KZ EDR1: Ultrabudget King

Hello everyone,
in this review i will finally put my impressions on one of the most famous products in the Chi-fi industry: I’m talking about the KZ EDR1, an old KZ product which gained a very good reputation around the web.
I’ve decided going for this review as the EDR1 are the cheapest pair of IEMs sold by KZ, but even one of their best seller.
I have been looking for them for so much time last year, then I decided to buy a pair some time ago (around 2 months ago). People were hyping them for their enormous price/quality ratio.
They’re actually around 3$ on aliexpress, but I’m not gonna link the page of the shop as I’ve had some issues with their customer support and I don’t like supporting sellers who don’t deserve to be supported.
I just wanna make a little premise: buying a pair of IEMs and having an enjoyable listening experience depends on many factors, that can go from the shape to the tips, from the ear canals shape to the sound signature, the cable, the source and so on.
I’m not responsabile for different feelings of other people as everyone’s ears are different.
Tests were made through 3 audio sources:
– Galaxy s7 edge smartphone with Neutron Music Player and stock Google Music Player
– AGPTEK M20 (Benjie S5’s European version)
– Presonus Audiobox iONE connected to my PC without any enhancement

PACKAGING:

Nothing special, a simple carton box which has been already seen in other products in the same price range.

CABLE

I have to say, nothing really exciting, very similar to the one used on the KZ ED9 but being less sticky and a bit softer. I couldn’t expect an enthusiast cable on a 3$ budget IEM but I’ve tried worse cables in the past.
I bought the MIC version which features a microphone and a button on the cable which can be useful if you use a phone with them (it works well on my Android phone).
Cable is unfortunately microphonic: not the heaviest microphonics ever but it is a bit annoying sometimes.
You can solve clipping it with a “clip” you can buy for some cents on aliexpress or maybe wearing them with the cable that goes around-the-ear.
Jack is angled at 90° degrees.

BUILD QUALITY AND INTERNALS
Built like a tank, great metal shell; there aren’t many IEMs that are so well built in this price range as every IEM I know around 3$/5$ is made of plastic.
They’re a bit on the heavy side, but the ED9 are heavier.
Design isn’t the most innovative one, but I personally do not care about if we speak about a 3$ earphone.
The shell hugs a single DD (Dynamic Driver).
There’s a grill at the end of the nozzle which prevents earwax and dust to damage the IEM.
Nozzle has 5mm diameter and its length is average (not long like the ED9s golden filter).
Cable is not detachable but it’s ok: I mean, if these get broken you can just replace them with a little 3$ investment.

COMFORT AND ISOLATION

As these have the cable falling straight instead of going around the ear, the majority of people will find these very comfortable.
They’re not the lightest earphones i’ve ever tried (sure less heavy compared to the ED9): i would say a little bit heavier than the Xiaomi Piston Fresh.
Passive isolation is really good and with accurate tip rolling you can improve this even more.
Personally, i’m using the spinfit like ones that came with my TRN v80s, that are a little bit different than these (internal silicone tube), but many will find the stock ones just fine.

SOUND

Let’s get into the part of every review that really helps someone deciding if to buy something or not.
I usually listen to: EDM and subgenres, with preferences on Dubstep, Future Bass, Euphoric Hardstyle, Bass House, Midtempo, Downtempo, Darkwave, DnB, but i even listen to many vocal tracks, moreover from female singers.
Low end is very important for me, so i always search a little emphasis in that zone, with the higher part of the spectrum being brilliant and airy, without being sibilant and fatiguing.
Mids can even be recessed as soon as it sounds natural.
V-shape is my preferred signature.
EDR1 are easy to drive, and are loud and engaging even connected to a smartphone.
– Sub bass: great extension for the price, superb sub-bass reproduction. These really RUMBLE in the lower region, not easy to achieve mantaining a good extension without being too aggressive like many others IEMs.
– Bass & Mid-bass: good response even there. There’s a little lift on the mid-bass that makes the sound warmer.
I would say we have a good and impactful bass response that doesn’t go boomy.
Bass is anyway controlled and brings out the power when called in, without being too much overemphasized compared to the other parts of the spectrum.
Kickdrums are well refined and textured: kicks details just sound like they do in my DAW without being “gummy”: many earphones in these price range just put everything on the bass, with a very rapid tuning that doesn’t take care about the coherency between the parts of the spectrum.
– Mids: recessed with a warm tone. V-shape can be felt very well here.
The majority of cheap earphones are tuned like this.
Female voices sound airy, retaining some intimacy.
The middle part of the spectrum has a natural tone even if not at the center of the scene.
– Treble: we can’t see these are detail champions.
We can hear a little emphasis on the lower treble that gives some brilliance and a good sense of space in the tracks.
Even if the detail retrieval is not top notch, i prefer this treble tuning if compared to the ZS3’s treble.
– Soundstage: excellent for the price range, great widht, good height, above average depth (always considering the price range), thanks to the dip in the mids and the emphasis on the lower treble that helps giving a sense of open space.
– Instrument separation: good, not excellent. If we listen to complex tracks with many instrument layers, the EDR1 show their difficulties.
The absolutely don’t get very bad, but limits are just there and we can’t complain for the price.

SUMMING UP

I have no problem in congratulating KZ for showing the world what can be done with 3$ in the audio gear world.
This is definitely the product with the highest “price/quality ratio” i’ve ever tried.
Having in my hands ZS3, MEMT X5, KZ ED9, KZ ZS6 and many others, i can say that KZ EDR1 just go very near to the ED9 and MEMT X5 with 1/4 of the price.
Limits are there as i’ve already written: they miss the little more detail of the MEMT x5 and the overall dynamic of the ED9, but we’re speaking about a 3$ earphone.
ED9’s low end is more controlled with the EDR1 being a little more engaging and powerful. The EDR1 miss a little bit of texture and structure that ED9 shows.
They’re still dominating the ultrabudget price bracket and i hope even more people is gonna try these: they’re really worth a try and a chance to be your daily mate for travelling or walking down in the streets.
Great for bassheads, maybe not to be used as an all-rounder, awesome for every day “street” use considering the excellent isolation. Super suggested for simple and impactful tracks, electronic music and related.
What can I say more.. you’ll have 3 less euros in your payment card! :D

KZ EDR1

8

Sound

8.0/10

Build quality

9.0/10

Comfort (Subjective)

9.0/10

Package/Accessories

4.0/10

Price

10.0/10

Pros

  • Warm and fun signature with great low end
  • Price
  • Coherent
  • Well built
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Treble extension is a bit disappointing
  • Cable microphonics
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