Current testing methodology is v1.2
The KGIS Earbud is one of the most famous and obscure pair of earphones on the internet.
Since they’re listed as DIY earbuds, we can assume that someone is tuning, soldering, and assembling them all by themselves – except that’s not really the case. You can find them on every corner of every online store when you search for keywords like “earbuds”.
Not only do they show up in stores, but they also appear in forums, where people are comparing them to the likes of Vido and other budget brands. As you already know, fame doesn’t equate to good sound but they’re indicative of something more basic: they’re cheap.
In this review, we’ll be talking about how the KGIS earbuds sound. Are they worth it or should you save your golden two dollars?
A fun and bassy earbud for everyday carry
The KGIS Earbud is one of the best pair of earphones I can recommend. They’re not the most technically proficient nor are they something so starkly unique that they stand out but they have a warm tonality and they play bass – unlike most flathead earbuds.
The common test of whether I like something is how much I tend to reach for them when the music calls and I find that these earphones are one something I can just grab and then enjoy with.
It’s funny how we’re locked into the duality of wanting more quantifiable technical aspects while also sticking to our base nature, which gravitates towards something fun. The KGIS elicits that feeling and when music enjoyment is king, nothing else matters.
This is the safest buy yet if you’re on the lookout for a fun pair of earphones. Seriously, your $2 won’t mind.
- Driver: 15.4mm Single Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response: 20 – 20,000Hz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Sensitivity: 125dB/mw
- Cable Length: 1.2m±5cm
- Weight: 15g
What’s in the Box?
- KGIS Earbud earphones
- 1 pair of cloth covers
Stuff I like
- Dirt cheap but comes with decent sound quality
- Engaging low end – an earbud that isn’t afraid of bass
- Warm tonality
- Decent vocals and dynamics
- Scales with power
Stuff I like less
- Resolution is a little fuzzy
- Not very good technicalities overall
- Lacks presence in the upper midrange
- Not much extension in the treble
The KGIS Earbud comes in standard and simple packaging with just the earphones and a pair of cloth covers as the inclusions. The earphones themselves have this typical flathead design which isn’t anything special or impressive.
However, this might be the Ferrari of budget flathead earbuds.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying this because they’re the best or anything. It’s just that the finish on the red variant just looks surprisingly close to the shade of a Ferrari – or not. It might just be me but it’s the first thing that pops in my head whenever I see a pair of these earphones in red on the internet.
I decided to give them a spin after seeing them float on my timeline for quite a while and ultimately, it was something I didn’t regret.
First of all, these flatheads are not bass-phobic. Most flatheads have almost zero sub-bass extension and while I do like a clean midrange, the part of me that wants sub-bass frequencies just silently cries inside. This pair is a real breather from the neutral tuning I always get from other budget flatheads. The bass rumbles and it slams. Oddly enough, it’s a little disorienting but hey, I’m not complaining.
With this move though, they may have introduced bass bleed into the buds but as long as they’re fun, heck, I’m willing to overlook it (the best I can anyway).
The KGIS Earbud is similar to most flathead ergonomics and looks. Their shell doesn’t share the same OEM mold as other earphones and this is evident on their backplate where the usual grooves and indentations are placed.
As far as the build is concerned, I don’t think they’re bad, especially for something that costs a little over $2. They’re made from ABS plastic topped with a nice metallic paint finish.
The shells are fairly durable on inspection and I think more nitpicking can be found on the quality of the cable, which isn’t something I can complain about at the price. These are your everyday beater earbuds you can slightly abuse and not break.
Put them in your pocket, throw them at the back of the car, toss them at the desk – no problemo.
The charm of these earbuds is that you don’t have to worry about scratching them or anything. There’s no need to put them in a nice protective carrying case. Some people like it simpler and I share this sentiment.
Fit and Comfort
In this part here, you’ll be experiencing roughly the same ordeal every other flathead has presented: fit.
The KGIS Earbud is generally “OK” on the ears and you can wear them for quite a long time. It’s actually when you take them off that it starts to become a nuisance. The indents it makes on your ears when worn start to hurt.
Everybody hates this, I know, but there’s nothing to do except take breaks ever so often.
On the other hand, the isolation is nice, there’s not much noise suppression while there’s no music playing but I find them to be quite effective.
Overall, it’s a fifty-fifty here with fit and comfort but if you regularly wear flathead earphones then you already know about this.
