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  1. Aibo
    Best KZ I heard so far
    Written by Aibo
    Published Nov 23, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Punchy bass, energetic sound, wide sound-stage
    Cons - Bass overpowering sometimes, Mids still need more body, sibilant voices
    I'll start with saying that those are the best KZ buds I tried so far - ZS3 was bassy and cluttered, no mids. ZS5 are so thin and sharp sounding, it was torture to listen.

    ES4 doesn't hit you with any too obvious flaws. Bass is on the stronger side but it's punchy and controlled well so I think it's fine. Mids are nicely present and very detailed, highs are again very detailed and extended without being too sharp on my ears. All in all it's a very fun listen, but mids are still not full enough and vocals often get stripped from their fullness and reduced to sounding thin and sometimes sibilant. But all in all it's a nice effort for KZ.

    That said, I still prefer my SoundMAGIC E10 and I made a VS video with KZ ES4.

    1. DocHoliday
      Curious to hear your thoughts comparing the ES4 with wide-bore eartips as well. The KZ eartips are likely concentrating and accentuating the drier midrange. Wide-bore eartips might assist by offering a better balance to the signature.
      DocHoliday, Dec 16, 2018
  2. kokakolia
    Like a Porta Pro inside your ear...
    Written by kokakolia
    Published Sep 23, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - - A more forgiving sound without stupid amounts of treble
    - Fun bass
    - Price
    - Comfort
    - Removable cable
    Cons - - Grainy highs
    - Gets confused on busier tracks
    - Sibilant at times (not as bad as other KZs)
    - So-so mids
    - Bass bleeds into mids
    DISCLAIMER: I am KZ hater...I very much dislike the KZ house sound with its treble boosted to 11, its lackluster hollow mids and boomy bass. My extreme negativity towards KZ got me banned from the KZ forum on head-fi. They know me as the Marshall Mode guy. I much prefer darker, more forgiving earphones.

    Build & Comfort:

    The ES4 is made out of a hard plastic shell and comes with a removable cable. These earphones feel pretty solid, but with such a hollow and large casing I would be afraid to step on them. Comfort is rather good, I especially like the ergonomic shape and the lighter weight of the plastic casing compared to metal earphones that often fall out.

    Sound:

    The overall sound is very reminiscent of the Koss Porta Pro. You get elevated bass and treble, but the mids aren't too recessed. The soundstage is quite narrow and instrument separation won't blow you away. In fact, the ES4 gets kinda confused on busier tracks. The bass is definitely boomy and bleeds into the midrange. But it's a fun kind of bass and forgivable considering the rock-bottom price. The mids are so-so. On some tracks I feel like the vocals are singing through a paper cup but it's very subtle. On other tracks it's less noticeable. The highs are in my opinion the ES4's weakest point. It's kind of tinny but nowhere near as bad as other KZ earphones with lethal amounts of treble like the ZS5 (V2). In rock tunes for example, the cymbal crashes take over the entire song and that gets annoying. There's definitely an emphasis on the "T"s and the "S"s, leading to sibilant vocals. Let's be honest, the treble ain't smooth, it's quite grainy. This is when you realize that you paid less than $20 for these earphones. At the very least the ES4 provides an enjoyable and fun listening experience (especially with electronic music and prog rock) without stupid murderous amounts of treble (coming from KZ...). And none of the flaws are immediate dealbreakers, just a reflection of the rock-bottom price. If you want cleaner bass, more forward vocals and buttery smooth treble you'll have to pay more. How much exactly? $50~$100 probably... I am looking at the KEF M100 specifically...
      trellus likes this.
  3. Wiljen
    Finally a KZ with Mids - The ES4
    Written by Wiljen
    Published Jul 15, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Well proportioned signature with mids.
    Cons - Fit may be hard for some as a bit large.
    Has too much bass energy for some.
    ES4-1.jpg


    My most recent review of a KZ product was for the Zs10 which was probably my least positive review of a KZ product. I bought them from an Ali store at pre-order price and got a pair that was defective as shipped, (The seller refused to replace – and thus why I prefer to deal with Gearbest) and even when I corrected the defect by resoldering, remained unimpressive. I debated skipping new next few KZ models and waiting for them to change course as KZ had not come out with a product that was an improvement on previous efforts since the Zs5 v1 and in most respects had taken a step backward with each successive release since. The ZsR was a mixed bag and the the Zs10 was just plain a step in the wrong direction. It looked like KZ had lost their way in the woods. It was against this backdrop that a small package from Gearbest arrived. In it, a review sample of the new ES4. If you find yourself interested in the ES4, I suggest you check Gearbest.


    $9.99 w Coupon Code (GBCEKZCZG) Not sure for how long.

