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Kz Zex IEM Review– A Magnetostatic In Budget ?

KZ, the brand which needs no introduction in the Audiophile industry since that’s the starting point where most of us would have started. After the stellar successes of the ZAS and the EDX Pro the brand released the new product with a new configuration having a Magnetostatic in addition to a dynamic driver naming ZEX to revolutionize the market. In this review let’s see how this fare against the competition.

DISCLAIMER:

This unit has been provided to me as a part of a review tour in my country. The whole views are based on my observations with this product after using it for a particular time. The views are based on my pairings and sources hence this might differ from person to person. I have not been influenced by anyone to manipulate this review

SPECIFICATIONS:
No. of Drivers: 2
Driver Type: Electrostatic + Dynamic Driver
Driver Size: 6.8mm Low-Voltage Electrostatic & 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic Driver
Impedance: 25 ohm
Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz
Sensitivity: 103dB
Microphone: YES
Audio Jack Size: 3.5mm
Cable Length: 1.25m
Cable Detachable: YES
Connector: 0.75mm

DESIGN AND FIT:

The design of the ZEX is the usual KZ in house design where the IEM conventional shape is adopted but now the faceplate looks minimalistic and neat. They come in different colours with nice matt finished faceplate branding over it. The earpieces have nice heft in the hands due to that driver.

The fit is usual and does a very good job in cutting out the external noises. The given eartips are quite good and if you need an improvement just take the tips and make a reverse starline out of it for better fit. 

The given cable is of great quality where it’s the same as in the EDX Pro. The KZ is upping their game by providing nicer cables in their budget models which is a very good gesture.

SOUND:

The sound profile of the ZEX is a V shaped sound and there’s no surprise in that since it’s a KZ. Jokes apart, the earphone is tuned nicely. Even though they are V shaped they are not that drastic like their previous models instead the new Magnetostatic combined with that Dynamic Driver does some magic work here. Let’s see what’s magic and in depth about the sound in this review.

LOW END:

The low end of the ZEX is fully focussed on the mid bass than the sub bass that doesn’t mean that sub bass is lacking. The sub bass is there and strikes only when the track calls for it. 

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The low end sounds pretty fuller and yet clean. The new driver does the magic here where most of the fuller earphones does sound muffled or congested where this one sounds pretty clean despite the fullness it possesses. The mid bass has a nice fast paced nature along with that tight, controlled and textured bass.

Even in the faster tracks the ZEX doesn’t lose the control and the small nuances are brought out very well. The kick drums and the bass guitars sound absolutely fantastic with much energy and engaging experience. The sub bass is nicely presented too but lacks that rumble which a bass head would like. Despite that sub bass rumble other aspects of the bass is done very well with above average technicalities. The separation, texture and the control is above average for the price. The speed is really interesting and pretty fast thus the faster tracks are an easy cake to handle for the ZEX. 

If the emphasis on the sub bass is done then this would have a great gem in the low end. When compared to the EDX Pro the ZEX bass feels slightly laidback where the EDX Pro low end is more upfront and energetic otherwise the technicalities of the both are same.

Tracks Used:

  1. Bigfoot – MALFNKTION
  2. Out For Blood – Sum 41

MID RANGE:

The mid range of the ZEX is pretty good despite the v shaped profile. The midrange feels recessed but never feels boxed out or too far away rather the vocals are not on the face type but the instruments especially the stringed instruments sounds engaging and energetic. The tonality and the timbre of the vocals and the instruments are good which is neutral to bright.

No sibilance or harshness is observed in my listening. The electric and the bass guitars sounded absolutely fantastic and it brought out well and forward. The instrument positioning made this ZEX a stand out feature. The vocals however take a step back and also have that lean tonality too. The male vocals however sounds fuller where due to that emphasis on the upper mids the female vocals has that leaner nature but that gives a bit of room for the air hence the separation is very good and the detail retrieval is above average for the price. 

Tracks Used:

  1. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  2. Easy On Me – Adele

TREBLE:

The treble in the ZEX is very good with nice extension and the detail retrieval is above average for the price. When compared to the EDX Pro there is a nice improvement in terms of detail retrieval and extension. The cymbal crashes especially are nice and splashy, they don’t sound muffled rather they sound attacking and precise. The trumpets and the electric guitar strings are portrayed very well.

The emphasis on the treble region is done more hence sometimes they sound unnatural and sound artificial. For instance the HZ Heart Mirror has that natural treble with best detail retrieval and technicalities but the ZEX there is nothing to complain about the price but when compared to that the treble feels unnatural.

The airiness, separation are nicely done with vast space to accommodate all the instruments. They don’t feel sharp and that added brightness gave that shimmer and sparkle in the top end. Overall the treble is nicely tuned and the only gripe is the unnatural tone since the treble is emphasized overly.

Tracks Used:

  1. Mr.Brightside – The Killers
  2. GoodBye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John

TECHNICALITIES:

STAGING: The staging feels very deep when compared to the width and the height. The depth is very nicely done which seems very immersive while the width is above average too while the height being modest. Overall there is no “ in the head “ type feel.

IMAGING: Average for the price and nothing exciting. Channel sweep is smooth and the pointing out of instruments is average.

Layering, detail retrieval and the resolution are average and not the best since the contenders like the HZ Heart Mirror is available in the market.

Tracks Used:

  1. Hideaway – Jacob Collier
  2. Global Gear ( Instrumental ) – Punya Srinivas
  3. Crossing – Yosi Horikawa

PROS AND CONS:

Pros:

  1. Well Tuned V Shape Profile
  2. Deep Staging
  3. Forward and Energetic Instrumentals
  4. Faster Driver and Low End
  5. Tonality

Cons:

  1. Recessed Mid Range
  2. Unnatural Treble
  3. Sub bass Rumble

VERDICT:

ZEX, another latest budget offering from the KZ, is a solid package. The Pro version is about to launch and this is actually not the appropriate time to review this but still the ZEX does take a place in the market. The KZ in recent times started releasing a product per week and even the tunings started to change is a very good way. Previously the EDX Pro, ZAS and now the ZEX. All of them complement each other in terms of sound.

The ZEX now equipped with the magnetostatic driver which is pretty interesting in this price range since shouer uses this driver in the higher price range. Overall the sound is a V shaped yet done very well. The bass is fine with decent technicalities and mid bass presence, the midrange is recessed but the positioning of the instruments are done well, the treble is emphasized much thus the open sound is there but lacks that natural tone. The deeper soundstage, engaging instrumentals and the faster driver gives this earphone a big strength.

Overall the ZEX is a very good IEM and personally i would pick the EDX Pro over this since the EDX Pro is more balanced, less fatiguing and most value for money product. Nevertheless, people who like the bright sound with more emphasis on instrumentals and upper mid region, then the ZEX would be a great choice.

This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C

KATHIRAVAN

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I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.

Shubham

Shubham

Shubham Garg (Editor Shubz.in) is an engineer with a specialization in Mechanical Engineering from AKTU, Uttar Pradesh. Being a mechanical engineer he has always loved to learn the inner working of various machines and consumer electronics. He regularly tests various audio, home appliances, and daily use products, to provide the best advice to readers. He is a wizard that can make your shopping easy, saving you time and stress of figuring out what to buy.

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