KB EAR KS2 - Reviews
Pros: Big soundstage, Basshead might enjoy them, lightweight and comfortable, easy to drive
Cons: Poor resolution and imaging, thin hollow mids, sloppy attack, grainy treble, lack of accuracy, can get messy with busy or fast tracks (slow attack again), lack of sparkle=splashy treble instead, etc
KBear KS2: The 26th mesmerizing review
SOUND: 6.5/10
CONSTRUCTION&DESIGN:6.5/10
PACKAGING&ACCESSORIES:6.5/10
VALUE:6.5/10
KBEAR is an audio company from China that tend to diversify their earphones offering, making their hands on different tuning configuration, for the better or the worst.
Unlike company like TRN or KZ that mostly create hybrid or multi-BA IEM, Kbear take more risk and have lauch single Dynamic IEM as well as Hybrid, Single BA and even planar-magnetic Hybrid.

Lately, this company have evolve in temrof tuning expertise, the Kbear Diamond and KB04 being good exemple of well balanced and refined tuning.

But perhaps all of this was due to luck? Or the peculiar tuners they use?

Now an ultra affordable newcomer appear from no where, and no, it isn’t a follow up of the acclaimed ”house sound” incarnate by Diamond and KB04 crisp tonality. It’s call KS2 and score a 10mm ”biological” dynamic driver plus a ”custom” balanced armature.

Let’s see in this rather critical review if this new hybrid earphones stand out of the overcrowded sub-50$ Chi-Fi IEM.

You can buy the KS2 directly from official KBear store HERE.

DISCLAIMER: It seems lot of KBear planes drop KS2 review samples cargo from the sky around the globe, and one inadvertently falls in my mailbox. Did'nt ask for it. It was there. And it wasn't a second pair of KB04, which I would have been proud to give to an audiophile friend, unlike the KS2.


SPECS

Drivers type: 1 DD of 10mm (biological diaphragm + PU) + 1 BA custom.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 106±3dB.
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Connector Jack: 3.5mm.
  • Capsule Connection Type: 0.78mm 2Pin.
PACKAGING&ACCESSORIES

Little box with nothing other than a basic cable and 3 pair of ear tips. Cable is just decent and similar to the one included with TRN iem.

CONSTRUCTION

2 pieces of cheap thick plastic stick togheter with a metal nozzle. 2Pin connector is made of cheap looking plastic too. They are very light and quite comfortable. Construction seem very similar to KZ ZST.

SOUND
OBJECTIVIST IMPRESSIONS

The KS2 is a typical V shape
signature, with warm bass and mids and bright treble. Tonality is decently balanced while the technicalities are on par or inferior to other sub-20$ IEM. Overall sound is thickly cohesive.


SOUNDSTAGE is wide with good tallness but very poor deepnest. You are near the scene with the KS2, which deliver an in-your-face spatiality.


IMAGING is bad, messy and not precise. It feel veiled in mid range and muddy in definition. It’s veryr hard to pin point exact instrument position because some of them become siamese by sticking too much togheter.


BASS is very boosted, to bass head level but the slam is warm and lack proper articulation, so sub-bass line are sloppy and lack proper space. As well, sub bass swallow the kick punch with notable bleed on lower mid range, this make very hard to heard the kick singularity in music that have autorithative bass line. Timbre isn’t very textured. Attack is rather slow and lack thighness. In bassy track, the low end take the front seat as if the sub woofer was 1 meter distance in front of 2 bookshelf speakers.


MIDS are recessed as expected with immature V shape IEM. Vocal are dry and grainy, but female vocal are clear enough to be hearable, male vocal tends to overly be veil by bass. Timbe is thin, presentation is shouty and have sibilance. Vocal tonality is not well balanced due to upper mids push and lack of lower mids to round their body. With busy tracks, the mid range became fastly congested and messy. Definition is vague and lack proper attack edge.


TREBLE is quite splashy and easily go berzerk with fast music. When you shake too much a can of coke the exploding sound it make remind me of KS2 treble. It’s not well define, lack control, and have sparkling upper highs to try to distract you from lower and mid treble mess. This is sure the brightest part of KS2 as well

SUBJECTIVIST APPRECIATON

When I receive those, I wasn’t excited due mostly to it’s cheap look, I mean, compared to the KB04 thick metal construction these look so KZ’ish, so ‘’Made in China’’ in the worst sens of the word. Another aspect that make me less excited is the fact these wasn’t tuned by same competent team used fo Kbear Diamond and KB04 models. So, I put these in my ears and go on my bike….and this whole 15min ride I have a sweaty ‘’yuck face’’that just won’t go until I put these out of my ears and plan to never touch it again. But, I’m a faithful guy and feel bad to not review them, strangely my proof of respect to Kbear isn’t necesseraly a positive thing here, because it’s quite evident I hate the KS2. The only way I can endure them is by making my ears dumb and getting lost into warm dense wide boomy musicality. This can work until I try to pick up an instrument, listen to it’s tone and I’m like damn the violin sound like a cello and cello like a bassoon! What do I listen at exactly? Even electronic sound saturated and hollow in definition, you do not have any air between instrument and this go worst with bassy music. Basshead IEM then? Well, a bad one to be honnest because the bass is super elevated but slow and sloppy, it’s like a big mac falling on another big mac. Their no flexibility and both extension are lacking control for proper articulation. The thing is that these aren’t an agression in the over bright or too sharp sens of the words, its not the treble that kill me here, it’s just the whole obese floppy tonality. That’s fast food for audio enthusiast that aren’t aware of technicalities or tonal rightness, and if you put to off your basic critical listening skill, I guess we can say the KS2 is decent boomy fun.

