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Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread

  1. adkiller
    Received my ZS10s. Had them them burn in for a week using the 1More Assistant app:

    The thing I find with CIEMs is that they require some good burn-in before they sound any good.
    I had this experience with the 1More Triple Drivers, 1More Quad Drivers, Mi Hybrid Pro HD, KZ ZS10 and i-INTO i8.
    I own a pair of UE900s and have had them burn-in too, but there was no difference in sound.

    While I could just listen to them as I burn-in, I have found that to be ineffective.
    I usually listen at 9 (on Sony NWZ-A17) or 20 (on Shanling M3s), volume levels.
    The burn-in app burns them progressively at multiple volumes (20-60% volume) using music and noise, over 5 days.
    I usually give them an initial listen (an hour or so) then set them to burn-in.
    I do not listen to them during burn-ins.
    1More recommends their customers to perform burn-ins too.

    I do not have access to any audio test equipment and can't scientifically verify any of the above.
    But if you do and could do it, that would be great.

    Now onto my brief review. :wink:

    On initial listen, the ZS10 were:
    1. Mids are recessed, almost non-existent, muddy.
    2. Pounding bass, gave me a headache.
    3. Treble sounded artificial and harsh, but not piercing. Kill4me (Mystery Skulls Remix) was painful to listen to.
    4. Vocals sounded husky on almost every music I sampled.
    4. Some instruments, like claps and cymbals, sounded fake/artificial.

    After burn-in:
    1. Mids are slightly recessed, but much clearer.
    2. Vocals greatly improved, no longer husky. I could separate out the voices in Heathens (Twenty One Pilots).
    3. Treble sounded much more subdued and smoother.
    5. Instruments sound natural. Slightly artificial on some string instruments. A huge improvement here.
    6. Thumping, but no longer pounding bass. But, bass quality no where near the i8.

    1. Switched from 3-flange silicone tips to foam tips.
    2. Better fit with foam tips, could not get them to stay in my ears using silicone tips.
    3. Tested tips before and after burn-in.
    4. Even with foam tips, they pop out of ears after a while.

    Music sampled:
    Heathens - Twenty One Pilots
    The Game of Love - Michelle Branch
    What You Need - Bring Me the Horizon
    Maria Maria - Santana
    Strangers - Portishead
    All Mine - Portishead
    Going Back to Strange - Still Corners
    Angel - Theory of a Deadman
    Blood Hands - Royal Blood
    Communication - The Cardigans
    Lovefool - The Cardigans
    How Bizarre - OMC
    I Wanna Be With You - Mandy Moore
    Lust for Life - Lana Del Ray
    Kill4Me - Marilyn Manson (Mystery Skulls Remix)

    For the price, the sound on the ZS10 is well above its value. Is it a TOTL killer? Hell no. Is it a fun IEM? Yes.
    Would I use it as my daily driver? No. I find the fit issues are a huge step back and is what that holds me back from enjoying them.
    Also, due to the short nozzles, it pops out of my ears after a while.

    I am going to turn these into balanced, so stay tuned for additional impressions.

    Thanks for reading!
  2. Otto Motor
    Container left over after patching punched membranes with bike-tube vulcanization kit :).

    Lord Rexter, lucasbrea, rfsux and 2 others like this.
  3. Slater
    I thought the VJJV V1 were waaaaay overhyped. Mine sound very mediocre. Better if EQd.

    I liked the VJJB K4 better than the V1.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    rfsux and Otto Motor like this.
  4. Otto Motor
  5. HungryPanda
    I like the VJJB N1 with the cable changed for a silver one
    rfsux likes this.
  6. Otto Motor
    Driver flex, according to Shure, can be avoided when keeping the mouth open while inserting the iems. Some audiophiles rely on German technology to keep their upper plumbing system clear. The solution is a solution. Or is a solution the solution? Just kidding...

    P.S. The depicted iem can't have driver flex as it is devoid of a dynamic driver.

    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    toddy0191, mrmoto050 and Podster like this.
  7. Podster
    Or just the right source and power for the V1, I've heard them on thin power and in a word YUCK! K4's are still my favorite wood look iem period:grin: Beautimouse Maximuose and a real budgie treat:thumbsup:

    Super Budgi-Fied.JPG

    And before I make the KZ faithful upset on the VJJ postings here is some oldskool KZ:relaxed:

    KO Cayin.JPG

    Love the Fisherman's Friend tin @Otto Motor , this here is my favorite tin and I bought half dozen of them and John (JDS Labs) built this awesome and ultr powerful (Dual 9Volts) CMOY for my hard to drive stuff and it was really built to drive the snot out of my AKG 702's:open_mouth:

    Smooth Grooves.JPG
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  8. Slater
    Never tried the N1, and I was glad to see they implemented a crossover to control the drivers.

    The whole '2 identical drivers with no crossover' thing on the V1 really didn't make any sense to me. Sure, it looks impressive, but (in theory) all that adding a 2nd identical driver (w/no crossover) does is increase the amplitude a few dB (which can also be accomplished by bumping up the volume a notch).

    Good point. It's been years since I even used the V1. Maybe I need to bring them out again and try them on some additional sources and/or more power.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  9. mbwilson111
    The VJJB K4 is very nice.
    Otto Motor likes this.
  10. loomisjohnson
    since hotfi never deigned to actually ship the zs10s i paid for two months ago, i cancelled and got the zsr on an amazon flash deal. initial impressions: much fun and likely the best kz i've heard to date. in general, these address the major drawbacks of the zst (lifeless, recessed mids) and the zs5 (bloomy lows and lack of energy w/o amping). these are hardly paragons of neutrality or refinement--like the zs5 there's a certain artificiality at the high frequencies, but layering/imaging are very impressive. overall these aren't the ultimate budget giant killer we all dream of, but a great value nonetheless.
  11. tomatosauce
    Open question: what tips seem to work best with the ZSR? My pair should be arriving this week :).
  12. mbwilson111
    I like the tips that came installed on them.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    Otto Motor, Bartig and tomatosauce like this.
  13. riffrafff
    I use clear double-flange tips on most (not all) of mine, including the ZSR.
    rayliam80 and tomatosauce like this.
  14. HungryPanda
    I use wide bore silicones on my ZSR's
    tomatosauce likes this.
  15. tomatosauce
    By this week, I guess I actually meant today! Thanks, USPS (maybe the first time I've ever written that :thumbsup:). First impressions: I agree with @loomisjohnson - the bass and mids as well as layering/imaging are impressive! I also wholeheartedly agree with the description of the highs as sounding somewhat artificial. There's an edge to the highs, which are a bit too sharp for my liking. Putting wide bore KZ Whirlwinds on them actually seemed to accentuate the artificiality to me, so I'm sticking with the default tips. A slight EQ adjustment to tone down the highest frequencies cut down the artificiality significantly, smoothing things out and making my music sound more pleasant and organic (maybe I'm just overly sensitive to sibilance or highs, I'm not sure). Fit-wise, the nozzles on these are huge! I typically like a deeper insertion but it's nearly impossible for me given the size. I'm using the medium tips because switching down to the smalls doesn't provide a good enough seal.

    Early verdict: After reducing the treble slightly, these sound great! Very satisfied with my purchase. Given the nozzle size though, those with small ear canals may not find these super comfortable.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    Bartig likes this.

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