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Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread

  1. Otto Motor
    My UES are coming tomorrow. Your colleague Vidal doesn't appear to like them much according to his quickie. Their precessedor, the UE are the highest rated earphones on thephonograph.net, even higher than the ZS10. BUT: their criticism is that the mids are not quite audiophile grade. Hope this was improved in the UES.

    You said they are coming close to the UE900S.

    Well, we will find out soon. I have also signed up to write a review as I had bargained down the price by $7 (the present market value of a review of mine). I feel they certainly deserve another thorough head fi review including some measurements.
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
  2. Bartig
    The T2 has a way better instrument separation and placement than the ZS5 and even ZS10. However, the tradeoff is bass. If you like the full sound of the ZS5, you may have a hard time switching to the T2. It may let you down on EDM and some electronic pop music.

    Haha, I wrote this before, but that's okay. :) ZST + thick bass + detailed mids + better soundstage - piercing highs = ZSR. It comes recommended.
    Otto Motor likes this.
  3. loomisjohnson
    will look forward to your review
    Otto Motor likes this.
  4. Strat Rider
    I'm with @Slater. I didn't go for the ZS10 yet... Not enough positives to make me want to let the moths out of my wallet just yet.

    As far as the ZSR, After A/B-ing (edit, that would be A,B,C-ing) my 2 different mods of ZS6, and stock ZSR, I am still enjoying the ZSR the most of all.

    As far as the KZ 30095 BA, the graphic explains 30% better midrange performance, over ???
    To my ears, I'm listening for another 20%.......again so far ZSR is closest.
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    Otto Motor likes this.
  5. themindfreak
  6. DocHoliday
    For those that are curious about upgrading from the ZST this is probably the most succinct description of the ZSR.

    The ZSR's voluminous bass lends more depth to the sound signature but I still think KZ should release a variation of the ZSR with the 8mm DD in place of the 10mm DD currently employed.They can even issue it in the same exact housing; just upgrade the material to ceramic [like the ZS5 (plastic) to the ZS6 (machined aluminum)].

    I know that KZ currently has too many irons in the fire but it has always been their way. The ZSR is a very, very good listen and I bet swapping the 10mm DD for an 8mm DD would give them a more clean sound signature with an even greater sense of openness and air. The 8mm dynamic driver's bass is faster/cleaner but it can still punch and the end result may just push the midrange to the forefront which would give the IEM a slightly inverted "V" sound signature. I wouldn't mind trading a smidge of the ZSR's warmth to accommodate acoustic and classical fare.

    Hint.....hint KZ!
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
  7. Otto Motor
    The interesting part is that so-called audiophiles - people who spend $$$$$$ on iems - find a realistic, that is a non-emphasized bass "better". I am cautious as there is a lots of personal preference in the bass perception...but with my increasing listening experience, I am siding more and more with the "audiophiles" (Where is all agree is that a "controlled" bass is more desirable). And I am sure T2's tuning is intentional.

    Example: I got the (now discontinued) Fostex TE-02, an earphone that is hailed for being the prototype of a cheap, neutrally tuned earphone (The T2 has taken over this role now). I disliked my Fostex for the first 1/2 year because I didn't understand its sound signature. And now I treasure it.

    Never stop developing!

    As to comparing the T2 with the ZS10. Quite frankly, beats me so out of my memory other than that the T2 are more fluid and homogeneous sounding...and their stage is wiiiiiiiiiiider!
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    Bartig likes this.
  8. Otto Motor
    Your observations are always interesting and you should consider backing them up with measurements. It would be interesting to compare FR curves between the HDS1 and ZSR. On that note, I am getting my own Dayton IMM6 calibrated microphone ($24 on amazon.com).
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    Slater likes this.
  9. DocHoliday
    There's no way to measure a nonexistent IEM but it is reasonable to expect that a decrease in the volume of sub-bass in the ear canal will allow the mid and higher frequencies to come forth because they aren't being overshadowed or masked by voluminous lower frequencies.

    I like the ZSR the way it is because it works.......in fact it works well. That said, I believe there would be a commensurate demand for what I describe above and a more premium version would be a welcome addition when you consider how well received the plastic model is doing.

