Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread
Oct 20, 2017 at 6:43 AM Post #23,776 of 56,692

NeonHD

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Today is my lucky day guys! I somehow managed to receive both my KZ ED3 and ZSE on the same day, despite ordering them on significantly different time periods :astonished::astonished:

7aJIaAn.jpg
5dRX0CM.jpg

vPD54Ty.jpg


Both sound amazing for the price, but you know what guys? I don't think I enjoyed the earphones as much as I enjoyed receiving the new KZ starline eartips bundled with the KZ ZSE. That's right, call me crazy but the starline tips were the main highlight of my purchase :joy:

These starline tips are MAGIC!!!!! They literally make every single one of my IEMs sound sooooo fricking good!!!! It turned my lifeless KZ HDS3 into something more energetic, and it greatly reduced sibilance in many of my IEMs.

Based off the differences that I am hearing between these starline tips vs regular KZ tips, I can roughly tell that they do a great job at reducing high-mid to lower-treble frequencies (where harshness happens most of the time), while surprisingly enhancing the upper high frequencies.at the same time.

When I used the starline tips on my ED9 (brass-filters), the results were absolutely outstanding. Matched with the foam filter mod I did, it completely remedied the ED9's lower treble problems while further adding more detail into the upper highs, making the overall sound of the ED9 to be less upfront, and more backstage. For once, it actually genuinely felt as if sound was coming from outside/the environment rather than from the earphones. Everything was so detailed and spacious. Overall it made my ED9 sound more natural and realistic. Anyone who has the ED9 and has the starline tips surely needs to try this out.

Don't ever use the starline tips on the ATE though, as the ATE shines through its mids and enhancing its treble and upper treble just makes it sound harsh.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Quick Summary of ZSE: Nice tight punchy bass, full detailed mids (especially regarding lower mids), and a very well peaked treble (sounds like it's peaked around 8khz, just my best guess). The open back makes for a spacious soundstage but as a result subdues the sub-bass.

Quick Summary of ED3: Nice boomy sub-bass and mid-bass, good mids but are slightly recessed, and a very bright yet inoffensive treble. The inoffensiveness is probably because there is no significant sharp peaks in the high-mids to low-treble whatsoever. I would actually prefer the ED3 over the ZSE if I'm listening to EDM. This sound signature is best suited for the focus on low-level detail and further emphasizing them for you to directly engage. Definitely the oppose of realistic sound production, with less emphasis on background and more emphasis on foreground.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 7:38 AM Post #23,777 of 56,692

Slater

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Something must be wrong with Your ATE or they have new drivers again. There can be little veil in vocals sometimes (in a good way imo, like Senn HD600/HD650) but no sibilance.
I ordered another ATE (5th gen hopefully) and ATR week ago, will post impressions vs. older versions and information about inside components when I receive them.

Btw, what tips are You using with them and what source?

Agreed on this.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 7:43 AM Post #23,778 of 56,692

Slater

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Today is my lucky day guys! I somehow managed to receive both my KZ ED3 and ZSE on the same day, despite ordering them on significantly different time periods :astonished::astonished:

7aJIaAn.jpg
5dRX0CM.jpg

vPD54Ty.jpg


Both sound amazing for the price, but you know what guys? I don't think I enjoyed the earphones as much as I enjoyed receiving the new KZ starline eartips bundled with the KZ ZSE. That's right, call me crazy but the starline tips were the main highlight of my purchase :joy:

These starline tips are MAGIC!!!!! They literally make every single one of my IEMs sound sooooo fricking good!!!! It turned my lifeless KZ HDS3 into something more energetic, and it greatly reduced sibilance in many of my IEMs.

Based off the differences that I am hearing between these starline tips vs regular KZ tips, I can roughly tell that they do a great job at reducing high-mid to lower-treble frequencies (where harshness happens most of the time), while surprisingly enhancing the upper high frequencies.at the same time.

When I used the starline tips on my ED9 (brass-filters), the results were absolutely outstanding. Matched with the foam filter mod I did, it completely remedied the ED9's lower treble problems while further adding more detail into the upper highs, making the overall sound of the ED9 to be less upfront, and more backstage. For once, it actually genuinely felt as if sound was coming from outside/the environment rather than from the earphones. Everything was so detailed and spacious. Overall it made my ED9 sound more natural and realistic. Anyone who has the ED9 and has the starline tips surely needs to try this out.

Don't ever use the starline tips on the ATE though, as the ATE shines through its mids and enhancing its treble and upper treble just makes it sound harsh.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Quick Summary of ZSE: Nice tight punchy bass, full detailed mids (especially regarding lower mids), and a very well peaked treble (sounds like it's peaked around 8khz, just my best guess). The open back makes for a spacious soundstage but as a result subdues the sub-bass.

