| 8.2 mm Driver |
? We have already reviewed the newer versions of the KZ ATE and the KZ ATR but we had skipped to review the KZ ATES version. KZ made several versions of ATE models, including the KZ ATE and the KZ ATES, although they look very alike there are some details that makes it easy to visually identify them.
The KZ ATES is the one that has memory cables and a red cable connection on the housings while the KZ ATE has golden colored metal connections and no memory cable. Another aspect that is different is the packaging and accessories included, the KZ ATES comes inside the classic first generation KZ cardboard dark box, which is simple and tiny while the KZ ATE comes in a hard plastic box with cables guides and several ear tips.
The KZ ATES has translucent housings that allow the inner guts to be clearly seen; the material of choice for their construction is plastic but the quality feels solid and sturdy. The form factor of the housings and the cable positioning is intended so that you use them with the cables passing above and around the ears. This style of wearing is something shared with the KZ ZS1, KZ ZS2 and the latest generation of KZ earphones including the KZ ZS5 (hybrid quad driver), the KZ ZST (balanced armature + dynamic driver) and the KZ ZS3. If this is the first time that you wear an earphone with this style of fit you will have to get used to it but once you are familiar with it they will provide excellent fit and comfort.
The cables of the KZ ATES are rounded, very rubberized and solidly built, the material of the cables helps out combating tangling issues. The KZ ATES can be bought with an inline microphone and 1-button microphone or without it, the version without the mic/control will most probably make you save a tiny bit of money.
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SEE ALSO: KZ ZS5 Review
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KZ ATES - Review
Tests & ScoresW
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Accessories & Packaging
The KZ ATES are packed inside a tiny dark cardboard box with 2 extra eartips provided besides the foam eartips already provided on the earpieces.
Bass & Sub Bass
The KZ ATES have fun and punchy bass, stronger than the KZ ATE (not radically stronger though). Sub-bass is also deep and overall provide a full bodied and energetic experience with no shortage of bass at any given moment.
Applying an EQ, sub-bass depth showed a huge increment.
Putting the KZ ATES through our extreme bass tests with a custom basshead EQ and amplifying with a Fiio E12 set to high gain and with it’s bass boost turned on, they were able to handle 45% of the Fiio’s maximum power. Expect an exponential increment with basshead impact on the same level of the KZ ATE.
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Mids & Vocals
Mids of the KZ ATES are very warm and smooth but can feel lacking energy on the lower vocals at times. Comparing the KZ ATES vs KZ ATE, the KZ ATES are warmer, boomier and suffer from a bit more recession of the lower end section of the mids frequencies. On the other hand, the KZ ATES do not present harsh higher mids as the KZ ATE does, in this matter the KZ ATES would be a smoother version of the KZ ATE. With an EQ, mids clear up but loose some of their “smoothness” despite not becoming boxy nor harsh.
Highs & Treble
The highs of the KZ ATES are darkish with a very small amount of detail. Piercing and sibilant highs are not present. Comparing the KZ ATES vs KZ ATE, the KZ ATES are darker but less fatiguing than the KZ ATE due to their piercing-free highs. Applying an EQ the highs open up a bit with some extra detail gained too while remaining with no piercing nor sibilant highs.
The sound that leaks out of this IEM is extremely low, almost imperceptible. They are among the best for private listening sessions and library use.
The KZ ATES manage to effectively isolate noises even while using low and moderate volume.
SEE ALSO: KZ ATE Disassembly
The KZ ATES have the same housing shape of the KZ ATE and have the added feature of memory cables, the KZ ATE was already a very comfortable earphone to wear and the KZ ATES shares also this with the ATE. You can wear them for prolonged time with no pain nor any risk of falling from the ears.
Response to Equalization
The KZ ATES had a good response to custom EQ, bass got highly stronger; mids and vocals sounded much clearer and highs gained some detail and opened up a bit.
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KZ ATES Frequency Response
|Y-type, round cord
|L-shaped Stereo mini plug (gold plated)
|Weight (Without Cord)