Review: KZ ZS10 Pro – Bettered

Today we take a detailed look at the KZ ZS10 Pro, the updated model of the budget hybrid.

 

Disclaimer: I received the KZ ZS10 Pro free of charge for this review from Linsoul Tech. KZ is not affiliated with Headfonia. The price for the ZS10 is around $45USD in the market and you can buy the KZ ZS10 Pro from Linsoul Tech on Amazon and also on Aliexpress.

Intro

Today we have another budget IEM in our hands here at Headfonia.  The KZ ZS10 Hybrid IEM was quite an hotshot last year, and KZ now released the Pro version. Therefore it’s somehow mandatory for us to review this model. You can read the review of the original below:

Review: KZ ZS10 – Budget Hybrid

As Headfonia, we’re trying our best to cover Chi – Fi products as much as we can, although there are a sheer number of products from there. It’s simply impossible to cover them all. Yet, Chi-Fi provides good value in this expensive hobby, so we assure you that we will continue to review these products from the Asian side of the world.

KZ – Knowledge Zenith

We have reviewed several KZ IEMs including the the ATR, AS10, ZS5 and last but not least; the AS16. Since Lieven called the ATR a “Budget Miracle”, KZ continued to surprise us for their products’ performance every time. They have a large number of IEMs in their portfolio now, and it’s one of the best options for the people who like to play around with several budget IEMs. If you like collecting Chi-Fi products, this is one of the brands to enlarge your collection with.

KZ ZS10 Pro

If you type KZ or Knowledge Zenith to Google, you will find loads of product links to order their products. Yet, there’s still not much information about the actual company. There’s a dedicated website of KZ here and they seem prepared to improve the appearance and general information. But it’s still not easy to find it with a basic search and the English language is still not perfect as well.

ZS10 Pro

The new Pro version offers some improvements for both sound and design. Once again we have a hybrid configuration with 1 Dynamic Driver and 4 Balanced Armature Drivers. However the BA drivers are upgraded to new versions, and the dynamic driver is now a second generation one. They promise a more dynamic and transparent sound across the spectrum.

Design wise the face plate has been changed and it has a more premium appearance to it. It is also made from stainless steel material, or so KZ claims. The inner shell looks to be the same.

Packaging

The new KZ ZS10 Pro arrives in a similar white box which again is quite modest as expected. However I think the first appearance is now improved, with a cleaner look. The new package is definitely sleeker than the previous one. The ZS10’s package was a bit untidy as a first impression.

Inside the box there’s the IEMs and the 2-pin cable is beneath the package. You also get 4 pair of silicon tips including the ones which are attached to the IEMs. There also is a short guide about how to use the earphones and the microphone on the cable.

KZ ZS10 Pro

Design & Build

I did not quite like the design of the ZS10 because of the fragile appearance that it gave me. Now with the Pro version things are improved and especially the face plate adds a great touch. It looks similar to their ZSN models this time around. I think this version looks at least twice as good as the original. If you remember, I praised Shozy for the design part of the Hibiki model, because of the premium appearance for a low-cost IEM. Now KZ has also managed to give a premium feeling to a budget model in my opinion.

The build quality side has also improved. The new face plate completes the shell beautifully with a 3 screw seamlessly. The steel material feels absolutely great for an IEM with this small price. The inner shell is a little bit cleaner and the inside looks more tightly packed than the original. They somehow managed to shrink the IEM which naturally promises a better fit in theory. The 2-pin socket is not recessed now, so that means you finally can use other cables with it. Considering that the price is almost the same as the original model’s release price, these upgrades are certainly very good.

KZ ZS10 Pro

Fit

The KZ ZS10 Pro has an OK fit and I haven’t faced a serious discomfort with it. The provided silicone tips work very well and they do their job, but they’re not the best. Tip rolling is your friend here.

Isolation is fairly enough for most applications, but don’t forget that this is a hybrid IEM. There’s a dynamic driver inside, and dynamic drivers need a small port that can provide some room for air. As a result, isolation takes a small hit when compared to full BA setups. As I implied in its own review, the AS10 model provides a better isolation for instance.

This is not a negative point of the product though. When you go with a hybrid setup you’re aware of this small disadvantage. Overall the fit is good and slightly better than the original model, which is nice. The new shell is a tiny bit smaller than the old one, so that helps. But you can go for a full BA IEM for good isolation. I still think this shell is a little large, so for long periods of listening it might be a better choice to go with a more compact IEM.

The review continues on PAGE 2 with sound.

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A lover of personal audio from Turkey, Berkhan always seeks the perfection. He chooses a simplistic expression of sound at all times, and tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, and sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside.

7 Comments

  • Reply June 4, 2019

    Hebi

    Really? You prefer the AS10?…. I have both, and I don’t understand your reasoning, any other review prefers the ZS PRO…. let’s forget about the sound, it’s absurd to say that the AS10 fits and isolates better, that’s illogical and it’s not a matter of taste…. same about the soundstage… some drafting error… maybe?

    • Reply June 4, 2019

      Berkhan

      Yes, I prefer the AS10, and I don’t have to agree with other reviews.

      I don’t know your experience about the fit, but isolation topic is not debatable. The AS10 doesn’t have a dynamic driver port, so it’s fully closed. It provides more isolation.

  • Reply June 14, 2019

    igorj

    Berkhan is actually demonstrably right about fitment and isolation – ZSN has similar casing to ZS10 Pro, so you can get a comparable isolation measurement vs. AS10 from rtings.com. But I think it’s down to the shape not vents, because AS10 also has a vent, if I remember right.

    What doesn’t make sense is the mid tone critique.
    “But once again, the overall weakness lies in the timbre and tonality in the mids. It’s still very enjoyable and somewhat improved courtesy of better transparency. But the tone is not very correct again, which also happens with the likes of Hibiki and the ZS10. But it’s not easy to criticize this kind of product in that manner, since it performs great for the price. What I try to highlight here is that, you shouldn’t have huge expectations when it comes to these budget products, regarding tonal performance.”
    Tone is just the sound’s frequency. Unless there are big drops and extremely uneven frequency response graphs, anyone can fix the tone (tonal balance, signature) completely to their own liking with an equaliser. So I generally don’t understand the usefulness of rating IEMs this way. And if you criticize the timbre, which might be a more sensible option, you should be more specific with adjectives, because timbre encompasses so many things. Otherwise it appears to be just word-salad made to justify gear priced 100x more than Chi-Fi stuff.

  • Reply July 15, 2019

    Stan Powers

    Hope to see the new ($38 today at Amazon) ZS6 reviewed soon. They may be the Goldilocks set from KZ. Great review, Berkhan!

  • Reply September 23, 2019

    Chatbox

    What’s with the overuse of “once again”? 6 times in one review?

    • Reply September 23, 2019

      Berkhan

      It’s for you to count them all 🙂

  • Reply November 6, 2019

    NotARobot

    How good is the positional audio with ZS10 Pro for competitive FPS gaming? Do they live up to the mark of Tin HiFi T3?

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