Since the AK6 Pro was manufactured to be an upgrade, let’s see if it’s really better than the AK6 base model.
QKZ AK6 vs. QKZ AK6 Pro: Sound Signature
The QKZ AK6 has been tuned to have a V-shaped signature, enhancing both ends of the frequency range, resulting in a slightly recessed midrange without sounding hollow or lacking in presence.
The overall tuning of the AK6 is warm, thanks to the substantial bass presence that adds color to the midrange.
This V-shaped tuning, a characteristic of the AK6, is widely regarded as enjoyable, as it combines deep and impactful bass with warm overtones that permeate the midrange.
Consequently, this tuning gives the sound a greater sense of musicality, while also delivering a rich, full-bodied, and natural sonic experience.
On the other hand, the AK6 Pro is tuned to have a U-shaped signature adhering close to the signature of the original AK6 with a little more presence on its midrange.
For those who appreciate a more forward midrange section, the AK6 Pro puts the vocals and instruments in the midrange in a more audible and clearer position.
Compared to its more recessed counterpart, the AK6 Pro sounds more energetic but it still has that same warmth.
QKZ AK6 vs. QKZ AK6 Pro: Sound Quality
At its core, the QKZ AK6 is a warm-sounding IEM that’s generally pleasant to listen to.
The sub-bass leans toward a more fun route presenting good depth. The rumble on the AK6 reaches bass head levels, although I find that it can get fatiguing.
To my ears, the sub-bass lacks control in its attack and is somewhat sluggish in its decay. The mid-bass on the other hand is speedy and has a good impact but can sound overwhelming at times.
The combination of the sub-bass and mid-bass makes for an engaging sound that’s right at home with a majority of listeners, including bass heads.
The midrange is recessed while maintaining good positioning in the soundscape. The lower midrange sounds more relaxed, but the vocals retain their relative clarity. The upper midrange sounds a little on the mellow side but can adequately keep the midrange energetic.
I find that it’s easier to make out the lyrics in vocal-centric genres than in rock or more complex genres.
California performed live by Niki, Rich Brian, and Warren Hue sounds intimate and it succeeds in portraying reverb in the studio room. The voices achieve good proximity in their positioning.
The treble is extended quite well but tends to sound grainier throughout.
The transient response sounds a little faint in its delivery but has good attack and decay times. For the most part, instruments sound distinct and are rendered with good sparkle.
On the other hand, the AK6 Pro has that hint of AK6 flavor as it retains most of its warmth, with a slight cross-over to a brighter tonality.
The bass response is relatively cleaner. The sub-bass has a good and satisfying depth that doesn’t neuter its capacity for a bombastic low-end rumble, while the mid-bass sounds lighter and more agile in its attack.
The midrange is noticeably more forward than the AK6’s laid-back and recessed presentation. This makes for a boost in engagement and immersion.
Vocals and instruments have way more clarity since they’re now at the forefront of the soundscape.
The texture and microdetails on the midrange are superb and you can hear vividly guitar plucks, breath trails, and fretboard slides.
The lower midrange has clarity and energy. The leaner bass allows for almost no bleeding into the midrange, introducing better definition in notes. The upper midrange is boosted significantly, just to the point of acquiring shimmer but not where it approaches sibilance.
This triggers an odd sensation where the vocals seem to latch onto you as you listen to it. It’s like being hypnotized and being lured in. Engaging is an understatement, as the vocalist reels in and grabs you.
The treble sounds smooth to my ears while still presenting high notes brilliantly.
The transients sound distinct and have a clear and crisp edge to them. The timbral aspects of the transients are also excellent, achieving life-like tonality.
The soundstage achieves a good play on width while there’s impressive depth in the soundscape. The imaging is fantastic and situates instruments distinctly while layering them appropriately to sound well-separated.
QKZ AK6 vs. QKZ AK6 Pro: Caveats
An issue with the QKZ AK6 is that it pulls through with its tuning but gets bottle-necked with its capabilities when it comes to the technical aspects. To be fair, that’s to be expected given its extremely low price point.
The QKZ AK6 Pro seems to have no faults as everything sounds refined and well-done – both in tuning and technicalities.
Multiple testing between the two models has made me appreciate how far the QKZ AK6 Pro has leaped from the first AK6 model.
It almost seems like an unfair fight as the AK6 was left miles behind, eating the Pro’s dust. But as I mentioned in my full review of the AK6 Pro, it earns the suffix it’s given.
The AK6 Pro is more robust in its tuning while remaining controlled and refined. It also doesn’t slack off with its technicalities and uses them in conjunction with the tuning to provide a cohesive and enjoyable experience.
In the end, the jump in price is more than warranted. Without a doubt, the QKZ AK6 Pro mops the floor with the original QKZ AK6 model but that isn’t personal – it’s more of a succession.
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)