COMPARISONS

VS Kbear KB04 (around 25$)


In my opinion, the KB04 is among best sub-50$ IEM money can buy right now and it’s a shamet hey aren’t more actively praised. These are near opposite sounding than KS2.
SOUNDSTAGE is slightly less wide but notably deeper, IMAGING is sharper, more accurate and precise. BASS is less boosted, clearer with moremid bass punch and better separation and texture, it’s notably faster and thigher too. KS2 bass is warmer, muddier with poorer resolution and sloppier slam. MIDS are cleaner and more fowards with better transparency and fuller timbre, the attack is way faster and snappier too and the KB04 can dealwith complex track, when Iplay same jazz rocktrack with lot of instrument including synth and electrric guitar, the KS2 sound like a complete mess where the mids is crumppled between invasive muddy sub bass and splashy treble, the KB04 play this very same track in a more neutral way, with good articulation and accuracy and I can actually discernr every instrument including the kick drum which was erased by sub bass of KS2. TREBLE again is more refined, leaner and more extended with the KB04, it’s less grainy and bright as well as better controled and way less splashy. KS2 sound overly unbalanced and doesn’t deliver high clarity and air of KB04, as well, KB04 extract alot more micro-details in a realist way.


All in all, if the KS2 can hardly compete with sub-20$, the KB04 can easily compete with sub-100$ IEM due to it’s better technicalities, more refined and balanced tonality. It sincerly is from another league, I would not be shamefull to suggest it to a serious audiophile unlike the immature boomy KS2.


VS Kbear KB06 (30$)


This model form Kbear doesn’t get the attention it deserve, as they are quite competent for a super budget hybrid.


SOUNDSTAGE is more intimate, less wide and tall but way deeper, IMAGING is from another league, precise and clean with more amount of sound layers. BASS is way leaner and less boosted, more textured and controlled with more mid bass than sub bass emphasis. MIDS are more fowards but smoother, with more realist timbre and better attack grip, it’s way cleaner too and can deal with busy track with faster technicalities. TREBLE extend more, is more sparkly and snappy, more balanced, not splashy like the messy KS2, it’s more airy too.


The KB06 is a well balanced W shape tuning with bright tonality from low to highs while the KS2 is a V shape boombox that is way less versatile due to it’s poor technicalities.

CONCLUSION

While I admit this review is intensely critical about overal sound and technicalities of a 20$ cheapies earphones, this is due to my pumped up expectation from a company I learn to respect over the time because of a more mature and refined target tuning they find by experimenting more precise tonal balance.


The KS2 is a stepback in the ol’chi’fi days where everything were too V shape or too bright, in other words, too amateurish to offer a versatile tonal balance that can be respected by both serious (open minded) audiophile and distinguishing music lover that need high enough resolution. It’s warm, boomy, grainy and shouty with a laid back feel due to hollow resolution and I highly suggest you to skip these and buy either the KBear KB04 or older KB06 if you need a well articulated sound. There plenty of better IEM at this price, this is the crual fact.


Another fact is: KBear is capable of creating way better IEM and I still have high hope about them. Just take your time with tuning dear, it really worth it.
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Pros: Confortable and good fit with the stock tips
Bass punch
Price
Friendly communication with KBear
Cons: Built quality
Recessed mediums
Too V-shaped for my taste
Stock cable
24 reviews before these very short impressions of mine already manage to give the potential buyer every bit of information available on the KS2. Still, here is my contribution.

Disclaimer: Wendy from KBear contacted me last spring and asked if I would like to review the KS2. They sent me a pair for free against my impressions. Thanks for that KBear. Much appreciated.

Soundwise, let's say that this IEM plays just a bit above of its price point, but it's not very much asking. Punchy bass that will satisfy those listening to modern music genres or liking a (very) V-shape sound signature. Mediums are way too recessed for my taste. Treble is ok, with a decent extension, it can become a bit aggressive at times, especially if the recording calls for it, but nothing really bad here.

The built quality is quite disappointing. The right shell started to break after 2 weeks of careful use. The IEM is still usable, but it won't pass the test of time. The stock cable unfortunately is not very good, but I had no expectation here. I replaced it with an ISN S8:

K2.jpg


The confort is where the KS2 impressed me and that's the reason why I am giving 3 stars and not 2.5. The stock tips are more than correct and I managed to get a firm fit with good isolation. Well done!

So, buy it or not? Unless you have a very tight budget and you are a V-shape signature aficionado for your everyday listening sessions, it's difficult for me to recommend the KS2, especially because of the built quality. I would save a bit more money and get an IEM from the crowded USD 40 - 80.- segment, which matches your sound preference. You should notice the improvement. I think KBear has such offering available.
Last edited:
KBear KS2 - another budget option, but does it beat KB04?
Pros: Good build, comfortable for long wear, good vocal tonality
Cons: Driver decay very slow and impacts performance, can be strident


disclaimer: KBear volunteered the KS2 for review and graciously sent them. I have no financial interest in KBear or any of its resellers, nor have they had any input into the content of this review. If you have an interest in KBear, please see their facebook page or Aliexpress store.

Unboxing / Packaging:

Those familiar with the typical small white slip-cover style box will immediately recognize the packaging. Image and name on front, specs on rear of slip cover. Inside, the box, we have the earpieces nestled in foam at the top and a box containing accessories beneath. The kit contains the earpieces, cable, and four sets of silicone tips. Tips are 1 small, 2 medium, and 1 large pair. Remember this is a budget in-ear designed as an improved replacement for smartphone audio with a retail around 20 USD so an extended kit is not expected.




Build/Fit:

The Ks2 uses a very familiar formula with resin shells in 3 parts. The face plate and inner shell are a green co-polymer with a brass nozzle. Faceplates are darker and a bit more opaque than the body with allows the internals to be viewed. The shell is the quasi triangle shape with the nozzles exiting the lowest point and the bi-pin connector exiting the top front. While the shell shape is very common, the KS2 is thinner than many in this style and fit is quite comfortable as it sits more in than on the ear. Nozzles have both a forward and upward rake with a pronounced lip for tip retention. A single vent over the center of the dynamic driver is visible on the under side of the shell. Fit and polish are good with seams tightly sealed and no glue, gaps, or slop. Earpieces are marked KS2 and L/R on the upper surface.




Internals:

The heart of the KS2 is a 10mm dynamic driver with a composite diaphragm and a a single customized balanced armature. The dynamic drivers sits in the main shell while the BA rides in the nozzle. Nominal impedance is listed as 16Ω with a sensitivity of 106 dB/mW. KBear warns that the KS2 was designed for smartphone use and will not benefit from more potent sources. I found this to be true as more powerful sources led to more distortion in the low end as volumes increased. The good news is it does well with smartphones and tablets and you don’t seem to lose much qualitatively as you move down in power.



