Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread
Jun 14, 2021 at 11:05 AM Post #55,561 of 57,379

Nimweth

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Posts
2,136
Likes
5,252
Location
Sussex, England
For me, ZSX has been getting a lot of use in the last three months. It is a very well-tuned in-ear for non-classical genres.
The reason the ZSX gets so much use (by me) is because I prefer its smoothness.
The CKX, like the ZAX in my estimation, has quantifiable improvements/refinement from top to bottom (treble, mids & bass) but, lately, I'm appreciating the less analytical tuning of the ZSX more.

It is worth mentioning that several days ago I was using the ZSX on a Samsung A30s and the midrange and treble had an uncomfortable bite. I immediately disconnected them from the smartphone and plugged them into my DAPs (Plenue 2 then Plenue R). The ZSX was buttery smooth on both DAPs. The "bite" vanished.
Be aware that it was the same exact file (320kbps-mp3) loaded on to both DAPs and the smartphone.

These were the tracks where the "bite" was present.
The bass was on point but the rest was slightly out-of-hand on the smartphone.






If the AST is in fact the BA10 tuning revisited then the AST should be well worth the money, even at its "relatively" high price for KZ.

The best way I can describe the BA10 to someone who has never heard it is as follows:

The very clean and punchy bass is the table on which all of the individual flatware, stemware and china is set. The flatware, stemware and china are the various instruments while the bass with its width and depth carry the weight or form the foundation for the presentation. The BA10 is a bassy in-ear but it is neither congested nor boomy. If the AST presentation resembles the BA10's then we're in for a real treat. Especially since the "s" line balanced armatures are employed. Those particular BAs are an upgrade over KZ's standard BAs. This is my direct observation independent of any claims the manufacturer makes in their promotional materials.

kz-ast-img07.jpg

Whether one loved or hated the ASX/ASF you could clearly hear the performance improvement with the "s" line BAs. I was concerned that KZ might abandon using them since the ASX/ASF feedback was so unsettling. I'm glad KZ pushed forward and I'm looking forward to getting a set of silver ASTs. My expectation is that they wlll be a good addition to my collection.




"IF" this is true (that's a big if) then returning the ZAX unopened was the right move for me. I didn't care for the ZSN Pro. The upper frequencies were clean and clear but they just went over the edge for my ears. Within the basic sound signature shared between the ZSN Pro, ZS10 Pro and the ZSX, the ZSN Pro is on the harsher end of the scale while the ZSX is on the smoother end of the scale. The ZS10 Pro lay between the the two. I prefer the ZSX.
Yes, that's pretty close to how I hear them. My pecking order would be:
1. ZSX
2. ZAX
3. ZS10 pro
However for me the ZS7 is the winner, pity it's so hard to find. Come on KZ, let's have the ZS7 Pro or X or whatever!
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 12:09 PM Post #55,562 of 57,379

Wgibson

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Posts
262
Likes
217
Location
Tulsa, OK
yup, that's the inner part of the nozzle, can see that the DQ6 wall is so much thinner.
I swapped DQ6 nozzle with ZSN and hear shouty treble and the bass become lacked of punch so I go back to the original nozzle.
In a study show that nozzle diameter influence on RF (picture) :

That is really interesting, but not practical sizes. I have used 0.2mm ID tubes as a physical low pass for a the bass driver on a diy iem, and it is not reasonable to try anything smaller, especially for full range.

CI-30120 brass tube.jpg

A nozzle diameter change from something like 3.5mm to 3mm for example, should not affect bass at all, should shift 2k-10k peaks left a bit and reduce volume a bit.

Edit: summary, the point I'm trying to make is that at 0.2mm and less, you're just showing when you can almost completely choke off the sound. For bigger tubes or nozzles (1mm+) the difference is subtle but still real in how it affects the peak frequencies and volume.
 
Last edited:
Jun 14, 2021 at 12:37 PM Post #55,563 of 57,379

alamnp

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Posts
571
Likes
584
Location
United States
Yeah, it's a funny situation. There's going to be an AliExpress sale, so I figured I should pick one of them.

I've been hearing good things about the ZAX for the longest time. I have a ZS-10 Pro and wouldn't mind an improvement. I also have a CA16. I like its detail and smoothness, but dislike the excessively rolled-off treble using the stock tips. It can be holographic, though.

The imaging, vocals, guitars - it sounds like the AST is good for the kind of music I enjoy. But the ZAX is fairly sophisticated and balanced. Then there's the new CCA CSX or whatever it's called. I have a pretty good track record with CCA.

I guess it will come down maybe to whatever is most affordable during the sale!
Since Amazon is carrying more Chifi IEMs, would not touch Aliexpress anymore, refund process is non existent.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 12:45 PM Post #55,564 of 57,379

alamnp

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Posts
571
Likes
584
Location
United States
Initial impressions.... using Chord Mojo w/stock cable(love it!)+tips.

