Knowledge Zenith (KZ) impressions thread
Jan 2, 2023 at 3:18 AM Post #60,616 of 63,593
1672646902848.png

zoomed in from the box image. we can cleary see the DD and possibly the BA next to it.
not sure whether this is 3d printed shell
Okay it has a metal nozzle and a semi-custom shape (which should be a given at this price...). But as for the faceplate, "Frankenstein's monster" seems a good description. Or perhaps "Rocky"?

Nah "Frankenstein", not enough lacey bits, lipstick or eyeshadow! :ksc75smile:
 
Jan 2, 2023 at 8:46 AM Post #60,617 of 63,593
KZ DQS review, by EagleOwl,

KZ DQS - 1DD IEM, $14

Pros:
Good fast snappy bass with slight elevation
Clean clear mids vocal for both male and female
Treble is not sibilant and has good imaging and separation

Cons:
See Saw effect of slight bass boost generate a very tiny slight tint of veil - nitpick

detailed review at : https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/kz-dqs-1dd-iem.26262/reviews

11949002.jpg
 
Jan 5, 2023 at 8:55 AM Post #60,618 of 63,593
CCA FLA Mod
1. Removed the faceplate by pulling it with force (applying some force near the 2 pin connector will easily remove the faceplate)
2. Added an additional Y4 filter at the back vent to adjust the bass profile.

PXL_20230105_213651231.jpg

3. Removed the original front nozzle filter.
4. Replaced the original front nozzle filter with two 300 Mesh filter sandwiched together.

PXL_20230105_213722908.jpg

5. Change the cable to a standard 2 pin one for comfort and deep insertion.

Final.png


Notes:
  • CCA FLA seems to use an eartip that has a similarish shape and construction to Kbear10, it is also wide bore.
  • The stock eartips does a good job of reducing the bass quantity by a bit.
  • Removing the stock front filter introduces two massive peaks at 2kHz and 4.5kHz.
  • Sounds too bassy and unenergetic stock, the mod restores the bite, removes the bloom while retaining the relaxed signature.
  • CCA seems to be using a 400 mesh filter with metal mesh like the ZEX Pro with the FLA.
  • An interesting but not recommended mod, graphing rig is highly required due to the fact that a slight move on the added Y4 filter can alter the bass signature by a lot.
  • Some kind of glue (not superglue) is needed to stick the faceplate again on the shell.
  • The back vent on the shell is open and there's real holes, but it does not help or change the tuning at all. The stock back vent filter already blocks the air on the DD (affecting the bass response), it needs a larger hole at the back of the DD for the shell vent to have some effect on the sound.
  • Removing the back vent reveals a high Q dip around 5kHz (means that the dip around 5kHz is innate with the DD).
  • Adjusting the bass profile somehow improves imaging and separation. The mod is more "detailed" compared to stock.
  • CCA/KZ needs to learn what "U-shaped" is (cause FLA isn't U-shaped at all) and reduce the bass of their recent offerings, their DDs are very capable without the gigabass. Whoever tunes recent KZ/CCA offerings needs some time with non-bassy sets and try to see its appeal to listeners.
PXL_20230105_213803854.jpg
 

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Jan 5, 2023 at 9:28 AM Post #60,619 of 63,593
CCA FLA Mod
1. Removed the faceplate by pulling it with force (applying some force near the 2 pin connector will easily remove the faceplate)
2. Added an additional Y4 filter at the back vent to adjust the bass profile.

PXL_20230105_213651231.jpg
3. Removed the original front nozzle filter.
4. Replaced the original front nozzle filter with two 300 Mesh filter sandwiched together.

PXL_20230105_213722908.jpg
5. Change the cable to a standard 2 pin one for comfort and deep insertion.

Final.png

Notes:
  • CCA FLA seems to use an eartip that has a similarish shape and construction to Kbear10, it is also wide bore.
  • The stock eartips does a good job of reducing the bass quantity by a bit.
  • Removing the stock filter introduces two massive peaks at 2kHz and 4.5kHz.
  • Sounds too bassy and unenergetic stock, the mod restores the bite, removes the bloom while retaining the relaxed signature.
  • CCA seems to be using a 400 mesh filter with metal mesh like the ZEX Pro with the FLA.
  • An interesting but not recommended mod, graphing rig is highly required due to the fact that a slight move on the added Y4 filter can alter the bass signature by a lot.
  • Some kind of glue (not superglue) is needed to stick the faceplate again on the shell.
  • The back vent on the shell is open and there's real holes, but it does not help or change the tuning at all. The stock back vent filter already blocks the air on the DD (affecting the bass response), it needs a larger hole at the back of the DD for the shell vent to have some effect on the sound.
  • Removing the back vent reveals a high Q dip around 5kHz (means that the dip around 5kHz is innate with the DD).
  • Adjusting the bass profile somehow improves imaging and separation. The mod is more "detailed" compared to stock.
PXL_20230105_213803854.jpg
The back filter is very dependent on the filter material I think so it's best to use the same type if you can source them.
 
