Kz es4 vs zsn
Hello everyone, today we will examine kz es4 and zsn.
“My opinion kz es4 is the best option..
I used it myself and saw it is better.
Kz es4 is great. :)”
Pros: Punchy bass, energetic sound, wide sound-stageCons: Bass overpowering sometimes, Mids still need more body., sounding, it was torture to listen.
ES4 doesn’t hit you with any too obvious flaws. Bass is on the stronger side but it’s punchy and controlled well so I think it’s fine.
That said, I still prefer my SoundMAGIC E10 and I made a VS video with KZ ES4.
Pros: – A more forgiving sound without stupid amounts of treble
– Fun bass
– Bass bleeds into midsDISCLAIMER: I am KZ hater…I very much dislike the KZ house sound with its treble boosted to 11, its lackluster hollow mids and boomy bass. My extreme negativity towards KZ got me banned from the KZ forum on head-fi. They know me as the Marshall Mode guy. I much prefer darker, more forgiving earphones.
Build & Comfort:
The ES4 is made out of a hard plastic shell and comes with a removable cable. These earphones feel pretty solid, but with such a hollow and large casing I would be afraid to step on them. Comfort is rather good, I especially like the ergonomic shape and the lighter weight of the plastic casing compared to metal earphones that often fall out.
The overall sound is very reminiscent of the Koss Porta Pro. You get elevated bass and treble, but the mids aren’t too recessed. The soundstage is quite narrow and instrument separation won’t blow you away. In fact, the ES4 gets kinda confused on busier tracks. The bass is definitely boomy and bleeds into the midrange. But it’s a fun kind of bass and forgivable considering the rock-bottom price. The mids are so-so. On some tracks I feel like the vocals are singing through a paper cup but it’s very subtle. On other tracks it’s less noticeable. The highs are in my opinion the ES4’s weakest point. It’s kind of tinny but nowhere near as bad as other KZ earphones with lethal amounts of treble like the ZS5 (V2). In rock tunes for example, the cymbal crashes take over the entire song and that gets annoying. .
My most recent review of a KZ product was for the Zs10 which was probably my least positive review of a KZ product. I bought them from an Ali store at pre-order price and got a pair that was defective as shipped, (The seller refused to replace – and thus why I prefer to deal with Gearbest) and even when I corrected the defect by resoldering, remained unimpressive. I debated skipping new next few KZ models and waiting for them to change course as KZ had not come out with a product that was an improvement on previous efforts since the Zs5 v1 and in most respects had taken a step backward with each successive release since. The ZsR was a mixed bag and the the Zs10 was just plain a step in the wrong direction. It looked like KZ had lost their way in the woods. It was against this backdrop that a small package from Gearbest arrived. In it, a review sample of the new ES4. If you find yourself interested in the ES4, I suggest you check Gearbest.
The ES4 arrived packed in the standard white box with the slip cover that most will be familiar with from KZ. Upon sliding the cover off, the first surprise is that for the successor to the ES3, they look very little like it. When I removed the plastic tray, to find the cable, I found the cable had also been upgraded since the release of the ES3 and was the newer improved style. Also, in the box are 3 sets of tips (SML), a small instruction packet, and a warranty card. Nothing out of the expected as this has become standard KZ packaging over the last year or so.
Build is very reminiscent of the Zs10 in a slightly smaller package. Transparent plastic shell with the electronics exposed to the outside of the shell and the drivers clearly visible to the inside. The 10mm dynamic is housed in the shell while the BA is visible in the nozzle with the tips removed. Shells are marked R/L immediately in front of the 2-pin connector. The connectors themselves are recessed nicely and show no sign of slop, loose fit, or excess glue.
The ES4 did not look like what I expected it would at all. I pulled an ES3 out of my box and looked at them side by side. “Why did KZ choose to call this thing the ES4?” Its shell isn’t the same shape, it looks nothing like the ES3 in shell color either. If it has anything in common with the ES3, it will have to be in the sound department because in looks, it’s a baby Zs10.
(I found the ES4 to be sensitive to which tips were in use and insertion depth. If you find yourself hearing something other than what other people are reporting – try wider bore tips and seating the tip so the opening is even with the nozzle face rather than the nozzle sitting in the tip. I found these changes made a difference.)
The ES4 has very good bass extension and quantity. Impact of the sub-bass is felt and definitely emphasized but the mid-bass takes a step back and is better controlled than previous offerings. Bass bleed is minimal and shows a definite improvement over the ES3. For those that like a sub-woofer in their in-ears, the ES4 delivers in spades.
This and the ED16 are the best KZ mids to date. Whoever at the factory that was supposed to scoop the mids must have had the day off as they are more present in the mix than any other KZ in memory. I still hear the ES4 as a V (and the FR graphs prove that out as the mids are nearly 5db behind the treble and 7-9db behind the bass) but the sound is so well proportioned that it does not listen like a big V but more like a shallow V with a lively presence region.
The ES4 still has some extra treble energy but manages it better as that energy fits with the rest of the signature rather than carving through it like some earlier models did (Zs6). .
