KZ ES3 – Review

KZ ES3


KZ ES3

| Balanced Armature | 10 mm Driver |




🎧 We are reviewing the KZ ES3, the latest hybrid in-ear headphone from KZ featuring 1 balanced armature and 1 dynamic driver in an hybrid configuration.

The KZ ES3 belong to the latest earphones launched by KZ, among which you can find the:

  • KZ ZS6 (4 driver hybrid in-ear headphone with 2 dynamic drivers and 2 balanced armatures)
  • KZ ZS5 (4 driver hybrid in-ear headphone with 2 dynamic drivers and 2 balanced armatures)
  • KZ ZSE (Double dynamic driver in-ear headphone)
  • KZ ZST (Hybrid in-ear headphone with 1 dynamic driver and 1 balanced armature)
  • KZ ZST PRO Colorful (Hybrid in-ear headphone with 1 dynamic driver and 1 balanced armature)
  • KZ ZS3 (Single dynamic driver in-ear headphone )

The KZ ES3 have a very attractive design and looks with a custom style and a 2-color combination, a translucent housing (aquamarine blue or dark purple) and a glossy black back outer section. The KZ ES3 are intended to be worn with the cables going up and around the ears like most of KZ’s latest earphones.

The KZ ES3 features detachable cables that are rubberized and rounded like most KZ Earphones, the cable connector has a bi-pin design, exactly like the KZ ZS5, KZ ZST, KZ ED12, KZ ZST PRO Colorful and KZ ZS3. There is an inline microphone and 1-button control which can play/pause music, skip songs and answer/reject calls. The KZ ES3 with their hybrid 1DD+1 Balanced Armature configuration, detachable cables and design follows the line of the KZ ZST and KZ ZST PRO Colorful.

The housings of the KZ ES3 have a design and construction similar to the KZ ZST and KZ ZST PRO Colorful, considering also the similar hybrid configuration they could seem like an aesthetically redesigned KZ ZST but there are some differences among them. Regarding design, the KZ ES3 vs KZ ZST are shaped differently, the KZ ES3 is larger with a more “stretched” form and has a clearly longer nozzles section. The KZ ES3 technical specifications declared by Knowledge Zenith differs from the KZ ZSTs models. First of all, the KZ ES3 have a 10 mm dynamic driver vs the KZ ZSTs which supposedly have an 8 mm dynamic driver; the impedance of the KZ ES3 vs the KZ ZST vs KZ ZST PRO is the same (18 ohms); the frequency response of the KZ ES3 is 7-40000Hz while the KZ ZST’s are 20-20000Hz and the KZ ES3’s sensitivity is 106dB like both KZ ZSTs. Said so, we have to highlight the fact that Chinese earphone’s technical specs are frequently inconsistent and may differ even coming from various official sources from the brand; consequently we recommend to take them with a grain of salt, mostly specific technical specifications like impedance, frequency response, sensitivity and in this case even the dynamic driver size. Our KZ ES3 soundtests will show if they actually sound similar or not, keep reading the KZ ES3 review to find it out.

The KZ ES3 durability is on par with the KZ ZST, KZ ED12 and KZ ZST PRO COLORFUL being that the quality and type of the plastics used to build them is practically the same.

To this date you can exclusively buy the KZ ES3 on Gearbest The KZ ES3 was initially exclusively sold at Gearbest but now you can also buy them on Amazon and on Aliexpress. You can choose to get them with or without the inline mic/control detachable cable; the KZ ES3 price for the microphone-included model sometimes is a tiny bit higher.

The KZ ES3 is compatible with any Android and Apple iOS devices.

You can buy online the KZ ES3 in:

MORE: KZ ZS5 Review

SEE ALSO: KZ ZST PRO Review

FIND ALL: KZ Earphones Reviews

MORE: In-Ear Headphones Reviews


W
Weight

KZ ES3 weight in Ounces and KZ ES3 weight in grams.

MORE: In-Ear Headphones Weight Comparison

SEE ALSO: Earphones Size Comparison


A
Accessories & Packaging

The KZ ES3 unboxing will end up with the earphones, a bi-pin detachable cable and 3 pairs of eartips. The KZ ES3 packaging seems to be setting a whole new style with a white minimalist style that has the KZ ES3 specs on the back (a design very similar to Xiaomi In-Ear Headphones Packaging) and a photo of the product on the front. The KS ES3 packaging is conformed of two pieces, a cover with the aforementioned design and the sliding packaging inside that is almost exact same as the latest KZ ZS5, KZ ZSEKZ ZST, KZ ZST PRO, KZ ZS3, KZ ED12 but white colored.

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KZ ES3 - Accessories
KZ ES3 – Accessories

B
Bass/Sub Bass

The KZ ES3 bass is punchy and very deep right out of the box without the need of an equalizer to enhance it. Overall the bass of the KZ ES3 is rich, very energetic and fun, any type of music genre can be listened with them and no insufficiency of bass will be present. Even more bass demanding songs or listeners will feel fulfilled by the KZ ES3’s bass.

