In this review, I’m checking out the KZ ZVX earphones. The ZVX features metal alloy shells and a single 10mm dual-cavity dynamic driver. It’s priced at $19.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by KZ for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are based on my experience with the product.
- Driver: 10mm dual-cavity dynamic driver
- Impedance: 25±3Ω
- Sensitivity: 109±3dB
- Frequency response: 20-40000Hz
- Connector: 0.75mm
- Price: $19
The KZ ZVX has metal alloy housings and is available in black or silver. Just looking at and holding the shells, I would never imagine these cost less than $20. They look and feel quite premium, somewhat similar to the CCA CXS I reviewed recently.
The ZVX has 3-sided faceted faceplates. One of the facets has 3 vertical vents and another has been hollowed out. The end result is a modern, sleek aesthetic that belies its budget price.
However, I noticed that my unit has some severe paint chipping, which is something you should be aware of. Furthermore, the print on the left earpiece is messed up and blurry.
These IEMs are comfortable too and I can wear them for hours at a time without any issues or hot spots. The included cable is KZ’s new flat oxygen-free copper cable. It handles fairly well and has minimal microphonics. If you don’t like the included cable, you can easily replace it with any compatible 0.75mm variant.
Gear used for testing includes the Hidizs XO, Shanling M5S and SMSL C200. The ZVX is an efficient IEM and runs fine straight out of any source, including phones and dongle DACs.
What we’re getting with the ZVX is a lovely balanced tonality with a touch of warmth for naturalness. KZ has done a fantastic job with the tuning here and created something that almost everyone should enjoy.
The ZVX delivers an impressive bass performance that can hold its own against some of the best budget IEMs. The sub-bass has a rumble that you can feel, while the mid-bass offers a clean slam that will get your feet tapping.
The bass is not overwhelming, but it has ample drive to complement all types of music genres. With its controlled and tight sound, there is almost no bleeding into the mids. The ZVX’s bass quality is outstanding considering its price, providing ample texture and authority without overpowering the rest of the frequency response.
Playing Onségen Ensemble’s Think Neither Good nor Evil, the kick drum feels hefty, powerful and textured but in no way smothers any of the other sounds or instruments.
With excellent clarity and detail, as well as impressive instrument separation, you’ll feel as if you’re listening to a more expensive IEM. While some male vocals may occasionally sound slightly dry, it’s a minor observation that does not take away from the overall listening experience. And at such an affordable price point, it’s hard to criticize this IEM too harshly.
A lift in the upper midrange brings vocals to the forefront of the mix. The resulting sound is vibrant and engaging, without ever becoming harsh or overwhelming. Additionally, the notes are clear, and precise, and have a level of definition that is typically only found in more expensive earphones.
The ZVX’s treble tuning is exceptional. With excellent extension and definition, the ZVX delivers a detailed and precise treble that never feels harsh or artificial. In fact, it strikes the perfect balance between crispness and smoothness, creating an airy and natural sound that is nothing short of impressive.
The timbre is spot-on, adding to the overall appeal. In summary, the ZVX’s treble is a standout feature, providing an exceptional listening experience that is sure to please even the most discerning budget audiophile.
Soundstage and Technical Performance
As if the ZVX’s musical prowess wasn’t impressive enough, this IEM also delivers decent technical chops. The soundstage, while not the largest, boasts stable and well-defined boundaries, allowing each instrument a good amount of space. The note density is on-point, creating an immersive listening experience that sounds natural and expressive.
While the instrument separation is not groundbreaking, it is more than adequate for this price range. And when it comes to detail retrieval, KZ has a reputation for delivering the goods – and the ZVX is no exception. Every nuance and subtlety is brought to the forefront with precision and effortlessness.
The 7Hz Zero (review here) and the ZVX may be different IEMs, but they share a lot in common. With a single dynamic driver and a frequency response that looks nearly identical, it’s no surprise that I found myself enjoying both of these earphones.
Both IEMs have a similar bass response i.e. one that has just enough girth and power to drive the music without blanketing the mids. If anything, I’d say the Zero is ever so slightly thicker in the midrange, a result of the subtle attenuation of its treble.
The bass response on both IEMs is impressive, with enough power to drive the music without overpowering the mids. However, I did notice that the Zero has a slightly thicker midrange, likely due to the treble being slightly attenuated. This also creates a more intimate soundstage, with vocals brought even closer to the listener. On the other hand, the ZVX’s midrange has a touch of dryness and more detail, resulting in a slightly more spacious sound.
In terms of treble, the Zero rolls off sooner, creating a smoother but less airy sound compared to the ZVX. This also contributes to the more intimate soundstage. While the differences between the two IEMs are subtle, a keen ear will be able to pick up on them. That being said, if you enjoy one of these earphones, chances are you’ll enjoy the other just as much.
The Moondrop Chu (review here) has a single dynamic driver. It shares similarities to the CVX but with a couple of notable differences. First of all, Chu is lighter in bass. As a result, it doesn’t have the solidity of ZVX nor the same level of rumble and authority.
Chu relies heavily on its midrange and as a result, it’s not as upfront or dynamic. However, due to its attenuated treble response and lighter bass, Chu’s mids are at the forefront. If you’re only about vocals and acoustic instruments, Chu will suit you to a tee. But if you want a more well-rounded and versatile sound, ZVX is a safer option.
Chu’s soundstage is more limited. It lacks the depth that more bass delivers and it’s restricted in size due to its rolled-off treble.
The CCA CXS (review here) is another single dynamic driver IEM. CXS and ZVX have some notable differences, particularly in the midrange. The CXS has a more recessed midrange, resulting in less body and fullness, but increased spaciousness. Both IEMs have similar sub-bass reach, but the CXS’s upper bass is less forward in the mix.
While the CXS’s bass is tighter than the ZVX’s, it’s not as commanding or powerful. In terms of treble, the CXS is less energetic, but its recessed mids counteract any darkness in the sound. The CXS’s soundstage is comparable in scale to the ZVX’s, but it’s not as precise in terms of imaging, instrument placement, and vocal placement.
Overall, the KZ ZVX IEM is an impressive budget option that far exceeds its price tag in terms of sound quality. The sleek metal alloy housings and faceted faceplates give these earphones a premium look and feel, while the comfortable fit allows for extended listening sessions. Just be aware that my unit has paint-chipping issues.
The sound signature is balanced with a touch of warmth for naturalness, and the bass performance is outstanding with a controlled and tight sound. The midrange offers excellent clarity and detail with impressive instrument separation, while the treble tuning is exceptional with excellent extension and definition. The soundstage and technical performance are also decent, making the KZ ZVX a great value for budget audiophiles.