KZ DQ6: Back On Top

Greetings!

Today we’re going to drool over the DQ6, one of KZ’s most recent and most interesting (imo) releases in a while.

IMG_0146

The DQ6 is a triple dynamic earphone with one 10mm and two 6mm drivers working in tandem thanks to a tiny crossover. The clear acrylic inner body is composed of two parts neatly glued together with a lovely zinc-alloy faceplate rounding things out. Along with KZ’s snazzy new(ish) logo brandishing the face plate is a slender 4mm long vent. It’s not just for show either since you can see clear through it and into the shell. Also 4mm is the width of the gold coloured nozzles, widening to 5mm at the lip which does a great job of holding tips in place. Ergonomics and isolation are both strong points of this shell which does a good job of keeping outside noise from bleeding in and remains secure and stable even under the most intense head movements.

The cable is another strong point in my opinion. As with a number of new releases from the brand like the ZST X, ZAX, and ZSN Pro X, to name a few, they’ve included with the DQ6 the thicker, more plush and premium feeling silver plated cable that makes their old cables feel out of date. Unfortunately the old-school VSonic inspired hardware remains. While it looks cool, especially in white, strain relief is poor and the blocky design tends to catch on things. Plus, they still aren’t including a chin cinch.

In addition to the earphones and cable, the DQ6 comes with new tips. Gone are the now legendary ‘Starline’ tips, replaced with the same single flange set I first saw on the S2 true wireless model. While I do like these tips, I find the silicone is a bit too soft and thin and as a result getting a reliable seal wasn’t a sure thing like it was with the Starlines. Know what would be cool? If KZ included both types of tips with future releases. Hint hint, KZ 😉

Moving past the visual and physical stuff, how does the DQ6 sound? Really quite good. Certainly better than I was expecting. I’ve tried a couple other triple dynamics in the past. The Geek Wold GK3 was the first and while it looked awesome, Geek Wold needed to spend more time cooking up a solid tune. Rolled off treble, weird timbre, hollow mids, and a tiny sound stage were some of the offending qualities. This was followed up with the unexpectedly great bboooll BOT1. The DZAT inspired design looked nice and was backed by lush, full mids, polite treble, and fairly punchy, well-controlled bass. It could have used more micro detail though, and the fixed cables were a deal breaker for some.

The DQ6 has a light v-shaped signature with impressive coherence between the three drivers within, particularly because this thing is so inexpensive. Treble extends well into the lower brilliance region, sloping off comfortably. This gives the DQ6 a reasonably airy feel with the roll off keeping it from becoming too harsh or irritating. That said, the mild bump at 7k could stand to be toned down a bit since I’m sure it’ll probably bother treble sensitive listeners. While the dynamic drivers used fall behind KZ’s armatures in terms of speed and overall clarity, they sound more natural and notes are presented with better control and tightness. I missed this presentation in a KZ.

The midrange is only slightly recessed with a lift in the upper mids giving them the presence needed to avoid being drowned out or underplayed by the other frequencies. Both male and female vocals are well represented with neither really having much of an advantage. If I were to side with one or the other, I’d give male vocals the nod since the DQ6’s mids aren’t overly thick or warm, qualities that to my ears are more beneficial to female vocalists. Clarity is excellent with good detail overall. Micro detail is a little smoother than those earphones that lean towards a more neutral, analytic presentation, and that’s fine. Timbre is quite natural with just a hint of brightness to throw it off, similar in vein to the KB EAR Diamond.

Heading into the low end the DQ6 sounds more mature than a lot of other models in their lineup. Calling one out, the much more expensive ZAX could take a lesson from the DQ6 on punch and tightness because the low end here is just that; tight and punchy. The presentation is fairly linear too with a slight skew towards sub-bass and restrained mid-bass. The DQ6 doesn’t issue a head-rattling rumble like the Dunu DM-480 and instead presents itself more like Moondrop’s Starfield. You feel the deepest notes, but they don’t take over. The reserved mid-bass region keeps the DQ6 from sounding bloated and adds just the right amount of warmth for my tastes. Notes hit hard and are well-controlled, backed by good texturing. I’d like a bit more grunge and crunch on the dirty notes from Tobacco, but as-is the DQ6’s presentation is satisfying.

The sound stage on offer from the DQ6 is one of its more average qualities. Vocals fall just short of intimate having a default positioning just inside the outer ear. Sounds spread out cleanly from there with distancing stopping around shoulder width. The occasional effect with feel like it shoots off way further into the distance, but that’s not the norm. I had low expectations , but imaging is excellent with channel-to-channel movements being easy to track. Instrument separation and track layering are also quite good. The DQ6 doesn’t surround you with music like the Brainwavz B400 or some other multi-driver units, but it comes closer than I was expecting. It certainly outshines any single dynamic or 1+1 hybrid that I can think of within this price range.

Overall thoughts? This is one of the better products in this price range and easily one of the best earphones to come out of KZ in a while. Outside of that 7k rise, there is little I can think of to complain about. Tossing price back into the equation and my concerns are even less important. This feels like old-school KZ at their peak, and I love it.

Thanks for reading!

– B9

Disclaimer I purchased the DQ6 from the CCA Official Store shortly after it came up for sale for 35.42 CAD. I did not ask for a discount and they did not ask for a review, nor did I have any intention of writing one. The thoughts here are my subjective opinions and do not represent KZ, the CCA store, or any other entity. If you want to buy a set, and I highly recommend doing so, you can scoop up your DQ6 here: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001894623959.html

Specifications

Frequency Response: 20-40,000Hz

Impedance: 24ohms

Sensitivity: 112dB

Cable: 0.75mm 2-pin silver-plated

Drivers: 10mm dynamic + 2x 6mm dynamic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s