Current testing methodology is v1.2
July 1, 2022
The QKZ VK5 is a pair of earphones from QKZ.
This IEM caught my attention because of its exposed circuit board design, which I thought was pretty cool.
This design set high expectations since I found it unique. Most IEMs have a faceplate cover hiding the interiors so the VK5 stood out. It’s also quite affordable.
Coming from a Chi-Fi brand known for manufacturing good-quality earphones at affordable prices, I was expecting the VK5 to meet the current standards. But of course, there will always be some who fall short on the sound quality spectrum.
So where does it fall short on? You’ll find out in the review.
A $20 disappointment from QKZ.
The QKZ VK5 is a budget pair of earphones from the Chi-Fi brand QKZ.
It features a unique design and at under $20, it’s relatively on the cheaper side though I wouldn’t recommend it since many other IEMs could perform better for the same price.
The VK5 has poor sound quality that’s mostly recessed and veiled. The main issues lie with the bleeding mid-bass, lacking mids, and neglected treble. However, people with sensitive ears may find this pair favorable because it has a warmer signature.
One good thing to note about the QKZ VKZ5 would be its noise cancelation despite the uncomfortable fit for my ears.
Despite being an affordable unit, you’re sure to find better options than the QKZ VK5 even if you’re on a limited budget.
- Driver: 10mm Dual Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm Jack
- Cable Length: 1.2m
- Frequency: 10 – 40,000Hz
- Impedance: 58Ω
- Sensitivity: 96db
What’s in the Box?
- QKZ VK5 Earphones
- 2-pin detachable cable
- 3 x pairs of silicone ear tips
- Warranty card
Stuff I like
- Transparent shell
- Sibilance free
Stuff I like less
- Muffled overall sound
- Bad fitting
- Weak treble
- Lack of power
When the QKZ VK5 arrived, I had to put off opening the box since a hot afternoon didn’t feel like the right moment to admire them.
I opened it up at around midnight like a child waiting for Christmas and at first sight, it felt just like that.
The packaging looked like any typical packaging for budget IEMs sold by Chi-fi brands.
It has an outer box covering that slides off to reveal the product inside. The front of the box shows a photo of the VK5 while the back contains a bunch of information about the unit. The variant I got has a mic, which was indicated by a sticker on the side.
With the earphones, you get a 2-pin detachable cable, extra sets of silicone ear tips, and a warranty card. All this is pretty standard for budget IEMs.
I was immediately impressed with the design of the VK5 but that feeling didn’t last long. I felt like was a child who received a box of toothpaste when I was expecting a remote-control car for a present.
The overall appearance is the highlight of this IEM and I had high expectations regarding the sound quality. So when it failed to deliver, I was disappointed.
My first time using this IEM felt like I had stuffed cotton in my ears before turning on the music. And from loving the VK5 at first sight, my overall demeanor toward it has changed.
The QKZ VK5 features a transparent shell that shows off the red circuit board inside with the brand’s logo. This design has a minimalist vibe that techies would appreciate.
The build quality feels substantial and this IEM seems like it would hold up well even during heavy use.
The cable is your typical braided cable with non-malleable ear hooks. It’s also detachable, which is great if you want to swap out the cable for something of better quality.
Based on its price, the QKZ VK5 could certainly have done better than coming off as any ordinary IEM. A change in the included cable would’ve also improved its physical appearance.
Fit and Comfort
I’ve reviewed a few different earphones here, and I can attest that the QKZ VK5’s fit wasn’t comfortable for me but this may vary depending on the ear size and shape.
For this assessment, I used medium-sized ear trips, which is usually what best fits me.
The VK5 had a weird bump on the shell that affected the fit and seal when worn. I wouldn’t recommend long-term use because, after two hours of initial wear, the shell was digging into a part of my ear and making it a bit sore.
On the other hand, the VK5 is a bit more lightweight compared to the other IEMs I have. Overall, I wish that QKZ did a better job shaping these IEMs for better wearing comfort.
The sound quality of the QKZ VK5 is where my expectations went downhill and this is the first time I had to write a bad review.
From the get-go, I noticed the sound was a bit muffled – as if a barrier was placed between the earphones and my eardrums.
To be honest, I expected a lot from the VK5 because of the VK4‘s good reviews. I thought that the VK5 would be an improvement.
I tried to get a better sound quality by swapping out the cable but that didn’t solve my problems.
I tried listening to songs with different genres to see where the QKZ VK5 would fit perfectly and testing it with bass-heavy songs led me to my disappointment.
The bass struggled with bass-heavy songs which made me notice the bleeding mid-bass. The mid-bass sounds forward causing some bleeds in the mids and overpowering it.
Another issue is the slow bass response when listening at higher volumes. It made it sound muddy and scattered throughout the mix.
Considering it has a dual driver, the bass of the VK was a letdown.
Since the mid-bass of the QKZ VK5 was bleeding, the midrange is a bit hard to distinguish.
The midrange falls into the back of the mix leaving the instruments and vocals to struggle. There was no noticeable sibilance due to how recessed the mids were.
Even though no sibilance is often a good indication when choosing a good IEM, the reason for this case proves the complete opposite.
Unlike in other IEMs, female and male vocals have discernable qualities. However, with the VK5’s poor tuning and engineering, it lacks the note weight difference that’s usually there.
The treble of QKZ VK5 lacks airiness and doesn’t stand out.
Other QKZ IEMs are known for having a highlighted treble or highs but with the VK, they felt a bit neglected. It’s like the middle child of the overall mix.
As an IEM, they need to work on the clarity of the highs and how the instruments sound. The electric guitars specifically need a lot of work and I wouldn’t recommend it to treble heads.
The crash cymbals have no evident sustain when hit and while the snare drums lack thickness, it needs to make the tracks more upbeat, especially for busy genres.
Even when increasing volume, which usually helps me evaluate the treble, it didn’t elevate the treble as it should’ve.
The QKZ VK5 would not be my first recommendation when asked for an IEM recommendation under $25.
Some cheaper alternatives would be a better choice than the VK5.
Even though its design is appealing, its shape and structure were a bit impractical for fit and comfort. They left my ears sore from prolonged use.
One good quality is its noise canceling feature as it did well in blocking out external noise.
While people with sensitive ears may like the VK5, it’s bleeding mid-bass, recessed mids, and lacking treble need more adjustments. The clarity and details of the vocals and instruments could also use some improvement.
With the brand’s history of manufacturing budget-friendly yet high-quality IEMs, they certainly could’ve done better with the QKZ VK5.
Shaik, a college student, part-time musician, and proud fur parent. Currently pursuing his degree in architecture.
As a part-time musician, Shaik enjoys expressing his self creatively through music. Whether it's writing original songs or performing covers, music is a significant part of Shaik's life
This post was last updated on 2023-12-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.