Current testing methodology is v1.2
January 25, 2021
3.15 x 1.18 x 1.97 in
I’ve yet to own a single product from KB Ear so I was excited to try something from their lineup.
While shopping around, the KB Ear KS1 caught my attention – mainly because of its price. For under $20, I was curious about what it brings to the table. So I purchased these IEMs to understand how they sound.
This detailed review will tell you how these IEMs performed and if they can compete with other sets in the same price range. Let’s get to it!
KB Ear KS1
An all-rounder set for under $20.
The KB Ear KS1 are budget-friendly IEMs with a dual magnetic, single dynamic driver.
Although the market can be quite competitive, there are certain features that make these IEMs stand out. It has a V-shaped sound signature with a warm sound, and its upper frequencies are non-fatiguing.
And while they’re mediocre in terms of build quality, I like how lightweight and comfortable they are.
Even though the KB Ear KS1 isn’t exactly the best set in its price range, these IEMs are quite versatile and can work well with various music genres.
- Driver: 1 Dual Magnetic Driver
- Cable: 3.5mm L-plug cable
- Frequency: 20-20000Hz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 109db
What’s in the Box?
- KB Ear KS1 earphones
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips
- 2-pin detachable cable
- User guide
Stuff I like
- Boosted highs
- Good timbre
Stuff I like less
- Build quality
- The bass sounds dark and lacks detail
Comparable products to consider
The CCA CSN is one of the latest budget IEM options on the market that features a hybrid driver.
The TRN ST1 is a great value hybrid IEM. It has a decent amount of oomph and bass rumble for a low price.
The KB Ear KS1 comes neatly packed in simple yet effective packaging, reminiscent of KZ’s and CCA’s packaging.
The earphones are nicely presented in the box once you pull them out, and inside the box are a few sets of silicone ear tips of varying sizes and a 2-pin detachable cable. An instruction manual is also included.
The KB Ear KS1 has a typical IEM shape and size, and there’s nothing unique with its design – just your regular IEMs with KB Ear’s logo in the middle.
Regarding build quality, I wasn’t impressed with the KB Ear KS1.
The shell is made of hard plastic and has little to no weight. They feel pretty cheap and I’m concerned that they’d easily break.
Another thing that I want to talk about is the included cable which reminds me of those found on TRN products. If you’ve read my reviews, then you’d know how I feel about the cables. I found them relatively thin and they look like they’d be prone to breaking.
The cables have these pre-installed plastic ear hooks, which were decent, but it does feel cheap, so I’d recommend swapping them.
If you’re okay with the ear tips and cable feeling cheap, then you’d have no problems. I’d still suggest being careful with these IEMs and the cable as they both seem fragile.
Fit and Comfort
In terms of fit and comfort, you’d have no problems with the KB Ear KS1 because it has that usual shape and form, which is similar to most IEMs on the market.
These IEMs are lightweight and they feel comfortable in the ears.
The included silicone ear tips felt okay and they gave me a proper fit and seal, but if you want more comfort and isolation, I’d recommend swapping them out.
When I first tried the KB Ear KS1, I immediately noticed how bright it sounded. The highs were pronounced, which made it sound thin.
After using these IEMs for a bit longer, their V-shaped sound signature eventually revealed itself, and I was impressed with the level of clarity that they have.
The bass on the KS1 is present in volume and thickness when listening in a mix, but its most significant downside is its lack of detail retrieval.
Since it doesn’t have the clarity that I was looking for, it sounded muddy to my ears. I thought this was a bummer as clarity is quite important when presenting the lows.
One thing that I really liked about the midrange of the KB Ear KS1 is that it needs to be more recessed in a mix, even though it has a V-shape sound signature.
The vocals are presented well and they sit nicely in the middle. They don’t get drowned out by the bass or high frequencies.
Even though the KB Ear KS1 is a tad brighter than most of the V-shaped IEMs that I’ve tried, I haven’t experienced any shoutiness in how the mids are presented. This is pleasantly surprising for me, considering its price.
The highs are sharp, and it sounds like it’s in the back of the mix. It does have some shimmer and sparkly characteristics, which helps a lot in presenting micro-details.
Despite the slight recess on the treble, it still prevents the KS1 from sounding muddy and dark.
The cymbals, for example, weren’t too harsh and they sounded quite natural, although they sometimes suffered from treble peaks.
I’ve tested the KB Ear KS1 On different genres of music to get a proper understanding of how they sound and here are my findings.
- Metal/ Rock – Guitars and similar instruments in the midrange were neatly presented. The same goes with the vocals, as they weren’t too recessed, even though the KS1 has a V-shape signature. Tracks used: Brain Stew (Green Day), Sweating Bullets (Megadeth), Shine (Collective Soul)
- K-Pop – The KB Ear KS1 performed well in presenting the vocals. The vocals had a good amount of clarity, and the sound imaging was accurately presented. Tracks used: Hype Boy (NewJeans), OMG (NewJeans), Russian Roulette (Red Velvet)
- Hip-hop – The cymbals needed to be more audible in this genre. This may be the result of the slightly recessed highs. There were also times when the snare hits and cymbals sound thin. On the other hand, the bass enveloped the whole mix, and its muddy characteristic worked well in this genre. Tracks used: After Party (Dan Toliver), Goosebumps (Travis Scott)
- Indie – The instruments sounded great, and the sound stage was accurate. The vocals and guitars sounded natural and had great details to them. On the other hand, the bass sounded too forward, which ruined the listening experience a bit. Tracks used: Show me How (Men I Trust), Space Song (Beach House), Wings (So Yoon and Phum Viphurit)
- R&B/Soul – The instruments were smooth in presentation. The bass was subdued in the mix, but in context, it did sound nice in a mix. Tracks used: Melting (Kali Uchis), Get You (Daniel Ceasar), Telepatia (Kali Uchis)
Overall, I thought the KB Ear KS1 was pretty versatile and that they work well with most genres.
As my first pair of IEMs from the brand KB Ear, I thought the KS1 was pretty decent. For under $20, they’re not the best and you can get better sets for a lower price.
The sound quality was good and I like how versatile they are. Plus, these IEMs fit my ears quite well and feel comfortable even during long periods of listening, although the build quality could be better.
I hope KB Ear takes the time to work on these IEMs, as they have the potential to stand out from the rest of the competition.
Given their price, the KB Ear KS1 isn’t bad. It’s more of a hit-or-miss situation.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.
This post was last updated on 2024-02-25 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.