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BQEYZ KC2 2 BA + 2 DD Earphone

Rating:
4.5/5,
Tags:
  1. DallaPo
    BQEYZ KC2 | 2*DD & 2*BA | Rating 8.8
    Written by DallaPo
    Published Sep 24, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Very balanced
    Great design
    Wearing comfort
    Natural sound
    Cons - A little more dynamic would be desirable
    sub-bass
    Intro
    The KC2 is another model of the BQEYZ family and is almost related to the K2.
    Technically and haptically the new BQEYZ models are in the first league and show only subtle differences between each other, so that it is difficult to choose a general winner, but rather based on personal preferences.

    The KC2 is close to the TRN V80 and very balanced in all frequency ranges.


    Handling
    Short and sweet:
    Robust metal housing, despite the size a very pleasant wearing comfort, detachable cables, which are among the best you get at the moment, cool optics and a good isolation. No more and no less you get here for your money.

    The packaging with contents is very minimalistic, as with all BQEYZ models, but that's not the point.


    Sound
    That's the best I've heard about a balanced in-ear for a long time and it's easy to tell the difference to the smaller brother (KB1).

    The bass is not as emphasized as the KB1 and rather reserved. Nevertheless it is extremely controlled and on the point. Due to its dry, matter-of-fact nature it produces some details, but prefers the mid-bass most of all.
    It has no bass head potential, but works very cleanly and also delivers enough sub-bass to do many styles justice. Only for die-hard electro fans it could be too little. A little more dynamics would also be welcome.

    The mids are pretty close to perfection for the price range we're in here.
    Pleasantly warm, very good and natural tonality and especially accurate. The upper range is slightly raised, which brings the voices slightly forward, but just the right amount.

    The highs also do everything right. If you look at them separately, you could speak of a V-signature. Because the middle heights are somewhat reduced compared to the others, there is almost no emphasis on the sibilants and also no exhausting sharpness. The repeated ascent in the highest range provides airiness and brilliance.

    The stage and three-dimensional presentation are above the average in the price category.


    Outro
    It's hard to say anything negative about the KC2. If you're looking for a hair in the soup, you could wish for an even deeper frequency response and a bit more dynamics. Otherwise, the KC2 are extraordinarily good and certainly one of the best currently under 50 € to get. BQEYZ know their trade!
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    more reviews at:
    https://david-hahn.wixsite.com/chi-fiear
    __________________________________________________________________________________
      trellus likes this.
  2. B9Scrambler
    BQEYZ KC2: A New Contender Approaches
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Dec 5, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build - Clarity and Balance - Value
    Cons - Mediocre cable - Bass could use more texture and impact
    Greetings,

    Today we're checking out the KC2 from BQEYZ.

    BQEYZ is a relative newcomer to the scene, headed by Dongguan Xianchao Acoustics Technology co. LTD out of China. Ever since KZ released the conflicted but successful ZS5, everyone has been trying their hand at the same twin dynamic, twin balanced armature (2+2) setup, though with varying success. The KC2 is BQEYZ's attempt and follows the ZS6's formula quite closely with aluminum alloy shells, the driver configuration, and 0.78mm 2-pin removable cables.

    Is the KC2 a worthy purchase or just another has-been brand trying to ride the wave of KZ's success? Read on to find out.

    Disclaimer:

    I would like to thank Elle from BQEYZ for reaching out to see if I would be interested in reviewing the KC2. After seeing so much positive feedback about the brand from others in the community, I figured it wouldn't hurt to check them out. They were provided free of charge for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are mine alone and do not represent BQEYZ or any other entity. There was no financial incentive to write this review. At the time of writing the KC2 retailed for 57.99 USD and could be picked up here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GWY7YN...eL-0eCF0_AwiCkoWwkfA2xZ85JnYtvcxGQvYKbnDiFHXM

    Source:

    The KC2 was easy to drive up to my typically low volumes, without the need for amping. As such I commonly paired it with straight out of my LG G6 and the Shanling M0. It was also powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp with an ASUS FX53V sourcing music, though the HA-501 felt a little overkill and on higher damping settings introduced some grain into the treble.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.

    Specifications:
    • Frequency Response: 7-40 KHz
    • Impedance: 15 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 105dB
    IMG_5293.JPG IMG_5291.JPG IMG_5297.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The KC2's package is a compact grey cardboard box with a very subtle metallic texture. On the front in silver foil writing you find the BQEYZ brand name in the top left, “Hybrid Technology In-ear Headphones” in the bottom right. On the back you find a list of specifications and some brand information, namely the name of their parent company, location, and an email address. Lifting the lid reveals the KC2 and spare tips set within a cardboard coated foam insert. A very KZ-esque user manual sits underneath. In all you get:
    • KC2 earphones
    • Braided 0.78mm 2-pin cable
    • Single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
    • Velcro cable tie
    • Manual
    In all, this is a very simple accessory kit. I actually quite liked the ear tips as the quality is good, they fit properly, and they pair well with the KC2. They stuck around for the duration of testing.