It sounds like ZAX with A) slightly smoothed treble(no more bothersome peaks!), B) HUGE BASS BOOST, C) fantastic, full-bodied vocals.

I hear only a very slight amount of hiss/noise when plugging into Mojo. Most IEMs I've tested produce about twice as much noise/hiss. They actually fit pretty well, so far. It's a weird fit, kuz they are so huge, so it feels rather unnatural, but snug enough. And that adorable little yellow bag..? To die for!

I can't believe how much bass this has lol... ZAX has about 53:47% treble:bass balance; AST is like 43:57%! Easily the most bass I've heard in an IEM so far. This thing is nuts. Imagine your ideal bass level, then add 25% bass boost ontop. The clarity is still quite sharp like ZAX, how I like it, but it's definitely being overtaken by the bass a bit. The treble is very, very pleasant/enjoyable... I have nothing but love for this treble! A smoothed out ZAX - exactly the treble I wished for. I can throw bright content like The Killers, Weird Al, P.O.D. or Mech at AST and the treble is acceptably smooth compared to ZAX. This bass, though... Damn. They really dialed it up to 11 here. (o_o) This has MORE bass than VK4!!!

Because of the tremendous, underlying bass throughout the mids, and the excellently/perfectly honed-in treble(I could listen to this treble all day! I am shocked. The texture & space/separation/air is so good. FD5 you failed me!!!), these also have the best vocals I've ever heard, very likely. If not, the dull Oxygen has the best. Rather addictively good. Yes, I've never heard Weird Al sound this good & smooth before... The problem would be the building-shaking bass these have. Let's see if IEMatch+ can soften it up... Yep, the bass tones down a lot on ultra mode, but so does the treble. Have to EQ that bass down manually, to get rid of this extra bass warmth & power.

Metal, jazz, Chili Peppers, Buckethead, Pink Floyd and all elec guitars sound great. This fast, detailed, clear, wide open, non-peaky treble is killing it. Imaging and depth is quite impressive, too, with very nice sense of space, but most of the time the bass overpowers it, so you will notice it more the less bass there is(ambient & orchestral sounds just gorgeous/intoxicatingly smooth & engaging). I see ZAX having slightly flawed(peaky) treble + satisfactory bass, and AST having overkill bass + perfect treble. Pick your poison. I think ZAX is still winning, for much better balance, unless you EQ the AST bass down, then you have a serious winner. Maybe tips with holes in them, to eliminate a seal, would cut the bass? :thinking: Or going tipless? :thinking: (Is that even legal anymore..?)

Too much bass never hurt anyone, Grandma always told us younglings at the hifi battlestation. OK, Grandma; I have to make a small exception here ;P

photo_2021-06-10_22-52-18.jpg
AST - ZAX - FH3
photo_2021-06-10_22-52-13.jpg

So many songs sound great on these... but here's one that works well with their Turbo Bass. Full note weight, all the way through the whole FR, I love it!
ehemmm placebo effects?
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 2:11 PM Post #55,566 of 57,379

MacAttack7

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Posts
181
Likes
171
Location
Portland, Oregon
Since Amazon is carrying more Chifi IEMs, would not touch Aliexpress anymore, refund process is non existent.
But the prices aren't even close quite often. I'd rather take my chance with AliExpress in most cases.
KZ ASX for example is $118 with Linsoul on Amazon, but it's only $72 on AliExpress.
No way I'm paying $46 extra for insurance.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 2:12 PM Post #55,567 of 57,379

Barusu Lamperouge

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 24, 2018
Posts
1,595
Likes
2,915
Location
Lugnica
+1 for the NCO!
One of the most cleanest and refined set under $50. It's a tragedy that Smabat didn't produce many units. Clearly give Tin a run for their money in that category.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 2:15 PM Post #55,568 of 57,379

Barusu Lamperouge

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 24, 2018
Posts
1,595
Likes
2,915
Location
Lugnica
But the prices aren't even close quite often. I'd rather take my chance with AliExpress in most cases.
KZ ASX for example is $118 with Linsoul on Amazon, but it's only $72 on AliExpress.
No way I'm paying $46 extra for insurance.
I at times wonder how and why folks purchase other brands products from sites like Linsoul/Shenzhenaudio/Hifigo. Almost everything is super expensive over there. Not undermining their services (they're genuinely good sellers and might also be excellent with their after sales support) but it barely makes any sense from financial perspective to purchase products that aren't from their house brands.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 2:31 PM Post #55,569 of 57,379

alamnp

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 15, 2020
Posts
571
Likes
584
Location
United States
But the prices aren't even close quite often. I'd rather take my chance with AliExpress in most cases.
KZ ASX for example is $118 with Linsoul on Amazon, but it's only $72 on AliExpress.
No way I'm paying $46 extra for insurance.
yupe, but returnable, I would hate it to spend $72 for something that I don't like. At least for Amazon you could auditioned those IEM and just purchase the one that fits your needs and preferences. I am stuck with $280 LZ A7, Tripowin TC01: which for both I spent $350

if I buy from Amazon, I would keep my $350 and now I will already able to purchase Starshine from Tri.

