Kiwi Ears Forteza Review: Good Enough to Do It All

Driver Setup: 1 High-Mid balanced armature (BA) + 10mm Mid-range dynamic driver (DD) + 10mm Bass DD

Price: US$59


Disclaimer: The Kiwi Ears Forteza was provided to us at no charge courtesy of Linsoul. However, this was done in understanding I was to give my honest thoughts and opinions of the Forteza. The Kiwi Ears Forteza is available for purchase here should you find yourself interested in a pair, or feel free to use your links.

Kiwi Ears tackles yet another configuration of drivers, this time a hybrid in a 2 Dynamic and 1 BA design. It comes in at a rather affordable price tag. We have seen a few new releases at this price bracket like the Simgot EW200 which was quite decent. Let’s take a look at the Forteza to see if Kiwi Ears can continue their winning formula.


At this point, having had the opportunity to review a few Kiwi Ears products, and observing their patterns with accessories, I already knew what I was going to receive without opening the box. There is that usual zippered case with the same black twisted cable, very similar to the one we saw on the Kiwi Ears Quartet. At best, it’s functional and covers all the needs I could have, at worst, it’s just a tad bit lacking in creativity. That said, I don’t have any complaints and a case of this quality is not always a given for an IEM at this price.

Build Quality and Fit

Once again, Kiwi Ears delivers in this segment. The build quality of the resin shells is amazing at this price point and the fit is probably one of the best things I love about this IEM. It just sits ever so snugly and feels so weightless. The 2-tone glitter on the shells are also pretty well-done and a nice touch of colour to the smokey grey shells on my colourway. I believe there are colours to choose from but I think this one presents a nice contrast.


Frequency response of the Kiwi Ears Forteza


  • Apple Dongle
  • Fiio BTR7
  • SMSL M200–>Schiit Magnius

Music listened to

  • Jackson Browne
  • The Carpenters
  • Maroon 5
  • Martin Garrix
  • Kygo
  • Cory Asbury
  • Coldplay
  • Nutcracker Suite
  • Martin Frost Clarinet Concerto in A
  • The Eagles
  • etc


The dedicated dynamic driver is putting in some work taking care of the lows in the Forteza. The bass has quite a nice punch and presence to it. Yet, what I noticed was how it doesn’t outshine or overwhelm the rest of the music but instead provides a full and meaty lower end. The textured punch of the bass comes through in EDM tracks


The mids are slightly recessed with the U-shaped/Mild-V tuning. I am in 2 minds about how the mids are done. What I liked was how it was versatile and flexible across genres, with sufficient technicalities to be able to handle complicated tracks. Vocals were present but never shouty or glaring. Separation is as one would expect in a rather mid-budget IEM, not bad but there is room for improvement. That said, my main gripe with the mids was the vocal tonality and instrumental timbre. It wasn’t the most accurate and I didn’t get the most satisfying vocals especially if you listen to a lot of ballads/acoustics. At times they seemed to fall flat or seem a bit lifeless.


There is quite a bit of lower treble energy in the Forteza which keeps the music engaging and also balances out the kick in the lower regions. There is a decent amount of clarity in the highs and I didn’t find them sibilant so I was okay to listen to them for hours on end. The Fortezas upper treble seems to be chopped off prematurely and this could be what is affecting the vocals and timbre. That said I am just postulating and what I can just say the treble is energetic but not offensive.


Taking a step back, the Forteza does have quite a lot going for it at its affordable price tag. It also sports a versatile tuning that packs quite a punch in the bass. I would imagine this to be quite a mass-market tuning that would please enjoyers of many music genres. It does okay with imaging and soundstage and doesn’t come across as too intimate or claustrophobic-sounding.


I enjoyed the Fortezas as my go-everywhere earphones. These are gorgeous versatile IEMs that have garnered me a few compliments. The build quality and aesthetics of the buds are definitely unexpected for what you’re paying for. On top of that, the tuning is pretty well done and I would think it would serve the mass market well. There are certain aspects of the sound that aren’t the best but I believe that is fair at this price point. All things considered, I would say that this is a brave experiment gone well for Kiwi Ears.

Overall Grade: B+

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