Current testing methodology is v1.2
The QKZ AK6 Ares is another IEM offering in the AK6 series by the Chi-fi brand QKZ.
Sound is subjective, and in my honest opinion, the Ares is tuned differently from the base AK6 model. but at a similar price point, is it any better?
QKZ AK6 Ares
Brightly tuned and energetic IEMs
The QKZ AK6 Ares is a single dynamic driver IEM from QKZ audio.
It’s quite surprising given its better build and feel that it’s priced just like the base AK6 model.
If you have an affinity for sharp treble and you like details, this set will serve you well, although the midrange tonality was compromised to achieve this. Even though this is far from my preferred tuning signature, I’ve found genres that work well with the Ares.
If it suits your tastes and you don’t mind the midrange sacrifices, then I’d definitely recommend this set.
- Driver: 10mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20000kHz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 96db/mw
What’s in the Box?
- QKZ AK6 Ares earphones
- 2 x stock tips
- Silicone ear hooks
Stuff I like
- Adequate sub-bass depth
- Punchy mid-bass
- Energetic midrange
- Sparkly treble and snappy transients
- Good timbre
Stuff I like less
- Needs amplification to perform
- Midrange tonality
- Image separation
- Sibilance peaks at higher volumes
The QKZ AK6 Ares is packaged a bit differently. While its box has a shape similar to the other AK6 models, this set comes in a white box instead of black, which I thought was a nice change.
In terms of aesthetics, the AK6 Ares also stands out.
While we’re used to the vibrant colors of the other AK6 models, the Ares comes in two neutral color variants: white and black. They also have gold accents which added a premium feel.
In terms of sound, the first impressions I had of this set were horrible but of course, that didn’t stop me from giving them a fighting chance. After a bad first test, I tried to ascertain whether amplification would affect the sound. In this case, thankfully it did.
Another thing to note is that I put flexibility on things to check for which is partly the reason why my first impressions of them were bad.
The QKZ AK6 Ares was pretty stiff in terms of genre flexibility but that just meant that these IEMs were suited for a more ‘specialized’ calling. So I did my due diligence and sure enough at the end of testing, I went from disliking them to liking them a little bit.
In terms of build quality, the QKZ AK6 Ares feels excellent to hold, not to mention that the faceplate is very good-looking.
I got them for less than a dollar and yet in this uncanny and odd way, they feel like a more expensive product.
The cable is still like speaker wire which gives you a small hint that they’re still part of the AK6 line.
The cable variant I picked had a mic and I’m happy to report that it also comes with a volume slider that can mute what you’re listening to. This is useful if you want to mute your audio to talk to someone for a second.
Overall the build quality is fantastic and this set gets flying colors.
Fit and Comfort
The silicone ear tips that come with the QKZ AK6 Ares are firm but still softer than most silicone tips that you get from other brands.
I’ve not encountered any issues with fit or isolation and as for comfort, the same applies. It’s a pretty comfortable set that sits on the ears securely and doesn’t cause any wear irritation.
Metaphorically speaking, the QKZ AK6 Ares is both the tropical islands of Southeast Asia and the freezing alpines of Greenland.
It doesn’t make much sense when you say it like this but in actuality, this analogy is quite on point.
The tuning signature on the AK6 Ares is a bit unorthodox as it has a warm low end, an energetic midrange, and a bright upper region.
This kind of tuning is unique and falls under QKZ’s more experimental tunings. This isn’t a bad thing and I’m actually kind of pleased to see an audio company try something other than safe tunings.
The sub-bass has adequate depth and reaches fairly low in mixes. The mid-bass is snappy and has good dynamics.
The QKZ AK6 Ares has a hefty bass response that falls under my category of good bass performance. It isn’t overly present in mixes and provides good body and engagement exactly when the music calls for it.
It isn’t veiled or hidden either, it’s just there doing the lower regions how they should be. I find myself wanting a little more texture on the bass though but overall I like the bass response.
The midrange on the QKZ AK6 Ares has solid performance and has good energy on the lower mids making songs fun and hyper.
The upper midrange to me sounds a little bit tiny and due to this, some of the midrange’s tonality is going to say a little unnatural on some songs.
The instrumental timbre on the other hand is on point and is done very well.
Weighing it all out, the midrange has some quirks but for the price, I’m impressed.
The upper frequencies are where the QKZ AK6 Ares is going to excel most and deliver an unreal amount of detail.
Strings from ‘Playing God by Polyphia’ are heard very clearly and they also sort of pop out and jump at you.
This is probably due to the upper frequencies being boosted a lot and while you get vivid and bright details, it also goes without saying that you’re going to perceive some sibilance peaks.
Personally, I stumbled upon them often when using my phone as a source.
Giving the QKZ AK6 Ares more amplification increased the dynamic range of the sound and let me hear details better without having to crank the volume up too much.
It wasn’t a simple plug-and-play though. I had to turn the dial up and down to find that sweet spot but once I did, I got all the details I wanted without any sibilance.
- G.O.A.T. by Polyphia (Rock) – The timbre on the bells at the start sounded quite good and it gets even more unreal when the electric guitars make their entrance. Polyphia’s crunch tone with harmonics at the end of the notes sounds holographic. The plucks and the picking is very life-like. Transients like the cymbals and the high hats were crispy and sounded like they were right in front of my face. Fast forward a couple of fast finger techniques and arpeggios later and we get a slow fade with the bell. Overall, the listening experience was impressive, which is something I haven’t experienced with this track using my more expensive sets.
- Ice by Ichika Nito (J-Pop) – I love how I can raise the volume of this song. It’s purely made out of mellow and bright tones from Ichika’s rich and distinct tone. I didn’t expect that midway into the song I would unconsciously close my eyes. The space had good height and depth to it. Despite the volume increase, the track didn’t sound sibilant in any way. It was a very emotional playback with good texture and timbre.
- Lilac by IU (K-Pop) – The electronic instruments, the vocal layering, and the main vocal line were simply like sugar to ants. It was pretty addictive from the get-go. The midrange energy helped stage the success of this playback tremendously and the way the bass performed along with everything else was tasteful and well-executed. Everything sounds engaging and sharp. Even after a few replays, it didn’t get fatiguing. Overall it was very bright at 20% volume on my laptop and had no sibilance at all. It’s safe to say that something like this is difficult to achieve along with the level of musical cohesiveness of the track.
The QKZ AK6 Ares is a complementary tuning to the base AK6 model.
Both of these sets have boosted bass and while the base model has a relaxed and laidback sound signature, the Ares has a brightly tuned and energetic signature.
At first, I was disappointed with this set as I tested it with my general playlists but after listening to them extensively, I’ve found that they do extremely well on genres like K-Pop, J-Pop, EDM, and Rock.
Their sound seems to be pleasantly elastic as amplification does them a huge service.
While these IEMs have a few quirks, they’re pretty negligible if not fixable. If you’re finding any sibilance, lowering the volume to that perfect spot where you still get details without the harsh sounds will do the trick.
You can use the Ares for absolutely anything from listening to music, gaming, watching movies, or even listening to podcasts.
Looking at it as a whole package, with the build, the sound, and the price, it’s hard not to like the QKZ AK6 Ares.
Although it has its flaws like genre pairing and some minor sound quirks, it’s still fair to say that its performance throughout the frequency range is exceptional – even more so considering that it comes at such a low cost.
Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)
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.