    IMG_5306.JPG IMG_5309.JPG IMG_5313.JPG

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The KC2's shells are all metal and look a lot nicer in person than in pics, in my opinion. The face plates are wonderfully crafted with light marks from the machining process visible in the swooping accents. L and R are printed on the protrusion housing the port for the 2-pin plugs, allowing you to easy differentiate which channel is which. Although, they are design for over-ear wear so you can't really mix it up anyway. The rear half of the shell is smooth with three neatly cut vents for the twin dynamic drivers within. On the bottom BQEYZ KC2 is laser printed and barely visible unless tilted at just the right angle to catch the light. The nozzle is a separate piece of metal, painted black for a nice contrast.

    The cable is a mix of good and bad. Good is the hardware, like the flexible preformed ear guides that hold the cable in place around your ear. Also good is the y-split. It is a solid hunk of metal printed with the BQEYZ brand name. A fairly long, flexible strain relief protrudes out the bottom to protect the cable from bends. Strain relief at the top is omitted in favor of a useful chin cinch. KZ, you could take note of this. Lastly, the Dunu-esque 90 degree angled metal plug is well relieved and compact enough to avoid complications with phone or DAP cases. Unfortunately, the cable sheath is not so great. While similar to what KZ and TRN are doing with their cables right now, BQEYZ's is quite plasticky. It retains kinks and bends and is subject to tangling, especially in the winter weather we're experiencing right now here in Ontario, Canada. I'm sure it would be fine in warmer climates.

    The KC2 is very comfortable, despite being quite a large earphone. The rounded, shallow fit design looks to have been inspired by the AKG N40, but is far from being a copy, and lets the earphone rest naturally in the outer ear. Weight is distributed evenly ensuring zero hot spots or odd fitment issues. Only if you have an exceptionally small outer ear or a particularly odd shape should you experience any issues fit the fit or comfort.

    Isolation is about average which is better than I expected given the shallow fit design and ample driver ventilation. Using them in my office while answering emails, I can hear the clacking of the keyboard and cars passing by outside my window, but it's all slightly muffled. Taking them into a more demanding environment, like my local coffee shop, sees me increasing the volume substantially to counter the noise of the hustle and bustle around me. These are fine for moderately noisy areas, but unless tossing on some foams tips I can't see them being well-suited for use on public transit or in other similarly noisy environments.

    Sound:

    Tips: I used the preinstalled stock mediums for the duration of my testing, but also ran them for quite a while with medium KZ Starline tips.Despite the difference in bore size, I really didn't find there was much of a difference in sound. And that was more or less the experience running a wide variety of after market options (Sony, UE, EarNiNE, Havi, FiiO, etc.); not much of a difference. If the stock tips don't fit you well, just find something that does. The KC2 was fairly consistent regardless of the tips, in my experience. As always, your mileage may vary.

    The KC2 has a vibrant signature with lots of treble energy, big bass, and a conservatively recessed mid-range that mostly affects male vocals.

    Treble is well-extended with a tightly controlled, shimmery presentation to it. There is lots of space between notes giving the KC2 an open feel up top. Even upon cranking the volume (for me...keeping in mind I typically listen at very low volumes) I didn't find the kC2 particularly fatiguing despite the upper treble having more emphasis than lower, a trait I enjoy but find can wear me out. The most respectable aspect of the KC2's treble is how effortless it sound and how easily it reproduces everything. Such as one Run The Jewel's “Oh My Darling (Don't Cry)” where at around 2:30 the track gets extra aggressive with lots of harsh high pitched effect. In general, really nice treble for a budget friendly hybrid.

    The mid-range displays a mild warmth which sounds really nice with female vocals. Take Riya on Lenzman's “Open Page” which who simply sounds liquid and sweet with lyrics that roll smoothly and flawlessly amidst the mellow beats. Male vocals are set further back than I'd like and are lacking the body present in female vocals, but they're mostly on point. Take Chrom3 on Brooks Brothers' “Carry me On”. His presentation is rife with emotion and carries an uplifting tone. Instruments like guitars and drum on Havok's “Covering fire” sound accurate and timbre rich. Lovers of metal and hard rock will find a nice companion in the KC2.

    Bass is elevated with a satisfying balance through the upper to lower regions. Bleed into the mids is completely absent and there is no mid-bass bloat. Sub-bass rolls off slowly keeping the KC2 from offering an overly visceral presentation, but there is still some decent rumble. Either way, the emphasis is more or less spot on. I was quite surprised at how quick and nimble the low end was too, easily tackling the rapid double bass on Havok's “D.O.A” without any congestion or smearing. About the only aspects I can see improvements being made on is texture and impact. The KC2 lags slightly behind some of the competition here.

    Overall detail and clarity from top to bottom is quite good as seems to be the case with hybrids in this price range. There is some smoothing going on in the mids and low end which reduces texturing slightly. I found the KC2 to have a very dynamic sound stage with effects having a lot of space to move about. Channel to channel transitions can be quite extreme, especially when there is some fade applied as the effect trails off. Well-layered tracks are represented decently with adequate instrument separation so as to prevent sounds from melding into one another. Overall I found it a very immersive experience.

