have always been partial to single dynamic drivers especially many models in the budget segment turned up in the last few years that are quite good. So I thought there would be some adjustments for me trying an all-ba driven iem in terms of sound. To my surprise, there is nothing in this all-ba driven iem that prevented me from enjoying my music.

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These impressions were made using the stock tips that came with the unit, using the stock 3.5mm cable on a Shanling M3X, with a minimal burn-in time of 10 hours since I really don't think that burn-in won't do much due to the physical characteristics of balanced aramature drivers.

At first I thought the bass here is comparative to how low the bass reaches on a Tinhifi T3 plus when I first tried it on low volume. But once I increased volume to my real listening levels (volume 60% on 3.5mm port) and tried bass-heavy tracks, the bass really showed itself. The bass on these go really low, almost reaching basshead levels. The quality of bass is also very good, and very tight. Being used to dynamic driver-driven iems, the only thing I noticed is though the bass goes really low, I haven't felt that visceral sensation of vibration and air pressure in my ear walls that comes with the bass, since these are ba drivers after all, minimal amount of air is moved. I actually kinda liked it as I find it decreased "bass fatigue" if i may call it anything. Overall I'm very satisfied of this thing's bass performance.

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The midrange has great clarity, probably because of how the treble is tuned as well. There is no problem for male and female voices to stand out and be heard clearly and most importantly, intelligibly. I really can't enjoy music if I can't understand the lyrics as sung by the artist hehe

Treble is sufficiently bright, albeit relaxed. But is sufficient to enjoy all genres. You can definitely go for long hours listening to your music with the AS16 Pro without experiencing fatigue, as I did with mine. I haven't encountered sibilance even after I played Akina Nakamori's Septiemme Sens, which for me is enough to see if the unit is sibilant.

I am fairly new to this hobby, and would always go for affordable products. This is definitely a keeper!

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The KZ As16 Pro High Impedance is really good, I prefer them over mine KZ PR2 because it feels more detailed.
@hansnaert nice. i've been thinking of getting a pr2 but since you said it, i will pass on that one. thanks!


500+ Head-Fier
KZ AS16 Pro
Pros: -Nice BA Bass
-Clean presentation
-Fatigue free listening
-Nice to look at
Cons: -Slightly lacking shimmer in female vocals
-Areas of thinness in note weight
-Treble roll-off, duller up top
-BA Timbre can be a con for some
-These things are enormous (not really a con), fit may be odd

KZ AS16 Pro ($55)

Knowledge Zenith (KZ) is a machine which never stops. Churning out new releases seemingly every other week. We get new series, new designs, old iterations made new with the addition of “Pro” following the name etc. It is a constant. Ya know what’s craziest about all these releases? KZ/CCA haven’t had many misses of late. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to many of the newer iems and I seem to always have a smile on my face.

KZ AS16 Pro with Final E-Tips
Before I begin writing this review, I’d like to thank KZ for providing the As16 Pro for an honest and fair review. I do like to see these companies going out on a limb and living with whatever the outcome of the review brings. As for myself… Integrity comes first and that will never change. I write what I hear and nothing more.

KZ was my first foray into the Chi-fi audio world…many moons ago. Before that I was pinching pennies trying to scale up my audio game. We had so little so of course I had to wait for birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, you get it. Of course, I was younger then, had a lot less loot and family came first so…I would take anything I could get a deal on. Naturally I, like so many others, gravitated to KZ as they truly had a sound that money shouldn’t have been able to buy at the low cost they were asking. For that I will always have a soft spot for the company.

Thus, I began my fall into the rabbit hole. Yes, I didn’t just stroll in, I plunged in. I’m still not rich but I make a decent enough living… Praise God. Family still comes first but at least I can set aside money for the hobby. I still search for deals all over and I still buy almost everything I have reviewed so when a company sends out a unit for review, I am so very grateful.
I do not have the original As16 for comparison, nor do I have any all BA iems to compare with. So, I will likely give this set a highlight and review and ditch the comparisons at this time. I can always circle back and edit some in at a later date.


Full Review:


Gear Used
Zooaux Dongle Dac
IFi Go Blu
Shanling UA2
Ibasso DX240 w/ Amp8 MK2

Left to Right: Ifi Go Blu / Ibasso Dx240 / Shanling UA2


This will be rather short. The packaging and unboxing experience isn’t really an experience at all. Which honestly also doesn’t bother me at all. I do like to receive some extras in the package, but I like a whole lot more when companies keep costs down and put the money towards the sound and device.

The box is the typical small KX/CCA box (in this case black). When you first pull the sleeve off of the inner box what you will see are the very nice-looking shells staring back at you resting in foam cut-outs. Underneath them you’ll find the cable and the ear tips in seperate white little baggies. There is no case or carrying bag to house the AS16 Pro, of course I wasn’t expecting anything. Plus, I have way too many (cases) which sit collecting dust anyhow.







