Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread
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dondonut

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...

So imagine a tall glass of pure distilled water - that’s the X3 with amp. Now take a dropper and put 1 drop of milk in the water and stir it up. The clarity of the water will be just barely lessened. But if you didn’t know the drop of milk was in the water, most people wouldn’t even know.

Or think of your car windshield, and imagine it with a light dusting of pollen or maybe a handful of water spots. The windshield is still clear; just not 100% perfectly clear like it would be if it was meticulously cleaned.

In other words, if the sound of the ZSN on the X3 with amp was rated at a perfect 10.0/10.0, then the sound of the ZSN on the iPhone would be a 9.8/10.0.

...

The bottom line is that the ZSN can be driven from a phone (at least the iPhone SE) “just fine” :)

Contrast this with IEMs such as the ZS5 v1 or ZS3, which sound like crap from a phone and significantly better when used with the right DAP/amp combo.
Thanks for taking your time to respond, great analogies for a layman like me. I'll have to order them sooner rather than later , especially considering they sound good from a low source. I can't justify that just yet, as I got 3 different iems coming my way though and they deserve some attention first. :beyersmile:

I'll keep an eye out for when you receive the black/black to see how the two compare. Very curious if you find the difference between them as notable as others on this thread.

On a side note, underwater dolphin and whale mating sounds is actually a genre? Who knew.
 
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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.
I highly recommend the IMR R1 “B stock” if you like a highly customizable iem. They really are fantastic and can get them for a good price. They are my daily drivers for the past month or so. They are so much fun! I’d compare them to the AS10 on steroids. I might try the TFZ Secret Garden BA model next. They are tunable via switches vs nozzle filters on the IMR R1. I wish KZ would try a customizable model someday. That would be really interesting! They have crossover circuits already on some models so it’s not impossible or difficult to implement.
 
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ShakyJake

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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 :)
Hi Slater, we are in synch! My KZ ZSN also arrived today. This thing is very good. It has clarity at the top with only a little sibilance, oomph in the bass without any bloat and a nice midrange. I am listening to some Tidal Masters tracks over my Fiio K10 and it is pure bliss. I hope that the slight sibilance will be tamed with some burn-in. Overall this is very good.

Now I am asking myself, why did I order all the other iems during the 11/11 sales. I especially hope that the KZ AS10 will be better than the ZSN, since it was more than twice as expensive as the ZSN.
 
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I don't think KZ themselves are aware that they have created this monster IEM called ZSN. I've tried many IEMs from cheap bargain bin to $$$$ IEM and the ZSN can compete with them really. What really impressed me is the bass on the ZSN, how can they go so low with impact but doesn't messed up with other frequencies is unbelievable and you still get that dynamic driver bass sound too.
 
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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.
I doubt its an issue with powering. ZS10s tonally sound pretty "off" even with a good amp
 
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I'm sorry to hear that... the ED16 is awesome. :wink: You missed one diamond in the rough!
I think the ED16 is an unbalanced upgrade over the ZSR, with too much artificial 'air' in the upper mid region. It wants to give you some kind of stadium vibe, but it harms the tonality in a big way imo.
 
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Mybutthurts

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Yes, I am confused by that .. I searched and searched but could find no photos of a black on purple version. If they want to add another color, do something entirely different.. Like red on red.
There's a screenshot of the listing and on reflection there ain't a great deal of purple in the image. Not physically having the item it maybe just the image is wrong for whatever it should be or just on the app.
The original 3 are listed purple/silver & black, green/black.
So reflection can't actually say what this Tyrian purple looks like, but it is the new version listed. Gearbest please show correct image.
Sorry for any confusion.
 

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mbwilson111

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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 :)
Ok, this, coming from You... I have to buy myself another ZSN set and see/hear what it can do against properly amped ZS5v1.
 
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Thanks for taking your time to respond, great analogies for a layman like me. I'll have to order them sooner rather than later , especially considering they sound good from a low source. I can't justify that just yet, as I got 3 different iems coming my way though and they deserve some attention first. :beyersmile:

I'll keep an eye out for when you receive the black/black to see how the two compare. Very curious if you find the difference between them as notable as others on this thread.

On a side note, underwater dolphin and whale mating sounds is actually a genre? Who knew.
YouTube ASMR on youtube. Soft eating sounds and haircutting sounds, both of which ZSN kills. LOL
 
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BC35C6A5-D460-4FF2-B550-81A6498E54F4.jpeg
Just arrived: the CCA C04! I love how they look. But still... they remind me of another IEM...B09A5F7A-049F-4E4C-B66C-14DC160DF205.jpeg
Ah yes, the KZ ES4. They look very much alike and that isn't where the comparison stops. Both are definitely bass centric. The bass of the CCA goes a little deeper in the first few songs I've tried on them, but the ES4 seems to be a better choice due to increased resolution and emphasis on the mids and highs.

With the C04, it seems a few KZ juniors were allowed to release their own experiment. It looks and feels KZ, and it sounds good too, just not KZ good.
 
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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 :)
What about the difference in isolation versus ZS4? Is there any? How big of a difference?
 
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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 :)
+1 ...I couldn't have said it better myself, because I can't! :beerchug:
 

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