    IMG_5314.JPG IMG_5317.JPG IMG_5318.JPG

    Select Comparisons:

    TRN V80: The V80 has a leaner presentation with additional upper treble emphasis making them brighter and more energetic. KC2's treble is tighter, more controlled, and lacks the uncomfortable sharpness the V80 displays at times. V80's mids lack the same amount of body and despite their leaner nature, do not come across as detailed. They are also slightly less pronounced making it sound less balanced and coherent. V80's bass is some of the best I've heard in a budget hybrid, evident when comparing the two. V80 digs deeper, is more impactful, and is more nimble with greater texture. It's a more engaging presentation. V80's sound stage is more confined and restricted than the KC2. Imaging quality is similarly accurate with the KC2 coming out just ahead. Same goes for layering and separation. When it comes to build, both are above average. The KC2 shells are larger but lighter, making them slightly more comfortable to me. The TRN's Dunu inspired shells are very comfy though, and better suited to smaller ears. Their cables are very similar with TRN using a softer, more flexible sheath that does not stiffen to the same extent in cool weather.

    With the exception of it's outstanding bass quality, the V80 is outclassed by the KC2 when it comes to sound. It holds it's own in terms of build and comfort, however. I could not recommend the V80 over the KC2, but if you can't afford the latter the V80 is a suitable, more affordable alternative.

    KZ ZS6: When I first put the KC2 in my ears and fired up a track, I was smacked across the face by a tidal wave of familiarity. “This thing sounds exactly like the ZS6,” I thought. Now that I've a/b'ed the two, I've reduced that to sounding almost identical, save for a few tweaks here and there. The ZS6 has slightly slower but deeper, more impactful bass. Treble is similarly boosted, but the ZS6 has an emphasis shift towards the lower treble making it more detailed but less shimmery. KC2's mids have a touch more weight and warmth to them. Imaging, layering, and sound stage are virtually identical save for the KC2 being slightly more open. Could be due to the larger earpieces, ventilation location, driver layout, or maybe just a superior tune. Either way, these two are tuned similarly enough that I can place one in each ear and within a song my brain has adjusted to the differences making for a completely viable, though not quite ideal, listening experience. Feels like I'm listening to an earphone with a mild channel imbalance more than two entirely different products. When it comes to build, they're both immaculately constructed for the price. I personally prefer the look of KZ's Campfire Audio inspired design to the AKG inspired KC2, but when it comes to fit the KC2 is probably going to be the one to win over more fans. While the ZS6's angular shells pose no problems for me, they do cause discomfort for others, something I can't imagine being an issue with the KC2. ZS6's paint job also wears out around the edges, another quality they took from Campfire Audio, something you aren't likely to experience with the KC2.

    For me, choosing one over the other comes down to three things; aesthetics, ergonomics, and price. Get the one you like the look of more, and/or feel will fit you better, and/or is more affordable at the time. They're both outstanding products for the price and I can't choose one over the other.

    Final Thoughts:

    The KC2 came as a great surprise, easily surpassing my expectations and showing itself to be a well-build product with above average sound quality to match. While I think the cable needs some work, namely that plasticky sheath, and that a more impact and texture are needed in the bass, that's about all I can find to complain about here, especially for the price.

    The overall sound is reasonably well-balanced with lots of detail and a spacious presentation. The shells are fairly large but are well constructed and free of sharp edges making them quite comfortable and unobtrusive during long listening sessions. Heck, even the included ear tips are perfectly viable to keep around and use, something that is less common than you'd hope it would be.

    My experiences with the KC2 means BQEYZ is a brand I'll be watching, and one I hope runs the gamut to take on KZ as a viable contender across numerous price points. Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon - Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom - Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz - Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack - Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac - Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco - F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson - Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method - Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna - Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex - Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams - Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (Track)
    1. DocHoliday
      Great job as usual, B9.

      I'll have my review of these and the K2 up in a few days but your review is spot on from my point of view. Elitist are sorely mistaken if they consider "Budget-Fi" to mean half-baked. The BQEYZ line-up and some of KZ's upper-end models are GREAT bang for buck entertainment.
      DocHoliday, Feb 6, 2019
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  3. Otto Motor
    BQEYZ KC2 – Space Age Love
    Written by Otto Motor
    Published Aug 25, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Smoothness; balance; minimalistic, arid, controlled bass; super feel in your hands; original design; great cable.
    Cons - Still searching…could be perhaps a bit more dynamic and engaging at higher volumes with heavier rock music.
    You also find this review and much more on my blog audioreviews.org



    Executive Summary


    This 2+2 hybrid earphone is characterized by its outstanding balance and smoothness (including a fine, minimalistic bass) that are optimized when listening laid-back at low volumes. The earpieces are made of matte polished aluminium and are connected to a high-quality braided-helix type cable via 2-pin 0.78 mm connectors.


    first.jpg

    Disclaimer


    I once again purchased the BQEYZ KC2 from the NiceHCK Audio Store for $0.10 for the purpose of this review. Thanks, Jim NiceHCK, for the discount! Following the review, the unit was donated. As always, I tested the BQEYZ KC2 across a section of music that broadly covers the frequency spectrum, including natural sounds generated by voices and orchestral instruments…and all that for many hours. I think Head-Fier @Emelya for putting me in contact with Elle from BQEYZ, who kindly provided the requested technical information (frequency response graphs, comparison table) displayed here.


