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KZ ZSX IEM Review

Rate this IEM:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 26 17.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 59 38.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 60 39.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 5.2%

  • Total voters
    153

Loomynarty

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Nov 27, 2021
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This was the second IEM I ever purchased back in 2018 and I could never figure out why it sounded so grainy in the mids... Now I know why lol
 

phoenixsong

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Given how saturated the below $60usd space is with good iems, I am only giving this a "Not Terrible" rating
 

Tobi

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Aug 15, 2021
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Interesting to see such "low" mid frequency distortion in a BA IEM (apart from that resonance of course). All the BA IEM's measured here had way more distortion in the ~1000-5000 Hz Range.

Given KZ's history, this makes me wonder how much sound those BA drivers actually produce lol
 

GaryH

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that comply with target curve
They don't.
graph (27).png
 
Joined
Dec 20, 2022
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70
Moondrop Variations hugging the harman target & using est drivers, Jiu Having usb Audio at $25, qurarks going for $13
Raptgo Hook x being planar + piezo electric + openback
goldplanar releasing IEM with AMT driver

sorry for sounding like an entitled ass but I think there are so many interesting IEMs being released than KZ which doesn't use all the drivers that it puts in its IEMs
 
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markanini

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+ openback
There's no open back IEMs, it would result in massive low end loss. More likely the marketing is referring to back venting, which is a standard feature in IEMs. It's being made out to be something bigger than it really is.
 

nerdemoji

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Jul 17, 2023
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Thanks, we just need measurements.

Truthear Zero and Zero Red offer nice measurements and are pretty inexpensive.

And because most of us are laaaazzzzyyy, we just read reviews in this website and don't waste our precious time (semi nap enjoying listening to music) in other websites.

Okay. Like?
Zero came first, costs less, no distortion peak, and most importantly, does not have a shady history. So no way.
Hi

If you feel this is the case, please provide at least the names of the alternatives. It would be even better if you could send some to @amirm for reviewing, since they are even less expensive. That way you would help us with our (so far justified) "obsession". For my part, I am amazed every time I put these TCZ (both versions) on... Such great sound for that kind of price,

Peace.
Ok I (try to) will address all of these here.

Example 1: NOT CHEAPER but much more compliant (probably the best at the moment, as far as I am aware)
Truthear Nova w/ Foam tips. (around 130 or so USD, but there are discounts sometimes)
graph(6).png

Example 2: Less than half of the price: the Moondrop Chu 2 (19 USD). Is the Zero Red worth this difference? (I think that zero red is worse here, especially if you are unopposed to EQ)
graph(7).png

and if you are interested in iem and iem measurements. Use squig (if you want, also be careful of the different rigs). I think the Zero Red is decent when compared to some of the other crap, it just gets disproportionate praise on this website to for its performance (and price). Also, I am NOT saying the the KZ IEM in this review is good. and be aware of scale in these graphs (i wish there was away to zoom vertically, because the scale makes big problems seem smaller than they actually are)
 
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amirm

amirm

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MacClintock

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That is a very exaggerated scale. Here is mine:

index.php


There simply is not enough accuracy in a target to worry about such deviations. Circle of confusion guarantees that.
Let @GaryH have his rant and repeat his point ad nauseam, otherwise he will be bereaved of one of the greatest joys of his life.
 
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alekksander

Active Member
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Aug 6, 2018
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Wow, shady. Paying influencers to promote your products is normal in all consumer categories. However, paying for reviews is not (as) normal or ethical. Conflating influencer marketing and paid-for reviews and then blaming influencers for taking commission is just dirty.
do You really think anyone openly shitting on a product (because of honesty, not sinister personality) will be ever contacted to review their stuff? reviewers are picked in the way to improve product opinion, not the opposite. 90% of reviewers (of any sort of product) will go lightly on the negative sides of given item and will try to underline that it's not a big deal because positive sides are stronger. next time you watch a yt review listen how careful they are about negative sides, and what's the percentage of video time is exposing "the bad" – and to be clear it's also not dishonest, it's just marketing approach. is it dirty to manipulate viewers like this? i leave that with no answer. another approach is paying for the reviews, which also isn't anything new and i don't really get the boycotting thing. it's sort of a work contract.

