Current testing methodology is v1.2
September 11, 2020
5.2 x 3.1 x 0.8 in
The KB Ear Stellar is a recent addition to my collection. It has a flathead design that makes it look like the earphones that come with cellphones back in the day.
For a pair of earphones that costs less than $10, or even $5 depending on where you get them, let’s see how it does. Let’s see if it can compete in today’s saturated IEM market.
KB Ear Stellar
A sub-$10 pair of earphones with a pleasant and balanced sound.
The KB Ear Stellar is a pair of flathead earphones deserving of its name because of how it performs.
It has a U-shaped sound signature and is less laid back than those with a V-shaped sound. The bass is elastic and is more mid-bass focused while having good sub-bass texture and presence.
The midrange is clear and detailed with a lot of energy in its upper midrange, making for a very engaging listening experience. The treble is sparkly and well-extended, offering a very natural and airy upper end.
The KB Ear Stellar sounds nimble, transparent, and detailed while still retaining a good level of musicality that makes the sound pleasing.
- Driver: 15.4mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20000kHz
- Impedance: 30Ω
- Sensitivity: 115±3dB
- Jack Connector: Straight 3.5mm
- Cable Length: 1.2m
What’s in the Box?
- Kb Ear Stellar earphones
- Cloth cover
- Felt case
Stuff I like
- Musical U-shaped tuning
- Open sounding
- Good technicalities for the price
- Airy signature
Stuff I like less
- Wearing discomfort
- Poor noise isolation
I think highly of KB Ear as a brand because of its excellent products with robust packaging and accessory inclusions.
For a super affordable set, the KB Ear Stellar’s packaging is pretty decent, unlike other ultra-budget earphones that come in a simple plastic packaging.
The Stellar comes in a white box and inside it are the earphones with non-detachable cable and a pair of foam tips. While these inclusions may seem standard, the brand also included a carrying pouch, which is always a welcome addition.
The KB Ear Stellar can be put amongst the flathead earphones previously mentioned. It sounds open and organic, paired with capable technicalities.
I was surprised by how open the sound was during my first testing and comparing it with my other flathead earphones, it definitely surpasses them in this regard.
The U-shaped tuning isn’t novel but that’s a good trait in itself as I’d prefer that more than a V-shaped with the Stellar’s overall sound.
Back then, I’ve always had an aversion to flatheads because of their build.
Most of the flatheads I knew back when I didn’t know any Hi-Fi products looked like they came straight from a flea market here in Asia, which was really a thing I’d see often when I go to the public market.
Of course, those earphones are soulless mass-produced items that were sold randomly everywhere for the consumer market. Luckily, Hi-Fi flathead earphones are miles better than their dreaded consumer counterparts.
The KB Ear Stellar is mainly made up of a matte plastic material that’s light but rugged in its construction. It feels sturdy enough to withstand months of use.
Unfortunately for the DIY folks, the terminations aren’t swappable and the cable is just soldered in place. While the cable suggests that this set is crap, I think that it’s a no-fuss pair of earphones that has a very low asking price so all is forgiven.
Overall, I can’t really complain.
Fit and Comfort
As to be expected, this area of the review is where the KB Ear Stellar does badly. Comfort on flathead earphones is always going to be horrible.
They’re bearable for a few minutes but after that, it’s guaranteed that there’ll be some wearing discomfort. KB Ear did include a cloth cover for the earphones, which makes the experience a little more bearable but overall, still fairly fatiguing to wear.
The fit shares the same judgment as there’s a sound leak both in and out of the earphones. This one isn’t that bad though as a flathead’s integral sound is aided by the extra sense of openness – just like an open-back headphone.
In the Stellar’s case, the openness did wonders for the sound. Just don’t pop them in when you need to dial down the external noise around you as it’ll prove futile.
The KB Ear Stellar is a U-shaped sounding flathead earphone that’s just slightly north of neutral. It sounds bright with a good touch of warmth that maintains musicality to not sound too sterile.