The As16 Pro carries much of the aesthetic of the previous As16 (I do not have them on hand). However, in the new model there is a plastic diamond-like gem pattern acting as the Faceplate. If you remember the non-pro set had an all-metal Faceplate. The set I have is the Cian model, the other option is the black model which in my opinion is pretty tough looking as well. The shells are gargantuan in size and mostly clear. A metal strip borders the plastic inlaid Faceplate which adds a nice contrast. I’m still on the fence with the look but I do like that big housing knowing that it’s crammed full of tech to replay my library. Also, the look is really growing on me.



Isolation is kind of a mixed bag. The nozzles are longer than most so it may take shuffling through a bunch of ear tips to find a suitable seal. I went through my vast cavern of tips and finally ended my search with Final E-tips (Medium-small). As far as isolation goes for me, the As16 Pro isolates pretty well. It just takes a while to get there.


The fit is also a mixed bag, which kind of goes hand-in-hand with isolation. These shells are enormous and couple that with the long nozzle and you may experience an odd fitment. Each shell does carry 8 Balanced Armatures so it’s easy to see why they needed the big shells. Once I got these sitting right, I am fine, but it takes a bit more fiddling around to achieve. This goes without saying but… we are all different and you may get a completely opposite experience. I had to use smaller tips to be able to insert deep enough into my ear canal. Using larger tips was a bit ridiculous because the As16 Pro would simply not get deep enough which caused the As16 Pro to not sit right in my ear.


The build quality isn’t bad. Considering this set is $55 that is. I see no issues looking around the shell, no sloppy seams or anything. Build quality is typical to the price point, I think. Likely the As16 Pro will last as long as you don’t fumble these from your roof top. Or feed them to your dog. The build isn’t bad at all. Only time will tell how durable this set is so… not much to say about that really.



What’s Inside..

KZ created what I think to be the lowest cost for a new iem carrying 8 Balanced Armature Drivers per side. Hence the huge shells. From what I read they used four ‘31736’ BAs for the Highs, two ‘26689’ BAs for the Midrange and two ‘22955’ BAs for the Low End. Separating the frequencies is what KZ refers to as a “Three channel conduit structure”. Basically, sound tubes which separate the mix by way of 3D printing.






Photos Above: KZ Promotional images

Az16 Pro Cable & Ear Tips

The cable is the usual cable which KZ tends to use for their iems of late. It is a QDC type, 3.5 single ended white cable. I don’t mind it too much but it’s nothing new. Granted, it’s miles better than the old KZ cables, however, I did swap cables to a Ferai 16 core SPC Balanced cable for balanced sources. Nothing is wrong with the included cable sonically, but I’ve simply grown accustomed to decent to nice upgrade cables.

The ear tips which come with the As16 Pro are the black KZ Starlines. They provide 3 sets of them (small, medium & large). Ya, I switched them out as well. Due to the longer nozzle, I was forced to use smaller tips. I went with Final E-tips tips using the medium size to get the right insertion depth. The reason I went with the Final tips is the seal that they give me, nothing against the Starlines. I actually really like KZ Starline tips and wish I had more of them.




Rated at 18 ohms and a sensitivity of 114 dB the As16 Pro is not difficult to drive at all. Using a low powered dongle such as the Zooaux Dac was a breeze. Plenty of drive as well. In fact, whether I was listening with the IFi Go Blu, the Shanling Ua2, or the Ibasso Dx240 I didn’t seem to find an increase in sound quality. They are all great sounding in general and the As16 Pro seemed to have no issue with any of them. Whether I went with the Go Blu’s CS43131 dac chip, the Shanling UA2’s ES9038Q2M or the ES9038 Pro chip in the DX240 I heard decent synergy also. As for power, it’s not an issue at all.


General Sound Impressions

The As16 Pro carries a more V-shaped to U-shaped tonal character. There is a slight warmth to my music with this set. For the most part the As16 Pro is tuned more balanced as a whole. I hear a pronounced but not intrusive low-end. Nice BA slam with good speed. The midrange is forward as well as recessed. There is an audible dip in the lower mids and then a bump around 1k followed by another dip. The treble area is more relaxed and non-fatiguing yet still with decent extension.

There have been reported issues with impedance and the need for an impedance adapter. I suppose I can’t disagree but in the same breath this is a matter of taste. Honestly, I do not need an adapter to enjoy the sound. I actually kind of dig it as I like a more forward midrange from time to time. Now there are issues, don’t get me wrong, but nothing which condemns the As16 Pro to me. There are most assuredly redeeming qualities to the sound.




