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Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread

  1. nxnje
  2. bsoplinger
    Are you saying that the level of the unmodified ZS6 didn't bother you but you did the mod because you were curious? Or that you did the mod and now the treble doesn't bother you?
  3. groucho69
    OK wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong..... happy now? :gs1000smile:
  4. Otto Motor
    I don't think we are that far apart.

    First, I keep on repeating the the best earphone is many earphones - but they don't have to come all from a single manufacturer. KZ has been rolling out much of the same in short order: ZS3, ZST, ES3 (made obsolete by the much better ZSR)...followed by a jump in price level with the ZS5 and ZS6 (both with flaws for the ears of many). Yes, they were reasonably cheap but they created some redundancies: there is not much difference between the ES3 and the ZST, for example. OK, collectors may love that (and I have no regrets either) but there comes a point of saturation for such people, who buy KZs mainly for the listening pleasure, as Coil pointed out. The difference now it that KZ rev up a notch and release 10 models simultaneously (instead of one), again more of the same, or, in your words 1 + 1 hybrids. Which means more, more, more...Not sure whether this is a well-defined plan other than getting fans to buy them all impulsively. Others may simply lose the overview.

    Second, their plastics are good and it was not claimed otherwise. But the ZS6 had that premium sparkle with their aluminium housings, which was a step up. You essentially said the same in different words.

    Third, let's wait and see how upscale they will go. Again, we are sitting in the same boat here.

    Fourth, it is good to have some benchmark earphones, at least one. Great for comparison purposes. Benchmark and Chifi don't exclude each other, they are complimentary. I think we agree on this one, too.I still love my EDR1.

    Fifth, you get some/much of your gear for free for review purposes. Makes the buying decision easier...and the (KZ) collection cheaper.

    I hope this sounds less shortsighted now :)
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
    B9Scrambler likes this.
  5. oyobass
  6. Strat Rider
    That's what happens when I post from work. (Perpetuate Unclear and disconnected thoughts) After reading and seeing the mods from master modder @Slater, and others.

    I am not "bothered" by the unmodified BA, but thought it might sound more refined with music that has highs such as jazz trumpets, cymbals, primarily brass instruments.

    I used the tack instead of permanent adhesive (since unlike Slater, I am more coward, than fearless).
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
    Slater and bsoplinger like this.
  7. Adide
    Just reminding the rules of the game here: until KZ decides to step in the 21st century and get a website, customer service/call center (oh my!), proper QC, official representatives on well known forums, adequate communication through the usual online channels etc. expect only products in the <$50 range that you could pay for without to much remorse and easily trash if you get a dud. With minimal packaging.

    They won't step farther that line because people paying more than that will have different expectations.

    So until then you can anticipate pretty much the same game of experimentation with the occasional gem thrown in (more or less accidentally) with inconsistent reports due to sketchy QC. And cross your fingers to get a good one if most reports are favorable.

    You know this in your heart, embrace it, don't feel betrayed or mistreated. I for one hope that ZS10 will be a blast because I want a cheap 4BA+ iem, but I'm not holding my breath.

    KZ was the first proper IEM for many here, it's just unfortunate they don't want to step up their game, the choice is theirs it's just that we don't need to be passionate about it. KZ still wants to play in the little league for the time being.

    B9Scrambler likes this.
  8. vladstef
    You are absolutely right - you can't be 100% sure with KZ.

    When it comes to ZS10, I am getting 2 units and I will order iMM-6, which might give us some idea about frequency response as well as consistency between 2 units (*from the same batch). First I'll have to figure out how to get consistent results, so I assume that people will do this before I get to, but I will post here for sure.
    As far as I can tell, ZS5 and ZS6 units have a consistent performance even in treble region so I hope that ZS10 will follow (though 5 drivers on each side are going to introduce some inconsistencies regardless).
  9. Adide
    Pretty much skeptical about ZS5(v1) part. I agree it's a bitchy iem with absurd low impedance which shines only with proper sources but people feeding it right still keep reporting sucked out, nasal, hollow and unnatural mids that I don't get with mine. Don't start me with the ZS5v2 incident but we already agreed not to be passionate about it.
  10. Slater
    Here, this should help. Basically, the only "tool" you need is something sharp, like a sewing needle, hat pin, syringe needle, thumb tack, etc. You can even use a small paper clip that you unbend and sand the end into a sharp point. A sewing needle works best, and you can buy a whole big pack of them for under $1.