Conflating influencer marketing and paid-for reviews and then blaming influencers for taking commission is just dirty.
most likely we will never know if it's true or not. everyone's trying to gain as much as possible.
 
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Cote Dazur

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Add some EQ to it and this IEM becomes reference quality, blowing away vast majority of home systems.
Listening to music with IEMs, to me, is indeed very addictive, IEMs have only recently been part of my audio diet, less than 2 years, but the sound quality is quite entrancing, add to the equation the incredible affordability and being able to listen almost at any time, any place and what we get with those is a game changing experience. Started my IEM journey on your recommendation with the Zero, still very much like it, but I would like to add that the Hola, I acquired after, is also quite endearing, better comfort for my ears and not missing any of the music while performing at very high levels.
This one is a lot more sensitive.
True, but driving my IEMs with an apple dongle from a iPhone, my concern is that I do not want to listen too loud to protect my earing and never that I do not have enough power on tap.
I dont understand why this website is obsessed with the truthear zero and zero red
Not obsessed, many here are advocating many other IEM (and non IEM) alternative. But it is hard not to reference them against many lesser solutions. Truthear zero and zero red, offer exceptional value for exceptional IEM performance, with minimal (if at all) need of EQ.
 
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nerdemoji

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I do not aim to be rude in this message. I simply want to make my point clear.
True, but driving my IEMs with an apple dongle from a iPhone, my concern is that I do not want to listen too loud to protect my hearing and never that I do not have enough power on tap.
Ok. Before I get to the rest of this message, I just want to know: does the volume controls not work?
Not obsessed, many here are advocating many other IEM (and non IEM) alternative. But it is hard not to reference them against many lesser solutions. Truthear zero and zero red, offer exceptional value for exceptional IEM performance, with minimal (if at all) need of EQ.
Let me further clarify what I meant. I am sorry that this wasn't clear in the original or the second message. I think that the Truthear Zero Red represented close to (if not) the best value for an IEM upon its release. The few compromises in sound were backed up with a price point that beat basically every budget IEM on the market at the time. Despite still being one of the best, I do not think it represents the best value for an IEM on the market today, and it certainly isn't the best measuring without respect to price. My qualm stems from some people on this site continuously claim that the Zero Red ai "the reference" or "the best" when that is only true in one way: it is the best of the IEMs that have been measured by Amir (who I have the utmost respect for. Put simply, Amir has changed the audio industry for the better). These aformetioned claims are often by people who seemingly use Audio Science Review as their single apparent source (KEF reference, reference haha) of audio science/measurements information. My opinion is simply that there are better options these days (especially for people willing to spend a little more, or people who are willing to use eq). In sum, there is no doubt from me that the Truthear Zero Red is a great IEM and many people may find it to be the best and the people who have it should be satified knowing that they would likely need to spend 135 USD or more to have a valuable positive difference on their IEM audio quality, but there are some alternatives that are better in my opinion for other people.
 

palm

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Mar 4, 2023
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@amirm just noticed a typo ($600) for the price for these in the review index. Thanks for the review!
 
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amirm

amirm

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On the previous discussion, I don't think we can ever say any headphone or speaker is "the best." The last 10 to 20% of the performance is so subjective and so error prone that I know I can't make that judgement. My goal is to find enough excellent devices in every category to let you make that final distinction.
 

Aperiodic

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I dont understand why this website is obsessed with the truthear zero and zero red. There are many better choices at lower prices these days.
Name names, please. Always interested in a good budget IEM, especially ones that don’t have BA’s. Extra points if reviewed here. Glad to see the market for non-ridiculously priced, but performant IEMs growing. Makes you wonder what the big-name makers are really giving you for their prices.
 

markanini

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Just a heads up, putting down the Truthear Zero series is a thing on the Apple House Sound discord server, a place where people put down successful IEMs, and praise some obscure and questionably tuned sets.
 

nerdemoji

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Jul 17, 2023
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Name names, please. Always interested in a good budget IEM, especially ones that don’t have BA’s. Extra points if reviewed here. Glad to see the market for non-ridiculously priced, but performant IEMs growing. Makes you wonder what the big-name makers are really giving you for their prices.
chu2 and castor seem pretty decent but id be hesitant about castor bc it is KZ. Might have to wait a bit on that to see if there are any problems with it
 
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