    The ZSR:

    My proposal (ESR?):

    Funny thing is 80% of the work is already done; it's just a matter of swapping materials and fine-tuning the sound signature. Skew the lower frequencies from a sub-bass bias to a clean mid-bass bias with sufficient sub-bass presence so the midrange and lower-treble can hover just above the lower frequencies.
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    mrmoto050, Bartig and Otto Motor like this.
  10. DSebastiao
    Ah sorry bro, i knew someone answered me this, but it was some time ago and this thread gets so many pages per week that i didn't have a clue where to look for. Thanks, i like that, will miss some of the piercing highs, but it should be less fatiguing.
    Bartig likes this.
  11. Otto Motor
    I think I need a glass of wine with my lunch :)
    groucho69 likes this.
  12. DocHoliday
    Both of the wines posted are in The Wine Spectators Too 100 and they are $30 or less per bottle.

    Of course, depending on the lunch menu, this is equally satisfying.


    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    rayliam80 and groucho69 like this.
  13. durwood
    I like the T2 for it's clarity and resolution, I agree it probably shines in the midrange due to being less bass heavy. The Tinaudio T2 reminds me of my sennheiser 598CS, in the bass area where you can hear it, but it not overpowering, and some find it too rolled off. I like the more bass heavy ones either for lower level listening or the reverse such as noisy environments where the bass can get lost. I do find the ZSR as one of my favorite KZ ones, it stays put and the shape works ok. I was worried the large diameter nozzle would hurt and the shape would not fit, but it works, and the sound signature is great for me. I agree they replace my ZST as the go to in the sound department, but the ZST is a tad more comfortable still. I find myself bouncing around between urbanfun hifi, TRN v20, and ZSR right now. The ZS6 is nice but I would only use them for low level listening or with EQ I could tolerate higher listening levels.

    I did receive my red no mic ZS10's, and I am still trying to find my thoughts on sound for them because they are tuned so differently than my recently acquired IEMS. I wish the nozzle was a little longer, I think someone else said they don't stay put in the ear very well, and I am finding the same thing even with tips that normally work for me. The highs are definitely non-fatiguing even at high volumes, but the midbass might be a bit much for some. I think it gives the midrange a fuller sound, I think others might describe this as the mid-bass bleeding into the midrange? I will say with the extra drivers, they handle the volume with ease. That's all I have for now.
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
    ezekiel77, MDH12AX7, Bartig and 3 others like this.
  14. bsoplinger
    For inexpensive with just a slight V instead of the more typical deep V under $50 IEMs I recommend either the TRN V20 or Yersen FEN-2000 both of which are under $30. The TIN Audio T2 is around $50 with cable under $40 without in case you have a spare MMCX cable to use.

    Folks who read this thread will remember that I have fitment issues with some IEMs. The ZS5 / ZS6 are particularly problematic for me. One type of ear tip that got mentioned was a silicone with a fuzzy, soft coating on the exterior (flossed). I think @Slater even managed to toss up a link although he'd never gotten any. Long story short, I had recently received the ZhiYin Z5000 (which I got because they use the same high magnetic field Tesla design as the iBasso IT01 which I love and is probably the current darling $100 Chi-Fi) and they provided an interesting ear tip choice. Turns out it worked nicely with the ZS6 and I prefer this over foamies.

    ZhiYin provided a medium silicone tip, standard bore, very much the typical cheap silicone ear tip. But they'd taken one of those foam ear bud covers and put it over the silicone tip. Basically they created that flossed style ear tip. These work well for difficult to fit IEMs. You get the better seal and good bass that you'd get from a silicone tip but the soft ear bud cover makes it more comfortable like a foamie. The thin bit of foam doesn't seem to cut much if any of the mids and highs which is the drawback to foamies for me. I did use cheap wide bore versus the standard bore silicone tips for the ones I ultimately used.

    I did a quick search here and found a picture from an unpackaging set of the Z5000 and you can sort of see a bulbous, round silicone type tip. That's the tip with the ear bud cover over it.
    MDH12AX7, Bartig and Slater like this.
  15. Slater
    I would totally be down for ceramic housing!

    Be aware that it is very expensive to make the molds for ceramic bodies, and production itself requires special (costly) facilities. You have to commit to a very large production run to recoup the costs (or else charge more per piece). That's why we see very few ceramic housings.

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