KZ HDS1 ($8-$12).

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With HDS1, KZ went back to their traditional “formula” of small lightweight single dynamic driver thiết kế (this one has a small 6mm driver). It was nice to see all these bright fresh colors, instead of a traditional black or silver, and the build unique was solid metal. The shells have a clear L/R marking, short but sturdy strain relief, typical KZ thin cable with a rubbery/sticky shielding. Y-splitter was nice and small, but surprisingly it didn’t have any strain relief at the ends which I prefer to lớn have. The headphones connector was their traditional right-angle gold-plated plug. The fit worked both ways, wired up and wire down.

There was also in-line remote w/mic on the right side of the cable, but it was very cheap và plastic. I wish they would have used a sturdier metal capsule because if you crack this in-line remote – you expose the wire connection (speaking from a personal experience of another headphone pair that went straight khổng lồ garbage). I also sensed some cable microphonics. Last, but not least, sound isolation is poor due to 3 large vents on the back of the shell – great for an mở cửa airy sound, but not good if you’re looking for a passive noise isolation.

When it comes to a sound analysis, HDS1 offers a nicely tuned mid-centric signature with a focus on mids clarity & resolution – great for vocals! A found very little sub-bass, nearly rolled off, and mid-bass had a neutral fast tight punch. Lower mids are lean, missing warmth of full body, while upper mids are the focus of the tuning – clear and detailed, & at the same time not a hint of harshness or graininess. Treble is extended, bright, crisp, well defined and not sibilant at all. The sound is mid-centric & airy, but at the same time missing some organic warmth và natural body. Instead, you will get a detailed resolving vocals, neutral unique low end, nice sparkly treble, và overall non-fatigue extended listening experience. Soundstage has a great width, an average depth, & slightly below average height.


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KZ ED3c ($17).

ED3c is another step closer khổng lồ a traditional KZ design & sound. Here you will find a solid build quality, all metal lightweight shell in different bright colors (looking lượt thích the màu sắc was baked in), và a nice strain relief around the shell. KZ decided to vày something more original by using handwriting phông to spell the Left/Right which looks classy, but also hard khổng lồ read, so I was using in-line remote on the Right side as my indicator since shells are symmetrical. The cable has typical KZ multi-color wires with rubbery shielding, small rubbery y-slitter with strain relief on each end, & a traditional 90-degree gold plated headphone connector. Microphonics was just average, và sound isolation was not bad at all if you use the correct kích thước eartip & considering a small pinhole air-vent next lớn the cable attached to the shell.

I found ED3c to have L-shaped signature with a nice low end extension & a strong bass impact. Sub-bass has a nice heft, adding an underlying weight to tư vấn fast mid-bass punch. Bass itself is not very articulate or super tight, but has an Ok control and strong impact which tilts the sound toward the low end. Lower mids are warm and full but not muddy, upper mids are clear smooth but not very detailed. Actually, mids sound a bit artificial, especially vocals. Treble is clear, a little rolled off, smooth & non-sibilant. Though I hear overall sound lớn be more L-shaped than V-shaped due to a treble roll-off, I still wouldn’t consider these khổng lồ be basshead headphones. Soundstage was also nice with slightly above the average width/depth/height.


KZ ZN1 ($29.99).

Referred khổng lồ as Smart Headset, ZN1 has a dual dynamic driver (8mm for bass/mids & 6.8mm for treble) with two independent sound chambers combined at the nozzle và a smart control unit with dual TI amplifiers. The control/amp unit requires to lớn be charged (through micro-usb connector), with a battery lasting up lớn 10hrs, & it has an independent digital volume control +/- buttons, bass adjustment +/- buttons, và treble adjustment +/- buttons. While being adjusted, these parameters are displayed with corresponding values on a small high contrast OLED display. Furthermore, you also have a multifunction button lớn pick up and to answer the calls, và a separate nguồn button.

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The control unit is a bit bulky and adds some weight to lớn the cable while serving as “y-splitter”. Also, the cable from the control unit khổng lồ 3.5mm gold plated angled connector is thick, & L/R cables going to lớn earpieces are also on a thicker side. Earpieces are big enough lớn house two dynamic drivers, have a plastic housing, và a durable build that can withstand some abuse. They have a clear L/R marking, multi-venting for expanded open sound, & a short strain relief which is not a problem due to lớn a thickness of the cable/shielding attached lớn earpieces.