KZ did a nice job on the low end of the As16 Pro. There is ample weight in the lowest region which is saying something for an all BA iem. The Sub-bass is well enough textured with enough impact and grunt to reliably bump through hip-hop and similar genres. The sub-bass is not rolled off at all to my ears. Not quite as full and tactile as a Dynamic Driver but pretty darn close. I hear great physicality which isn’t normal for an all BA iem. The Sub-bass has some growling vibration which can dig low, and I can feel it as well. One of Whiskey Myers new songs from their ‘Tornillo’ album, “John Wayne” begins with a tough sounding bass guitar which reaches pretty low. I love the bite and growl from the AS16 Pro listening to this track.

Mid Bass

The Mid-bass is similar in volume to the sub-bass. Pronounced, forward, and fast. The As16 Pro has a great slam for any iem let alone a $55 Balanced Armature set. In 911 by Teddy Swims, I truly cannot hear any less body than I would a dynamic. On top of that the bass doesn’t bleed at all. The mid-bass easily has enough in quantity for me, and I love good bass. Since I’m late to this set, I’ve seen other reviews state that the bass is lacking. In my most honest opinion, there is no lack here unless you are a certified bass head. In which case yes, the As16 Pro does not have the full bass head style Dynamic Driver impact.

All around thoughts of the Bass

The low-end is very fast and precise as one would expect. Decay lingers enough to add atmosphere. Obviously nothing like a dynamic in that regard but very nice to my ears. Bass guitars have growl and a tight edged attack which highlights the sound for me. This is not a basshead iem at all but it is a more quality bass with a lot of texture and even some haptic feedback. I say all of that and in the same breath I don’t think these live up to the bass reproduction of a dynamic driver. Even with the hard hitting BA nature to this set it still lacks the round boom of a DD.



Lower Mids

The midrange is very energetic and forward. Some may or may not enjoy this, but I can appreciate it. The lower midrange has great clarity and decent body while only slightly suffering from BA timbre to me. Lower mids are a bit more recessed than the rest of the mix and I could use a bit more weight to male vocals, but there is an engaging quality which caters to men’s voices. Basically, there is enough clarity and good resolution to make any recession a non-issue.

Check out Marcus King’s song “Blood on the Tracks“. His voice isn’t the deepest, but it still stands out with good placement of his vocals amongst the bassline, the drum play, guitar, sax and keyboard. Yes, there is a recession, but clarity is enough. I would like a bit more forward and a bit more weight to male vocals but in the totality of the AS16 Pro’s replay, male vocals aren’t bad.

Upper Mids

Female vocals are certainly forward but not brilliant. They have a natural quality to them but lack shimmer to an extent and at times exhibit that Balanced Armature nasally type inflection. However, it is faint. Also, to some this area may sound too forward depending on the singer and song among other things.

Truthfully, I don’t mind the upper mids. The mids have such an inviting quality despite all that I’ve said. They aren’t fatiguing or shouty and I can still hear the subtleties in a soft tone or the power behind a ballad. It can seem as though the singer is a few steps in front of you, but it is Intimate. For some tracks this can be a detriment but not enough for me to label it a con. Ingrid Andress has a beautiful almost raspy voice, she’s a singer songwriter type and a song of her newest album “Blue” shows how well the AS16 Pro emphasizes females. She sounds fantastic & breathy. If I had any con, I would like a bit more emotional of a replay, but I am being ridiculously petty and picky in saying that. For the price and against the competition, the AS16 Pro sound very nice.

Other observations

The midrange can exhibit some dryness to it as well as some BA timbre issues, but in truth it isn’t an issue. I suppose a bit more warmth may have helped. Maybe not. Strings have a tight but crisp nature to them with a non-fatiguing bite. Pianos come across full and rich if not a hair forward at times. In total I really enjoy the Midrange of the As16 Pro as it is moody enough and has a warmth, it’s also resolute with a sense of air even though there is a forward nature to them. To me the Midrange is engaging with a very focused sound to them. They pulled me in, and I have zero issue keeping the As16 Pro in my ears. Honestly the Midrange is one of its best qualities for me.



Some Issues

To me, the treble area is not very shimmery and sparkly. That said, the treble is laid back and easy to sit with for long periods. I can tell you straight up that Treble-heads may not like the replay here but those who enjoy something warmer and easier to digest will like this. Some instruments aren’t as poised and presented as I’d probably like in the treble. I wouldn’t say muted but simply have less natural richness to them or weight. Perhaps a bit thin. Cymbals are restrained without that full sounding ‘CHISK’ to my ears. I say all of that but in truth the treble area can work well for a number of people. Not everyone wants a bright and analytical cool treble.

