So, KZ’s newest armature-only earphone, the AS06, has arrived! Right off the bat I was pleased to see that one of my recommendations levied at the AS10 and BA10 has been addressed; the packaging.
As you can see, it’s essentially the exact same thing, including the classy metal plaque, but smaller and less wasteful. It still makes the AS06 feel more special than lesser earphones in KZ’s lineup, you just don’t have to deal with an over sized and mostly empty box this time around. I say mostly empty because nothing about the accessories has changed, and the AS06’s more compact packaging is more suitable to the quantity of items provided.
You get the usual Starline/Catbutt tips that I really like, a manual, and their new-ish braided copper cable. A nice carryover from the recent ZSN is the use of preformed ear guides instead of memory wire. Yes!! Not carried over from the ZSN is the 2-pin connectors which are the same as found on the AS10 and numerous other older KZs. I like the new connectors more, but the older ones work perfectly fine and there are already tons of after market cable options available for it, including various Bluetooth modules.
The shells are identical in shape and dimension to the AS10 with its black back half and clear face plate. Unlike a number of recent releases, KZ has chosen to hide the crossover beneath a metallic plate. Printed on this plate is ‘Balanced Armature’ cutting through a large 6. As much as I like the crossover design, I can’t deny this new look is pretty cool. Comfort is identical to the AS10 as well which for me is a good thing. Isolation seems to be even better, especially with the stock tips. Took them out for an hour long walk through the city last night to confirm.
Sound from this triple armature setup is more BA10 than AS10 to my ears, with the AS06 finding a nice balance between all frequencies. The AS10 has a darker, heavier sound than the AS06 with thicker mids and less treble emphasis. I’d still say the AS06 falls short of being a bright sounding earphone, but I know some out there will disagree. Bass is just as enticing as on the other two all-BA earphones in KZ’s lineup with great extension and sub-bass presence. I absolutely love the performance of this low frequency armature and am glad to see it return here. Sound stage is great, offering more space and air than the AS10. I’m not sure if the AS06 bests the AS10 in terms of imaging, layering and separation, but it’s certainly close enough to keep me happy.
I’ll be putting a lot more listening time through these in the weeks to come, but for now, this seems like another safe buy. Like the ZSN, it’s feeling like a killer value for the performance.
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