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Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread

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  1. bhazard
    A lot has changed in 3 years. KZ now has some of the best value/performance ratios in earphones on the market.

    Gearbest ( A Head Fi Sponsor) now sells KZ regularly. They usually get the best prices, but you can also find KZ on Aliexpress through multiple vendors. I personally recommend Gearbest and NiceHCK, but other stores carry them as well.

    Newest model:
    ZS5 2DD+2BA

    Most popular:
    KZ ZST (1DD+1BA hybrid)
    KZ ZS3
    KZ ATR
    KZ ATE
    Not too long ago, I stumbled across some interesting looking in-ears on Aliexpress and Taobao called the KZ-A1. They promised subwoofer type bass and showed a frequency response graph that looked pretty good, and it was only $10. I gave it a shot, and I loved it. It really did have deep punchy bass as stated.

    Then I found their two stores, and noticed they had a ton of other models, and seem to come out with a new one every two weeks. (use chrome to translate)

    A lot of the shell designs are based on other iems in the market (Audio Technica, Sennheiser, V-Moda), but the use their own materials, drivers, OFC cords..etc, and they don't try to pass them off as knock offs. Each have Knowledge Zenith logos and distinct features separating them from the designs they are based on.

    Here are some of the models so far:
    KZ-A1 (9mm $10):
    Subwoofer type bass, but clearer than a standard Beats IEM

    Micro-Ring (CKN70 look, 5.8mm $10):
    A micro driver (5.8mm) tuned to sound like a balanced armature. Plenty of bass.

    CKM9 (CKM99 look 14mm, $12)
    CKM99 type signature. Boosted bass and treble.

    GD1 C56R




    CKW Pro






    etc etc..

    Most of them punch well above the price they are going for, which is normally $10-30. They are available on aliexpress and Taobao, although Taobao is the best way to purchase them. If you do not live in China, you will need to use a Taobao forwarding service such as mistertao.com and ugomark.com. There are lots of reviews from chinese users under each of the models as well.
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
    zachmal, pstickne, eclein and 5 others like this.
  2. peter123
    Nice initiative, since I got the a1's today I'll join the party :)
  3. bhazard
    Thoughts on it? IMO it's a bass monster that is clearer than a Beats IEM and the $8 Monoprice, and that's all you can really expect it to do, which is still excellent for ~$10.
  4. peter123
    So far I've just heard it for about 30 minutes. Short first impression is very clear and very much bass. I hope the bass settles a bit with some more use.
  5. fnkcow
    Hell yeah for a KZ appreciation thread! [​IMG]
    eclein and HungryPanda like this.
  6. peter123
    Bhazard: if it's not to much trouble could you please add a small comment to the models that you have/heard in the first post. This way it would be easier for others to see what signatures/quality they each have. That will make it easier to purchase the ones one most likely will prefer. I hope that others (including myself) that try the KZ line can contribute with their impressions as well :)
  7. bhazard
    Of course. I'll add a few now.
  8. peter123

    You're the man:)

    Thank you!
  9. peter123
    Quoting myself from the Asian/Chinese thread regarding the KZ A1:
    I got the KZ A1 and my impressions with them are a bit diversed: they have a terrific clarity for the price and the sub bass is really deep. With music that has a lot of fast bass I do find the bass to be a bit overwhelming. Some exaples: listening to more accoustic music whit good bass like Ben Howard, Cowboy Junkies or the Abbey Road Sessions with Kylie Minouge they are really really good, not only for their price. Listening to Robyn or Depeche Mode on the other hand it feels like I get bass a bit all over the place leading to litening fatigue pretty fast. To sum it up I think the bass is a bit slow and if there's a lot of midbass in the music it bleeds togheter with the subbass. 
    HungryPanda likes this.
  10. Bananiq
    What is the KZ's Flagship model?
  11. Bananiq
    KZ-CKW1000 looks good also KZ-IE8
    are these good? looks like knock-off the Sennheiser IE80 and Audio Technica CKW1000
  12. bhazard
    The shape is similar, but they use their own style of cords, housings, and drivers. They don't use any logos or anything from the models they are inspired from, and they also have a lot of their own designs.
    Flagship wise, the KZ-2013 and KZ-2014 seem to be the most popular. They are pretty good for ~$30, but they won't blow away $100+ earphones.
    I like the $12 Micro Ring better than both of them.
  13. Bananiq
    So you also don't like KZ A1 anymore? If they use different drivers too, I wonder how they match the sound signature of the originals.
  14. bhazard
    The KZ-A1 is more of a one trick pony. It has really nice, deep, punchy bass, but is a little recessed in the mids and could use a little more clarity. Still excellent for $10, and blows away the Monoprice easily.
  15. Bananiq
    Thanks, so what Asian IEM would you consider to beat 100+ dollar IEMs?
    Do they have dual BA IEMs or something similar to that fashion?
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