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.

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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included with the DQ6 the thicker, more plush and premium feeling silver plated cable that makes their old cables feel out of date.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

23 comments

    1. Hello!

      It would be a side grade. If you find the ZS10 Pro too v-shaped, give them a go. Otherwise no real point. If you wanted something similar sounding, maybe check out the Kinera BD005 Pro. Has a very KZ-esque tune.

      – B9

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    1. Sorry to hear that. No, that’s unlikely to change anything. It’s less aggressively v-shaped than most products in the price range so it lacks the “wow” factor some need. You’d be better off applying EQ and adjusting to preference. Wish you luck!

      – B9

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      1. Maybe bump upper treble (~7k) and mid-bass (~100Hz) a bit. Should give them some more energy and vibrancy. Best to experiment though to see what matches your tastes.

        – B9

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    1. Hello! DQ6 and ZSX have a very similar tune. DQ6 is more balanced with less bass and treble and more forward mids. ZSX is more detailed but I found the low end to be a bit too loose. Overall I prefer the DQ6. Feels like a more mature sounding, better tuned product. In tersm of size, the DQ6 is smaller but the ZSX’s shape is more simple and slightly more comfortable. It doesn’t isolate as well. Note that the DQ6’s stock tips are pretty hit or miss (pretty small and very soft silicone; might be tough to get a good seal) and you might need to replace them out of the box. ZSX includes KZ’s usual ‘Starline’ set which I think are fantastic. For my money I’d get the DQ6, but if you want a more v-shaped sound, additional detail, and better tips in the box, the ZSX might be worth stepping up to. Hope this helps!

      – B9

      Like

  1. Hey B9. I am in the dilema between a KZ ZNS PRO X, KZ ZAX and the DQ6. What im looking for is just a balance in most things im not so keen on the bass so i dont mind if its off or a little weak also the price doesnt affect my choice too much. Im wondering how do the IEM work at low volume as with some before i had a problem they would muffle the audio at low volume if you have any expirience / reccomendations appreciate the help. 🙂

    Thanks in advance

    -Victor

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Victor.

      I’d personally go with the DQ6. The ZSN Pro X sounds the same as the regular ZSN Pro (so get this instead imo) and they’re quite bright. Good for low volumes so it might be a solid pick pending you’re not planning to raise the volume. The ZAX is pretty good but the bass is sloppy which I found a major turn off. The DQ6 isn’t as detailed as the other two but it is the most balanced and genre versatile. They are all tuned along the same curve with the Pro X and ZAX being more v-shaped. I listen at lower volumes than most (typically ~60-70dB, up to 80dB at time for short periods) and never found the DQ6 muffled. Hope this helps!

      – B9

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    1. Thanks for the question. DQ6 overall, but ZSN Pro X if you prefer a stronger bass and treble presence. If going for the Pro X, you can save yourself a few bucks and stick with the regular ZSN Pro instead since the tuning is exactly the same.

      – B9

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  2. Quick question, I have some of the t500 foam tips laying around and was wondering if they could still fit these with the reduced soundhole which i believed you indicated is around 4mm and these tips are good for 5mm

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sounds like they might be a bit loose. The nozzle on the DQ6 is a bit smaller than standard. Unless you want the tips to get stuck in your ears, I’d look to pick up something with a smaller core (maybe T400 would fit?).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks! It’s really helpful 🙂
    If I may ask, which IEM would you recommend it to me? I’m looking for an IEM with good soundstage, good imaging, good instrument separation and good detail/resolution. I appreciate a good balanced tuning, but I like when the bass is deep and noticeable. Would you recommend a IEM with that characteristics under $60? I was thinking on the Moondrop SSP and the KZ ZAX, but maybe there’s another option.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad to hear that! You’re welcome 🙂

      ZAX would be a good choice since it’s bassier than the DQ6. SSP is a lovely iem but keep in mind that if you’re used to a lot of bass, it might come across lacking in that regard. If you can find the Shozy Form 1.1 on sale that would be my pick. Otherwise go for the ZAX. Sounds like you want a solid all-rounder and any of these (SSP to a lesser extent) should do the trick.

      – B9

      Like

      1. Thank you!

        As you noticed, I’m looking for an all-rounder IEM. I had a TRN BA5 that died a week ago, and to be honest I never liked too much. I have also a KZ ZSN, and I prefer it over the BA5. I always felt the BA5 have a weak bass and not enough resolution for my taste. It’s awesome how good can be the ZSN considering it’s price haha.

        I looked for the Shozy Form 1.1 and I’ll have it in consideration. I hadn’t heard about it before. I’m also going to think a little more about the ZAX vs SSP dilemma and see if I can decide for the correct IEM for me this time.

        Again, thank you for your help 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Felipe,

      I’d have to go for the DQ6. ZAX has the edge when it comes to raw detail and clarity, but the bass is a bit slow and loose. Timbre isn’t as accurate either. Plus it costs a lot more, lol.

      Fav under 60? Moondrop SSR and SSP, without question.

      Hope this is helpful!

      – B9

      Like

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