Review - Fosi Audio SK02

Review - KZ DQS

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TLDR version on YouTube: TDLR - KZ DQS

The DQS have been sent to me directly by KZ. You could say that they were in exchange for this review but in this case, they just said that if I had time and wanted to, that they would appreciate it if I reviewed them.

I have not had any further communication with KZ about these IEMs, so there have been no requests or comments made. I will, as always, do my best to be unbiased and share my honest opinion on these IEMs.

I was going to link to the official page for these IEMs, as I usually do in these cases, but I am not quite sure what that link is. The person who reached out to me is from kzhifi.com, which is a website that seems to be an official KZ brand web. At the same time, I have previously dealt with kz-audio.com, which also seems to be an official KZ brand web. Both webs share the same street address (at least that is what I understand from their contact pages) but have different phone numbers, so I am confused 😁

However, seeing that the DQS don’t seem to appear on the kzhifi page but do appear on the kz-audio page, I am going to link the latter of the two. I apologize to the person who sent these to me if I am linking the wrong page, please let me know if I am.

You can find the KZ DQS here: https://kz-audio.com/kz-dqs.html

All of the links I share are always non-affiliate but in this case, I am not even sure who I am linking to, so no need to mention that I receive nothing from clicks or purchases made via the above link.


Intro…

I haven’t really been following KZ lately and although I reviewed the PR1 a few months ago, I really am not up to date on their latest releases. I am sure there have been a few as KZ are usually pretty consistent with new releases and seeing that they reached out to me in late November or early December about the DQS, I am not sure if this is still one of their most recent models or not.

The previous DQ models (DQ6 & DQ6S) that I have tried have been marketed as triple DD’s (emphasis on marketed) yet the DQS is a single dynamic driver. It also uses a semi open shell design and is available, with or without mic, for just over 15€ (at least that is the price on the KZ Official store on Aliexpress which kz-audio sends me to when clicking “buy now”, so I am still just as confused 😉 ).


Presentation…

The DQS arrive in the typical KZ style, a small white box from which a cardboard tray slides out revealing the IEMs beneath a clear plastic cover.

Underneath the top layer, we get the cable, 3 sizes of the “star” style KZ tips and the warranty card.

Nothing different from so many other KZ models we have seen in the past.


Build and aesthetics…

The build also follows the usual KZ style, with shells that resemble the other previous DQ models such as the DQ6 and DQ6s, along with some other models. I have to say that as far as the exterior build is concerned, I have never experienced any issues with KZ IEMs and I have no reason to think these will be any different.

The faceplate is different in aesthetics to previous models, this time with a brass coloured mesh type grill behind the openings in the plastic face plate. This does give them a very open back look. I can’t say if they are actually as open back as they look from the outside, it is difficult to tell from their publicity images and I am not going to take them apart to find out. 

In general I don’t have any real issues with the build and aesthetics, they are not something I think looks amazing but they are not boring either. As far as comfort, as with other KZ models that use the same shell shape, I find them to work well for me, even for longer periods.


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

As usual, let’s take a look at the graph of the DQS in comparison to my personal preference target.

Starting off at the bottom, we can clearly see that there is a very large boost in the whole bass range, which continues to climb the lower we get. The lower ranges actually remind me a lot of the PR1 that I reviewed not too long ago. In fact, the measurements of both sets is very similar all the way up to around 1kHz.

While this is obviously way above my preferences in the lower ranges, it is actually not as bad as it looks on paper. The subbass, while excessive on tracks like “Chameleon”, is fairly well controlled and it does not take over the whole sound. “Royals” does come across a bit more boomy and “loose”, seeming to place more emphasis on that slight “dirty” rumble that the track has. 

The midbass is also fairly well controlled, especially when looking at how much there is. It is not overly bloated and while it does affect the lower mids a little, it doesn’t become an uncontrolled muddy mess. In fact, even “Crazy”, which is a track that soon shows an overly present and boomy midbass (in the form of reverb in the lower guitar notes), is quite listenable on the DQS. I honestly expected the lower end to be far worse than it is and was pleasantly surprised.

Would I pick this tuning in the lower end? Well, no, but I didn’t find myself wanting to get them out as soon as possible either.

The dip in the center of the mids is noticeable when focusing on it but in general it doesn’t stand out as being overly recessed in this area. Some tracks will show this more than others, with specific voices or instruments that have their fundamentals in the 600 to 800Hz range taking a little bit of a step back but it is certainly not something that stands out on all tracks.

The rise into the higher mids is very smooth and is almost perfect, as far as tuning, for my tastes. It works well to bring vocals forwards but is not overly harsh and doesn’t really affect the vocal range dynamics either. 

Sibilance is well controlled, with Paul Simon in “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”, who can be both harsh and sibilant, being fairly well controlled. The typical “Code Cool” shows just a hint of sibilance on some words but not all “S” and “T” like on many other more sibilant models.

The upper treble is where things are not quite up to par in my opinion. There is a noticeable roll off in these upper ranges with a peak to give the IEMs a bit of air and a sensation of more detail. Unfortunately that peak can come across as quite harsh on occasions and make the treble range a little brittle and unforgiving.

Details are not really excellent. They are not terrible but I wouldn’t class them as being a strong point of the DQS.  They are acceptable and you don’t feel like half the music is missing but they are not doing to be something to sit down and analyze music with.

Soundstage is rather narrow overall and while the image placement is ok, the narrow soundstage and lack of detail make things like “Bubbles” difficult to appreciate, everything seeming to blend into one rather than specific layers being separated.

Isolation is surprisingly good for a set of semi open IEMs, showing to be above average in the whole frequency range. This is one of the things that leads me to think that they are not as open as the vents would have us think.


Conclusion…

I can’t say that the DQS aren’t a good set of IEMs when I consider the fact that they are 15€. They are not my personal taste in tuning and I find that there are other IEMs around a similar price that I would pick over them but that doesn’t detract from what they do offer at this price point.

A set of IEMs that I have recommended a lot in this ultra cheap bracket (15€ or less) are the CCA CRA, also made by KZ. I actually prefer the upper mids tuning on the DQS over the CRA but, as I have mentioned before, I am not a fan of overly boosted low end and the DQS add another few dB to the CRA which are already way above my preferences. However, various people have mentioned that the CRA have received a "silent" revision, so I can't vouch for how they sound now.

Details and soundstage are not the best, along with that sizzle in the treble range, but seriously, these are standing out due to the amount of good options in the budget range that we have received lately. I am sure that there will be many people out there that love a lot of bass and find the DQS to meet their tastes, offering them a lot of enjoyment for very little money.


All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link
 
All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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