    Introduction

    In the almost daily growing selection of great <$50 2+2 hybrid earphones such as the TRN V80, PHB EM-023 and other Campfire lookalikes, there are two more players: the BQEYZ K2 and the BQEYZ KC2. Both feature the same specifications but different tuning according to the manufacturer. I was struggling to write this as a quality distinction between the 2+2 hybrids is very difficult – and it therefore took a lot of time. I was struggling even further when taking into consideration what difference different sources, eartips, and insertion depth can make. In the end, it will come down to personal tonal preference as well as design and haptic which one to choose. Whichever you choose, you’ll get the right one. This review is of the BQEYZ KC2 and I really enjoy listening to it.


    Specifications
    • Price (at the time of the review): ~$50
    • Product Name: BQEYZ KC2 Hybrid Metal In Ear Earphone
    • Driver Unit: 2 Balance Armature (BA) + 2 dynamic (DD)
    • Earphone type: In-Ear
    • Impedance: 15 ohm
    • Earphone Sensitivity: 105dB/mW
    • Frequency Range: 7 –40000Hz
    • Plug Type: 3.5mm straight plug
    • Cable Length: 1.25m
    • Earphone interface: 0.78 mm 2-pin connector
    • Colors: Silver, Black
    • Product Link: NiceHCK Audio Store
    Accessories.jpg
    Click image to enlarge.

    Packaging and Accessories


    The box is really small, so small that it does not even contain a bag or case. Included are the two earpieces and 3 pairs of wide-bore [or rather intermediate-bore?] rubber tips (S/M/L), and a cable.


    Physical Appearance, Haptic, and Build

    Speaking of haptic: these aluminium earpieces have the smoothest feeling between my fingers of all I know, owing to their matte finish and the lack of corners. The earpieces are well rounded resulting in a 1950s space-age look. They also have some degree of mutual magnetic attraction (can’t be the aluminium)…when I lined them up for photos, one of them sometimes rotated. The braided helix-type cable is of high quality and includes a chin slider and memory wire. And, thank god, the connection is two-pin (0.78 mm) and therefore reliable. In summary, the build is immaculate.


    Ergonomics, Comfort, Isolation, and Fit

    The rounded corners facilitate a perfect fit for my ears…similar to the smallerTRN V80…and better than the Andromeda-oids such as the PHB EM-23 and the KZ ZS6. Isolation is average.


    Source and Eartips

    The BQEYZ KC2 is driven well with my iPhone 5S and the largest included eartips do the job for me.


    Tonality

    The sound is balanced and smooth with the gentlest of V-shapes. It is slightly warm yet somewhat lean (in a positive sense), probably from a “light” 60 – 250 Hz area. At high volumes and with rhythm guitar-oriented music the presentation is possibly a bit too soothing and relaxed and could be more engaging and dynamic. At low volumes, the clarity is unparalleled.

    The bass and sub-bass are non intrusive and exceptionally focused and controlled. While there is good extension into the sub-bass, the basslines are extremely subtle and reminiscent of my personal benchmark, the UE900S. A gentle 300 Hz peak adds warmth and bass clarity to the presentation. The low frequencies are as dry and minimalistic as it can get in this price range.

    The gentle bass foundation moves the midrange forward but vocals always keep the right distance. The latter are reasonably full and have a rather natural timbre - and the resolution is very good but slightly behind the TRN V80. The upper midrange is boosted which removes a bit of smoothness from the vocals, and a minor 7–8 kHz peak does not introduce sibilance.

    The treble is smooth but energetic enough to give cymbals and flutes some sparkle. High piano notes resolve well. The frequency curve with its sharp roll off beyond 8 kHz does not correspond to the listening perception.

    Soundstage, resolution, and instrument separation are very good and so is the three-dimensionality.

    BQEYZKC2.jpg
    Click image to enlarge.

    Select Comparisons

    All these 2+2 hybrids below play in the same league. You have to pick yours according to sound preference, fit, and looks. Here a simple comparison:
    • Treble intensity: TRN V80 > BQEYZ KC2 > PHB EM-023
    • Bass intensity: TRN V80 > PHB EM-023 > BQEYZ KC2
    • Fit (subjective): TRN V80 > BQEYZ KC2 > PHB EM-023
    • Rip off factor: TRN V80 = PHB EM-023 > BQEYZ KC2
    • Cable: BQEYZ KC2 > TRN V80 > PHB EM-023
    • Accessories: PHB EM-023 > BQEYZ KC2 = TRN V80
    TRN V80: has not only more bass, it is also more textured. Vocals are a bit denser and more intimate and their resolution and the instrument separation are marginally better. The slightly coarser treble may be fatiguing for some. The KC2 sounds overall leaner, slightly less dynamic, however smoother on the whole. It features in-house designed shells that are bigger than the V80’s (which are borrowed from the Dunu Falcon C)…and a slightly thicker and sturdier cable. 2-pin connector. $12 cheaper for no good reason.

    PHB EM-023: has the least controlled bass of the three, much less energetic treble, yet smooth and full mids, and is harder to drive…but it offers the smoothest sound at higher volumes. This is the one for people who are bass and treble sensitive. Also cheaper but with a much bigger accessories package, although the two (!) included cables are not braided. MMCX connector.

