Review : KZ AS16 – The Heist

Specifications

For the nit-pickers and nerdy ones here, I’m giving the specs and technical sheets. For all the others, you can just go to the next page to see how the KZ AS16 performs.

Balanced Armature drivers

The KZ AS16 is a multi-drivers IEM, an eight (!) driver IEM more specifically. For a 125$ IEM, this is more than impressive, this is madness!

The IEM gets a 3 Way Crossover / 3-bores system. Each channel carries a part of the frequency range to give a smoother curve: low, medium, high. So why eight drivers per ear you say ? “Because why not” answered KZ.

The drivers are arranged as :

  • x4 upper-range KZ-31736 – Knowles
  • x2 mid-range KZ-29689 – Knowles
  • x2 low-range KZ-22955 – Knowles

It’s not often that you can see four balanced drivers for the highs. Usually, IEM manufacturers prefer to separate the highs and ultra-highs, such as Unique Melody or even BGVP. Yet, this kind of configuration may give us a proper result, if the filter fits the job.

3D Printed acoustic duct

This is one of the most surprising features of the KZ AS16. The brand has developed its own acoustic duct which fits all the drivers and guides the sound right to your ear. As far as I know, this is the first IEM I tried which offers this kind of setup.

From a side view, the bigger and wider bass-focused drivers take place at the rear side, the mid-range in the middle, and we end up with the four high-range drivers just near the nozzle. Frankly, I’m very impressed by this setup and apart from the sound, it gives me quite a nice view. Like a well-arranged apartment that you booked on AirBnB.

Other cool quirks? Just take a look at the faceplate. It’s got a small riddle and a very cool “professional hifi balanced armature” title printed on them.

Full specs

  • Type : IEM
  • Style : Balanced drivers x8
  • Crossover : 3 way (3D printed duct)
  • Drivers : Knowles drivers
  • Socket : 2-pins (detachable cables)
  • Cable : 6N 8 core OCC
  • Shell : 3D printed acrylic + aluminum faceplate
  • Frequency response Range : 20Hz – 40kHz
  • Sensitivity : 105dB SPL/mW
  • Impedance : 15 ohms
  • Price : 125$

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

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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.

    8 Comments

    • Reply May 27, 2019

      whateva

      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

      audio_aardvark

      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

        Thatguy

        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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