KZ ZS5 – Exposed

I recently exposed how KZ ZS5 that everyone has been hyping about was really a marketing gimmick. Many have liked and appreciated my honesty and some have been rather rude and mad towards by rather harsh review. Here is the video:

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

Some were rude towards me for exposing the truth “when it did not matter because it still sounded good to them.” Sure… If you see my comments, I tend to respect what people have to say, even if it goes against my own opinions but TRUTH and FACT is something different. I put out the truth, fact and my personal opinion. It is up to you to determine if it is FINE for you or if it is NOT, either way, I do not have the power to change your mind or preference and I most certainly do not want to as this hobby is all about sharing opinions and options.

In this written review, I would like to answer some question that came up in the comments and clear up some of the points.

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This is what it looks like inside the KZ ZS5 if you open it up. I would like to draw your attention to few things here.

  1. The blue stuff you see here are sticky and hard much like a re-solidified plastic.
  2. the wiring. The red being right channel and green being left channel

So, this blue stuff is covering up everything, including the drivers, spaces and gaps. Great, at this point I have to remove the blue stuff and the cables to really see what is going on here.

Untitled design (3)

This is the KZ ZS5 after the blue stuff and wires have been completely removed. What you see here as indicated by the two arrows is an armature driver (smaller and rectangular) and a dynamic driver (bigger and round). I had the suspicion from some chifi forums that these two drivers are integrated in a weird way (and is potentially blocked off)

I wanted to see how these make its way to the nozzle. so I broke them apart even further.

Where the nozzle is

When I separated the two drivers from the housing, I found a wall as you see here indicated by the arrow. This wall was also covered up with blue stuff as you can see the residue on the pieced below. This led me to question…”how the heck does the sound travel to the nozzle?

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Here is something I failed to mention in the video and many questioned me for it. I am glad they did because this is something that I should not have left out but I did because I found it insignificant, my fault entirely. Here, you see a little gap on the wall. This gap is how sound will travel to the nozzle? WRONG. this tiny gap was covered mostly by the blue stuff here as you can see the residues here on the picture. More so the armature driver was covered by the blue stuff as well, forming a wall below where the drivers are supposed to transmit sound…

If you still think that sound is getting through…

Let me tell you that this gap is uneven, as if someone took a scissor and punched a whole through it and then chewed on it. you can call it a “special engineering” to guide the sound to the nozzle or I will just simply call it absurdity as I’ve never seen anything, let alone “sound,” which is a wave get pass through this tiny gap in a correct way without ridiculous amount of internal shell resonance in doing so.

All in all, regardless of if sound is getting to the nozzle or not (which I believe 99.9999% that is is not), what it is doing for the sound quality of these in ears is not something positive.

Like I mentioned in the video review, if these two drivers are doing anything, it is creating phasing problems due to the ridiculous pathway. Sound is not a odor particle that will make its way by floating around, sound is a transmitted wave that bounces around and is extremely hard to get to ones ears, this is commonly seen in simple games like broken telephone or even if you say something to someone across the room and they ask you to repeat it. This is because sound bounces across the room and surfaces before reaching your ears, in fact most sound you ear is transmitted this way. However, Having this many obstacles (blue stuff covering everything, small uneven gap, half of the wall and housing below the gap) for sound to travel…. you can imagine the amount of resonance and delay in reaching your ears (if it does at all), thus the phasing problem.

overall, I do apologize for leaving this small gap out but this gap is really insignificant as it is extremely hard to even see because it is so small and incredibly covered up by the whole thing. Here is the answer to some of the questions that came up on you tube comments:

Q: I see other diagrams on their website and from others, which one is correct?

A: it is for you to believe but the company’s diagram is not correct in its entirety as you can see that they do not even put the existence of the wall in their diagram and they have the armature driver literally attached to the lower housing… this means that the armature driver is blocked off, whoever make the 3D diagram was not thinking or had no knowledge of how things should be configured.

Also, for other diagrams claiming the gap is there. I’ve seen them and they are slightly bigger or a lot bigger than the gap I have here. There is two speculations I can make out of this. They were either suck up reviewers who punched in larger holes to take the picture (not hard to do), or their unit hard a larger hole. Again, this may very well still cause phasing problems but not to the extent on my unit. And all over again, quality control issues… are they punching in random size holes inconsistently?

Q: can you unit be fake?

