BUDGET
IN-EAR

VK4

QKZ

Rating

Price

7.1

12 €

Review published:

08/2020

Driver

1

per Side

1

Dynamic

0

Balanced

Impedance

16 Ohm

Piezo

0

Sound

6.5

Bass

7

Mids

7.5

Trebles

Sensitivity

105 dB

7

Handling

8

Haptic

B

Value

0

Daily Life

Frequency

20 - 40000 Hz

Intro

I would be lying if I said QKZ is one of my favorite companies and there are several reasons for that.
First of all they like to use products from KZ, or TRN and release them under their own name, but with worse sound quality and different driver configuration (TRN V20 - 1*DD & 1*BA / V60 - 2*DD & 1*BA VS. QKZ VK2 - 1*DD / VK6 - 2*DD). It cannot be excluded that QKZ is even the OEM manufacturer of KZ, TRN etc., but why damage the image in that form, because the own products cannot keep up. On the other hand, they shamelessly boast of the Red Dot Design Award (logo) and Hi-Res Audio certification. Why DSD (Hifi Dynamic) is on the packaging and on the headphones is another mystery to me. This has nothing to do with analog IEMs, but stands for Direct Stream Digital and is more interesting for DACs.
Well, so the customer is literally fooled through and through. The fact that many manufacturers like to fib in their product descriptions is nothing new, but at some point THAT crosses a line and is always pushed to the peak by QKZ.

The whole thing would perhaps interest me less if the company at least sound-wise would meet their wishes, but so far I haven't had an IEM of the company in my hand that wasn't more or less plastic garbage and I have some of them lying around. Only I lacked the élan to review them.

The VK4 has surprisingly become a kind of hype and I get curious and take some money to see what's in it, although this game never ended well with QKZ-IEMs. So can VK4 make me change my mind? I try not to be too biased in my further remarks!

Handling

The sheep in wolf's clothing. The case is clearly modeled on the KZ ZST, only that a small metallic gold pin/screw was used, which also allows to establish similarities to the TFZ Mylove II. The "screw" only has an optical influence, and is supposed to hold the case together. The VK4 and the ZST are available in carbon look and coloured (cyan/purple).

The fit is ergonomic and you can quickly achieve a secure fit and good isolation. The included cable is budget standard and serves the purpose. In addition there are the usual silicone tips (S, M, L). Finito.

Sound

For about 10 € I have indeed heard better (EZ AUDIO D4), but I must admit that the VK4 does not sound as bad as I assumed from my previous experiences. Nevertheless I can't quite get behind the hype.

If you like a lot of bass, you will get a lot of bass. But we also get a lot of boom and less kick. The bass has a lot of impact, but also acts sluggish. In other words: a lot of quantity, less quality. Can be fun with some tracks, but is way too much and not clean enough.

The mids are of course influenced by the bass, but thankfully not completely overpowered. Due to the influence they are quite powerful, warm and lively, but at the same time discoloured and thick. In addition, they don't exactly burst with details and transparency. Also the separation is not really good. It's a bit like in kindergarten, when you give the children different instruments in their hands and then let them happily run around the room hammering on them. Okay, I'm exaggerating a little, but there is usually no hint of structure and clarity here. Vocals on the other hand are actually quite pleasant and emotional, but the bass makes a lot of noise.

The treble is the most successful part of the QKZ VK4. They are indeed quite natural, especially concerning cymbals and hi-hats and sound pleasantly full, but lack sparkle. They are neither excessively bright nor dark, but very harmonious without attracting completely new insights from the music. I find them good and audible, without peaks and rare sibilants. But I miss a bit of space to breathe through the crushing bass.

The stage is not one of the biggest, but still an acceptable 3D image is created in all directions, in a somewhat compressed space. There is not much space between the instruments and it can quickly become a mess (Such a Night - Michael Bublé).

Outro

Can I do anything with the VK4? In any case more than with any other QKZ product (as long as it was not a one to one copy of another product). I've tried to keep my resentment under control and the bottom line is that with the VK4 you can listen to music quite well if you like it with a bass emphasis. The mids can hold up quite well and the trebles can even offer somewhat, at least as far as their natural sound is concerned. Technically, the VK4 is not an enrichment, but it's okay for in between and comfortable to wear. I've definitely heard worse and for some people the VK4 might even be a good match. However, the VK4 does not play above its price. If you've got an extra 5 Euro in your pocket, but like it more defined, clearer and firmer in the bass, you should go for the KBEAR KS2.

Legend

Haptic:

Here the processing plays a role and the usability of the scope of supply. Additionally the appearance, wearing comfort and robustness.


Value:
Here I evaluate for me subjectively the price/performance ratio - does not flow into the evaluation!

Z: No Brainer

A: money well spent

B: all right, you can do

C: gives better for less money

D: overpriced

E: collector's price

Daily life:
Here, I focus on the long-term audibility and whether I can hear it well out of the box. This is of course very subjective and therefore only a minimal deduction or bonus. 

(-0.1, 0, +0.1)

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Rating in Letters

S: 9.5 - 10

A: 9.0 - 9.4​

B: 8.0 - 8.9​

C: 7.0 - 7.9

D: 6.0 - 6.9​
E: 5.0 - 5.9​

F: 0.0 - 4.9​

VK1

VK1

VK4

VK4

W3 PRO | DM300

W3 PRO | DM300

Second Opinion

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CHI-FIEAR © 2020 by David Hahn

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