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Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread

  1. hakuzen
    roughly measured real KZ ZS5 v1 sensitivity: it's not 106dB/mW SPL, as advertised. it's 99dB/mW (122dB/V) SPL, considerably lower, as suspected.
    (all measures were done with a @1kHz tone; used a cheap SPL meter, so consider +/-2dB error).

    made some measurements on Benjie S5 + SPC cable (6 cores, metallic straight jack) + KZ ZS5 v1.

    as suspected, maximum volume with no distortion is 10/31 (25mVrms/5.20mA); you get about 90.2dB SPL. when listening at that volume, found it too low for my taste (maybe because i'm used to louder-painful volume). from volume 11/31 to 14/31, distortion grows up. maybe you can accept distortion at 12/31 (39mVrms/8.12mA/93.9dBSPL), but at 14/31 (57mVrms/11.87mA/95dBSPL) you can notice it clearly. at 15/31 (68mVrms/14.17mA/98.6dBSPL), clipping occurs and distortion is extreme. highs become unbearable.
    that's what happens due to limitation of current in cheap DAPs and many smartphones. with such low impedance, zs5 are more current demanding.
    so you can listen to zs5 at benjie s5, but don't raise the volume too much (10/31 should be the limit, if you like clear sound).
  2. young59
    Would this apply to the Zs5 v2? And how would it differ between the Stock cable and the Metal cable you used I assume there would a difference since the Stock cable will have higher impedance.
  3. Trisse

    I got the Sabaj Da2 and its awesome for kz zs5 and zs6. And for my other headphones aswell. It works with android but you need to plug in the usb cable open up your music app and start the music and then instert the dac to the usb cable. It drives my alessandro headphones perfectly and i can i even listen to my beyerdynamics dt880 pro 250 ohm with it. But its pushing it a little bit i think
    hakuzen likes this.
  4. Jay Magaling
    I got V1 with the box on the top. Contrary to earlier posts here that says V1 is the box on the middle, and V2 is the top. The only accurate indicator if we'll use the box method is V2 = white box.
  5. loomisjohnson
    i use a topping nx1s with the zs5--it's nicely designed and vg sounding for $<40. you'll get alot of recommendations here, but most agree that the zs5 definitely, positively needs an amp to shine.
  6. hakuzen
    there is minimal difference.
    if you'd use stock cable, which has more DC resistance than the cable i used (search in the thread about my measurements of cables DC resistance), maybe you could go +1/31 (i.e. 11/31 instead of 10/31) with no distortion, but the higher voltage drop due to the higher resistance of the cable, would make you hear same (or slighty higher) sound level than the spc combo at 10/31. so, roughly, no difference about this matter.

    about zs5 v2, it depends. if kz hasn't added a crossover like in zs6, impedance will be similar or identical to v1, and then everything we talk about v1 would apply to v2 as well, together with new extra issue: highs harshness.
    if they have changed something, it would be necessary to measure their impedance to know.

    any of the owners of v2, who also owns a multi-meter, could check their dc resistance. one lead at the top part of the cable jack, the other to ground (bottom part of the jack). this will provide dc resistance of v2 + cable, and we all would get an idea if kz has changed something more than moving a BA..
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  7. Mellowship
    Yes, the ZS5 likes amplification. But, in my case, the effect of the difference of my ZS5 connected directly to the FiiO X3II and amped through a Topping NX2 from the FiiO's output, is marginal, and might be attributed to qualitative aspects more than quantitative ones. With the NX2 the music has a slightly more audible bass response and better attack, whereas with the FiiO only, there is apparently more resolution and decay. It might also be due to the slightly different frequency distribution, with a more authoritative bass from the NX2 putting some stress in the higher frequencies. Also, the notion of rhythm, pace and time seem more present with the amp. Once again, the attack might play a role there. It's all about a preference on microdynamics or macrodinamics, and I'm glad I can have them both (but not at the same time... there's no such perfect system).
    I think that there are very good DAPs from FiiO X3II generation (like ibasso, etc..) that are getting to a price point most of us can afford (120, 130 $ ... ), and have great hardware, great DACs, great amplification and lots of functions. The X3II has DSD decoding, and does a great job - really! - as a USB dac!
    I also love the small Benjie S5, but only use it when travelling or at the beach or when I need to pick some FM radio. And it really scales well with almost every <= 32 Ohms ear/headphone out there.
  8. xrk971
    I can confirm that it likes (needs, really) amplification if you don't want distorted output. I have tried several amps including push-pull Class AB, Class A SE Push-Pull (SEPP), Class AB Quasi complimentary (pull-pull), and classic SE Class A. Sounds quite lovely with SE Class A. Nice detail separation with Class A.

