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Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread

  1. Slater
    They have a wide body and a short nozzle, so they don't allow a deep insertion (which reduces bass). Then they have a very odd tuning, unlike any other KZ. It's been described as W shaped tuning. But the sound comes across as tiny, thin, and hollow - like a cheap handheld AM transistor radio from the 70s.

    For literally the same price you can get the KZ EDR1 or EDR2 which has an excellent all-around consumer tuning (in other words, sounds good with most genres except maybe classical and orchestral). It's easy to drive with any source, sounds great with low-fi MP3 files and sources like cell phones, has nice tight responsive bass, juicy midrange, nice sparkly treble, good isolation, is built like a tank, and fits great (worn cable down). It's light years better than the ED4.
    williamclarkonet likes this.
  2. Slater
    So I have the ED3, ED4, ED9, EDSE, EDR1, and EDR2.

    The only (readily available) one out of the ED line I don't have is the ED7.

    I have heard that the ED7 is nice, but out of all of them I like the ED9 and EDR1/EDR2 the best. The ED9 is kind of polarizing though, so it's not for everyone. A lot of people love it, a lot don't. It does have 2 tuning filters, and is easy to mod to make it sound even better. Sue to it's open vents, it has a great soundstage at the expense of isolation and bass. To get monster bass you have to do some mods (close the rear vents, use the gold filter, and replace the foam in the gold filter with fiber fill).

    The EDSE has fat juicy bass out of the box, and a nice v shaped tune. But once I heard the EDR1 and EDR2 (which use the exact same housing as the EDSE just a different driver and different vent hole configuration), the EDR1 and EDR2 is much better than the EDSE.

    The whole ED line isn't highly resolving or highly detailed either. I classify the ED line as "low-fi heroes". The ZS3 with Slater mod is another option to consider as well. It sounds similar to the EDR1/EDR2, and is sexier looking, and has removable/upgradeable cables.

    So rating them in order, for bass/comfort/general performance, I would rate them like this:

    1. ZS3 (with Slater mod)
    2. EDR1/EDR2
    3. ED9 with mods (gold filter)
    4. ZS3 (stock ie without Slater mod)
    5. EDSE
    6. ED9 (stock without mods but using gold filter)
    7. ED3
    100 (ie dead last). ED4

    Also, I'm not sure if you have your heart set on the "ED" line, but the ZSE should certainly be another contender on your list. It has excellent bass and a very nice overall balanced tune (good mids, bright and sparkly highs, looks great, dual dynamic drivers, etc).

    Hope that helps.

    P.S. - It sounds like you are looking for a basshead IEM. In other words, you want skull crushing bass, and you don't mind if it's at the expense of midrange or treble (but obviously you want something that sounds good too). Is that an accurate statement? What's your budget ($5, $10, $20)?
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
  3. PantsUK
    Im the first to say there is loads of snake oil in the audio world but I myself have found burning in of IEMs def do make a difference. If I'd have been using them then yes I'd agree it would be my ears adjusting but I wasn't. I plugged them in on Friday and found the treble so harsh it was unbearable, so with the exact same setup Denon DAC/Little Dot 1+ AMP left them playing up loud all weekend and used another pair of IEMs and a pair of headphones. Went back to them yesterday and the harshness was gone, if it wasn't due to the burn in one of the treble drivers in each ear has stopped working that's my only other thought ..... burn in seems more likely to me, as I said I found the same with the ZS5 although the ZS5 was no where near as bad. Ear tips do make a difference as does making sure you get a good fit deep into the ear but I find that's more to control the bass in this case I didn't change a thing over the 3 days. Even went back and listened to my same tracks. If it is snake oil I've drunk the bottle and truly enjoyed it! Essentially I put 72 hours of listening at a volume above what I would comfortably listen to over the 3 days otherwise it would have taken me probably 3-4 weeks to get to that point and yes then you could say it's likely ears are just adjusting.

