Thanks to KZ for providing the KZ x HBB PR2 for review purposes.
KZ is on the home run lately with successful models one after another. Now we are looking at the 3rd and the last planar iem they produced. Let’s see it in details below.
- Whole list of technicalities for a KZ
- Neutralish sound signature
- Airy soundstage and treble
- Lack of sharpness
- Requirement of high power to sound proper
- The usual tech minuses
The KZ name speaks for itself. Letters of K and Z was synonymous for iem according a percentage of general earphone listeners. KZ (Knowledge Zenith) is a Chinese manufacturer of low-cost in-ear monitors (IEMs) and earbuds. The company was created in 2013 and quickly acquired popularity among general population due to its ability to provide good enough. KZ IEMs are distinguished by their hybrid driver designs, which typically mix a dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver to produce a balanced and detailed sound character. To cater to diverse listener tastes, the company also offers a wide range of models with varying driver combinations and sound profiles.
Overall, KZ has a good reputation in the audio business for providing high-quality IEMs at rather reasonable rates, making it a popular choice for both casual and professional listeners.
- Form: (IEM)
- Drivers: (1 x Planar Magnetic Driver)
- One 13.2mm planar magnet driver
- Impedance (Ohm): 15 Ohm
- Sensitivity (dB): 92dB
- Frequency Response (Hz): 20 Hz – 40 KHz
- Removable Cable: (Y)
- Source Jack: (3.5mm)
- Cup/Shell Jack: (2-pin)
Everything has been fairly standard for some time. Black colored and thick cardboard boxes aren’t present for a while.
In the box
- A simple manual
The usual silver-plated, double-lined KZ cable. It is looking strong, but preventing easy storage due to not accepting tight rolls
The grating on its back plate is striking. The vertically lined structure is hiding very tiny venting holes on its back surface. The other side is completely transparent and 3D printed. A sincere sign of regaining trust they had lost in the times of DQ6.
A little large for my M sized and volumeted concha. Can drop down from unique or small conchas..
KZ x HBB PR2 Sound
Initially, take a look at the specifications. It is clear that this planar iem requires significant energy to operate efficiently. Consequently, I turned the volume dial (key) on MBA 2022 as high as it could go, yet the device didn’t seem entirely content with the amount of power being supplied to it. (however, tinkering with audio midi setup unleashed the beast in the Macbook) Surprisingly, the sound quality remains remarkably impressive. The soundstage is filling my hearing field. Although impressive, particularly in terms of producing smooth jazz, it struggles with mastering 3D imaging, but its dynamic range is high. Its exceptional renditions of Limehouse Blues and Playing God are major contributors to its high rating. Even though it was a sample, did I really pay less than 50 dollars for this item? Its skillful craftsmanship and intricate details had me so captivated that I lost track of the music I was listening to. However, the faint metallic undertones and piercingly high trebles at a high volume brought me back to my senses.
Surprisingly neutral, with a glimpse at the low end. New gen electronic recording literally shines with it. KZ x HBB PR2 is punching weaker than the legendary S12! Country – indie – rock, etc take their share as well. This planar thing isn’t vibrating or shaking and not getting distorted with low end playback. Long time followers of KZ will get what I mean, and complain about it. The bass at the older KZ iems used to sound like struggling exhaust pipes. And the annoyance with synthetic tracks and smoothness with organic tracks are completely new for KZ. The same is true for bass.
The KZ x HBB PR2’s midrange is a prime breakthrough for KZ. The midrange has proven to be more successful compared to their flotilla in previous experiences. This in-ear monitor should not be confused with a mid-centric one. The soundstage, texture, body, clarity, and layering are all satisfactory. The vocal presence is somewhat restrained. The KZ x HBB PR2 earphones exhibit the signature trademark of the KZ brand.
Clear and detailed, without being excessively bright or irritating to my ears. The treble has a considerable degree of sparkle and airiness, but it is still well-balanced with the rest of the frequency spectrum, as pointed out by the reviewers as well as myself. This is helping it produce a sound that is actually quite lifelike. On the other hand, anticipating a stunning treble from a KZ is similar to anticipating the return of Godot. You have the option of waiting until eternity.
I have two comparisons this time for KZ x HBB PR2 Review. First, the comparison with the initial PR1 Hfi. It was KZ’s first or one of the first attempts at using planar technology. And the latter will be with the beautiful example of how a planar iem should be, Letshuoer S12. All will be sourced from the Macbook Air 2022 and Apple Music.
Compared with KZ PR1 Hifi
Compared with Letshuoer S12
Where to Buy
- Official Store (https://tr.aliexpress.com/item/1005005500764660.html?aff_fcid=20d5d3a1ee9d4eec99b5b50c38044a11-1684074721882-08704-_DBf09Pn&tt=CPS_NORMAL&aff_fsk=_DBf09Pn&aff_platform=portals-tool&sk=_DBf09Pn&aff_trace_key=20d5d3a1ee9d4eec99b5b50c38044a11-1684074721882-08704-_DBf09Pn&terminal_id=9e7894c740b044209321cff55843d9af&afSmartRedirect=y)
KZ x HBB PR2 Review Conclusion
KZ x HBB PR2 is some steps separated from the history of KZ, but only a half step away from their latest models. And it seems “collaboration” term means more than adding up a few dBs to selected frequencies. Containing a planar driver in budget range is one thing, optimizing it in the direction of the well known S12 is another thing. It’s an earphone which is likely to be highly recommended by me and I consider it as an excellent option for anyone looking for high-quality audio equipment on a budget. But bassheads should step back. Its KZ changing its dress to join the audiophile ranks (and reach a long lasting, yet not galactic fame) and D-Fi, Ling Long, ZVX can’t be a coincidence.