KZ ZST

ø10mm Dynamic Driver + Balanced Armature

$15~$20
4.5/5.0

Although very similar in sound signature to ZS5, the ZST have their own pros and cons. These are some of the best earphones in terms of clarity and detail, but their pierce can be unbearable for many users, myself included. The bass is tight, but not deep enough for my taste. All of this creates an initially impressive experience, concluded with some fatigue and an urge to replace them with something more mild and natural.

With all that being said, if you want to be impressed by some inexpensive Chinese audio equipment, you should try these.

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Pros

  • Excellent level of clarity and sharpness of detail.
  • Detachable cable, which extends the lifespan of these earphones.

Cons

  • Very noticeable pierce on studio-produced tracks, especially on female vocals. It gets uncomfortable on higher volumes.
  • Very basic build quality overall. Feels flimsy in hand, and the housings look like they are not snapped together all the way.

Package & Accessories

Package:

Hard paperboard + soft plastic (clear)

Ear Tips - Single-Flange:

S+M+L, unique, black, ø4.5mm bores

Build & Materials

Housings:

Plastic (glossy), ø5mm nozzles (ø4mm openings), cable connectors

Connectors:

2-pin (custom 0.75mm)

Remote:

Plastic (matte), single-button

Y-Split:

TPE, soft strain reliefs

Cable:

Silicone (grippy), 127cm, soft, mildly bent, built-in memory wires

Plug:

TPE, 90° angled, short, soft strain relief

Comfort & Fit

I always find the memory wires to be extremely annoying. It takes too much time and effort to position the earphones properly into the ear and even when they're inside, they don't sit flat against the ear and stick out a bit and are very easily pulled out.

Lows / Bass

The bass is very balanced and controlled, but it's also underwhelming and overrun by the super-bright highs. It's more than enough for contemporary vocal-oriented music, but for electronic music this is just not enough. Depth-wise, they are similar to ZS5 but slightly shallower.

Mids / Vocals

The mids are highly impressive, and actually very similar to ZS5, to the point where it's really hard to tell them apart. The detail is quite extraordinary, but I feel like the ZS5 manages to pinpoint microdetail quite better than ZST. Along with the great vocal clarity, comes some unsatisfying pierce that afflicts vocals, especially female vocals, and high-pitched instruments.

Highs / Treble

They highs are very sharp and crisp. They are also extremely piercing. Depending on how sensitive your hearing is, you might feel discomfort and fatigue after using these earphones for a while, especially if you're listening on medium/high volumes. Superb calrity and tonally accurate, except that the treble is very bright, far brighter than what I would consider enjoyable.

Frequency Response

ATE C56R DT5 ED2 ED3 Youth Version ED4 ED9 ED10 ED11 ED16 EDR2 ES3 GR HDS1 HDS2 HDS3 IE80 RX S3 ZS1 ZS5 (V1) ZS6 ZS10 ZSA ZSE ZSR
ZST