In this review, I’m checking out the KZ x HBB PR2 earphones. The PR2 features a 13.2mm planar magnetic driver and aluminium faceplates. It’s priced at $32-$52 (depending on where you shop).
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by KZ for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are based on my own experience with the product.
KZ x HBB PR2
Frequency response: 20-40000Hz
Pin type: 0.75mm
The PR2 from KZ boasts clear acrylic shells and aluminium faceplates, which are semi-open and feature a series of vertical slits running down their surface. The nozzles have a solid lip that ensures a secure fit for eartips.
Adopting the standard 0.75mm 2-pin hooded sockets and a KZ silver-plated cable, the PR2’s cable may be basic, but it is both functional and resistant to tangling.
Regarding comfort, the PR2’s ergonomic design allows for a comfortable and easy fit in the ear. Considering its affordable price point, the build quality of the PR2 feels surprisingly good.
Gear used for testing includes the earmen Angel, Shanling UA2 Plus and Hidizs AP80 Pro X.
The KZ PR2 is an IEM that requires a lot of power to perform well. You should use a device that can boost its signal, such as a dongle DAC, a DAP or an amplifier for portable or desktop use.
The KZ PR2 has a sound signature that emphasizes the bass and treble slightly while keeping the midrange clear and detailed. However, the midrange sounds a bit thin and lacks some warmth. The notes are crisp and airy, but they could use more weight.
The soundstage is not very wide or deep, but it has some extra height. The PR2 can position the sounds well, thanks to its fast and clean delivery and good separation. The layering is decent but not very complex, because of its limited stage depth.
PR2’s bass has many of the traits of a typical planar driver bass: it’s textured and punchy and most of all it’s fast. The bass is boosted slightly north of neutral with an emphasis on sub-bass extension. Despite that, however, the bass is tame in terms of quantity and the PR2 is not a basshead IEM.
It’s a highly focused bass that’s clean and precise. Sub-bass has a light rumble and the mid-bass is tight and precise. It’s not exactly authoritative in terms of impact but it works well with the overall tuning.
The midrange of the KZ PR2 has excellent clarity and great resolution, with good detail and no congestion. The tonality is slightly on the leaner side of neutral, which means that the midrange is not overly warm or coloured. While this can be great for some genres of music, male vocals may sound a little thin and not as robust as some listeners may prefer.
Despite this, the KZ PR2 still offers a fairly accurate timbre, which means that instruments and voices sound natural and realistic. Overall, the midrange of the KZ PR2 is well-balanced and offers great clarity and detail, making it a great choice for those who prioritize these qualities in an IEM.
The treble of the KZ PR2 has better extension compared to the KZ PR1, yet it is smoother at the same time. It renders a good amount of detail, which means that instruments and sounds in the treble range are well-defined. The treble is crisp but not entirely precise, which means that it doesn’t have razor-sharp accuracy but still offers good clarity.
PR2’s treble sounds authentic and not overly coloured or artificial. Importantly, the treble doesn’t have any harsh peaks and doesn’t cause sibilance, making it enjoyable to listen to for extended periods of time. Overall, the treble of the KZ PR2 is well-balanced and offers good detail and extension without being harsh or fatiguing.
KZ PR1 HiFi
The KZ PR1 HiFi (review here) has a thicker and warmer sound. This is mainly due to its bass which is boosted considerably more than the PR2. As a result, PR1’s mids have more body and fullness.
PR1’s treble is not as forward in the mix (again because of the bass elevation) but the upper treble lift gives it a more brittle sound. The PR2’s treble has a more natural timbre. PR1 has a narrower but deeper stage and its imaging isn’t as precise as the PR2.
People looking for more bass and “meat on the bones” will prefer the PR1 HiFi while those who relish a cleaner uncoloured sound will appreciate the PR2.
KZ ZS10 Pro
The KZ ZS10 Pro X (review here) sound more saturated and coloured than the PR2. It has extra sub-bass and mid-bass presence. ZS10 Pro X’s midrange is thicker and warmer. It is more congested compared to the PR2’s neutral and spacious mids.
ZS10 Pro X has smoother treble notes, apart from the 8kHz peak that gives snares a snappy attack. The PR2’s treble is crisper and more precise in general. The ZS10 Pro X has a smaller and more crowded soundstage. So, the ZS10 Pro X has a laid-back presentation with more bass fullness and impact while the PR2 sounds cleaner albeit drier from top to bottom.
The BLON BL03 (review here) has a thicker, warmer sound signature. It has an elevated mid-bass making it somewhat bloomy whereas the PR2 is much leaner and cleaner. Male vocals are richer on the BL03 compared to the PR2 which renders them with more clarity and articulation. Female vocals are more sultry and seductive on the BLON and clearer with added bite on the PR2.
The BLON’s treble is less pronounced which brings vocals to the forefront but delivers less precise treble and imaging as a result. The BL-03’s soundstage is more intimate but rounder while the PR2 is wider with more space between instruments.
When it comes to audio quality, the KZ x HBB PR2 IEM is a real standout. Despite its affordable price point, it delivers a well-balanced sound signature that emphasizes the bass and treble slightly while maintaining a clear and detailed midrange.
The PR2’s performance will shake up the budget IEM market, giving listeners access to high-quality sound at a fraction of the cost of high-end IEMs. I can easily recommend the KZ PR2, and as such, I’m giving it our recommended award and adding it to our best IEMs list.