    Packaging
    The ES4 arrived packed in the standard white box with the slip cover that most will be familiar with from KZ. Upon sliding the cover off, the first surprise is that for the successor to the ES3, they look very little like it. When I removed the plastic tray, to find the cable, I found the cable had also been upgraded since the release of the ES3 and was the newer improved style. Also, in the box are 3 sets of tips (SML), a small instruction packet, and a warranty card. Nothing out of the expected as this has become standard KZ packaging over the last year or so.

    contents.jpg


    Build Quality
    Build is very reminiscent of the Zs10 in a slightly smaller package. Transparent plastic shell with the electronics exposed to the outside of the shell and the drivers clearly visible to the inside. The 10mm dynamic is housed in the shell while the BA is visible in the nozzle with the tips removed. Shells are marked R/L immediately in front of the 2-pin connector. The connectors themselves are recessed nicely and show no sign of slop, loose fit, or excess glue. I have spoken to the new KZ cable in a couple of previous reviews but for those who might not have read about it yet, the cable is a step up in microphonics and isn’t nearly as sticky as the previous KZ standard. In the overall, I think it is progress in a positive direction. The one item that took a step backward on the cable from the previous generation is the strain reliefs at the jack and splitter (both sides) which are no so short as to be worthless. Make the cable style you are now with the strain reliefs extended 5mm in all cases and I would be happy to buy KZ cables to put on other brands of IEM. The cable itself is as good as any I have seen that weren’t handmade at considerably higher cost and with a bit of tweaking would really be a super value.

    ES4-Driver.jpg ES4-Nozzle.jpg


    The ES4 did not look like what I expected it would at all. I pulled an ES3 out of my box and looked at them side by side. “Why did KZ choose to call this thing the ES4?” Its shell isn’t the same shape, it looks nothing like the ES3 in shell color either. If it has anything in common with the ES3, it will have to be in the sound department because in looks, it’s a baby Zs10. At this point, I have to admit I was going into this review with a bad attitude. The Zs10 was not a favorite product for me and I had found the ES3 to have a comfortable fit but suffering from the typical house KZ signature which can best be called V with a mohawk. Recent KZ offerings have consistently had a big V tuning with good extension but a pronounced spike in the treble that cuts through most of the signature. The ES3 in addition to a V shaped tuning had a tendency to wash out what mids were present with mid-bass bleed. So now I have to listen to a combination of the ES3 and Zs10. I wasn’t expecting good things.

    es4-jacks.jpg

    Sound:
    (I found the ES4 to be sensitive to which tips were in use and insertion depth. If you find yourself hearing something other than what other people are reporting – try wider bore tips and seating the tip so the opening is even with the nozzle face rather than the nozzle sitting in the tip. I found these changes made a difference.)
    ES4-tips1.jpg


    Bass
    The ES4 has very good bass extension and quantity. Impact of the sub-bass is felt and definitely emphasized but the mid-bass takes a step back and is better controlled than previous offerings. Bass bleed is minimal and shows a definite improvement over the ES3. For those that like a sub-woofer in their in-ears, the ES4 delivers in spades.

    Mids
    This and the ED16 are the best KZ mids to date. Whoever at the factory that was supposed to scoop the mids must have had the day off as they are more present in the mix than any other KZ in memory. I still hear the ES4 as a V (and the FR graphs prove that out as the mids are nearly 5db behind the treble and 7-9db behind the bass) but the sound is so well proportioned that it does not listen like a big V but more like a shallow V with a lively presence region.

    Treble
    The ES4 still has some extra treble energy but manages it better as that energy fits with the rest of the signature rather than carving through it like some earlier models did (Zs6). The high-hat and snare in Lenny (SRV) were both well rendered and not overly sharp or metallic. I did find some very mild sibilance in Tedeschi’s tracks but not more so than is produced when using my HD700s so this may well be the track itself.

    Soundstage
    The soundstage is wider than deep doesn’t show a lot of height. Here again this is somewhat tip dependant as I found I could influence stage dimensions with the bore of the tips. In all instances, it is fairly intimate, but I could make the stage deeper and narrower by using narrow bore tips or wider and shallower by going to the wide bore tips. (Ymmv as this is the musing of an old fool).

    Instrument separation
    Seperation was good throughout my audition with only mild crowding on large orchestral pieces. (This again unlike some previous attempts that sounded as if the philharmonic had been crammed in Volkswagen bus and then asked to perform).

    The one issue I found with the sound on the ES4 is common to many multi-driver IEMS and that is they sometimes suffer a bit right at or around the crossover frequency where drivers get out of phase with each other. The ES4 can occasionally display this behavior but for the most part this was something you had to be looking for to find and not a major distraction.

