Not too long ago, an earphone design arms race reached a fever pitch. This race challenged IEM designers to cram as many drivers (speaker units) as they could into a single earpiece. This resulted in such incredible earphones as the JH Audio JH16 (with 8 drivers per side) and the Noble Kaiser 10 (with 10 drivers per side). That arms race has since waned, but it has no doubt cemented the idea that more drivers equal better performance.

The question is, why would you need so many drivers in a pair of earphones? The principle behind that is similar to why some cars have V12 engines. Simply put, a larger number of units each doing a fraction of the workload can do the work more efficiently. As a result, V12 engines produce more power and 10-driver earphones sound better. However, such setups have more operating parts, which increases complexity and, in turn, the price – hence why the Ferrari GTC4Lusso and the Kaiser 10 are so expensive.

But what if they don't have to be? This week, we're having a look at the KZ ZS10, the Chinese brand's latest attempt to cram a bunch of drivers into earphones that cost no more than $50. With 5 drivers per side, the ZS10 also happens to be their most complex and most expensive earphone yet at around 45 dollars. Will their efforts pay off in the end, or will this be "just another" KZ?