Current testing methodology is v1.2
Up next in my review of the AK6 series from the Chi-fi brand QKZ is the AK6 Max.
Similar to the other IEMs in this line, the QKZ AK6 Max is a budget-friendly set that you can get for under $10 and I got mine for a little over $6.
While it sports that familiar AK6 look, these IEMs have something unique to offer in terms of sound.
QKZ AK6 Max
An affordable pair of IEMs suitable for bass-heads.
The QKZ AK6 Max is yet another 10 mm single dynamic driver IEM from QKZ.
It’s a definite improvement over the base model of the AK6 line but it still presents several issues that collide with its positive qualities. It has a really strong bass response, a flat midrange, and good treble performance.
It’s far from being an all-rounder and might be catered more for genres like EDM, trap, or glitch pop. One thing I can truly say about these IEMs is that the bass is BIG.
- Driver: 10mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20000kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Sensitivity: 106db
What’s in the Box?
- QKZ AK6 Max earphones
- 3.5mm jack cable
- 5 x stock tips
Stuff I like
- Good build quality and box presentation
- Price-to-performance ratio
- Hard-hitting mid-bass and deep sub-bass
- Flat midrange response
- Crispy transients and good detail retrieval
Stuff I like less
- Bass bleed
- Soft details
- Sub-bass texture
In terms of presentation, the QKZ veered away from the usual boring black packaging that they used for other IEMs in the AK6 line. It’s a glow-up from the previous models.
The QKZ AK6 Max comes in a colorful box with a render of the product on the front. I thought it was pretty nice and the box itself was eye-catching.
The units themselves are snug in molds made just to hold them and everything else is wrapped neatly in smoked plastic packaging, including their very nice braided cable
Listening to the QKZ AK6 Max for the first time, I noticed that there have been a lot of improvements over the original AK6, which was good. Along with these improvements was a completely different tuning and I thought it was quite an adventurous one.
On my phone, it was pretty underpowered so I resorted to using a laptop ported using a DAC dongle. This setup supplied enough amplification, allowing me to audition the AK6 Max with its real sound potential.
I expected it to be an all-rounder IEM but it seems more suited for bass heads because of how big the bass is in the mix. It’s great for EDM and other genres that heavily depend on bass and transients, but not so much for vocal-centric ones.
They’re okay to me – I’m not especially blown away by anything it brings to the table but it’s important to note that sound is subjective and this set may even be phenomenal for people that like its sound signature.
The build quality on the QKZ AK6 Max set has improved by several notches since the base model.
These IEMs have a lightweight design and they seem to be more durable compared to the other AK6 models. Of course, I still wouldn’t suggest dropping them or putting a lot of weight or pressure on them because they’re not indestructible.
Compared to the other IEMs in this line, the AK6 Max has a more premium feel even though their price difference isn’t that significant. Quite frankly, these IEMs have impressed me.
Fit and Comfort
The included silicone was good in terms of rigidness – they weren’t too hard and gave me a good seal.
The units themselves sit nicely on my ears and in the span of testing them for long hours, they haven’t given me any pressure fatigue or fit irritation. So, in this department, the QKZ AK6 Max gets full points from me.
The QKZ AK6 Max is a V-shaped tuned IEM with a warm sound signature overall.
This is attributed to the overly assertive bass frequencies that add to the warmth of the midrange.
The midrange response is recessed and sounds farther in the mix but is engaging and still clear sounding. The treble has good extension and presents nice details but in many cases is subdued by the large bass.
The sub-bass on the QKZ AK6 Max is monstrous and can dig deep. This is due to the huge sub-bass boost from 20Hz.
It’s also not a precision boost since the graph comes down to the midrange without much control. If I were to illustrate it on charades, I’d probably try to get you to say tsunami because it looks like a big wave.
The mid-bass response is robust as well, providing powerful sound undulation. Now, this is a bass-head amount of boost and will naturally bleed into the midrange.
