Current testing methodology is v1.2
September 7, 2022
QKZ x HBB
3.98 x 2.87 x 1.46 in
The QKZ x HBB IEM is a product from the latest collaboration between QKZ Audio and Hawaiian Bad Boy (HBB) from the Youtube Hi-Fi audio channel called “Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews.”
It’s set to compete with the $20 budget market offerings such as the Moondrop Chu, Salnotes 7Hz Zero, and Tangzu Wan’er.
It has a V-shaped sound signature, packing a hefty amount of bass, but also has some smooth glide on the mid frequencies making it a fun listening pair of IEMs.
QKZ x HBB In-Ear Monitors
Premium sound for a small amount of money? The QKZ x HBB has got you covered.
QKZ Audio has another banger of a product with the QKZ x HBB IEM collaboration, which is another proof of how much quality you can get for a small amount of money nowadays.
Its V-shaped sound signature makes it more of a pleasure listening pair than neutrally tuned IEMs, unlike the 7Hz Zero, which other people might prefer.
Overall, it’s a great pair of IEMs and has since been my go-to pair when gaming. If you’re looking for IEMs to game with, give these a try.
- Driver: 10mm Titanium-Coated DD
- Pin Type: 0.78mm dual-pin
- Frequency: 20Hz-20000Hz
- Impedance: 22Ω
- Sensitivity: 115dB
What’s in the Box?
- QKZ x HBB earphones
- 6 x pair silicone ear tips (3 x black, 3 x clear)
- 2-pin detachable cable
- Instruction Manual
Stuff I like
- Punchy bass
- Great design
- Remarkable sound imaging and sound separation
Stuff I like less
- Slightly recessed mids
- Lacking some high frequencies
Where to get it
Comparable products to consider
An IEM with the same V-shaped sound signature and an excellent alternative to the QKZ x HBB.
The QKZ x HBB IEMs come in standard packaging, similar to other brands such as KZ and TRN.
Looking into the box, the IEMs were well presented. However, the packaging isn’t anything special which is completely fine because what matters is how the IEMs sound.
When I took out the QKZ x HBB IEMs from the box, I was impressed with their design and how classy they look with the black color and gold accents.
The IEMs also have some marble design with the logo of Hawaiian Bad Boy on the right earphone and QKZ’s branding on the left, both in gold finishes.
The build quality of these IEMs is excellent. They look quite sturdy and durable.
The QKZ x HBB IEMs have a detachable silver-coated cable that effectively reduced the stethoscopic effect.
For the price, these IEMs don’t look and feel cheap. If well-taken care of, I feel like they would last for a long time.
These IEMs fit my ear like a glove.
Since they have a very familiar IEM shape to them, I’ve had no problems wearing them for hours on end.
If I could change one thing with these IEMs, it would have to be the ear tips that are included. That’s because I couldn’t get a comfortable and secure fit with them.
In addition, the ear hooks that came with the cable were loose and quite uncomfortable but it wasn’t a big deal for me as I could easily swap them out with a better one.
The QKZ x HBB changed my perspective on how V-shaped IEMs should sound.
As my second pair of V-shaped IEMs next to my TRN ST1, the QKZ x HBB impressed me with its sound separation and imaging.
I immediately noticed how the bass sounds more elevated than other frequencies, but it’s not too overpowering and muddy, which is common with budget IEMs.
I never experienced any sibilance or harsh frequencies when testing them out which is quite impressive, so kudos to QKZ and HBB for doing a great job tuning these IEMs.
The bass frequencies on these IEMs shine above all their features.
I liked how it’s punchy and aggressive in a mix, which HBB IEM collaborations are known for.
Although the bass is tuned to stand out in a mix, it doesn’t muddy up the sound. Instead, it achieves a rather lively sound that’s really enjoyable to listen to.
Sometimes, I experience some mid-bass bleed when listening to low-end driven tracks such as metal and hip-hop but other than that, the bass is tuned just the way I like it – present and punchy but manageable.
The mids on the QKZ x HBB have some recession in specific frequencies, particularly in the high mids but I feel QKZ and HBB intended it to sound that way to complement the bass even more.
I think that this leads to a warm sound. If so, this IEM nailed it for me. They were entertaining when listening to some jazz and lo-fi hip-hop tracks.
Like the mids, the treble on these IEMs sounds like it was made to complement other frequencies, making it sound warm in the ear.
Although it doesn’t have the brightness and bite that others may be looking for, it still retains details and keeps everything in control, so it doesn’t have harsh frequencies.
This, for me, is a great deal as they tend to sound less fatiguing even in long periods of use.
Music Listening Impressions
I’ve tested the QKZ x HBB against different genres of music to see where it would work best, and these are my findings:
- Hip-hop – These IEMs were able to highlight drum and bass tracks with their punchiness. The sound imaging also helped a lot when presenting reverb in a mix, especially on the hi-hats and snare hits. Tracks used: Money Trees (Kendrick Lamar), Jimmy Cooks(Drake, 21 Savage), California Love (2Pac, Roger, Dr. Dre)
- EDM – The QKZ x HBB has a quick bass response which works well with EDM tracks. The only downside is that it needed more mids on tracks like Drip. Tracks used: Drip (Boombox Cartel, Dillon Francis, Desiigner), Pay No Mind (Madeon, Passion Pit)
- Rock – Guitars, bass, and drums sounded tight, especially in the low end, and the mids were present enough to compliment the bass frequencies. Tracks used: No One Knows (Queens of Stone Age), Man in the Box (Alice in Chains), Them Bones (Alice in Chains)
- Funk – The QKZ x HBB’s boomy bass worked well on tracks with real bass instruments, such as Dean Town and Them Changes. It added more body and color to the tracks. Tracks used: Dean Town (Vulfpeck), Them Changes (Thundercat)
After testing out the QKZ x HBB, I found out that its warm sound signature pairs up really well with songs that are bass-heavy in a mix.
Whenever I’m trying out new IEMs for gaming, I test them out for two things: sound Imaging and sound separation.
The QKZ x HBB IEMs were able to tick both of them for me as I was met with great sound separation and imaging. This is important when playing FPS games such as Valorant and CS: GO, which are very reliant on sound cues.
I also noticed that the bass’s elevation from its tuning helped improve the gaming experience, as the sounds feel more lively and present.
The QKZ x HBB IEMs have since been my go-to pair when gaming, as their sound signature fits right in the games I casually play.
These IEMs have a great soundstage and sound separation, which gives you an edge when playing competitive games.
The warm sound and the boomy bass make things sound even livelier, which can give you a great listening experience.
These IEMs earned their spot on my rotation, and I sometimes grab them whenever I want to listen to some bass-heavy tracks.
This is an excellent pair for casual listening purposes, as it ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to versatility. Not only is it great for gaming uses, but it also has its own strength in music listening sessions.
And for less than $20, it shoots way above its price.
The QKZ x HBB is an excellent all-rounder pair of IEMs, and I’d highly recommend it to those who love warm-sounding IEMs or even to bass heads looking to try something new for a change.
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 2023-03-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.