KZ ZS1 Dual Driver Extra Bass In-Ear Headphones Review
- Built-in subwoofer
- Good soundstage
- Above average build quality
- Warm sound
- Excellent value
- Problems with the memory wire
- Slight tuning issues with the dual-driver system
The ZS1 from Knowledge Zenith are purpose-built earbuds that have their own well-defined category of users. The emphasis added to low frequencies would probably not suit the casual listener, but it will certainly please all bassheads. For the price, you really can’t go wrong with these earbuds.
The emerging Chinese brand called Knowledge Zenith (KZ) is becoming the go-to option for people who want to get excellent sound and build quality without completely emptying their wallets. The one feature that makes the ZS1 stand out is their dual-driver system that, at least in theory, provides bass reproduction that’s virtually indistinguishable from a dedicated subwoofer.
Design and Build Quality
The box the earbuds ship in completely in Chinese, and the same is true for the instructional brochure inside. Since Knowledge Zenith has managed to successfully penetrate the western market, we would imagine that they would take the necessary steps to secure their position on the global market. Hopefully, the new version of these headphones will correct this issue.
The smooth, oval body of the headphones houses the dual-driver system without being too bulky. The shape makes the ZS1 earphones fit neatly in the ear canal, and the inclusion of two extra pairs of replaceable eartips gives you enough options to choose the right fit.
We were initially skeptical about the longevity of the cable, because KZ have opted for a relatively short stress-reliever. Our own testing wasn’t long enough to support our worries, but we were unable to anyone online complaining, so everything is probably fine.
What could be improved is the memory wire, which doesn’t properly hold its shape, forcing you to periodically readjust it. The cable also features an in-line microphone of surprisingly great quality. Even when testing the headphones on a bicycle, the person on the other side could clearly hear every word we said.
Let’s start with the overall sound balance. As you might expect from a pair of bass headphones, the lower end is most prominent. The dedicated bass driver does an excellent job of reproducing very low frequencies with a very enjoyable spacious quality that contributes to the overall wideness of the soundstage.
The only time you notice that the sound is coming from two drivers and not just one is in some passage that mixes boomy bass with sharper vocals. It’s hard to describe, but there’s a slight disjunction between the two drivers. But there’s no need to worry – you won’t notice it unless you really pay attention to it.
These little bass monsters have proven surprisingly great for gaming. The wide soundstage helps to locate enemies around the map, and the headphones have enough detail even for first-person shooters that require good focus.
What’s in the Box
Knowledge Zenith is a value-oriented brand, which means that you get only the bare essentials. In this care, we are talking about 3 pairs of replaceable eartips and that’s it.