KZ-Z1 - Reviews
Pros: Incredible micro-detail rendering especially for Bluetooth!
“Airy” live” & energetic with refined treble extension
Transparent mid-centric balanced sound signature
Plentiful quantity of bass/sub-bass response - accurate & tight
Uber comfortable with no wires for non-fatiguing, prolonged listening
Quick charging time – always topped up whilst in supplied case
Brilliant accessories – including sleek charging case!
Cons: 3-hours relatively short battery life
Compared to wired - not quite the same sparkle
Reduced sound-stage, imaging & layering
Un-useable supplied silicon tips – whereas memory foams maintain a more secure seal/fit
The KZ-Z1 TWS was received from AK Audio store (product link below) - the package dispatched & arriving in a very efficient time.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000989409388.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.c2664c4dNseFPt

It is advisable with the KZ-Z1 to use memory foams to maintain a more secure seal/fit and boost bass response. Charging time was very quick and they are constantly trickle charged whilst in case. The controls work very extremely well with no glitches and are comprehensively laid out in the supplied instruction leaflet.

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This set is really enhanced when boosted via a laptop running Ashampoo Soundstage Pro, switching between surround sound on and off, opting for Koss Porta Pro sound profile & checking the boost button, reaches optimum performance for Bluetooth, producing crisper micro details, improved imaging & adding an “airy” stage.

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Build/Fit:

The stylish design is very aesthetically pleasing – the moulded resin housings fit plush in ear, held securely in place with suitable foam tips.

Tuning / Sound Signature:
They are bright, and like most Bluetooth sets are initially slightly metallic. However, post burn-in their warm tonality is very analogue rather than cold or analytical. Not overly bright, details are transparent & revealing, whilst retaining an energetic presentation.

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Soundstage:
The stage is quite narrow and less deep as it is wide – hence not as 3D holophonic as wired sets.
When it is necessary to be hands free, I currently use the Z1 to mix electronica tracks, that combines analogue synthesizers, with VST plugins, sequenced by iPad app or DAW via laptop – hence an increased stage, imagery and layering is greatly appreciated, whether actively composing tracks ( & listening passively.)


Highs:
No exxessive highs are experienced or any transient peaks, shoutiness or sibilance is heard – thus they are non-fatiguing with no post ear-ringing.

Mids:
The mids are well extended and lush, especially when boosted via an app – which helps to render a very balanced sound signature.

Bass:
Once a good seal is achieved with memory foam tips there is enough quantity of bass/sub-bass which is relatively forward in the mix. Hence for a bluetooth set they sound very balanced.


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EQ response:
Responds well to additional frequency boost via laptop, it pays to experiment with different settings using software. This set is really enhanced when boosted via a laptop running Ashampoo Soundstage Pro, switching between surround sound on and off, opting for Koss Porta Pro sound profile & checking the boost button, reaches optimum performance for Bluetooth.

Sources:
I prefer devices with two-way Bluetooth - the best synergy is attained listening to FLAC files via Sony NW-ZX300a – the Z1 remains distortion-free at max volume. BT receiver mode of the Sony DAP with vinyl processor switched on, adds extra “analogue” warmth & output from Dell 7559 gaming laptop. Connection to iPad Air3 / Cayin N3 is equally seamless, plus listening via Xiaomi Mi 9T smartphone & Max Volume Booster does sound incredibly good.

Listening preferences:
Velvet Universe - Voyager LP (Full) (1981.)






Why? - Ermhoi






Black Boboi - Red Mind






D.A.N. - SSWB






“Shard of Glass” - Fenella






Fuku-Ura






Monochrome Echo






Testing the Binaural capabilities of this set was auditioned with tracks: “Jettison Mind Hatch” by Tipper, “Y Dydd Olaf” by Gwenno. Ambient Internet Radio (NTS) / Soundscapes / Live Gigs, Vocals / Jazz & Classical / Electronica / FLAC LP’s

Comparisons:
MTW100:
Considering that the Z1 are half the cost of Shanling MTW100, they outperform them in every way, regarding stage, highs, mids and bass. Admittedly, the MTW100 battery life is superior at 24 hours. I would argue that the Z1 are preferable as, on adaily basis, you’re more likely to use a bluetooth set in short bursts – 3 hours maximum, before you exchange them for a wired pair!



Conclusion:
Sound quality is very good considering the price and they last a reasonable time between charges. Included in the box are a charging cable and charging case that doubles as a power bank

Pairing with variety of sources: DAP’s, laptop, phone, and iPad is an easy process. Once the phones are placed in the case – they switch off & charge. Once removed and placed in ear they instantly connect back to the source!

Consequently, I definitely recommend the KZ-Z1, well built, great accessories, and superb sound, what’s not to like?


Ratings:

Build: 85

Fit: 85

Bass: 85

Mids: 80

Treble: 80

Soundstage: 75

Imaging/Layering: 75

Accessories: 85

Price: 90

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