| 5x Balanced Armature | 10 mm Dual Magnet Dynamic Driver |
🎧 We are reviewing the KZ ZSX, the newest 6-driver hybrid earphone from KZ.
The KZ ZSX features a total number of 12 drivers with 6 inside each earpiece. The drivers have an hybrid configuration of 5 balanced armature drivers + 1 dynamic driver.
The specific specs of the drivers are: a 10mm dynamic driver with a dual magnet design, 2x DWEK mid and high dual BA and a 30095 high frequency BA.
To better distribute the frequency response to each dedicated driver, the KZ ZSX also carries an electronic and a physical frequency divider.
The KZ ZSX is marketed as the “Terminator of hybrid technology series”. This could lead to 3 interpretations; either KZ is implying the termination/end of their hybrid line or is launching a new line named “Terminator of hybrid technology series” or it is simply suggesting that the KZ ZSX is their best hybrid earphone.
It would be a pity to see KZ ditching their hybrid line, from which superb models have been born, like the:
You can buy the KZ ZSX in 6 different “flavors”:
- KZ ZSX black with silver faceplate with microphone and remote
- KZ ZSX black with silver faceplate without mic
- KZ ZSX cyan with dark faceplate with microphone and remote
- KZ ZSX cyan with dark faceplate without mic
- KZ ZSX purple with silver faceplate with microphone and remote
- KZ ZSX purple with silver faceplate without mic
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KZ ZSX Review
Tests & Scores
The KZ ZSX unboxing results in 4 pair of eartips, the detachable cable and a metal plate.
The ZSX comes with the “better” version of KZ’s packagings – which is the slightly larger black box with a book-like side opening that includes a metal-engraved plate inside (with the name of the brand and model) – basically the exact same packaging that was included with the KZ AS12, KZ ZS7, KZ AS10, KZ AS16, KZ BA10
The cable of the KZ ZSX is the exact same that has been included with all the newest generation of KZ earphones, which is a brownish-copper cable with a helix design.
The details found through out the cable are made of plastic, like the cable bifurcation, L-shaped 3.5mm plug and mic/remote.
The cable connector is a 2-pin 0.75mm with an angled design and transparent finish – KZ calls this connector “C style pin”.
KZ ZSX weight in Ounces and KZ ZSX weight in grams.
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The KZ ZSX has a 2-material build with a main housing made of resin and a zinc alloy back plate.
The ZSX has a more solid construction than their all-plastic line of earphones which makes it feel more durable and premium.
The back metal faceplate extends farther ahead of the main resin housing – specifically on the characteristic new pointy edge.
The nicer C-pin connector matches the solid build of the overall unit – same connector type that is used on the (to name a few):
The KZ ZSX has a punchy and fun sound but also non too boomy nor out of control.
Overall, we could say that their lower frequencies are nicely balanced with a non-drowning sub-bass nor over-boosted upper bass.
Still, it is important to highlight that the KZ ZSX showed 2 different bass personalities that varied according to the degree of blockage of their 2 vent holes.
This 2 vent holes are found on the inner face of the housing, one is closed to the nozzle and in front of the dynamic driver and the other one is placed farther away near the outer edge.
With an EQ, their bass response can be transported into a much bassier profile but users will get better results by blocking the vents (read below)
When the vents got fully blocked (100% blocked), the KZ ZSX exhibited a much deeper sub-bass response but without affecting the sort of clean upper bass sensation.
To be more precise, there will be a summit of +5dB of bass boosting when their vents are fully blocked.
Nonetheless, we have seen that during normal wearing, the vents holes did not get fully blocked and we are estimating that most listeners will get the non-blocked bass response out of the KZ ZSX – as 90% of our editors did.
When fully blocked there will not be a huge makeover of their mid-bass and punch but sub-bass will get substantially deeper.
Basically, listeners will have a “bass-bi-polar” earphone with the KZ ZSX according to the vent blockage or non-blockage – opting for a more balanced bass or for a spicier, deeper one.
A secret hint, if the DD is presenting driver flex, you have fully blocked the vents of the KZ ZSX.
Applying an EQ, with their vents blocked, the ZSX sub-bass will get massively deeper and generally much more intense.
During our extreme basshead tests, the ZSX handled up to 50% of the maximum power of FiiO A5. This huge amplification allowed the KZ ZSX to reveal an insane mid-bass punch and sub-bass depth, reaching respectable basshead rumble and impact.
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The KZ ZSX mids have a full-bodied midrange with pleasant warmth, yet not sounding bloated.
Their lower midrange is cozy but not overly congested while their male vocals sound alive and not distant.
Mid-bass bleed is not excessive nor disturbing and will not annihilate their lower midrange, in fact it is pretty much well-controlled for a full and warm sounding earphone.
Their upper mids are very crisp and clear with vivid female vocals but can risk to show some harshy peaks with high-pitched noted and screaming vocals.
If you are wondering about the vent blocking effect over their midrange, there is no alteration of neither their low, middle nor upper mids personality.
Using an EQ, lower mids and male vocals can be fine tuned for either a warmer style or a clearer response and not showing major deterioration. Higher mids can be pushed for a crispier response but we do not recommend this as they could become too harsh.
The KZ ZSX highs offer a nice balance of fair brightness but no exaggerated fatiguing sound.
Detail is sufficiently resolved for non-critical listening, probably being detail the less-performing feature of their highs.
Regarding fatiguing peaks, some sibilance can pop up with tracks prone to it, as well as some piercing spikes but we found that sibilance was more frequent than their piercing highs – still, in general is not as forward as other all-balanced armature earphones from KZ like the:
Regarding the vent blocking and the highs of the KZ ZSX, exactly like seen on their midrange, their highs are not affected by it.
Using an EQ can help the ZSX to become an earphone with much better detail capabilities while also benefiting from an overall more open response, yet users will have to be careful of nailing a proper EQ customization to avoid feeding their fatiguing peaks.
The sound leaking out of the KZ ZSX showed levels somewhat inline with normal headphones, which will make it a hearable earphone by nearby people when above-moderate volume settings are used.
Despite this, their leakage is far from being as extreme as on open-back headphones and will not become disturbing on normally noisy situations.
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The sound isolation provided by the KZ ZSX is much stronger than on most average headphones, showing a very efficient partial isolation – even at low volume settings.
Reaching absolute isolation will not be much of a challenge for the KZ ZSX.
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The new protruding pointy “tail” is actually above the surface level of the ears, so it will never touch the ears, avoiding to add any discomfort.
In fact, it is nice to see that the KZ ZSX has inherited the phenomenal main housing’s form factor/shape of the KZ ZSR but with better build materials. Though, the added metal back plate and inner design has made the KZ ZSX a thicker earphone than the ZSR.
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The response to EQ was highly efficient through out the entire range, being able to push lower frequencies into deeper and punchier sound. Also, allowing mids to be fine tuned for a more polished response and revealing much more detail over highs.
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|Driver Unit||5BA + 1DD|
|Plug||Stereo mini plug|
|Supplied Accessories||4x Earphone tips; cable; metal plate|
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