Personally, I would’ve liked a little more fleshed-out texture on the bass as it would give it some form instead of making itself known by materializing as big blobs of deep rumble.
The midrange is fairly flat sounding.
On Max’s graph, the graph begins to tank from 200Hz and comes up to 2Khz, resulting in a scooped lower mid-section. Graphs give us a general clue as to how a set will sound but they will not dictate an absolute answer.
Sound-wise, the midrange of the AK6 Max sounds slightly recessed. It sounds farther up in mixes but doesn’t lose out on clarity or clearness.
This doesn’t stop the bass bleed from making a sort of veil around it though. It’s a fairly thick proverbial layer of the veil around the midrange, making it sound seemingly fainter than it should be.
Vocal lovers are going to shake their heads in disapproval with this one.
Treble details come through clearly in the QKZ AK6 Max sometimes.
While the treble is well-extended and is boosted on 4.5, 8, and 10kHz as well as having frequencies ending at 16kHz, the response will depend on the track.
On some tracks, the treble will sound subdued by none other than the bass, but on some tracks, it will sound clear.
I think the AK6 Max shot itself in the foot by doing the bass that strong and ended up giving a disservice to the upper frequencies.
It’s a mixed bag and the only way to make the treble perform well constantly is to stay away from overly busy tracks or by switching to listening to your EDM playlist.
The transient response is good, snares and cymbals come across really splashy and that’s quite odd considering the treble usually presents its details softly. I’m pretty sure it’s because of the 16kHz boost but in any case, I’m not complaining.
- Hymn for the Weekend by Coldplay (Alternative/Indie) – The distant chant sets the stage for a wide entrance by the first vocals. The main vocal line is rich and is rendered pretty well in a spacious soundstage. The bass drop is very satisfying and has vocals wrapped around it. The synthesizers have great timbre and tonality in this song. The soundstage sounds wide because of how the reverb was done and the QKZ AK6 Max renders it pretty well. The vocals don’t suffer too much because the nature of singing is very mellow and calm, so ultimately it works out well.
- Heat Waves by Glass Animals (Alternative/Indie) – The entrance of this song from a veiled stereo sound to a full-on high-definition CD player is trippy. Vocal layering sounds good and has great separation. The singer is singing pretty mellowly and gives credence to the tuning. Falsetto layering plays a huge role in making the vocal playback enjoyable. The bass drops are enjoyable and the rumble has just enough texture for me to consider it good. The big kick drum and the satisfying rumble elevated the listening experience.
- We Don’t Talk Anymore by Charlie Puth feat. Selena Gomez (Pop) – Charlie’s soft vocals start the track followed by trills of the guitar. The bass drops gave a full-bodied sound and the hook is pretty addictive, layered with a lot of other vocal comps. Selena’s part is very affectionate and it blends nicely with Charlie’s voice. The bass does a superb job of not hogging the spotlight from these two vocalists and does a weird maneuver of resting just slightly beside them. The electronic instruments are rendered wonderfully and resound vividly in the space. The vocal blend at the end plus the backup vocals put a cherry on top of this very cohesive and well-done track.
- Cradle by Sub Urban (Alternative/Indie) – The distorted electric guitar at the beginning is done well and has realistic tonality and timbre. It’s followed by a very satisfying heavy bass drop but mellows down a little. The chorus bass drops, on the other hand, pulls no punches and has some instruments like bells popping out of nowhere, which caught me off guard while listening. The transients are crispy as well. For a track with a lot of basses, the QKZ AK6 Max does a good job replaying it.
The QKZ AK6 Max is a premium-feeling product because of its build quality, presentation, and the inclusions.
The tuning isn’t perfect, yes, but if you love bass, then there’s nothing much to talk about. It isn’t bad with most genres but will excel with indie stuff and EDM for the most part.
If you want a pair of IEMs that’s great for bass-heads and does well with both of the mentioned genres, then the QKZ AK6 Max is up for serious consideration.
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 2024-02-29 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.