KZ x HBB DQ6S IEM Review

The DQ6S is a re-worked DQ6 IEM by Knowledge Zenith (KZ) and Hawaii Bad Boy (HBB) of Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews. This triple-dynamic driver IEM retails for $34 USD and is available at in two colors: black and rose gold. 

The black KZ x HBB DQ6S was sent from Linsoul for this audio review, and so let's get started!

First of all, if you've seen how the other recent KZs are, such as the KZ CRN/ZEX Pro, or the CCA CRA, you'll be familiar with the packaging and unboxing experience. The cable is essentially the same cable type and the accessories are the same. The shell design is a little bit different though. It's a bit smaller than the other two I just mentioned, and with that, it does fit pretty nicely.

Sound Impressions

First off, I am fairly indifferent to driver types. I own IEMs that encompass all sorts of driver technologies and don't prefer one to another really. In this case, I bring this up because there has been some recent controversy regarding IEMs made by KZ. There are measurements out there that show that many of their IEMs have advertised many drivers, when in fact, only one driver is dominant in the presented frequency response, while the other drivers bundled in are masked by a large amount of resistors that essentially nullify and reduce their output to nearly nothing. 

This was the case with this specific IEM where the triple-driver advertisement is represented by the main large 10mm dynamic driver, and the two smaller tweeters are essentially outputting little to no sound. I have not independently verified this information myself, but I am just putting that out there was a note to readers.

Now with that aside, let's talk about my subjective sound impressions.

I find the DQ6S to have a bass focused sound that is otherwise generally warm and slight laid-back. The midrange is present, but the treble does sound a little muted and congested at times. It's lacking a decent amount of upper treble to provide more openness and upper harmonic sounds that feel like they are tamed and dampened away.

The low end is dominant here. It's not an overdoes of bass, and I find it generally listenable and not muddy. It's not the cleanest sounding nor is it the most dynamic sound. The CCA CRA does a better job of slam and impact, with improved general quality here, even if they perhaps may share the same driver. (Not confirmed)

The mid-range sounds fine. Vocals are better presented with deeper male voices than I find with female ones where they can come off as a little bit more compressed. This may be attributed to my aforementioned treble compression.

Treble is slightly grainy, missing in some cases, and overall lacking quality and air. That said, this IEM is pleasantly warm, and easy to listen to without any harshness, sibilance nor fatigue, and is easily one I can recommend for long listening sessions. Just keep in mind that it's not the most technical sounding IEM nor the most dynamically pleasing, even at its price point.

The quick summary takeaway here is that the DQ6S is appropriately priced at $34 now, and if this was a year ago or so, this would be one of the best IEMs at this price range. That shows how quickly things move in this budget IEM space, or the IEM world in general lately. The CRA from CCA is my favorite IEM under $50, and its half the price of this one. Its a tough one to beat from price to performance and just overall fun factor. 

The DQ6S is a good IEM at $34 and I'd perhaps take it over the slightly higher cost CRN/ZEX Pro even. Either way, I give this one an above average rating for its price point and that's a good sign for KZ overall.