KB Ear Stellar Earphones Review – Are Retro Earphones Still Worth it in 2023?

KBEar Stellar Design

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Current testing methodology is v1.2

Release Date
July 21, 2021
Price
$8.90
Weight
0.564 oz
Size
5.16 x 3.03 x 0.98 in

I stumbled upon the KB Ear Stellar while I was in the market for a pair of retro-looking earbuds. 

My friend recently reviewed the VE Monk Plus and it garnered a lot of positive feedback despite its outdated design. 

I was in the market for a pair of retro-looking earbuds after my friend reviewed the Monk Plus. I wanted to try a different model with the same design and this is when I came across the KB Ear Stellar.

Budget Pick

KB Ear Stellar

Outdated look but with an impressive sound.

4/5
Price Range: $
Brand: KB Ear
KBEar Stellar Cables

TL:DR;

The KB Ear Stellar is an affordable pair of earphones that come in a traditional and old-school design.

For less than $5, it has a good build quality but the non-detachable cable may be fragile so you’d need to handle it with care. In terms of sound, it has a substantial amount of bass and the treble delivers good detail and clarity.

The Stellar is a solid option for those on a budget and who prefer this particular earphone design, veering away from the modern ones that we commonly see on the market.

The Specs

  • Driver:  15.4mm Dynamic Driver
  • Cable:  3.5mm straight plug
  • Frequency:  20-20,000Hz
  • Impedance:  32Ω
  • Sensitivity:  115db

What’s in the Box?

  • KB Ear Stellar earphones
  • 1 x pair of foam ear muffs
  • Carrying pouch
  • Instruction Manual

Stuff I like

  • Very affordable
  • Simple and retro look

Stuff I like less

  • Fit and comfort can be an issue
  • Sound leakage

Comparable products to consider

No products found.
VE Monk Plus

The VE Monk Plus is a single dynamic driver in-ear monitor from the Malaysian brand Venture Electronics, featuring a design reminiscent of 90’s earphones.

Review Metrics

Sound Quality: 8
Bass: 8
Mids: 7
Treble: 8
Sound Isolation: 6
Build Quality: 8
Comfort & Fit: 7
Value for Money: 8
Accessories: 9
Review Metrics Average: 7.67 / 10

A Bit of Background

In 2016, the IEM community was surprised by the performance of retro-looking earbuds such as the VE Monks Plus. 

Both provided excellent sound quality which was somehow unexpected because of their design — they look like the old-school earphones which were included whenever you’d buy a mobile phone.

Since these earphones mainly had positive reviews, I decided to test another pair that comes in a similar. I was generally curious if retro earbuds can offer the same quality in terms of sound.

Since the VE Monks have already been reviewed by a friend, I decided to look for earbuds with a similar design.

First Impressions

When it was released, the KB Ear Stellar came in just a plastic sleeve packaging. Thankfully, the packaging was eventually upgraded to a more discreet and low-profile box.

The Stellar features an old-school design with its shell reminiscent of the MX500. It also features a 15.4mm dynamic driver and a V-shaped sound signature, which we’ll later test to see how well they perform.

This set is quite affordable, and you can get them for less than $5 if you know where to shop.

The Stellar came with foam earmuffs and a carrying pouch, which is common with KBEar products. After getting the earbuds out of the box, my first impression was that they looked muted. Since we’re used to seeing budget IEMs with extravagant designs, this one’s refreshing. 

The KB Ear Stellar is as simple as can be, with no detachable cable and just the earphone itself. 

KB Ear Stellar Packaging
KB Ear Stellar packaging | Make Life Click

Build Quality

Given its affordable price, there’s little nitpick about the KB Ear Stellar. 

The materials used for its construction were substantial and the earphones look like they can withstand heavy usage.

However, the cable’s durability is questionable. This may be the first one to break after extensive use so I’d suggest taking care of the cable because it’s non-detachable. 

If you break it, then you’d just have to replace the entire set, which isn’t that bad considering its price.

Fit and Comfort

The fit of the KBE ar Stellar is okay, but it’s uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. In short, it’s fatiguing. 

The foam ear muffs help reduce the strain but the longer you use them, the more uncomfortable they can get on the ears.

