KZ-BA10-Not your ordinary Kryten
Written by ngoshawk
Published 4 minutes ago
Pros – Typical good KZ sound.
Moving up the KZ food chain.
Good bass extension.
Cons – Cannot get by that shape.
Cable can tangle.
KZ-BA10-Not your ordinary Kryten ($89usd):
As per usual protocol when I receive something, I open the package
and give a quick initial listen, to ensure that all is well. Then, the
critter in question is placed most often on my Shanling M1 for
50-100hrs. This is done, because the unit purchased is only new once,
and I believe the sound “down the road” should be represented.
Specs (from Amazon):
Gold-plated 0.75mm 2 pin cable;
Anti-pulling, anti-bending, anti-corrosion professional cable;
Professional acoustic structure design for three-stage airflow;
1. Product Name: Original KZ BA10 In-ear Earphone
2. Brand: KZ
3. Model: BA10
4. Earphone type: In-ear
5. Impedance: 14Ω
6. Earphone sensitivity: 105dB/mW
7. Frequency range: 20-40000Hz
8. Interface: 3.5mm plug
9. Plug Type: L curved
10. Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm
11.Color: Black&Red, Gold&Red
12.Whether with cable: Yes
13.Earphone interface: 0.75mm 2 Pin; 3.5mm earphone plug
14.Whether with mic: Optional
15.Detachable cable: Yes
16.Driver unit: 5 Balanced Armatures Per Side
· IEM, 1.25m cable (typical length of KZ at this price, but 4-wire copper and nicer than other KZ in my mind)
· 2 sets of three each silicon tips (one regular and one with “articulations,” which to me allow for the tip to fit better in ear; think cuts on a paper, to make it fold into a circle better)
· Instruction “manual”
· Warranty card
All prices in USD, unless noted otherwise
KZ AS10 ($63ish)
Simgot EN700 Pro ($119)
MEE Audio M6 Pro G2 ($50)
Thebit Opus #2
MBP/iFi Pro iDSD(!!)
Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:
Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
twenty one pilots-Trees
twenty one pilots-Car Radio
twenty one pilots-Heathens
Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
The new twenty one pilots album, Trench
In typical KZ fashion, you get a black box, which opens from the right. Inside you have the IEM’s label “L/R,” in case you forget. Plus, an engraved faceplate replete with serial number. A nice touch, but again…no case. Sigh. I wish they would include a case…but as we know, we are into the sound, not what is included…
The BA10 looks like something, which Frankenstein would wear…seriously. Such a departure from the aesthetically pleasing shapes previous from KZ, that upon first glance, I really was taken aback. Shades of Kryten arose again in my mind (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dwarf#Characters_and_actors).
Made of an alloy, fitting the 5 BA’s inside the sample in-hand has a
gold back and anodized red inside, including the nozzle. An inset hides
the 2-pin connection well, and avoid stressing the connection. Something
I like to see. A cable of 4-wire copper adds to the premium look, plus
it is much less of a mess than other KZ’s I have had. This is a nice
cable, with long braided wire above the Y-splitter, which could snag on
things. I have not had a problem (unlike the darker copper KZ wire), but
the possibility is there. Ending in a 90-degree plastic sheathed jack,
the low profile is a nice touch. I will say that the sheer width of the
plastic sheath is too much and can hinder fit into some cases or DAP’s.
With a long-curved plastic sheath for over-ear use, the fit is good providing good strain relief. Once set, the IEM holds its place within your ear, and despite that shape I found I could wear them for good longer sessions. Not entirely comfortable mind you, but decently long times. Isolation using the patterned tips is decent, but not the best. When music is playing the sound does cover outside noise, but not completely. I do like the way this tip represents the sound more than the other included tips.
When moving my head, the fit becomes less “stable” and does change the sound as well as isolation levels. There is a bit of microphonics as well. Not as bad as some lately, but clearly heard.
With proper insertion, the bass is rich and taught. Underlying Charlie Musselwhite’s Cadillac Women, the bass guitar is as it should be. Support, giving the foundation of what you need. This is an excellent blues anyway, and the BA10 presents that bass line as one would expect. Solid, almost formal, but knowing that it has a job to do. Good stuff.
