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KZ ZS6 universal quad driver IEMs vs custom triple driver IEMs

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by elgecko, Dec 10, 2017.


  1. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    A lot of people have been wondering how the KZ universal IEMs stack up against custom IEMs so here you go.

    Inearz P350-XB custom triple driver IEMs
    Ive been using these since March 2016. They have two low and one high balanced armature (BA) drivers per side and are tuned for extra bass. With the recessed plug option, they set me back $380.50. They were a huge improvement over the two universal IEMs I used to "test the IEM waters", a pair of MEE Sport-Fi M6s (distorted at the slightest hint of bass) and a pair of Scosche IDR-600s (worked surprisingly well).

    They sound great, can take whatever I throw at them and the increase in isolation is a major improvement over universals with memory foam tips. If there's one complaint I have about them, it's that they have TOO much bass. I know that's what I asked for and I thought I'd benefit from the increased bass, being a bass player and all, but it's a bit much. It's not so bad during monitoring but when lsitening to recorded music, I wish I could do some EQing.

    FB_IMG_1512964100974.

    KZ ZS6 universal quad driver IEMs
    I had been searching for a decent pair of office earbuds and based on a sale price and rave reviews, I tried to order a pair of KZ ZS5s from gearbest.com. That ended in my first ever credit card charge back :eyebrow: I decided to upgrade and ordered a pair of ZS6s from fasttech.com for $34.88. They have metal bodies and two low dynamic drivers and two high BA drivers per side.

    I expected more...um, dynamicness....based on the dynamic drivers, but nope. The bass is plain anemic when compared to the low end kick of the Inearz XBs. That's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I much prefer listening to recorded music through the ZS6s. The high end can be a bit shrill but I find it more balanced when compared to the XBs.

    I recently had a string of gigs and was able to test the ZS6s in a monitoring situation. I didn't think the increased high end of the ZS6s would be too beneficial for monitoring but I was wrong. I figured since my bass and voice, the two main things I'm worried about, are light on treble I wouldn't need it, but I was able to hear more detail from both with the increased highs. They also handled the low end just fine. In short, they sound great!

    P_20171210_201249.

    Conclusion
    In the end, am I going to retire my custom IEMs from gig duty? No. I'm going to keep using them for two reasons. First, my customs have superior noise isolation and that was the whole reason I went to IEMs in the first place. If my Earpeace HD earplugs are rated 14dB and my customs are rated 26dB, I'd estimate the ZS6s with memory foam tips to be 18dB. Second, I prefer the security of my customs. I've had universals come out in the middle of a song on a loud stage and it isn't fun.

    If it were based just on sound, I'd have to give it to the ZS6s. However, I think the opposite would be true had I not ordered the XBs. I think toning down the bass with the more pleasant high end would sound great.

    Now think about that and then think about the fact that the ZS6s are less than 10% the cost of my customs. So for whatever it's worth, there you have it. :beaver:

    Cables: A final thought
    Yes. The cable that come with the KZs is noisy...when there's no music playing. On stage, I didn't even notice it. Sure, I could fork out the money for an upgraded cable but why? I paid $46 for the mic cable for my customs. :beaver:

     
    s0c9 likes this.
  2. Scottkarch

    Scottkarch

    Sep 11, 2012
    Chicago
    Wow! Thanks for the write up. It's looking like I'll just keep using my ZS6s unless I need a better fit. With foam tips I no longer have issues with them coming out. Thank you.
     
    elgecko likes this.
  3. Thank you
     
    elgecko likes this.
  4. May I re post this on my IEM review website so others can see it?
     
  5. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Wish I could get by with that solution. Nothing universal worked for me! Small canals.
    But, I DO lOVE the 4 LF drivers in my 1964 A8's.
     
  6. elgecko

    elgecko

    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    Sure.
     
    musicman7722 likes this.

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