KZ EDCX ($9)
Today I am reviewing the KZ EDCX. KZ asked if I would like to post a review of this little beast and I of course obliged. To that, I thank Tyvan Lam and KZ very much. KZ never has a shortage of options at all price points and in my opinion, they seem to get better and better as they stretch the dollar further with every new release. KZ also seems to give more for less with bang for buck earphones that seem to eclipse the market standards at price points. Or at least perform very well.
Again, today I am happy to review the KZ EDCX. I received this set a few days ago and upon putting them in my ears and pushing play on my Shanling M6 Ultra, I was actually not quite expecting to hear what I did. For a myriad of reasons actually. Let’s take a look at this ultra-ultra-budget iem shall we.
-Impactful low-end, not overdone
-Non fatiguing but decently extended highs
-This set is a no-brainer
-There is no other con at this price
-IPad (6th Gen)
Not much to report here. This set is below $10! Receiving eartips is a bonus at that price. Really all you get is a very small box with some white wide-bore ear-tips. I’m perfectly good with that.
For the price the design is actually quite nice. The shape is very much like any budget KZ, nothing too surprising there. The set that I received has this glassy looking, almost smoky gray coloration on the faceplate area and is very simple but also very cool looking to me. A nice minimalist look in my opinion. KZ states that around that smoky transparent PC cavity and faceplate is stainless steel trim which helps give off an almost glossy look.
The Shells are once again made with a PC plastic material. The feel is sturdy enough. I’d advise against throwing them across a room but all in all the build is fine. In fact, for the price (we will keep mentioning this) the build is pretty damn nice.
One thing to mention is, the cable is not a detachable cable but really the attached cable is perfectly fine. I know we all prefer a set which gives the option to swap cables if the want arises but, unfortunately the KZ EDCX doesn’t allow for that.
As far as the internal driver, KZ made the choice to employ one of the more common and cheap drivers to prove they could tune any iem to a great standard regardless of the driver tech and material. KZ chose a 6-micron thick 10mm PET Driver. KZ says they used four layers of voice coils for better output.
I have zero issue driving this set. I listened for a while simply using my IPad and I heard nice dynamics, possibly a bit thin timbre but still having plenty of good energy. Moving to the $9 Zooaux Dongle Dac was actually a step up for me sonically. The Zooaux is tuned nicely and has good synergy with the KZ EDCX.
Moving onto more powerful options like the Shanling Ua2 with its ESS onboard dac and then the Shanling M6 Ultra with its quad AK dacs both bumped up the auditory joy to a new level. I don’t think more power helps as much as better gear helps in the sonics department. Really this set is made to be easily driven and KZ has succeeded in this regard.
Quick Sound Impressions
Overall, I hear a pretty balanced sound out of the KZ EDCX. To be honest I am quite impressed people. This is a mild V-shaped / Harman’ish tuning with emphasis in the bass region as well as the upper-midrange/lower treble, from what I can tell anyways. All in all, I hear a mildly warm replay with decent note weight and nicely rendered timbre for the price of under $10. Overall, a smoother listen with a nice cohesive sound and pretty well resolute for something so cheap.
Bass is sonorous enough with enough rumble to carry most genres like hip-hop, EDM etc. Also, the bass is nimble enough to move quickly to keep up with somewhat busy songs. Transient attack is pretty well done with good decay and good timbre without forcing its presence on the midrange too much. I feel the EDCX is a more sub-bass focused set yet still with some slamming mid-bass when needed. This is a bass which can go deep when called upon. I hear good texture to the bass and I hear decent separation between sub and mid-bass. Really the low-end of the EDCX has good body without sounding bloated or muddy without any obvious flaws which would represent a con, at least in my book.
I wouldn’t refer to the EDCX as a basshead iem either. I’m sure with a little EQ you could easily get there. However, I like that KZ did not over emphasize the low-end but instead kept the bass palpable for many different music styles
The Mids are recessed in normal V-shape to Harman fashion but there is enough resolute clarity to really not create an issue. The midrange carries some good energy, not perfect but vocals sound well enough presented. Males have beefy undertones with a smoother inflection which is helped by the slight bleed from the low-end into the midrange. Males have a mild warmth to them giving vocals a more organic sound with a robust replay to a man’s voice. Not bad.
Females lack that last little bit of shimmery luster but I’m not complaining at all. “Lack” is probably the wrong word actually. I hear good enough energy to highlight a soprano voice pretty well. Instruments in this region sound closer to natural with enough body and good separation while also forming a pretty darn nice balance with the rest of the mix. Again, I hear nothing to complain about here.