The bass frequencies go low and surprisingly, sub-bass exists. It focuses more on texture and presence but not so much on quantity and boom. It’s tight and well-controlled with ample if not excellent, texture.
The midrange is slightly recessed but it’s nothing too gaping, making for a U-shape sound. The position of the mids on the soundscape is neither too distant nor too forward and it maintains a relatively good positioning in the scheme of things.
Compared to a lot of silicone tip IEMs, the midrange on the KB Ear Stellar sounds thinner. It doesn’t sound too meek though and comes across as a clear and articulate midrange that’s light on its feet.
The treble is generally a smooth experience with no sudden peaks or dips. It manages to pull off high notes brilliantly with ease without evolving into sibilance, which is good for the distinguished gentleman who enjoys his treble regularly.
The high end seems to be extended well into the presence region, which contributes to the spatial vastness.
Overall, the sound is very transparent and bright while remaining organic and musical to the ears, which in normal language is simply balanced tuning.
The KB Ear Stellar’s low end has good texture but lacks rumble which is what many crave in a bass response. The bass is more agile and snappy with lots of texturing and can be categorized as a more mid-bass-focused earphone.
I think a lot of bass heads will find this atrocious but to be fair they wouldn’t go a mile near a flathead earphone in the first place due to the bass roll-off.
For people who like a more mature and balanced low end, the Stellar can be attributed to an open-back headphone experience. This kind of bass response helps prop up a clear and pristine-sounding midrange, which is always more favorable than a bass-ridden earphone with lots of mud on the mids.
The midrange of the KB Ear Stellar is fairly detailed.
The lower midrange is slightly recessed but retains a good presence in the soundscape. The upper midrange is energetic and is the main driver for engagement within the frequency band.
As opposed to what you might think, the midrange doesn’t come across as lacking in note weight even though there’s minimal bass coloration. The notes sound natural and have a sort of life-like timbre.
Overall, the midrange sounds light, open and natural.
The treble is well-extended and while the emphasis is more on the lower treble, the presence on the high end is well done, making the high end airy and expressive.
The post-10kHz details are very audible as detail retrieval is fairly resolving. All in all, the treble doesn’t peak or dip abnormally, and it remains smooth while still being sonorous in its presentation.
Cymbals, shakers, high hats, and snare drums are rendered with great shimmer and quality, bringing forward an excellent transient section.
For a flathead that costs less than $10, the KB Ear Stellar produces quite the technicalities.
The staging is impressive, presenting qualities of sound in a three-dimensional manner with width and depth being particularly good. Layering is ample, letting instruments bloom without crashing into each other, while the sound separation is well-done, rendering thresholds with good clarity.
The transients are on-point making macro details pretty snappy and vivid while microdetails are equally expressive and apparent. Imaging is relatively good, fleshing out the position of instruments clearly.
Overall, for an ultra-budget pair of earphones, these technicalities are solid.
The KB Ear Stellar does well with almost all genres – rock, classical, pop, R&B, indie, you name it. There’s no lesser genre here.
Given its modest and lean bass performance, I’d say genres like EDM, trap, J-Pop, and instrumentals are going to sound like they’re missing something. However, it’s not like they’re going to sound extremely horrible.
The KB Ear Stellar is a phenomenal product with a great price-to-performance ratio.
Its only off-putting quality is the nature of its fit on the ear, which can be argued as an intentional part of the sound. If you know what open-back headphones sound like, the Stellar is actually reminiscent of that, especially with the bass being lean.
Its sonic performance goes toe to toe with similarly-priced silicone tip earphones, which is quite a statement in itself. With technicalities in the conversation, the Stellar can give its competitors a run for their money.
Being aware of the caveats and if you’re a fan of neutral signatures that have transparent and airy qualities, the KB Ear Stellar is an excellent option that’s musical and equally as capable in technical ability.
Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)
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.