Most impressive IEM's I've tried - and sub $50 !!!
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  1. #1
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Default Most impressive IEM's I've tried - and sub $50 !!!

    Ok, I'll start with the fact that I'm a over / on-ear headphone guy - I really "wanted" to get into IEM's, but comfort, sound quality and budget combined left me with fruitless results.

    Any IEM's (sub $150 e.g. Shure / Marshall / Sony) I've tried just failed to meet the quality of my HD25's or 7506's or even Superlux 552's (another amazing sub $50 headphone) on-ears, there was always muzzy sounds and frequencies missing that were instantly filled in by throwing on a proper set of cans.

    Well for the past few days I've been testing out the KZ ZS6 IEM's and OMFG!

    These little babies were on special locally for just $30. I have read a ton of reviews over the past few months when i saw the deal I bit the bullet. It was a no-brainer to give them a go.

    Firstly, the basic specs:

    • Anodized Aluminum Chassis
    • Quad Hybrid drivers 2x Balanced Armature 2x Dynamic (per ear!)
    • Weight: 6g per ear.
    • Replaceable Cables (Fancy Silver plated ones can be had for around $10-$15)
    • Microphone on cable (works fine with any phone I tried).
    • Semi-Isolating (about 90% isolation) .. there is 3 small vents for the dynamic drivers to breath.
    • Package comes with 3 tip sizes which are standard and can be changed to memory foam if needed.
    • Only 15ohm - They sound awesome, however other reports recommend amping them for best results with most phones. Mixers and DAC's will have plenty of juice to drive them optimally.


    Honestly, I'm hearing things that were missing, masked even with my Sony's and Senns. Listening back to tracks I've been working on and I can instantly hear many many "mistakes" in the EQ'ing thats failed to notice even with the other cans and amazingly a wider soundstage than pretty much any other closed-back headphones.

    Unfortunately, it makes my little Behringer 302 sound disgustingly noisy - with HF hiss and EMF much more apparent then with my other cans.

    For the record, I have small ears and was afraid these would be far too big or uncomfortable, but they fit beautifully and forget I'm wearing them after a few minutes even with glasses. They stay put nicely.

    There is oodles of bass if needed, but overall very balanced and controlled through all frequencies, maybe a little harsh-for-some on the top end around 10k which can overpower male vocals with instrument heavy tracks somewhat (-3 or 4db in that area fixes it) - personally I like a bright headphone.

    The title says most impressive - and they are, the price vs quality is just insane. I doubt that you will get balanced sound quality this good from another pair of IEM's under $200.

    My advice, dont just take my word for it. Do a little Googling, read the reviews and grab a pair, you will NOT be disappointed.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Sold. Just grabbed me a pair in Red - eBay link for those in the UK:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/KZ-ZS6-2D...YDuHw9ILUqNHEQ

    Option for with/without mic. I went for without mic.

    I've been in the market for some decent IEM's for a while. Thank you for the heads-up.

    If they really are that good, I'll buy a couple of pairs for general use. (They come in a few different colours, after all...)

    Quite like the idea of mix and matching colours. Green for left ear, Red for right...
    Last edited by Patch; 03-15-2018 at 06:31 PM.
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  3. #3
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Do a follow up once you get them

    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    (They come in a few different colours, after all...)

    Quite like the idea of mix and matching colours. Green for left ear, Red for right...
    But they are sonically matched pairs



















































    Just kidding

  4. #4
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    I even went for the upgraded cable.

    Looks like the Green ones aren't available anymore, either...
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
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  5. #5
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    I actually picked up a pair on amazon as well, because I've been wanting something better than my cheapies for my pocket.

    And....first impressions aren't good.

    I'll leave them playing pink noise overnight and see how they do.

  6. #6
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    I read a review saying not much changed after 0 - 50 hrs burn in, but that they got better somewhere between 50 - 100 hrs.

    Why pink noise? Is that better for burning in than normal music?
    DJ'ing: 2x1200MK2, DJM 850, Dicers, F1, Zomo MC-1000, Sony MDR-v700, i7 Win 10 HP Envy
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    I actually picked up a pair on amazon as well, because I've been wanting something better than my cheapies for my pocket.

    And....first impressions aren't good.

    I'll leave them playing pink noise overnight and see how they do.
    They are a little toppy for some folk so maybe a love it or hate it thing. I like the highs on 7506's so you can guess which side of the fence I land on ;p But a little EQ drop doesn't hurt them.

    Of course you might have just got a bum pair

    I have the upgrade cable and memory foam tips on the way for mine - the mic'd TRRS minijack does not play nice with 1/4" adaptors.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patch View Post
    I read a review saying not much changed after 0 - 50 hrs burn in, but that they got better somewhere between 50 - 100 hrs.

    Why pink noise? Is that better for burning in than normal music?
    That actually sounds about right. I've got PT looping 30-minutes of pink noise, so it'll do that indefinitely. In all likelihood, I'll forget about it until Monday.

    And, I'm not sure. It kind of makes sense that it would be the most even way to break in drivers, since it's equal energy per octave and probably contains a lot of very short transients. But, I'm pretty sure it's not worse than music.

    Quote Originally Posted by deevey View Post
    They are a little toppy for some folk so maybe a love it or hate it thing. I like the highs on 7506's so you can guess which side of the fence I land on ;p But a little EQ drop doesn't hurt them.

    Of course you might have just got a bum pair

    I have the upgrade cable and memory foam tips on the way for mine - the mic'd TRRS minijack does not play nice with 1/4" adaptors.
    I actually like 7506s as well. On first listen, the mids seemed pretty detailed and while maybe a touch bright, the highs weren't problematic (like the 7506s can get). But there was just no detail in the bass and no extension.

    If they even out after a few days of pink noise, I'll look into better tips.

    What memory foam are you trying? Comply doesn't appear to make anything that fits.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post


    What memory foam are you trying? Comply doesn't appear to make anything that fits.
    KZ branded ones .. Its around $3 for a set of S/M/L memory foam tips.

  10. #10
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deevey View Post
    KZ branded ones .. Its around $3 for a set of S/M/L memory foam tips.
    K. I might look for those. Or try the comply generic stretchy fit ones, because I do like at least comply tips better.

    Also...after a night of playing pink noise, they're noticeably better. I'm not sure I'd call them flat now (or ever), but they're at least fun. And for the price, I'm cool with that. There's a lot of mid/high detail that I don't hear with my cheap ones and probably more than my car stereo (which is nothing special). But, they're 1 and 2-way systems respectively, so that kind of makes sense.

    Even if they don't wind up sounding totally flat, I could definitely DJ and enjoy music with these.

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