Charlie’s vocals sound crisp, deep and full of velvety smoothness. Throw in his harmonica and the mids sound almost succulent. An apt description for a raucous blues song. Not oozing with gooeyness, but like that smoky BBQ sauce you can only get in Kansas City. Of course, I am running it through the iFi Pro iDSD, on full tube setting, which helps. Man, the Pro is exceptional in its own right, and playing a $90 IEM through them is a treat not to be missed. Keeping the iFi on tube setting (not full on), the reach of treble is adequate, without being harsh. As per previous reviews, I am averse to harshness up top, and the combination here is quite pleasing. I turn the volume up looking for any tainting of that sound, and it simply does not happen. Historically with Chi-Fi, once the volume goes up, the harsh treble presents itself to me as a sound, which I do not care for. Here though, that does not happen. And as mentioned in other reviews of late, there seems to be a trend away from that harsh upper note and I do approve.
Sound stage is a funny pickle with which to crave. Sometimes you want that expansive sound, such as when listening to classical or concert hall-type music for that is the representation, which provides the closest to real depiction. Here though, there is better height than depth and width. In fact, I would call this a fairly shallow sound depth-wise. Not overly expansive in width, but slightly beyond the ears, there is decent 3-dimensiality, but not the best. This would be that almost intimate pair for commuting. It is good, but different.
From that above, the layering and separation is decent again, but not the best. On a complicated song such as Sonny Payne Special, you get the bass supporting as well as the drums, with harmonica front and foremost. But, there really isn’t that distinct definition I would prefer. It isn’t bad mind you, but I would have preferred a bit more definition. I can pretty easily pick out the layers, though so that is a positive aspect.
KZ BA10 ($89) vs KZ AS10 ($63ish):
The BA10 moves up scale a bit from the AS10, but my first “indoctrination” to KZ was in fact the AS10. And I liked it. I liked it a lot. I still prefer the slightly warmer sound of it to the “refined” sound of the BA10, but either would be fine additions to your stable. Both are good, I simply prefer the slightly warmer sound of the AS10. End of story.
KZ BA10 ($89) vs Simgot EN700 Pro ($119):
The Simgot came my way through a collaborative effort with Simgot. The two compared here share a sameness “different” look about them. One, which does take time to get used to, it really does. But, get beyond looks (as well all should) and focus on the sound. While the BA10 provides a nice detailed sound, the EN700 Pro bests it pretty much all around, in my book. Better bass, better representation of mids, and a somewhat sparkly sound of treble. The sound stage is wider as well. You might think that this then becomes a total cover for the Pro, but you would be mistaken. The BA10 has that soul of sound going for it (as does the Simgot), but when you look at the price you see that they compete at different levels. Again, I prefer the Simgot. It is good.
KZ BA10 ($89) vs MEE Audio M6 Pro G2 ($50):
Moving back to a new old friend, the M6 Pro G2 is the offspring of the critter, which brought me in to this rabbit hole. The first gen M6 Pro had its qualities, but had a harshness to it, that was hard to overcome. Thankfully (and in talking to the engineers) they overcame that. The M6 Pro G2 is now one of my favorites again. Not as easy to drive as the BA10, you do not mind, because any chance you get to turn Charlie Musselwhite up is a good chance.
Having better control of the bass, but not the quantity, the M6 Pro provides a more even sound. With better treble presentation (without the harshness), the M6 Pro is a very fine $50 unit, and should warrant serious consideration compared to many at that price. But you do understand that the refinement of it cannot compete with a 5 BA unit specialist. The M6 Pro is very, very good for what it is meant: an active sport life. And it represents itself very well in that vein. But, the refinement of the BA10 is hard to look away from when you are considering a critter for something other than working out. I still very much like the M6 Pro, though.
This is a hard critter to characterize, and as such I really am at a conundrum. I like the BA10, but maybe not as much as the AS06, or ZSN. Something about those drew me in. The AS10 is also an excellent superb representation of the KZ sound. Knowledge Zenith is on a definite roll, and I do like the BA10, but it isn’t my favorite of the lot. Maybe this is a more mature sound for them, and as such it surely fulfills that niche. But maybe I was expecting a more raucous sound.
Companies such as KZ move quickly. VERY quickly, lest they get left behind. It seems that they turn a new critter out about every other week. That is entirely not in jest either. The BA10 was almost flavor of the month when it came out early last fall. Time and new units have moved by this unit, but that should not take away from a quite good unit, because it is good. Just not my favorite of the KZ lineup. I like rooting for the underdog, and the BA10 would be known as the favorite in this set of rounders. That does not discount that it is good and shouldn’t.
I again thank Lillian from Linsoul Audio for the faith shown in my less-than-stellar review skills. The BA10 is worth a look if you like unique looking items that also present a pretty decent sound. It is worth the look.