Current testing methodology is v1.2
September 3, 2019
3.98 x 2.83 x 1.46 in
The VK4 is an entry-level IEM offering from QKZ.
It has been around for a while now and gained some notoriety in the IEM community for its price-to-performance ratio when it was first released.
Going for around $12 or less, the QKZ VK4 is one of the IEMs that beginner audiophiles often consider buying as their first pair.
In this review, we’ll examine what this IEM offers and why it’s such a good first pair if you’re just getting into the audio hobby.
V-shaped IEMs with good quality sound and performance for an affordable price.
The VK4 from the brand QKZ is one of the cheapest IEMs on the market today.
These IEMs have a V-shaped sound signature, which is popular in the mass market as it produces an enjoyable and lively sound.
For just around $12, the QKZ VK4 can perform well above its price point and still catch up with the newer IEM releases.
For their price-to-performance ratio alone, these IEMs are worth trying. They’re a safe option for those just starting with IEMs and other audiophile products.
- Driver: 11mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 1.25M+3.5MM cable
- Frequency: 20Hz-40000Hz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 105dB
What’s in the Box?
- QKZ VK4 earphones
- 3 x pairs of silicone ear tips
- Small clip
Stuff I like
- Good amount of bass
Stuff I like less
- Small soundstage
- Sound separation
- Lack of overall clarity and detail
Comparable products to consider
A more underrated budget V-shaped offering from TRN, the ST1 can perfectly present what the brand is known for, which is affordable price and quality audio.
It was once hyped among the IEM community for its price-to-performance ratio. The TRN MT1 punches above its weight.
The QKZ VK4 came in simple packaging similar to what you get with other IEM products at the same price point.
In short, there was nothing special to it. It’s just a simple box to package the IEMs and their inclusions.
The pair that I ordered came in the color of what they call “Dazzling Black” on the website, which was a black resin shell with a carbon design, although I doubt that this is actually made from carbon.
The IEMs look the same as the product photos online, which is good.
The included cable and ear tips were good enough for their price, so you basically get what you pay for. Since the cables are 2-pin and detachable, you can easily swap them out along with the ear tips with whatever suits you best.
The QKZ VK4 is made out of a hard resin shell, which is standard among budget IEMs and even with more expensive models.
The material is pretty sturdy so you won’t have any issues regarding durability.
On the other hand, the included cables were relatively thin for my liking. They resemble cables from similar budget IEM offerings from TRN, though they feel cheaper, and I’d recommend swapping them out in the future just to be safe.
Fit and Comfort
In terms of fit and comfort, the QKZ VK4 provided a good enough fit for my medium-sized ears.
Even though they’re relatively thicker than the other pairs I usually use, I encountered no problem with how they sit in my ears.
The included ear tips were also of decent quality, and even in long periods of using these IEMs, I didn’t get any irritation or feel any discomfort from prolonged use.
Upon benchmarking the sound quality of these IEMs, my first impression was that they have a fair amount of bass. It does sound substantial in a mix but not overtly bassy that it’s fatiguing.
Resembling a V-shaped sound signature, the mids, and the highs could also keep up with the bass response.
I didn’t encounter harsh peaks in any frequencies, especially on the treble.
The overall sound performance of these IEMs reminded me of my TRN MT1. They were similar for the most part, but they differ on other technicalities, which we’ll look at in a separate review comparison.
As I’ve mentioned, the bass on the QKZ VK4 was fair enough.
It’s punchy but has a limited amount of bass extension, so bass heads may find this less bassy even though it has a V-shaped sound signature.
Since the bass isn’t that boomy on these IEMs, one advantage is that it’s manageable.
Even after prolonged periods of use, I didn’t experience any fatigue when using the QKZ VK4, which is a pleasant surprise as certain budget IEMs tend to hurt my ears when I use them for extended periods.
The mids have decent detail retrieval, and the instruments in this frequency present a good amount of body and fullness.
I liked how the mids weren’t too recessed and have more of a lush presence. The vocals sounded natural, and they complemented the bass frequencies nicely.
The treble frequencies on the QKZ VK4 have airiness, which helps it sound more lively when listening to certain songs but there were instances where they sounded thin for my preference.
The thinness that I experienced depends on the kind of music I’m listening to. In my experience, it reveals itself through cymbals or snare hits.
Overall, I didn’t experience any sibilance, which is surprising considering their price.
Music Listening Impressions
I’ve tested the QKZ VK4 on different genres of music to see where it would work best and these are my findings:
- Metal/ Hard Rock – Instruments sounded tight and very lively. The V-shaped sound signature of the QKZ VK4 works well with this genre as it provides more edge to the rhythm section, and the drums and the bass sound punchy and present in the mix. Tracks used: Aerials (System of A Down), Sugar (System of A Down), Devil in I (Slipknot), Cold (Korn)
- Pop Music/ R&B – The vocals sound lush and pleasing, the instruments were smooth and easy on the ears, and there were no harsh frequencies, which resulted in a pleasurable listening experience. Sound imaging and sound separation closely represented what they were intended to, though it lacks some sparkle and clarity. Tracks used: Snooze (Sza), Blind (Sza), Get Free(Lana Del Rey)
- Hip-Hop – The QKZ VK4 was enjoyable enough when listening to hip-hop tracks. On the test tracks, the bass and the 808s were not that boomy, which can be a deal-breaker for bass heads, but they have some rumble to them that works with my preference. Tracks used: Highest in the Room (Travis Scott), Space Cadet (Metro Boomin feat Gunna)
- Modern/ Indie – Instruments on the test tracks were pretty thin sounding, especially in the intro. I immediately noticed that the cymbal hits sounded pretty sharp, and it was unpleasant. The sharpness eventually blended with other instruments, and it was a nice touch. Tracks used: Wings ( Phum Viphurit and So Yoon), Over the Moon (The Marias)
After testing the QKZ VK4, I discovered that its V-shaped sound signature could perform exceptionally well with lively genres such as hip-hop and metal.
They can also function smoothly with considerably toned-down genres like R&B.
The QKZ VK4 is a solid option for a beginner pair of IEMs. They’re affordable and their sound quality is excellent for their price.
There are certain areas where the QKZ VK4 just didn’t cut it for me, especially on the bass and the detail. For a similar price, I’d opt for the TRN MT1, as they have better detail retrieval than the VK4s.
If you decide to stick with the QKZ VK4, I suggest upgrading to a much better cable as the included one feels flimsy and cheap. Investing in a better cable will improve the feel of these IEMs to your ears.
Nonetheless, the QKZ VK4 exceeded my expectations, and it’s among my recommendations regarding budget V-shaped IEMs.
So if you are looking for a great budget IEM in the V-shaped sound signature territory, the QKZ VK4 is an excellent option to get started. Who knows, maybe this pair will spark your interest in the audiophile rabbit hole.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.
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.