First of all let’s remember how the ZS10 sounds from its review, before going on with the Pro:
“ZS10 sounds full and engaging with a good subbass quantity, accented and close sounding mids, nicely articulated treble with a smooth nature. It’s an energetic IEM with a nice staging performance and slightly laid back trebles and very nice mids.”
As you can see, the ZS10 is kind of a relaxed hybrid earphone. But now, the ZS10 Pro presents a different and altered sound. Is it better or worse? Well, that all depends on your preferences. The Pro model sounds even more energetic, engaged and treble oriented when compared. Subbass is still emphasized and the mids sound pretty clean. Let’s get into some details.
Lows of the Pro sound pretty much under control and very sweet to be honest. Subbass again is the focused area and that’s never a surprise from a dynamic driver IEM these days. I criticized the midbass part of the ZS10 before, but now there’s a slight improvement in that area. So that’s a positive point for the Pro, but the midbass area is still laid back somehow.
The rumble, kick and power of the bass is nicely done, and it’s very very good for this price. Bass is also separated well from other frequency regions, which is always a good sign. So the bass area of the Pro is identical to the ZS10, but now the midbass is just a little bit more accentuated, and the separation from the mids is better.
So it again is quite engaging and you sometimes leave yourself to the music and bass kicks, especially with Pop, RnB and Electronic Music . The control of the bass is also very successful and better than with the ZS10. I can’t ask more than that. However, this amount of subbass can be too much for some listeners.
When it comes to mids, the important thing is shaping your expectations correctly with Chi-Fi items. Giving a perfect timbre and tonality, and also transparency is not an easy task, even with flagship IEMs. But from the budget standpoint, the ZS10 Pro gives very crisp and transparent mids for the price.
This area is not very different than with the ZS10 overall. You again have that crisp approach with good resolution for the price. But I noticed that the transparency is slightly improved. That’s a very positive point for the Pro, which is very important in my book. Therefore, the instruments sound more lively, engaging, life-like and resolving. A very nice improvement from KZ.
There’s no aggressiveness in the mids, especially around the upper area. Vocals sound very clean and overall instrument separation is great for the price. As a result, although sounding similar, the Pro models has better technicalities in this area.
Highs are quite different in the KZ ZS10 Pro than in the original. The treble is not laid back and relaxed anymore. The emphasis of the treble is noticeably higher. In relation to this, the treble sounds more resolving and accentuated. There’s more energy and attack in this region with better transparency. However, this may not be your choice if you really like your ZS10.
Once again, there’s technical improvement in this region like the other two, apart from the different presentation. The detail pickup is better to me and the articulation level is a cut above as well. The extension is not great which also was the negative point of the ZS10. Despite all, this new presentation of the Pro can be aggressive or somewhat sharp to some people who like a warm and soft approach. The ZS10 Pro is definitely much sharper.
The sound stage is quite nice and it forms a very nice atmosphere with good recordings. Once again the width is more impressive than the depth, and the IEM sounds intimate in terms of deepness. The stereo image is improved thanks to the improved dynamics and transparency. Therefore, it gives you sharper presentation in terms of spotting the elements of a song. However because of the situation regarding the sound stage depth, you can feel that it’s “too left & right” in terms of imaging.
The midbass response is slightly improved to my ears like I implied above. That results in a better instrument presentation because now the instruments have a better foundation. So instruments like violin and contrabass sound better with the Pro. If your genres contain these kinds of instruments, than you can choose the Pro over the original.
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.