Quick Summary of ED3: Nice boomy sub-bass and mid-bass, good mids but are slightly recessed, and a very bright yet inoffensive treble. The inoffensiveness is probably because there is no significant sharp peaks in the high-mids to low-treble whatsoever. I would actually prefer the ED3 over the ZSE if I'm listening to EDM. This sound signature is best suited for the focus on low-level detail and further emphasizing them for you to directly engage. Definitely the oppose of realistic sound production, with less emphasis on background and more emphasis on foreground.

Glad to see someone kicking it old school with the ED3. It's a shame no one even talks about it anymore, because it's a very capable and affordable IEM.

Kudos on the HDS3 as well. I still love mine (with Starlines as well). It's my favorite micro-driver for sure, and so small and comfy.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 8:15 AM Post #23,779 of 56,692

kokakolia

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Something must be wrong with Your ATE or they have new drivers again. There can be little veil in vocals sometimes (in a good way imo, like Senn HD600/HD650) but no sibilance.
I ordered another ATE (5th gen hopefully) and ATR week ago, will post impressions vs. older versions and information about inside components when I receive them.

Btw, what tips are You using with them and what source?

In used the KZ foam tips until one fell out and got lost. The source, well, I plug them in directly into my Bose Companion 2 desktop speakers and my Zuk Z2 phone.

I am curious about the ATR. It could be better than the disappointing ATE.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 8:42 AM Post #23,780 of 56,692

Mellowship

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In used the KZ foam tips until one fell out and got lost. The source, well, I plug them in directly into my Bose Companion 2 desktop speakers and my Zuk Z2 phone.

I am curious about the ATR. It could be better than the disappointing ATE.

The ATE used to be great. First versions were very detailed and the sound was pure honey. From the impressions I've been having, the newer ATEs are not as good. I guess KZ has ran out of the original drivers and is using other thing. Maybe the ATE is using ATR drivers now... :frowning2:

The ATR, on the other hand, is a dull and unimpressive IEM, sometimes wrongly described as "neutral", because it's so boring. If neutrality is reproducing music as it was mixed with little to no coloration, the ATR is not doing it, but otherwise taking something out... like timbric accuracy in midbass...

But regarding KZ's lack of stability with their long-running line of IEMs, I really don't know if a new ATR might sound better than a new ATE or an old ATR. I guess there's only one way to know...

Regarding the tips, ATE/ATR are quite tip-dependent. They need large bores to do their magic. And usually they require foam tips a size smaller than those you usually fit in other IEMs to sound pleasing.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 9:15 AM Post #23,781 of 56,692

Wiljen

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You have to wonder if KZ is at the mercy of the batch of drivers they have available as it seems that the line changes with each new batch of drivers. I know they supposedly make their own drivers but either their QC on the driver production line is super lacking or they are sourcing them from different vendors and sometimes they get better than others. I would think the 2nd possibility is more likely as it seems once a production line was setup it wouldn't be likely to regress or change characteristics all that spectacularly.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 9:47 AM Post #23,782 of 56,692

grahamnp

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I've got a ZS5 (original version) and am super impressed with the sound but I'm having problems with the tips coming off.

Has anyone got any suggestions on how to keep them on in a non-permanent manner? I've got a huge collection of tips at the moment and am not looking to buy a new set.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 9:54 AM Post #23,783 of 56,692

kar-re

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Hey guys.
I was planning on buying a ZS5 but now I feel lost after reading all reviews about the ZS5 v2 lol.
I was considering either these or e-mi CI880 after reading aproears reviews, but after noticing that there wasn't any other reviews of the CI880 I strongly considered the ZS5s.

Now I'm thinking about maybe ordering a pair of ED9's and a pair of ZST? But to be honest I feel completely lost.
I mostly listen to EDM and electronic music, but also a great deal of jazz. My last pair of iems were the yamaha EPH-100 but I unfortunately misplaced them. That's why I consider the ED9s.

Do you guys have any input? I'm happy for all help I can get.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 10:06 AM Post #23,784 of 56,692

Mellowship

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I've got a ZS5 (original version) and am super impressed with the sound but I'm having problems with the tips coming off.

Has anyone got any suggestions on how to keep them on in a non-permanent manner? I've got a huge collection of tips at the moment and am not looking to buy a new set.

The ZS5 will use t400-t500 inner diameter tips. And they tend to stay in place. Maybe your nozzle is dirty with oil from your skin, and the inner section of the tips is oily too, and that will not help the tips stay in place. I suggest you clean the nozzles with a damp cloth and wash the tips in water with some neutral soap. Let everything dry and attach again.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 10:23 AM Post #23,785 of 56,692

maxxevv

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Hey guys.
I was planning on buying a ZS5 but now I feel lost after reading all reviews about the ZS5 v2 lol.
I was considering either these or e-mi CI880 after reading aproears reviews, but after noticing that there wasn't any other reviews of the CI880 I strongly considered the ZS5s.

Now I'm thinking about maybe ordering a pair of ED9's and a pair of ZST? But to be honest I feel completely lost.
I mostly listen to EDM and electronic music, but also a great deal of jazz. My last pair of iems were the yamaha EPH-100 but I unfortunately misplaced them. That's why I consider the ED9s.