Applying an EQ, mid-bass gained a highly stronger amount of punch and mostly sub-bass got insanely deep.

During our extreme basshead tests the KZ ES3 amplification reached 37% of a Fiio E12‘s maximum power with it’s bass boost turned on, set to high gain and applying a custom-made basshead EQ. The results where a mind blowing increase of mid-bass punch and sub-bass depth, the KZ ES3 were certainly following the path of it’s brothers the KZ ZST, KZ ZST PRO and KZ ZS5 but it could not handle as much extreme amplification as the others, therefore, limiting it’s potential to enter the Top Basshead In-Ear Headphones Chart. In spite of this, expect a respectable degree of rumble and impact almost with the KZ ATE‘s level but do not pretend them to provide you the skull crashing level of the Sony MDR-EX7550 / Sony MDR-EX800ST, Pioneer SE-CX8 or Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro, DZAT DF-10, Plextone X41M, BlitzWolf BW-ES1, Sony MDR-XB50AP to name a few.

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MORE: Earphones Amplification Power Comparison

MORE: Best Basshead Earphones

SEE ALSO: Best Fun Sounding Earphones Chart

 

KZ ES3
KZ ES3

Side by Side:


M
Mids/Vocals

The KZ ES3 has mids that are warm but for very demanding listeners lower vocals could sound a bit distant at times when listening to songs with strong bass due to some mid-bass bleeding into lower mids. For normal listeners the KZ ES3’s lower mids and lower vocals will sound clear enough. Higher mids are not rolled off and can get a bit harshy when very strong peaks are reached on the higher mids frequencies .

With an EQ, lower mids clear up magnificently with an almost absolute removal of mid-bass bleed, consequently making lower vocals much clearer and never distant or lacking energy; higher mids get harsher peaks. To be honest, the KZ ES3 higher mids do not need to be bumped up, an EQ reducing the higher end of the mid-bass frequencies or feeding up a bit the lower mids is a better custom EQ for the KZ ES3.

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H
Highs/Treble

The KZ ES3’s highs are bright and are able to resolve a bitsy of detail. Piercing highs and sibilance can only be perceived with very strong peaks or sibilant prone songs, not a level that we consider excruciatingly intolerable but keep in mind that the tolerance and treble-sensitivity is very different with each person. Treble-sensitive people may prefer the KZ ZS5, KZ ZST or KZ ZST PRO, instead, those who prefer brighter highs will prefer the KZ ES3.

Using an EQ, highs get very noticeably brighter and are able to resolve a substantial amount of extra detail; sibilance and piercing highs get strong.

gramophone-256607.5/10

KZ ES3
KZ ES3

SL
Sound Leak

The sound that leaks out of this KZ model is on par with most average earphones, sound will be perceived by nearby people if you use a moderate-high and/or high volume but it will not be too disturbing; on everyday city situations their sound leaking will blend with the city noises without any issues.

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SI
Sound Isolation

Noise isolation of the KZ ES3 is greatly effective, a moderate volume can be used and they will provide a highly attenuated perception of environmental noises.

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KZ ES3
KZ ES3

 

KZ ES3
KZ ES3

C
Comfort

The KZ ES3 housings are very light and due to their form factor and curvatures they are extremely easy to grab and handle. Their fit is very secure and tight while not uncomfortable or pain inducing, the memory cables add up to their solid fit and will make them keep their place under any everyday activities, even while running.

gramophone-256609/10

FIND ALL: Earphones Scores Compared


EQ
Response to Equalization

The response to custom EQs was outstanding on some audio frequencies but also enhanced some issues on other ones. Mids benefited from extremely cleared up lower mids and great reduction of mid-bass bleed but higher mids became harsh; highs added up brightness and detail but sibilance and piercing highs got too harsh; bass gained a crazy amount of mid-bass punch and insane sub-bass depth.

gramophone-256608/10

MORE: Editor’s Picks Earphones Chart

MORE: Best Bang for the Buck Earphones


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Side by Side:


 

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Scores Scores

 

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KZ ES3

Specifications

Specification:

TypeHybrid DD+Balanced Armature
Driver Unit1 Balanced Armature + 10mm Dynamic Driver
Sensitivity106dB/mW
Power CapacityUnknown
Impedance18 ohms
Frequency Response7-40,000Hz
DiaphragmUnknown
MagnetUnknown
CordY-type, round cord
Cord Length1.2m
PlugStereo mini plug
Weight19 g. aprox.
Supplied Accessories2x Earphone tips; detachable cable

MORE: Hybrid Earphones Reviews

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Photos
DISCLAIMER
We highly discourage anyone from trying to apply our testings to your own earphones, the risk of damaging or permanently breaking your iems is absolutely probable to happen.

With our standardized equalization and amplification tests we push the limits of the earphones to the extreme. If anyway you decide to do so, we cannot be held responsible of the damage done to your equipment. Do it at your own risk.

KZ ES3

KZ ES3
8.4

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