KZ PR1 Pro Review

KZ PR1 Pro is an update to the KZ’s first-ever planar magnetic driver IEM is known as PR1. The latest PR1 Pro features a newly-updated second-generation 13.2mm planar magnetic driver unit. It adopts a nano-scale silver-plated circuit diaphragm for improved performance. With this update, the PR1 Pro has got easy driveability and improved tuning.

I painted the 0.78 2-pin connectors to black

PR1 Pro features lightweight metallic alloy face covers attached to skin-friendly see-through resin material shells.

Always nice to see what’s inside

KZ bundles the PR1 Pro with an 8-strand 200-core silver-plated upgrade cable as stock. It has gold-plated 2-pin 0.75mm connectors and a 3.5mm termination.

Compared to the previous PR1’s stock cable PR1 Pro’s new cable is a big upgrade. Not in sound quality don’t get me wrong. But in quality and looks. The new PR1 Pro also comes with two pairs of foam tips. Also a good addition.

I used another cable with a 4.4mm plug, looking good right? I also used Spring Tips instead of the included foam tips.

What’s in the box

Specs

  • Second-generation 13.2mm Planar Magnetic IEM.
  • Nano-scale silver-plated circuit diaphragm.
  • Transparent resin front cavity.
  • 8-Strand 200-core high-purity silver-plated cable (upgrade).
  • 2-pin gold-plated connectors.
  • Thermoplastic slow-rebound memory foam ear tips (upgrade).
  • Impedance: 16±3Ω.
  • Sensitivity: 100±3dB.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz.
  • Connector Type: gold-plated 0.75mm 2-pin connectors.
  • Termination: 3.5mm single-ended.
  • Price: $80
Tuning upgrade compared to PR1 Standard Edition
  • 9k-10k treble sensitivity reduced.
  • 200hz sensitivity reduced by around -1dB, in order to make the vocal to be clearer.
  • 1khz sensitivity increased, so as to make the clear difference between bass, mids, treble, and upper treble.

I would like to thank Tyvan Lam for providing me with the review sample of  KZ PR1 Pro.

Sound

Out of the box, the PR1 Pro has a warm and smooth sound signature emphasized by an excellent bass extension and a full-bodied overall presentation. Complex passages maintain top-notch detail and bass texture on fast-paced EDM, Pop, and Rock tracks is still very enjoyable.

KZ PR1 Pro – vs PR1 HiFi

Lows

The low-end maintains a fairly balanced presentation with an organic timbre. Decay, meanwhile, is relatively pacey allowing uptempo music to shine without losing any detail. One thing I find noteworthy is how good the bass texture is on the PR1 Pro. You could definitely hear the separation of the bass guitar and the kick drums even on intricate tracks.

There’s a satisfying rumble in the low end. Rumble comes through well-articulated while percussive beats are clean and well-defined with almost zero smearing despite its emphasis. While there is an obvious boost in the low end, its rumble and punch are well-controlled without sounding boomy.

Mids

The dip starting in the midbass is sustained through the lower midrange of the PR1 Pro. Despite the mildly recessed lower mids, there is a smooth transition in the frequencies thus avoiding any odd and unnatural harmonics. With the upper midrange bias, stringed instruments, as well as vocals on higher octaves, get more emphasis. The lower midrange, however, is neither overly recessed nor thin-sounding due to the power from the boosted sub-bass region. While there is top-notch clarity and a fairly transparent midrange, its lower registers lack the presence which in turn takes away just a little of body and weight on snares and other percussions.

Nonetheless, the midrange of PR1 Pro remains transparent and open-sounding while providing a good level of attack. The lower midrange is tuned with a recession, increasing clarity and definition though not as strong with male vocals as it is with female vocals. Strengths include percussion, woodwinds, and plucked strings, not as strong with male vocals, bowed strings, and brass but still enough to at least be considered a general all-rounder. The PR1 Pro is able to achieve superb separation on the vocals, the upper midrange spike provides more clarity and presence on high-pitched vocals compared to the low-pitched ones which are pushed back just a little bit. Listening to the acoustic guitars, high notes on the chords are more highlighted but the low-pitched strings still manage to maintain satisfactory weight and body even with the slight lower-midrange roll-off.

The new color scheme looks more cyberpunk, with black faceplates and grey metal grills inside

Treble

PR1 Pro has a pleasing sparkle that manages to keep harshness at bay while there’s also some ample air which contributes to an open sound as well as a huge headroom. The mild boost in the brilliance region provides an added resolution and clarity to the overall presentation and despite the slight lift, there is no tinge of metallic timbre to the sound. Treble is one of the best that I’ve heard in this price range. Well-extended and smooth, whilst conveying enough energy for sparkle. Transients are extremely snappy, resulting in zero splashiness or overlap. The treble boasts excellent extension adding clarity and air to the overall presentation. The overall timbre of PR1 Pro keeps everything fairly natural even with the boost in its bass and treble.

Detail retrieval, meanwhile, is excellent as it is able to produce even the tiniest detail with no effort. Decay is relatively fast which contributes to an organic timbre even with the minor dips and spikes across the treble region. Guitar effects and synths were performed with excellent detail and attack. Guitar solos where you’d get an energetic and lively treble presentation, also a satiating treble bite with no hint of harshness in its cymbals and high-pitched guitar riffs.

The PR1 Pro boasts a very expansive soundstage even out of the box. The extended treble improves instrument separation. The staging provides a fairly out-of-your-head experience with an enjoyable 3D feel to it. Overall, I’d say this is one of the best instrument separation and layering that I’ve heard in this price range.

Sum-Up

In conclusion, if you want a smooth all-rounder with fantastic tonality, bass and timbre, PR1 Pro might be the one to go for.  Whichever model you choose, Balanced, HiFi, or the Pro variant, you are getting insane value for your money. KZ’s PR1 series is definitely the price/performance king of 2022 in planar IEMs and they sound so close or even better for some people compared to double-priced big boys on the market.

KZ PR1 Planar IEM Review – HiFi Edition