KZ EDA Review: The Budget Triplet

Pros:
  • Includes three sets of in-ear monitors each with their own sound signature
  • Good technicalities on the High Resolution version

Cons:
  • Quick wear and tear on the pins if user frequently switches versions
  • Some bass bleed on the Heavy Bass version

Introduction:
Knowledge Zenith, or simply KZ, doesn't really need an introduction at this point. They are, by now, pretty much well-known by long-term audiophiles and newbies alike. With the past few years, KZ has been continuously launching a ton of IEMs. The EDA is the newest addition to KZ's ever growing family of in-ear monitors, and one of their more unique offerings so far. In one package, it contains three different versions of the EDA. The "Heavy Bass", "Balanced", and "High Resolution". The EDA currently retails for 36 USD, and was provided to me for free by KZ in exchange for this review.

Specifications:
Driver unit: single dynamic, diameter not specified
Impedance: 34 ohms
Sensitivity: 112.5 dB
Frequency response range: 20 Hz - 40 kHz

Source:
Poco X3, Redmi Note 10 Pro paired with Cayin RU6, Questyle M15, Xduoo Link2 Bal, FiiO KA3, Tempotec Sonata E35 and Zishan U1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The EDA comes in the regular small white sleeved box KZ is known for. Upon removing the sleeve, you will see all three versions inserted in a white piece of dense foam. All of them has the medium white KZ starline tips preinstalled. Underneath there is the instruction manual, the cable, and spare small and large starline tips.
Build:
The shells are made of transparent plastic. The faceplate sports a large KZ logo and a glossy metal lining for added decor. At the rear side of the shell there are two vents, one of which is situated near the center of the clearly visible dynamic driver. The nozzles have a small lip, just enough to hold the eartips, and a fine mesh to keep dust and other foreign objects out.
The cable is a 2-core silver plated copper, identical to the cable of the CCA NRA. It is extremely light and but with some stiffness to it. Minor microphonics can also be noticed. The angled 0.75 mm 2 pin connectors are made of plastic, while the splitter and L-type 3.5 mm gold plated plug are made of hard rubber. KZ being KZ, once again did not include a chin slider.
I will be using the Balanced version for the sound impressions, and then compare it later against the Heavy Bass and High Resolution versions.

Now let's get to the sound.

Lows:
The lows are noticeably boosted, especially the deep end. Subbass possesses impactful vibrations with a slightly above average level of depth. Decay leans on the slower side but does not overstay. Midbass is a lot more tame in comparison with the subbass. Each slam has sufficient strength and with decent note weight.

Overall, knowing KZ, I absolutely anticipated that the "Balanced" version will still be warm sounding, and I was right. The subbass provides a lot of warmth. But in the spirit of being balanced, KZ tuned the midbass fittingly.

Mids:
The mids are presented in a slightly recessed manner. There is linearity in the lower and upper mids with both of them having the same positioning, weight in every note, and then there is this kind of veil with the male and female vocals. Nevertheless, instruments are still reproduced with good resolution and sense of openness.

Overall, KZ still managed to hit most of my expections here in the mids. The mids being scooped and that veil that I mentioned makes the vocals feel like they are "in your face" which is not all bad but can definitely use a few adjustments.

Highs:
The highs are simply decent in performance. There is moderate reach in the treble along with an adequate length of decay. Lower treble is well controlled, resulting in the instruments sounding smooth but maintains good presence. Details are also brought up relatively well.

Overall, the highs doesn't give that much sparkle to the tracks but since the lows are rather subdued in comparison to most of KZ's in-ear monitors, the Balanced version of the EDA is able to perform in an acceptable fashion.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The EDA's stage exhibits average expansion. The width has decent space but not so much in the height. Accuracy in the imaging is also on the average side. Instruments are sufficiently separated and layered alongside the vocals. There is a fair amount of congestion particularly in complex tracks.

Comparisons:
Balanced version vs. Heavy Bass version
The Heavy Bass version lives up to its name. Subbass is a lot more powerful, but reaches just as deep as the Balanced version. Decay is also slightly more extended in the Heavy Bass version. Midbass is also thicker and punches heavier. As a result, there is some instances of the lows bleeding into the other frequencies, albeit just minimal. Everything is identical in the mids. Surprisingly, the Heavy Bass version has slightly more pronounced treble. Both the reach and the decay is more emphasized, probably to compensate for the dominance of the lows. Imaging is slightly clearer in the Balanced version. All other technicalities are identical.

Balanced version vs. High Resolution version
The lows are a bit tighter in the High Resolution version. Depth is identical but subbass rolls off earlier and the vibrations are slightly attenuated. Midbass is very similar, but it is a tad thinner in the High Resolution version. Mids are slightly cleaner sounding in the High Resolution version. Vocal clarity is a bit better and instruments sound more spacious. Treble is a lot more prominent as well, reaching better heights and longer decay in the High Resolution version. Imaging is slightly more transparent as well. Instruments are better layered and separated also in the High Resolution version. The difference in the technicalities is not that big, but it is noticeable.

KZ EDA Balanced version (1 DD, 36 USD) vs. Moondrop Chu (1 DD, 20 USD)
The Chu presents better depth in the subbass, but the EDA has more impactful rumbles. Not much difference with the midbass but it is slightly more forward in the EDA. Mids sound much more smoother in the Chu, while being better in clarity and articulation at the same time. Instruments sound more crisp and defined in the Chu. Vocals sound slightly thinner but more natural in the Chu. With the treble, the Chu also has more presence, better reach, and considerably longer decay. Instruments in this section sound more solid than the EDA. The Chu also has better clarity in the imaging, as well as bigger soundstage in both the height and the width.

Conclusion:
KZ tuned the EDA decently, relative to its price. The Heavy Bass version gives out a strong, resounding bass without smearing much of the other frequencies, and the High Resolution version outputs good amounts of details without the sibilance or any fatiguing factor for that matter. The Balanced version though, could have been more "balanced" but KZ's tuning bias is pretty evident here. It's a good thing that they are exploring new ideas like these, but in my opinion, variable tuning in a single pair of monitors is still a way better implementation.

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