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KZ ZSA and KZ ES4 impressions


So I have been using the KZ ES4 for several weeks and the KZ ZSA for several hours...I have to say that I'm actually very impressed. Previously my opinion of KZ was that of an overhyped company that releases earphones with wayy too much treble, booming bass and thin mids. With the ES4 and ZSA KZ actually tried to tune their earphones to not violate the eardrums. Yeah, it's still V-shaped but the V doesn't extend to infinity anymore. 


The ES4 sounds a lot like a Koss Porta Pro with slightly recessed mids, farty bass that bleeds into the midrange and sparkly highs. It's just a warm and cozy (and claustrophobic) sound suitable for classic rock and funk. The highs are definitely the weak point. They are grainy and a bit sibilant at times. The mids kinda sound weird on some tracks as well, as if the vocals are singing into a paper cup. The bass is kinda fun in a sloppy way. It's boomy and takes the front stage but I'll take boomy bass over screaming sibilant highs any day. I feel like I'm nitpicking here. I still like these because they don't sound like hot flaming garbage treble cannons like the ZS5 V2 or Ed9. 


The ZSA sounds almost flat like my KEF M100. The mids feel less hollow than the ES4. The bass is much cleaner than the ES4 as well. The ZSA is also just more capable than the ES4. It handles busier tracks far better, when the ES4 gets overwhelmed and confused at times. But the treble is the weakest point again! There just a little too much treble energy, and vocals almost always sound sibilant in more intimate indie songs. It's especially annoying with Vampire Weekend. Just picture the lyric "Becausssse Noone isssss gonna ssspare the ttssime for you" on the track Obvious Bicycle. ARGH! Everything else is great except the treble.  


I never thought I'd say this, but I actually like the ZSA more than the ES4. The ZSA just sounds more neutral, but the treble kinda tarnishes the fun on both the ES4 and ZSA. Just give KZ another year and they might actually nail it. all they have to do is fix the treble, well the sibillanssse sssoundssss! KZ made enormous progress since the overrated flaming hot garbage treble nukes (namely the ED9 and ZS5) of yesteryear.

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