Jan 5, 2023 at 9:43 AM Post #60,620 of 63,593
The back filter is very dependent on the filter material I think so it's best to use the same type if you can source them.
Hmm..you mean I need to source the stock back filter material?
I'm using this type of material on the back vent specifically (https://www.aliexpress.com/i/1005002584285688.html). Which is I think is commonly used by the manufacturers.
Also the back vent filter on the FLA is weird, it isn't circle like what they are using in the CRA (more of an arc of some sort), I think its a custom filter just for the FLA DD.
 
Jan 5, 2023 at 10:03 AM Post #60,621 of 63,593
Hmm..you mean I need to source the stock back filter material?
I'm using this type of material on the back vent specifically (https://www.aliexpress.com/i/1005002584285688.html). Which is I think is commonly used by the manufacturers.
Also the back vent filter on the FLA is weird, it isn't circle like what they are using in the CRA (more of an arc of some sort), I think its a custom filter just for the FLA DD.
Yes, because I have experimented with the same paper type filters before and they could not reproduce the same curve as the stock back filter which is usually not paper but plastic or anything else. I am not sure if the FLA uses a similar filter as those in your link thou.
This is probably a new design as I am seeing more back vents being placed on the side instead of the centre.
 
Jan 6, 2023 at 6:22 AM Post #60,622 of 63,593
So little update on KZ ZAR,
apparently, per KZ rep,
  • 1. Driver is different.
  • 2. Graph is different.
  • 3. Sensitivity is different
  • 4. Cavity structure is different
---
Its priced $80 (1DD + 7 BA)
324148665_830920908012622_8404373575587949620_n.jpg


Should be pretty interesting, but so little info other that graph.
---

Also reviews on DQS, 1DD, $13~14



 
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Jan 6, 2023 at 7:33 PM Post #60,624 of 63,593
Nope, not biting on the ZAR unless there are some extensive reviews this time. HM20 and whatever the other one was before it are already collecting dust.
Ianfann and Vortex have their review units,
i saw at least one in chifi group in facebook,
so there should be some proper review soon.
---

KZ ZAR, ($78)
https://www.kztws.com/products/kz-zar
(1 DD, 3 x 50024s Midrange BA, 1 x Highfreq 30019s)

Apparently new DD compared to HM20, the BA used is the same tough its a bit different in tuning.
It seems to some, KZ new DD used in CXS outperform XUN7 DD in HM20. ZAR may updated that aspect of HM20,
Seems to have a bit more balanced tuning too, well from HM20 that is.

Bold pricing. especially with so many competitor in $80 segment.




 
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Jan 6, 2023 at 7:46 PM Post #60,625 of 63,593
Ianfann and Vortex have their review units,
i saw at least one in chifi group in facebook,
so there should be some proper review soon.
---

KZ ZAR, ($78)
https://www.kztws.com/products/kz-zar
(1 DD, 3 x 50024s Midrange BA, 1 x Highfreq 30019s)

Apparently new DD compared to HM20, the BA used is the same tough its a bit different in tuning.
It seems to some, KZ new DD used in CXS outperform XUN7 DD in HM20. ZAR may updated that aspect of HM20,
Seems to have a bit more balanced tuning too, well from HM20 that is.

Bold pricing. especially with so many competitor in $80 segment.


Yea consider you can get Truthear HEXA or Truthear’s new offering LCP S-class tuning HALO(HOLA) + Dual CS43198 DAC dongle SHIO (same to iBasso DX160 and Luxury and Precision W2 flagship dongle ) combined for the same budget….$80 MRSP is a bit too ambitious for KZ now…maybe like TRN did to their X7 $29.98…
 
Jan 6, 2023 at 8:10 PM Post #60,626 of 63,593
Yea consider you can get Truthear HEXA or Truthear’s new offering LCP S-class tuning HALO(HOLA) + Dual CS43198 DAC dongle SHIO (same to iBasso DX160 and Luxury and Precision W2 flagship dongle ) combined for the same budget….$80 MRSP is a bit too ambitious for KZ now…maybe like TRN did to their X7 $29.98…
How is the X7? Did you get it to try out how bad it is?
 
Jan 6, 2023 at 8:10 PM Post #60,627 of 63,593
The PR1 HiFi is the cleanest and best KZ I've heard to date. I put it up against my AS12 and, while the AS12 is an 8.5 out of 10 in my book, the PR1 is definitely next level and an easy 9.5 on said level.

