Current testing methodology is v1.2
June 25, 2020
I recently got the KB Ear KS2, another budget-friendly set from the Chi-Fi brand KBEar. It features a 10mm dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver.
At its price point, it has a lot of competition from many different brands offering great-sounding IEMs with decent quality, which can make you wonder if it’s even worth getting.
Well, you’ll find out in this detailed review. Let’s get to it!
KB Ear KS2
A very well-tuned IEM that’s enjoyable to listen to.
The KB Ear KS2 is an affordable IEM retailing for around $20. Placed at such a competitive price point, it can be hard to justify its spot and whether it’s worth getting.
However, looking at it on its own, the KS2 has some pretty decent features that make it a delightful pair to listen to. Even though nothing sets it apart from its competition, it’s still a safe option to get started on.
- Driver: 10mm Composite Diaphragm Dynamic Driver + 1 Balanced Armature
- Cable: 3.5mm angled plug/ 0.78mm 2-pin
- Frequency: 20-20,000Hz
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Sensitivity: 106±3db
What’s in the Box?
- KB Ear KS2 earphones
- 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- Instruction manual
Stuff I like
- Well-controlled mid-bass and sub-bass
- Decent sub-bass extension
- Almost U-shaped sound signature
- Relatively cheap
- Easy to drive
Stuff I like less
- Prone to some treble peaks
- Mid-bass bleed can be experienced at certain times due to elevated bass
Upon getting the KB Ear KS2, I noticed that it comes in a slightly bigger box compared to other IEMs, which made me expect there to be some goodies inside the box.
Sadly, there wasn’t anything other than the earphones themselves plus the standard ear tips and cable – no carrying pouch or anything. This is okay, considering the price, but I’m nitpicky about it.
Onto my first impressions of how the KS2 looked – they’re pretty basic. It has a basic shape with its shell made from a common material, which is polycarbonate resin.
There are minimal design cues like the KBEar logo on its faceplate. Besides that, there’s not much to discuss about their design.
The KB Ear KS2 has a polycarbonate resin shell construction, a gold-plated 4-core OFC cable, and a set of pretty average ear tips.
Because of their plastic construction, their durability is questionable so I’d advise being careful when using them. As long as you don’t drop them hard, they should be able to withstand normal usage.
The ear tips are of average quality and can still give a good seal. Plus, you can easily replace them with your preferred pair if you’re unsatisfied with how they sit in your ears.
The cable is also decent, and since it’s a 4-core OFC cable, it doesn’t have any of that horrible microphonic effect that you’d normally get with a cheaper set of earphones.
Fit and Comfort
Since the KB Ear KS2 comes in the familiar IEM shape, it’s pretty effortless to get used to them especially if you’ve been using IEMs with the same shape.
They’re quite comfortable and you won’t have any issues getting the right fit. It also has a pretty average shell size and nozzle length, which fits most ears even without doing some extra measures such as buying a different pair of ear tips.
With the included ear tips, you also get a decent seal. These ear tips are comfortable but getting better-quality ear tips can still improve the wearing experience.
And since the KS2 is made of resin, it’s pretty light in the ears, giving you no discomfort or strain even when worn for extended periods.
Now regarding its sound, the bass is very prominent on each track I’ve used upon initial testing of the KB Ear KS2.
After giving it a bit more volume, the boosted highs can also be heard, and just like the bass, the treble is present and audible throughout the tracks. The sub-bass has a decent amount of rumble, and the mids are well-controlled.
Overall, I can say that it’s a well-tuned set for its price.
The bass around the mix is punchy, quick midbass, and enjoyable sub-bass rumble. When listening to hip-hop and similar genres, I like how the KBEar KS2 responded to the different instrumentation.
The added lift on the bass due to its V-shape sound signature gives a depth perception to the bass. The rumbles are also prominent and noticeable without overpowering other frequencies.
The only problem area worth noting is that due to the elevated bass, the mid-bass sometimes smears the mids, adding some muddiness to the sound.
Overall, the bass has a good tuning and sound with very few flaws, and for its price, it’s competitive and enjoyable.
Surprisingly, even for a V-shaped tuning, the mids of the KB Ear KS2 aren’t overly recessed, which gave me the impression that it has more of a U-shaped sound signature.
The mids have a good texture and smooth presentation, even on the upper mids, plus they don’t sound boxy. However, I wouldn’t describe them as detailed since the mids can sometimes get overpowered by the mid-bass depending on the tracks you are listening to.
Overall, the mids are well-controlled and smooth in presentation, with no weird tonality whatsoever.
The treble of the KB Ear KS2 is sparkly and thin, plus it matches the aggressiveness of the bass.
There are times when I perceived it as shouty and thin, but there are also times when it’s a bit relaxed in presentation. The treble presentation varies heavily depending on the tracks you are listening to.
On the bright side, I didn’t experience any form of sibilance as the treble is mostly well-controlled, which is great, especially for those who are treble-sensitive.
To get a proper understanding of the KB Ear KS2 sounds, I’ve tested them with different genres of music. Here are my findings.
- Metal / Rock – On instrumental tracks like Cliffs of Dover, I got the impression that the guitars weren’t entirely highlighted in the mix, which can be attributed to the V-shaped sound signature. On pure instrumentals, the KB Ear KS2 had difficulty highlighting said elements. The high-gain nature of some of the tracks revealed some issues where the midbass bled through the mid. The treble also had some unpleasant peaks. I wouldn’t recommend this IEM when listening to some metal and rock genres. Tracks used: I Don’t Love You (My Chemical Romance), All The Small Things (Blink 182), Ignorance (Paramore), Cold (Korn), Cliffs of Dover (Eric Johnson)
- Pop – Since pop has a good mix of rhythmic tracks and layers of vocals, the KS2 performed nicely on the test tracks. The beats were more highlighted compared to the vocals. There were times when mid-bass bleed occurred in the tracks. Some congestion also occurred when listening to busy tracks, but it didn’t last long. Tracks used: Snooze (SZA), Neverita (Bad Bunny), Yours (Maye)
- Hip-hop – The bass regions of the KB Ear KS2 showed their full potential in this genre. I can only describe the overall experience as “thumpy”. The mid-bass got these heavy hits and the sub-bass rumbles added good depth to the track. Meanwhile, the treble was mainly responsible for keeping the details from getting drowned out by the bass. Tracks used: LOVE. (Kendrick Lamar, Zacari), sdp interlude (Travis Scott), I Wonder (Kanye West), Superhero (Metro Boomin & Future)
- R&B / Soul – While listening to the test tracks, the sub-bass is confident and wasn’t afraid to reveal itself. The midbass didn’t disappoint either. Having a tight and quick response, the midbass delivered an enjoyable punch in every note it produced. The male and female vocals weren’t recessed compared to standard V-shaped tuning, but they weren’t too forward either. The vocals and instruments weren’t pushed back and were still evident in the mix. Tracks used: LA FAMA (Rosalia, The Weeknd), Blessed (Daniel Ceasar), Moonlight (Kali Uchis), Traingazing (Sam Wills ft. Honey Mooncie)
Overall, I can say that the KB Ear KS2 is an excellent example of a well-tuned budget IEM.
It checks out in every aspect, performing well enough for its price. However, it doesn’t have any more features that make it stand out from the rest of the competition, especially at the $20 price point
Still, if you want a reliable V-shaped IEM, the KB Ear KS2 is a good choice. It has a far better tuning and presentation than most V-shaped IEMs in this price range. It’s best for those who are just relatively new to IEMs and want a pretty solid set to start their audiophile journey with.
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 2023-11-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.