Current testing methodology is v1.2
February 23, 2023
KZ Ling Long
3.15 x 3.15 x 1.18 in
I mean it when I say the KZ Ling Long is a must-buy.
I’m not the biggest fan of KZ with their heavily V-shaped IEMs that focus on excitement rather than clarity or overall performance but the KZ Ling Long seems to take the sound in the opposite direction and for the better.
It manages to stand out at a $15 price tag which might have been unimpressive some years back.
KZ Ling Long
An affordable set that offers a pleasurable listening experience.
The KZ Ling Long is a bullet-style single dynamic driver IEM with an open-back design, which is uncommon.
Unlike the usual KZ V-shaped signature, we get a more Harman-esque tuning with good bass and treble clarity. The bass does have some bleed on higher volumes but the overall listening experience is quite comfortable. Plus this IEM is suitable for most genres.
It comes with modest accessories – is what I would say if it weren’t for the excellent hard plastic case it comes with. The case is well-built, aesthetically pleasing, and functional, and for the price of $15, I’d recommend buying the Ling Long just for its case.
Overall, the KZ Ling Long provides a fun and casual yet technically impressive performance, making it one of the easiest recommendations for yourself or as a gift for others.
- Drivers: 6mm single Dynamic Driver
- Impedance: 25±3Ω
- Sensitivity: 103±3dB
- Frequency: 20-40,000Hz
- Plug type: 3.5mm
- Pin Type: 0.75mm
- Weight: 83±5g
- Cable Type: Silver-plated flat cable
- Cable length: 120±5cm
- Wearing type: In-ear
What’s in the Box?
- KZ Ling Long earphones
- Hard shell plastic case
- 3 pairs of ear tips
- User guide
Stuff I like
- Lightweight design and comfortable fit
- Harman tuning with a balanced sound
- Consistent performance across all genres
- The plastic case is a nice addition
- Very affordable
- Airy feeling and non-fatiguing sound
Stuff I like less
- Non-detachable cables
- The treble feels a bit too recessed sometimes
Comparable products to consider
At $20, the Truthear HOLA makes for a very comfortable listening experience with a slightly darker treble and powerful bass.
The packaging of the KZ Ling Long is small and simple. There’s not much to be said about the box as it goes with the brand’s environment-friendly policy about letting the product do the talking rather than the packaging.
The experience remained similar upon opening the box as there weren’t a lot of inclusions – just the three pairs of ear tips and a simple user manual. However, what caught my attention was the case.
The KZ Ling Long comes with a well-made, sturdy plastic hard shell case that’s lined with foam on the inside.
This is a ridiculously good bargain for an IEM at this price point, as most IEMs, even up to the $100 mark, don’t come with such a convenient storage unit.
In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest buying the KZ Ling Long if all you need is a plastic case for your favorite IEMs. However, I soon learned, this case was only one part of a sweet bargain.
Build Quality and Fit
When I held the KZ Ling Long, the first thing I noticed was how lightweight they were.
With a 6mm Dynamic Driver and an aluminum build, these were incredibly light and weighed about 18g. However, it didn’t feel cheap. It felt well put together with a specific intent in mind.
This intent is to let the Ling Long just disappear into your ears when you put them in. And this is exactly what happened to me and is part of the reason they’ve become one of my daily drivers.
You might be a fan of the over-the-ear design, but one thing Ling Long excels at is never feeling like a burden.
I’ve used these for sessions lasting more than 6 hours of regular usage, and it’s very uncommon for me to notice any sort of fatigue in my ears.
The wire isn’t anything fancy but it’s coated in a friction-free rubber that is solidly put together. This is great because friction from rubber after a couple of months of use is extremely jarring.
I’ve had no such experience with Ling Long’s cable. It also comes with a standard right-angled 3.5mm jack.
Technicality-wise, the KZ Ling Long isn’t a beast as it’s just sporting a single 6mm dynamic driver on each end.
However, KZ has found a way to create a unique sound with these lightweight drivers.
The KZ Ling Long is what you’d call an open-back IEM – a term usually reserved for high-fidelity headphones. It sports a XUN-6 external magnetic dynamic unit with a 0.15mm Magnetic gap.
