Knowledge Zenith: A great place to begin your audiophile journey (Pt. 5)


Welcome to the long overdue finale of my coverage of Knowledge Zenith and a plethora of their earphones, both new and old.

Today we will be closing things out with a couple top five lists. The first will cover my personal favorites, something that was admittedly quite difficult to narrow down. The second will cover the five models I most recommend for purchase when first diving into the brand.

In no particular order, my personal favorites are;

  1. Micro Ring 2. ANV 3. EDR2 4. ED10 5. ZS1 (original w/ crossover)

If you really only care about which to buy, here’s what I recommend;

  1. ED9 2. ATR 3. ZSN 4. ZS10 Pro/ZS7 5. BA10

If you care about the ‘why’ for these lists, keep reading!

B9’s Favorite KZs

Micro Ring


The Micro Ring was the one that started it all for me. First impressions were terrible too. The left housing wasn’t glued together and only one of the included pairs of tips was designed for this style of earphone. Since tip-mounted micro-driver earphones generally have very broad nozzles, nothing I had in my collection worked all that well. To add insult to injury the tips were torn and wouldn’t seal.

The rest of the design and build was pretty nice though. The open back and additional venting lining the spine were cool touches. The cable, while pretty thin, looked nice in blue, retained no memory, and did not tangle easily. It’s still one of my favorite cables to this day.

Due to the above-mentioned problems I set them to the side and spent all my time listening to the EDse which arrived at the same time. Eventually I went back to the Micro Ring to give them a second chance. I glued the housing back together, found a set of tips from Huawei that fit quite well, and tucked in for an extended listen. To my pleasant surprise, the Micro Ring sounded amazing!

In contrast to the EDse’s energetic v-shaped sound, the Micro Ring was warm and neutral with a lush, engaging mid-range. I loved the open soundstage and imaging qualities which drew me into my music. To this day, and amidst all the excellent earphones I’ve been lucky enough to try, most of which are much more expensive, the Micro Ring still proudly sits among my top picks for pure listening enjoyment.

ANV (2014)

I almost passed over the ANV based on all the negative feedback they were receiving in the forums at the time. No bass, harsh treble, etc. etc. etc. Eventually I gave in and picked up a pair. Had to hear this for myself. How bad could they be?

When they finally arrived after taking the long trip from China to Canada, I was immediately impressed with the build quality and design. The fit and finish on the heavy metal housings was excellent. I loved the left and right were not simply denoted by a small L or R, but the entire word in cursive. The cable was fairly thick, did not retain memory at all, and was well relieved. Months later I realized that hidden at the y-split was a chin cinch. Fantastic design.

The sound was great as well, but not without one critical flaw which I’ll get to. The ANV was well balanced with a treble tilt, bass that was smooth and detailed with just enough sub-bass extension to satisfy. It’s mid-range was wonderfully forward, excelling with guitars and male vocals. Treble though, was slightly harsh and metallic. After a bit of toying around, I found a way around this issue; Sony Hybrid tips with a bit of fabric to absorb the treble.


With this mod in place the treble was softened and warmed a touch. I was devastated when a few days later one of the drivers died. I tried a cable swap to see if that was it, but nope, driver failure.

“Oh well”, I thought.

“I’ve got the EDse and Micro Ring to keep me company”

That lasted for about two days before I hopped back onto AliExpress to order a new pair. I noticed most of them were labeled “2014 Edition” and figured I would order one to see if there was any difference. When the replacement arrived, I was one heck of a happy camper.

The 2014 model has been slightly revised. Build was the same, but the treble presentation was immediately smoother and lacking the edginess of the original model. Bass had better extension and a bit more umph to it, a change I did not expect to enjoy so much. While the above mod was no longer necessary, I’ve left it in place and only remove the filter when I’m in the mood for a slightly more exciting listen.


When I ordered the EDR2 I was expecting to receive what was more or less the same product as the EDse, but in silver. That’s not what I got.