Seperation was good throughout my audition with only mild crowding on large orchestral pieces. (This again unlike some previous attempts that sounded as if the philharmonic had been crammed in Volkswagen bus and then asked to perform).
The one issue I found with the sound on the ES4 is common to many multi-driver IEMS and that is they sometimes suffer a bit right at or around the crossover frequency where drivers get out of phase with each other. The ES4 can occasionally display this behavior but for the most part this was something you had to be looking for to find and not a major distraction.
Overall, the KZ ES4 is an easy recommendation for those that want a lively, bass forward, IEM to use for casual listening.
First of all, ZSNs have fuller mid-range than most of KZs and that’s the reason why am I singling them out of this group. Most KZ models are traditionally very bad at creating a natural, full vocals and I could never support that kind of artificial balance…
Frequency Balance – let’s start from the bottom – bass on these is quite nice, it’s deep and punchy but decently controlled and textured. I’ve heard more precise ones, more textured ones… but not for this price. Mid-range is clean but still not the most fluid, full or warm you can find (but neither is any mid-range in this price range and for those fuller ones you would have to spit out much more substantial amount of money). The more important thing is that it’s not horribly thin and grainy either.
Sound-stage and separation – are quite decent on this model, in line with what you get with more expensive ZS10 and ZS6, and clearly better than you get on ES4 or ZSA which can get cluttered and confused, especially with busier tracks.
Dynamics – ZSNs are analytical but not anemic or flat, they actually have a decent byte and overall energy. When you combine these with clean and clear edges – we get a very lively sound with plenty of zest and excitement.
BUILD QUALITY ETC.
Metal plate and nicely machined grills are a nice touch making this model look and feel much more premium than the price would suggest. There is a new cable connector that sits more securely and cables are new too. No more wire inside the cables that you’re suppose to shape yourself, they’re soft now and pre-shaped to fit around your ears immediately. Personally I really liked this change.
All in all, I was really positively surprised by KZ ZSN 2nd Generation. After applying some simple EQ to tame the highs they become a very decent sounding headphones. And when you actually count in the price which is ridiculously low and build quality which is more than decent… I couldn’t resist to give 5 stars to a KZ product for the first time. I never heard anything this good for this kind of money.
. . .
If you’re interested I also made a video about this whole KZ group test:
Impressive soundstageCons: Slightly muffled bass
Slightly harsh for female vocals
Rather empty at the transition between high mids and trebleHi all, I’m rather new to audio tech. Just gonna share about how I feel after using the KZ ZSN(upgrade with the silver plated cable).
I dont really remember the details of my first impression of using zsn… But I do remember being amazed by what it does at this low price. I also have the habit of burning-in (a cruel and unbearing wait to try cool stuff) my earpiece(it does wonders to the DD) In fact I think the purpose of burn in is to loosen the DD making it less congested and capable of reproducing the extreme frequencies correctly. To my observation, there is no audible change to BA drivers
Many people have feedback that the bass is rather strong and to a certain extent pounding the head and ear drums.
I really enjoy the mids especially when I’m one who enjoys listening to vocals. But like I said above
The sharp V shaped drop at around 13K causes it to feel somewhat “empty”… But I won’t say that it is a bad thing as it set room to clearly differentiate the vocals with instruments making it sound pleasing that being overwhelmed by “fighting for territory”
Really impressive, tested it out with a few surround sound test on youtube. Very accurate reproduction of the source and depth, allowing differentiation of near and far
Upgrades to consider
Like what I have mentioned, I upgraded the cable to the silver plated ones. There are some minor improvement at the bass making less “pounding” for the ears and slightly less muffled. I couldnt hear any difference in the general mids region but it does help smoothen the female vocal sibilance and the highs.
Another upgrade to consider is the foam tips! It increase the isolation a fair bit, allowing you to enjoy the same amount of details of the music at lower volume(healthier listening). The down side is that it absorbs 1dB off the sub bass and treble. If you like the treble and bass then you might want to reconsider.
This is really comfortable, I can wear it for hours.
Not the best but definitely one the best for its’ price range.
KZ zsn vs es4 comments ::
“I own both the ZSN and ES4. Personally I prefer the ZSN better as it fits better in my ears, a comfortable fit overall and I leave them at work as that’s where I spend most of my days. I don’t think there’s much difference in sound quality but I prefer the ZSN’s mids and highs a bit better. I’ve been having this problem where the cable on my ES4 autoclicks(?) the mic button often on my Mac at work so it always pauses on Spotify or opens Apple Music. But I have no problem using it on my Windows laptop at home.”
“kz zsn has better construction quality and better cable, and in sound zsn has mids a little less buried and sound more bright and dynamic.”
“Of the ones you listed I have all of the KZ headphones and I would recommend the ZSA for your use. It’s actually a good IEM and kind of gets lost in the KZ lineup, but it’s good piece. It has a crisp clean sound compared to the other 2 you listed…the ES4 is softer and maybe more pleasant overall, but I like the detail and coldness of the ZSA better. Also it’s relatively small and more comfortable…it’s a tidy little IEM.”