| Balanced Armature | Dynamic Driver |
? KZ ZSA, the latest budget release from KZ with a design and performance that exceeds a “budget model” label.
The KZ ZSA is one of the latest hybrid earphones launched by KZ this year. Differently to the KZ ZS10 and KZ ZS6, the KZ ZSA is born as a much more budget-friendly model, costing way less than the other 2 models.
The KZ ZSA features a dual driver setup with 1 balanced armature + 1 dynamic driver, this is the same type of driver’s configuration of the KZ ZST, KZ ES4, KZ ES3, KZ ED15 but KZ is stating that the KZ ZSA has a a new capacitive frequency division technology that smooths-out the interaction between the DD and the BA and makes use of a newly developed balanced armature – the dynamic driver of the KZ ZSA has a diameter of 8 mm.
The housings are built in metal with the same quality of the KZ ZS6. In fact, the general aesthetics have a strong legacy from the superb KZ ZS6 – they look somewhat like a “Mini Me” version of the KZ ZS6 but with curvier and smoother forms. The back plate of the housings have 3 vents and 3 screws.
The size and general footprint of the KZ ZSA have been dwarfed, in comparison to precedent models, even the angled cable connection has almost the same length of the earpieces; making the KZ ZSA the smallest hybrid earphone from the brand. As a reference we measured the KZ ZSA, KZ ZS6 and KZ ZS10 to give our readers a quick idea of the reduced dimensions of the KZ ZSA:
The KZ ZSA durability feels outstanding with their aluminum alloy housings and detachable cables. The cables of the KZ ZSA are detachable and use the same bi-pin 0.75mm connector of all KZ earphones with detachable cables.
Some great news for owners of the KZ Bluetooth cable, KZ Silver-plated and KZ gold-plated cables is that they are all compatible with the KZ ZSA, so you can turn the KZ ZSA into a multi-driver wireless earphone by just purchasing the super affordable KZ Bluetooth cables.
KZ offers 2-types of cables connectors, a straight one (connector used in the KZ ZS6, KZ ZS5, KZ ZS3) and an angled one (seen in the KZ ZS10, KZ ES4, KZ ZSR, KZ ZST), the KZ ZSA uses the angled cable model. The cables provided are the same as every one included with all the 2018 latest generation of KZ earphones, with their dual double helix design, very rubberized coating and excellent anti-tangling capabilities. This cable is the exact same as the one of the KZ ZS10, KZ ES4, KZ ED15.
The KZ ZSA price will be lower for the mic-less version, but the price difference is minimal.
You can buy the KZ ZSA in:
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KZ ZSA Review
Tests & Scores
KZ ZSA weight in Ounces and KZ ZSA weight in grams.
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Accessories & Packaging
The KZ ZSA unboxing results in 3 pair of eartips and the latest generation of KZ detachable cable. Everything comes inside the exact same packaging size and design of the KZ ES4, KZ ED15, KZ ZS10, KZ ZS6.
Bass & Sub Bass
If you own KZ earphones you might know that most of their models offer rich, punchy and energetic bass. The KZ ZSA are inline with the bass tuning of most KZ 2016/2017 models, their fun style with mid-bass and very deep sub-bass is able to cover absolutely every music genre with no “bass-shortage”.
Applying an EQ there is an insane amount of depth added to their sub-bass and a strong boost of mid-bass punch – all resulting in a bass response that can even reach a very mild rumble and impact.
During our extreme bass tests the KZ ZSA were able to handle 40% of the maximum power of a Fiio E12 amplifier while being set to high gain and with bass boost turned on; a custom basshead EQ was used. This extreme amplification and equalization made the KZ ZSA achieve a massive increment of mid-bass punch and sub-bass depth able to provide worthy basshead level impact and rumble way above the KZ ATE, Xiaomi Mi Pro HD but below the Elecom EHP-CA3580, Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro or the KZ ZSR, Sony MDR-EX650, Senfer 4in1, Pioneer SE-CX8.