The first thing that was immediately noticeable was the weight. The EDse is a hefty little earphone and carries around with it a fair bit of weight. While the EDR2 looks identical, minus the less flamboyant paint job, KZ chose aluminum for the housing this time around. The difference this makes to comfort is astoundingly positive.

Second was the sound signature. The EDse is a fun v-shaped earphone that competes well with the Xiaomi Piston 2.0, a very well-regarded budget earphone that still holds up well even after all these years. The EDR2, or at least my pair, is much more balanced and is about the closest thing to neutral you’ll find in KZ’s modern arsenal. This to me made it unique and instantly appealing. That it’s very competent on a technical level is also a huge plus, as you would expect.

The only reason you won’t find it on the recommended buys list is because opinions are extremely varied, so what I’m hearing isn’t necessarily what you’ll get. That inconsistency knocks them out of the running, but doesn’t stop me from loving the pair I own.


The ED10 was my favorite KZ for quite a while. From the moment I first heard it I knew it was good.

It took the sound of the ED9 with gold filter and refined the treble ditching the splashiness inherent in that model. Bass remained largely the same but with more emphasis on sub-bass regions which is right in line with my preferences. I also found the soundstage to be more open which is always a plus.

Add to it’s great sound a design that was extremely comfortable and matched the shape of my ears quite well, and the ED10 was pure win for me. Even now after the release of the ZS3 and ZST, the ED10 still ticks all the right boxes and is my preferred listen over those two models, although the ZST can’t be touched when it comes to detail and clarity.


The ZS1 is definitely one of my favorite KZ’s, and earphones in general. Not because they sound amazing, but because they entertain like nothing else. While their obscene bass presentation is clearly the focal point, they still have an outstanding mid-range and very clean, detailed treble. You just don’t notice it because your eardrums are being hammered by the low end. It’s awesome.

Add to that a form factor which fits perfectly in my ears and memory wire which bests any other I’ve tried, price not-withstanding, and the ZS1 is also one of the most comfortable earphones I’ve used. Despite the killer bass I can wear and listen to them for hours and hours without fatigue, something I can say about few other earphones.

The ZS1 is pretty much my perfect basshead earphone and I wouldn’t have them any other way. I also love that this particular model is somewhat unique. The current revision no longer has the crossover or brass ring in the nozzle, instead being built (minus the cable) and sounding just like the ZN1 Mini. Not a bad thing as that’s a good earphone in it’s own right.

B9’s Recommended Buys


The ED9 is certainly not new at this point and stands out as something special, even among KZ’s modern offerings. It was their first real step towards a more audiophile sound. The two filter options give you either a fun v-shaped sound (Gold filter), or tone the bass down for a more balanced sound (Brass filter). You’re essentially getting two very competent earphones in one.

The build quality is great as well, though the cable is a little unruly in that it is quite bouncy. Still, it’s durable and well-relieved, and far better than the usually thin, cheap cables you find on earphones from other well-known brands who have offerings in this price range.

While with earlier releases of the ED9 I found the treble presentation somewhat hit or miss which reduced my enjoyment of their sound, that is no longer the case. The ED9 was graced with updated titanium coated drivers (previously bio-diaphragm) that resolved these treble concerns. The signature remains unchanged, they’re just so much more controlled and free of the uncomfortable splash that was on display before. These are still well worth your time and despite being one of the cheapest in the lineup are still one of the best.


The ATR is another model I was hesitant to drop the cash on initially. There were already so many ATE variants on the market, and I was quite pleased with the ATE. It seemed redundant to own both.

After some comments from a Head-fi’er I greatly respect mentioned the ATR was a direct refinement of the ATE sound, and it showed up on Gearbest for ~6 CAD, how could I say no? When it arrived I realized,

“Yup, this is definitely the ATE sound but improved.”

I found the ATE a mid-focused earphone with rolled off bass and treble. The ATR evens things out a bit by improving extension on both ends and adding a little bit of much needed energy to the top end. The additional ventilation on the bottom of the housing also served to improve soundstage a bit. I can’t express enough how minor these changes are, and yet they make it so much more enjoyable of a listen.

