Current testing methodology is v1.2
June 25, 2023
3.94 x 2.76 x 1.57 in
The QKZ ZX3 is an affordable pair of earphones from the Chi-Fi brand QKZ, which is based in Guangdong, China.
QKZ is a famous brand within the budget IEM space and it’s known to produce many good quality products.
Let’s see how the ZX3 performs in this detailed review.
A well-built pair of earphones with mediocre sound quality.
The QKZ ZX3 is a dual magnetic dynamic driver IEM with a very warm V-shaped sound signature.
Although it didn’t meet some of my expectations and I wasn’t as impressed as I’d hoped, it’s still not a bad set either. Plus there are some good things about it too.
If you’re planning to buy the QKZ ZX3, just take note that it has a lot of bass and suffers from mid-bass bleed.
Although the tuning on the bass is colored and enjoyable, the lack of overall definition, balance, and control makes me reconsider if it’s worth the purchase since there are a lot of better-tuned IEMs at this price point.
- Driver: 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm straight plug/ 0.75mm 2-pin
- Frequency: 20-20000Hz
- Impedance: 17Ω
- Sensitivity: 109±3db
- Weight: 65±5g
What’s in the Box?
- QKZ ZX3 earphones
- 2-pin detachable silver-plated cable
- 3 x pairs of white silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- 3 x pairs of black silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- Instruction manual
Stuff I like
- Warm V-shaped sound signature
- Smoothed-out treble frequencies
- Mids have good a definition and resolution
Stuff I like less
- Bloated mid-bass
- Overwhelming sub-bass rumble
Comparable products to consider
The KZ EDA Balanced Edition also has a warm V-shape sound signature, with its bass region significantly boosted while maintaining a good amount of control.
The QKZ ZX3‘s packaging was nothing out of the ordinary.
Compared to other budget sets from QKZ, the one on the ZX3 is a lot better. It’s a white carton sleeve box with a photo of the product. There are also product details printed on it.
The QKZ ZX3’s shell is made of a transparent resin shell, which I suspect is polycarbonate. This makes for a lightweight pair of earphones which is a massive plus for me since lightness equates to comfort.
The set includes a 2-pin detachable cable and six pairs of silicone ear tips in varying sizes. The quality of the accessories is okay. I’d recommend swapping out the ear tips though but the ones with the ZX3 should work fine.
Simply put, the QKZ ZX3 followed a “simple but effective” principle with its design and included accessories that only included the essentials.
The QKZ ZX3 has a straightforward design with few eye-catching elements besides a metal piece in the middle of its faceplate.
The build appears to be pretty sturdy and durable. The included accessories were also decent. The ear tips may not be of the best quality but they get the job done.
The same goes for the cable. It’s silver-plated which is slowly becoming the standard within the budget IEM market. A silver-plated cable aims to reduce the “stethoscopic effect” that earphones suffer from, which can occur when rubbing cables against the fabrics of our clothes or objects.
The good thing is that you can always swap out the ear tips and the cable for something of better quality.
Fit and Comfort
Regarding fit and comfort, the QKZ ZX3 manages to do a decent job.
Since it has a basic shell shape and body, plus it has no weird protrusions or fins, the fit won’t be a problem for most users.
Since its shell is mostly made of polycarbonate material, it’s lightweight and you almost won’t feel anything when you wear it.
I also had zero problems using the stock cable and silicone ear tips. They’re pretty good overall but if you want better fit and comfort, I’d recommend swapping the ear tips out for a pair of Spinfits or foam ear tips.
Not only will this improve fit and comfort but it also filters out more external noise and allows your IEMs to perform the way they’re meant to.
Overall, the fit and comfort are decent for the price.
The QKZ ZX3 has a V-shaped sound signature.
This tuning is quite evident with the bass frequencies being more prominent in the mix. The mids are also recessed and there’s a slight boost on the upper frequencies.
The bass of the QKZ ZX3 is very present in the mix with massive amounts of thickness and sub-bass extension, giving a lot of rumble which is felt all over the mix.
The bass has a good definition but a loose and slow response.
The sub-bass extension is very lengthy, although its rumble can be overwhelming, depending on the tracks you’re listening to. This might be enjoyable for the inexperienced ear but can be a headache for enthusiasts.
The mid-bass often bleeds rather than occasionally, resulting in a little muffling and distortion in the mid frequencies when listening to busier and more bass-heavy tracks.
The mids were presented with good details and some clarity, although not as much clarity and presence which is common in V-shaped IEMs.
Observing the mids while listening to vocal or instrument-focused tracks, I know they still pack a decent amount of detail and clarity but the bloated mid-bass gets in the way of the mids and keeps them from sounding great.
Overall, the mids presentation is impressive, especially since the QKZ ZX3 is on the ultra-budget spectrum of IEMs.
The treble of the QKZ ZK3 has a bit of sparkle, although not as much for it to sound pleasant by my standards. But considering its price, the highs are decent in presentation.
The highs are smoother than usual, resulting in a warm V-shaped sound signature.
This can be good for those who are treble sensitive but I like a bit more brilliance in my IEMs as it adds some spice when listening to specific tracks, giving them more character and making the
micro details out a bit more.
I have tested the QKZ ZX3 on different genres of music to get a proper understanding of how they sound and here are my findings.
- Metal / Rock – The instruments were presented with great emphasis on their lows and highs, resulting in a thicker and more prominent sound. Again, The lows were highlighted a lot, making the instruments that sit in the lower frequencies pop more than usual. While having a lush presentation, the vocals suffered from mid-bass bleed. Tracks used: Mayonaise (The Smashing Pumpkins), Playing God (Polyphia), Ignorance (Paramore), Cold (Korn)
- Pop – The instruments sounded nice and thick, especially the kicks on tracks like Neverita. Bad Bunny’s voice had a noticeable sparkle on top, and a bit can also be noticed on the snare hits and hi-hats. This element can be better observed on tracks like Snooze by SZA, where the snares and hi-hats were prevalent in the mix. Tracks used: Snooze (SZA), Neverita (Bad Bunny)
- Hip-Hop – The instruments had a natural timber while the vocals popped on some parts of the track. Due to the tuning of the QKZ ZX3, the overall mix was very colored and warm, which can be exciting and entertaining listen for those who love a warmer V-shaped sound signature. Tracks used: LOVE. (Kendrick Lamar, Zacari), Cash In Cash Out (Pharell Williams ft 21 Savage & Tyler the Creator), I Wonder (Kanye West)
- R&B / Soul – On tracks like LA FAMA, the ZX3 sounded warmer than the typical V-shaped since Rosalia and the Weeknd’s vocals are positioned more forward. This may be due to how the track was produced. Again, the instruments and the overall mix were very thick in presentation due to the more pronounced low ends. Tracks used: LA FAMA (Rosalia, The Weeknd), Blessed (Daniel Ceasar), Moonlight (Kali Uchis)
The QKZ ZX3 performed decently, although I can’t find something that makes it stand out from other budget IEMs out there,
Ultimately, the cons outweigh the pros of the QKZ ZX3 and because of that, I’d recommend that check out other sets such as the ones I’ve mentioned.
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 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.