Review: KZ AS10

Firstly I would like to thank Linsoul for this sample.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings

Gear Used:
Audio Opus #2 / Yulong DA10 > AS10

Tech Specs:
Impedance: 32Ω
Earphone sensitivity: 105dB/mW
Frequency range: 20-40000hz
Interface: 3.5mm Gilded
Plug Type: L curved
Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm  

Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
Unlike the cheaper KZ models, the AS10 come in a bigger, more luxurious box. Well luxurious might be stretching it, but the box is bigger and the monitors sit in a foam insert with a metal plate below with the model engraved on it. The box is a simple matte black box, with a magnetic opening flap. Underneath the foam insert that holds the monitors, you'll find the cable and other accessories, overall this box is a bit better than the tiny one that the ZSA and ZS5 come in.

Overall build is fine, the cable is the same standard KZ one that is included with most of their models, I really don't like their memory wire so with some careful cutting I always remove it. The housings are plastic, but well finished. I really liked the metal ZSA housings, but then again KZ have gone for a 3D printed approach in terms of holding the drivers in place so this will factor in to the housings being plastic. They are very light, and with detachable cables you can expect these to hold up fine during daily use. The cable has good strain relief, but is a little on the thin side.

Accessory wise you only get tips, no pouch or case unfortunately. This is fairly standard among the KZ models, which include S, M and L single flange tips, and nothing else.

Comfort and Isolation:
With the right tips I find the AS10 to be fairly comfortable for extended listening, however the angle of the nozzle doesn't really work with my odd canals. This means they stick out of my ears quite far, but it doesn't affect overall comfort. With the memory wire removed, the cable falls easily behind my ears and is comfortable, but there is no chin slider to take up the slack.

Isolation is good on the AS10 as they are a fully sealed BA based IEM, this means they are great in noisy environments. They isolate better than vented dynamic drivers, and hybrid designs, but the plastic housings are not very thick so don't expect Shure/Westone levels of isolation.

Split into the usual categories, with a conclusion at the end.

Lows: The AS10 are not lacking down low and have a fullness overall that is very pleasant. They are however not boosted and never become overwhelming, they always stay controlled and in their place. There is not a huge amount of punch down low, but there is great body and articulation that kind of makes up for it. They are smooth and extend with ease, lending their hand to acoustic music beautifully, there is a little bloom down low but nothing that stands out or muddies the sound a lot. The lows can be described as full and smooth, these may use BA's for the lows but the quality is really impressive, with dynamic like traits, yet they do have good speed when needed.

Mids: The midrange on the AS10 is excellent, with a smooth and natural nature much like the lows, without missing out on the finer details in recordings. Even during quick tracks, the midrange keeps up with ease allowing you to pick out each part of the recording. The lows don't bleed into the midrange leaving vocals and guitars to cut through the mix and stand out with clarity and definition. Their ability to not become congested is what surprises me the most, and the tonality is a little on the warmer side which makes them fatigue free. The transition from the midrange to the highs is smooth and devoid of sibilance.

Highs: The highs are well presented but are a little soft when it comes to their impact, lacking a little bit of energy. This gives you a nice smooth listening experience overall, but does make them sound a little safe. This is great for those who are a little more treble sensitive as they have good clarity and air without being too in your face. A subtle lift via EQ will fix this but as they are out of the box they are not bad at all. The highs do roll off a little early, but what KZ have done here have offered a refined top end that is smooth but toned down in terms of presence for a more laid back sound signature.

Soundstaging is really good on these with above average width but limited height, separation is a strong point never becoming congested during more complex tracks.

Conclusion: The AS10 are one of KZ's best tuned IEM's to date, gone are the jagged edges and nasty peaks some of their other models have and instead you have a coherent, smooth and slightly full sound that is very pleasing to listen to. The top end might not be overly exciting, but it is there and it is refined and the midrange has good detail and insight.  The lows have an almost dynamic driver like tone that is full and articulate yet well controlled, and I can easily recommend these for someone who likes a little warmth, yet also enjoys a balanced and coherent sound.

Sound Perfection Rating: 9/10 (smooth, full, coherent and enjoyable, just get rid of the terrible memory wire)