KZ ZS10 : More BA for more BS
Why using as much drivers if the result is inferior to one good dynamic is out of my comprehension, but yeah, KZ done it again : he fullfill a housing with lot of BS to create wet dream among budget audiophile and non critical listener. I was very sceptikal about the result and to be ultimately honnest its even inferior to my more mediocre suspicion. One good thing about the ZS10 is that it will not hurt your ears if your treble sensitive, if your bass sensitive, its another story. Let’s see why.
CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :
Another aspect that do not make me jump in the boat-apart from not being a selled ass that receive free stuff to make shady review- is the horrifious look of the ZS10, it look like some cheap sci-fi toy, and feel like one too in the hand,
Here you do not have resin or thick plastic, just two cheap plastic piece stick fastly togheter, its translucide to proundly show that KZ (HOURRAY!) make its own crossover for the first time in its life, but when you turn it over and see inner part it look cheap and make you wonder why the housing is THAT big if all drivers are at one side of it-yep, there lot of free space in there and is it for the air to circulate and create an enormous soundstage? Unfortunately no, its just to make you look dumb wearing it as nobody but an alien will be able to push these big housing far in there ears wich open to another design question : why the nozzle is so big and small?? -insert a wise ass answer here cause from what I know chinese people have smaller ears than western one, so perhaps their designer have some caricatural misconceptation of other people race. The mesh isn’t perhaps the best choice too, because I feel it tame overal sound and perhaps block some much needed air.
Cheap, cheap and cheap, is the overall look, but let’s say the twisted cable look of better quality of older KZ one, even if the 2 pin connection are the same. All in all, the ZS6 look like a TOTL iem compared to cheapish ZS10 and feel it will stand test of time better so I suggest to be carefull and don’t drop these too much.
So, for me, the ZS10 are the less comfortable IEM of all my collection.
Now for the sound, unfortunately, I will not test them for long, even if they can sound more than okay with some very well recorded acoustic music, they just lack what we would hope for a multi drivers IEM wich is spaciousness in layering of instrument, as well as some impact and brillance that make alive and realist overall musicality.
is the thick opaque type, creating thumping inelegant slightly boomy low that cannot extend naturally, as well it do not move air so sub feel aritificial but will not interfer with mids. How say, its ALL ZS10 sound treatment that didn’t do it for me, as if my music was blueray that have a VCR treatment...or all my flac became 128kbz mp3 played on a 5.1 surround system with a cheap sub. Bass is there but do not feel right, it have unwanted grain to it and a Eqed type of weight. I like clean beefy bass, that create proper sound wave with less distortion possible, the problem about sub bass rendering is quite evident (to me) with ultra clean Canadian Hillbilly track from Georgia Anne Muldrow, sub line is suppose to be ultra clean and transparent, and move in space smoothly, with ZS10 it feel too thick and grainy, as well, its not well layered and sound on same level than all rest of frequencies.
have same type of artificial rendering but are the most fowards aspect of the ZS10, it lack transparency wich make it veil some details layers in song because the highs are already a little rolled off. Even if fowards, the mids feel strangely wider than rest of sound spectrum, and this is where a illusionist struggle happen….but its were it do the trick or not with your ears too. Fact is that imaging is under average for this price range, if you take Tinaudio T2 mids for example, they feel way better separate from rest of sound spectrum, having more air to separate the sound impact of each instruments.
aren’t sparkly neither have good decay, they sound dull and boring and lack basic sharpness even if they are quite present. We really wonder where the BA drivers are hide but its perhaps good news for treble sensitive people because ZS10 do not sound agressive in this region and offer enough details to make your music interesting. Still, should it be percussion or harpsichord or classical guitar, the treble will not sound right for them and will lack brilliance as well as space to produce natural echo. All-the-sound-feel-digitally-filtered with ZS10, thats what annoy me to a high level!!
VS KZ ZS5v1 : ZS5v1 have less mid punch but move more air, the soundstage is way deeper and layering is clearer. We have better 3D instrument placement with the ZS5v1 and more weight and not impact in all frequencies range. ZS10 sound more congested even if wider in presentation, as if all layers are glue togheter and not free. Vocal are more fowards with ZS10 and sometime can sound better than ZS5v1, but other time it lack transparence too. Sub bass of ZS10 do not bleed on mids, wich happen slightly with ZS5v1, but this is not a plus here but another drawback as it lack natural extension and feel too fowards. I prefer the ZS5v1 by a BIG margain and that don’t even taking comfort aspect in account.
VS TinAudio T2 : Soundstage is wider and more airy with T2, layering is better too as it have more space to be well done. Sub bass have more warm and extension too but it lack some mid bass punch compared to the ZS10. Overall sound feel smoother with T2, where the ZS10 feel thick and fowards and in a hurry to make its show off. Vocal are way better with T2, feeling wider with more presence and natural decay where the ZS10 is hit of miss depending of signer and in best case it still sound limited in presence. Highs have more natural decay and sparkle with T2 and do not loose musicality with acoustic music like with ZS10 artificial sound.
I think its clear I dislike the KZ ZS10 way more than average people, so this reviews is to take with a grain of salt! I like natural sounding IEM, but only exceptional one like Tinaudio T2 can do it right and unlike the ZS10 i guess, they aren’t the right choice for electronic music with thumping bass, still, for jazz, classical and signers they are WAY better. So, why I hate so much the ZS10? Its because it sound false to me, and only work with some music that LOT of budget iem can deal with too. I guess the sound engineer of those just listen to Lana Del Rey or other pops signers...but I think just autotune voice can sound right with the ZS10, because human voice sound wave are suppose to travel in they space trough air and there simply not enough oxygene for sound to open naturally with ZS10. As well, ZS10 is horrifious looking and extremely unconfortable, so I did not suggest anybody to jump on it on impulse like me, at 40$ there lot of other chi-fi option with more musical potential (yes, buy the T2 NOW!).