Design and Build Quality
So KZ decided that their plastic Campfire copy wasn’t quite close enough to the original and decided to upgrade the ZS5 with a metal body. They did a great job, the new ZS6 is a stunning looking earphone and the build of the earpieces themselves is the best I’ve seen for sub $50. The cable however, like the ZS5’s cable, is a big let down. The cable comes with a memory wire secured inside a shrinkwrap portion. I found this uncomfortable and I’ve already stripped it from my cable (again).
I found the ZS5 to be uncomfortable on extended listening sessions a problem that has not occurred with the ZS6. The only difference in the shape is a slight change in the contours on the rear, this seemingly has removed a pressure point that caused me discomfort.
Sound Quality and Overall Rating
The ZS6 has a sound that is a little more dynamic than the fairly balanced ZS5. The treble is stronger than the ZS5 v1s that I own, so this is not an earphone for someone who is treble sensitive. Normally I don’t have an issue with strong treble but even I found that the treble was simply too much on certain tracks with my treble boosting Cozoy Aegis, switching to the iPhone lightning dongle brought things down to a more manageable level. Fortunately the ZS6 are very easy to drive so I don’t feel anything is lacking in terms of volume or power.
At the other end of the frequency range the bass seems to have been given a little boost as well. The bass extends low and there’s a decent sub-bass rumble, personally I prefer a little less emphasis on the bass but for most this will be an improvement. The bass is fast punchy and there’s no bleed into the mids. In fact compared to the ZS5 the mids seem to have moved slightly forward, I certainly noticed that the vocals seemed to be closer to the listener’s position.
The ZS5 v1 does a big soundstage well and that’s something that seems to be missing from the ZS6, the presentation is a bit more intimate in comparison. Imaging is still excellent and they don’t feel closed in they just lack the vast openness of the ZS5. As this was part of the reason the ZS5 scored so highly I can’t score the ZS6 as high even if they do comfortably beat the ZS5 for feel good factor with that stunning metal body.
Aproear Overall Rating 9.6