KZ company is no longer a beginner in the market of Chinese headphones, but so far they have avoided my close attention, mainly because their models were very budgetary, both in price and sound. However, with experience comes professionalism, and KZ tightened the quality, so let’s talk today about their hybrid flagship KZ AS10.
Any other company would have cracked several hundred dollars for 5-driver hybrids, I already had examples on the review, and there will be new ones, but KZ is not like that. For their model with one dynamic and four rebar emitters, they want about $ 45. I, of course, looking at the price point-blank, I do not understand how they fit into this Procrustean price bed, but to count the company’s revenues is clearly not my task, I’ll just talk about this model.
A bit of theory
As we already noted above, the KZ AS10 uses a 5-driver design: 1 dynamic radiator and 4 reinforcing bars. Why so many? Let’s try to explain on your fingers without going into issues of physics and acoustics.
In modern headphones, two types of radiators are used. Electrodynamic devices are arranged in the same way as conventional full-size speakers, which can be found in household acoustic systems. They have been used in the production of headphones for a very long time and are well known to all.
Reinforcement radiators differ from dynamic design features and characteristics. This is also far from a new invention, but it has been relatively recently used in headphones. The reason is the technological complexity and high production costs. However, they have a number of undeniable advantages. First of all, low distortion, high sensitivity and small size.
However, there were some shortcomings. Armatures are poor in a narrow frequency range, which did not allow earlier to use them in high-quality equipment. Until the engineers found a solution: they began to use several reinforcing radiators, each of which was responsible for its frequency range. And for the correct reproduction of the lowest frequencies, a traditional dynamic radiator is also added.
- Emitters: dynamic + 4 × with balanced armature
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Sensitivity: 105 dB / mW
- Frequency range: 20 Hz to 22 kHz
- Cable: 1.2 m, interchangeable with two-pin connectors
- Plug: angled, 3.5 mm TRS
Packing and delivery kit
KZ AS10, like almost all other models of the company, are delivered in a modest box of not very dense white cardboard, opening in the manner of a box. Inside is a transparent plastic cover, beneath it is a plastic pallet that keeps the headphones from transport adversities. At the very bottom of the box, the buyer will find a cable, instruction and three pairs of single-flange attachments (they, by the way, have KZ with fine corrugation on the outside).
In general, the delivery kit is rather modest, but we are talking about the budget segment, so for him, perhaps, all is enough.
This is the construction we see in the KZ AS10. Until recently, multi-driver headphones were the prerogative of professionals or sophisticated audiophiles, ready to shell out a few hundred dollars for them. However, the great Chinese industrial revolution made this technology available literally to everyone.
Design and comfortable wearing
When KZ does not try to “cut” the design of well-known companies, their products have a pretty decent appearance. Of course, the KZ AS10 is not a masterpiece of design thought, but for my taste, for the budget segment, they look interesting. The model exists in different colors. I got a smoky gray. The case is made almost semicircular, despite the large size, in my ears, the headphones have settled usually, but the owners of smaller ears, perhaps, will have to try them on before buying.
Ergonomics in the “dozen” is quite decent. There are no pressing faces, the sound guide is directed at an average angle, so they are comfortable enough for a long enough time. Thanks to a reasonably large body that covers part of the ear, their sound insulation is even slightly above the average level, however, for a metro or an airplane, it will still not be enough.
Separately, I note the design of the faceplates, in their role is a printed circuit board with radio components, I think it’s a crossover, but I would not be surprised if it turns out that it was shoved just for beauty, because it looks spectacular. Although, I still wonder, it would be too illogical. Through the transparent case, by the way, you can consider most of the filling and check the radiators, making sure that you do not cheat.
The wire is traditionally made replaceable, in the role of a connector, a two-pin plug is reasonably chose to fit. The full cable of the imagination is not unusual, but for its price it looks and works usually. It is moderately soft, slightly hardens in the cold, but little prone to entanglement. There is a slight noise from friction about the clothes, but the Zakes are leveling this effect. Standard thickness inspires confidence in the durability, but whether this is so – only years of exploitation will show.
The following equipment was used for listening.
- Yulong DA9 and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC and Amplifier
- Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2016 as a source
- Fidelia as a player
- Lotoo PAW Gold , theBit OPUS # 2 , Astell & Kern A & ultima SP1000 and others as portable players
- High Definition Records in Lossless-formats (Dr. Chesky The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc and others)
Before listening to the headphones were warms for 48 hours. Noticeable changes in the sound not being observes.
