Best KZ In-Ear Monitors
KZ Acoustics launched in 2013 and has quickly become a top source for budget earphones. The company has also released a wide range of products. When looking for the best KZ in-ear monitors, the variety of options can be overwhelming.
The ZS10 is really well priced, has a nice balanced sound for a fantastic price. This IEM punches well above it’s weight.
If you want the best value for your money while enjoying high-fidelity audio, check out the following six KZ ear monitors.
1. KZ AS10 Five-Drive Stereo High Fidelity In-Ear Monitors
The KZ AS10 offers high-quality sound at an affordable price. Each ear has a two-pin connection for the detachable braided audio cable. The outer shell and internal structure are made using high-precision 3D printers and metal parts for increased durability and a fuller sound.
As with most KZ in-ear monitors (IEMs), the AS10 features balanced armatures instead of dynamic drivers. Each ear has five armatures that are specifically tuned to handle specific frequencies.
The low-frequency armatures deliver the bass sounds while the mid-range and high-range notes are sent to the other armatures. This provides superior sound isolation compared to monitors with dynamic drivers. You get a richer sound and better treble performance with slightly less bass response.
The KZ AS10 headphones come with two sets of standard ear tips, which includes a small size and a large size to fit most users. The rounded design of the shell and the provided ear tips offer comfortable listening. However, if you plan on wearing them for extended periods, you may want to get a pair of foam ear tips.
Overall, the KZ AS10 in-ear monitors provide solid high-fidelity audio at a low price. You get decent bass that does not overpower the clear high frequencies, producing rich, crisp audio.
- Includes five balanced armatures for rich audio
- Compatible with most two-pin audio cables
- Delivers clear, crisp audio comparable to much more expensive IEMs
- Some audiophiles may prefer more bass boost
- The provided ear tips may not be comfortable for long sessions
2. KZ AS12 In-Ear Monitors with Detachable Cable
The KZ AS12 In-Ear Monitors are a step up from the AS10 monitors. Each side provides six balanced armatures instead of five. The extra armatures allow KZ to isolate the audio into additional frequency ranges, delivering a more robust sound across the entire frequency spectrum.
KZ designed the AS12 to improve voice density and deliver finer details in the mid-frequency range compared to the AS10. If you need in-ear monitors for isolating vocals, this may be the better option.
As with the AS10, the AS12 features a detachable two-pin audio cable with braided wire. Most KZ IEMs include similar cables. They are inexpensive and easy to replace.
Bluetooth upgrades are also available. If you want to add Bluetooth connectivity, you simply need to purchase the two-pin Bluetooth module.
The AS12 is one of the more comfortable pairs of IEMs. It conforms to the shape of your ear canal, allowing for hours of use. Each ear is also fitted with a silicone sleeve to reduce outside noise. It can effectively cancel up to 26dB of noise.
- Comfortable noise-canceling silicone sleeves
- The additional armatures improve vocal clarity
- Includes three sizes of ear tips (small, medium, and large)
- The shell is slightly large, which may not appeal to some audiophiles
- Costs a little more compared to other budget KZ in-ear monitors
3. KZ BA10 Headset Balanced Armature Driver Earbuds
The BA10 in-ear monitors are almost identical to the AS10 monitors. Both options feature five balanced armatures in each ear, including the low-frequency 22955 armature for smooth bass.
The main difference between the two is the shell. While both shells are constructed from metal and 3D printed for precision, the BA10 has a boxy shape. The unique shape may be an issue for some people.
If you plan on wearing in-ear monitors for hours at a time, you may want to consider getting a pair of KZ IEMs with a more traditional shape.
The benefit of the unique shape is that the cables are a little easier to connect and disconnect. KZ also upgraded the connection with gold-plated pins instead of silver.
- Includes gold-plated pins instead of silver
- Delivers pure, clear audio across the entire frequency range
- The two-pin cables are easier to connect to compared to other KZ models
- The unique shape may not be comfortable for everyone
- Costs more than the comparable AS10
4. KZ ZSX 1DD+5DBA Hybrid IEM Earphones
The KZ ZSX is a pair of hybrid IEM earphones. Instead of relying solely on balanced armatures, the KZ ZSX adds a dynamic driver to each earbud.
Balanced armatures are tuned to specific frequency ranges while dynamic drivers play the entire range. Covering the entire frequency range provides less detail but offers a more natural sound.