A: really… fake for a $30 IEM? But no because I bought it straight from their approved reseller

Okay so KZ ZS5 is a QUAD driver iem (2 dynamic and 2 armature). So I showed you 1 armature and 1 dynamic above. Where is the other ones? Well, the other dynamic driver is located right behind the armature driver located in the nozzle. So these two drivers are working fine and integrated typical of what you see in other in ear monitors like 1 more, lza 4, and so on. The first problem I will point out is this: the armature driver on the nozzle part does not have any tubing

Tubes are important in armature drivers in tuning the armature driver to a certain frequency. You see tubing in most armature drivers including ciems. Some of you had some questions regarding this claim so here is the answer to your comments from you tube:

Q: 64 audio and some other companies have armature drivers without tubing. Are being bias because those are priced higher?

A: Drivers used by 64 audio and other companies have special drivers or patented configurations that allow them to tune the armature drivers to a certain frequency more efficiently than with tubing. This take a lot of research and engineering thus even thought the drivers do not cost thousands of dollars, you are paying the high price for the work that went into creating such products. These are priced much lower for KZ to have poured money for any real research and I do not see anything special here, nor do I believe this is a SPECIAL driver. So yes, I am biased because of the price but it is only do to reasonable knowledge of  what is possible without tubes for armature drivers.

Q: so what is the possible negative outcome without the tubes?

A: the sound can be sibilant or boomy and this is not do to typical “hearing difference or preference or tip rolling,” this is because of quality control and failure to correctly tune for one specific sound. Thus, you probably saw many people out there with mixed opinion about these. Some claim that they are sibilant, some claim that the trebles are rolled off, and some claim the bass is over bloated. Many people say that tips will make all the difference with these in ear monitors and I find this to be true as different types of tips have different affect in changing the sound. However, I am here to simply tell you that the sound differences is not the result of “preference’ or “everyone hears differently” but in this case, because of poor “engineering.”

SOUND QUALITY?

some find it good. good for you, I respect your opinions and tastes. This in ear monitor was way too boomy with no treble presence at all for me. I found walmart ones and my broken pair of beats (the first generations from wayyyy back) better.

some find the sound stage larger after break in. I think there is few scenarios for this, you change your tips recently or it is the dynamic drivers breaking in or some of the blue stuff came off and released some resonance in there thus you find it improvement in sound stage. What is the most probable cause? your brain got adjusted because armature drivers are not very keen on breaking in.

All in all, I respect what you hear. But for those of you (which I believe are suck up reviewers) told to comment on my channel, that claim to have heard many under $100 iems and found the kz zs5 to be the best, please name the models at the very least and tell me how kz zs5 is better because I have 2 drawers full of iems that I have not yet put up for review and not even a single one, sounded worse than the kz zs5s.

I cannot stress this enough. So here is my straight forward answer to some questions I found ridiculous:

Q: Where you paid to bash on KZ ZS5 by any other company

A: NO

 

Q: Where you paid in any way or compensated with review products or any other promises that may benefit you in making this review

A: NO

 

Q: Did you do this for views and subscribers

A: Yes. I am a youtube reviewer, I did it because it was truthful and hoped to get views and subscribers out of respect for what I do. Whats wrong with that?

 

Q: Did you do this for youtube money?

A: No. This is the most outrageous and I am sorry but the most stupid question I’ve encountered. I love money, I will not lie, but youtube is not my main job nor is it something I rely on to make extra money, it is for pure joy of sharing my thoughts and reviewing products to see them improve. And how much do you think I made from views on this single video? If I did this for youtube money, I would be doing a gaming channel or a comedy channel with my natural bitch face… ( I love over watch by the way, people from discord knows)

 

Q: Why did you bring up venture electronics monk plus in an iem review?

A: Like I said, I do not yet have an iem at this price range I can recommend to my viewers who wants to enter the hifi world… So how does it not make sense to make a recommendation on a product I found excellent for even lower? AND let me make clear that I said “it is the a better choice to enter the hifi world,” I did not compare and iem to an earbud…

Any more questions I would be happy to answer

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark Martinez says:

    Please review other products from kz or other budget iems. Thanks very much for your hones review

    Like

  2. Carlos says:

    I bought one of these and The sound quality is horrible, I have a xiaomi pro HD thats far way better!

    Like

  3. Paul says:

    Thanks for pointing this out! There is a big circlejerk going on at head-fi about these IEMs… everyone seems to be worshiping them, each in their own unique way. At first glance, they seem amazing, just like Monk+. But yeah… This sort of opened my eyes.
    I already have Monk+, and I have a FiiO E17k and an Audio Technica AD900X that I use at home… I like neutral sound with lots of details. But lately I found the Monk+ to leak sound too much (in and out) for using them when I commute. So I was looking for IEMs in similar price range (kinda tight on money)… Tell me, what do you think about SoundMagic ES18? This was my second option after KZ.

    Like

  4. vivian says:

    Have you reviewed BASN Bsinger earbuds, it is also a detachable earbuds with dual driver

    Like

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