To add onto that, build quality is improved with well-defined nozzle ends that make fitting alternate tips a reality. I had to take a nail file to the ATE to give them a proper nozzle lip so that tighter fitting tips wouldn’t slide off.

While I still love my ATE, the ATR is flat out superior in every way to my ears and eyes.


This is KZ’s best earphone in the 20 USD price range since the ED9 was first released. This surprised me as it came in while KZ was dropping release after release, many of which shared the same 1+1 hybrid configuration. How different could it really be?

Well, it took everything that was great about the ZST and flat out made it better. The same shell design is in place but the basic plastic was updated with higher quality acrylics and a wonderfully machined metal face plate. The cable and 2-pin connectors were upgraded substantially and are some of the best KZ has released to date, if not the best. The same basic sound signature as the ZST was in place, but so much more refined. It breathed new life into an old design, and did it very, very well.

This is an outstanding earphone that calls into question why you would ever spend more when you can get this performance from something so affordable. This is KZ in a nutshell, and an earphone anyone can confidently purchase.

ZS7 / ZS10 Pro

You might be asking why there are two iems taking up this spot. While quite different from the outside, they are closely related inside and perform on the same level with slightly varied signatures. Both contain four balanced armatures and one dynamic. Both have high quality shells, one of which is a mix of acrylic and steel, the other all aluminum. Both have removable cables. 

The ZS10 Pro is a little brighter and more vibrant compared to the ZS7 which is a bassier and a hint darker. End to end extension is excellent through both, as is detail, clarity, and texture at all frequencies. They both perform on more or less equal ground but cater to slightly different crowds thanks unique qualities on hand. EDM, rap, pop, and hip hop fans that prefer a robust low end, and/or are a little less resilient to treble, would probably find the ZS7 a wicked companion. Everyone else should be considering the ZS10 Pro. Either is a killer value.



This one is a no brainer. If you are looking for the most for your buck within KZs lineup, look no further than the BA10.

I cannot stress enough how wonderfully build this earphone is. The machining it flawless. The fit and finish is flawless. The cable is a solid upgrade from other KZ offerings with thicker, less tangle prone strands and a more upscale look. Yes, fit can be hit or miss but you can fix that easily enough with some aftermarket tips if it’s a problem.

As well constructed as the BA10 is, the sound quality is what truly sells it. Deep, quick bass with gobs of texture. Forward, natural mids with wonderful articulation. Well-extended, highly controlled treble that gives the presentation tons of space and air. The presentation has that effortless feel you often get from much more expensive earphones. It all pulls together to provide an amazing experience you can easily lose yourself in. If you can afford it, the BA10 is the best KZ has to offer. For now.

One more for the road! This is a headphone and didn’t really fit the theme, but it is a KZ and a worthy one at that.

The LPs was discontinued a long while back, but if you can pick one up I highly recommend it. Not only do that look awesome, “borrowing” their design pretty blatantly from V-Moda, but they are extremely well-built. At the ~35 CAD I paid, this was one of the best deals in portable audio I had experienced at the time.

Not only did I get a decent sounding and durable set of cans, but two cables and a nice hard carrying case. My set did have a problem initially in that one of the removable pads had a hole burnt in it and was too small to fit the ear cup properly. This meant the LPs was pretty much unusable for almost two months while I awaited a replacement pad. However, once that arrived it was game on!

The LPs in stock form is a warm, unapologetically bassy set of cans with smooth treble and a somewhat veiled mid-range. Sound stage isn’t bad as they are heavily vented, and imaging is pretty decent. They are at least as good as most headphones in the 50-100 CAD range that I’ve tried but crush nearly all in terms of build and accessories, most of which are cheap plastic and devoid of extras.

That said, if you feel like pad swapping you can quite easily modify, and in my case, improve their sound further. I picked up a pair of Brainwavz HM5 velour/pleather hybrid pads to try with my HifiMan HE350. That pairing sounded horrible. Tried them with a few other earphones but they too all paired poorly, especially the AKG K553 Pro. Finally, I squeezed them over the LPs’ earcups and wow! What a change for the better.

