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IEM Advice: KZ ATE vs ZST, ED9, Xiaomi Piston 3 and Others

  1. LoScienzo
    Hi! I have an old and beat up pair of Xiaomi Piston 3 earphones, a pair of Sennheiser HD 380 Pro, AKG K240 Mk II, AKG K271 Mk II and Apple Earpods (probably iPhone 6 era). I've been looking for a new pair of IEMs on a budget, my current ones were 19€ when i got them and i'd like to stay within the 20-30€ price range. Looking around the forum i've seen many people recommending the KZ headphones and seeing the extremely active thread ( 2600+ pages ) about KZ headphones i figured this is the best place to ask.

    I don't listen to a fixed kind of music, i constantly change from Jazz, to Classical , to Pop, sometimes even mainstream, mostly what i feel like and spotify offers me.

    What i really love about the 380 Pro is their flat frequency response, that i can somewhat find in the Xiaomi, albeit with a lack of bass. I've recently tried a pair of Meze 12 Classics and the bass / lower mids were a little overpowered, which was somewhat off-putting for me.

    It looks like KZ offers pretty good value for the price, after doing a little bit of research i've settled mainly on two of their models:

    • KZ ATE - Single 8.2mm dynamic driver
    • KZ ZST - Hybrid, dual driver
    • ( KZ ED9? )

    Everyone seems to love these ones, especially the ATE, however many focus on the V frequency response, strong bass and a little lacking mids, i don't know how they compare with the Meze, but i'd prefer a flatter response like the Xiaomi Piston 3.
    I understand the ED9 are a compromise between the flat response of the Xiaomi and the heavy bass of the ATE.

    Each have some pro and cons, the ATEs come with foam tips, little to no noise leak but single driver, the ZSTs have a detachable cable, which is a big plus, dual drivers but are a little leaky and have standard rubber tips, of course for the price both are really interesting.
    I've seen somewhere that the ATR are less bass-y but feel cheaper ( and look cheaper too ).

    I could get them for around the same price too,
    • 18€ for the ZST
    • 15 for the ATE
    • ( 16 for the ED9 )
    • ( 13 for the ATR )

    What would you suggest? Are there any better/comparable IEMs in this price range?

    Some links:
    ATE: http://www.thephonograph.net/kz-ate-review/
    ZST: http://www.thephonograph.net/kz-zst-review/

    Head-Fi:
     
  2. buke9
    The ATE is a bit bassier than the ZST but not by a whole lot. The ZST is a bit more brighter than the ATE and a bit more spacious sounding .
     

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