Cable:

This is a very familiar cable by this point. Those familiar with KB budget offerings will recognize the cable immediately and nothing has changed from previous generations. The south end has the 3.5mm 90º jack with almost no strain relief before the brown 4 strand copper double helix cable exits. The Y shaped plastic splitter is entirely too low on the cable especially with no chin slider provided. Above the splitter a pair of 2 strand twists head north to the preformed earhooks. Connectors are .78mm bi-pin in a squared off hood.




Sound:


Bass:

The Ks2 has a very elevated sub-bass before the mid-bass begins to fall back a bit. The sub-bass has good rumble but is a bit loose as the driver seems to have a slower than average decay. The mid-bass while not as elevated really shows off the lack of driver speed and contributes a good bit of mid-bass bleed into the lower mids as a result. Overall the Ks2 packs a lot of low-end into the mix and performs best with hip-hop and EDM but it won’t satisfy those looking for a lot of bass texture as typically found in string bass or orchestral pieces. Not surprising as the K2s target audience was more the former than the later groups.

Mids:

Lower mids are somewhat obstructed by mid-bass bleed and come across as increasingly recessed as you move up toward the true mids. Guitar tonality is fairly realistic although the slow decay is still evident. Vocals are not accentuated and sometimes fall behind the remaining instrumentation a bit but do have good tonality and texture. If volume is pushed a bit to compensate, it brings vocals up a bit but also increases stridency in the process. The boost in the upper-mids introduces sibilance if the source material has any leaning in that direction anyway. Strings have a bit too much energy as well and tonality comes across as a bit thin and hot on violin as a result. Ultimately the Ks2 is not a mid-centered in-ear and will do well with EDM or house that don’t focus on vocals heavily.

Treble:

Lower treble is emphasized before dropping back as you reach the true treble where it falls back to roughly the level of the mids. I think this saves the Ks2 from becoming really sibilant at times as it doesn’t have the energy to get really fatiguing in the 8-9kHz range. Treble clarity is good, but detail is only average. Snare rattle is good while cymbals can be a bit metallic. Extension is fairly good with a roll-off becoming evident only above about 12kHz. The treble has enough energy to feel open and does exhibit some air.

Soundstage/Imaging:

This is one place the KS2 really excels. Soundstage is larger than average with good depth and width. Height is limited but more than expected in the price class. Seating the orchestra is somewhat difficult as instrument separation is below average and several overlaps of instruments result. I think the driver speed is the biggest issue in the Ks2 as it contributes to the lack of separation, the bleed, and the compression heard as tracks get busier. Layering is average with some of the mentioned compression as tracks get more complex. Imaging is acceptable, but imprecise and while movement is easily discerned, exact placements are less so.


Thoughts/Conclusion:

While it would be easy to think I don’t much care for the KS2, we have to keep in mind this is a sub-25 USD offering designed to improve on what comes with cell phones and principally designed with popular genres in mind. Within the limits of that envelope, the KS2 can perform well and does indeed work best with popular genres where tracks are not overly complex and instrumentation is kept to a handful of voices. While it wont replace the KB04 was my recommendation in the sub-25 market, I can see many enjoying it as an entry level in ear.
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Dime a Dozen
Pros: Lightweight, comfortable fit
- Those who prefer pronounced bass will like the low-end here
- Good soundstage for the price (not the best, IMO)
Cons: Bass bleeds into lower-mids
- Scooped lower-midrange and peaky upper mids results in raspy male-vocals
- Tendency to get shouty and sibilant (unholy combo)
- Not very detailed despite the pronounced upper frequencies
- KB04 exists and is better in almost every regard for just $3 more
IMG_8291.JPG


This review originally appeared on my blog.

Yet another budget hybrid, you can never have enough of them after all.

KBEar has released the KS2 just a few months after releasing the KB04 (which I hope to review soon). Both of them are 1BA + 1DD hybrids. They are also priced fairly closely ($22 vs $25 respectively). This saturation of their own product range amuses me, but let’s just judge the KS2 in isolation.

Is it another budget hybrid that’s about to get lost in the sea? Or shall it endure the tidal waves?


Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. Wendy Li of KBEar was kind enough to send out a review unit. Disclaimer

Sources used: LG G7, iPhone SE
Price, while reviewed: $22. Can be bought from
KBEar AliExpress store.

IMG_8293.JPG



Build: The entire IEM shell is plastic with the ever-popular pseudo-custom shape. It does look and feel fragile, even though the finish in general is pretty good for the price (cutouts are precise, vents are well drilled, shell-joints are smooth). The nozzle is metal fortunately and has an angled lip to grip onto tips along with facilitating a secure fit.

There are two vents on the inner-side, placed on the same axis. Channel markings are on the side of the shell. The 2-pin connectors protrude from the shell unfortunately and should be handled with care.

So yeah, at this price, I can’t complain with the build, fit and finish but KBEar themselves have a metal shelled IEM for just a few bucks extra, so…
4/5

Accessories:
You get the barebones i.e. tips and cable and the IEMs themselves. No fancy extras. The tips are decent and might not need replacing. Same goes for the cable, though I did use an aftermarket cable I had lying around.
3/5

Comfort/Isolation:
Due to the pseudo-custom shape, lightweight plastic and moderate nozzle length the KS2 is very comfortable overall. Isolation is average with the stock tips but if you change to more isolation tips (e.g. Final E Type, Radius Deep Mount) isolation gets better. Also the stock tips are a bit uncomfortable for long sessions so if possible try something else (Starline tips are good on a budget).
4/5

IMG_8294.JPG



Now, onto the sound.

KBEar opted for a hybrid setup once again, with a 10mm composite diaphragm DD handling the lows and a custom BA driver (sitting in the nozzle as usual, likely the same old 30095) handling the mids/treble. Pretty much a routine driver configuration nowadays.