    Out of competition...BQEYZ K2: same interior, different faceplate and tuning. Nobody appears to have heard both side by side, but from descriptions and frequency response graphs it appears that the K2 has a more prominent bass and therefore a slightly more recessed midrange. The treble differences are less clear (frequency response curves are not conclusive) and I speculate the treble is essentially identical.

    BQEYZ.JPG
    Table provided by BQEYZ.

    K2.png
    Frequency response graph provided by BQEYZ upon request.

    superposed.jpg
    Crude overlay in powerpoint. Handle with care.

    Concluding Remarks

    What I like about the BQEYZ KC2 and its contenders is that you get a great sounding and sturdy earphone for less than $50, good enough as a daily driver outside the house, be it on the commute or travel. In such noisy environments you would not get a huge advantage from much more expensive earphones…however losing them could be infinitely more costly. This category strikes a good balance between cost and benefit.

    But, choices, choices…it is getting so crowded with very good earphones in the <$50 segment that it is increasingly difficult to clearly recommend one model over another. The BQEYZ KC2 is yet another winner and particularly well suited for people who like a smooth and balanced sound and who don’t like an overly heavy bass. It is also for those who prefer a two-pin connector over MMCX. And quite frankly, if you asked me which one the best earphone below or at $50 is, I could not give you a clear answer. But the BQEYZ KC2 is certainly a contender and another one nobody will regret having. Definitely respect for this one, BQEYZ.

    You can get it from the NiceHCK Audio Store.

    last.jpg
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Otto Motor
      Good question: the T2 is technically different as it has two dynamic drivers...and it is its own beast in terms of sound as it is strictly neutral and - for many people "flat" and sterile sounding. It is simply unique.

      I will have to test the T2 for separation etc. in comparison but the KC2's overall presentation is somewhat warmer.

      It has been difficult enough to compare the ones used in the review...my memory of sound is rather poor when A/B-ing.
      Otto Motor, Aug 26, 2018
    3. NymPHONOmaniac
      Wow....Otto, remember the time were you were very severe about IEM....I guess this time is gone. Wonder why hehe (i know but whatever this is headfi) TRN V80 are brighter but better if I understand properly??????
      NymPHONOmaniac, Oct 21, 2018
    4. Otto Motor
      @Nymphonomaniac: simple reason...I have been banned from 2 major threads since mid May. The people in charge appear to have me on their blacklist. Not much I can do.
      Otto Motor, Oct 21, 2018
  4. DocHoliday
    Welcome to the club!
    Written by DocHoliday
    Published Feb 14, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Very comfortable,
    Great build quality
    Natural sound
    Relatively inexpensive
    Good cable
    Balanced sound signature
    Cons - Not much to complain about at the $50 price point
    20190123_120558-1 (0).jpg

    My sincere thanks to Elle Zhou at BQEYZ for reaching out to get my feedback on the BQEYZ product line.

    Full disclosure:
    I've no affiliation with BQEYZ and receive no remuneration for the review other than retaining the review sample. I receive no remuneration or kickbacks for any included links.

    As of February 2019 I've been sampling Budget-Fi in-ear monitors for approximately 15 years. The very first set of in-ears I purchased was the very warm sounding Philips SHE9500.

    SHE9500_27-APP-global-001.jpg

    Back in 2004 or 2005 "most" of the earphones that were packaged with phones and/or mp3 players (that I sampled) had an anemic low end response which meant that the ambient low end frequencies from planes, trains or automobiles whizzing by would simply overpower the low frequencies in my music; being a complete novice at the time, my pendulum swung to the dark side, the SHE9500. I still own one final set out of the three or four sets I had purchased back in the day.

    From that point forward I have always preferred my in-ear monitors to have a slight lift in the lower frequencies so I could hear EVERYTHING at all times regardless of my environmental setting. As my tastes and preferences have developed over the years a slight lift in the upper frequency range (to compliment and/or counterbalance the lift in the lower frequencies) became...."more appreciable". I still remember the day I learned my lesson about poorly tuned bass canons. It was the very day that I sampled the Klipsch Image One (first generation) headphones.

    2019-02-14-08-01-02-1176075379.jpg

    The Klipsch Image One(i) bass bled past the midrange and into the treble. I didn't think that was possible but the Image One's mountain of bass forced everything else into submission. From that point forward my pendulum swung back in the other direction but it never stopped or rested over dead center. I preferred my in-ear monitors to have not only a lift in the lower frequencies but now an additional lift in the upper frequencies. The sense of micro-detail, air and clarity took on new meaning for me. I was growing.

    But what about a more "balanced" approach to tuning?

    About me:
    I tend to prefer a relatively neutral sound signature with a slight emphasis in both bass and lower treble, which is basically a mild "U" shaped sound signature where midrange frequencies are left intact and unaffected. I find that an absolute neutral sound signature usually lacks enough energy for the genres I enjoy most, which are Classic Trance and Progressive (early Tiesto, Markus Schulz, Otello, DT8 Project), Chill Out, Breakbeat (Hybrid & Burufunk Remixes) and 80's & 90's (New Order, Secession, The Cure, Siouxie & The Banshees, Depeche Mode). Sure I listen to Verve Remixed, Sade, Bach, Ella Fitzgerald and everything in between, but as of late the bulk of my listening pleasure is focused on the aforementioned genres.

