QKZ SK5 Earphones Review – The Sub-$10 Crowd Pleaser

QKZ SK5

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Current testing methodology is v1.2

The QKZ SK5 is another set in the brand’s SK product series. 

It’s common for IEMs in the SK line to be either good or bad in terms of tuning, and fortunately, the QKZ SK5 is in the former category.

Budget Pick

QKZ SK5

A versatile set with excellent sound.

5/5
Price Range: $
Brand: QKZ
QKZ SK5 Logo

TL:DR;

The QKZ SK5 is another set in QKZ’s SK product line, which can be a hit or miss.

The SK5 turned out to be a hit with its good bass performance that sounds elevated to a degree in which it’s considered fun but not overwhelming.

The midrange has exceptionally good texture and timbre. It’s a little recessed, but I have no problems with it as it was done to give credence to the tuning as a whole. The treble sounds are well-extended and have adequate air to their articulation.

It’s a non-detachable earphone, so if you like swapping out the cables, it’s best to look elsewhere. Still, the QKZ SK5 is a good option if you like a fun and light everyday carry that you can grab whenever you go somewhere.

The Specs

  • Driver:  11.6mm Single Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency response:  20Hz-20,000Hz
  • Impedance:  16Ω
  • Sensitivity:  96db/mw

What’s in the Box?

  • QKZ SK5 earphones
  • Cable clip
  • 2 x pairs of stock tips

Stuff I like

  • Bass has good depth and no fatigue
  • The vocal texture is superb
  • Midrange has good timbre and tonality
  • Treble sounds well-extended
  • Good soundstage width and overall tuning cohesiveness

Stuff I like less

  • Fast decay speed

Comparable products to consider

QKZ AK6
QKZ AK6

The QKZ AK6 earphones are budget-friendly in-ear monitors that offer decent sound quality and a comfortable fit.

First Impressions

The packaging of the QKZ SK5 is the brand’s standard box that comes in a vibrant color with the brand name and slogan on the front.

Inside the box, you’ll find the earphones and included accessories, which are just the extra ear tips. 

The SK5 is available in six colors and I got the black one which looks pretty cool with its all-black body and the QKZ logo on the faceplate.

On first listen, these IEMs sounded okay. Right off the bat, I thought they sounded alright but then I felt like it lacked a little bit of edge and clarity on its lower midrange. 

After more listening, I had come to the conclusion that the midrange is a little bit recessed, and with the bass region boosted, this would normally cause some minor bleed into the mids. 

The midrange was particularly a good performer with its surprisingly good texture and the treble didn’t have any intrusive peaks. The SK5 would do very well as a starter earphone. 

It didn’t blow me away but it has a balanced and fun signature that isn’t easy to achieve. For that, I think the SK5 deserves recognition.

QKZ SK5 - Earphones
Elegant all-black design with logo on the faceplate | Make Life Click

Build Quality

The QKZ SK5’s construction is mostly of plastic components. 

Considering it’s on the lower side of QKZ’s pricing, what you get is essentially standard. I for one, don’t think it’s bad. 

It’s not the type of plastic that would break from getting dropped or squeezed and for me, that’s plenty sturdy. Overall, it’s durable enough but nothing to write home about.

Fit and Comfort

Although they have a weird shape, the QKZ SK5 fits my ears properly. 

I do have some trouble discerning left or right whenever I’m trying to wear them but good thing they have each ear labeled near the termination. 

The included tips are quite good with the sound and they fit nicely, so I didn’t bother swapping them out. They’re light to wear which is good but because of the non-detachable cable, they’re quite sensitive to microphonics even though they’re worn looped around the ear. 

The mic quality is decent and your voice can be heard clearly. However, the mic is on the lower side of the earphone, so if you’re playing Left for Dead 2 with your friends, they might not hear you well.

All in all, these IEMs are fairly comfortable and I have no issues with fit.

Sound Quality

The QKZ SK5 is a warm V-shaped IEM and from the get-go, you can tell that the bass is boosted but done in a good way. 

It doesn’t sound bloated or overwhelming but it still has good depth and texture. The mid-bass has a good slam to but the driver speed is a little on the average side. It’s still fairly speedy though. 