The KBEar KS2 has a typical V-shaped sound with boosted upper-mids and lower-treble. As a result you get this exciting sound that can get fatiguing/grating based on the track being played or your own tolerance.

Bass: KS2 has a boosted low-end, esp from 70Hz and below. So you do get the thump and rumble until 20Hz (though rumble at 20Hz is not as prominent). The bass lacks texture and turns boomy on fast-paced tracks/tracks where the bass is already boosted in mastering. For regular Pop/Rock songs it’s fine though.

Those who prefer a boosted low-end and are mostly after the thump of the bass rather than fine texture will likely be alright with the KS2’s low end. Those who want more subtlety in the bass department will be disappointed.
4/5

Mids:
The upper-mids are boosted as is very common nowadays, with the typical 2Khz and 4Khz boosts in place. This makes female vocals too upfront and higher-pitched vocals end up being shouty and fatiguing at times. There are also hints of sibilance, as can be found on Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You.

This upper-mid boost is usually felt the most in baritone vocals as the lower-mids are more recessed in comparison. As a result, baritone vocals sound husky rather than hefty, case in point: Colin Hay’s I Just Don’t Think I’ll Get Over You. String instruments also sound thin and lacks the usual reverb you’d hear in reality. In short: the usual weaknesses of such tuning manifests here again and I don’t quite get why manufacturers are adamant at continuing a clearly flawed tuning philosophy.
3/5

Treble:
The lower-treble doesn’t slope naturally and there are some peaks around 7–8KHz (depending on insertion depth). This results in sibilance and also certain instruments like violins, cello sounds peaky and tiring. The resolved detail is also nothing of note. Cymbals sound a bit splashy (a typical weakness of this particular BA driver model), just listen to The Winery Dogs’ You Saved Me to get a feel for it. KS2 doesn’t sound as splashy as certain other KZ models though so I guess that’s something.

Nonetheless, the sibilance issue rears its ugly head and lack of resolved detail despite a peaky treble is unfortunate.
3/5

Soundstage:
Soundstage height is larger than the typical budget IEM which is quite curious and definitely aids while watching movies and such. Soundstage width is moderate but stage depth is pretty poor.
3.5/5

Imaging:
Imaging is not too bad given the budget (it’s better than Tin T4 so there’s that) but it won’t knock your socks off like, say, Final E500. Instruments are placed mostly in a flat plane. Left/right separation is good but corner-imaging is pretty poor. Central imaging however is slightly better which was curious. Nonetheless, it’s a mixed bag, and there are other stuff in the price bracket that does imaging better.
3.5/5

Bang-for-Buck:
The biggest adversary of the KS2 is its own brethren: KB04. I find the KB04 to be better at every single aspect, perhaps only comfort is a bit better on the KS2. If we take into account the other options in the range KS2 doesn’t really seem like an exciting option. Alas.
2.5/5

Source and Amplification:
The KS2 runs off of everything.


Select Comparisons

vs
KBEar KB04 ($25): The KB04 costs just $5 more but is better on every aspect: build quality, bass, detail retrieval. It does suffer from the same upper-mid peak issue as the KS2 but it’s more palatable on the KB04. And the bass response is KB04’s calling card so if you’re after good bass in a budget KB04 should definitely be in your shortlist.

vs Kinera Tyr ($25): Kinera Tyr is a single micro-driver IEM and lacks the detachable cable of the KS2. Fit and finish is better on the Try along with the build of the housing, however. Tyr also comes with much better accessories. Bass is similarly boosted on the Tyr but lacks the sub-bass rumble of the KS2. It does have more textured bass with less bleeding in the lower mids. The midrange is less shouty on the Tyr and the treble is more controlled. Soundstage is similar but imaging is better on the Tyr.

Overall, the Tyr is a better choice as well if you don’t mind the non-detachable cable (you do get nice Final E-type tips).

IMG_8128.JPG



Conclusion

KBEar did impress me with the Diamond, which despite its flaws was an interesting IEM that was built like a tank. Then the KB04 showed up with some of the best bass and detail retrieval in the budget range (though I don’t like the overall tonality myself). KS2 seems like a backward step. It doesn’t differentiate itself in any manner. The tuning is generic, the design is dime-a-dozen, and worst of all its own brethren consumes it. The sound isn’t bad per se but it’s fatiguing for me and not really something I find natural or ideal for long-listening.

From my perspective, it’s back to the drawing board for KBEar. They sure can employ more palatable tunings (as evident on the Diamond) so if they can forego the tendency of putting dual 2/4KHz peaks, make the lower treble a bit less prominent and make the bass less boomy in their next release, we might have something to talk about.

For now though, there isn’t much to talk about.

Overall rating: 3/5
Review : KB EAR KS2 - That Bass~
Pros: Decent quality bass
Midbass has nice impact
Clear vocals
Cons: Highs and lows does not have enough extension
Bass tends to outshine highs
Disclaimer : This unit was sent to me by KB EAR. However, this does not affect my review of the product in any way whatsoever.

INTRO
KB EAR does have a very unique name but make no mistake, they have been making earphones for quite a while now and even have a popular models such as the KB EAR Diamond i1 and the TRI i3. This would be my first time trying something from them so this is something interesting for me. Let's look deeper into this earphone!


QUICK SUMMARY
Sound : Bass boosted, laidback upper mids and highs

This graph depicts how the earphone sounds to me

Driver : 10mm Composite diaphragm dynamic driver + 1 Balanced armature driver
Socket : TFZ 0.78mm Pin (Look like regular 2 pins but are not)
Price : 24 USD (+1 USD for microphone cable)
Where to buy it : KB EAR Official Aliexpress Store (Not affiliate link)

Suitable Genres : Songs where bass and vocals are the focus such as Rap, Hip Hop, RnB

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WHAT'S IN THE BOX

1 Set of different sized eartips (S, M, L)
1 x Medium sized eartips (on the earphone itself)
1 x KB EAR KS2
1 x 4 Core OFC high-purity pure copper cable (3.5mm; L-shaped jack)

The KS2 comes in a simple packaging, just providing the earphones, cables and eartips. I found it nice that they actually included another pair of medium eartips on the earphone itself because most users tend to lose at least one pair of eartips.

