So I just bought the KZ ZS5 and I knew I’ve paid way too much for them (50$CAD) when you can get them for around 30$ – 40$. The KZ ZS5 is a budget IEM with QUAD drivers! Yes, 4 drivers per side. It consists of 2 balanced armatures and 2 dynamic drivers.
Now, I’m an amateur reviewer so my opinions may be off a bit. I came to these as a temporary replacement because of my bad experience with the FIIO F5 (I got the MMCX cable problem people were talking about) and my M6 Pro, which I loved but the drivers broke after I had them for more than 2 years ;(.
- Detachable cables (NO OTHER earphone of this price range has)
- The soundstage that is wide and clear
- Clear mids
- The burn-in time (about 10-15 hours of listening pretty painful at the beginning but don’t give up!)
- The SHITTY wire… really recommend on getting the replacement wire.
- The ear tips are also bad. Get the ones that the Editor recommended. They look great.
Box: The packaging was really.. I mean it’s a box hooray… It came with 3 swappable silicone tips at small, medium and large but had no carrying case/bag/container. It really didn’t give me a good impression.There were no surprises with the accessories either. Everything from the detachable cable, the tips and the IEM itself, with bits of plastic hanging like it was badly molded, screams budget!.
Cable: Really really cheap. Springy, thin, shit feeling in general. It felt like I could break them in 2 with a good thug (Luckily, the cable is detachable and can be replaced with a great replacement cable). I also had DIFFICULTIES sticking the damn cable in.
- Driver Diameter: 2 Balanced Armature + 2 Dynamic Driver
- Impedance: 18ohm
- Sensitivity: 106dB
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Check Headphone Power Calculator to see if your device can power the KZ ZS5 sufficiently.
Bass: It’s there, kinda muddy but it’s there.
Mids: Lots of people say these headphones are great in the mids, I would agree as the vocals are pretty well detailed.
Trebles: “Fuck” is what I said when I first listened to the ZS5. It’s so fucking high it sounded like it was piercing my skull. Combine with the insane highs and muddy bass, it was just unlistenable. And that was the first second of me putting them on. I don’t usually judge that fast and I have experienced the feeling where you wear a headphone for the first time and gets disappointed but subsequently grew to love them afterward (eg. ATH M40x).
Hence, I went back and listened to them for 3 hours straight. My ears start to get used to the sound signature and now the highs just sound alright (it is still a bit bright but with drastic improvement).
Soundstage: Again, none of these aspects sounded good to me when I put them on the first time but after a prolonged listening session, the soundstage sounded wiiide and nice. Can’t really say the same about instrument separation thought. If I had to rate it, it would be a 6/10 for separation.
You’re NOT gonna like it, I repeat, you WILL NOT like these when you first get them.
You have to listen for a pretty long time to let the drivers burn in and your ears to adapt to it. These budget IEMs are great value if you can overcome that couple of rough hours. Where else could you find a IEM that cheap and comes with 4 drivers?
Other budget headphones that you might be interested in: