Pros: Build Quality, Aesthetics, Tuning, Midrange Tonality, Vocals, Fit, Overall Detail Retrieval, Natural Timbre
Cons: Pressure Buildup, Microdetails at the upper and lower ends, Intimate staging and limited separation
Driver Setup: 8 BA drivers
Disclaimer: The Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite 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 Orchestra Lite. The Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite is available for purchase here should you find yourself interested in a pair, or feel free to use your own links.
I’m coming into reviewing the Orchestra Lite immediately after the Quintet, which I really enjoyed, hence, expectations were definitely high. The Orchestra Lite was released much earlier and had already earned its reputation. It adopts a more traditional all-BA setup but with a whopping 8 BAs aside.
Accessories (Score: 7/10)
The packaging is once again identical to all the other Kiwi Ears products I’ve had the chance to review, from the aesthetic of the box down to the accessories. The cable that comes with the earphones is slightly different. It is a braided cable that has rather thick cores so it handles really nicely. It goes well with the transparent IEM shells and feels well-made so no complaints.
Build Quality and Fit (Score: 9.5/10)
As mentioned, the cable quality is great and the materials used feel nice. The transparent shells reveal the gorgeous internals of the IEMs and the resin feels really solid and well-finished, topped off with a simple translucent faceplate and the Kiwi Ears Logo. It’s simple, professional and exudes quality all around. This quality is really surprising to see at this price range and visually a step up from the simpler-looking Quintet.
Fit was simply amazing. It sits so snugly in the ears and is how I would expect a pair of CIEMs to feel. The nozzle doesn’t go as deep as the Quintet and is just nice for longer listening sessions to not cause any discomfort. Despite the sizeable size of the shells due to the 8 drivers, this isn’t really noticeable and the nozzle isn’t excessively wide.
Sound (Score: 9.3/10)
Frequency Response of the Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite
- Apple Dongle
- Lotoo Paw S2
- Hiby R5
Music listened to
- BORNS – Blue Madonna
- Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song
- Michael Buble – To Be Loved
- The Eagles
- The Vamps
- The Killers
Bass on the Kiwi Ears is rather tame and controlled, making it very comfortable and easy to listen to. One point to nitpick is that the detail retrieval in the bass is not the best and seems to be bound by technical capabilities. However, this is just one of the few moments that remind you these earphones sit below the $300 price bracket, something I find myself easily forgetting with how everything seems too well put together. In comparison to the Quintet, I prefer the crispness and punch of the bass on the Quintet but that has a different driver configuration. I really enjoyed the balance here and it is very controlled and supports the music well. It is in no way lacking and has sufficient punch and kick, noticeably enjoyable in Pop songs. The midbass weight helped the basslines and drum beats come through very well-defined without excessive bloatedness or muddiness.
The star of the show has got to be the mids. The vocals were sublime and the tonal balance was thoroughly enjoyable. Every vocal track just serenaded and was so addictive I just found myself constantly reaching for the Orchestra Lite daily to scratch that itch.
Treble is very tame and controlled. There is no hint of peakiness but just enough activity to give the tuning its finishing touch. The treble plays into the satisfyingly natural timbre. One word to describe it would be safe, for those seeking microdetail retrieval and that treble sparkle, the Orchestra Lite might disappoint there.
One of my biggest gripes with the Orchestra Lite would have to be just the fact that it is an all-BA set and its unvented design. The pressure buildup got to me after a while of listening and the discomfort took some getting used to for me. However, that’s a rather small issue all things considered.
In terms of separation and layering, it is not as well defined and distinct as in the Quintet. Instead, the sound seems to go for a more coherent and intimate tuning, which is a strength in itself.
One thing I noticed was how similar the tuning felt to the DUNU SA6 MKII. I enjoyed trying out that pair so this was quite a pleasant surprise for me. It just seems a bit scaled back on technicalities and extension, which is perfectly to be expected given the difference in prices.
The Orchestra Lite was designed with a target tuning and sound in mind and it nailed what it set out to do. It is drastically different from the Quintet, carving out another segment of the market to conquer for itself. With its all-BA configuration, it does well to achieve a very tonally accurate and balanced tuning. The sound is coherent and melodious and it sets a benchmark at its price bracket. It does have it’s weakness, the separation and the detail retrieval which are a little more noticeable at both ends of the spectrum. The stage and melody lines can be a little closed in and lacking in its breadth of soundstage. That said, the Orchestra Lite is really up my alley, from its design to its tuning and tonality. It remains an absolute hit for me and was an earphone I loved reviewing.
Overall Grade: A+
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