In simple terms, this means that the 6 mm dynamic drivers are located outside the shell of the IEM compared to how regular IEMs handle their drivers and airflow.
This allows the IEM to be more dynamic and have more space to produce the sound. I’ll examine how this affects the overall sound in the next section.
The impedance, however, is slightly high at 25 Ohms for an IEM with drivers this small. While this doesn’t make it difficult to drive by any means, this means there’s a lot of room to test out amps and manipulate the soundstage compared to other IEMs.
Now let me get into the sound quality. Is the KZ Ling Long really good, or is it just good for the price?
I’ll be going over the sound quality irrespective of the price to give a fair assessment of how this IEM sounds. If you want to know the kind of music I listen to, you can check it out here.
If you’re looking at the graph for the KZ Ling Long, you might feel that the bass is muddy and expect a lack of separation between the bass and mids.
This would be the case if this IEM was equipped with the standard hardware of modern IEMs.
However, the 6mm dynamic drivers manage to make this work as they don’t pack enough power for the bass to get bloated. The result is a pleasant rumbling bass with a noticeable impact that doesn’t take away from the mids in any capacity.
You can still get a bit of muddiness, but it’s not enough to ruin the experience.
There’s enough thump and depth to enjoy the bass while not compromising on the mids. The overall effect is a lot more fun than the neutral or bright-tilted tuning approach to IEMs.
The mids of the KZ Ling Long are the star of the show. The KZ Ling Long has some very pleasant and well-executed mids that I didn’t expect.
Remember the open-back design and airy feel I mentioned earlier? Well, it’s really pulling its weight here as you’d be hard-pressed to realize this is a bass-heavy IEM.
The mids exist in their own separate plan and are produced with a natural timbre that compliments their clarity. I’d describe the overall sound as warm which is great for male voices as it lets them shine through front and center.
Female voices don’t have that sparkly energy you’d expect from something like the Moondrop CHU but the overall upper midrange is energetic enough to give it a real sense of emotion.
Okay, well, not everything is perfect as the resolution isn’t exactly the greatest on busier tracks and can struggle a bit with separation. However, this is just a nitpick and doesn’t disqualify the KZ Ling Long’s mid-performance in relation to its competitors.
The best way I can describe the treble for the KZ Ling Long is relaxed.
It’s a very relaxed treble performance that commits no sin besides feeling a bit recessed for those who prefer sparkly treble.
However, for me, this control over the treble is one of the key aspects that solidified the KZ Ling Long as one of my favorite daily drivers. The airy presentation comes down in full force, and you have a fairly wide sound stage with good breathing room for the most part.
If you’ve read any of my other reviews, sibilance, and treble peaks are my worst enemy and are reason enough to disqualify an IEM.
I’m happy to say that in my many months of usage, the KZ Ling Long has hardly ever given me an excuse to complain. The treble is well-produced but never assaults you with shrill, sharp, ear-piercing peaks.
This doesn’t mean it’s a slouch when it comes to details as the Ling Long handles those quite well. The details have more of a controlled trail off rather than an energetic impact and I, for one, am a fan of this presentation.
The KZ Ling Long is a bullet-style IEM with an exciting and completely non-offensive presentation that’s fun for casual listeners while maintaining enough detail and clarity for critical listeners.
KZ has really struck a balance here like no other IEM in this price range.
I wouldn’t say it beats all the competitors in the $20 price bracket if we’re talking about overall sound performance. However, if we’re talking about comfort and ease of listening, I’d say that nothing beats the KZ Ling Long.
At this price point, what you’re getting is an IEM with powerful bass, clear mids, and a toned-down well-executed treble, and it does all this with its signature airy feeling.
This is a tall order to beat for most of the competition, setting the Ling Long in a league of its own.
If you’re looking to experience Harman tuning or are tired of listening to the lauded bright neutral IEMs currently dominating the market, the KZ Ling Long will be a pleasure to listen to. If not for yourself, they’ll make an excellent gift for your friends and family.
An audio lover currently enrolled in university and writing about my hobbies in my free time.
You're guaranteed to find me testing out a new piece of audio equipment while going about my everyday life.
This post was last updated on 2023-11-29 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.