Not to mention, I bought some TRN which failed after one week, they refused to refund it and asking for extra $10 for replacement.

I am still stuck with missing stuff from Aliexpress which already in dispute but not refunded yet.
 
Last edited:
Jun 14, 2021 at 6:04 PM Post #55,570 of 57,379

eclein

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 17, 2010
Posts
1,416
Likes
1,350
Location
Pennsylvania
I hate waiting so long for stuff from AE, the last piece I bought took two months!
If I can’t find it on Amazon I’ll use Hifigo and pay the higher price to get it quicker in most instances and with after sales support if defective. I read about somone having a cable they got off AE be out of phase and the seller wanted a video of the problem which is ridiculous. Customer support on AE is done by using the word “friend” all the time every time and that got old real fast for me, your experience may vary, mine was horrible so I’ll pay a bit more for quicker delivery!
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 6:11 PM Post #55,571 of 57,379

CT007

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 16, 2013
Posts
953
Likes
486
Then there's the new CCA CSX or whatever it's called.
CKX? I liked ZAX more still, but it was better than TC-01, EA1, and DQ6 to my ears. Avoid AST if you can't EQ the bass down, or are sensitive to bass fatigue. It's overkill and uncomfortable, 100%.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 6:12 PM Post #55,572 of 57,379

CT007

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 16, 2013
Posts
953
Likes
486
ehemmm placebo effects?
About what..? Do you mean placebo, or "first blush/impressions"? I hold the same feelings about them since first hearing them. No changes. What do you disagree/doubt about it?

I'll be able to test them on an Asgard 3 tonight, so we'll see what that does.
 
Last edited:
Jun 14, 2021 at 6:49 PM Post #55,573 of 57,379

Capo Dei Capi

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 25, 2020
Posts
202
Likes
74
Location
London
I hate waiting so long for stuff from AE, the last piece I bought took two months!
If I can’t find it on Amazon I’ll use Hifigo and pay the higher price to get it quicker in most instances and with after sales support if defective. I read about somone having a cable they got off AE be out of phase and the seller wanted a video of the problem which is ridiculous. Customer support on AE is done by using the word “friend” all the time every time and that got old real fast for me, your experience may vary, mine was horrible so I’ll pay a bit more for quicker delivery!
Uh huh. I hear ya. You pay for what you get.

2 months is way to long for me. When i order an IEM i want it the next day and if its stuffed, i want my money back the following day or a replacement.

This is a fast game and turnaround is everything.
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 6:54 PM Post #55,574 of 57,379

Capo Dei Capi

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 25, 2020
Posts
202
Likes
74
Location
London
I hate waiting so long for stuff from AE, the last piece I bought took two months!
If I can’t find it on Amazon I’ll use Hifigo and pay the higher price to get it quicker in most instances and with after sales support if defective. I read about somone having a cable they got off AE be out of phase and the seller wanted a video of the problem which is ridiculous. Customer support on AE is done by using the word “friend” all the time every time and that got old real fast for me, your experience may vary, mine was horrible so I’ll pay a bit more for quicker delivery!
Hey mate,

I see you have 2 iems i'm thinking about getting.

How do you compare the Legacy 4 with the Starsea?
 
Jun 14, 2021 at 7:28 PM Post #55,575 of 57,379

eclein

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 17, 2010
Posts
1,416
Likes
1,350
Location
Pennsylvania
Hey mate,

I see you have 2 iems i'm thinking about getting.

How do you compare the Legacy 4 with the Starsea?

Both are excellent a lot of people love the Starsea (the newest of the two I believe) the Legacy 4 got great reviews and I actually prefer it by a little bit. Your safe either way but I found a Mangird Tea used here in the trades and its my #2 behind my #1 Mest. I’m fine buying used stuff and never had a problem with anything I got its a great way to get the next level or 2 items much cheaper. My Mest is 2nd hand as are several of my best ones are actually. Both my L4 and Starsea I bought new they are very similar…….the Legacy 4 has a bit more detail which I love, my AST is somewhere nearby per tracking and the cost is similar to the other two you may wanna wait for more impressions of the AST before you jump! Sorry if my caffeine fueled post is hard to follow, long day here.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top