Hey. The fact that China has long aimed at conquering world economic domination is no longer a secret to anyone. The attack is on different fronts, including the offensive against consumer electronics. At the same time, the main tool becomes an attempt to provide comparable quality for significantly less money.
The most famous foundation shaker is Xiaomi. Some time later, other Chinese manufacturers joined this race. Small manufacturers of audio equipment, who wanted to conquer the western market, did not stand aside either.
In the comments to the reviews of headphones and headsets, headphones from one such manufacturer, under the KZ brand, were repeatedly mentioned as one of the leaders in the struggle for the title of 'best price-quality'.
While browsing for offers on eBay, stumbled upon a three dollar budget option with free shipping!
Careful reading of the description of the lot did not add confidence that the headphones were real. But considering the price, I decided to take a chance and order this pig in a poke just for the sake of curiosity.
The headphones arrived in two weeks. Taking them at the post office, I was ready for anything.
Inside the traditional anti-stress bag with pimples was a small box made of very thick cardboard in the spirit of accessories from Xiaomi. The top of the box is closed with a lid made of transparent plastic, through which the headphones are visible, placed in a plastic tub with stamped molds.
At first glance, nothing criminal. There is no fake feeling. Packaging materials and printing quality are felt much more expensive than their price and do not cause concern – most likely, not a fake.
Inside the box were the headphones themselves, a brief instruction manual and a bag with two pairs of small (S) and large (L) replacement earpieces. The medium earpieces (M) are fitted over the headphones.
The tips are made of dark gray translucent dense silicone. Very similar to those from the AKG headset (from Galaxy S8), only denser.
Now let's move on to the headphones themselves.
The plug is massive, L-shaped, and that's great. This should last longer. The letters KZ are embossed on the plug body.
The cable is round, very dense, translucent. Through the cable material, multi-colored conductors of wires are visible, twisted into a bundle. As the search showed, such a cable is typical for products under the KZ brand. The cable looks solid.
The cable has practically no memory effect; after being removed from the box, it instantly straightened. This is both an advantage and, at the same time, a disadvantage of the cable – when turning the device, the cable can be rolled up in rings. The already mentioned headset from Samsung S8 has a similar drawback. It is good that KZ does not roll into rings so easily.
The divider is located almost in the middle of the cable. Unusual.
The divider itself has the form of a two-pronged fork with teeth in the form of openwork plastic cuffs that protect the cable from kinks. Like the plug, it looks and feels solid.
The cable after the divider differs from the main part only in thickness – all the same translucent matte silicone with colored cores inside.
Headphone housing made of hard glossy black plastic. The quality of the plastic is typical for inexpensive products. The cable seems more expensive than the case. By the way, the cable does not have a chemical smell typical for inexpensive products of the Chinese industry; it almost does not smell at all. This can also speak in favor of the quality of workmanship.
The shape is typical for behind-the-ear wearing. Based on this, the markings in the form of words are applied in an intricate font, evoking thoughts about the Addams family. Under the side markings there is a motivating inscription about ultra-bass. On the outside – the abbreviation ATR and part of the characteristics of the headphones. A strange decision, it looks clumsy. It will be necessary to try to erase this disgrace with alcohol.
The junction of the cable with the headphone case has a metal sleeve with a grooved surface and a red ring for the right headphone and blue for the left one. This is another way of defining parties.
Perhaps the most convenient and fastest. A similar sleeve is used on headphones with a detachable cable. Given the $ 3 price tag at the time of purchase, it was naive to expect a detachable cable. Even taking into account the absence of a detachable cable, the presence of this sleeve is a big plus for the reliability of the connection. The connection looks and feels monolithic.
Inside the body there is one classic speaker located across the body, at an angle to the sound guide.
The sound guide is quite long. At the first glance at the headphones, there was a feeling that the length of the sound guide was excessive. However, everything turned out to be good – the size fit, and the whole structure fits comfortably in the ear. The opening of the sound guide is closed with a red plastic sulfur filter. Noteworthy.
Considering behind-the-ear wear, the cable has weights to help keep the cable from being pulled off the ear. They perform their task – the wire remains behind the ear. I caught myself thinking that when I was sitting at the table with headphones on, I often touch the headphones for these weights. ?
Headphones can also be worn in the classical method, but then the left earphone will be in the right ear and vice versa. Classic wearing also looks organic.
Noise isolation is good. Unfortunately, there is no metro nearby to test this parameter in combat conditions, but on a busy highway there is no discomfort from ambient noise.
The microphone effect is weak. Most likely, this is the merit of the silicone cable.
Now about the most important thing – how much sound the Chinese put in a box for $ 3 (at the time of publication, the price had grown to indecent $ 5).
I will say right away that the expectations of a complete and irrevocable fiasco did not come true.
The headphones are very loud. At maximum volume it is impossible to listen for a long time – it is too loud. But it's not just the volume level, which is discussed below.
The sound is dark, with an emphasis on low frequencies. It is felt that the manufacturer tried to highlight this particular aspect of the sound. There is a lot of bass, but it lacks purity and strength – the sound is a little muffled, wadded. I want more transparency.
Average are not bad (for this price segment). The voice is not lost behind the instruments, does not mix with them into a mess.
There is a dip in the 3-5K region, because of which the strings are lost.
High ones are also poorly expressed. There are just few of them. If you love rock, then in these headphones it will be pain and tears.
The stereo panorama is normal, not very wide, but the instruments do not pile on each other either. A bit lacking in volume, but overall not bad (I have to repeat again – for my own money).
All of the above is true for medium volume.
At high volume, the headphones cannot cope, pronounced poking and sand appear, making listening unpleasant. The sound starts to turn into mush. I want to turn down the volume. Of the good, only bass remains, which, even at high volume, does not begin to dominate and overwhelm other sounds. Rather, on the contrary, the bass recedes into the background, giving way to screaming high frequencies, which suddenly become too much.
In general, the sound is rather muddy, expressionless, dirty. He clearly lacks transparency and purity. The headphones do not hold the attack well, turning the sound into mush in difficult areas.
You can listen at medium and slightly above medium volume. Among the genres that can be recommended for these headphones are popular music and simple electronic.
On the one hand, I cannot recommend these headphones for purchase, even taking into account the cost. The sound is not worth spending money on. If only as a spare, which is not a pity to throw at the bottom of your bag or into your pocket, without fear of damage or loss. On the other hand, these headphones can be bought only for the sake of a very good cable, so that you can then use it as a donor to restore other, better quality headphones. In such a role, it will be an ideal purchase that will definitely justify its value. Most likely, in the near future the headphones will be prepared specifically for these purposes, but this is a completely different story.