I had a hard time trying to prevent them from falling off my ears but I eventually got them to stay in place. This is something to consider if you’re planning to buy these earphones.

Sound leakage is another problem because of how it’s designed. This can be a massive bummer for others, myself included, as sound leak often causes bass loss.

KB Ear Stellar Foam Cover
Comes with a pair of soft ear muffs | Make Life Click

Sound Quality

Since the KB Ear Stellar is a classic pair of earphones with no seal whatsoever, I was surprised to hear a good amount of bass.

However, what makes these earphones worth it is how the treble sounds. It had enough detail and a decent amount of clarity. It also has some airiness, which is surprising for a sub-$5 pair.

Bass

The KB Ear Stellar has a substantial amount of bass without muffling the sound. 

The mid-bass is dominant and punchy and surprisingly, the sub-bass exists but you can expect a slight rumble because even though it’s audible, it maintains a largely stable, tight, and well-controlled sound. 

Additionally, it has much more texture compared to other sets at this price point, especially those from no-name brands. 

If we’re talking bass, investing more in the Stellar is better than cheapening out and opting for unknown brands.

Mids

The midrange of the KB Ear Stellar is one of its highlights.  

The mids have excellent clarity, outstanding detail retrieval, and a decent texture. They’re also very present in the mix, making vocals sound more forward. 

I like how balanced the midrange is without showing any signs of muddiness.

Treble

A boost in the lower treble range helps keep the mix from sounding flat and dull by adding some life and energy. I’d suggest using the KB Ear Stellar with foams to help smooth out the highs without making them monotonous and sound piercing 

The treble on these earphones is crisp and not at all splashy, as some may experience with similarly-designed knock-offs. 

Some roll-off is present, as is typical for inexpensive buds, but those seeking treble will benefit from the elevation in the lower region

KBEar Stellar Accessories
What’s in the box | Make Life Click

Test Tracks

I’ve tested the KB Ear Stellar on different genres of music and here are my findings.

  • Metal / Rock – Since the bass isn’t that present in the mix, other instruments, such as guitars and drums, sounded a bit more highlighted. The guitars were smooth and had a good amount of detail. On the other hand, the drums sounded quite detailed. Tracks used: Mayonaise (The Smashing Pumpkins), Playing God (Polyphia), Ignorance (Paramore), Cold (Korn)
  • Pop – Most pop songs focus more on vocals and KB Ear Stellar performed well in presenting vocals with outstanding clarity and detail. The vocals weren’t too sharp, even though they sounded very forward in the mix. Tracks used: Snooze (SZA), Closer (The Chainsmokers, Halsey), Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
  • Hip-Hop – The KB Ear Stellar was able to keep up with the instruments in the bass regions. Even though it was lacking in the bass department, it managed to make these instruments present in the mix with a decent amount of punch. The vocals were highlighted, which can be a good thing for some, but personally, I like an energetic sound when listening to this genre. Tracks used: LOVE. (Kendrick Lamar, Zacari), Cash In Cash Out (Pharell Williams ft 21 Savage & Tyler the Creator)
  • R&B / Soul – At this point, it was evident that the KB Ear Stellar’s strength lies in how it presents vocals in the mix. Vocals on the test tracks were much more present than other elements. Tracks used: Be So Cruel (ASTN), Get You (Daniel Ceasar), Moonlight (Kali Uchis)

Conclusion

The KB Ear Stellar is one of the best examples of how retro-looking earbuds aren’t a thing of the past and that they can still be relevant in the current market. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ONE?
Kinboofi KBEAR Stellar 1DD HiFi Earbud Headphone, Wired Earphone Stereo Headset Compatible with Tablets, Android Phone, MP3 Player (with Mic, Black, 1 Pair)…
KBEar Stellar

Alongside the VE Monk Plus, they’re a solid option for those looking to try classic earbuds or someone on a very tight budget and just looking for simple earphones to listen to music with.

Although the KB Ear Stellar isn’t the best pair of earphones out there, it’s a safe option for those looking to add something new to their collection.

KBEar Stellar Design
KBEar Stellar
Sound Quality
Build Quality
Comfort and fit
Value for money
3.9

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 2024-05-27 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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