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Mids & Vocals
The KZ ZSA mids have crisp and clear higher mids, male vocals that do not sound distant nor congested and a general warm and inviting sound. Higher mids can reach some harshy peaks depending on each song, but are not extremely pronounced. Overall their mids are warm but not muddy and clear but not forward.
If eq’ed correctly, the KZ ZSA can respond with an important clearing up of lower mids and lower vocals. If overdone, some boxy sounding mids could be introduced. Be aware, that higher mids are already very crisp, therefore it is not advised to apply an EQ to boost them or they will easily get harsh.
Highs & Treble
The KZ ZSA highs are very bright and substantially detailed but not usually piercing. Some sibilance is present depending on the “S”, “Sh”, “T” frequency and strength of each singer/track.
An EQ adds a huge increment of brightness and monumental addition of detail to their highs. Obviously, expect stronger and more frequent sibilance.
Their rear grills of the KZ ZSA are not only an aesthetic detail, they are also part of their semi-open back design system. As expected from open back headphones, their sound leaking levels are not the lowest that you can get but the KZ ZSA is still able to provide leaking levels lower than most average earphones.
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Noise isolation of the KZ ZSA is strong, offering a better performance than most average earphones and easily reaching a nearly absolute isolation without having to crank up the volume too much.
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The KZ ZSA are the smallest hybrid earphone from KZ released so far and adding the fact that they have inherited the same metal construction of the KZ ZS6 and a miniaturized form factor them (but with smoother and less pointy edges), the KZ ZSA are able to provide an impressive level of comfort and superb fit that can be used in all types and sizes of ears without a single issue.
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Response to Equalization
The response to EQ of the KZ ZSA was almost impeccable, with extreme increment of sub-bass depth and mid-bass punch, pronounced clearing up of lower vocals and mids and radical added brightness and detail of their highs.
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KZ ZSA Scores
- Accessories - 7.5/107.5/10
- Design - 10/1010/10
- Bass - 8.75/108.8/10
- Mids - 8.75/108.8/10
- Highs - 8.75/108.8/10
- Sound Leak - 7.75/107.8/10
- Sound Isolation - 8.75/108.8/10
- Comfort - 10/1010/10
- Response to EQ - 9.25/109.3/10
- Value for Money - 10/1010/10
- ✅ Super punchy and full bass
✅ Deep sub-bass
✅ Smallest KZ hybrid earphone
✅ Bright and detailed highs
✅ Clear and crisp mids
✅ Alive vocals
✅ Contained mid-bass bleed
✅ Warm mids
✅ Super affordable price
✅ Metal housings
✅ Detachable cables
✅ Can be transformed into a wireless headphone with the KZ Bluetooth cables
✅ Excellent response to EQ
✅ Outstanding bang for buck
- ❌ Some sibilance is present
❌ Harshy peaks in mids can show up depending on each track
- The KZ ZSA despite being the latest budget-priced model from the brand, offer metal housing's construction, a sort-of semi-open back design and hybrid multi-driver configuration. People that did not welcome the new sound style of the KZ ZS10 will be excited to know that the KZ ZSA inherits the same type of sound signature and tuning of the KZ ZS6 and KZ ZS5 but still with a renewed & slightly different tuning. The KZ ES4 was the first of the newest models to bring back some of the KZ ZS6 and KZ ZSR sounding style but the KZ ZSA is an even nearer approach to the "original" sound.
The KZ ZSA can be safely recommended to nearly every type of listener looking for a sound signature with fun and energetic bass, clear mids and vocals and bright, detailed highs.
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KZ ZSA Frequency Response Curve
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KZ ZSA Technical Specifications
|Type||Dynamic / Hybrid|
|Driver Unit||BA + DD|
|Cord||Y-type, round cord|
|Plug||Stereo mini plug|
|Supplied Accessories||3x Earphone tips; cable|
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KZ ZSA Photos
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