Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread
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DocHoliday

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I need a bit more head time but it seems like aliexpress T400 foam tips fixed everything for me.



A more noticeable sound change this time around than when I went from starlines to the foamies with the ZS5 v1.
Yet another testimony as to why tip-rolling is so very important and why we all should filter reviews we read through the following:

1) source the IEM was coupled to.
2) the reviewer's preferred sound signature
3) eartips and ear anatomy can have a huge effect on the entire experience

The more reviews there are for a particular IEM, the more we can ferret out the common thread to determine the overall pros and cons.

Someone once harmlessly quipped that my reviews seem to read like a novel because I always preface my review of the IEM with a lengthy explanation regarding eartips and preferences. It would have been several paragraphs longer if I had chimed in with the importance of the source being used. Nevertheless please note the following:

********************************

I tend to prefer a relatively neutral sound signature with a slight emphasis in both bass and treble, which is basically a mild "V" shaped sound signature. I find that an absolute neutral sound signature usually lacks enough energy for the genres I enjoy most, which are Classic Trance and Progressive (early Tiesto, Markus Schulz, Otello, DT8 Project), Chill Out, Breakbeat (Hybrid & Burufunk Remixes) and 80's & 90's (New Order, Secession, The Cure, Siouxie & The Banshees, Depeche Mode). Sure I listen to Shania Twain, Sade, Bach, Ella Fitzgerald and everything in between, but as of late the bulk of my listening pleasure is focused on the aforementioned genres.

Take note when you read IEM reviews that when the reviewer gives his/her opinion regarding the sound that there are many factors that shape the final sound an IEM delivers to one's ear.

Those factors include:
1 - Shape and size of the reviewer's ear canals. (shallow or deep, wide or narrow)
2 - Shape and size of the eartips [round or cone, single, double or triple flange] & proper fit
3 - Materials of the eartips (silicone/foam)
4 - Shape of the IEM (and/or angle of the nozzle) can cause fitment issues for some.
5 - Source (quality of smartphone, laptop, digital audio player) is amplified/unamplified.
6 - The IEM itself (driver flex possible due to trapping air in canal causing muffled sound.
7 - The Reviewers ability to hear all frequency ranges (age plays a factor).

Most consumers are unaware of how much weight each of these factors hold in rendering a final verdict. This is why there is such a wide variance in not only ratings, but the description of an IEMs sound. An unaware consumer purchases a perfectly fine IEM but has difficulty keeping the IEM in the ear or he/she does not satisfactorily seal the ear canal with the included silicone eartips and summarily dismisses the IEM as sub par. Another consumer purchases the same IEM but experiences a perfect fit and seal and has nothing but praise for the same IEM. Sealing the ear canals AND HAVING THE EARTIP FIRMLY AFFIXED to the IEM nozzle when using IEMs is the determining factor to render a valid verdict. I can think of no audio equipment that is subjected to such praise or ridicule as the in-ear monitor. As if that's not enough, there is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to IEM eartips.

Materials (silicone or foam) have different dampening effects on the final sound.
The shape of the eartips (olive-shaped, cone-shaped or other-shaped) can have different dampening effects on the final sound based on how much space is between the IEM nozzle and your eardrum and how well the eartip has sealed the ear canal.
The aperture of the eartip's opening (wide-bore or narrow-bore) will have dampening effects on the final sound.

The easiest way for you to experience the different effects I am discussing is to take your current on-ear heaphones or over-ear headphones, pick a song full of energy, put the headphones on and let them sit naturally over/on your ears. Listen to them for two minutes. After two minutes, using your hands, slightly press the headphones closer to your eardrums. Notice the change in the sound. Is there more/less bass? Is there more/less treble? Did the vocals slightly slip forward/back?

Consider that on-ear and over-ear headphones have a driver that sits approximately 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from your eardrums and by pressing the headphones 1/4" closer to your eardrums the sound changed. Now consider that an IEM sits anywhere from 3/4" to 1/4" from your eardrums and the slightest changes (angle, depth, shape, material) can have up to three times more of an effect due to the proximity of the IEM to the eardrum.

For this reason, I think it is wise to invest a nominal dollar amount on different eartips to get everything the earphone tuners intended. Personally, I think anything less is like playing Russian roulette. Some IEM manufacturers supply multiple sizes (S,M & L) and materials (silicone & foam) of eartips to increase the odds that the consumer will achieve a satisfactory seal, but even this is not foolproof.

If this holds any interest for you some aftermarket brands to look into are "JVC Spiral Dots", "Spinfits", "Comply Foam Eartips" or "Znari Foam Eartips", "Creative Aurvana" and others.

****************************************

The HeadFi community is all about telling others about our experiences with a particular piece of audio gear. For IEMs, choosing the proper eartip really is equivalent to choosing the proper tire for that Porsche. Someone who equips their Porsche 911 GT2 with thick snow tires will not have the same experience as someone who has equipped said 911 GT2 with the sticky/death-grip Pirelli Zero high performance treads. With the same exact car on the same exact road in the same exact weather conditions their experiences will be at polar opposites. Night and day, even.

At any rate, the veterans here know these things but I hope this was helpful to anyone new to the hobby.
 
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post-14003443
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Strat Rider

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@WalterTorino I haven't been this entertained by a tutorial in a very long time :thumbsup:.

I have done similiar tip techniques using industrial type earplugs for other iem's.

By the end of the day, i could have a whole family of finger puppets if I decide to mod my collection of ZS6 &, ZS5's

Thanks
 
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DocHoliday

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So according to hillsonicaudio, all of these are upcoming/planned IEM models from KZ for 2018. So apparently there will be a "less angular" ZS6 (with all the screws and grill) that will be released, but will probably be a part of the ZST/ZSR family cause it uses the same angled cable.
Of course this is a harbinger for your wallet, meaning if there is a KZ that you've been eyeing or if you've been procrastinating, now would be the time to make a decision. Guess I'll have to postpone some other IEM purchases because I need those ZS6's in Pewter/Gray and perhaps Black, all four colors of the ZSR, one more set of Carbon ZST's,one more set of Colorful ZST's and two sets of ES3's.

