Review : KZ AS16 – The Heist

The KZ AS16 is the latest flagship from the brand. It got 8 Drivers and cost a mere 125$. Learn more with our review.

Disclaimer : the KZ AS16 were provided to us, free of charge, by Linsoul in exchange of our honest opinion. Check their website as they also carry Fearless, BGVP and of course KZ.

About Knowledge Zenith

Last year, I said KZ or Knowledge Zenith was a very discrete brand. As time flies and review pile up, this isn’t quite true anymore : now KZ is one of the Chi-Fi pilars and they even have a website !

The last time I had the chance to listen to one of their IEMs, the asking price topped at… 25$. Now, it’s time to try their latest flagship, an 8 driver IEM

KZ or Knowledge Zenith is a very discrete brand, so discrete they don’t even have an official website ! Nonetheless, you can find them in various webstore, be it Aliexpress, Ebay, Amazon or Linsoul, where we got it. The only way to contact them directly is their Facebook Page or the official store on Aliexpress, such a niche!


KZ now offers a full range of IEMs, from the mono driver such as the ED9 to the KZ-ZS10 using ten drivers. The magic happens in the cart, even their flagship doesn’t cost more than… 125$ !

The KZ Series

AS series

The AS series from KZ includes balanced armature earphones only. Last time, there was only one IEM available – the AS10, available around ~65$ – which Berkhan review already. He said :

“I recommend the AS10 to anyone who’s looking for an IEM that costs less than $100 and has a warm, organic tuning with good midbass body.”


But… here comes a new challenger: the AS16. The new cheap-ass TOTL IEM from KZ.
It is available in two colors, each one displaying the internal plate used for frequency crossover and it embeds 2x Low / 2x Mid/ 4X High. Yes 8 drivers, no less.

AT series

The AT series is made of dynamic earphones, two models precisely: the KZ ATR (review available herereview available here) and the KZ ATE. Visually, you can distinguish the ATR by its solid black shell and the ATE by its translucent black shell. Their non-detachable cable can be a problem for some users, but considering their price for me it’s not a real issue.

KZ made them sonically different with a bass-oriented ATR, whereas the ATE is supposed to be Hifi-minded thanks to a better coating and a pure copper driver. The ATE is available in a sport version: the ATES, and the ATR is available in an even more entry-level version: the HD9 with a cheaper construction but a beautiful white one.

ED Series

The ED series is the entry-level range of the brand, a 5-10$ IEM. Basically, it’s the same type of IEM you get when you order a smartphone, so I don’t expect much of it. Maybe there are some hidden gems inside, who knows !

ZS Series

The ZS series is the one getting all the heat : hybrid balanced/dynamic ears offering high-end performances for a fraction of the price. We reviewed the KZ ZS5 and it became our new budget reference. You can find more information just here.

The whole range gets detachable cables, hybrid design, 3D printed shells and various colors. KZ is even offering some quality cables or a Bluetooth/USB-C option for the new smartphones. Again, for the price, it’s really amazing to get this kind of package.

The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.

4/5 - (86 votes)

A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.


  • Reply May 27, 2019


    How does it compare with the KZ AS10?

    • Reply June 17, 2020

      Noah Lim

      KZ AS16 is definitely brighter than AS10 and 20-30% louder than AS10 when drive. AS16 sounded like an extension of AS10 with more focus on sound details and maybe 20-30% less lows compared to AS10.

      I just upgraded to KZ AS16 from AS10.

  • Reply May 28, 2019

    Anthony Wild

    I love my AS16, unimaginable depth, extremely clean audio. Sit comfortably in ear with a bit of wriggling around, comfortable to wear all day. Look fantastic, sound like something much much more expensive, excellent price.

  • Reply June 3, 2019

    Hin Yui Wong

    Bought 1 after reading this review with cable upgrade. Chi-fi came a long way, i remember my first Chi-fi was Vsonic GR07 (still a classic)

    Current selection:
    Campfire Audio Andromeda (Effect audio thor silver 2+)
    Campfire Audio Comet
    Ibasso It04 (Effect audio thor silver 2)
    Vsonic GR09

    Andromeda and IT04 absolutely kills AS16, but at this price with cable upgrades, inevitable.
    Compared to Comet & GR09 (close in price), these come out on top. Sub-bass a little shy, but has similar mids and better highs than comet. GR09 is just more dark and recessed, but has much better bass (it’s a dynamic…). Soundstage is also great, layering and imaging above average.

    Overall very solid choice for the price.

  • Reply June 5, 2019

    Eray Altıntaş

    I have two options, simgot en700 pro or kz as16, and own a Sony a45
    Generally I listening soul jazz, blues and dark background male or female voice musics. What’s ur suggestions, which is the best iem with a45 and these kinds ? Thank you

  • Reply June 13, 2019


    Got a set last night. Out of the box they were very clear but too much treble and quite harsh on many tracks.
    Swapped out the provided silicone tips for some spare chinese foam tips I had and it really calmed them down to something more agreeable to my ears.
    Too early to say how good they are but thought I’d post this in case others have the same initial reaction.

  • Reply August 14, 2019

    Tengku Elzafir

    How does it compare to a headphone like the Sennheiser HD650? Not a fair comparison, but still a comparison, because I have the HD650 and want to know what to expect.

    Also, how does it compare to Shure 846?

    • Reply September 29, 2019


      I have these and HD 650s and I’d say the 650s are quite a bit darker. The bass and highs are quite a bit more detailed here, but BA do clarity well. The mids are more forward and isolated on the HD650 and the mid detail is a tad bit better. Imaging and soundstage is better on the HD 650, though the soundstage is still slim on the HD650s for a headphone. The bass on the AS16 actually extends further than the HD650s despite being BA. However HD 650s are known to not extend well.

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