Current testing methodology is v1.2
20 October 2021
10.16 x 7.62 x 3.05 cm
The QKZ ZXT is an affordable pair of earphones from the Chi-Fi brand QKZ. Retailing for less than $10, it falls under the ultra-budget spectrum.
With so many competitors in this price range, how does the ZXT perform? Let’s find out in this review.
Excellent performance to watch out for
The QKZ ZXT is a hidden gem in the ultra-budget IEM market. For under $10, it showcases sound quality that’s comparable to the TRN MT1 and QKZ VK4 – both known for their impressive performance.
The ZXT has a better bass and treble performance, with its only flaw being the mids as they’re pretty recessed in the mix. This is due to its sound signature. Overall, it’s a tough competitor in the market even though it’s not as popular as other sets.
- Driver: 10mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm angled plug/ 0.75 mm 2-pin cable
- Frequency: 20-24,000Hz
- Impedance: 17Ω
- Sensitivity: 98±3db
What’s in the Box?
- QKZ ZXT earphones
- 6 x pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- 2-pin detachable cable
- Instruction manual
Stuff I like
- Decent soundstage
- Energetic tuning
- Easy to drive
- Very affordable
Stuff I like less
- Metallic timbre
- Build quality is relatively cheap
- Lack of accessories
The QKZ ZXT came packed in decent packaging that’s slightly better compared to other IEMs in this price range. It came in a white carton box with a couple of graphics on the front and some information about the product on the back.
While the box is simple, the earphones were presented nicely. They have a simple and minimalist design with a couple of grooves on the faceplate to accentuate the curves.
The included accessories were only a few pairs of silicone ear tips, a 2-pin OFC detachable cable, and a small Ziploc bag where the cable is stored. I would’ve wanted more inclusions but of course, one can’t really expect much for something that costs less than $10.
The QKZ ZXT utilized a polycarbonate resin for its shell, which is typical for IEMs at this price point.
Although its material isn’t as durable as pricier IEMs with a thicker polycarbonate resin shell, it still gets the job done. It also doesn’t quite feel cheap in the hands compared to other budget IEMs.
The cable is oxygen-free copper (OFC), which is also pretty standard nowadays. They’re pretty reliable. Although they can get easily damaged since they’re pretty thin, the ZXT’s cable is detachable which means that you can simply swap them out if they start to show signs of wear and tear.
The ear tips are of average quality but QKZ markets the two pairs for having two different tunings. The white silicone ear tips are said to have a “balanced” tuning and the black silicone ear tips are said to have a “low-frequency tuning”.
I tested out these ear tips to see if there are differences in performance and I must say, there are some differences in terms of sound. However, the difference is minuscule.
Overall, I prefer using the low-frequency ear tips since I noticed that they subtly improve the sub-bass and treble extension of the QKZ ZXT.
Fit and Comfort
The QKZ ZXT is very comfortable in the ears since it has no grooves or fins on the shell. It’s also relatively light due to its resin shell construction.
Since the ZXT comes in a typical shell size and shape for an IEM, it’ll fit most ears with no problem. The ear hooks on the cable provided a secure fit on my ears, and I had no issues with how it sat.
These earphones came with a few pairs of silicone ear tips of varying sizes, which was enough for me as I was able to find a pair that fits my ears perfectly. Even though they’re your run-of-the-mill silicone ear tips, they feel pretty okay and don’t cause any irritation even when I use them for extended periods.
In terms of sound, it’s easily noticeable that the QKZ ZXT has a bright tuning because of its balanced bass and mids, with the highs being more pronounced.
The soundstage is also competitive considering that I only got this for around $10.
Take note that I’ve used the “low-frequency” ear tips for this review. This is because I found that they perform better compared to the other pairs of ear tips included in this set.
The QKZ ZXT has decent sub-bass extension and supplied tracks with enough rumble, which gives a bit more tightness to the mix. It adds more body to the low end and note weight. Plus, it presents sufficient rumble without clipping on bass-heavy tracks
On tracks that are less demanding in terms of bass, this IEM sounds balanced in presentation. Additionally, it presents a decent mid-bass punch and quick attack and decay, resulting in tight bass quality.
The mid-bass also rarely bleeds through the midrange, although it still happens occasionally.
Since the ZXT presents good depth on its sub-bass and a sufficient amount of rumble on the different tracks I’ve tested, it would be a great gateway drug to bass heads on a budget.
The mids of the QKZ ZXT are recessed in the mix, which puts it into the V-shaped sound signature. The mids have a smooth texture with no off-putting characteristics other than having issues with their positioning in the tracks.
To elaborate on how the mids are positioned in the mix, the vocals sometimes suffer from mid-bass bleed due to their tuning. It’s positioned relatively far back in the mix, affecting the instruments and vocals’ presentation.
The treble of the QKZ ZXT has a metallic timbre to them and sometimes suffered from treble peaks and shortness on their upper midrange. Micro-details are present but their resolution isn’t that great.
The treble extension is average, producing some airiness to the presentation. However, harsh frequencies still find themselves in the mix which quickly gets annoying for me.
The treble performance of the ZXT may have a few flaws here and there but considering its price, I still find it pretty decent.
I’ve tested the QKZ ZXT on different genres of music to better understand how they sound and which genre works best. Here are my findings.
- Metal / Rock – This genre frequently doesn’t work well with the V-shaped sound signature as the bass frequencies overpowered the mids where the vocals and instruments are located. This was the case on the ZXT. The mids were recessed as expected but when paying attention to the mids on their own, they sound pretty good with decent texture and details. With this genre, clarity was the main problem area. Tracks used: I Don’t Love You (My Chemical Romance), All The Small Things (Blink 182), Ignorance (Paramore), Cold (Korn), Cliffs of Dover (Eric Johnson)
- Pop – The soundstage capabilities of the QKZ ZXT did the heavy lifting in presenting the tracks. The vocal layering was surprisingly great and the vocals managed to stand out even though there were times that they were overpowered by the bass frequencies. Overall, I can describe the QKZ ZXT’s performance as entertaining and energetic in this genre. Tracks used: Snooze (SZA), As It Was (Harry Styles), Yours (Maye)
- Hip-hop – The bass performance stood out the most in this genre. The midbass was very punchy as it packed a quick response and a tight punch. The sub-bass also had sufficient amounts of rumble and depth, which added to the already entertaining sound. The highs remained controlled with no noticeable treble peaks. Tracks used: LOVE. (Kendrick Lamar, Zacari), sdp interlude (Travis Scott), I Wonder (Kanye West), Superhero (Metro Boomin & Future)
- R&B / Soul – In my experience, the QKZ ZXT’s sound signature worked perfectly with this genre as the added lift on the bass frequency colored the tracks and made them sound more energetic and fun. The treble extension worked great in revealing details in the tracks. The vocals were also decent even though there was some occasional mid-bass bleed. Tracks used: LA FAMA (Rosalia, The Weeknd), Blessed (Daniel Ceasar), Moonlight (Kali Uchis), Traingazing (Sam Wills ft. Honey Mooncie), Always (Daniel Ceasar)
The QKZ ZXT is one of those rare IEMs that perform well above its price point. It can easily go toe-to-toe with other IEMs, even the more popular ones in the budget space, such as the TRN MT1 and the QKZ VK4.
For under $10, it’s worth the try for beginners or for those who are curious about how much value they can get for a very low price. After trying the ZXT, I can say that it’s nice living in this day and age where good-quality IEMs are much more affordable.
I recommend the QKZ ZXT for those who prefer an entertaining and energetic sound, especially those who like listening to upbeat genres like R&B, hip-hop, and pop.
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 2023-11-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.