The treble region is a mostly smooth effort without killing our ears in fatigue. In fact, I don’t hear anything fatiguing at all. I hear pretty good clarity, I hear good body, I hear pretty good extension of the highs. This will not suit treble-heads, but the treble has nice energy to keep the overall balance. This isn’t the airiest set in the world but there is plenty zesty vitality up top to cap off a good overall presentation. Nice job KZ.
Overall, the technical picture of the EDCX is about what one would expect. However, I think the details are above average for an under $20 iem. Obviously, the tuning is not a style which promotes tiny details being illuminated to the forefront, but still… surface level details are easily heard with the cleaner replay of the EDCX.
Soundstage is not the widest, about average for me. There is decent height and decent depth. That being said, the stage gives me enough space to wrap my brain around all of the elements within a stage while easily placing those elements. In fact, Imaging is pretty good for the price, matching iems upwards of $30 in my opinion. The soundstage and imaging and even separation is much better than I thought I’d hear and only benefit my music library. There are some real bangers in this price range with some crazy stiff competition for the EDCX, but in the technical department I think the EDCX holds its own pretty well.
KBear Dumpling ($18)
I only have one relevant low cost iem hovering around that $10 to $20 mark with a non-detachable cable, and that is the KBear Dumpling. Now, guys and Ladies… this is going to be short. The EDCX is simply better sonically in almost every regard. Listening to the Dumpling after I listen to the EDCX is not enjoyable… sorry KBear. Seriously though the EDCX is much better tuned than the Dumpling and much cleaner throughout the entire spectrum. A veil shadows over the Dumpling while the EDCX is more open, resolute and more dynamic sounding with better clarity.
If the Dumpling bests the EDCX in anything it would be build quality. The materials used are simply better in the Dumpling and they are absolutely dope looking for how small they are. Also, they are so nice for a student to just toss in a bag and not worry about. From my perspective, every other angle you look at (sound quality), the EDCX just mops the floor. I don’t normally make things a competitive battle but this one is pretty obvious thus making it not very competitive at all. Between the two, if music is your passion and you are low on funds… get the EDCX.
To conclude this review, I want to again thank the people who made it possible… KZ and Tyvan Lam. Thank you for putting this set out there to be tested in full understanding that there are only a couple possible outcomes, either rejection or praise. In this case, from me it is resounding praise of the KZ EDCX. I love that KZ put their money and effort where their mouth is and stepped up to the plate and created such a nice sounding iem using the most common materials and proving that tuning is what matters most… most of the time.
Another absolutely fantastic element to this ultra-ultra-budget iem from KZ is this; this is an iem that anyone can attain. Anyone can come up with the funds necessary to have this well-tuned iem. I love this. KZ could charge more for this set, in fact they could charge quite a bit more for many of their latest iems, but they choose to keep costs low and stay competitive at every price point that they occupy. Some scoff at this company and cast aside KZ because they are always churning out new releases and always staying in the consumer’s view at all times. People, guess what… KZ is only getting better and now… they have a point to prove.
Listen, this set is not world changing and won’t challenge any set at triple digits and it won’t render non-relevancy to your higher priced iems. What the EDCX will do is give you a solid option that will challenge any iem at the price point, perhaps even more. Assuming of course that the sound signature of the EDCX is one you are fond of. I try not to over sensationalize anything I write about, but I love to see products which outperform my expectations, especially at such low cost. There is great value when you factor in that cost and that is something which is easy for me to get behind.
If a dope looking, seriously cheap iem is in your future than I would think the EDCX should be in your sights. The con is the non-removable cable (I know I wish this was different) but the upside is almost everything else. I enjoyed my time with this set, and I think others will too. Now if you are a bass-head or a treble-junkie the EDCX will probably not be to your taste. Yet, if you enjoy a more balanced sound with subtle warmth, a good bass region, decently rendered vocals, energetic but non-fatiguing highs, and decent technicalities and your price is sub $15…the EDCX may be the right choice.
I want to thank anyone who stopped by to read this review. As always, I want to urge you to listen to other perspectives from other reviewers. My likes and dislikes are not the same as the next guy, my gear isn’t the same, my library of music may be different and honestly, my hearing may be different. The point is… take in other thoughts about the EDCX as it’ll help to make an informed decision. Thank you so very much, please take good care and try your best to stay safe.