Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread
Sep 29, 2020 at 5:31 PM Post #51,361 of 63,554
If you wait for 11.11, there’ll probably be the ZAX Pro by then.
You're probably right but my finances prohibit me at this time. In the past month; I bought both CCA C10 PRO and a replacement set of ZS10 PRO, as well as 2 KBEAR cables. I gotta chill and take a bit of a break. November Aliexpress sale might be a better time for me to get the ZXS.
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 6:28 PM Post #51,362 of 63,554
You're probably right but my finances prohibit me at this time. In the past month; I bought both CCA C10 PRO and a replacement set of ZS10 PRO, as well as 2 KBEAR cables. I gotta chill and take a bit of a break. November Aliexpress sale might be a better time for me to get the ZXS.
I feel ya, I keep telling myself the same thing
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 6:29 PM Post #51,363 of 63,554
I think a frequency response graph, even a badly done one, would be a good early guide as to how the first 20-ba iem may sound like. For me, it's just too much a stab in the dark with KZ's wide spectrum of product sound signatures. And a big shout out to the early adopters for taking 1 or 2 (ASF & ASX) for the team!
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 6:44 PM Post #51,364 of 63,554
I think a frequency response graph, even a badly done one, would be a good early guide as to how the first 20-ba iem may sound like. For me, it's just too much a stab in the dark with KZ's wide spectrum of product sound signatures. And a big shout out to the early adopters for taking 1 or 2 (ASF & ASX) for the team!
Did several times from ZS7, ZS10 pro, ZSX and ZAX. The ASX is a little bit pricey for KZ standard, but if you've been here long enough, it is a chump change compared to named/boutique brands. My friend once won the lucky draw from SF head-fi meet and he got the first price which is a USB cable that cost $1000 lol.
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 9:19 PM Post #51,365 of 63,554
Did several times from ZS7, ZS10 pro, ZSX and ZAX. The ASX is a little bit pricey for KZ standard, but if you've been here long enough, it is a chump change compared to named/boutique brands. My friend once won the lucky draw from SF head-fi meet and he got the first price which is a USB cable that cost $1000 lol.
Have done a few purchase of new IEMs with no prior info myself, but gave them away when it didn't suit my ears. It's less risky to the wallet nowadays with China producing for their home markets and keeping prices low. It's still lottery, as it had always been, but the entry prices are much cheaper these days. With the sweet spot of diminishing returns getting ever lower. Oh yeah, not $1000, but rectangular solid-core cables still make me slap myself sometimes; I was a big box system guy :)
 
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Sep 29, 2020 at 9:23 PM Post #51,366 of 63,554
Not to be overly repetitive, @Freetrademan's post hits the nail on the head for these KZ ZAX's and I was very skeptical of his claims going in. Talk about giant killers! KZ has come a long way from where they were just a couple years ago and they are way better than the DUNU products out there. And about the KZ ZS10 Pro, it is not even remotely in the same class. ZAX's do everything so perfectly, it is almost shocking to listen to them.

The ZAX's put the Fiio EX-1 2nd Gen's to shame and easily trounce the old-school high-end Shure's (SE846 and SE535) and DUNU's (DN2000J and DK-3001) I have used. If I could best describe the ZAX's sound, it reminds me of the depth and soundstaging of open headphones but with the bass extension of closed headphones. Only the EX-1's were open sounding to me but the ZAX's eclipse in detail and dynamics.

Typically, the open headphones I have owned do well with songs like these below but closed headphones and especially earphones struggle to resolve the flickering ambience or reverberations surrounding the drums and cymbals. The ZAX's do that on the level of the HD 800's I owned with none of the peaks of the ZS10 Pro's. Holy moley, these are so good!