    About IEMs:
    Take note when you read IEM reviews that when the reviewer gives his/her opinion regarding the sound that there are many factors that shape the final sound an IEM delivers to one's ear.

    Those factors include:
    1 - Shape & size of reviewer's ear canals. (shallow/deep, wide/narrow)
    2 - Shape & size of eartips (round/cone, single, double or triple flange)
    3 - Materials of eartips (silicone/foam)
    4 - Shape of IEM (and/or angle of nozzle) can cause fitment issues for some.
    5 - Source (quality of DAC in smartphone, laptop, digital audio player)
    6 - Source (power rating) is it amplified/unamplified.
    7 - The IEM itself (driver flex/trapping air in canal causing muffled sound.
    8 - The Reviewers ability to hear all frequency ranges (age plays a factor).

    Most consumers are unaware of how much weight each of these factors hold in rendering a final verdict. This is why there is such a wide variance in not only ratings, but the description of an IEMs sound. An unaware consumer purchases a perfectly fine IEM but has difficulty keeping the IEM in the ear or he/she does not satisfactorily seal the ear canal with the included silicone eartips (this is a common occurrence) and the consumer summarily dismisses the IEM as sub par. Another consumer purchases the same IEM but experiences a perfect fit and seal and has nothing but praise for the same IEM. Sealing the ear canals AND HAVING THE EARTIP FIRMLY AFFIXED to the IEM nozzle is the only proper way to use in-ear monitors. I can think of no audio equipment that is subjected to such praise or ridicule as the in-ear monitor. As if that's not enough, there is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to IEM eartips.

    Materials (silicone/foam) have different dampening effects on final sound.
    Shape of the eartips (olive-shaped, cone-shaped or other-shaped) can have different dampening effects on final sound based on how much space is between the IEM nozzle and your eardrum and how well the eartip has sealed the ear canal.
    The aperture of the eartip's opening (wide-bore/narrow-bore) will have dampening effects on the final sound.

    The easiest way for you to experience the different effects I am discussing is to take your current on-ear headphones or over-ear headphones, pick a song full of energy, put the earphones on and let them sit naturally over or on your ears. Listen to the music for two minutes. After two minutes, using your hands, slightly press the headphones closer to your eardrums. Notice the change in the sound. Is there more/less bass? Is there more/less treble? Did the vocals slightly slip forward/back?

    Consider that on-ear and over-ear headphones have a driver that sits approximately 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from your eardrums and by pressing the headphones 1/4" closer to your eardrums the sound changed. Now consider that an IEM driver sits anywhere from 3/4" to 1/4" from your eardrums and the slightest changes (angle, depth, shape, material) can have up to three times more of an effect due to the proximity of the IEM to the eardrum.

    For this reason, I think it is wise to invest a nominal dollar amount on different eartips to find an eartip that works well for your particular ear's anatomy. This way you experience everything the earphone tuner intended for you to experience. Some IEM manufacturers supply multiple sizes (S/M/L) and/or materials (silicone/foam) of eartips to increase the odds that the consumer achieves a satisfactory seal, but even this is not foolproof. If this information holds any interest for you, there are a plethora of aftermarket eartip brands to look into, such as "JVC Spiral Dots", "Spinfits", "Comply Foam Eartips" or "Znari Foam Eartips", "Creative Aurvana" and others. If you really want to fine tune things, then you might find yourself doing what I do, which is scouring Amazon for inexpensive earphones that appear to have silicone eartips that have a shape that typically work well with my ear's anatomy.

    My Ears:
    You should also know a little bit about my ears since yours may differ. Below I have included two images. One image of an ear canal of typical length and the other image showing a more shallow ear canal. My ear canals resemble the more shallow of the two.

    10188260.png

    10188261.jpg

    Keep this in mind when reading this review. I have no scientific evidence to back this up but I'd bet that ear canal length can play a part when it comes to resonance hotspots.


    Some of my favorite silicone eartips are the Tennmak Whirlwind eartips.

    10187541.jpg

    https://www.amazon.com/Replacement-...nd+eartips&dpPl=1&dpID=51Sqh-+7i0L&ref=plSrch

    The BQEYZ KC2:

    31IzpVEGYIL._AC_SY400_.jpg

    The first time I saw photo images of BQEYZ line up I was impressed with their decision to fashion their IEM housings in sturdy and light metal. My initial impression was that the K2, KC2, BQ3, etc. looked a bit bulky and uncomfortable. That was my first mistake. The KC2, with its rounded corners, sits comfortably in my outer ear with no pressure points (up, down, inside or out) to complain about. Once I insert them I almost forget that they are there. Looks can be deceiving so don't let the photo images scare you off. These are very comfortable in-ears.