The additional depth pulls the drivers away from your ears improving sound stage significantly. The semi-open, heavily vented pads reduce mid-bass notably and boost treble presence making the LPs much more balanced and detailed, but don’t get me wrong; they are still bass heavy. Going back to the stock pads, the reduction in performance is unbearable. Comfort too also increases drastically with the HM5 pads as your ears no longer touch the drivers and fit fully within the generous opening.

For you LP/LPs/LP2 owners out there, I cannot recommend enough giving the HM5 hybrid pads a go. They are an excellent match for this headphone.

And that concludes my look at Knowledge Zenith! I hope you found these articles interesting or at the very least helpful, and that whether you’re buying your first or fifth KZ you get something you enjoy. If you haven’t already read the other parts, make sure you go back and check them out.

Be sure to comment and ask any questions below! We are all individuals and hear things differently. I would love to know what your favorites are.

Thanks for reading!

– B9Scrambler

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

38 thoughts on “Knowledge Zenith: A great place to begin your audiophile journey (Pt. 5)

  1. hi b9, i like reading your kz journey.. and also puzzled to choose my first kz.
    i am searching kz for different kind of music pop/hiphop/jazz/edm and also for gaming (which i read should need big soundstage).
    right now maybe kz zst is my choice, or maybe you could give me some suggestion?


      1. ZSR all the way for what you mentioned. The mic are pretty much all the same performance wise, just set within different casings. They work well enough. Nothing mind blowing. They’re just fine for the price.


  2. Awesome blog and very useful. Not bought a kz yet and am pondering over which to get. I am a black and death metal fan. What do you suggest?


    1. Hey Gary 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying the blog. The ED9 would be a good place to start. Nice build, traditional barrel shape, interchangeable filters that you can easily mod if you’re feeling enthusiastic. They’re also still pretty inexpensive.


  3. I just saw your comment on the KZ thread in head-fi and followed the link to here. These posts are amazing! Thank you so much!

    I hope you’ll continue the series with the new KZ models 🙂

    As I have posted few minutes before you to the KZ thread in head-fi; I purchased ATE-S and ZS6 and having some trouble. ATE-S sounds good and if the over-stated treble decreases a little over time, It will be a great headphone. I am really impressed with the detail and clarity on the ZS6 however, highs are UNBEARABLE. Many mentioned this issue with the ZS6 and it makes me think I might have got a defected unit because the highs are not a little too bright, it is simply unbearable. I cant listen MOST tracks with Vocals without my ear hurting (slightly above medium volume on mac, spotify 320).

    I wonder where you would put the ATE-S in your comparison. I can take it as a reference point for the least 🙂 I listen to a lot of electronic music and bass is important for me and apparently, I am not a big fan of crisp highs. I would love to have an earphone that is a little more detailed than the ATE (like ZS6 😦 ) and a little less treble, and a detachable cable like the ZS6! Does KZ have such earphone?

    You’ve listened to pretty much all the KZ earphones out the so any suggestion will be highly appreciated!!

    ps. sorry for my engrish


    1. Glad you found the KZ series helpful 🙂 I’ll be adding in the ZS5, ZS6, and ZSR to part three eventually, just need to find the time.

      The ZS6 definitely has some emphasized treble. Can remedy it with some basic mods; small bore tips with a soft core, Sony hybrids with some fabric stuffed in the nozzle, or what I did, toss on some HiFiMan RE400 filters;

      I haven’t heard the ATE-S unfortunately so I can’t say how they would fit into the lineup. For modern KZ’s with a detachable cable and more relaxed treble, maybe go for the ES3. I don’t own them but took a good listen and found them to more or less be a darker version of the ZST with a bit more low end heft. Really enjoyable. The new ZSR could do the trick as well. Much less treble than the ZS6 but more than the ZST. Falls somewhere in the middle. Has a killer soundstage too. I’m really enjoying it so far.

      If you can find it and are okay with the fixed cable the ED3c (colorful version) would be a good buy since it’s got mellow but detailed treble and really nice mids. Bass lacks some texture, but it’s not bad.

