KZ ZST – Review



| Balanced Armature | 8 mm Driver|

? The KZ ZST is the first hybrid earphone that KZ has ever made. Knowledge Zenith, or KZ as most people know them is a large manufacturer of budget friendly earphones with nice performance and/or specs. The KZ ZST vs KZ ZS3 vs KZ ED12 comparison is very common due to some similarities shared.

Many of their models have gained good reputation; some of the best budget earphones from KZ are: the KZ ATE, KZ ZS3KZ ED9, KZ ATR, KZ EDR2, KZ HDS3 to name just a few.

The ZST are part of the new generation of KZ models which are meant to be worn with the cable above and around the ears, for people that are not used to this fitting method they will find it awkward at first but after getting used to it you will appreciate the comfort and fit. They share the same housing of the KZ ED12, with different aesthetic design

The KZ ZST has an exceptional design with features of many high end brands

The KZ ZST has an exceptional design with features of many high end brands and models, like detachable cables and hybrid drivers in just a fraction of the price of them. They are cheap and accessible to many but they do not fall short in construction quality, they are made entirely of a great quality plastic that makes it feel sturdy and solidly built. The cable is detachable with a bi-pin connector and made of the classic KZ style of rubbery cable, practically identical to the KZ ATE, KZ ED12, KZ ZS2.

As usual you have the option to buy it with the inline microphone and 1-button controller or without any of them. KZ firstly released a “carbon fiber like” design and afterwards introduced a new blue-purple colourful version introduced as KZ ZST PRO or KZ ZST Colorful; you can read the review of the KZ ZST PRO / Colorful here: KZ ZST PRO / KZ ZST COLORFUL REVIEW.


MORE: KZ ZS5 Review

FIND ALL: Earphones Scores Compared

MORE: KZ Earphones Reviews

KZ ZST - Review

Tests & Scores



MORE: In-Ear Headphones Weight Comparison

SEE ALSO: Earphones Size Comparison


Accessories & Packaging

The standard for this generation of KZ earphones is a tiny black cardboard box with a transparent plastic on the front and basic accessories included. Inside the box you get 3 eartips and the detachable bi-pin cable.



Bass & Sub Bass

The KZ ZST‘s dynamic driver is taking care of bass reproduction and it does it exceptionally well. Mid-bass is present, adding nice punchiness to songs and sub-bass is wonderfully deep and impacting. The overall bass is fun and punchy, bass will be there when requested with any song and will not bleed onto other frequencies.

sub-bass is wonderfully deep and impacting

Sub-bass gets really deep with normal use, if you are into equalizing and amplifying you will see that the KZ ZST levels up their bass impact incredibly but you need to replace the eartips with KZ ATE large eartips to boost the sub-bass impact.

When pushing them for extreme bass you will be amazed with what they can achieve. Plugging them to a Fiio E12 set to high gain and bass boost On, the KZ ZST were able to handle around 48% of the maximum power and give back a sub-bass impact absolutely basshead worthy. As a reference, they deliver sub-bass impact way above the KZ ATE, KZ ED12 and right over the KZ ZS2. Do not try to follow the amplifying examples that we do for testing unless you know very well what you are doing, the risk of damaging and/or breaking your earphone is highly probable and irreparable.


We find important to note that sometimes manufacturers do modifications to their earphones models but still sell them under the same model name.

These modifications sometimes are minor and do not affect the performance of the earphones but sometimes the changes compromise their sound and could lead to noticeable audio differences between the different versions.

Our KZ ZST (non-pro) sample is an unit from the very early release back in 2016.

MORE: Earphones Amplification Power Comparison

MORE: Best Basshead Earphones

SEE ALSO: Best Fun Sounding Earphones Chart


Mids & Vocals

Mids are forward and emphasized mostly on the middle mids and upper mids frequencies, but in a bad way. Mids and vocals may sound boxy and harsh to some listeners but, to their favour, they do not sound muffled. Mids and vocals become fatiguing with some type of music, you can fix some of it by dialing down frequencies in the 1kHz to 3kHz range, but they start to sound muffled quickly if you overdo it.



Highs & Treble

The highs of the KZ ZST are very recessed resulting in non piercing peaks and lack of definition. There is no presence of sibilance. Equalizing frequencies above 5kHz helps to get some definition.




Sound Leak

The sound that leaks can be heard and will not keep your listening sessions privately. They are not terrible in this matter but they are not the best either. If you are searching for the best one for libraries, check the KZ ATE.



Sound Isolation

The KZ ZST do a very good job blocking outside noises. The level of sound isolation that you get from them is on-par with the KZ ZS2.




The shape and form of the KZ ZST is exactly the same to the KZ ED12 and the comfort they provide too. They are heavier than the ED12, most probably because of the presence of the balanced armature inside but the extra weight does not generate fatigue to the ears. Overall they are greatly comfortable and fit very well and securely.




Response to Equalization

The ZST respond exceptionally to eq of bass frequencies but it cannot be said the same to their response to equalization on the mid and high frequencies. Mids can be “repaired” slightly but may fall into muddiness if overdone and highs can be recovered but the quality of the recovered highs is not great nor much.


MORE: Editor’s Picks Earphones Chart

MORE: Best Bang for the Buck Earphones



Official image from Knowledge Zenith of the different KZ ZST and KZ ZST Pro models and their correct naming

Official image from Knowledge Zenith of the different KZ ZST and KZ ZST Pro

Scores Scores

Buy it at:

Frequency Response (raw)

KZ ZST Frequency Response

KZ ZST - Frequency Response
KZ ZST – Frequency Response



TypeHybrid / Balanced Armature + Dynamic Driver
Driver Unit8mm
Power CapacityUnknown
Impedance16 ohms
Frequency Response20-20,000Hz
CordDetachable with Bi-Pin connector
Cord Length1.2m
PlugL shaped stereo mini plug
Weight (Without Cord)Approx. 40g
Supplied Accessories3x Earphone tips


MORE: Hybrid Earphones Reviews

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.




We hope you enjoyed this article. All the earphones reviews, keyboards reviews, power tools reviews, music players reviews, DAC reviews, amplifiers reviews, smartwatch reviews, gadget reviews, tech reviews, dashcam reviews, earbuds reviews, headsets reviews, in-ear monitors reviews (iem), in-ear headphones reviews are made as objective and thorough as possible to provide our readers a way to choose the best earphones, earbuds, iem, in-ear monitors, headsets and in-ear headphones. By providing exhaustive information we allow our readers to even fine-tune their choices to select among the best budget earphones, best earphones for sports, best basshead earphones, best fun sounding earphones, most balanced earphones, least fatiguing earphones, most comfortable earphones, best looking earphones or even for the best cheap earphones to buy.