(Hey KZ Fans: Check out our review of the new KZ ZSX Terminator! It’s probably the best KZ IEM out right now!)
It seems like I just can’t resist trying out new KZ earphones. I know I just wrote about the recently released ZSN Pro, but as usual, they are coming out with new models at light speed, so here I am again reviewing another one. This time I’m writing about the KZ-ZS10 Pro, the upgraded version of the KZ ZS10, which follows the new KZ design motif introduced first in the KZ ZSN, then repeated in the ZSN Pro.
Like the original ZS10, the Pro model has five balanced armatures per side, but the drivers are all new, which is supposed to result in better sound quality than the original. Unfortunately, I have never heard the first version so I can’t do a direct comparison as I did with the ZSN and ZSN Pro, but I will review the ZS10 Pro on its own merits.
The ZS10 Pro features customized balanced armatures which include two KZ 30095 drivers for high frequency, and two KZ 50060 drivers for mid-frequency per earpiece. With this configuration, the high frequency of this model is stated to extend beyond 40kHz. It also employs one 10mm Tesla double magnetic dynamic unit per side for the bass frequencies.
As I said before, the design is almost identical to the ZSN and ZSN Pro, but in this case, the faceplate is made of thick stainless steel with a nice mirrored finish. The body is still made from blue, black or purple translucent resin, with the same aluminum nozzle. As with the other models, the two different materials not only look great but also make the product feel durable. The detachable gold-plated 2 pin cable, which is exactly the same as the one that comes ZSN and ZSN Pro, offers upgradability and comes in mic and non-mic models. The slot protection design again keeps the pins from breaking and adds to the durability. But since it’s thin, it tangles like nobody’s business.
Something to keep in mind is the design KZ uses for the cable is not universal, so from what I can see, there are only are a couple of upgrade cables out there that will fit right now. But if you see one specified for the ZSN or ZSN Pro it will fit the ZS10 Pro. I found this silver one on Amazon, and it looks really good with the black and silver model I have. It’s also thicker (with more cores) than the stock cable and doesn’t tangle as easily as the stock one.
Since the shape of the earpieces is the same as the ZSN models, it makes sense that they are just as comfortable, and fit just as securely. Also, like the other models, the ZS10 Pro does a good job at blocking out noise. I think KZ has found a winner in the design language used for the last three models, including the subject of this review.
As usual, I tested the ZS10 Pro with my LG V40 as I do with all earphones. I think its Quad-DAC brings the best out of IEMs. I used the Tidal app mostly, but I also played some 24-bit FLAC files via the stock LG music app.
The sound signature of the ZS10 Pro pretty much follows the standard V-shaped sound sig of most KZ earphones. The bass and treble are slightly elevated and the mids are slightly recessed. As a matter of fact, the sound sig is very similar to the ZSN Pro, but the ZS10 Pro is more laid-back in the treble and mids and has a deeper, more articulate bass. It’s basically more refined all around.
Because the ZSN Pro is brighter and more sibilant than the ZS10 Pro, the latter seems more balanced to me, which I like, but the relatively more laid back upper treble in the ZS10 Pro does give the impression of having slightly less detail. That being said, they are KZ earphones so there is still a little brightness in the lower treble, but they are not as “shouty” as the former. Mids can be thin at times, but they are clear, and bass is nicely done, with good depth and tightness.
When you get into four and five driver earphones, you expect the earphones to be able to present more spatial cues than a two-driver earphone, giving you that open three-dimensional sound. The ZS10 Pro does that to an extent, but the effect is not as pronounced as other earphones equipped with the same amount of drivers. I think this comes from a pretty haphazard tuning of the drivers.
The sound is not very cohesive, with a detached bass and treble that seem to play along with each other but not quite together. The four-driver Brainwavz B400, which I reviewed a few months back, had much better tuning of the drivers and because of that, it had a great three-dimensional soundstage with no frequencies that stuck out as they do on the ZS10 Pro. But to put things in perspective, the B400 has better Knowles BA units and costs four times the KZ IEMs at $200.
So I know it sounds like I’m being hard on these earphones, but that’s just because I’m comparing them with other four and five driver earphones (read: more expensive) I’ve listened to. But within the KZ family, and as a $50 dollar earphone, they are pretty good.
Like I’ve said in the past, KZ earphones are not the most technically proficient out there, but they are usually entertaining and I think these are the most entertaining and refined KZ IEM I have heard yet. They have a deeper and wider soundstage, plus more instrument separation than I’ve heard in any other KZ product. When I listened to “Touch” by Daft Punk from their Random Access Memories album, the vocals were rich and natural, the instruments were nicely separated, and there was a decent sense of space which is what I usually look for in an IEM with this many drivers. It’s a nice, engaging sound for the money.
As five driver earphones go, the KZ ZS10 Pro is not the greatest. The tuning of the drivers is a bit of a mess. There is a reason why these are $50 when most five driver models go for hundreds of dollars. Don’t buy these to see what a five driver earphone is truly capable of.
However, as a $50 earphone, and within the KZ family, I would say these are the best sounding KZ earphone out right now, with an open fun sound that sounds good with any music. But with KZ and the way they release new models that could change next week. BTW, they already announced a new 8 driver per side IEM, the KZ-AS16, that will be hitting stores soon.
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Buy Here: KZ ZS10 Pro
Model Number: KZ ZS10 Pro
Frequency Response: 7Hz-40kHz
Plug Type: 3.5mm Plug
Color: Black, Purple, Blue
2*30095 high frequency
2*50060 mid frequency
1*10mm double magnetic dynamic
I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My thirst for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.