      PS. Never apologize for your English. If you’re not a native English speaker I’d have never known. Big respect from me to those who speak multiple languages. That’s not easy 🙂


      1. I thought I posted my reply already? Anyway, here goes..

        Heya! Thank you for taking the time to reply. I had the chance the skim through your blog over the weekend and I loved it. I wish you could review a well known/popular earphone every now and then so novice readers like me can have an idea of reference as how do these compare to the earphones they see on BestBuy racks, from your perspective. Anyway, that’s just a suggestion. Your blog definitely has a new fan! 🙂

        I found out about the slater mod and I was thinking of doing that but the filter seems much simpler. I wonder how it affects the rest of the spectrum. After reading many helpful comments such as yours, I ordered an ES3 and a Bluetooth cable and I can’t wait to have them.

        Even though I truly enjoy it, I realized that ZS6 signature is not well fitting to my general listening habits. I enjoy listening many genres but most listen time definitely goes to electronic genres like psytrance, drum&bass and progressive house, mainly because subtle details and repetitive nature of these genres feel soothing and also greatly helps me focus as well. Even during exercise, that would be the first music of choice and a warmer signature would help me increase the volume a little higher than average to get a motivation boost whilst preserving my ears from the piercing highs.

        After this realization and much reading later I understood that my initial instincts were true and Yamaha EPH-100, at 200$, is still the best earphone for my main use. It is a little pricey so the current plan is going with the ES3 for a while to see how I will like it and ordering the Yamaha EPH-100 sometime later. Who knows, if ES3 is satisfactory, I might shift my attention to Grado Open-back for home use 🙂

        If you have the chance, I would love to hear your thoughts on my impressions 🙂

        This became quite a long read 🙂 anyway, hopefully, someone will find it helpful.

        Thank you again so much for the suggestions! Can’t wait to see your new posts 🙂



      2. Thanks for the comment. Sorry for the late reply (again). Been sick with a nasty flu. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog though!

        I wasn’t planning on reviewing name brand stuff anytime soon for a couple reasons. My review queue is already huge and I just don’t have the time to cover everything. Also, when I was first starting out in the hobby I purchased a TON of name brand earphones trying to find something I truly enjoyed. Outside of JVC’s carbon nano-tube lineups and a couple random Sony earphones, the Chinese gear I was picking up off AliExpress either performed better or just as well at a fraction of the price. A 10-15 CAD iem from a more well-known brand or store, in my experience, is a joke beside a comparatively priced earphone from KZ, Auglamour, or some other brands you don’t find in stores here in North America. There are some exceptions, like the House of Marley Uplift which holds it own surprisinly well against the Meze 12 Classics and 11 Neo, but examples like that are few and far between I’ve found. I did pick up a few mainstream headphones to review last year, like the Polk Audio Buckle, AKG K403, and A-Audio A01 Legacy to review, but I just haven’t gotten around to them. Also have had the AKG K553 Pro for a couple years and wanted to cover them at some point.

        I listen mostly to Liquid Drum and Bass and while the ZS6 is good for it, the treble can be offputting and take away from the trance-like and soothing nature of that genre. I suspect the ES3 will be better for it. That said, you might actually want to look into the JVC HA-FXH30. That is still my personal favorite under 100 USD iem and those who have owned it and the EPH-100 have found them pretty comparable. Out of all the mainstream stuff I’ve tried, JVC’s gear hits the mark more often than not.

        If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can view my headphone inventory on Head-fi in my profile. It’s not entirely up to date though, and is missing much of most current gear. I can give impressions/comparisons if you ask since I still have most of it. Some I’ve given away, others have broken.


      3. I’ve had the ZSN for about four months and like them but want to upgrade. Would getting the ZS10 pro be a improvement over the zsn? Looking for something with more sub bass.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hi Chris,

        The ZS10 Pro would be an upgrade, just not a huge one. Not sure of your price range, but I’d be looking at the KB EAR Diamond or maybe the Shozy Form 1.1. I haven’t tried the 1.1 yet, but I do have in the 1.4 and apparently they are very similar. The 1.4 is easily one of my favorite earphones this year and it has some pretty amazing bass.