The sound is just so... complete. To be certain, I have heard way too many headphones (top models include the Sennheiser HD 800, HD 700, HD 650 and HD 600, HiFiMAN HE-1000, Grado PS-1000, Beyerdynamic T90 and T1, AKG Q 701 and K 812, ad nauseum) and I have driven them with reference-tier gear, including a Khadas Tone Board DAC and a JDS Labs Atom and Geshelli Labs Archel2.5 Pro amplifier. The ZAX has everything in the spades: balance, detail, vividness, dynamics, treble, bass, midrange, you name it. Yet there is no hint of overreaching or heavy-handedness from harshness, sterility, bloat or peakiness. End game? Yes, sir-ree! Buy without hesitation!


Already ordered!
Even tho u stated that the KZ ZS10 Pro are not in the same class as the ZAX, I’m still curious how they sound. I’m not a big IEM collector, this will be my third pair. I had the Tin T2s but returned them as I felt like the ZS10 Pro were wayy more fun to listen to EDM with. Hopefully the ZAX give me the same listening experience.
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 9:33 PM Post #51,367 of 63,554
Already ordered!
Even tho u stated that the KZ ZS10 Pro are not in the same class as the ZAX, I’m still curious how they sound. I’m not a big IEM collector, this will be my third pair. I had the Tin T2s but returned them as I felt like the ZS10 Pro were wayy more fun to listen to EDM with. Hopefully the ZAX give me the same listening experience.
I have both, and also the ZSX. The ZAX is far superior to the Pros - it's one of the best IEMs I've heard and own. It's even better than the ZSX, but not by as much of a margin. Then again, the ZSX kicked the ZS10 Pro's butt, IMHO.

I've been listening to some heavy bass stuff, it's awesome with the ZAX. Should translate well to EDM.
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 9:47 PM Post #51,368 of 63,554
You're probably right but my finances prohibit me at this time. In the past month; I bought both CCA C10 PRO and a replacement set of ZS10 PRO, as well as 2 KBEAR cables. I gotta chill and take a bit of a break. November Aliexpress sale might be a better time for me to get the ZXS.

seeing the rate of IEMs that KZ's churning out, I'd take the same approach like you to take it slow, as KZ has a (good) reputation of outdone-ing themself with newer products. this ZAX is definitely on my radar too though, i might pick one to try out later



also a question for folks here that have them both: how's the ZAX compared to the Tin T2 plus?
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 9:51 PM Post #51,369 of 63,554
For me ZAX > ZSX/C12 > ZS10 pro/ZS7/C10. I listened to my C12 again and it sounds quite similar to the ZAX than the ZSX. Mainly because the C12 has a bit more forward mid than the ZSX. The noticeable difference from ZAX and ZSX/C12 is the openness of sound. It just like Hifihedgehog said the sound is like open headphone. It is not because of treble extension which the ZSX able to achieve, but even the ZSX sounds closed compared to the ZAX.
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 9:54 PM Post #51,370 of 63,554
You will love 'em. I certainly do!



I just listened to this Brazilian Pop Rock song Recomeçar by Restart, a guilty pleasure of mine. I use this track as a treble test of sorts to gauge a headphone's ability to resolve treble detail and its tendency to harshness. Harsh headphones will grate your ears with the cymbals when they come in at 0:38. Dull headphones will mask the amp distortion of the electric guitars at the opening (0:07). These straddle that line perfectly without exaggeration or dulling at either point. Plus the bass and vocals come through like a hot knife through butter. I mean, I am dumbfounded how KZ pulls this off so well. And the bass and midrange is so intoxicating. Amazing! I am literally relistening to my whole library and a headphone or earphone has not done that for me in a great many years. These are on par with my Adams A7X studio monitors for detail, impact, and resolution. Man, oh, man... If anything, you guys seriously underhyped these.



And no, these are not just rock or pop earphones. Like I said earlier, these are complete, serving up the full aural picture. Listening to this orchestral work from the original Star Trek series is breathtaking. The precision of the tonality combined with the articulation of the macro and micro-dynamics are spot on. The hitting of the gong at 3:23 in this classic Star Trek soundtrack is fully rendered in all its horrifying splendor and makes the pent-up emotion for the moment of peril in this track absolutely spellbinding. I keep wanting to find things to trip up these ZAX's and they just keep pulling off more and more tricks with aplomb. Musical rediscovery and engagement is the main aim of high-fidelity listening equipment and the ZAX's keep doing this surprise after surprise and put a smile on my face.