PR1 HiFi's separation, imaging and soundstage are surreal.


I purchased the PR1 HiFi because I wanted the all metal shells as opposed to the PR1 Pro shells but the way you guys are talking I will definitely have to order the PR1 Pro because I can't imagine it sounding better than the PR1 HiFi.

FYI, I'm the guy that won't typically spend in excess of $70 or $80.

20221214_235432.jpg

A few questions, though.

I was originally going to order the AS16 Pro because I'm a huge fan of the sub-$20 CCA Lyra and the AS16 Pro is reportedly a more dynamic and more refined Lyra. I can order both the AS16 Pro and the PR1 Pro but any feedback from someone who has both would be appreciated. Would the AS16 Pro be a worthy addition to my collection (I've been collecting since the ED9 was released) or is the PR1 Pro a tier up and in a class of its own at its price?

In addition, I found that the CCA HM20 sounds a great deal like two of my KZ favorites from yesteryear. The HM20 sits right between the ED8 (which has more extension in the sub bass) and HDS3 (which has less sub bass extension but great punchy mid bass). Of course the HM20 is several tiers up but it's as smooth and engaging as both the ED8 and the HDS3.

1471261163552448.jpg
KZ-ED8-Extremely-Strong-Bass-In-Ear-Cool-Stereo-HiFi-Music-Earphone-Headphones-With-Microphone-1.jpg

My question for the KZ veterans is what about the CCA CA16. Is the sound signature similar to the ED8, HDS3 and HM20 warm and smooth presentation. The HDS3 and ED8 were long time favorites back in the day but the HM20 is top dog for that kind of presentation. Would the CCA CA16 be a worthy addition to my collection or is the HM20 a step up from the CCA CA16? If it's different enough I'll pick one up but only if it's not severely outclassed by the very good HM20.

41drQoKIUiS._AC_SY1000_DpWeblab_.jpg

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 
Jan 6, 2023 at 8:12 PM Post #60,628 of 63,593
The PR1 HiFi is the cleanest and best KZ I've heard to date. I put it up against my AS12 and, while the AS12 is an 8.5 out of 10 in my book, the PR1 is definitely next level and an easy 9.5 on said level.

PR1 HiFi's separation, imaging and soundstage are surreal.


I purchased the PR1 HiFi because I wanted the all metal shells as opposed to the PR1 Pro shells but the way you guys are talking I will definitely have to order the PR1 Pro because I can't imagine it sounding better than the PR1 HiFi.

FYI, I'm the guy that won't typically spend in excess of $70 or $80.

20221214_235432.jpg

A few questions, though.

I was originally going to order the AS16 Pro because I'm a huge fan of the sub-$20 CCA Lyra and the AS16 Pro is reportedly a more dynamic and more refined Lyra. I can order both the AS16 Pro and the PR1 Pro but any feedback from someone who has both would be appreciated. Would the AS16 Pro be a worthy addition to my collection (I've been collecting since the ED9 was released) or is the PR1 Pro a tier up and in a class of its own at its price?

In addition, I found that the CCA HM20 sounds a great deal like two of my KZ favorites from yesteryear. The HM20 sits right between the ED8 (which has more extension in the sub bass) and HDS3 (which has less sub bass extension but great punchy mid bass). Of course the HM20 is several tiers up but it's as smooth and engaging as both the ED8 and the HDS3.

1471261163552448.jpg
KZ-ED8-Extremely-Strong-Bass-In-Ear-Cool-Stereo-HiFi-Music-Earphone-Headphones-With-Microphone-1.jpg

My question for the KZ veterans is what about the CCA CA16. Is the sound signature similar to the ED8, HDS3 and HM20 warm and smooth presentation. The HDS3 and ED8 were long time favorites back in the day but the HM20 is top dog for that kind of presentation. Would the CCA CA16 be a worthy addition to my collection or is the HM20 a step up from the CCA CA16? If it's different enough I'll pick one up but only if it's not severely outclassed by the very good HM20.

41drQoKIUiS._AC_SY1000_DpWeblab_.jpg

Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Hey! I had the AS16 Pro and was very disappointed because they had weak bass. Sold them. Then I bought a CCA CA16 PRO, I liked it very much, they sound much more interesting than regular ca16. I also bought a KZ PR1 (not hi fi), this is the next step in sound for me! Great sound, good bass with TRN T2 PRO cable. Now I'm also looking at the CCA HM20. If they are a continuation of CA16 PRO, then I will definitely buy it for myself.
 
Jan 6, 2023 at 8:13 PM Post #60,629 of 63,593
How is the X7? Did you get it to try out how bad it is?
I found there was 28.99 one and cancelled 31.99 one I ordered, then changed mind to same the budget for something useful…like HOLA
 

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