    Conclusions
    Overall, the KZ ES4 is an easy recommendation for those that want a lively, bass forward, IEM to use for casual listening. They are not the most detailed IEM in the KZ line (Zs10) nor are they the most neutral (ED16 is closer with a bit of EQ) but they are listenable for extended periods without fatigue and they bring a liveliness and a passion to music which makes long listening sessions seem shorter. Bassheads may think the ES4 falls a bit short and those looking for a near neutral will find the ES4 overly colored but for all those who just want something good to listen to, the ES4 is a lot of fun. My bad attitude has subsided and now I am wondering if I should buy a backup pair.

    images

    1. ES4-tips.jpg
    1. dhruvmeena96
      Try neutraliser and tenmak whirlwind. This will shock you to your guts. Better than many super expensive iem
      dhruvmeena96, Jul 16, 2018
  4. dhruvmeena96
    Near Fantastic
    Written by dhruvmeena96
    Published Jul 13, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Good bass reach

    Mids are elevated in comparision to ZST

    Its like KZ ZSA with bass or ZS10 tuned properly but downgraded.
    Cons - Cable is rough

    Uncomfortable
    Knowledge Zenith's, the company which is notorious for making so many models, sometimes confusing, sometimes irritating(ZST and ES3 choice) has a good history of producing gems at lower price.

    And today I will be talking about a KZ IEM which shook me completely. Some may think it is a pretty weird review because on KZ thread, it is mentioned to be a treble tamed bass boosted KZ ZST.

    Thanks to some users on thread to use wide bores.


    IMG_20180713_110238~2-01.jpeg
    The box

    IMG_20180713_110755-01.jpeg
    The IEM


    These don't even sound like ZST from any angle. Let me go into detail.

    First of all, I am not using star lines but tenmak turbo whirlwind wide bore black to reduce bass decay

    Sub Bass:
    Extremely tight, if you are moving from single dynamic driver. It extends when required and doesn't interfere with musicality. But when called for, it shakes. Bass drops and bass line is crazy plus it stops somewhat pretty correctly.

    Mid bass:
    Tries to get into upper bass register and bleed towards mid, but is now in control due to tenmak tips. It is to punchy and is distinct(I don't like that much punch) but is still maintaining a fundamental tone, so I can tolerate. But on slow, classical or orchestral songs this mid bass is very good. It defines the weight of instruments.

    Upper bass:

    Perfectly blended with mids giving the male vocals and giving the guitar E and A strings a nice flavor. Somewhat thicker and defined.

    Lower mids:

    Thick male vocals lies in here. They sound very good and somewhat raspy. It has its own domain and ES4 is able to give them a separate space, making them detailed. But sometimes they may sound like coming from a little faraway(dynamic driver distance and a little incoherency with BA).

    Center mids:

    Instrumental information is very good for 12$ IEM. I mean to say, very good if you are not introduced to chi-fi. Only niceHCK bro beats them. ZST sounds recessed here. ES3 sounds muddy. These sounds better than ZS6. Instrument image like guitar plucking and finger sliding sounds ethereal.

    Upper mids:

    Females vocals can get sibilant(yes they can, CardiB went sibilant on Dinero by JLo). They are too sharp, sharper than ZST. But the best part is that you can hear breathe of singers.

    Separation(lower treble/Harmonics):

    Good, but compared to NiceHCK bro, KZ ZSR, ED16 it still lacks the definition. EQ is not helping here as it is the nature of IEM( tried it, somewhat noticeable but not worthy). Some people say that ZST gives better separation, I don't think so....why? Because it gives a 8kHz peak, focusing on cymbal or sharp instrument giving them more definition leading the human brain in fooling itself and thinking it as High Res.

    Stage(mid treble and Bass cumulative)

    Wide with tenmak, deep with star lines. Its good, actually better than AAW nebula 2. Its a V shape iem with fairly wide and moderately deep stage.

    Definition(upper treble, PRaT and center mids cumulative):

    Instruments can be a little coloured in image but are precisely placed in stage and not like ZS10 weird stage effect. Pace, Rhythm and Timing is also good, but overall it is a little incoherent(way better than many hybrids, but still, not like my 64audio).

    Scape(cumulative of Decay, definition and separation):

    It paints a large soundscape in head but sometimes feel unnatural with certain tracks(I am used to intimacy).
    Decay is well executed on bass, with very slight bass bleed in mids
    1. View previous replies...
    2. dhruvmeena96
      I was using wide bore tips, the tenmak wide bore. It fixes the bass
      dhruvmeena96, Aug 17, 2018
    3. ChayanSen
      Tried with wide bore.when a song has fast double bass (death metal), it feels like the kick drum is taking over everything and mid to highs(distorted guitar, screechy vocals) vanish.Any mods to reduce the quantity of sub bass and bass?
      ChayanSen, Aug 17, 2018
      dhruvmeena96 likes this.
    4. dhruvmeena96
      Try an impedance adapter. It happens due to treble distortion. Not a bass issue per se.

      Higher volume just become taxing to drivers and so are metals. The song is with so much info that driver tends to distort enharmonically.

      Just get wide bore , 75ohohm impedance adapter and neutralizer app. Eq the treble energy and you are done.
      dhruvmeena96, Aug 17, 2018