Today, we take a look at the KZ AS16 . A new low-cost, high quality, 8 drivers IEM from the brand that brought us the mighty ZS5 or ZS10.
This is part of our Picture Sunday series, where we take a quick look at some products in the review cycle. You can find all previous Picture Sunday posts here.
KZ Audio or Knowledge Zenith is the pinnacle of chi-fi IEMs in my opinion. They offer top-down priced models with premium specs and the last time I tried one of their IEMs, it ended up in our recommendation guide.
And now, we received the all new KS AS16 : an eight-drivers, sub-150€, IEM. Looks fantastic no ?
KZ AS16 – The design
Acrylic shell ? Check. Aluminium-zinc faceplate ? Check. Metallic nozzle ? Check.
At first glance, the KZ AS16 seems pretty well doted, all thanks to those fancy zinc alloy inserts.
The inner shell of the IEM is made of acrylic, even if KZ says “imported resin”. It’s not bad by any means and up to today, this is still the most comfortable material that you could get for your ears. The smoke black shell is slightly transparent and this allow you to check the inner sides of the KS AS16.
The faceplate is embossed by three small wings, between them KZ imprinted the specs : “professional Hifi” and “8 balanced armatures”. For the dummies, the left and right indicator is directly shown on the faceplate too. The font used for this indication is way to precious but that’s a funny quirks.
It may not look like it from afar, but these IEM are huge, really. The KZ AS16 are 1 inch long and almost as thick so don’t expect to go stealth wearing them.
KZ AS16 – A quick view
The more, the merrier. Or that’s what they say.
The KZ AS16 comes with eight drivers on each side. Four for the highs, two for the mids and two for the lows. The sound flows through a three-channel cross-over and ends in two bores. The nozzle is pretty nice and if you look closer, you’ll see how complex is the front grill.
The eight drivers are neatly arranged inside the AS16 shell. A clever white 3D-printed bloc fits them all in place, it also works as a waveguide for the bass drivers. Cable management is on par and KZ really have been keen to our eyes.
The shell doesn’t adopt the same semi-custom fit I saw in all the recent IEM I tried. The BGVP DM6 looked and felt much more natural in the ear, but I didn’t have enough time to try them yet so maybe this will change overtime.
One thing I’m not really fond of, is the protuberant 2-pin plug. I’m more into recessed plug as they don’t stress out the ear but the cable. Still, you can fit a lot of models thanks to that, even if the cables provided were pretty nice this time. I received the OFC no-mic version and they look and feel much like pricier models.
Overall, for 139€ this is impressive and if they sound as good as they look, this might be another killer IEM. Wait and see !