Disclaimer: I bought the KZ ATR on ebay myself, this isn’t an official review sample.
Knowledge Zenith – KZ
For those of you who don’t know KZ, and I fear that’s the majority of you, I can say that KZ – which stands for Knowledge Zenith – is a Chinese bases company that specializes in budget earphones. If you know where to look you can find a great deal of information on this company and their product line-up but for the moment you won’t find a dedicated website for the KZ brand yet (I think). There just is their Philippines based Facebook Page , their shop page on AliExpress and this very elaborate thread on Head-Fi with over 16.000 posts!!
KZ carries a lot of budget IEMs in their product range but the one we’re looking at today is the KZATR. Besides on the before mentioned Aliexpress, you can also get these from several different Ebay sellers.
The KZ ATR actually is the successor of the famous KZ ATE. TBH, I first heard of KZ and this inear when Steve Guttenberg mentioned them on CNET. I started looking into them and here we are today reviewing the ATR. The ATR was first marketed in 2016 according to KZ.
The KZ ATE and ATR product page can be found on Aliexpress, just by clicking HERE. The differences between the ATE and ATR (the successor) are that they use a different microphone, different pendants (see later) and that the ATR doesn’t come with foam tips. The ATE model has a translucent shell while the ATR model has a black, non-see-through finish. Both models use a copper driver.
I do find it funny that Kowledge Zenith is marketing these as over ear sports earphones. But later they mention the following: “For Mobile Phone,Monitor Headphone,Sport,For Routine Office Work,Common Headphone,Microphone,Supports music,Voice control,Noise Cancelling,Portable,HiFi Headphone,For iPod.” So basically they’re just like any other inear that can be used at all times.
The KZ ATR features an 8mm dynamic 16Ohm driver and it has a sensitivity rating of around 108dB (±3dB). I do like the fact that the ATR I bought features a mic for taking phone calls.
Line Length: 1.2m
Vocalism Principle: Dynamic
Frequency Response Range:20-20000Hz
Connectors: AUX (3.5mm)
Plug Type: L Bending
Communication: Wired (non removable)
With Microphone: Yes
Style: Ear Hook
Driver Unit: 8mm
Housing: ABS resin
Weight: 15 g / 0.52oz
Build quality, Design & Packaging
At $5/€5 you can’t expect to get all the fancy accessories and build quality of say an ALO Audio Andromeda or Noble K10. This inear is fully made out of plastic, the housing is made out of ABS resin. On the inside you’ll find a copper driver unit. According to KZ these have a more accurate resolution than an ordinary driver.
The ATR comes with a gold-plated Jack and it is terminate in a 90° angle. The cable –while it looks and feels really nice – is made out of 32 core long cryogenic oxygen-free copper. The cable is not removable even though it might look like that as the connections at the earphone’s end look a bit like MMCX connectors of some sort. So anyway, don’t pull them. About 10cm from the earphone you will find a plastic “pendant”, as KZ calls it, to add a little extra downward weight to the cable. The ATR is meant to be worn over the ear and the pendants simply help keeping everything in place. The ATR doesn’t come with a slider to tighten the fit, so the cables will be fairly loose from your ears down.
I have to admit that I haven’t been very kind to the ATR and I’ve just been throwing them into my bag. They don’t seem to mind though as they still look great and work perfectly fine. The connectors seem fairly strong as well, only time will tell how durable they are. The nozzle is a little long but I do like the fact that they look a little like inear monitors when they’re inside your ear The black “face plate” simply says ATR with the characteristics “08M16Ω6” printed below it, there isn’t much design to this budget gem.
The packaging is even more basic and the ATR comes delivered in a 10cm simple card wood and plastic box with a see trough cover. Inside are the monitors, a user guide and a little bag of silicone tips. (The ATR doesn’t come with foam tips like the ATE model).
The story continues on Page Two, after the click (HERE) or the jump below