QKZ SK5 on a man's hand
Made with 11.6mm large diameter moving coil | Make Life Click

Despite being recessed, the midrange has a good presence and a particularly good texture. The vocals sound expressive in their delivery, not to mention tonally pleasant. 

The treble is airy and sounds well-extended. It manages to sound energetic and splashy without introducing any kind of sibilance. 

On technical aspects, the stage of the SK5 has good width and decent depth. Imaging is also decent, and you can roughly position the instruments along the soundscape. The sound separation is also good even on busy rock tracks. 

The decay on the SK5 is a little too fast though and is kind of wasted potential. Considering it’s got really good staging, a more organic decay speed would’ve complimented it. 

The voices in the treble are still sweet but they could go a little further in terms of expressiveness if only the decay were done better. I find myself craving more vocal dynamics. 

All in all, the tuning and the technicalities make for a very solid and competitive IEM. 

Bass 

The bass on the QKZ SK5 has a good quantity. 

It’s not linear in the sense that it hides and shows itself depending on the track, but instead, it’s constantly present. It manages to do this in a very non-intrusive way. 

It has a decent size on tracks but it doesn’t overwhelm them. It has good depth and texture to it and lends a good amount of warmth to the tonality of the midrange. 

I’d say that there’s some bleeding, albeit minimal. It doesn’t do anything like veiling the midrange but it does slightly reduce the note clarity. 

The mid-bass has decent speed. It presents a good punch and slam, plus it lays a good texture to the kickdrums. 

All in all, the bass adds fun to the sound without becoming a cheap parlor trick, for example, boosting the sub-bass by a criminal amount just to induce dynamism in the signature. 

QKZ SK5 - Silicone Tips
Round ear design for comfortable use | Make Life Click

Midrange

The QKZ SK5’s midrange is recessed but has a good presence in the soundscape. 

The tonality and timbre of the midrange are especially good in tandem with its superb texture. Voices sound very life-like and natural, and this kind of expressiveness is lost on many earphones but not with the SK5. 

These IEMs are in no way mid-centric but they possess a level of polish on their articulation.

The lower midrange is tamer than I’d like, and it’s definitely because of that scoop near the mid-bass section. It still retains much of its energy and doesn’t sound relaxed or too dull. 

The upper midrange has a lot of energy and sounds splashy. It doesn’t get sibilant or peaky though, which I’m a big fan of. 

Overall, the midrange presentation is excellent. 

Treble

The treble on the QKZ SK5 sounds very well-extended. 

It picks up a lot of the micro nuances in songs. Even minute instruments that are disjointedly tied to the main vocals are heard, like the ones on Fallout Boy’s ‘Fake Out’, where faint chimes are tied to the electric guitar. 

The transient response is good and percussion instruments like snares, cymbals, and high hats sound crispy. 

I’m unsure how to interpret the graph on QKZ’s website because it just shows two massive hills highlighting the allocation for tuning, with the bass and mids on the left hill and the treble on the right. 

It looks like cross-over networks but what’s safe to say is that the graph suggests that it’s widely boosted past 10kHZ. It doesn’t even show any roll-off approaching 20kHZ. 

Of course, it’s best to take the graph with a grain of salt and focus on what it can help us deduce. 

The wide boost might be the reason for the SK5’s good stage width and depth, and although I’m a little squeamish with not knowing which specific frequencies were boosted to achieve the wide stage, I can’t complain.  

QKZ SK5 - Cables
High-quality tension-resistant cable | Make Life Click

Conclusion

It’s a feat that with many other products under QKZ’s supervision, the tuning of each one manages to stay distinct. 

The SK5 is a great example of QKZ’s hits and I haven’t found any other brand that pumps out a lot of good starter earphones like QKZ

Overall, the SK5 is a pretty capable performer even when compared with other sets from the brand. It possesses an uncanny similarity to the QKZ SK7’s signature, only I got listening fatigue from its bass whereas I didn’t with the SK5. 

I’d highly recommend the QKZ SK5. It can work exceptionally well with a lot of genres and it performs well it’s used for watching films and playing games.

QKZ SK5
QKZ SK5
Sound Quality
Build Quality
Comfort and fit
Value for money
5

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 2024-04-12 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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