I know, I know.......but complaining about it now is futile and that will be no consolation when this stuff is gone.

Changing an IEM's housing will effect the sound, not to mention KZ's penchant for modifying their IEM's with NO WARNING (ahemmmm...ZS5, ATE, ZS1,etc ).

The best way to justify your addiction to KZ IEMs is to donate the same amount of cash spent on KZ's to your favorite charity.

There. All better now?

LOL
 
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post-14003467
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DocHoliday

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Hello, everyone! Long time HF reader here. Been visiting occasionally since mh1 hype started. Now I'm an everyday visitor and damn, all I can say - last 6 months have not been very healthy for my wallet, and one night I had a nightmare about A.R. Rahman.
Ok to the point. I want to share my KZ ZS5 DMGM (Doom Metal Ghetto Mod). I really liked my zs5 v1, but could not keep them in my ears longer than 10 minutes. All those sharp edges were killing me. (I have rather small ears for a 185cm guy). I really loved the ZS3 form factor, but ZS5 sound quality I loved even more. I bought the CI880 as a close competitor with a smaller shell size. But it's nowhere near the zs5 soundstage, bass quality and instrument separation wise. LSS - decided to make my ZS5 smoother. Not the best looking result, but believe me, the comfort is exceptional now.



I am not a native english speaker, sorry for my mistakes!
What the heck......

Is that a ZS5 melted with a heat gun or are you pulling our leg?
 
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DocHoliday

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So according to hillsonicaudio, all of these are upcoming/planned IEM models from KZ for 2018. So apparently there will be a "less angular" ZS6 (with all the screws and grill) that will be released, but will probably be a part of the ZST/ZSR family cause it uses the same angled cable.
Link please.
 
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post-14003491
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DocHoliday

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ok so 2nd row from top looks like direct Aursonics/ Fender knock off in case design. The one at the bottom right looks to be either a Fender or Jerry Harvey knock off. The Layla would be an awful high aiming point for Kz.
Good looking out.

6166PQszs+L._SL1500_.jpg


Actually, I can't really tell from the fuzzy photo but it almost looks as if that very last one may have a mesh faceplate, meaning it may well be a set of open IEMs. What a concept. A Knowledge Zenith IEM version of the SoundMAGIC HP200 or Sennheiser HD600. I've been ruminating over this idea for nearly two years. If it's true then I can't wait to hear them.

81B3zeaYEtL._SL1500_.jpg
 
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khighly

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KZ ZS5v1 > 1More Triple > KZ ZS6 > KZ ZST > KZ ATR > Tennmak Pro > Tennmak Piano > KZ ATE

ZS5v1 on top. I wish they hadn't changed them because I'm wondering if I'll have a hard time finding anything under $200 that will compete with them and I'm afraid of losing them. The 1More Triple's were not worth the $100 and are lacking in soundstage, but are very similar to the ZS5v1's in sound signature. ZS5's have a larger soundstage and better sub bass reproduction as well as a more crisp sound that isn't sibilant in any sense.
 
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C2thew

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Here are some macro pictures of the microphone section from the stock KZ ZS3 cable. It looks like in the first and 3rd pictures that the two transistors are fried. I can't figure out where the wires are crossing causing my volume to be increased when i press the microphone button. When I run, my volume sometimes decreases randomly and it only happens with this stock cable. It's very frustrating. I'm going to see if i can fix this before i order a replacement cable.

So i took a wet toothbrush to the contacts on the PCB board and it seemed like it helped a little but its still not working 100 %
 
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Slater

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I got definitely better bass and not so much bright highs due to smaller out-hole. It really works.
As someone said before - if you have a tips with smaller diameter, you'll get better sound - more lows, less highs.

This reminds me of the ZS1 v1 and the brass ring in the nozzle to make the nozzle smaller in effect:

ZS1 v1 Brass Ring.jpg
 
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Did you sanded it down or just applied a thick layer of paint over the original? I also now have a ZS5 in black but with a matte finish

Sanded it down to the minimum and applied a very thick layer of a paint. Without sanding they would be larger than a VW Beetle.
 
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bsoplinger

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@WalterTorino nice tutorial, made me chuckle. Question though, how difficult is it to get the foamies over that seriously thickened nozzle? Luckily I can get about the same effect with my smaller nozzle sizes foamies in T200 and T300 size (4.0mm and 4.5mm).

I have done that type of mod for IEMs with smaller nozzles like 3.0mm ones. Adding the sleeve part of the tip to the nozzle gets the diameter up to where standard 4.9mm T100 / T500 foamies fit just fine.
 
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khighly

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Went ahead and went all out. I'll let you guys know how these IT03 compare to the ZS5's. I noticed a real divide when checking out the IT01 and IT03 thread, between this KZ thread. I can tell I won't be able to stand it in that thread compared to here, ha ha. :laughing:

Hopefully the MEE audio bluetooth cable is great (memory wire, grumble grumble). I sent the 1More Triple's back.
 
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fredhubbard2

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KZ ZS5 or KZ ZS6?

i havent bought any new IEMs for a while, i've been using nothing else but HY TiZ G3's for the last year altho i do have KZ ZST's which i did like alot. i've been trawling thru the last few pages and cannot work out which ones will suit me the best; i like detail and soundstage ... bass i can add with my amp if necessary

excuse my laziness but which should i get? ... i'll be adding spiral dot tips to them
 
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