    Burning in (if that is in fact what's happening rather than just the flexing of the drivers) costs nothing and takes naff all time in this case so snake oil or not it's no harm!
    Slater and HungryPanda like this.
  4. Slater
    Speaking of snake oil, I think they should make cable risers/lifters for IEMs. Because when the cable lays against your body, it can absorb subatomic life force wave energy ions and dark matter magnetic chakra particles that your body gives off, making IEMs sound distorted. By sticking cable risers all over our body (or maybe wear one of those puffy jackets or Michelin Man suits), then it HAS to help improve the sound, right?
    To.M, TJK81, groucho69 and 2 others like this.
  5. PantsUK
    I always wear a puffa jacket when listening to IEMs maybe that's why the magical snake oil works for me ?
    Fox2twenty likes this.
  6. williamclarkonet
    Great info this really helps alot!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
    Slater likes this.
  7. Superluc
    The ZS3 is a very good fellow for noisier situations. An hybrid version with the same case is coming ( ZS4, probably ), but we still have not see it. Waiting months for save 7-8$ on something like this is not smart at all.
    As for the DAC/AMP, between these i have the Topping NX2 and i like it. Sounds almost neutral as a DAC. The AMP section dint have the power for headphones with bigger impedance, but is good for IEMs. Using only as a AMP, the battery last almost forever.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
    Saulo Jonas likes this.
  8. williamclarkonet
    This is very accurate i want to stay with the KZ brand my budget is any as long as I stay with KZ
  9. vector84
    Brain burn in is an amazing thing - and sorely underestimated and misunderstood. The biggest example... people think stuff needs to be in your ears for it to happen - this is not only wrong, it's almost completely the opposite of how the actual process takes place when subjected to study.

    I also am not a huge believer in burn in in general... I tell myself I do it to check for basic electrical issues (and I've had more than a few pieces of gear die during those early hours over the years that makes me feel like it's a worthwhile endeavor) and that makes me feel better about it. :wink:

    Having said that... I wrote about this a while back, and I'm not exactly sure why, but I had a rather fascinating experience with an OOB ZSE - something to do with glue getting in the wrong place would be my guess, but they shook themselves into shape after a few minutes if playback.

    So there's my "I don't believe in burn in... but I do it anyway" story :wink:
  10. SomeGuyDude
    Goodbye then. I can promise we won't miss your presence.
    Fox2twenty likes this.
  11. Slater
    OK, since you want to stay with KZ (vs something like the Boarseman KR49), for basshead I would say:

    1. ZS1 v1 (no longer available and very rare)
    2. ZS3 with Slater mod
    3. EDR2/EDR1

    You could also consider the:

    - KZ GR (with black filter). I've never heard it myself, but it's reported to be an extremely bass-dominated model. You can read more about it here: http://www.aproear.co.uk/kz-gr/
    - ZN1 Mini, which also has some really hard hitting bass. It uses the same case and dual driver setup as the ZS1 v1 (although I don't know if it actually uses the same drivers). I much prefer the ZN1 v1 to the ZN1 Mini, but unfortunately the ZN1 v1 is basically impossible to find anymore (luckily I have 2 pairs).

    The ZS1, ZS3, and ZN1 Mini are worn behind-the-ear, the GR, EDR1, and EDR2 are worn cable down.

    I have also never heard the ES3, but most people seem to like it and it's supposed to be bassy (I've heard it compared to a slightly better ZS3).

    Maybe Vidal and Loomis can chime in with their basshead KZ recommendations, because they've also heard most everything I've listed including things I haven't heard (like the GR and maybe ES3).

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2017
    Sylmar likes this.
  12. Keller2
    I've gained some respect for the ZS5v1 - initially hated their guts because they were extremely bassy and got congested on busy tracks.

    The ZST was my daily driver at that point.
    After using the ES3 for a while as a daily driver the ZS5v1 is a bit more tolerable.

    Both the ZST and ES3 remain the better headphones though.

    ES3 is the right amount of bassy. ZS5v1 is just too much.
  13. vector84
    Fair warning, those Toppings are absurdly sensitive to EMI. Like... people say airplane mode works for them, and maybe I just got a really bad one... but yeah... nope. I was using it with a pair of ZS5 v1s and the heck with radio transmitters (which are just a big fat NOPE) - touching a touchscreen device that was within a few feet of the NX2 would send it cracking and popping, and I once made the mistake of setting it down on top of my desktop PC... which prompted a near hearing damage level of static to be produced.

    That thing scared me. I replaced it with a Fiio Q1 and I'm pretty content so far.
    Saulo Jonas likes this.
  14. williamclarkonet
    Can you tell if this is ZS1 v1
  15. williamclarkonet
    Thanks I will get the ZS3

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