Things I Like: KZ ZST & ZS10 In-ear headphones

Things I Like

This “Things I Like” are an inexpensive set of in-ear buds I learned about from Scott Devine’s “Scott’s Bass Lessons” YouTube channel.

The in-ear buds are manufactured in China by a company called KZ. The model I (initially, see below) bought is the “ZST” and they are currently available on Amazon for the meager sum of $19.29 USD.

The Pros:

  • Very comfortable (including various sized tips) and lightweight.
  • The cable retains its shape aiding in holding the bud secure in the ear.
  • Good frequency response.
  • Very low cost.

The Cons:

I actually bought (5) of them as gifts and initially every recipient had difficulty attaching the cable to the buds. Pressing the connector on the cable into the receptacle on the buds will leave you convinced you may accidentally bend the pins.  But everyone eventually succeeded without a single problem. 

Whether you are looking for a great set of buds to listen to music on your phone, or you are looking for a few inexpensive buds to have available at your church in case one of the musicians on your worship team forgets theirs, the KZ ZST’s are priced right and sound great.

Update: For my own personal listening I’ve purchased some upgrades.  Among them I purchased KZ ZS10 model five-driver in-ears (currently $49.99 USD on Amazon), along with a Bluetooth cable ($12 USD) allowing wireless connection to my iPhone 8 (which I thought may be better than using a 3.5mm headphone jack to Lightning adapter, hardwired; but more on that below), and lastly Comply SmartCore Audio Pro Premium Memory Foam Earphone Tips ($17 USD).
The ZS10’s are moderately better than the ZST’s. I am not sure yet if the ZS10s a worthwhile in terms of value vs price. I would lean toward “yes.”
I am moderately happy with the Bluetooth cable (which by the way works with either the ZST or ZS10s) although I wish there was a higher maximum volume. It seems the Bluetooth cable cannot drive the KZ in-ears hard enough for my liking.
The Comply memory foam tips are the best! They are much more comfortable than the tips that came with the ZST & ZS10 in-ears, however be aware the Comply’s don’t last long (a few months per pair) and at $17 per pack may be difficult to justify when placed on lower cost buds.

Tom D'Angelo

Tom D'Angelo has worked in television production and AVL corporate theater for nearly four decades. He is Emmy Award nominated (Best Director category, Mid-Atlantic) and has been part of various teams nominated or winning national Emmys.  As the Media Director at a megachurch in the 1980’s he developed a love for the Church and church performing and technical artists.