I think if you have read my reviews enough times, you would know that I like it when the packaging comes with carrying cases. So I was slightly disappointed that they did not include one in the packaging. However, for a 24 USD earphone, I can't really fault them for not having one though I have seen other similarly priced earphones that comes with one too.

The stock cable provided feels supple and is lightweight which really helps with the comfort aspect. I also like the fact that these cables have an L-shaped jack. I personally feel that this reduces the likelihood of bending the joints of the cable as it doesn't protrude much, potentially increasing the lifespan of the cables.

Overall, though the packaging is simple and does not come with much accessories, it would have been nice if a carrying case is included with the earphones. I also like that the cables have an L-shaped termination which helps with improving the lifespan of the cables.

BUILD QUALITY

The earphone is made of a plastic shell throughout and feels very light. The faceplate of the earphone is a black in color with their logo embedded within the plastic itself and the whole earphone is slightly translucent, allowing you to peek at the driver within the earphone. The earphone also has a gloss finishing, which I am not a big fan of as it attracts fingerprints.

The sockets on the earphones are not recessed and juts out, but the cable has an extra rubber housing that covers it, preventing any liquid from seeping in.

The nozzle of the earphone is also made of some kind of metal with a metal grill to prevent earwax from getting into the drivers.

Overall, I am not a big fan of the housing of the earphones, I think it could have been swapped out for a matte finishing plastic that does not attract fingerprints. However to give them some credit, the shell does feel rather sturdy despite its lightweight so that's great.

COMFORT AND ISOLATION
Despite me not being a big fan of the build quality of the earphones, I find them really comfortable to wear even for long hours. Due to how lightweight it is, the earphones feel like they are never in your ears and that is really good. On top of that, the lightweight cable never feels like it is tugging on the earphones, adding on to the comfort of the earphones.

The KS2 also does a decent job in isolating sound. While listening to music through my digital audio player, I hardly hear any external noises. Even if so, it was only very faint. I could sometimes still hear the notifications from my messaging apps on my computer but this could also be due to the fact that I do not play my music on very loud volumes too. For the most part, I do not hear much external noises.

Overall, the earphones feel really comfortable due to its lightweight and isolation is decent but depending on the volume you playback your music.

SOUND
Before I give a general overview of the sound, the setup I use to test are as follows :
DAP - Cayin N6ii (T01)
Cable - Stock (3.5mm)
Eartips - Stock

The KS2 has a bass boosted sound with clear vocals, laidback upper mids and highs. Bass is fast and midbass hits hard so you always feel that slam of the kick drums or that rumble of the bass guitar. Treble and uppermids tend to be quite tucked behind so it doesn't stand out as much but it's still audible.

Highs
Highs tend to be thick and crisp but does not have much extension and presence. Hence this would be great for people who are sensitive to treble. The highs have the least presence compared to the mids and lows.

Testing this song out with SPiCYSOL's "Mellow Yellow", you still get the crisp highs of the high hats at every beat but it tends to be overshadowed by the vocals and the bass. As a result of being overshadowed and being laidback, highs sound slightly artificial and the crashes of cymbals lack excitement. It gets further drowned out in heavier genres such as Metal and Rock thus, its not suitable for such genres.

However I noticed that since the high hats is always audible and provides that groove, I decided to try this with other genres such as Rap and RnB. The KS2 performed better for such genres and provided just enough highs for you to keep to the beat of the song. Eminem's "Mockingbird" clearly shows this, where the highs has just enough presence to maintain that beat.

Personally, I would prefer if the highs had a better extension and a bit more presence, maybe making the sound more V-shaped. Though that would make it sound more exciting, it might also make the earphones too fatiguing to listen to as the bass already has a lot of presence.

To be fair, these earphones perform pretty well in the highs as compared to other earphones at its price range. Usually earphones within this price range has too much highs and sound sibilant, but this is never the case for KS2.

Overall, the highs are crisp enough, and does not have much extension. Though laidback on most songs, the KS2 still provides enough highs for you to groove to the beat of the music.

Mids
Upper mids tend to sound similar to the highs where its more laidback than the other frequencies but lower mids and vocals tend to shine more here. Vocals surprisingly sound natural though slightly restrained when the singer belts out higher notes.

First, the upper mids. Upper mids tends to sound laidback and when listening to my usual rock songs, the snare drums tend to sound rather muted when there are more instruments in the mix. This can be heard in Frederic's "Sukiraism" where the constant snare beats are barely audible. I had to pay more attention listening out for them. The guitar solo at 2:20 to 2:30 had a similar vibe too.

However, the KS2 tends to do pretty well in the lower mids. To generalise, whenever I listen to rock songs on these, the rhythm guitar, that usually sounds laidback on other earphones that I have, have more presence here and I can hear it clearly. It usually has a nice bite to it and I tend to enjoy listening to rhythm guitars on these. Throwing any song of Frederic songs on these proved this, where rhythm is much more audible than lead guitars at most times.

Moving on to vocals, they sound quite natural and is quite forward, lacking slightly only to bass. Whichever song I threw at it, if it had vocals, it is always forward sounding and natural, which is really enjoyable.

When I was listening to Eminem's "Mockingbird", I could hear each word very clearly and never muffled. It clearly takes the center stage in almost all songs with vocals and hence I would recommend using these earphones for rap too! Diana Krall was also enjoyable on these so do give her a listen too!

However, when the singer starts singing higher notes, the KS2 don't translate that energy as well, it sounds restrained.

Overall, vocals and lower mids is more audible than upper mids. Vocals sound natural and lower mids always have that bite too, which is good for listening out for rhythm guitars too.


Lows
Now we have come to the main highlight of the KS2, its bass. The bass is the main focus of the earphone and it has a very rumbly bass due to its strong midbass impact. Bass is particularly enjoyable on these unit though it doesn't have a very deep extension.

Listening to Earth Wind Fire's "September" on these is fun; the bass really shines through in this song and sounds particularly groovy due to that fast bass and forward bass presence. Every note from the bass guitar is clear and fast which adds to the groove.