        – B9


  4. Great article. I came from the Xiaomi Pistons V3 and now looking to buy a KZ. I’m stuck with 3 choices : ED4 ED7 and HD9. I’m a electronic music fan. Particularly house and electronica. And I play games with it too so bass is important to me as well as clear highs and mids. I prefer an almost flat sound with a slight bump on the bass side.


    1. Thanks! Sorry for the delayed response. ED4 is no good. They’ll be way too aggressive. ED7 I haven’t heard but I’ve read it’s similar to the ATE/ATR. Could be good. HD9 is mid-range focused with a sub-bass tilt. Mid-bass is scooped out so you might feel the low end lacking. It’s an uncommon signature that takes some adjustment if you’ve never heard anything like it.


    1. Awesome! I can tell you now they are very enjoyable. For a decent DAP, see if you can find a good deal on something from Shanling. I’ve got the M1 and it’s pretty great. Small, powerful, has Bluetooth, can act as a dedicated amp for other devices, etc. The amount of features packed into something so tiny is nuts.


      1. That was what I was wondering. While I do very much like the Bluetooth and DAC features (it can act as an amp too?), I would primarily use it as a DAP. I have been looking at the Benjie K3 (AGPtek M29) or the Ruizo A50 HD ( While I like the Shanling M1 for the design and excellent first party support, the others (especially the Ruizu A50 HD) do have rather good function and form, and their prices ($45 CAD and $97.68 CAD respectively) is more within my budget for a complete portable audio system ($200 CAD, storage extra).


  5. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this. I finished reading all four parts and it was very informative and entertaining.

    One thing I wondered while reading through the articles is what I should get for myself. My choice of music is rather varied with a lot of instrumental/electronic music, hip hop, rap, rnb, rock (classic, modern, and alternative), and latin. I owned the Head-Direct RE-252 (accurate) and SoundMAGIC HP100 (goosebumps level sub-bass) and loved them for their neutral sound signature and large sound stage. I was wondering if there is an IEM close to either of those in sound from Knowledge Zenith.


    1. Thanks for taking the time to read it all, haha! Glad you enjoyed it. Also, sorry for the late reply.

      Unfortunately I haven’t tried either of those earphones and nothing from KZ could truly be considered neutral. I listen to mostly classic rock, drum and bass, and hip hop and found the ZS3 really nice for all of those genres. The ZST is a brighter alternative with more impressive technical abilities. They’re a little hot up top though. I found both to have good sound stages for budget iems.

      I just got the new ZS5 quad-driver hybrid in. It sort of takes the best of both the ZS3 (low end and mid-range) and ZST (detail, clarity, treble extension) and combines it into one earphone. Still too aggressive to be neutral though. Hoping to have a review up in the next couple weeks. Might want to consider them as they’re pretty darn inexpensive for both the sound quality the output and that they have two dynamic drivers and two balanced armatures, per side. Bonkers!


  6. So I found myself a few zs3 sellers, but one thing bothered me: the zs3s were offered in different colored cables, there were black and grey ones. Any particular difference between the 2?


    1. I doubt there would be any difference, except to maybe the ear guides. My pair does not have memory wire. They just use simple, formed tubes to guide the wire around your ear. This seems to have been replaced with proper memory wire on recent KZ revisions. KZ has a habit of making subtle updates and changes to their earphones over time.


  7. Hi friend, nice blog, very informative. But I’m having a problem picking my first ever KZ earphone.

    I listen to most music genre but my usual thing is rock and classics. I love some bass and crazy with electric guitar solos especially from the late Prince.

    I have this cheap 7.1 surround audio USB headphone and I really love the sound of it. But I’d like to have an earphone where I can carry anywhere which hopefully can at least give me some of the delight I get from my headphone.

    Can you recommend the best KZ earphone for me please?

    I had the Xiaomi Pistons 2 before but my sister took it from me 🙂 I’d love to get a new better sounding than that of the Pistons 2.