The KGIS Earbud sounds like it has a mild V-shaped or W-shaped signature. It has a warm tonality to its sound, lending to a very musical presentation to music.
The fact that there’s audible sub-bass in the lower frequencies contributes to this warmer presentation, effectively imparting organic overtones to the frequencies. This is currently the only flathead I’ve listened to that isn’t afraid to sound overly warmed up.
There are caveats to this approach though but the answer to the question of whether they subtract from the overall experience is “no” – not at all. This is highly subjective, but for you to level with me on this, you’d have to know what I mean with caveats.
And what I mean by that is that the midrange isn’t the cleanest. What has made flatheads clean-sounding with their midrange is the roll-off in the sub-frequencies and since the KGIS Earbud has none of that, the kicker applies.
Don’t get me wrong, the midrange doesn’t flat-out sound bad. There’s some bleeding but it does put in some good effort and for the most part, it sounds natural. Also, the treble can be accounted to have deficiencies more than actual flaws.
The overall sound isn’t as refined or technically adept, but I do appreciate its presentation and overall likability.
The sub-bass of the KGIS Earbud goes deep. This was unexpected as most flatheads have a roll-off on the subfrequencies.
On a sinewave sweep from 10Hz-200Hz, the sub-bass picks up from about 20Hz. This is impressive for a flathead as there’s less of a cabin effect to raise bass levels. This shows on tracks like “Starboy” by The Weeknd, where the rumble is there but doesn’t manifest into something as engrossing and deep as on regular IEMs.
Despite this, I find that the low end still enables metal tracks like “Unfamiliar” by Currents to sound grungy and weighted in their guitar tones.
Now with regards to the mid-bass, I’d say there’s good impact and presence to fuel some funk in songs. “Poster Boy” by Lyn Lapid still has that rhythm and oomph to it and I never found the low end to be lacking in participation when it came to the kickdrums.
This bass response is good but it isn’t the most detailed. There’s minimal texture, the quantity is a little bit held back, and the impact could use just a tad more slam to it.
The bass manages to do its job though, quite better than a majority of other budget flathead earbuds.
The proximity of the mids are track-dependent but generally, I find the mids of the KGIS Earbud to have good levels. They’re present rather than recessed and they’re aptly musical.
Where I find the midrange to be lacking is in their resolution. The clarity on vocal notes isn’t as clear as they can be, and this is evident on the track “La La Lost You” by NIKI as her voice comes across as slightly wooly and the lyrics are somewhat harder to make out.
This is perhaps the element that places the KGIS behind most midrange performances by other flatheads.
Still, I think that this is early remedied by feeding the KGIS more power. I tried plugging it into a VE Megatron and the improvements, while not exclusive to the midrange, did alleviate the lack of sharpness in the vocals.
The energy of the KGIS Earbud’s upper end, I think, is pooled up in the upper mids more than the upper air regions. There’s a sense of pang and crispiness from the high hats and cymbals that animates transients, making for a very engaging upper end.
Sibilance is minimal and I don’t hear any harshness or resonance.
The upper air region is sufficient in tracks that call for a rendition of space but I don’t find it to be a readily apparent trait. At times, you almost have to always look out for airiness in the gaps to notice. It’s there but not on all tracks and I think that this is something that’s oriented by the tuning and not necessarily a flaw.
Overall, I’d say that this is a good treble response albeit lacking a little brilliance in the uppermost air regions.
I’m almost tempted to remove this section in this review. I don’t think it’s particularly fair to gauge a pair of earphones that’s priced at just over $2 because it’ll almost certainly “underperform”.
The technicalities, in my opinion, start to become valuable at the $100 price bracket. I know that some may argue that this aspect is valuable in all price brackets to ascertain value but for me, the priority in lower budget segments would have to be found in their timbre.
With lower budget constraints, the only job of a pair of earphones is to sound fun.
Sure, the KGIS Earbud sounds mostly fine, if not a little rough on the edges with its technical section, but it does come across as pleasant and fun. And although I didn’t omit this section, it almost passes off as the same effect.
There isn’t much else to say except that you simply can’t go wrong with the KGIS Earbud.
It goes for less than $3 and I can think of a multitude of things that you can buy for the same price, a very fun pair of earphones comes to mind very easily. And with all the budget flatheads dodging bass like it’s a bullet, the KGIS Earbud is a welcoming breather.
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 2023-11-29 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.