I wanted to test how the midbass was and decided to use Joe's "I Wanna Know". That intro caught me off guard because that beat just had so much impact that I wasn't expecting it to have that much slam! This song also shows how well the vocals and the bass come together on this earphone and make it shine.

I threw almost every song from Boyz II Men's Platinum Collection on it and it reproduced it really well. Vocals were clear, coupled with the bass of the song, it provides quite a depth to the song which is surprising for an earphone of this price range. I really enjoyed listening to RnB on these pair of earphones!

Another good example is Yonezu Kenshi's "Flamingo", bass is fast and snappy with a good amount of impact or slam when needed, and coupled with natural vocals, it reproduces this song well.

In conclusion, bass is the main focus of this song. With a fast and impactful bass, it reproduces RnB and Rap genres really well.

OTHER NOTES
I shall move on to the other aspects of the earphone such as imaging, soundstage and separation

Imaging
I did not get any 3D imaging from these earphones, mostly just sounds from either the left or right earphones.

Soundstage
Soundstage is slightly out of head for the highs and mids but bass is definitely within your head and always in the middle.

Separation
On first impressions, the KS2 didn't have much of a detailed separation, most of the sound comes out as one cohesive sound with the bass sounding slightly separated due to it being boosted. However, when listening closer, you can actually hear that the separation level here is between the highs, mids level. Highs usually get drowned out on the genres that I listen to, but works better with Rap and RnB. In heavier genres or songs, the sound tend to sound rather mashed up and hence I don't recommend this for heavy genre songs such as Metal.

I'm glad to have found an earphone that plays RnB well for under 50 USD because I have not heard an earphone that does it well in that price range. The only one close was the BLON BL-03 but the BL-03 was more suited for only hearing out for bass because its bass is detailed and deep but the other aspects did not go well enough for RnB. The KS2 does vocals and bass decently and blends well for me to recommend this for those genres.


CONCLUSION
With its forward, fast and impactful bass coupled with natural sounding vocals, the KB EAR KS2 got me listening to Rap and RnB more while I was reviewing it than I did this entire year thus far. I really enjoyed these genres on the KS2. If you're looking for an earphone that plays well with RnB and Rap, or just want something for bass and vocals, try the KB EAR KS2, you won't be disappointed!

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Solid Entry Level IEM
Pros: Good soundstage - Sub bass done right - Above average details and clarity
Cons: Reccessed mid - Vocal seem distant - treble timbre seem unreal
Pros:

Pricing to performance ratio
Good huge soundstage
Design wise comfortable.
Above average details and imaging
Sub bass done right - good for bass centric genre

Cons:

Artificial tone/timbre for guitar and instruments
Vocal and mids reccessed
Treble wee bit energetic or shrill especially when when not much bass in music
Cable but for the price - it's acceptable


Today I will be reviewing latest budget offering by KBear KS2 (1BA + 1Dynamic) which is priced at USD21 bought from AK Audio Store from Aliexpress .

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General Info :

1. Brand : KBear
2. Model : KS2
3. Earphone type : In Ear Monitor
4. Impedance : 16Ω
5. Plug Type : 3.5mm
6. Cable Length : 1.25m
7. Color Available : Black or Green
8. Detachble Cable : 0.78mm 2 pin Interface
9. Driver unit : 1BA+1DD hybrid driver unit

Accessories

1. 3x Pairs of Silicone Ear Tips
2. 1X Single Crystal Cooper Cable

BUILD & DESIGN

Let me just say right off the bat that by saying the packaging is basic and accessories are the bare minimum with IEM -Cable and 3 sizes of silicone tips with no IEM casse or pouch. Its a simple sliding paper box and as for me no complaint knowing that the selling price is less than USD22 where majority of the real cost goes to the making of the KBear KS2 IEM itself which kept the cost low for the purchase price.

As for the design of KS2 - its quite generic to current trend like KZ with good quality plastic resin finishing with decent cable slightly better than similar price KZ offerings. The size and fitting is good imho and also weight wise is light and comfort factor is good.

Evaluation of KS2 with the following :-

- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 phone
- Shanling Mo DAp
- AK Jr DAP
- Cayin N3 DAP
- Fiio E12 Amp


Bass:

Bass has good punch and decay with sub bass taking center stage and to me tuned just right without being overtly boomy. I'm not a bass head but rather a treble head and loves clarity and details. The overall bass is surprisingly tastefully tuned and does not bleed into the midrange or vocal and also complement with the slightly energetic treble . The only suggestion that I would recommend is that to swap the eartips to foam type and it sound better whereby the bass sounds fuller and tame the shrillness in the high.

Mids:

Vocals is clear but a wee bit recessed which makes the singer sounds distant . The end result makes the vocal sound little bit airy or thin but clarity is good. Overall the presentation is acceptable with huge soundstage and imaging.

Treble:

Treble head like me loves me some good high and it does not disappoint me and has some good energy/sounds lively. It has good amount of details and clarity but on certain instrument like guitars and horn instruments are not what I'm used to . The timbre or tone of these especially in the lower treble comes with shrillness and the instrument sounds bit sharp or thin especially guitar.

Conclusion

Seeing its a entry budget level and for the price of USD22 - its a good offering for people wanting to try start out in the Chi Fi crowded market and used it as starting point to this amazing world of IEM . Its a good everyday beater to put into the backpack and coupled with its wide soundstage and V shaped sound signature - it would be a good IEM for EDM or bass centric music and imho it would be a good IEM for movies or surfing down the rabbit hole of YouTube
Soundstage on a budget
Pros: Sophisticated Soundstage
Punchy bass
Good imaging
Dynamics
Stock tuning is on point
Treble is not harsh given the location of the BA
EQ ability
Cons: Stock cable
Note weight
Bass extension
Disclaimer: I received this pair directly from KB Ear’s Ali store in exchange for posting a review. Thanks to @WendyLi at KB Ear for the offer. I consider this to be a mini review for my own sanity. I burned these in for ~150+ hours before listening for the purposes of this review.

Buy it here: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001209302741.html?spm=2114.12010611.8148356.5.2e331640NMi8ft
Discount code: NEWKBEARKS2

Executive Summary: An excellent budget pair that gives a true taste of a highly developed Soundstage and good imaging. If you want a taste of what a good Soundstage sounds like but are very budget constrained or new to the hobby, I highly recommend picking up a set.