Judging by the reviews, the previous hybrids of the company ZS6 differed quite a bright sound, which did not appeal to all, in KZ thought, and decided in KZ AS10 to make a darkened feed, devoid of accents for HF. The funny thing about this is that the reinforcing radiators in the KZ AS10 feed are almost not audible. Well, or, more precisely, do not hear the fact that they are accustome to waiting for them.
Low frequencies are with quantitatively moderately accent, in quality, for their price, normal. The speaker is not super-fast, but in this segment, it’s quite decent. Except for the most challenging styles, he copes with the transfer of textures and the construction of the basis of the melody. The LF has depth, albeit not prohibitive, LF control is also available.
SC is also not with super-details, the resolution is not bad. Apparently not what you expect from a multi-turn armature. In general, the MF is fed smoothly, without pumping and intense color. At the same time, they are not entirely “smooth to zero,” so headphones are good for their price to convey emotions and can play not even a very brutal burden. The imaginary scene is slightly less than the average in depth and width, but there is no sensation of constriction.
The upper frequencies of the feed are typically reinforcing, with slightly sharp fades and attacks, they are fed in a dryish manner. The resolution is also OK for this price category. But quantitatively they were noticeable in the background, creating a “non-straining” sound. I think that people who are sensitive to HF range will like it, but for my taste – it would be possible to add quantitatively “tops.” However, if you consider that the headphones are primarily for mobile phones, MP3 files, and streaming services, such a feed of the upper-frequency range looks like a deliberate step.
I do not even know what to compare them with this time …
Alpha & Delta D3 A very good model for bassheads – deeper and more selective bass, but with a little more HF without a special, however, difference in quality. On the MF they are a little less detailed than KZ. Also D3 are more affordable and smaller in size.
MEEAudio M6Pro Mk2 Perhaps, the exact opposite of AS10 – neutral, more detailed, sharper, even. In general – cold monitors against taste buds.
KZ ZSA And one more relative novelty from KZ, got recently to me in hands. I did not have time to review it, so only general impressions. ZSA is noticeably brighter on the HF and HF, which brings them closer to the sound that I like. At the same time on bad recordings they may sound a little bit abrupt, and they are a bit too small for the AS10 resolution. However, taking into account even lower prices, ZSA are a very strong rival of the “dozen” for not very sensitive to HF people.
Headphones behave pretty well and with the phone. The good thing is that KZ has a removable wire with a headset and a cable version with Bluetooth. Some kind of cool source for them is clearly not necessary, since the model have intent with an eye on the “simple user”.
Genre they are moderately versatile, but, naturally, they gravitate towards simple music: pop, electronics, not very heavy rock. Sensitivity to the quality of the recording is not prohibitive, according to the 10-point scoring scale by 6.
Traditionally, several tracks in the role of example
Walking on Cars – Speeding Cars Very good and original alt-rock band from Ireland. As if specially written song for AS10: dense, spectacular bass, distinctive vocals – everything is just fine falls to feed the headphone data.
Gotan Project – Tríptico It seems that this collective becomes a regular guest in my collections, their variations on the theme of tango, mixed with anything, sound very cool. Especially if you emphasize LF, as the older model in the KZ line does.
Zak Abel – Love Song And, finally, a bit of pop music. Effective line of bass and drums, a rather unbanal timbre of the vocalist. A good multifaceted melody – all that is need to demonstrate the heroes of today’s review.
In general, KZ made a very good model, and before I met with her, I expected the worst. Immediately I saw a good design, general build quality, and an adequate sound price category. Still, the company is not for nothing one of the most influential players in the budget segment, confidently competing on it, often with itself.
The AS10 headphones have advanced electronic stuffing. A memorable appearance with balanced sound that fully justifies the cost of the device. We liked the quality of production, the availability of a replacement cable. And the possibility of using headphones in a wireless version when buying a particular module.
However, there were shortcomings. The original form of the case will not suit all listeners. For some, it may seem that the middle frequencies sound a little flat. Moreover, the equipment for this money could be more productive. However, it’s more nitpicking, which does not spoil the excellent overall impression of the KZ AS10.