Current testing methodology is v1.2
May 20, 2017
3.94 x 2.83 x 1.42 in
The KZ ED12 is a part of KZ’s budget line of IEMs.
KZ, known as Knowledge Zenith, is a well-known Chi-fi brand because of its affordable, but competitive earphones.
Despite being released 7 years ago, I wanted to review the ED12 since I feel like it has the potential to keep up with more recent IEM releases. It has been ignored for a few years now, especially with the saturated market so I wanted to give it a chance to shine.
I’ve been using the KZ ED12 for a few weeks now, and I don’t see any dealbreakers about it but of course, it has its pros and cons – and this is what I’ll talk about in this review.
An affordable set with decent build and sufficient bass.
The KZ ED12 is an IEM that boasts good quality for just $15.
As a budget pair, the ED12 exceeded my expectations when it comes to its build quality and sound. It’s a pretty solid pair and it mimics a near V-shaped sound.
If you’re looking for an affordable unit without sacrificing quality, then this is a great alternative.
- Driver: Single Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm Line Type
- Cable Length: 1.2m
- Frequency: 10 – 20,000Hz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 120db
What’s in the Box?
- KZ ED12 earphones
- 3 x pairs of silicone ear tips
- 2-pin detachable cable
- User guide
Stuff I like
- Decent bass
- Fun sounding
- Sturdy build
Stuff I like less
- Harsh treble
- Sound leak
- Lack of inclusions
Comparable products to consider
The QKZ DM7 is another affordable pair that offers decent quality and a fun sound signature.
If you’re looking for a good pair for under $5, the QKZ AK9 is a good option with a bit of Harman Tuning.
I was excited to unbox this unit because of my country’s super long delivery time.
The KZ ED12 came in a sleek white box with an image of the unit in the font. The packaging slides off to reveal another box containing the earphones covered with protective plastic.
The ED12 shows a bit of similarity with the KZ ZST in terms of shape and that’s most likely because they’re from the same manufacturer.
The earphones come pre-installed with medium ear tips. The set also includes extra ear tips in different sizes, a detachable cable, and an instruction manual.
Regarding the build quality of the KZ ED12, its shell feels solid and can withstand heavy usage but I wouldn’t recommend dropping them hard on purpose.
The shell appears to be made of resin so while they seem sturdy and durable, I’d still recommend taking care of them.
The included cable is like any typical cable you’d get from Chi-Fi brands like QKZ and KZ – it’s a see-through cable that uses copper wirings with a 3.5mm L-type plug.
Despite the cable’s typicality, I’m sure of its durability for users who like to listen for long periods.
Fit and Comfort
When I’m writing a review about a certain pair of earphones, I usually wear them.
It usually takes me more than a couple of hours to write a review for a single earphone and by the time I was done writing this review for the KZ ED12, I haven’t felt any discomfort while wearing them.
The shape of the shell makes for a good fit in my ears. Wearing them during a commute or gym workouts won’t cause many problems since they’re light and have a custom shape.
I’ve also noticed that the ear hooks aren’t bendable or malleable. With my preference for cables, I find them easier to use since I spend less time adjusting their angle for setups. These hooks weren’t too tight for my ears, providing some sort of comfort.
I know this part of the review is what you’re waiting for – my thoughts on the KZ ED12’s sound quality.
Overall, the sound quality exceeded my expectations considering its price. The V-shaped-like sound signature makes the bass a great addition to the mix.
For some listeners, the treble section may sound harsh. I also thought the mids were weird because they felt recessed and overemphasized at times.
The bass of the KZ ED12 isn’t too emphasized, but it complements the rest of the sections well.
I like how the sub-bass packs a powerful punch and that it gets deep considering it comes from a single dynamic driver. It doesn’t have the fastest bass response, but it keeps up and won’t disappoint listeners.
Its mid-bass also surprised me as it doesn’t interfere much with other mid-frequencies. This is my usual problem with budget IEM. Luckily, the ED12 doesn’t exhibit that.
The midrange is where the KZ ED12 falls short, although it could be good for some users, depending on their preference.
But for me, I sensed some weirdness as I find the overall midrange to be somewhat uneven.
The lower mids are subject to some significant bass bleed, making them sound recessed. And while with some songs, this is the case, the reverse is also true.
With the upper mids, they’re overly boosted in its 4Khz region, making upper vocals harmonics and instruments edgy and harsh.
While the mids isn’t the best, if you can EQ the response, I’d highly recommend it.
With the KZ ED12, the highs get lost sometimes in the mix due to the overpowered mids, but this doesn’t happen every time.
There are some hints of sibilance from S and T sounds on rare occasions and may be too bright. The highs aren’t that forward in the mix, but it has some presence.
In addition, the treble section may cause ear fatigue due to its harshness.
I’d give the KZ ED12’s noise canceling a medium rating. It lessens unwanted noise but not all of them.
Some noticeable low-frequency noise comes from the surroundings, but I think that won’t be much of a problem for most users.
I gave the KZ ED12 a test run with some tracks from different genres to give an honest review and here are my findings with the tracks I used.
- September by Earth, Wind & Fire (Disco / Soul) – September is one of my go-to tracks when testing out IEMs because of its dynamic instrumentals. Starting from the intro of this song, you’d hear the constant picking of the electric guitar and the high-pitched percussions, and you can tell which instrument is which. The vocals were a bit recessed in the verse section but stood out in the chorus when singing the high notes. The different instruments were still heard and distinguishable even when the band goes crazy loud at the chorus part.
- Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles (Pop) – The reverbed vocals in the intro sounded warm and detailed even when paired with the clean electric guitar and keys. The sub-bass gave thickness to the bass guitar on the verse parts which gave energy to the song. Some synth and trumpet parts were overpowered by the vocals making the treble section lose its details.
- The Less I Know the Better by Tame Impala (Alternative / Indie) – The guitar riff in the intro lacked micro details, but the bass drum gave power to the part of this song, even having no bass guitar track. I know that the vocals in verse are intentionally mixed to be powered by reverb and be recessed. Still, the ED12 gave the male vocals presence and clarity. The snare drum had a nice crisp, giving this song a much more upbeat feel.
- Tongue Tied by Faber Drive (Pop / Rock) – The acoustic guitar intro felt airy, and some piercing sounds were heard from the vocals when pronouncing S and T sounds. The electric guitar playing in the chorus needed more clarity due to the overemphasized vocals. Observing the percussions, they sounded recessed and lacked clarity when hitting the snare drum or hi-hat. The backup vocals lacked presence in the mix because the overpowering main vocals took over the mid-section.
The KZ ED12 is an excellent addition to your earphone collection if you’re searching for an affordable but decent-sounding pair that looks great.
With its good price-to-performance ratio, it can easily compete with other IEMs in the same price range even though it was released several years ago.
A bit of tweaking in the EQ will make the ED12 a beast, and even go toe-to-toe with the latest IEM releases.
Also, the detachable cable is a nice bonus especially if you’re planning to swap out the cable to your preferred one. Plus if the cable breaks, it would be easy to replace.
I’d recommend the KZ ED12 if you’re into instrumentals and heavy bass. The separation does a great job in make different instruments sound distinct without losing significant details in the track.
Shaik, a college student, part-time musician, and proud fur parent. Currently pursuing his degree in architecture.
As a part-time musician, Shaik enjoys expressing his self creatively through music. Whether it's writing original songs or performing covers, music is a significant part of Shaik's life
This post was last updated on 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.