Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread
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BadReligionPunk

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I just got my purple/silver ZSN.

I have to say, I am beside myself. The ZSN is the best KZ I have heard to date.

The build quality is impressive, the cable is excellent (the best stock cable I’ve seen from them hands down).

Wow has KZ come a long way. And for $11. THIS is KZ in a nutshell; a culmination of their years of tiny refinements. Simply amazing.

Granted, I don’t have their fancy pants flagships (ZS10, BA10, AS10), but with the ZSN I have absolutely no desire to get any of those. I can’t imagine spending $60, $70, or $80 on a KZ when $11 will get you an IEM of this caliber. And all this with a basic TWO driver hybrid. Not 4, 5, 6, 7 blah blah peeing contest.

The sound is so clean. Deep bass that is super tight and fast, without being boosted. Crisp clear mids, that are more forward and balanced than their more V shaped IEMs like the ZS4. Treble is just right IMO. Not piercing, not sibilant, not too bright, not too forward/boosted.

The comfort is excellent, even more comfortable than the ZS3/ZS4.

I did swap the stock tips with Starline tips right OOTB though (my go to). I will try the included stock tips later.

Unfortunately I couldn’t remove the back and take a peek inside. They are using the smallest Torx crews I’ve ever seen. My current set goes to T4 (which is ridiculously tiny), and these are even smaller than that haha. I’ll have to get a kit with even smaller bits.

Anyways, if you want to introduce someone to ChiFi, and specifically to the KZ brand, the ZSN is the IEM to do it. It’s super affordable, very premium, and the sound is not offensive.

It is an all-rounder, and an ideal daily driver. It will satisfy most bassheads, without being a ‘basshead’ IEM. It will satisfy most treble heads, without being a ‘treblehead’ IEM. It will satisfy most people looking for a neutral IEM, without being perfectly flat and neutral. It’s got plenty of detail that would satisfy most people, without being so micro-detailed and analytical that it doesn’t let you enjoy the music.

It lives in that “just right” Goldilocks position. It’s not warm nor cold sounding - it’s just a pure, uncolored musical output.

And no, this isn’t flavor of the month hype or a honeymoon phase. I just went thought my extensive KZ collection last night, so it’s all fresh in my mind. The ZSN is the real deal (for a KZ).

I do have a black/black one on the way, which I’ll compare to the purple/silver one.

Also, I am using it with my xduoo X3 and FiiO amps (A5 and also E12A). I will try it out later with my iPhone and just X3 (without amp) to see if there’s any difference.

My only complaint is there’s no L/R markings on the shells. There is on the cable though. That’s so minor that it’s hardly worth mentioning. But nothing is perfect :)
If KZ had just released the ZSN 2 years ago, I would have saved a ton of money. I would take ZSN all day every day over my ZS10. ZSN just sounds outstanding with every single kind of music I play.
 
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I just got my purple/silver ZSN.

I have to say, I am beside myself. The ZSN is the best KZ I have heard to date.

The build quality is impressive, the cable is excellent (the best stock cable I’ve seen from them hands down).

Wow has KZ come a long way. And for $11. THIS is KZ in a nutshell; a culmination of their years of tiny refinements. Simply amazing.

Granted, I don’t have their fancy pants flagships (ZS10, BA10, AS10), but with the ZSN I have absolutely no desire to get any of those. I can’t imagine spending $60, $70, or $80 on a KZ when $11 will get you an IEM of this caliber. And all this with a basic TWO driver hybrid. Not 4, 5, 6, 7 blah blah peeing contest.

The sound is so clean. Deep bass that is super tight and fast, without being boosted. Crisp clear mids, that are more forward and balanced than their more V shaped IEMs like the ZS4. Treble is just right IMO. Not piercing, not sibilant, not too bright, not too forward/boosted.

The comfort is excellent, even more comfortable than the ZS3/ZS4.

I did swap the stock tips with Starline tips right OOTB though (my go to). I will try the included stock tips later.

Unfortunately I couldn’t remove the back and take a peek inside. They are using the smallest Torx crews I’ve ever seen. My current set goes to T4 (which is ridiculously tiny), and these are even smaller than that haha. I’ll have to get a kit with even smaller bits.

Anyways, if you want to introduce someone to ChiFi, and specifically to the KZ brand, the ZSN is the IEM to do it. It’s super affordable, very premium, and the sound is not offensive.

It is an all-rounder, and an ideal daily driver. It will satisfy most bassheads, without being a ‘basshead’ IEM. It will satisfy most treble heads, without being a ‘treblehead’ IEM. It will satisfy most people looking for a neutral IEM, without being perfectly flat and neutral. It’s got plenty of detail that would satisfy most people, without being so micro-detailed and analytical that it doesn’t let you enjoy the music.

It lives in that “just right” Goldilocks position. It’s not warm nor cold sounding - it’s just a pure, uncolored musical output.

And no, this isn’t flavor of the month hype or a honeymoon phase. I just went thought my extensive KZ collection last night, so it’s all fresh in my mind. The ZSN is the real deal (for a KZ).

