Current testing methodology is v1.2
December 18, 2022
The KZ DQS is a budget-friendly pair of earphones from the Chi-Fi brand KZ.
Priced at less than $20, or $19 to be exact if you get it on Amazon, it has numerous competitors offering great sound and excellent quality.
One big competitor at this price point is the 7Hz Salnotes Zero – a crowd favorite that’s highly praised in the audio community for its balanced sound signature.
With a highly saturated budget IEM market, how does the KZ DQS perform? You’ll find out in this review so let’s get to it.
A not-so-popular IEM that’s surprisingly good.
The KZ DQS is a 10mm single dynamic driver IEM.
It caught my attention because of its design, which I found impressive. Surprisingly, it also sounded great. It’s more bassy than I expected since KZ labeled it as a balanced or neutral set.
Overall, the price-to-performance ratio of the KZ DQS is very reasonable, which makes it worth trying.
- Driver: 10mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm plug/0.75mm 2-pin
- Frequency: 20-40,000Hz
- Impedance: 14Ω
- Sensitivity: 110db
- Weight: 72g+5g (earpiece+cable)
What’s in the Box?
- KZ DQS earphones
- 2-pin detachable cable
- 3 x pairs of silicone ear tips
- Instruction Manual
Stuff I like
- Balanced sound signature
- Good amount of detail and clarity
- Bass presence
- Lush mids
Stuff I like less
- Slight background hiss
Comparable products to consider
The KZ EDX Pro is a budget V-shaped IEM with a punchy bass and delightful sound signature.
The KZ DQS comes in typical KZ packaging – a white box with graphics on the front and product information on the back.
I was really excited to get this pair of IEMs for their looks alone but I was pretty skeptical if they’d look as good as they did in the photos online. Thankfully, when I unboxed the KZ DQS, they do look good in person.
Its design features a futuristic look its lines and vents on the shell. I like how sleek they look, especially matched with their black and yellow color scheme.
For a sub-$20 pair, the DQS has a premium feel. They don’t look cheap at all.
The included accessories are pretty basic though – just a few pairs of silicone ear tips in different sizes, but this is common with budget IEMs.
Like most earphones nowadays, the construction of the KZ DQS features a hard resin shell with a zinc alloy faceplate. It feels pretty sturdy.
The included cable is also well-built. Like most budget IEM cables, the ones included with the DQS are silver-plated, which eliminates the stethoscopic effect that cheaper cables suffer from.
The included ear tips were pretty average, and if you have higher-quality ear tips, I’d recommend swapping them out to ensure better fit and comfort.
Otherwise, the included ear tips would suffice.
Fit and Comfort
Since KZ implemented an ergonomic shape on the shell, the fit and comfort of the DQS are way better than your average IEMs. This is reminiscent of the CCA CSN I’ve reviewed, which I liked.
In my case, I got a snug fit and good seal without swapping the ear tips. The pre-molded ear hooks on the cable were tight enough that I had no issues with it accidentally falling off from my ear.
Of course, the fit will still depend on the user’s ear size and shape.
Surprisingly, even with its resin shell and zinc alloy faceplate construction, the KZ DQS bore little weight and was quite comfortable to wear.
Upon testing out the KZ DQS, I immediately noticed a slight lift on the bass.
Because of this, I initially thought that the tuning is V-shaped but after further research, I found out that these earphones have more of a balanced or neutral sound signature with elevated bass frequencies.
The bass of the KZ DQS was quite impressive for its price.
Its presentation has a good amount of rumble and punch, which provides excellent texture to different tracks.
Even on fast-paced and bass-heavy tracks, the bass didn’t show any signs of overpowering the mix, which shows how controlled the bass is.
All in all, the bass has all the characteristics you can look out for in a budget bass head IEM – well-controlled, has good texture and presence, and has a quick response.
The mids were smooth and lush in presentation. The vocals sounded natural and had excellent
amounts of detail and clarity to them.
Since the mids on the KZ DQS have a good amount of body, there’s added weight to how the midrange frequencies push around the mix.
For example, male and female vocals feature a thick note weight to them, which makes them sound more present in a mix.
On the other hand, the treble of the KZ DQS has a good amount of extension and openness.
Another great thing about the treble is that it doesn’t suffer from treble peaks or harsh frequencies, even when driving them up.
I’ve tested the KZ DQS on different genres of music to get a proper understanding of how they sound and here are my findings.
- Metal / Rock – For this genre, the instruments sounded all over the place depending on the tracks, sometimes making the mix sound messy. But this problem is a lot less noticeable when listening to more organized tracks like Reverie by Polyphia. Tracks used: Brain Stew (Green Day), Reverie (Polyphia), Ignorance (Paramore)
- Pop – The vocals sounded forward in the mix and featured a reasonable amount of separation. Male vocals sounded nasal at times. On the other hand, female vocals were clear and had a good amount of airiness. Tracks used: Bad Boy (Red Velvet), OMG (NewJeans), Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
- Hip-hop – The bass was significantly highlighted when listening to hip-hop tracks. The KZ DQS featured a good texture on the bass and a smooth and very responsive performance. However, some details get drowned out when tracks get crowded. Tracks used: Search & Rescue (Drake), Cash In Cash Out (Pharell Williams ft. 21 Savage & Tyler the Creator)
- Indie – Upon testing the soundstage of the KZ DQS, I notarized that these earphones were able to deliver a decent-sized soundstage It’s average but good. Overall, the vocals and instruments sounded lush in this genre. Tracks used: Show Me How (Men I Trust), Space Song (Beach House), Get Free (Lana Del Rey)
- R&B / Soul – The laidback and punchy rhythm section of this genre worked well with the elevated bass tuning of the DQS. Matched with the lush presentation of the instruments and vocals, the result was a very smooth-sounding mix. Tracks used: Devil in the Details (Mac Ayres), Get You (Daniel Ceasar), Melting (Kali Uchis)
The KZ DQS is an excellent alternative to most bass head IEMs, only it has better features like better detail and clarity retrieval, plus a more balanced treble and midrange.
Its performance is quite impressive for its price. However, tons of IEMs offer the same features so it may not stand out from the competition.
Still, the KZ DQS is worth considering since it’s a delightful pair, and for less than $20, it gives you great aesthetics and excellent sound.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.
This post was last updated on 2023-09-27 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.