Current testing methodology is v1.2
A lot of people may be familiar with the QKZ VK4, but not the VK3, which is what I’ll be reviewing here.
This little guy doesn’t come close to the VK4’s price tag but what about the sound?
If you’re a music lover that likes to dial their audio down or just relax while listening to music, the VK3 might have a place in your collection.
Fun and bassy IEMs that are great for laid-back listening.
The QKZ VK3 is a 10 mm single dynamic driver IEM from the popular budget Chi-fi company QKZ.
For under 4$, it offers a smooth and relaxing sound signature. It has great bass texture and presence, a relaxed midrange, and a good splashy treble.
This isn’t too ideal for watching movies as the midrange is slightly farther in the mix but it’s perfect for listening to music when you want to relax or wind down from a long day.
- Driver: 10 mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20000kHz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 97±3dB
What’s in the Box?
- VK3 in-ear monitor
- 3.5 mm jack cable2 x Pairs of Earcaps
- 2 x Pairs of Earcaps
- 1 x Cable Clip
Stuff I like
- Boomy sub-bass with great texture
- Satisfying mid-bass slam
- Good image separation
- Cohesive tuning
Stuff I like less
- Premature decay
- Muted cymbal hits
- Bass can overshadow treble details on busy tracks
If you’ve read my previous reviews about QKZ IEMs, then you’re probably used to how their products look, with their transparent shells in bright colors, usually in purple or blue-green.
The QKZ VK3 looks different. These IEMs come in an opaque shell with three variants: black, white, and vibrant red.
In terms of sound, to ascertain whether I really liked the VK3, I popped them in on the way to a little grocery shopping and sure enough, I didn’t notice the time I spent walking from halfway dancing on the way.
I noted some odd things about them though. I couldn’t discern whether they had a wide stage or whether it was something that the tuning did. But to me at the time, the music sounded echoey.
It wasn’t to the extent that the Moondrop Aria did but it was somewhat the same experience. It had a fun bass and great overall cohesion with how it presented everything and I loved it.
I’m really fond of the shell of the QKZ VK3, as it has a smooth and vibrant colored finish.
Like most QKZ units, it’s made of plastic that’s light to carry on the ears. I don’t feel like it shares the same hollowness the AK6 line has and I’m not sure how they did that but the VK3 feels more solid.
As per the cable, it’s still reminiscent of a speaker cable. It doesn’t tangle and it’s smooth so you can wear it inside your shirt if you don’t want cables dangling over you.
Fit and Comfort
It might be due to how my ears are shaped but I find the QKZ VK3 generally fine when they’re on my ears but there are some occasions when the fins poke the inside of my ear’s helix.
I try not to fidget with them once I put them on, which seems to do it for me.
Regarding the fit, the included silicone tips along with the VK3’s ergonomic shape give me a very good seal, giving me the full benefit of noise isolation from the outside.
The QKZ VK3 has a warm sound with a V-shaped tuning.
Now, this type of sound is either a hit or miss for some people but generally, with V-shape tunings, they’re well-received.
A V-shape sound is when the bass and the treble frequencies are more pronounced while the midrange is recessed concerning the other two.
This type of tuning is characterized as a fun sound and will work with many genres of music except for the ones that are vocal-centric or have an intimate midrange.
The bass of the QKZ VK3 has a good presence and colors the midrange, making it ever so slightly warmer and more full-bodied.
The sub-bass has a big presence and a good boom. It has some texture but mostly formless rumble. The mid-bass has a good slam and it can get you partying in your pajamas when the kick drum hits.
All in all, more control in the sub-bass and texture will do this set good but with what it offers, I can’t complain.
The mids are recessed on the QKZ VK3, portraying vocals farther in the mix.
This doesn’t affect the clarity, but it means that the vocalists are placed way back in the mix rather than in-your-face.
I think that this is a good tuning approach on this set for great cohesion. Some sets experiment with doing W-tunings and end up with the most unnatural results.
The midrange on the VK3 is lush and laidback – it’s a pleasure to listen to.
The treble has nice air, rendering instruments to sound brighter and more mellow.
Due to the bass, some of the qualities of the treble may be overshadowed, though this only happens on tracks that get overly busy.
On a general note, transients are splashy and engaging, and the high notes are done well.
These tracks are a select few in my library that I’ve found enjoyable to listen to with the QKZ VK3.
- Come Inside of My Heart by IV of Spades (Alternative/Indie) – The stage was set wide with how the VK3 renders out reverb in the mix. The vocals were sung sweetly and the layering was clean. The timbre and the texture of the instruments were exceptionally surprising as they were heard clearly when everything quieted down. The backing guitar sounded bright and weaved itself along with the synth blending to complete perfection.
- I Can’t Help It by JVKE (Alternative/Indie) – The bass gave this track a different kind of weight. The mid-bass was on-point with the vocals. How this track was mixed made use of the bass presence and the rumble gave a great definition as the song unfolds. Guitar strings retained a nice texture and string slides were heard along transitions, giving the song a hint of authentic real-life seasoning. The song had quite a lot of tempo changes and that always catches me off guard whenever I listen.
- Every Time Around by Vansire (Alternative/Indie) – The bass and piano ping pong at the start started the groove for the song and was met with sweet and calm vocals. This song is the embodiment of wanting to relax on a floatie on a beach pool. The transients were distinguishable and had good timbre, while the synth and strings were very rich in tone. The illusion of depth was perceivable and it supported the way the track was mixed. Synergy does go a long way and I like how the QKZ VK3 has presented everything with this track.
- Can I Call You Tonight by Dayglow (Indie Pop) – Guitar strings wrapped in the synth is something I never would’ve anticipated in forever but it’s exactly why I love Dayglow. This track has done its reverb extraordinarily and it fits the QKZ VK3 signature like a glove. The softer transients and the mellow strings highlighted the vocals more and let you enjoy it to its serene quality. The part where a monologue sample is layered over the track had adequate resolution until it faded. The strings near the end and the phonograph-like vocals rounded it off to a soft fade out.
- Sense by Last Dinosaurs (Alternative/Indie) – The instrumentals along with dynamic songwriting led fans to get hooked on this band’s vintage indie and yet modern sound. This track made use of layering and some vocal effects. The QKZ VK3 fleshed out the grunge in the voices while balancing the electric guitar strumming in the background. The drums were elastic and had a good response, rendering to be more on the tame side which made the song sound better. The reverb on this track is also impeccable and was more emphasized due to the tuning. There’s no perceived sibilance and I was able to listen to this track without any unexpected peaks.
The QKZ VK3 is rated A-plus and confirmed as a chill bomb that lets you enjoy your music in a laid-back style while still being somewhat engaging and fun.
The biggest strength of this set would be how it managed to do a V-shape tuning and have it attributed to a wider stage.
The recessed mids set the stage for a relaxing listening experience while having the ability to lunge forward if prompted by the track to do so. The tuning was done quite well and I appreciate how cohesive it was without sounding dull.
For under $4, I think that the QKZ VK3 would be a good set to get if you want to dip your toes into some audio or if you want some fun nuggets to use for your gaming sessions.
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 2023-09-18 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.