Pros: Bass impact, Bass-oriented, Fun signature, Decent V-Shaped tuning, good staging and imaging for the price
Cons: Mids sounded sucked out, affecting overall timbre and tonality, Treble can be harsh at times, Sound is genre dependent
Driver Setup: 1 Dynamic Driver + 1 Balanced Armature
Price: $22 (USD)
Disclaimer: The KBEAR KS2 was provided at no charge by KBEAR, however thoughts and opinion on this product are entirely my own.
This is a review of the KBEAR KS2, I will cover its build quality, accessories and sonic qualities and provide my thoughts and opinions relative to current market offerings.
This unit costs about 24 USD and houses a hybrid set up which is very common in the market right now and we shall see if the KS2 is able to rise amongst the homogenous pool of IEMs under this price bracket.
Accessories (Score: 5.0/10)
The unit only comes with a pretty usual chi-fi cable and a set of ear tips which is acceptable at this asking price. However, it could do better by providing a carrying case/pouch, which is reasonably common in IEM packaging and accessories. I will give it a pass given its low asking price but come on, every new guy in this hobby requires a case for their IEMs.
Build Quality and Fit: (Score: 8.0/10)
The KS2 shell is made from plastic which makes it very light. For the price, I did not expect the finish to be this good but and It gave me the impression that it can take a decent amount of abuse from daily use. Fit wise, the KS2s are comfortable and I was able to wear them for hours while working from home throughout the day. Cable seems to be one of those generic cables you get from most Chifi products so nothing much to talk about here other than its tendency to tangle up.
You may need tip rolling as the stock tips did not provide my ears enough seal. I used the Final silicone tips which helped me solve that issue.
Score: (Overall Score: 6.5/10)
The KS2 is a V-Shaped IEM that emphasises its Bass and Treble regions which makes tracks sounds very energetic. It has an impactful low end and airy presentation to keep things engaging for the listener. Sometimes I do feel that this unit clearly appeals to many bass heads given its quantity and rumble it provides.
- Ibasso DX120
- IPhone XR
- Atom DAC and AMP
Music and Albums, I listened to:
- Alan Walker – Alone/Faded/Darkside
- Billie Eilish – When we all fall asleep, where do we go?
- Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
- Chainsmokers – Sickboy
- Cigarettes After Sex – Cry
- The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
- One Republic – Human
- Keane – Fears and Hopes
- Nino Rota – The Godfather OST
- Osaka Shion Wind Orchestra – 2016 all Japan Band competition
- Fedde Le Grand – Cinematic
- ARTY – Rebound
- ACDC – Highway to hell
Bass (Score: 8.0/10)
This unit has a huge boost in its sub-bass regions and that rumble can be clearly picked up in most of the tracks which may or may not undermine its overall presentation depending on your signature preferences. The bass rumble hits hard in bassy tracks such as “bad guy” by Billie Eilish which is kind of satisfying at times as it is not sluggish nor muddy. Midbass region is not as strong as its sub-bass, but it still has that impact and punch when the situation calls for it. I also do notice that it suffers from a slight mid-bass bleed, but I can accept that given how the unit is tuned.
In general, I do agree with the tuning of the bass of this unit given that it is catered to v-shaped and bass enthusiasts, more accurate mid-bass with emphasised sub-bass to give that rumble and body to satisfy listeners.
Mids (Score: 5.5/10)
The mids on the KS2 is average at best and it depends on the tracks that you listen to. In general, the mids is its weakest link as most tracks sound as if the vocals are sucked out and especially for male vocals, they do not have that body to them, and the result just feels artificial.
While it is expected to experience a less emphasised mid-range, it just makes the unit more genre picky since they do not do justice to vocal-heavy tracks at all, while favouring bass beats and sparkling synths.
Treble (Score: 6.5/10)
KS2’s treble is a bit splashy and sibilant at times, but it does give the overall presentation energy and lift to keep the experience engaging. There is some emphasis in the lower treble and mid-treble region, and it checks out with the frequency response curve so heads up if you are very sensitive to treble.
In general, the treble does provide a lot of uplift and energy to the tracks especially EDM and Dance genres, but they really do not go well with vocal-heavy tracks or tracks with a lot of cymbal-like crashes that makes it hard for me to love.
In my opinion, the soundstage and imaging capabilities of the KBEAR KS2 is pretty good, not super impressive but it is there and at this asking price, it has got to be one of its strengths as compared to other offerings in this price range!
It is one of the better tuned V-shaped signatures at this price range and it offers a good sub-bass rumble as one of its selling points. Although treble did get harsh at times, I did enjoy many tracks on it as well due to its energy and ability to keep things exciting.
At the price of $24 USD, the KBEAR KS2 does provide quite a bit of value to the consumers. Despite the absence of a carrying case, they do possess their own niche and carry it well. In the current cutthroat chi-fi market where many similar tuning IEMs are being churned out like a sweatshop (with KBEAR being no exception), it’s good for IEMs to have an area they excel in rather being generic-sounding with no effort put into tuning.
If you are considering the KBEAR KS2, do take note that they are catered to certain genres but other than that, it’s a pretty decent entry choice for beginners or a good wildcard IEM that experiences players switch things up and get a feel of that bassss while listening to genres where they shine. I would like to point out that I am not a fan of its signature, but they do impress me in certain songs and genres such as EDM, Dance and Trance.
Overall Grade: C-
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