Each ear has five balanced armatures and one dynamic driver, for a total of six drivers per side. By combining balanced armatures with a dynamic driver, the KZ ZSX offers more texture and warmth to the audio. It also adds more bass, which should suit bassists and percussionists.
The upper shell of the earbuds is constructed from zinc alloy with a resin cavity. The overall design is lightweight and comfortable. The lower shell has a low-profile design that rests comfortably in your ears.
The KZ ZSX also includes the standard two-pin cable found on other KZ IEMs. As with the BA10 headset, it has gold-plated pins instead of silver, which may help reduce signal loss.
- Includes gold-plated pins to prevent signal loss
- The hybrid design delivers more bass
- The low-profile shell is comfortable
- The provided cable is not durable and may not last long
- While the inner shell comes in different colors, the outer shell is metallic
5. KZ ZS6 Quad Driver Headphones
The KZ ZS6 headphones are just under $50, making them one of the more affordable options. The ZS6 is an upgraded version of the ZS5, featuring a metal shell instead of plastic.
As with other KZ ear monitors, the ZS6 includes detachable two-pin cables. The anti-tangle cable measures 3.9 feet long, which should suit most situations where you would need headphones.
The ZS6 headphones are hybrid in-ear monitors that feature dynamic drivers (DD) and balanced armature (BA) drivers. Each ear has two DDs and two BAs.
This hybrid design is intended to bring out more of the bass frequencies while offering crisp high notes. You may also notice slightly less clarity from the mid-range frequencies.
The shell has a unique design with sharp edges instead of natural curves that conform to the shape of your ear. Some people may find the design uncomfortable, especially when wearing them for hours at a time.
- Offers powerful bass and crisp treble
- One of the most affordable high-fidelity KZ IEMs
- Available in four solid colors
- The shape may not be comfortable for everyone
- Lacks clarity compared to other KZ IEMs
6. KZ ZS10 Pro 4BA+1DD 5 Driver In-Ear Monitors
The ZS10 Pro is an upgraded version of the ZS10, with self-customized balanced armatures for a brighter sound. Each ear has four balanced armature drivers and one dynamic driver.
Two of the BA drivers in each ear are tuned for high frequencies while the other two are tuned for mid-range frequencies. The bass notes may sound a little muddled, but the remaining frequencies are crisp and bright.
The shell is constructed from metal for increased durability. They are also specifically molded to fit the ear, providing increased comfort and noise cancellation.
- Offers crisp, dynamic sound
- Helps cancel unwanted noise up to 26 decibels
- Affordable pair of KZ headphones
- The bass loses clarity at higher volumes
- Some people may find the design slightly uncomfortable for long sessions
Frequently Asked Questions
The following questions and answers may help you narrow down your options and find the best KZ in-ear monitors based on your needs.
Is KZ Considered a Quality Brand?
Yes, KZ is known for producing quality products that offer a good balance of affordable prices and clean audio. Many customers agree that a pair of KZ in-ear monitors can easily surpass the audio quality of a $200 to $300 pair of monitors.
KZ is a relatively young company, founded in 2013. The company was purchased by Linsoul several years later and continues to focus on the development of high-fidelity headphones.
Should I Get Hybrid or Balanced Armature In-Ear Monitors?
Bassists and drummers may prefer the superior bass response of the hybrid models while casual listeners and vocalists may prefer the balanced armature (BA) in-ear monitors.
The hybrid KZ IEMs with a dynamic driver (DD) and multiple balanced armatures often provide a more natural sound compared to the BA IEMs. The DD delivers less clarity but more punch. This is useful if you want IEMs that can boost the bass frequencies.
Do In-Ear Monitor KZ Headphones Work with Bluetooth?
To use Bluetooth, you need to purchase a separate cable. KZ and other manufacturers sell Bluetooth audio cables with two-pin 0.75 mm connections. The cable typically includes a rechargeable battery to power the earbuds, with an average playtime of about four to five hours.
KZ and Linsoul are known for producing reliable, affordable in-ear monitors that match the quality of more expensive IEMs. If you want to save money, the six IEMs listed provide the best bang for your buck.
As you compare each option, focus on the features that matter most to you, such as sound isolation or more bass. No matter which pair you choose, you are going to get a great value.
This post was last updated on 2021-05-06 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.