    61eb6mFUFKL._AC_SL1500_-1.jpg

    Upon viewing the photo images of the detachable cable my initial thought was that I would need to upgrade the cable. My thinking was "high-end metal finish on the IEM but low-rent plastic connector for the cable". For the most part, this was my second mistake. I still think that BQEYZ should fashion a rectangular or more squared METAL housing for their connectors because the plastic connector "looks" somewhat pedestrian but the cable itself leans more toward being supple when you compare it to what is typically packaged with most $50+/- in-ears. In addition, there are many KZ models (AS10, ZS10 , ZSA, BA10, etc.) that would benefit from a redesigned "metal-finished square 2-pin connector".

    The 90° 3.5mm jack and "y-split" strain relief seem sturdy enough to sustain long-term abuse and BQEYZ was thoughtful enough to include a cable cinch.

    What about packaging? There was minimal effort employed here but I really don't care about "purdy" packaging, so....basic eartips (S, M & L), cable and earphones.

    Thus far, BQEYZ is off to a good start. They got their foot in the door with a well-designed in-ear with a decent cable. Take note though,l those who are aware of the massive shift taking place in Chi-Fi right now are actively engaged in tip-rolling and cable upgrading. My point being that including a great cable and multiple sets of eartips would be great but many of us have learned not to expect much in accessories at the $50 price point so I won't be complaing about the no-frills packaging. If the IEM in question is worth keeping then you can personalize said IEM by scrolling through and purchasing one of the many, many choices on AliExpress or Amazon. Upgrade cables can be purchased for as little as seven dollars or well in to the hundreds of dollars. A $50 in-ear, a $20 cable and $1 eartip can sometimes sound as good or better than most of the "off-the-shelf" stock at your nearby big box store (cough, cough - BestBuy - cough)

    At any rate, the cable is good; the eartips....not so much.

    Done.


    Sound:

    20190123_121828 (0).jpg

    Once you take a listen to the KC2 it becomes clear that this is where BQEYZ focused their attention. They have foregone the flowery packaging and placed their focus on the most important part of the equation; sound.

    I opened this particular review with statements about my history and preferences because I thought you should know how the BQEYZ KC2 and a few other notable Budget-Fi models have effected my preferences.

    My favorite Budget-Fi IEM for the last 18 months has been the KZ ZS6. I love it's airy and energetic nature. The ZS6 is infamous for its 10khz treble extension but I don't have an issue with it. Do keep in mind that I have shallow ear canals so insertion depth and higher frequency resonances may be different for your ears.

    Initially, I thought I'd compare the KC2 with the ZS6 since both models are at the $50+/- price point, have well-designed metal housings, detachable cables and sport a 2+2 configuration....

    KC2
    615QjuCixWL._AC_SL1500_-1.jpg

    ZS6
    41hU+gLvkOL._AC_SY400_.jpg

    ....but the truth is that the more appropriate BQEYZ comparison to the ZS6 would be BQEYZ' own K2 model as opposed to this KC2. The sound signature of the ZS6 and K2 have more in common due to their slight lift in the lower frequencies. This KC2 on the other hand is more comparable to something like the Tin Audio T2 which I do not own. This KC2 offers a more balanced approach with no one frequency taking the lead unless the bass has a light footprint in the recording; that is when the midrange becomes more forward on the KC2.

    As stated earlier in this review I tend to enjoy IEMs with a slight lift in the lower and upper frequencies. The BQEYZ KC2 does not fit that mold. Bass, mid-bass, lower midrange, upper-midrange and lower treble are evenly distributed across the frequency range.

    In essence, the three main areas that the KC2 differs from the ZS6 are

    1) Soundstage depth
    2) Bass response
    3) Treble response

    These differences were clearly evident when listening to OceanLab's "Miracle (Above & Beyond Remix)". Once I detected the difference in depth and impact of the bass hit at the 3:17 mark...



    ... I knew that the KC2 was tuned for a completely different audience. Indeed, the KC2 was tuned for those whom have a preference for a more balanced approach. For the moment, I'll stay focused on the KC2's stock sound signature but later on I'd like to return to an "unorthodox" (or apples to oranges) comparison as well.

    In the meantime...

    Bass:

    Bass is clean and quick, leaning more toward a dry presentation which works well for an in-ear monitor striving for a balanced sound signature. This sense of restraint allows the mid and upper frequencies to breathe and expand on the KC2; this became clear when comparing the KC2 to BQEYZ' own K2 while listening to The Police's "Roxanne". If you own both models you'll note that lead vocals and background vocals are slightly more vivid on the KC2.



    The sub-bass does roll off but the mid-bass delivers a nice clean punch. It's not quite as visceral as I prefer but "visceral" is not the KC2's aim here. There is discernable separation between mid-bass and the waning sub-bass with ne'er a hint of blurring when sampling Sarah McLachlan's "Ice (Dusted Mix)".



    Bass is clean (if slightly dry).


    Midrange:

    Midrange timbre is also admirable with good weight and density for both male and female vocals. There were times that I thought that the delivery was a bit smoothed over but the fault was to be laid at the feet of the recordings and not the KC2. Transparency and clarity is altogether evident in recordings such as Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" or either of Simon & Garfunkle's "Sound Of Silence" recordings. Pay close attention to both recordings because the presentations are decidedly different. Note which recording sounds as though you are actually in the studio with the artists. I know that hearing spittle is an ongoing joke in IEM reviews but it's odd that you can actually hear it just before the first words are spoken on one of the recordings





    I enjoyed the natural presentation of both Nat King Cole and Nellie Flutcher's "Can I Come In For a Second". Guitars and drums are lifelike and vivid while vocals remain transparent and clear in the recording.



