Welcome back to the Neighborhood! It’s Your Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer with InToit Reviews.
Today we’re taking a look at the first KBEAR IEM to the channel, the KBEAR KS2. And let me tell you guys, if you are a basshead, or just want to know what is possible for bass reproduction in an IEM, these are worth the measly $25 bucks, or less, that they cost.
In fact, the KBEAR KS2 was provided to the channel by KeepHiFi (https://keephifi.com), and they have provided a discount code to the Neighborhood, and I highly recommend that you use it. I’ve also seen these on a lighting deal on Amazon for around $17 smackeroos. I will place links and coupon codes that KeepHiFi provided below.
On aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001209302741.html?spm=2114.12010615.8148356.1.342854ed8UbbRd
**Dicount Code: NEWKBEARKS2**
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Monitors-HIFIHEAR-Headphones-Cancelling-Removable/dp/B08CK98TP6
**Dicount Code: FGBEIKRY**
Disclaimer: And for transparency, the unit was provided to me by KeepHiFi for 11 cents, but I am not being influenced by them to say anything specifically, and all opinions and recommendations are my own.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about the build. Guys… look… its kind of cheap, but so is it’s price tag… and the sound, which we will get to, is not. To begin, it’s just a clear (green [in this case] or black) plastic shell. But, because of this, it is extremely light weight, and the fit and comfort are amazing. It fits in my ears perfectly, and I know from people on my discord that have got this set already that it fits very universally, and can be worn without any issues for hours at a time.
While there is nothing wrong with the tips that come with this set, they aren’t of the highest quality either, and I preferred switching to SpinFit CP100’s as they float in my ear, and the bass was best controlled with this tip.
The cable is, what appears to be, a copper colored KZ-like cable. And like a KZ cable, it tangles with the best of them, but was also rather soft for a cable of this variety. The version I received comes with a microphone, and it had little negative impact upon the sound. The microphone was also notably good for vocal communications via voice chat, but it was somewhat susceptible to interference from Bluetooth devices. I will also note that I really enjoyed the tone of this earphone for voice chat, as its elevated bass response really filled-out voices well, without overly bloating them.
With regard to driver configuration, this earphone is a custom balanced armature coupled with a 10mm composite diaphragm. It is surprising to me that this thing only has a 10mm diaphragm, as it sounds, much larger. With regard to comparisons, the bass on this thing reminds me a lot of the TFZ No.3 with regards to its emphasis and impact. It ultimately possess less bass accuracy and definition than a TFZ No.3, and has greater midbass emphasis, but it also has great bass tone and texture as well. It’s not quite as sophisticated as a No.3, but I would say it gets about 80% of the way there.
Like that earphone, the bass on the KS2, is luxurious, richly detailed, and multi-textured. People say other earphones like the Legacy 3 have good bass, but honestly, that bass is rather muddy and one-note, and pales in comparison to what this earphone is capable of in low-end department.
To be honest, The KS2 sounds like a well-tuned car audio system with at least 2, 12’s in the trunk. It has an intense, visceral impact, and while it’s sub-bass presence does bleed, it also provides additional warmth, fullness, and enhanced harmonics in combination with other presence regions. For example, on piano-centric music, you can not only hear the string being struck it’s hammer, but you can also feel it; just as if you head was close to the opening of the piano in a recording studio. In other words, this is an extremely dynamic and percussive set.
The soundstage is also surprisingly good for an IEM at this price point. The auditory plane is well spaced out and accurate, and, enjoyably, peripherals not only have a decent presence to their character, but they also are often thrown wider than the rest of the presentation- bestowing the illusion of a potentially vaster stage upon the listener. Further, detail is really good, especially at this price range. It may not be the best under $100 dollars, but it is still really great, and good enough. In my opinion, KBEAR was smart to include a custom BA in this set, for this reason.
In terms of the mids, this is a fairly V-shaped IEM. While lower mids are notably recessed on particular tracks, general mid-range presence was better than I expected- especially in consideration of the KS2’s frequency response graph. When the mid-range is present, as it typically is on most music, the mid-range has a deep tone and pleasant richness to it as well.
The treble also has good presence to it, but it also does lack top-end extension. At times I did notice some mild harshness to the top-end of the treble when it attempted to reach for those super high notes. I have heard reports of sibilance in the KS2 by other reviewers, but I think that this is what they are trying to describe, as my set certainly doesn’t have any sign of sibilance whatsoever. I could listen to “Pink & Blue” by Outkast, “Triumph” by the Wu-Tang Clan, and “Believe” by Cher without even batting an eye.
The timbre was also a pleasant surprise on this set, as it’s BA in particular was very neutral; even if there is some warming from the sub-bass bleed in the dynamic. I have a viewer who swears this set is way more natural sounding than his Thieaudio Legacy 3, but I’ll let the public, like him, decide on that one. Integration between the two drivers was also very good, even though it is notable that most percussive characteristics are coming from the dynamic. Given its price, I have to compare it to the VK4, and compared to that IEM, the KS2 does at least as well at everything the VK4 does right, and way better at everything it does wrong.
In summary, the KBEAR KS2 is the entry point to high-quality, IEM fidelity for bassheads. In a lot of ways its like the Blon BL03, Jade Audio EA3, and the TFZ. No. 3 had an orgy and fathered this IEM. It’s not super bass accurate, because let’s face it… it’s too much… it’s too much bass… but its enjoyable, and more competent overall than a lot of stuff- even some IEMs that are generally recommended and, or quadruple its price. Due to its percussive slam and visceral impact, this IEM is a drummer or bass player’s dream. Furthermore, the rest of the presentation is accurate, inclusive of it's timbre, and the BA is unoffensive, for the most part, with good mid-range and treble representation for a V-shaped IEM. At the current price of $25 dollars, it’s kind of a no-brainer for anyone who wants to know what bass can sound like in an IEM. So, overall, this IEM possess not only a crazy bass, but also a crazy price.
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