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KZ ZST In-ear Earphone Latest HiFi Sports Hi-Fi Headphones with Noise Cancelling and Mic Replacement Cable with Mic

Rating:
3.375/5,
  1. BulldogXTRM
    MIDS?
    Written by BulldogXTRM
    Published Dec 3, 2017
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Good bass response
    Good High end extension
    Natural sound stage
    Price
    Cons - Subdued Mids,
    A bit too bright sounding
    Stock cable is sub par
    A bit unpredictable depending on the song/genre
    I just got these in to play around with and to use for some monitoring while I send my customs in for a tuneup and I figured why the heck not $20.00 for dual driver? I own a set of UE900s and find that although the clarity of them is outstanding, they lack in the low end. So the reviews I read on the ZST's said the low end on these was really good and overall they have good clarity. I agree, good lows, good overall clarity.

    I'm satisfied with them for the price I paid. The sound signature is a big V. The mids are recessed with the stock cable, which the stock cable is way below par, I'm going to try them with a decent cable and I'll update my review accordingly.

    The sound signature is very similar to a set of Shure SE215's if you were to bump the low end and high end up about 3 dB and then pull the mids back about 3 dB. In other words the ZST has an even more V shaped sound signature than the SE215's.

    Overall I find them to be pretty fun, but the high end can be a bit overpowering at times with just a touch of sibilance.

    Are they worth $20, yes, I think they sound better than just about any other $20 IEMS. Are they comparable with $99 SE215, or a $299 SE425, yes. Are they better than the SE's? NO. How do they compare with a UE900s, not even in the same ball park, the UE900s has more clarity, musicality and separation by far. How are they compared to good set of custom IEM's, not even on the same planet.

    Update: After receiving the upgrade KZ ZST cable, I found that it rolled the highs off just slightly which allowed the mids to come through a bit more. So this was a definite improvement for these. I tested the stock cable and the upgrade cable and based on what I found, the stock cable is actually a very low resistance cable. .5 ohm vs the upgrade cable at .8 ohm. On other stock 2 pin cables that I have one that is a 2 ohm cable and one that is a 1.5 ohm. I did try these cables on the ZST and found that they both narrowed the sound stage but the KZ ZST upgrade cable did not. The other cables did bring the highs under better control but the bass started to lose some of it's tightness. Because of this I definitely recommend the KZ ZST upgrade cable which appears to be a very well put together cable by the way and relatively inexpensive. I believe a Linum Super BAX would achieve similar results to the KZ ZST cable but a $200 cable on a $20 IEM?
      Toastybob likes this.
  2. joshuadapitan
    Need KZ SPC Cable V2 or these are meh earphones.
    Written by joshuadapitan
    Published Sep 11, 2017
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Detachable cable. The Looks(Depending on your perspective). Cheap. Isolation.
    Cons - Mic button needs hard press to work. Not cohesive sounding on stock wire. Spro Shell may not be fit for everybody. Needs KZ SPC Cable V2 or these are meh sounding.
    I bought this because there is hype on these ZST. I mean, cheap enough(Again I am into chi-fi), with a BA.

    No need to explain some ergonomical issues since they are explained into pros and cons. Now to evaluate sound signature with these ZST

    Sound signature on Stock wire:
    Bass: Bass is kind of felt more than heard, but the major gripe of these is most of the bass has less presence and impact, especially impact. You hear that bass sounds from the violet shell.
    Mids: Mids are recessed but still quite articulate and smooth enough(you will hear dat ) that you will be fine(you paid for a cheap earphone anyways)
    Treble:Treble is one that I don't like on stock wire. They are somewhat too crystalline and gritty to my ears that it makes me stop using them. They are quite agressive and sharp on the treble

    Sound signature on KZ SPC V2 wire:
    Bass: Bass is now more forward enough and the bass tones are now more coherent with the mids and treble.
    Mids: Now they become more forward as well, dat recessed mids issue, is now gone, and you feel that BA and the DD on its best.
    Treble: Treble is now more controlled, and rolled of compared to stock wire(but still extended to let you hear details on highs)

    Still a good buy but won't recommend it if you will just buy it stock.

    images

    1. 20170907_172051[1].jpg
  3. Cinder
    KZ ZST Review: A Victory For Audiophiles On a Budget
    Written by Cinder
    Published Jan 14, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Nice color palette, cool cable, solid construction, decent
    Cons - Large housings, lacking in resolution in the midrange

    IMG_1835.jpg

     

    KZ ZST Review: A Victory For Audiophiles On a Budget

    KZ is a Chinese IEM company that specializes in making budget grade earphones, and is well known for their high-value offerings. While they have made pretty big waves in the Chi-Fi crowd, they remain relatively unknown to the broader Hi-Fi community. That’s a real shame considering they have some very compelling products, including the ZST Colorful that I am reviewing today.
    You can find the KZ ZST on at Penon Audio, here, for $20.
    Disclaimer: This review is based upon a sample unit provided to me by a manufacturer or distributor in exchange for my honest opinion and un-edited words. I do not profit in any way from the writing of the review. I would like to thank Penon Audio and KZ for sending me this review unit.
    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoy-ability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.
    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.
    Source: The ZST was powered like so:
    Nexus 6P -> earphones
    or
    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones
    or
    HiFiMAN MegaMini -> earphones
    or
    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones
    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.
    The ZST scales decently well with higher-end sources. It didn’t take too much amping to achieve high volumes.

