KZ PR3 Review

KZ PR3 review featured

In this article, I’m reviewing the KZ PR3 IEM. The PR3 features a 13.2mm planar diaphragm and lightweight alloy shells. It’s priced at $49.

Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Linsoul for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

KZ PR3 Review
Verdict
The KZ PR3 is the latest iteration of KZ's budget planar IEM series.
Add your rating here!8 Votes
Pros
Spacious, transparent midrange
Instrument separation and precise imaging
Speedy, agile bass
Overall resolution and detail retrieval
Cons
Might be too bright for some listeners
Some upper midrange shoutiness
Lacking mida-bass body
4
Our Score
WHERE TO BUY

KZ PR3

Specifications

Impedance: 15±3Ω
Sensitivity: 98±3dB
Frequency response: 20-40000Hz

Box front
In the Box
  • KZ PR3 IEMs
  • Detachable SPC cable
  • 1x pair of foam eartips
  • 3x pairs of silicone eartips
KZ PR3 design

Design

There’s not a whole lot that’s changed from PR2 faceplates except now there are 3 gold screws on show. The acoustic housings are still clear resin but looking through them you can easily see the different internal components compared to the PR2. This time around the faceplates feel a bit weightier and the earpieces feel more substantial overall.

Internally, the PR3 boasts a 13.2mm planar driver and uses electronic filter tuning whereas the PR2 uses physical damping.

KZ’s current standard silver-plated copper (SPC) cable is included in the box. It’s fairly generic in design but is reasonably good quality although its handling is not great.

Inner shells of PR3

Sound

Gear used for testing includes the HiBy M300, ddHiFi TC44C and SMSL DO300EX. The PR3 is not especially demanding when it comes to sources so you can plug it straight into a mobile phone or a dongle DAC.

PR3 has a somewhat mature sound signature with what I would call a ‘near reference’ tuning with a boosted sub-bass. And by reference, I don’t mean it sounds analytical but uncoloured.

KZ PR3 frequency resposne graph
Bass

PR3 prioritizes the lower end of the bass spectrum, leaning towards the sub-bass. However, the mid and upper bass regions have a restrained quality, lacking the robustness and vigour that I’m looking for. Despite this, the bass maintains a pristine clarity with commendable definition, rendering each note distinct and articulate. The attack and decay characteristics stand out, with a satisfying immediacy upon impact while ensuring a smooth and natural decay.

The bass extension impresses, reaching admirably into the lower registers without compromising on fidelity. Its swiftness and intricate detailing enhance the overall bass performance, offering a rapid response and intricate nuances. Yet, amidst this precision, the bass seems to lack a certain fullness and liveliness, missing the substantial body and vigour to counterbalance the boosted pinna gain and treble.

Midrange

The midrange impresses with its detailed and clear portrayal of vocals and instruments. There’s no graininess, which keeps everything sounding smooth despite it being crisp and articulate. It handles most instruments and vocals beautifully, but for some things such as classical string instruments, there’s a bit of their natural resonance missing.

Overall, the PR3 creates a spacious and transparent midrange, giving each sound its own space to shine. But when you push the volume on certain tracks, especially those with higher frequencies, you might notice a touch of shoutiness. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re sensitive to that.

KZ PR3 faceplates
Treble

The PR3’s treble is undeniably radiant and bordering on sharp. It’s got a lot of energy and reaches impressively high without losing its clarity. For those who revel in pronounced treble, this will be a treat. However, for some listeners, it might come across as a tad forceful. If you’re into a bright, lively sound, the PR3 will definitely please your ears.

Now, let’s talk intensity. The treble here is pretty powerful, although it’s not harsh or grating. It’s prominently placed in the mix, packing good note density that adds depth to the sound. But here’s the catch: at louder volumes, it might wear on you, causing some fatigue. Personally, I appreciate its precision and timbre, but its forward nature teeters on upsetting the overall tonal balance.

Soundstage & Technicalities

The PR3 offers a soundstage that’s a cut above the average, displaying good width and respectable depth. Its imaging capabilities, particularly for an IEM in its price range, showcase a decently precise placement of sound elements within the space. What’s really impressive is the outstanding instrument separation, granting each musical component its own distinct territory within the soundstage.

When it comes to capturing intricate details, the PR3 shines, surpassing the performance of most budget IEMs. Its knack for retrieving micro-details adds layers of texture, uncovering nuances that might otherwise go unnoticed. Thanks to its nimble planar driver, the PR3 adeptly keeps pace with complex musical arrangements without succumbing to congestion.

Comparisons

KZ PR2
PR3 vs PR2

The KZ PR2 (review here) shares a lot in common with the PR3. It’s basically a warmer and more power-demanding version of the PR3. It has more bass body and fullness which counterbalances the highs and ultimately makes for a less intense experience.

However, the PR2 sounds noticeably less transparent, especially in the midrange where the PR3 outshines it in clarity and separation. Another area where the PR2 is outperformed is in its treble timbre which sounds more natural (albeit more aggressive) on the PR3.

Kiwi Ears Melody
PR3 vs Melody

The Kiwi Ears Melody (review here) takes a different approach to its tuning, going for a warm, engaging sound and it pays off. There’s so much stigma about mid-bass these days that a lot of reviewers shun any IEM with boosted mid-bas and manufacturers are almost afraid to produce anything with it. Kudos to Kiwi Ears for showing us that it’s still a valid tuning choice.

Melody is warmer with a thicker note size. Kick drums hit with impact and the bass infuses the sound with a syrupy richness. However, thanks to the agility of the planar driver, Melody doesn’t get congested and is able to keep pace with all but the most demanding tracks.

Male vocals are powerful and female vocals are sultry without being shouty. There’s no doubt that it’s not as transparent or spacious as PR3 but Melody is easier on the senses and doesn’t cause listener fatigue.

Melody’s soundstage isn’t as wide but it has commendable depth and strong imaging. Treble notes have more body and roundness but still produce ample air and energy without crossing over into sharpness.

Both of these IEMs are exceptional and at the end of the day, which one is ‘better’ will ultimately come down to your personal preference. If you want something cozy and fun, the Melody is the one to get. On the other hand, if you want something with a high-fidelity feel and a bright, vivid presentation with abundant micro details then the PR3 is the way to go.

KZ PR3 with box

Verdict

In conclusion, the KZ PR3 is another outstanding budget IEM. It might not have the safest tuning but oh boy, it’s exciting to listen to. I’m waiting for the day that KZ makes a planar IEM with musicality in mind rather than one that excites the graph enthusiasts. But in the meantime, there’s really no reason to be mad about the PR3, especially if you prefer a brighter sound signature.

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Luke
Luke
5 months ago

I’ve ordered mine in the pre-release sale and while at first I had a hard time adapting to the highs, right now it’s my absolute favorite among my budget iems(including other KZs such as ZSN Pro, ZS10 Pro X, as well as Moondrop’s Chu II), thanks to the soundstage, details, but also the very rumbly sub-bass that makes any tracks containing it sound amazing.
I recommend getting some eartips that can help bring some more balance between the highs and lows, such as Final Type E or the ones I settled with which are BGVP E01. Moving from the stock tips to these was the key for me to truly appreciating these IEMs.
Foam tips (like the ones included) may work too, however I really dislike the feel I get when wearing foams, so I avoid using them.

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