Knowledge Zenith (KZ) ASX and ASF Impressions

It seems like forever since I took a look at KZ products, but really, its only been a few months. This is because of the rapid-fire releases this brand has done in the past. Today, I will take a very quick look at two of their newer products, the ASX and the ASF. I decided to cover them together because for the life of me, I forget which one is which!

First off, they both came to me at the same time from Linsoul are both are available on their site for $60 (ASF) and $99 (ASX). They both have nearly identical designs, except the color choices. The ASF I received is silver and blue, while the ASX is black and gold. Both feature a metal outer faceplate and a plastic inner shell.

The ASF has 5 balanced-armature drivers per side, while the ASX has 10 balanced armature drivers! Is it a qdc Anole VX killer?!?! Well, neither of these have tuning switches, so I guess not.

They both feature translucent shells and a quick glance, they both looks quite similar inside, except one is stuffed with a little bit more stuff in it -- and that'd be the ASX with the double driver count. On the exterior, the two both come with the same braided thing and tangly KZ cable with recessed 2-pin connectors. 

And then there's the sound...

Both of these are tuned almost identically, which shows up in hearing and in measurements. The one thing I will say is that the 10-BA version is ever so slightly less compressed sounding and has a small tinge of better quality resolution, but both, to me, seem quick subpar for their asking prices.

They both are quite generic super-V-shaped tuning profiles with a heavy bass emphasis and upper-midrange and lower treble bump, but unfortunately they both drop off a cliff at 5.5K, giving both of these a heavily compressed and veiled sound that is quite dark and mediocre sounding at best.

No amount of balanced armature drivers, or any driver combination, is going to sound nice together if it's totally lacking treble, at least for my music and sonic tastes. I also found the upper-mids to be a tad too harsh as the slope from the lower mids to upper mids is quite steep and pushes a lot of those vocals and guitars too forward, too quickly.

While resolution is not awful, its not quite on par with other IEMs at the same price. Heck, you can get Etymotic ER2 and ER3 for around $100 or even less nowadays and those are leagues above in quality, tonality and resolution than these. If don't want that type of insertion fit, then there's others like the Tin T4, Shozy Form 1.1, Moondrop stuff, and any number of other IEMs that may fit your bill better than these. 

I don't recommend either of these KZs unless you enjoy collecting KZ mediocrity. 

View the product ratings on Antdroid's IEM Ranking List and/or Antdroid's Headphone Ranking List


  1. Tuned to the Harman curve, or a close approximate, the ASX actually sounds surprisingly good.


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