In terms of a fit, earpieces themselves are very comfortable & fit secure with a wire over the ear. But the added weight of control/amp unit & thick cable is not very comfortable to lớn walk around with. Another thing, I was able to pair it up without a problem with my smartphones & tablets, but to work with DAPs you need TRRS to lớn TRS adapter. With a điện thoại cảm ứng thông minh it works in a powered and a passive modes, while with DAPs it only works in a powered mode & with an adapter. In my opinion ZN1 strength is NOT in a portable use, but rather khổng lồ use with your điện thoại thông minh or tablet for a portable entertainment, such as watching movies, videos, and playing games.

ZN1 gives you a full theatrical experience of an open/surround amplified detailed sound where you can adjust the depth và the impact of the bass và increase or reduce the definition và sparkle of the treble. Sure, you can also listen & enjoy your music while you are relaxing in the chair or on a couch, but walking around – I wouldn’t recommend. Và if you run out of battery, you can still enjoy the sound in a passive mode, though without volume/bass/treble adjustment. In summary, I found it lớn be not as useful with my DAPs, but very useful with my smartphone and Tablet.


KZ ZS1 ($14-$16).

While testing ZN1, I was happy how it paired up with my smartphone, but wasn’t able khổng lồ enjoy it lớn a full potential with my DAPs. It was a bit frustrating to lớn the point where I was ready to lớn “convert” ZN1 into a passive wired IEMs, but I’m glad that I didn’t. I’m sure KZ received a lot of feedback from their users, & decided to lớn answer with ZS1 version which is basically a passive wired ZN1 without control/amp unit.

Just lượt thích ZN1, ZS1 features a dual 8mm & 6.8mm dynamic drivers with a nearly identical plastic shell and xuất hiện vents, and the same L/R clear marking. Cable is thinner, closer lớn a more traditional KZ wires with their typical 90deg tai nghe plug, rubbery shielding, small y-splitter with a nice strain relief on each end, and in-line remote/mic going lớn the right earpiece for điện thoại thông minh control. Everything was good until you get closer khổng lồ earpieces where you have a rather long and stiff memory wire. I guess KZ decided not to lớn use memory wire with ZN1 because wires stayed put behind your ears under the weight of control/amp unit, while not the same case with ZS1 – but they made it too long và stiff. Again, this is not a show stopper that going to lớn affect a comfort of wearing ZS1, but I would have preferred a shorter memory wire và without a plastic termination bead at the end. Every time I take them off for storage và put them back on, I have lớn go through re-shaping of the memory wire which becomes a bit annoying.

With a design & fit out of the way, the next stop was a sound test. I was pleased khổng lồ see that ZS1 had no issues working with any of my DAPs in addition to điện thoại thông minh and tablet, but as soon as I start playing the music, my ears got blasted with a serious BASS cannons!!! I have no idea why KZ decided to lớn tune ZS1 khổng lồ a basshead extreme. We are talking about L-shaped sound signature with an overwhelming bass slam. Low over is deep & extended, from a thick thumping sub-bass lớn a boomy elevated mid-bass – both dominating the sound. But surprisingly, even with such massive impact, there was still room for a chất lượng mids, though pushed all the way back in quantity. Lower mids have a full smooth body toàn thân and upper mids have a nice clarity with smooth details. Even treble has a nice definition, though not as much airiness or brightness. Also, soundstage was pretty good, though with more depth than width.

Not wanting khổng lồ give up, I started lớn tweak EQ and discovered that ZS1 has A LOT of potentials and can be transformed into a decent pair of headphones when you cut 6dB around 30Hz & 3dB around 60Hz. As soon as you trim that low end thumping and booming, you make a room for mids và treble to lớn come up, resulting in a more balanced and smooth detailed sound. This EQ cut easily transforms ZS1 into a solid pair of great sounding headphones with a more ear-friendly tuning và a balanced organic detailed sound. Typically, I’m not a fan hâm mộ of using EQ, but sometime I can make an exception và SZ1 was it. But moving forward, I wish KZ would retune their sound signature to lớn cut down on bass and to shorten the memory wire.