iPhone 4S > Quickstep
iPhone 4S > Palaios Wooden Amp
iMac > Geek Out 450
iMac > Geek Out 450 > Palaios Wooden Amp
iMac > Geek Out 450 > Quickstep
Mainly compared with the UERM and the Heaven V Aging ("HV"). The ASG-2 just has too much bass weight to make a viable comparison and the BA200 is more of a depth oriented phone compared to the strong stereo separation of the KC06 which would just be a listing of different they sound and would not be fun.
Right off the bat, the KC06 impresses. It checks off all the bases that people generally ask about. It's as if the designers scanned head-fi, created a list of character traits, and attacked them until they were satisfied that it could not possibly disappoint. And it doesn't, not in that regard. It's a very capable IEM that is the result of a very experienced and calculated effort.
Detail retrieval - check!
Clarity - check!
Instrument separation - check!
Just enough bass - check!
Strong vocal presence - check!
Sparkly treble - check!
Smooth delivery - check!
Good layering - check!
More than reasonable price - check!
You think of it, they've got it happening.
Sooo... Review over? Best thing since sliced bread?
At the risk of mass hate: not exactly. Not for me anyway.
I'll just run down the list of where they didn't quite hit home for me.
It's a mature tuning. And in that way, it's also a safe tuning. It tries hard not to offend. But at the same time, dynamics are blunted and through all that talent, a certain spark seems missing.
Bass is a bit... dull, for lack of a better words. This plays a bit off the dynamics issue noted above, but in general, attack is a bit rounded. The UERM in comparison has less bass quantity but can be both more authoritative and as well as more delicate. And the HV has more bass quantity but it has a minimal hit on clarity of the midrange, and so it has the apparent ability to ramp things up for bass lovers. The bass is also less one note, and has a bit more texture. But, like everything else, the KC06 bass is very well separated and well positioned.
The midrange has been getting a lot of love. And for good reason. Generally, it's very solid. Like other things, a bit safe, a bit dull, but impressively smooth and incredibly separated. It's also very forward, which is fine except that the intense image separation makes it feel a bit unnatural and detached.
And that brings me to the biggest issue. Its generally considered biggest strengths, also create it's biggest weaknesses. The clarity and separation are highly impressive, not just for the price range, but at any price range. The problem is that they create a situation where the images are not grounded in a single auditory reality. They seam to float in their own separate realities and have no foundation and basis in a singular sonic field. There's no soundstage, there are just very well separated sounds. They don't interact with the space and for that just don't sound... real. And that's their biggest flaw to my ears.
Compared the the Heaven V Aging, they sound clearer and more detailed but clearly less realistic. As a note the Palaios wooden amp is a great pairing with the KC06 because it narrows the stereo separation, gives the bass a bit better focus and impact, and in general has a tall sound, improving another issue brought up by others, soundstage height, which also gives images more substance and life. But it also is fair to point out then that the synergy of the HV is so strong with the Geek Out that it pulls away hard from the KC06. And I'm not one to use phrases like that lightly.
As a side note: I can't recommend the Palaios amp in general no matter the good synergy I hear with the KC06 because of what I feel are build quality issues / needed improvements for longevity and portable use.
Timbre and tonality as other points are generally good but not groundbreaking.
This is a strong offering from Ostry and a very strong performer in general. And very easy to recommend and like. It just makes me feel like it was a mechanical creation, one that was calculated rather than emotionally crafted within a tolerance of acceptable accuracy. And that's moreso what I'm looking for.
Thanks to for the listening opportunity guys.
This is the review which I agree with the most, particularly the part which I have bolded. I would like to give 2 likes for your review based on those words, if only I could. I tried to express this sentiment in my post weeks back, but you've put it in words better than I ever could
I absolutely agree with the importance of finding the correct amp for the KC06. Because of its unique flaws (for a lack of a better phrase), finding an amp which can 'bridge' the chasm between the mids and its neighbouring frequencies is crucial in extracting maximum possible performance.
A point to note. The fact that the KC06 is being compared to the UERM and Heaven V Aging, both of which are manifold more expensive, and yet still come out with a favourable review really speaks volumes of how great it is for $60.
To sum up, if I could describe the KC06 succinctly, I would use the term 'artificial perfection'