Current testing methodology is v1.2
July 4, 2023
3.74 x 2.8 x 1.34 in
Another budget-friendly IEM, the KZ Krila is a hybrid set that features a single dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver.
It’s from the Chi-Fi brand, KZ, which claims it to be a “kilo buck killer” – which is a bold statement for something that only costs $24 on Amazon. The term “kilo buck” refers to IEMs in the $1000 price range, and IEMs that cost this much are expected to be that good.
So does the KZ Krila live up to this claim? Let’s find out!
Great technicalities and overall decent sound for under $25
The KZ Krila may not be what KZ claims it to be but it does offer something special. It’s the most technically capable-sounding IEM I’ve tried at this price point, although I have an issue with its treble as there are times when they sound harsh and shrill, especially when listening on a slightly higher volume.
For the most part, the Krila performed relatively well. Calling it a “kilo buck killer” is a bit of a tall order since it can’t compete with IEMs in the $1000 price range. However, in the $20 to $30 price range, it’s a pretty strong contender.
- Driver: 10mm Single Dynamic Driver + 30095 Balanced Armature
- Cable: 3.5mm angled plug / 0.75mm detachable cable
- Frequency: 20-40,000Hz
- Impedance: 28-36Ω
- Sensitivity: 106±3db
What’s in the Box?
- KZ Krila earphones
- 2-pin detachable cable
- 2 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, L)
- 1 pair of KZ memory foam ear tips (M)
- Instruction manual
Stuff I like
- Excellent technical capability for the price
- Versatile pair of IEMs due to its tuning feature
- Wide soundstage
Stuff I like less
- Treble is a bit harsh for my taste
- Bass can get too muddy in some settings
- The included foam ear tips didn’t fit well
The KZ Krila comes in straightforward packaging that doesn’t shy away from the brand’s typical packaging. The IEMs are well-presented but there’s nothing special about the unboxing experience.
The accessories included are just the usual – a silver-plated detachable cable and a couple of pairs of silicone ear tips. There’s also a pair of memory foam ear tips that feel pretty nice on the ears.
The design of the KZ Krila is quite nice – it’s simple yet sleek. However, in terms of packaging and overall presentation, there’s nothing special and it doesn’t differ from other IEMs in this price range.
The KZ Krila has a similar build to the D-Fi, which is another IEM from KZ. The designs are also slightly similar. Like the D-Fi, the Krila’s faceplate is a mix of metal and dark-tinted resin that allows you to see the insides of the shell.
Overall, the build quality is decent and these IEMs feel sturdy.
The included ear tips are your typical KZ silicone pairs that feel cheap but they still get the job done and they provide a decent seal for my ears. The cable is your standard silver-plated cable, which also feels cheap.
Fit and Comfort
It’s nice that KZ included a pair of memory foam tips with the Krila but I have some issues with how they fit in my ears. They were pretty large for my ears so I decided to swap them out for the silicone tips that are also included.
With the fit, it’s always different for every user since we all have different ear shapes and sizes. For some people, the memory foam tips may fit them perfectly.
Overall, the wearing comfort of the KZ Krila is good. The shell is lightweight and has no fins or extrusions. The included silver-plated cable is also quite comfortable and the pre-molded ear hooks don’t cause any discomfort in my ears.
The KZ Krila has a tuning switch feature that can alter how it sounds. It comes with four modes, including the default, and here are my impressions of each setting.
- Default Setting (Up/Up/Up/Up) – This setting is airy and highlights the treble and mids more than the bass. I encountered treble peaks in this tuning, and this setting sounds relatively thin compared to the others.
- Setting #1 (Down/Down/Down/Down) – In this setting, the treble is much more tamed treble. The soundstage is also slightly narrower compared to the default setting. The bass wasn’t significantly boosted and it sounded well-balanced with the other frequencies.
- Setting #2 (Down/Down/Down/Up) – This setting focuses more on highlighting the upper frequencies. The bass is noticeably less prominent in the mix, while the soundstage is improved due to the boost on the treble. This setting sounds dull, so I didn’t meddle too much with it.