Do you guys have any input? I'm happy for all help I can get.

Have no experience with the ED9 and ZST but if you have good source files, both the CI880 and ZS5v2 do well with Jazz such Diana Krall. ZS5 does better for House / Dance stuff such as Deep Dish and Ministry of Sound ( albums from way back in '05 and '06).

But if you like delicate vocals accompanied by light acoustic instrumentation, or just acoustic instruments alone then CI880 will probably sound better ( to my ears at least ) as there is less of the bass 'filler' and greater emphasis on the treble details on these. Outside of these and most classical music where details are important to me, the ZS5 does better. They are very good for energetic music with plenty of bass punch and details. Some people complain that they are bright but I have no issues with listening to them both for hours, though there are earphones like the XE800 and the Swing IE800 that I can't do for more than an hour. So in that aspect, I don't consider them 'bright' at all. And I listen to both of them on their stock silicone tips.
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 11:24 AM Post #23,786 of 56,692

wastan

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Hey guys.
I was planning on buying a ZS5 but now I feel lost after reading all reviews about the ZS5 v2 lol.
I was considering either these or e-mi CI880 after reading aproears reviews, but after noticing that there wasn't any other reviews of the CI880 I strongly considered the ZS5s.

Now I'm thinking about maybe ordering a pair of ED9's and a pair of ZST? But to be honest I feel completely lost.
I mostly listen to EDM and electronic music, but also a great deal of jazz. My last pair of iems were the yamaha EPH-100 but I unfortunately misplaced them. That's why I consider the ED9s.

Do you guys have any input? I'm happy for all help I can get.

My first impression of the CI 880

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chi...phones-and-iems.820747/page-826#post-13792059
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 12:37 PM Post #23,787 of 56,692

kar-re

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Have no experience with the ED9 and ZST but if you have good source files, both the CI880 and ZS5v2 do well with Jazz such Diana Krall. ZS5 does better for House / Dance stuff such as Deep Dish and Ministry of Sound ( albums from way back in '05 and '06).

But if you like delicate vocals accompanied by light acoustic instrumentation, or just acoustic instruments alone then CI880 will probably sound better ( to my ears at least ) as there is less of the bass 'filler' and greater emphasis on the treble details on these. Outside of these and most classical music where details are important to me, the ZS5 does better. They are very good for energetic music with plenty of bass punch and details. Some people complain that they are bright but I have no issues with listening to them both for hours, though there are earphones like the XE800 and the Swing IE800 that I can't do for more than an hour. So in that aspect, I don't consider them 'bright' at all. And I listen to both of them on their stock silicone tips.


Thank you both for your help. I've decided to bite the bullet and order the ZS5 even tho it was v2. I also ordered the ZS3 as a backup lol.
I hope they're going to be good nonetheless!
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 12:50 PM Post #23,788 of 56,692

kokakolia

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The ATE used to be great. First versions were very detailed and the sound was pure honey. From the impressions I've been having, the newer ATEs are not as good. I guess KZ has ran out of the original drivers and is using other thing. Maybe the ATE is using ATR drivers now... :frowning2:

The ATR, on the other hand, is a dull and unimpressive IEM, sometimes wrongly described as "neutral", because it's so boring. If neutrality is reproducing music as it was mixed with little to no coloration, the ATR is not doing it, but otherwise taking something out... like timbric accuracy in midbass...

But regarding KZ's lack of stability with their long-running line of IEMs, I really don't know if a new ATR might sound better than a new ATE or an old ATR. I guess there's only one way to know...

Regarding the tips, ATE/ATR are quite tip-dependent. They need large bores to do their magic. And usually they require foam tips a size smaller than those you usually fit in other IEMs to sound pleasing.

Perhaps it's time to retire the ATE/ATR. They're older models and around the same price as the newer models. Heck, the ZSE is dirt cheap. And the ZS5 is only $20 now, so why not?
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 12:55 PM Post #23,789 of 56,692

kokakolia

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I just realized that the Marshall Mode is only $25 on amazon now. That's peanuts! Especially for something that used to be $100 several years ago. It's an amazing deal if you're into a dark sounding sound signature with smooth treble and fun bass. The build quality is also way better. The Mic rocks too. Chi-Fi isn't the bargain it used be!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00O...shall+mode&dpPl=1&dpID=51RbTNwKiFL&ref=plSrch
 
Oct 20, 2017 at 1:07 PM Post #23,790 of 56,692

Mellowship

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Perhaps it's time to retire the ATE/ATR. They're older models and around the same price as the newer models. Heck, the ZSE is dirt cheap. And the ZS5 is only $20 now, so why not?
Maybe you're right. The ATE, if KZ kept the same driver and, thus, the same sound signature, would be an all-time classic. An old ATE with a better (maybe changeable) cable would always be a great option in prices up to 10 $.
But the way they are now, when you can't tell if you're going to get a good sounding or an odd sample, thet should be discontinued..,
 

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