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Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread

  1. DocHoliday
    The BA10 design is no paragon of ergonomics as AntDroid made it clear that the BA10 will be a no-go for smaller ears but not all IEMs are destined to be neutral or flat. KZ's niche is releasing "entertaining" earphones. If that's not your thing then there's a sea of Chi-Fi to choose from.
    khighly and sino8r like this.
  2. crinacle

    You have completely and utterly missed the point I was trying to make.
    darmanastartes and Slater like this.
  3. loomisjohnson
    got the zs4s this weekend. it's remarkable how in the face of all the chaos, tribal warfare and general degradation of our society we can still look forward to the unboxing experience. in any case, here's my ootb impressions (w/stock l starline tips):
    1. accessories/packaging are minimal; however kz has really upped its game with the aesthetics of the headshells--these have a much nicer, more premium feel that the zsr/ed16 etc. and actually remind me superficially of the it01, with decent build and quality acrylics. likewise, this is the first usable memory cable i've seen from kz; tangly but free from microphonics.
    2. like the zs3, the zs4 fit and isolate extremely well--should be excellent for the gym or firing range.
    3. soundwise, v-shaped and "consumer tuned," with alot of extension at both ends and notably more treble detail and emphasis than the zs3. initially, from a hi-powered desktop set up these sounded somewhat veiled and hollow, with mids pushed way too far back; however these opened up considerable through my lg v30. with mids moving forward and drums sounding more realistic.
    4. this is a bright phone and treble can get splashy at the extremes. i hear the stage as fairly low and narrow, altho (like almost all kzs) imaging is vg. note texture isn't quite as rich as the zsr/zs5 though bass is better controlled than either--upright bass in particular is well-reproduced. good prat and energy.
    5. these lack the refinement of the trn v80 and the physicality of the multidriver kz hybrids, but driver coherence may be better on the zs4 (probably because it's design is less ambitious). tiprolling may yield different outcomes.
    $12? fuggetaboutit.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  4. HAMS
    Flat headphone are actually very rare, I think that because it's harder to make, it's easier to just add bass to mask flaw or uneven frequencies.
  5. Slater
    That was my experience. Less power, less mids. What this does is exaggerate the transition between the two drivers.

    However, more power and they come alive. Whatever dynamic driver they’re using is power hungry. Not sure if it’s the same driver as the ZS3 or not. I only have 1 pair of ZS4, so I don’t want to open them up yet.
    HungryPanda, ShakyJake and Mellowship like this.
  6. baxuz
    Regarding the BT10s, I finally managed to get some direct audio input. I don't believe this can be fixed, since it's digital noise: https://vocaroo.com/i/s08WPFlrKZEH

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
    Mellowship likes this.
  7. Mellowship
    The ZS4 are the best bang for buck of all of my KZ. I am really enjoying them, and to think they only cost 12 USD is astonishing!
    I used them today in my 30 min commute on a hybrid tram-subway that grinds the rails like ork's nails running down a chalkboard when it gets to the surface. Just so you know, when I use my PortaPros, I suddenly stop listening to whatever in those situations. Not with the ZS4! They are the best IEMs for that specific situation I have ever used. No more rail noises.
    Well, the ZS4 seem to isolate more than the ZS3. Maybe because the internals are stiffer now without that heat-shrinking bad excuse of a tube.
    Not only they isolate way more than the majority, the bass suffers less from transport vibration. It keeps its pace and definition. Kick drums are still there and stuff. This is a rather good option for you drummers out there!

    What I like most about the ZS4:
    -form factor and comfort
    -bass definition
    -controlled and "au-point" sub-bass
    -"elegant" midrange when using foam tips - the mids have a nice organic feel about them, a good timbric response, although they are indeed a little too low
    -rather good instrument separation
    -treble definition - these don't hold back on the high key, they sure have quite a formidable range there, and it accounts for a spacious sound. Stage is tall enough but not very wide nor deep. Just good enough. In fact, excellent considering the price. Nothing to complain about.