I do have a black/black one on the way, which I’ll compare to the purple/silver one.

Also, I am using it with my xduoo X3 and FiiO amps (A5 and also E12A). I will try it out later with my iPhone and just X3 (without amp) to see if there’s any difference.

My only complaint is there’s no L/R markings on the shells. There is on the cable though. That’s so minor that it’s hardly worth mentioning. But nothing is perfect :)
You really need this kit. Really the best bit set and tool kit for tech stuff. Not to mention has every torx bit imaginable.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GF0KV6G/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_D.37BbHKZWDXD
I still think the AS10 and ZS6 are the best KZs available although my ZSNs will be here Monday!
 
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I'm sorry to hear that... the ED16 is awesome. :wink: You missed one diamond in the rough!

PS: I watched a video today where the audiophile said the TRN v20 is better than the ZS4.
It is not too late for him to get one:) I will still love my ED16.
Man you guys are such enablers! You should sell crack haha

I have thought about the ED16 numerous times. It’s actually been in my shopping cart on more than one occasion. In all cases I’d eventually remove it (part of that working on my self control thing).

I do only have 2 ears after all :)
 
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You really need this kit. Really the best bit set and tool kit for tech stuff. Not to mention has every torx bit imaginable.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GF0KV6G/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_D.37BbHKZWDXD
I still think the AS10 and ZS6 are the best KZs available although my ZSNs will be here Monday!
That looks like a comprehensive kit for sure! Thanks for sharing the link :wink:

Luckily, through many years in the IT field, I’ve actually accumulated numerous kits similar to that. In addition, I’ve tried to assemble better tools where it matters (such as metal spudgers and guitar picks instead of the blue plastic ones that fall apart after 1 use, hardened tool steel Swiss or German screwdrivers, etc).

I’ve just never run into T3 and smaller Torx fasteners (which is stupidly small).

These ultra micro fasteners seem to be common on cell phones and tablets, which I only work on infrequently.
 
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Agreed, if I actually wanted the best I've heard, I'd save up a bit more and just get the CA Andromeda myself and be done with lurking around. But even a friend who doesn't read head-fi much asks me "dude, what's the FOTM now, itching to try something else" and I end up also being curious. We just know that even if we get the absolute best now, we'll just get the itch to try something else later. Might as well accept that fact and go for big value items for the added "getting a bargain" feel.
You sound alot like me. I tried all the bargain iems and got more into it and started chasing the dragon as they say. KZ and the others are great and can compete with the mid tier stuff but they lack certain fine details. You might try a few things from TFZ for a bit more or ibasso. I settled on the Fiio FH5 and IMR R1 which are both alot of fun but set me back over 500 US dollars. A few months after those purchases, I still bought the ZSNs and repurchased the AS10s which I tried for a few days a while back lol! I even went all out on bluetooth as well and bought the Sony MUC-M2BT1 which one the best iem bluetooth available. It was worth it for LDAC codex alone but still a 200 dollar purchase for bluetooth cables basically when the TRN BT3 or BT10 work almost as well. Point is... At a certain point, you're only paying extra for minor details. It probably isn't really worth it and I doubt you can tell a huge difference at a certain point in quality of sound. Still though, I get a huge bonus check at the end of the year and keep thinking about Campfire Andromedas in mirror finish and the Atlas. I can't imagine paying 1000 dollars for iems but I may have spent that much adding up cables and iems already... We may have to start a IEM Anonymous thread because some of us really need help lol!
 
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That looks like a comprehensive kit for sure! Thanks for sharing the link :wink:

Luckily, through many years in the IT field, I’ve actually accumulated numerous kits similar to that. In addition, I’ve tried to assemble better tools where it matters (such as metal spudgers and guitar picks instead of the blue plastic ones that fall apart after 1 use, hardened tool steel Swiss or German screwdrivers, etc).

I’ve just never run into T3 and smaller Torx fasteners (which is stupidly small).

These ultra micro fasteners seem to be common on cell phones and tablets, which I only work on infrequently.
Yeah, I was in the IT field for a while myself. I recently escaped that world for the past few years as a newspaper editor but guess who is still the IT guy at work when something needs fixing lol! Anyways, I got that kit for our Macs because they love to use weird screws and it was the only one with torx bits small enough with security holes in the center. D@mn Mac minis are a pain! And yeah, I started my IT journey at Nextel working on phones and have always been drawn to those small bits. That was when you could actually still solder buttons back on phone circuit boards and stuff. Nowadays, ram and other stuff is soldered in place just to make you buy new stuff. IT isn't what it used to be and Apple hasn't helped the situation at all.
 
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I still think the AS10 and ZS6 are the best KZs available although my ZSNs will be here Monday!
We look forward to hearing your opinion again on this next week! :)
 
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If KZ had just released the ZSN 2 years ago, I would have saved a ton of money. I would take ZSN all day every day over my ZS10. ZSN just sounds outstanding with every single kind of music I play.
I love you, for your comment only. :wink: You speak such beautiful words that make my ears melt in anticipation of my two ZSN arriving.
 