    The KC2 delivers a rich and smooth midrange.


    Treble:

    The KC2 effectively eliminates upper midrange stridency and lower treble pierce. But how? They've simply scooped/recessed the troublesome areas above the 4500hz area and below the 11000hz area. Drawing down this troublesome region can have a veil-like or dulling effect on vocals if the drawdown is too severe but there is always a trade off isn't there? Finding a good balance can be tricky. Get it wrong and community feedback in the forums can kill an IEMs chance of survival very quickly. Get it right and an IEM can hover above the sea of Chi-Fi that are clawing for recognition below. I believe that BQEYZ made the right choice. It was a "safe" choice but a good choice nonetheless.

    The KC2 eschews the sparkle present in the ZS6 but that's no surprise since treble seems to be the new four-letter-word in all the IEM forums. Well-tamed upper frequencies would likely have given the KC2 more realism in the overall sound signature. I'm hoping that the BQ3 or perhaps another BQEYZ model will have that extra dose of sparkle and realism that I am missing on the KC2. The "sparkle" of the bells/triangles in Toni Braxton's "He Wasn't Man Enough" were definitely missing. On Basement Jaxx "Stay Close" the percussion up top on the right should contribute to a sense of air but the treble roll off does shackle the KC2's sense of realism.




    Just keep in mind that these comments are coming from a treble junkie. I do understand that some folks simply can't abide the amount of micro-detail that I and my shallow ear canals enjoy.

    This micro-detail junkie misses it. 'Nuff said.


    Soundstage:

    The KC2 has a very good but not stellar sense of air along with its very good but not stellar ability to layer. The layering is good but it's mostly hindered by the KC2's average soundstage depth. More soundstage depth would give the KC2 a more dynamic presentation. Again, I'm hoping that BQEYZ' own BQ3 or other model will tick the "soundstage depth" box for me.

    To my ears the soundstage has above average width (using wide-bore silicone eartips) but only average depth. I find that soundstage depth can really transform an in-ear monitor if all other requisite ingredients (controlled bass, rich midrange and smooth treble) are present. Shallow soundstage depth can hinder an IEMs ability to really shine by limiting the overall delivery to a somewhat two dimensional presentation. Just one man's opinion, mind you.


    What about response to EQ?

    Your reward for sticking with me thus far is that all of the innuendos (relegating the KC2 as a fine al'round staple in-ear monitor) get turned on their head once EQ is introduced! If your DAP has a very good EQ then you will find out just how well the KC2 responds to it.

    Everything was just fine in stock form but with the KC2 plugged in to my Cowon Plenue I hit "BBE" and the KC2 literally became just as exciting as my ZS6.....and you know just how much I love my ZS6. I own three sets and have a set being modded by a respected Head-Fi member. The KC2 running through Cowon's "BBE" just opened them up and it just stunned me. Better bass texture and impact, slightly wider soundstage and even a slight improvement in depth; not ZS6 depth but man, oh man the KC2 came alive. They almost went 3D on me and I didn't see that in the cards at all. I don't usually use EQ but I'll definitely use Cowon's BBE with the KC2 because the KC2 jumped to "superstaaaa" status for a $50+/ in-ear monitor. To be fair though Cowon's EQ is quite extensive. You can tweak your music with an almost infinite number of setups.


    Summary:

    Tuning is carefully measured to deliver everything whilst never overstepping. The bass avoids boom. The midrange avoids shrill behavior and the treble avoids pierce. The KC2 gives you most of the detail available JUST SHY of where things tend to get dicey on most Budget-Fi models. The Tin Audio T2, which I do not own, has occasionally been labeled as a bit bright for the treble-sensitive listener. I'll go out on a limb here and say that BQEYZ' "safer" tuning keeps the treble extension at bay on the KC2. This was clearly evident when sampled multiple genres, particularly jazz (trumpets), classical (baroque with trumpets) and EDM. Treble is politely detailed.

    With all of that said, I must say that my appreciation has grown for a well-thought-out balanced in-ear monitor. The KC2 is more than sufficient for those of you that prefer a balanced approach. It is also a great choice for those of you who are handy with a proper EQ. I'm not necessarily handy with an EQ but you can still place me in the latter category. I just press the "BBE" button and blood starts pumpin'.

    $50 goes a long way in 2019.

    BQEYZ has only recently entered the Budget-Fi market but they've come out swinging.

    Welcome to the club BQEYZ!

    Looking forward to more of your work.

    I'll be posting my review of the BQEYZ K2 before long so stay tuned.


    In the meantime....

    Pick up the KC2 at Amazon or AliExpress for approximately $50 (+/- $10)

    Amazon:
    https://www.amazon.com/Drivers-Earphones-Headset-Isolating-Detachable/dp/B07GWY7YNJ?th=1&psc=1

    AliExpress:
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.aliexpress.com/item/32901184803.html

    Hope this was helpful.

    Doc
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