Redeeming Qualities

I do hear nice clarity up top. There is an airy quality even with the perceived dull nature. There is absolutely no harshness or ear gouging peakiness. I really don’t mind this area at all as I can listen for a long time and truthfully, I’m not missing much. In the world of audio, we split hairs a lot. Like details, I don’t hear the finest of details, but I do hear enough to not ruin my music and that’s what is important. The tonality really isn’t bad at all either. One more thing, the famed KZ metallic sheen is gone and that is a huge step in the right direction.




The soundstage is pretty nice considering the treble isn’t as far reaching and areas of the midrange are pulled forward. Kind of hard to put my finger on but I quite like the size of the stage. Like I always say, the stage, in my opinion, simply needs to make sense. I have never needed a colossal expanse in my music. My question always is, “Does the stage make sense to the track”? I realize that this isn’t the most genius or technical way to put it but… I don’t think it takes a genius to hear if the staging is appropriate to the music being played either.

Width is outside my ears, average I’d say, I suppose. Height is the same, average. Depth isn’t bad at all as there is a perceived depth to the sound. Obviously, there are some iems which do it better and many which sounds much worse. There are even some iems which have an even smaller stage yet still can sound fantastic… imagine that. This is simply my opinion and my own likes and dislikes, but I think stage size is kind of blown out of proportion anymore. I truly believe that imaging and placement matter more, at least to me. All that said, all my mindless blabbering aside, I’d say that the stage size of the As16 Pro is about average yet laid out nicely and… appropriate to the music being played.


This brings us to imaging. I have zero issue pointing out pieces of a track listening to the AS16 Pro. The multiple Balanced Armatures really help to delineate the placement of different instruments or voices. Drawing a fine line around each element. I think imaging is very good using the As16 Pro. These aren’t top of class, but they are very nice.


The low end carries a fair number of details which is aided by quick and tight transients and a resolute playback. The midrange as well shows some macro details as clarity has a nice boost to it. There may be some small subtleties which get slightly planed over as far as micro-details are concerned. The treble area misses only the faintest of details. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the treble is opaque or veiled because I still hear decent clarity even in the duller sound up top. Truthfully, I don’t mind this too much unless I am critically listening. As honest as I can be… critical listening is not really taking in a song for the value of enjoyment. So really not a huge deal. Yet I suppose it is a con in this day and age.


Is the price justified ?

This little section I decided to add because if I am a consumer, which I am, I want to know if the cost is justified against the competition. The short answer is yes…yes, I do believe that the AS16 Pro lives up to the price that KZ is asking. I can tell you one thing for sure, you won’t find a better all BA iem at the price of $55, at least that I know of. I haven’t tried every iem in this price point and I think there are better tuned iems (regardless of driver types) which fit my preferences in the $50-$75 price point. That is a killer area stacked with some very well done and well-tuned iems. That said, the As16 Pro is a nice set and lives up to the price KZ is asking…in my opinion.



The As16 Pro is a very low-cost option for an iem with 16 BAs in total. This should be blowing our minds that KZ was able to actually tune all of these drivers in such a way that we have a very coherent and musical playback for such a small price. $55! This used to be unheard of! Please enjoy this time fellas and Ladies. Take it all in. No, the As16 Pro is certainly not perfect, in fact it’s far from it in my opinion. That said, I really enjoy them and seem to get wrapped up with the replay listening to my library.

Get other perspectives

Also, just a quick reminder to please check out other reviews. Please don’t hang your hat on my thoughts of the AS16 Pro. I’ll be honest I do think that the sound can almost be a bit polarizing. In that, not everyone is going to enjoy the midrange presentation as well as the duller treble region. On the flip side I know many who do quite enjoy this set. The point is, we all have different likes and dislikes, plain and simple. We have different gear, different hearing capabilities and tolerances, many also don’t have the same type of music library, among other attributes. Please watch or read other reviews, get to know other reviewers as well, it’ll help a lot to better trust their opinion in helping you.

So, there you have it…an all Balanced Armature iem which has decent tuning and a more balanced sound for a low cost. I enjoy this set people, there is something about it which keeps them in my ears. There is something alluring in the sound profile which I cannot fully put my finger on. I suppose for a fatigue-free listen there is still enough energy to draw me in. I’m sure there are many who will enjoy this set quite a lot. Nice bass, forward-ish midrange and a non-piercing treble with a nice soundstage. Those aren’t bad qualities to have. This review spells out some flaws that are issues with me as well as some good points about this iem.

I truly hope this helps at least one person in a purchasing decision. Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this review, it means a lot. Thank you and please take care.
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Awesome review right there sir. What do you consider as an upgrade to this set, Macro and Micro detail is paramount to me.


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