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Man you guys are such enablers! You should sell crack haha

I have thought about the ED16 numerous times. It’s actually been in my shopping cart on more than one occasion. In all cases I’d eventually remove it (part of that working on my self control thing).

I do only have 2 ears after all :)
But I thought this was supposed to be a gathering place for enablers and hoarders.

I actually bought a second ED16 in the other color so I would have a backup pair but then I felt sorry for my husband and gave it to him...because he did not have enough IEMs to listen to...
 
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You sound alot like me. I tried all the bargain iems and got more into it and started chasing the dragon as they say. KZ and the others are great and can compete with the mid tier stuff but they lack certain fine details. You might try a few things from TFZ for a bit more or ibasso. I settled on the Fiio FH5 and IMR R1 which are both alot of fun but set me back over 500 US dollars. A few months after those purchases, I still bought the ZSNs and repurchased the AS10s which I tried for a few days a while back lol! I even went all out on bluetooth as well and bought the Sony MUC-M2BT1 which one the best iem bluetooth available. It was worth it for LDAC codex alone but still a 200 dollar purchase for bluetooth cables basically when the TRN BT3 or BT10 work almost as well. Point is... At a certain point, you're only paying extra for minor details. It probably isn't really worth it and I doubt you can tell a huge difference at a certain point in quality of sound. Still though, I get a huge bonus check at the end of the year and keep thinking about Campfire Andromedas in mirror finish and the Atlas. I can't imagine paying 1000 dollars for iems but I may have spent that much adding up cables and iems already... We may have to start a IEM Anonymous thread because some of us really need help lol!
haha, I'm the same boat too, still waiting for that certain point where I can't tell the difference in quality. Only tested a limited number of high-end brands like CA, Dita, UE but sadly I'm still floored by every models I test.

I'm certain the day will come where I put on a chi-fi IEM and go "whoa, this is better than all those" or at least "this is actually as good as those, but much, much cheaper". Till then, just gotta keep scratching that itch.
 
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ZSN just sounds outstanding with every single kind of music I play.
Agreed. It’s really an “everyman’s“ (and everywoman’s) IEM.

Every genre I’ve thrown at it so far sounds great.

I haven’t tried really obscure genres (like underwater whale/dolphin mating calls or Australian Aboriginal didgeridoo), but I have a feeling it would handle those just fine!
 
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We may have to start a IEM Anonymous thread because some of us really need help lol!
I think we know what would happen if we did that...
 
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If KZ had just released the ZSN 2 years ago, I would have saved a ton of money. I would take ZSN all day every day over my ZS10. ZSN just sounds outstanding with every single kind of music I play.
The ZS10's are a little picky when it comes to source and tips. It likes a little power, and sounds its best when there are globs of it.
A little surprise for me was how well they pair with the TRN BT3 module and some ball-type foam tips. Really, really awesome combination for commuting.

If you can, try them again with the ball-type foam tips and a amp and be pleasantly impressed. (They sound very bland out of most handphones with the stock tips.)

20181113_100339~2.jpg


You really need this kit. Really the best bit set and tool kit for tech stuff. Not to mention has every torx bit imaginable.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GF0KV6G/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_D.37BbHKZWDXD
I still think the AS10 and ZS6 are the best KZs available although my ZSNs will be here Monday!
In my books, its a tie between the AS10 and the ZS10 mainly because of fit and isolation and very easy to drive nature of the AS10. Tonality wise, I actually like that of the ZS10.
The ZS6's are really awesome for stuff that has no vocals as its sibilance is really evident. I like them when I listen to relaxing instrumental music.
 
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The ZS10's are a little picky when it comes to source and tips. It likes a little power, and sounds its best when there are globs of it.
A little surprise for me was how well they pair with the TRN BT3 module and some ball-type foam tips. Really, really awesome combination for commuting.

If you can, try them again with the ball-type foam tips and a amp and be pleasantly impressed. (They sound very bland out of most handphones with the stock tips.)






In my books, its a tie between the AS10 and the ZS10 mainly because of fit and isolation and very easy to drive nature of the AS10. Tonality wise, I actually like that of the ZS10.
The ZS6's are really awesome for stuff that has no vocals as its sibilance is really evident. I like them when I listen to relaxing instrumental music.

I really like the ZS10s as well. They seemed to be the first KZs that were really mid-centric to my ears. The treble is tamed but the vocals are a bit distant sounding. Probably needs a decent amp that my Samsung Note 9 can’t really provide like you said. And yes isolation and seal can be issue especially with more odd shaped iems like the ZS6, BA10, etc. I can get almost any iem to seal and isolate now with triple flange tips and Symbios foam inserts. They really helped me quite a bit and are comfortable after getting used to them. I was also able to kill almost all sibilance from the ZS6 with some foam inserted into both of the BAs.
 
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