Pros: Comfortable, Well Constructed, Aesthetically Pleasing, Easy to Drive, Fairly Balanced Sound, Bass Can Be Modified
Cons: Stiff Cable, Average Isolation
This is an IEM that caught Head-fi by storm. Featuring a single 10mm high-bandwidth dynamic, using two patented technologies, Ostry made quite the statement. A company that was otherwise unknown before, actually had quite the experience in creating drivers [over 20 years!], likely for other companies as an OEM. They finally decided to release their own products and while I don't necessarily know the patents involved, I have read that the driver in these carry principles from a moving-iron transducer. This IEM leads the way at it's 60-65$ price, sounding better than anything below it's price range, while competing with stuff that's more than twice it's price. In addition, it hits all the marks, in construction, isolation [average but solid] and comfort, leaving little to fault. It is quite the package and an IEM to be still be recommended for quite some time!
Accessories & Packaging
Packaging is quite nice, with a great presentation. The KC06 comes with quite the array of tips which are organized with white plastic small boxes [pictured below]. Standard single flanges, wide bore [tip opening] red single flanges (which are identical to those of the TTPOD T1E), small bore single flanges and gray small bore single flange tips. In addition, you get a pouch, shirt clip and ear-guides. The KC06 is well accessorized, though I would have preferred a small hard case, better ear-guides and shirt clips. Personally, I've had no luck with ear-guides as they tend to slide off while in use and just become unpractical, these are just generic and don't have anything to prevent that. The shirt-clip is a generic one I find in many other IEMs and this type of shirt clip, simply doesn't hold the cable well, so it's rather cumbersome. Overall, nothing to fault here though, you get plenty of accessories, Ostry didn't skimp the consumer here.
First off, the shell is made of metal and is titanium plated, so quite scratch resistant! Unlike other metal shells this one feels very light, making it not only aesthetically pleasing, but also quite practical. The housing is gorgeous and puts those of the higher priced Vsonic GR07 to shame. The only drawback is that the back of the housings, with the logo, is prone to scratching as it isn't plated, but it should be quite minimal for the most part. The housings have proper strain reliefs, but I do wish the jack had a better, longer strain relief. I would handle the jack with care, only unplugging from the jack's shell. Y split isn't protected very well either, but I don't expect much failure here due to the cable's thickness. Cable is protected with TPU, giving it a soft slippery feel, but it's not very supple. There is some cable noise but wearing them over the ear or using a shirt clip rids of that. I do have some issues with the cable tangling and sometimes being hard to manage though. Another complaint is the lack of a chin slider, so finding a way to make your own may be necessary. I've had luck using a thin layer of tape. Nozzle is protected with a metal mesh that is quite sturdy, but be sure to check it once in a while for debris. Overall, the KC06 feels well built and aesthetically pleasing, looking like an IEM that is worth much more, the cable is the only slight drawback here.
[KC06 also comes in a limited Gold Color!]
Comfort & Isolation
The housings of the KC06 are quite small, light and it's nozzle is the diameter of smaller IEMs like the Sony MH1/Tenore. This and the fact that it be worn both straight down or over-the-ear [shown below] makes it quite versatile. I can wear these for hours with no discomfort, using Comply T200 or S200. Heck, I'll say, it's one of the most comfortable IEMs I've used to date! These things simply disappear in your ears despite the metal shell. One of the main factors for their comfort is that all you need is a shallow fit, no need to dig them deeper.
Isolation is average but quite sufficient for commuting in my experience. The use of foam tips helps it isolate, but don't expect it to isolate like a fully sealed IEM. While the ER4 isolates -43db of outside noise, the KC06 isolates about 15-20db.
The signature characteristic of the KC06 is quite hard to pinpoint. I will say it's generally flat, with perhaps a small tendency of being u-shaped, emphasis on the higher treble and midbass. I can confirm this based on InnerFidelity's graph results. To note, the KC06 proves to have a high quality driver, by graphing with very low distortion, in addition to being well-matched between channels. A shocking feature of the IEM is how sensitive the driver is, it is very, very efficient! This is unlike most dynamic drivers and more like a balanced armature driver IEM. This makes it quite dynamic even with your smartphone or portable player and you won't have any problems with quiet recordings, it can get loud! I have a feeling this has something to do with one it's patents, it is quite nice to have and gives it quite the advantage over many inefficient IEMs like the Zero Audio Tenore, in terms of dynamics. Matter of fact, of all the IEMs InnerFidelity measured, I found only the Dunu DN2000 and Shure SE535 to be more efficient, and those use multi balanced armature drivers. To note, because of their high sensitivity, they may hiss with players that are noisy.
Ostry KC06A Comparison: KC06A said to be an improvement than previous iteration, but it just didn't live to my expectations and here's why. Where I found most improvement was the bass, not only was the midbass a bit more refined, the sub-bass was finally present compared to a stock KC06, though to my taste, I still would have preferred a bit more. Midrange is very similar between the two though the KC06A is a bit more clearer in the lower midrange, so male vocals sound cleaner and crisper. Trouble lies once you get higher up the frequencies. I found that the treble peaks of the KC06 were accentuated on the KC06A, resulting in quite an abrasive midhigh region and treble. I used all the tips that I could but to no avail, refinement up top was lost, though I did enjoy the added treble extension. Simply put, the KC06 will overshadow the KC06A for me with it's more subtle treble and tune-able bass. To note, the vent mods didn't quite work on the KC06A, though I was happy with the bass for the most part. Below is a graph between the two I found on a Chinese site, where the engineer was interviewed. Red is KC06A, Blue is KC06, measurements here are raw, so they are not as how the ear perceives it, but it's helpful is showing the difference between the two.
Below is a graph of the KC06 as I perceive it, in addition to the effects of the nozzle mod. To note, the 7k peak here is actually situated at 7.5k in my case and 9.5k is actually 10k for me. These are approximate super-impositions from the InnerFidelity graph with added perception results of my ear, not meant to be 100% accurate but gives a good idea as where they stand.
Below is the current EQ I use on the KC06, using Equalizer on iOS. -4db at 100hz with q=.5, +2db at 4k with q=1, -3db at 8k with q=3]. This is with pinhole modded KC06. I find the KC06 to EQ very well!
I am currently on a very tight budget and have just been using these, but have not regretted it one bit and neither have I been tempted by anything in it's price range. That goes to show you, how well this IEM fares for me. Ostry have a winner here, I find the isolation adequate, it's very comfortable, well built and sound is great. Even though the KC06A didn't quite do it for me, I am very curious as to what Ostry have in store in the future!