    @hakuzen: can you describe how you coupled the SPL meter to the IEM port? Leaks there can drastically alter SPL. Also, how did you measure rms power or volts?
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
    hakuzen likes this.
  9. hakuzen
    for Vrms, a cheap decent accurate digital multi meter (verified it).
    to couple the SPL meter to the iem, got one of the couplers iec-711 i use for iem measuring. the coupler are 1/2" threaded and, unfortunately, the cheap meter hasn't got that thread size.
    unscrewed the cap/"grid" of the spl meter and wrapped two silicone tubes (got some tips used for vaping tests) around the metallic tube of the meter.
    it's the same method i use to attach unthreaded mics to the coupler. the silicone protects both the mic/meter tube and the coupler's thread from scratchs, and seals conveniently. got stable readings. and the meter is located at identical position than the mic used for measuring; can't figure a better way to do it.
    however, the spl meter is cheap (+/-1.5dB) and not calibrated yet. that's why i say +/-2dB error (roughly).
    spl-meter-01.jpg spl-meter-02.jpg
    spl-meter-04.jpg spl-meter-05.jpg
    spl-meter-06.jpg spl-meter-07.jpg
  10. c4rb0n
    Has anyone tried sir @Slater ZST foam mod on the BA's of the ZS6?
  11. BubbleWrap86
    Someone did quite a few pages back. They seemed to be pleased with the outcome.
  12. hakuzen
    oops, forgot to mention more details about my Vrms measurements.
    measured output ac voltage with the DMM while playing a 0dBFS 1kHz sine tone in the benjie, loaded with zs5. then, i plugged the output to my adc (zs5 plugged in the other branch of the split), to check distortion.
  13. Wiljen
    I did and it does help. I did destroy the screen in the process and had to make new ones as they did not come off as cleanly as I would have liked (one of them and they looked odd mismatched). It takes very very little foam to do it and I ended up using a balance as no scale I had would weigh that small a piece of foam and I wanted to be as close to equal in both ears as possible. the balance at least proves they are within the margin of error on my fulcrum placement. the combination of the foam mod and foam tips really tames the treble and if you are treble sensitive you may want to do both. I would say get foam tips first and see if that does enough to make you happy as it is way easier than trying to stuff foam down a ba nozzle.
    HungryPanda, Slater and c4rb0n like this.
  14. RomStar
    Thanks a lot guys for so many great suggestions!

    Guess I'll grab a cheap pair of amp or maybe a Dap if I find a good deal. I'm gonna hold off on getting the zs6 cuz I don't think that upgrade Is a must need from the Zs5. Instead I will get a diff pair of iems I guess. Mostly just gonna try and hold off zs7 comes out... Maybe I'll end up buying zs6... Who knows. So far the magaosi k3 looks amazing, let's see how far they go down on 11/11 or If there are similarly performing Chi-fi iems :)

    You're message was very thorough and detailed. Thank you so much for that, I learnt a lot ^^

    Now a prospect of a Dap with good amping looks very tempting to me. But since I don't have many Flac or decent files, I rely on Spotify Premium. I guess I was being wishful looking for a $100 Dap with streaming capabilities. So far I'm looking into Fiio X1s, and a few used ones were within my budget. I am still confused by some terminologies and I don't think I fully grasped ur post...im such a noob lol. But the burden of research is on me, thanks for the help ^^

    Also, what's the cheapest Streaming capable dap? As long as they offer a decent upgrade over my phone with Wolfson dac, I'm gonna dive in.

    Lastly any other Dac+Amp combo except the Sabaj Da2? It's good but I'm just thinking what other options I have :)

    Thanks for further validation ^^

    Other memebers have also confirmed this and I can buy an amp with peace of mind now haha. I'll look into the topping nx1s now, maybe squeeze it into my budget. Are the nx2s better tho? Thanks for the reply :)
  15. Wiljen
    has anyone thought about reshelling the drivers from the Zs5 or 6? I know it doesn't make economic sense to reshell a $25 earphone but it would be an interesting exercise to see how much difference it would make in the signature. Especially if you could reposition one of the BA to the main body from the nozzle.

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