    Thank you friend.


    1. Thanks for the kind comments 🙂 The ZS3 sounds like it would be a good option for you. It’s not as bright as the Piston 2 though, so if you’re worried the lessened treble presence would be an issue, ED10 would be a better option. ZST could also be a decent pick, but their treble might be too aggressive.


      1. Hi friend, thank you so much for taking time to reply. Hey you should monetize your blog. For sure you thought of it already or is going there. And not that you need the money but why not? 🙂 i’ll turn off my adblock for you. hehe.

        So friend, I’m not sure if you’ve tried Xiaomi Pistons Pro HD. Do you think it’s better to get than KZ’s offerings?

        I tried to find KZ ED10 from ali as it seems that one is your favorite but it’s no longer there. With KZ3 and KZT sounds like I’ll miss a hefty feature on each of them. So what do you think about Pistons Pro HD?


      2. You are very welcome. Thanks for the suggestion to monetize. I appreciate that you would remove adblock for me, haha!

        I haven’t tried the Pro HD, but I’ve got the Piston 2 and 3 which are both quite nice. I’m sure the Pro HD is good too, so give it a shot. The KZs are always cheap enough that you could get one later on down the road if they’re still of interest.


  8. Did you ever got your hands on the KZ IE 8? I’m waiting for them right now and I’m curious about their sound. Glad to see some KZ love around here also. Really wonderful blog congrats.


    1. Thanks Rafael! I haven’t heard KZ’s IE model but they’ve been sitting in my AliExpress cart for a while now. I’ll pick them up eventually I’m sure, lol. Looking forward to your impressions though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They’re an older budget earphone, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they were a little rough around the edges. Haven’t heard any Beyers yet, but I do like me some AKG 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, thanks. Just checked thebothwrs on the list and while they seem to have good reviews, they all cost near 30 bucks at least. zs3 it is then lol, thanks again.



    1. Are you Canadian? Most of my viewers are from the US, Europe, or Asia/Pacific so I just assume USD (maybe not the best idea, lol).

      The K2S is under 20 CAD on AliExpress, but shipping is iffy;

      The SOMiC V4 is 24 CAD on Gearbest and are well worth the extra couple bucks. One of the best budget earphones I’ve heard;

      Can’t go wrong with the ZS3 though!

      – B9


      1. I’m SE asian, but yeah prices I mentioned were in USD. Nah the prices aren’t wrong. I suspect it’s either the importer charging for insane profits or taxes at play, oh well. Given this country’s record for uh, transparency I doubt I’ll ever find out lol.

        Is the v4 significantly better?

        I’ll shop around and see if I can find the v4 for less, but it’s good to know I have one option already, for a mere $12-15 at that.



      2. I think the V4 is crazy good, and well worth the extra. Only thing is, without the right fit they’ll sound terrible, and getting a good fit is more difficult than it should be due to the stock tip choice, shape of the housing, and stubby nozzle. I would highly recommend spending an extra dollar and ordering a set of KZ “Starline” tips with them. I’ll update the review with a link because the URL is hilariously long.


  10. Thank you for the extensive review of these models. I’m currently looking for one of these super budget iems and am currently stuck between the zs3 and zst.
    Mainly listen to edm, pop, hip hop, r&b, soul, a bit of poprock and the like. Oh and they’re mostly female vocals.
    Which one would you recommend? I was leaning towards the zst at first until I read a couple of reviews referring to them as junk with cold and unnatural sound. Can only afford one for now so I’m.very careful at making my choice lol.
    Thanks a lot in advance


    Liked by 1 person

    1. G’day Mouse. The ZST is great but for EDM, hip hip, and especially female vocals, the ZS3 would be the better option. It has a warmer, thicker presentation that is more suitable for what you listen to. I found the ZST a little uneven in the mid-range with a dip in the upper mids. They’d be a better option for male vocals, rock, metal, etc. ZS3 all the way.


      1. Thanks for the input! Glad I got this info before finally pulling the trigger. Btw if you exclude the zs3, any other sub $20 pairs your’d recommend?



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