Try Interstellar and Tron OST, eargasm!!
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 9:58 PM Post #51,372 of 63,554
I have both, and also the ZSX. The ZAX is far superior to the Pros - it's one of the best IEMs I've heard and own. It's even better than the ZSX, but not by as much of a margin. Then again, the ZSX kicked the ZS10 Pro's butt, IMHO.

I've been listening to some heavy bass stuff, it's awesome with the ZAX. Should translate well to EDM.

i was originally going to buy the ZSX but their size made me rethink my decision. so I went with the ZS10 Pro which were smaller.

Are you using the stock cable with the ZAX or do u recommend upgrading?
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 10:14 PM Post #51,373 of 63,554
seeing the rate of IEMs that KZ's churning out, I'd take the same approach like you to take it slow, as KZ has a (good) reputation of outdone-ing themself with newer products. this ZAX is definitely on my radar too though, i might pick one to try out later



also a question for folks here that have them both: how's the ZAX compared to the Tin T2 plus?

Sound:

Neither are particularly notable for sub-bass, more midbass emphasis on the ZAX, slightly greater treble extension on the ZAX, soundstage is comparable on both, female vocals are comparable on both, T2 Plus edges out the ZAX in male vocals (greater texture, more forward), imaging is clearer on the T2 Plus, overall tonality still goes to the T2 Plus (this is subjective).

Fit and usability:

ZAX is more sensitive than the T2 Plus, ZAX has noticeably better isolation than the T2 Plus, extremely long listening sessions are more comfortable with the T2 Plus, stock cable is better on the T2 Plus.

If I could keep only one out of the two... gosh that's really difficult. I think I'd take the ZAX, by a hair, and proceed to mourn the lack of T2 Plus in my life.
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 10:19 PM Post #51,374 of 63,554
i was originally going to buy the ZSX but their size made me rethink my decision. so I went with the ZS10 Pro which were smaller.

Are you using the stock cable with the ZAX or do u recommend upgrading?
Upgrade away. I run mine balanced with a 4.4mm KBear cable that I "borrowed" from the ZSXs. I spent an hour with the stock cable for the heck of it, but you can do much better.

The ZAX is definitely more comfortable in my ear than the ZSX. That was my biggest complaint with them, really - they weren't that comfy for long listening sessions due to the size of the shells. The ZAX fit is closer to the ZS 10.
 
Sep 29, 2020 at 10:45 PM Post #51,375 of 63,554
Just got the KZ ZAX today, initial impressions...

(+) The treble peak and forwardness makes them feel airy and open, and has a wide sound stage. Its a pretty lively listen overall.
(+) The bass is pretty controlled but has presence when called for. Its fast, not bloated, doesn't bleed into the mids
(+) Mids may be slightly recessed, but the lack of bass bleed doesn't make it feel that way
(+) I found the fit and comfort more than fine, even with stock tips
(+) Very easy to drive off of a phone or my Fiio uBTR
(-) Male vocals are a bit thin and don't have much depth. Vocal energy and volume is there, but the lower voices are missing something. On an acoustic track like Dobby - 1010 Benja SL his voice was missing a low end presence. Deeper voices would probably suffer even more.
(-) Even though I wouldn't call these sibiliant, I'd say the treble peak is piercing at times. I would find these hard to listen to for an extended time for most of my music collection at moderate volumes or above.

Overall a nice set, but personally I want a bit more bass presence, more depth to male/mid vocals, and the treble energy toned down one notch. I could actually live with the well mannered bass in these, but not the vocals and treble energy. The ZAX are really close to something extra special because they sound slightly warm, are somewhere in between neutral-ish and a V shape, and have an airy-ness to the treble. In the end I probably won't keep them though. Despite having much lower treble energy and airyness, my Shozy Form 1.1's don't seem to miss any treble sparkle the ZAX have while giving me way more bass presence, depth to male vocals, and fatigue free listening.
 

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