    What I like the least:
    -some sibilance. I don't know if it will get tamed with use, burn-in, brain burn-in or whatever. By now it is there sometimes with some sounds. It gets better with foam tips.
    -mids when using silicone tips (starlines, Sony hybrids) are not as resolving as with foam tips, losing some of the weight and resolution. They get a little thiner...
    -the "y-split's edge of death" (photo below). C'mon KZ! Don't give us a y-split with that sharp edge in that particular position that it is prone to get stuck on tabletops!!!
    -the cable is good, and the black is back! (some older KZs from the beginning of times had black cables). But I noticed it only has 3 wires coming from the jack as opposed to other KZ braided cables that have 4. No big deal here, only for 2 things: it is more prone to unwind the twisting - and I can already notice it is untwisting at the jack's strain relief; imagine the "balanced" thing ends up being The Thing for the future - now you have to get another cable instead of just soldering a different jack!
    -see, no metal memory termination anymore, because I am a master in the x-acto/scissors/pliers removal technique. The memory wires are awfully uncomfortable and painful and awkward.
    -it should be mandatory for KZ to include a set of (good) foam tips in the package (not that crap that usually came with the ATE). This is not the case, but for flagship KZ models they have that useless metal plaque that costs money. Why don't they cut the cost and throw everyone their foam tips?
    -glossyness - thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster my fingers are dry, but these glossy shells are fingerprint magnets. The matte ZS3 is still handsome, IMHO.

  8. Pruikki

    Just got my KZ AS10 few days ago, it seems Left side is Dominant! FAULTY?

    So seems like everything is more on the left side!

    no such thing on any other iems....well ZSR has little of it not as bad as AS10 tho. My AS10 is Surely faulty!?

    got em from gearbest, what should i do? (tried different tips,cables, sides,music, sources, files) PLEASE ADVICE/suggestions?

    -TLDR, New KZ AS10 is faulty, Left side dominates, all speech and music, feels like right side is not workin, left side is 70% and right 30% id say balance. (i got perfect hearing)

    THANKS FORUM FOR HELP,in advance.
  9. khighly
    I find there's the classic KZ sound (ZS10) where they kind of play with things but keep everything relatively neutral, and then they just play with different fun sound signatures (AS10). Neutral doesn't seem to be KZ's game. I enjoy them, check my signature for how many I have :)
    DocHoliday likes this.
  10. Cinder
    Would you say that the ZSR and ZST have the classic KZ sound? Because to my ears, I find them to be pretty far from neutral. Though, considering "neutral" is subjective its hard to know if we have different definitions of the word. "Flat" would be a more objective take, but in that case we can clearly see that none of KZ's IEMs even target a flat sound signature (which is good, since those IEMs are boring).
  11. khighly
    I ordered the TRN BT10, I'll let you know if it has the same issues.
  12. khighly
    I find the ZSR's to be the hottest of garbage KZ has made right above the ED12's. ZST has nice highs, detail, and soundstage, but is missing a lot of mids. ZST is more of a classic KZ sound, for certain.
  13. Cinder
    Interesting take. I actually liked the ZSR more than the ZST. The ZST's spike near the 6KHz range hurts my ears a bit.

    What makes you dislike it?
  14. B9Scrambler
    Torture via hot garbage. The best kind there is :)

    HungryPanda, Zlivan and Slater like this.
  15. Slater
    Not necessarily. The $20 dynamic drivered BlitzWolf ES1 is extremely flat with nothing more than a few simple mods.

    Ask @groucho69 or @Otto Motor how they like theirs.

    The issue isn’t cost or difficulty. It’s that only an extremely small segment of people want flat tuning.

    Imagine you are going to make a new IEM. You want to sell as many as possible because more units=lower scaled cost and more sales=more profit.

    I have a choice.

    1. I could make a popular v shaped tune and sell 5000 units. In the past I’ve done v shaped models, and they all sell out.
    2. I could make a flat tune.

    So let’s say I go with the flat tune.

    Well, the 1st 100 units out the door to typical reviewers end up getting get flamed on social media and YouTube reviews because they “have no bass”. So your sales halt.

    Eventually, a handful of HeadFi type people go ahead and are willing to be guinea pigs. Low and behold they find out it’s a hidden gem for flat tuning. So they spread the word.

    Well, only a certain % of audiophiles want flat tuning. But let’s say 500 people buy it. Wow that’s a lot! Well, not to the company, because they have 4400 boat anchors sitting in a warehouse gathering dust.

    Now you’re the earphone company again. You want to come out with a 2nd IEM. The flat tuning model was not a great seller as you only sold a fraction of the supply. But the v shape always sells out.

    Which would you develop?

    See the problem?

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