- Setting #3 (Up/Up/Up/Down) – This setting is, by far, the warmest sounding out of the bunch. The bass is boosted and the mids have more body in their presentation. Even though this setting focuses more on the lower frequencies, the treble peaks are still present on the test tracks.
The bass of the KZ Krila is impactful, with a detailed and crisp quality. The detail retrieval is one of the best I’ve tried in this price range.
The soundstage capabilities of the KZ Krila added depth to the presentation of the bass, making it sound thicker but not too overpowering in the mix but this can also depend on the settings you’re using.
My sweet spot would be setting #2 since the bass is well-behaved but without lacking in rumble and punch. Going through the different settings can give more emphasis and boost to the bass, which is a nifty feature. With this, you can add more bass to the tracks.
The sub-bass has a decent extension and it becomes more evident in the bass-boosted settings. The mid-bass is also boosted while switching between different settings. The mid-bass is punchy and tight on its own but with the help of the tuning switch, it can get highlighted more in the mix.
The mids of the KZ Krila can go from balanced to recessed through the different settings. The mids were relatively smooth and lush on their own, and I enjoyed listening to them as their detail and clarity are quite good for a $20 set.
Both male and female vocals sound natural and organic, while instruments sound very natural, with no weird timbre or tonality.
Overall, the mids are crisp and clear. It doesn’t sound muddy or smeared by the bass. I like the characteristics of the upper mids since they have a decent amount of sparkle, although they can be prone to treble peaks and harshness.
The treble of the KZ Krila is quite hit or miss for me.
On the one hand, it produces a lively and bright sound. It also helps a lot with the soundstage capabilities. On the other hand, the peaks are too much for me. It’s because of this that I have a love-and-hate relationship with the Krila’s treble.
It can sometimes get harsh but this heavily depends on the track you’re listening to. Going through the different settings does help a bit but the peaks remain present in all the settings.
I’ve tested the KZ Krila on different genres of music to get a proper understanding of how they sound and here are my findings.
- Metal / Rock – I used setting #1 for this genre as the high-gain sound of the guitars is prone to some peaking, and with the first setting, the rolling off of the treble helped lessen these peaks. The guitars and vocals had excellent details and didn’t show any muddiness or loss of clarity, even on more distorted tracks. 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 – For this genre, I used the default setting to put more emphasis on the vocals without sounding too thin and dull. The vocals were upfront and had that crisp and detailed presentation. The soundstage capabilities of the Krila also added more spice to the presentation of the vocal layering on the tracks. Tracks used: Snooze (SZA), As It Was (Harry Styles), Yours (Maye)
- Hip-hop – For this genre, I mainly used the third setting for that added warmth and boost on the bass. The tracks sounded articulate and the instruments were detailed. The bass can get to ample amounts of rumble and punch due to the different tuning switches. For the most part, the Krila could catch up with the demands of the tracks. Tracks used: LOVE. (Kendrick Lamar, Zacari), sdp interlude (Travis Scott), I Wonder (Kanye West), Superhero (Metro Boomin & Future)
- R&B / Soul – Vocals were well-positioned in the mix and didn’t get recessed that much for almost all of the settings. The soundstage provided by the lifted treble added more detail and clarity to the instruments and vocals. This made them appear more articulate and airy. I’ve mainly used settings #1 and #3 for this genre since they work well with my tracks. Tracks used: LA FAMA (Rosalia, The Weeknd), Blessed (Daniel Ceasar), Moonlight (Kali Uchis), Traingazing (Sam Wills ft. Honey Mooncie), Always (Daniel Ceasar)
The KZ Krila received some backlash from the IEM community due to KZ’s false advertising. If only KZ decided to let its performance speak for itself, it could’ve been in a better spot.
That said, the Krila can go toe-to-toe with some IEMs under the $50 price point, but it’s nowhere near being a “kilo buck killer” as the brand claims. Overall, it’s a capable budget IEM that can easily destroy some of its competition within the $20 to $30 price range.
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 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.