    Sound Signature

    Initial Impressions:
    The ZST has a warm-leaning sound signature, but doesn’t swing too far away from a balanced presentation. Bass presence is slightly boosted, as are vocals. Treble is present, but well balanced with the mids.
    Treble: Songs used: In One EarMidnight CityOutlands
    The high-hats of In One Ear were quite clear, and presented well. I expect nothing less from a hybrid IEM from KZ. Upper-treble decay is fast and precise, with no noticeable truncation.
    The electronic synths in Midnight City were placed in the middle-back of the song, but never became inaudible. I’m impressed given how well the tonality of the synth was preserved despite its background positioning.
    Outlands sounded reasonably open, with decent spacing and air. However, I found that violins were only of average clarity, something I still find to be quite a feat to my spoiled ears for a paltry $20. While I could certainly hear the foreground violins quite well, the background ones did not fair as well. They tended to fade in and out of audibility.
    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole SittaJacked UpI Am The HighwayDreams
    The mids of Flagpole Sitta were well defined and separated, but lacked some of the finer details present in some (much more expensive) IEMs. Guitar tonality was decent. Electric guitars lacked their usual intense power, but were still clear in the mix.
    Jacked Up’s pianos had a softer edge to them, indicating a slower attack and decay in the mids. The guitar feedback sounded decently lifelike, but I found that separation was a little worse in this song. The ZST does tend to show its limits when presented with lots of mid-bound instruments, and more so when some of them live in the background.
    Male and female vocals are presented equally well and naturally weighted. I really enjoy how they interact with my music, and really enjoy their presence overall.
    Bass: Songs used: MothGold DustIn For The Kill (Skream Remix)Leave Me
    Bass is present, with a slight boost. This really helps it express itself in rock and acoustic songs, such as Moth. The bass guitar, while more subtle in presentation, was still audible and dynamic.
    The bass in Gold Dust had good impact and tonality to it. While it should certainly satisfy the average listener, I found my inner-basshead looking for more rumble. However, a quick boost to the 30Hz-100Hz range sorted that problem out quite nicely.
    Sub-bass expression and dynamacism was quite good, with the ZST pushing pretty far down into lower frequencies. This made In For The Kill quite enjoyable, despite the ZST not being tuned for bassheads like myself.

    Packaging / Unboxing

    The ZST is packaged sparsely, but that’s not really a problem given the very low price these things sell for.
    IMG_1828.jpg

     
    IMG_1832.jpg

    Build

    Construction Quality
    The ZST’s driver housings are made from two pieces of hard plastic. Its name is certainly not an overstatement, as the IEM oozes colors. The housings are quite large, similar in size to some of my 2x dynamic driver 2x balanced armature driver IEMs (despite having half the number of drivers). The housings are light, and feature a 2-pin detachable cable system. “ZST” is emblazoned on the back panel of the IEM tastefully, and looks like it won’t rub off any time soon. On the side of the IEM you can see “ZST HIFI-Armature” written.
    1vwEsphik9gzIlLi8vyFavw.jpg

    1r0AZ_sj9VMncRX1moLLakg.jpg
    The cable has a short 45-degree angle 2-pin connector on it which fits well into the housings of the ZST. The cable itself looks to be covered in a smoke-colored transparent plastic, underneath which are several colorful twisted wires (four to be precise).
    1-0mlCsDzHEgLBpLKQf-2ng.jpg
    The cable terminates in a rubber-coated 3.5mm jack and sports rubberized Y-splitters as well. While there is a version of the ZST that has a universal inline remote, I have the version that does not have it.
    Comfort
    As I mentioned earlier, the housings of the ZST are large. So despite their ergonomic shape, they do pose a challenge to people like me who have smaller ears. I could wear them for about two hours without any issues, any longer and I could start to feel them pushing against my ears.

    Accessories

    The ZST is complimented by a rather sparse offering of accessories. However, for $20, I feel that it does suffice. Inside the box you will find:
    1. 1x 2-pin cable
    2. 2x extra sets of silicone eartips
    While a carrying pouch of some sort would certainly be appreciated, I can understand why it was omitted.
    1bKs2ENSvSoZKIkkTiW300A.jpg

    Summary

    The ZST, while not a perfect IEM, is very, very good for the price. I could find no glaring flaws for it overall, and would wholeheartedly recommend it to someone looking for a cheap, slightly bass-boosted IEM on the cheap.
     
    This review was originally featured on Resonance Reviews. Find us here.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Cinder
      @SambalOelek No worries!
       
      The ZST is "shaped" according to the appropriate ear. I don't have mine near me at the moment, but you should be able to figure out left vs. right simply by feel.
      Cinder, Apr 7, 2017
    3. SambalOelek
      ok thanks. will see how i feel wearing them for some days (if something misfits, means i have put the left piece in the right ear...)
      SambalOelek, Apr 9, 2017
    4. SambalOelek
      upon a second look, i found written on each earpiece the word 'right' and the word 'left'. Silly, hadn't seen the text before...so no more confusion possible :)
      SambalOelek, Apr 9, 2017
  4. liamosull
    Nothing Special but not bad
    Written by liamosull
    Published Jan 6, 2017
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Fairly balanced, natural sound, decent bass, looks awesome
    Cons - Horrible Fit, Poor Treble detail and extension, stupid cable with weights instead of wire
    If you are looking for iems you can do much better in this price range however these aren't bad and you could definitely do alot worse. These are much better than the ZSE by KZ and are probably the best KZ pair of buds but they are not really much better than the Special Editions which are half the price.
    1. DatDudeNic
      I agree, its treble is way too boosted as well as the bass. Not to mention horribly sibilant. Don't know why they did this when the zs3 sounded decent but this is just a wreck in so many categories.
      DatDudeNic, Apr 9, 2017