    1). Remove the ear tip from the Xiaomi, and use your sharp object to gently lift the stainless nozzle screen from the edge. The sticky adhesive that holds it down is not that strong, so it will lift up without any trouble. Temporarily set aside the metal nozzle screen on something that it won't permanently stick to, like a piece of wax paper, or a piece of glass, or a piece of plastic.


    2). Now down inside of the nozzle, you will see a piece of black foam. Just use your sharp object to pull out the foam piece. You can also use tweezers if you want. You only need to grab the foam piece by the very edge - don't jab the pointy object way down into the nozzle or you risk damaging the driver.


    3). Now that you have the foam piece removed, take your metal screen from your temporary holding place (ie piece of wax paper etc), and use the point of the sharp object to hold it:


    4). Now line it back up with the center of the IEM nozzle, hold it down with your finger, and slide it off onto the nozzle. Make sure it is perfectly centered, and not installed crooked. GENTLY push down on the nozzle with your finger to get the adhesive to stick all the way.


    5). Repeat the procedure for the other side, and enjoy!

    Also, just so this stays on topic for this thread, this is the exact same procedure to do the "Slater mod" to the KZ ZS3.

    I wouldn't worry too much about that. Everyone's ears are different - as long as you like it that's all that really matters in the end.

    If you want to try something under $10 that is "balanced" compared to the MEMT X5, I would recommend the KZ EDR2. It's a great IEM, and leans more towards neutral than the MEMT X5. Also the KZ HDS3 would be a good option as well. Both are available for between $4-$7.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
    HungryPanda likes this.
  11. Otto Motor
    iPhone has low impedance, audioquest dragonfly has low impedance, macbook has low impedance. I got all the proper sources...but prefer the ZSR :)
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
  12. vladstef
    V2 wasn't an incident, just bad business model. When it comes to ZS5v1, that thing is just very source dependent due to the way its drivers are connected and crazy low impedance. Regardless - we are talking about QC and how similar units are - good or bad sounding, they must be closely matched between units/batches otherwise all talks are pointless. KZ's latest units aren't terrible when it comes to this, in fact, look at @Slater and his experience with ZS6 green and gray units - they are very consistent. This means that KZ is doing ok when it comes to driver performance, glue and seal of dynamic drivers, size of vent holes etc. There were a couple reports where BAs in the nozzle were touching metal cover on the nozzle, but that's about it.
  13. Slater
    Not just grey and green, but multiple red, and blacks too (I just never posted all of the graphs). I've measured numerous ZS6 now, and they have all measured near identical to one another. No channel imbalances, no bad drivers, no internal mis-wirings, no BAs touching nozzle screens, etc.

    That's really impressive QC IMO.

    In fact, the ONLY KZ problem I've had in the last 1.5 years (out of a few dozen KZs) has been the batch of defective ZS3 drivers (which are now resolved).
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
    HungryPanda, B9Scrambler and vladstef like this.
  14. vladstef
    KZ is doing a good job as of late, especially given the low price and number of units that they are moving. However, there is always a 'but' when we talk about it because their record isn't stellar. First and only KZ items that I've bought were ZS5v1 and silver upgrade cable - cable ended up having reversed polarity on one side. That was about a year ago and since then the reports of bad QC have been reduced, at least here on the forum. In fact, polarity issues with absolute first batches of ZS5 were probably the last 'big' issue that KZ had as far as I know.
  15. acia
    yep. i have experience buying several pairs of same models of kz, their QC is pretty consistent.

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