disclaimer: None needed. Purchased outright for purposes of testing
Unboxing / Packaging:
Packaging is standard KZ white box with slip-cover over it. The slipcover has the image of the earpieces on front and specs on reverse. Kit is also pretty standard at this point with cable, tips, card, and earpieces. This makes the 4th time I have covered a Zst or derivative model and honestly packaging and kit have changed very little in that same time. I hesitate to call this the 4th generation for reasons you’ll read more about as we go.
Build is also very similar to the previous Zsn Pro with a Transparent smoked plastic inner shell and a gold metal faceplate. Like the Zsn Pro, a single brass screw holds the faceplate in place. Venting is accomplished by a single vent at the lead edge of the faceplate by the screw and a single vent in the center of the dynamic driver on the underside. Nozzles have a slightly forward and slightly upward rake with a pronounced lip and provide for fairly deep insertion. The bi-pin connector is the hooded style. Size is identical to the Zsn Pro and very similar to the original ZST as well. For those not familiar with the line, the pro X is mid sized and sits firmly in the ear. Comfort is good for long wear, and isolation is average due to the venting.
The ZsN Pro X uses the same 2nd generation 10mm titanium coated diaphragm dynamic driver and customized 30095 balanced armature as the ZSN Pro, but curiously now lists the impedance as 25Ω rather than the 24Ω of the ZSN Pro. Sensitivity is still the same at 112dB/mW making the ZsN Pro X fairly easy to to drive from smartphones or tablets. I found the Zsn Pro really did not scale particularly well and the Pro X is no different so those using a phone or tablet are probably getting the same experience as those using a dedicated DAP or AMP.
The cable is the standard KZ too although it is now silver plated and in a clear housing rather than the standard brown. It is well made with a 4 strand braid below the splitter and twisted pair above it. The splitter is still way too low to be practical and no chin slider is present. This makes the cable entirely more tangle prone than it should be and would be easily cured by moving the splitter about 8 inches further up the cable toward the earpieces. (If anyone at KZ is listening, please, please, please move the splitter up!). The Jack is the standard 3.5mm TRS 90º connector standard on all KZ cables these days. The other end of the cable sports pre-formed earhooks with clear hooded bi-pin connectors. My sample does not have the mic, but that option exists for those who prefer one.
I found that I liked what Shure large Olives did for the sound of the Zsn Pro as by default it is a little too mid-bass forward for my tastes. The good news is EQ and tips do a lot for mitigating that if you should wish to do so. My notes are based on the provided large tips as I know not everyone will have access to the Shure tips but for those who do, I recommend a swap.
Sub-bass depth and quantity is quite good on the Zsn Pro X with roll-off only becoming perceptible below 45Hz. Speed is not perceptibly different from the previous generation as attack is still slightly faster than decay leaving a bit of lingering weight and warmth. Mid-bass is pushed forward and is still a bit loose at times with some bleed into the mids providing a bit of warmth in an overall bright signature. A/B compares with the Zsn Pro show these two as twins.
As we move from mid-bass into lower-mids, the emphasis is removed and as we move into the true mids the move back even further. Here again A/B testing shows the same pattern established by the Zsn Pro and while I would have loved to see mids recessed a bit less, I can’t say they are any different than on the previous generation. Upper mids do climb forward and give female vocals a more forward push, but here again, not distinguishably different than the Zsn Pro.
Treble matches the mid-bass in quantity and gives the Pro X a deep V shape as a result. Treble detail is good and timbre of snare is acceptable but cymbals can get a bit metallic and clicky at times. The treble extension is enough to give the Pro X a bit of air at the top but sparkle is limited at best. Fatigue shouldn’t be an issue unless the listener is more treble sensitive than average. Sibilance will present itself when the recordings tend that way, but not otherwise.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Soundstage on the Pro X retains the quality of the Zsn pro, which was quite good. It is track dependent but when fed good source material, it can be 3D and well proportioned. It takes some listening and the right tracks to really nail down the stage size so don’t be surprised if initial impressions don’t reflect this. Instrument separation is good and again on par with what we saw from the original Pro model. Layering is good but not spectacular again as well.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
The ZSN Pro X is a cosmetic upgrade to the original ZSN pro, but is otherwise unchanged. Other than the gold faceplate and different color cable, it offers nothing that wasn’t in the previous generation. If you love the look grab one, but if you already own a ZSN Pro, don’t expect improvements in signature as there aren’t any to be found here. I’m a bit disappointed as this should have been billed as a new color of the Zsn Pro and not a new model. Shame on you KZ, I expected better.
- Bass - 6.5/106.5/10
- Mids - 6/106/10
- Treble - 6/106/10
- Soundstage - 8/108/10
- Imaging - 6/106/10
Pros: Cosmetic upgrade of ZSN Pro.
Cons: Only things upgraded are cosmetic.