Overview: The KS2 is a Dynamic Driver plus one BA driver hybrid IEM. It is currently priced around $20-$25 US. At this price, it comes with basic accessories. I have bypassed the included 2 pin 3.5mm cable in lieu of needing a 4.4mm cable for accurate comparisons with my gear. It pairs nicely with pure copper cables. I’ve also bypassed the included tips in favor of my go to tips, Large KZ Starlines. Both the aftermarket cable and tips work perfectly. Overall build quality is very nice and fit is very good. They are average/small size and do not protrude out significantly from my ears. I believe this would make this pair particularly good for those who want to wear these while laying with their head on the side of a pillow.

Testing Equipment Used:
Primary: Hiby R6 Pro. Secondary: Cayin N3.
Music: My standard mix of mostly Indie, Electronic, Rock, Alternative, Shoegazer and Chillwave. I did not test with Rap or Country, as per usual. My files are a combination of mostly 320kbps MP3’s and FLAC files.

Overall Sound impressions:
Overall, the KS2 presents a punchy, V-shaped sound that is quite pleasant and not in need of any tweaking to sound good and doesn't require a lot of power. It is well tuned to maximize it's capabilities. Bass is tight and on the fast side (versus Rumbly/slower), extension is not the best and will require EQ/DSP too reach into the 20-40hz range and have rumble. Mids are pleasantly located right in the middle between recessed and forward. Some people state this as meaning that you sound like you’re a couple of rows back in the audience of a show (Sure, why not?)…. I don’t find these to be as V-shaped as others have stated, certainly not to the extent of something like the TRN V90 or KZ ZSX. The mids have nice presence but sound a bit too thin, but at the price this is the trade-off.... Treble is good in terms of extension, there is not a whole lot of sparkle, but there also is not harshness or sibilance that I detect when not using EQ/DSP. Detail is very good, and on par with the best in this price range. The bass doesn’t overwhelm as is often the case in this price range for single DD and Hybrid sets and is tuned punchy and fast but rolled off in response. The staging aspects are very, very good. They present good stereo separation and a large soundstage that sounds quite 3D and large. Imaging is good. This is the true specialty of this set and gives you a taste of what a Soundstage sounds like on much more expensive sets.

I highly recommend this pair to those starting out. It is a great pair to see where your preferences lie. For less than the price of most cables on the market you can get a taste of a great Soundstage.

Select Comparison:
Blon BL-03 (Single DD, because it’s become so ubiquitous)
The Blon has deeper, slower bass that has more rumble. The KS2 is tighter, punchier and has better definition. The blon has very recessed vocals versus the “Middle of the road” vocals/mids of the KS2. The blon appears to have a deep, but exaggerated soundstage due to this, while the KS2 sounds large but natural and has better attack/decay than the Blons so that it possesses an overall more pleasant, dynamic sound.
Gun to the head, pick 1 only Winner? Easy choice, the KS2.
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Lively and fun sounding on a budget
Pros: Good Bass, upper midrange , good treble extension , built well and comfortable
Cons: cable is okay tips too but at this price , I can't complain.
The KS2 is a new IEM from KBEAR, a company putting out some good stuff lately from itself and its TRI brands

The KS2 is in the ultra / budget category at its testing price of just $22. The build quality is far better than was expected at this price and even twice as much. The shell being all polycarbonate with the exception of a brass nozzles with steel mesh filters. Its light weight yet doesn’t look of feel cheap. The nozzle is long and should be comfortable for everyone. On the subject of comfort the are a solid A for comfort even for sleeping no problems here because of the guitar pick shape and medium size.

Sound:

Bass: Is emphasized with good amount of detail and lower punch

Mids: are slightly recessed in the lower Mids but forward a little in the upper midrange and lower treble IMO, vocals are warm and have some emotion to them.

Treble: highs have some good extension without being harsh or causing fatigue, this is pleasant and lively and the KS2 is smooth in its presentation From low to high.

Soundstage: is wide perhaps the depth is a little less than the height.

Conclusion: The KBEAR KS2 is a solid performer with much to love considering its very low price. If you want powerful bass , decent mids with that sparkle in the highs that performs politely and smooth this might be for you.



KBEAR KS2



Specifications:
Model: KBEAR KS2
Headphone type: In-ear headphones
Headphone output source: HiFi
Sensitivity: 106dB ±3dB
Cell Impedance: 16Ω
Frequency response range: 20-20kHz

Attachments

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a basic review
Pros: lightweight, comfortable, no vacuum effect,
Cons: could be louder
Good comfortable IEMs. They have plastic housing, but personally I prefer the plastic rather than metal since plastic is lighter. There are vents on the inner side (side closer to the ear), so no vacuum effect.

Just a note on the eartips, the box displays clear eartips, but the tips included are black.

Cable is average with earguides and an angled plug. Works well, but tangles easily. I'd suggest replacing the cable, but it's not necessary.

The sound is balanced, not too heavy or light. Sound is clear, not muffled like low quality earbuds. Left and Right polarities are responsive allowing for discernable and clear 3D sound.

Using the test from , bass lowest audible limit is approximately 24 Hz and treble highest audible limit is approximately 15000 Hz.

Overall these are nice for their price. Sound is clean and crisp, and the comfort level is outstanding. I prefer using these over my KZ ZSN and TRN V80.
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The funny V
Pros: physical and fun signature
good allrounder
budget recommendation
Cons: unnatural elevations at both ends
a bit artificial sometimes
Rating: 7.7
Sound: 7.7

Intro
KBEAR has grown and is now offering quite good budget IEMs. They have learned to interact with the community and to implement criticism.
The KS2 has an almost outrageous V-signature, but it's really fun and the mid-range is not neglected.
But the KBEAR KS2 is not just a pure fun headphone, it also convinces with its very solid resolution and distinctive stage size.


Handling
You can't expect too much for a good 20 €, and KBEAR lives up to the savings mode in their budget models. 3 silicone tip sizes excl. the already mounted, the notorious 4-core copper cable, which we already know too well from KZ, or TRN and which does its job, but is not one of the most exquisite.

The production of the packages and their contents for KBEAR, TRN, CCA and what they are all called, seems to be handled exclusively by one factory, as they hardly differ, but I shouldn't mind.

The KS2 doesn't feel particularly valuable, even the gold-plated sound openings don't help. Apart from these, the KS2 is completely made of plastic, but it has quite good ergonomics, even though there are more comfortable designs.
Knowlege Zenith, for example, shows with the ZSN Pro that you can get better haptic and aesthetic (I know this is a matter of taste) at this price.

Sound
I have to admit that I had a little trouble with KS2 in the beginning. I hadn't had such a pronounced V-signature in my ears for a long time and therefore it seemed a bit overloaded in the bass and treble range at first. Nevertheless, the fun factor was already there at the beginning and even if I sometimes have to overcome my inner bastard, I want to give every IEM a fair chance, especially if I want to review it. With the KS2 this was definitely worth it, even though I do experience signs of fatigue in daily use, be it the massive bass or the sometimes slightly sibilant trebles.

The bass is strongly boosted, which can be further increased with foamtips. Although it has the highest output in the signature, it does not completely overshadow the signature. It has quite good stability and is simply fun. The sub-bass has real fire and the mid-bass a dynamic punch. It extends a bit further when it wants to slam and is therefore not the fastest, but quite organic. I would like the upper bass to drop faster to provide more clarity in the midrange, but you can't have everything. In the long run it's too much for me, but for in between it's a great fun.

The mids don't have it easy to stand up to the bass and high frequencies, but they can hold their own surprisingly well. Okay, voices are a little bit set back and the bass clearly gives something to the mids with its booming nature and especially its impact. This can sometimes make them sound a bit dull, thin and hollow, but it depends on how much bass is already in the mix of the song. If it's a bit more relaxing, the mids show that they have a lot more to offer. Even if they sound a bit warmer than they should, I still find them quite pleasant and musical. Therefore they move on a narrow degree and sometimes you are afraid that they might break away completely, which fortunately never (never say never) is the case. Nevertheless, they could steal a good 3 dB of bass and thus flatten the V-signature a bit.

The highs are energetic and, in addition to the bass, bring momentum to the music. Sometimes they are a bit too engaged for me, but always stay under control. Silicone tips bring sibilants a bit more into the daylight, whereas foam tips make the bass a bit too authoritarian. Somewhere in the middle is the holy grail. Here you can certainly play something with different tips. All in all, the trebles are alive and create space, for a better separation. Here and there, however, the high frequencies are too artificial for me, but they are quite detailed and lively.

The stage is definitely big, but you have to ask yourself at what price. The fact that the mids are moving more in the background suggests a bigger stage, but at the expense of tonal correctness and unnatural elevations at both ends. Nevertheless, KS2 can be quite exciting with this, as a lot happens over a wide area in all directions.

Outro
If you like it a bit more physical in your ears, if you are a V-signature lover, and if you like to listen to contemporary music, be it pop, rock, hip-hop, reggae, or even acoustic sounds, the KS2 is the right choice for you if you want to keep an eye on your wallet. Apart from the CVJ CSA, which however follows a different tuning philosophy, the KS2 is a clear budget recommendation 2020 under 20 € with all-rounder qualities.

KBEAR KS2.jpg
___________________________________________________________
More reviews: CHI-FIEAR
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CHIFIEAR/
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Pros: Bass, Treble, Lively Sound, Soundstage, Tiny Size, Price
Cons: Cable, Build, Box, Mids
A high ranked ultra entry level iem. Kudos to KBEAR as they managed to keep thing simple.
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Otto Motor
Otto Motor
That's what I call a snappy review!
Tamirci
Tamirci
@Otto Motor I know sir. It was short because of my inexperience at adding review. I will try to do better in the future.
Fun, Affordable and Capable.
Pros: Price
Soundstage
Bass
Fit and comfort
Isolation
Cons: Nothing as far as sound, and especially for the price.
The cable is not the best, and really hinders the performance.
Hey there folks,

Today I will be sharing my thoughts about a very special iem, the KB EAR 2020 KS2, and I would like to thank KB EAR and especially Wendy, for sending these out. These were provided to me free of charge for my honest review, and I can't thank KB EAR enough for giving me the opportunity. I have to admit, I was not expecting much, and the outcome was quite surprising.

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First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Wes and I am addicted to music and gear that makes it sound good. I favor the musical side of things vs. the analytical, and listen to a wide range of genres. I like a little extra emphasis in the bass and upper mids lower treble, and especially love good bass and vocals. Some of my favorite artist are, Agnes Obel, Beck, Ottmar Liebert, Nora Jones, Rodrigo y Gabriella, Max Cooper, Christian Loffler, Pink Floyd, Stevie Ray Vaughn and many others. So, you can see I listen to Rock, Pop, Acoustic, Jazz, Classic Rock, Blues, and Electronica.

So for this review, I wanted to keep it simple, as there are already a bunch of highly detailed and formal reviews of KS2. The KS2 is a hybrid iem, with 1 DD and 1 BB. The price of this iem is around $25 USD, so it is a very attainable iem for anyone.

Packaging

The packing is simple, clean, and just about perfect for the amount of money.

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Build Quality

The iems are a plastic resin and super light weight. The cable is also lightweight, and is all copper with very little memory and mechanical noise. All in all, for $25 USD the build quality is great, and I have no complaints.

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Fit and Isolation

The KS2 fit my smallish ears just perfect, and the seal is quite good, lending to really good isolation. The vents for the dynamic driver are on the inner side of the iem, so there is good isolation even on windy days. Overall, I have no complaints.

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Bass

The bass is elevated hits hard, digs deep, and has good tactile punch you can feel.

Mids

The mids take a step back, due to the fun V shaped tuning, but are still quite clear and articulated.

Highs

The highs have good extension, but never get harsh, and have just the right amount of sparkle for my taste.

Summary

Overall the KS2 with the stock cable have a very fun, warm and forgiving V shaped sound signature, with an expansive soundstage, and for the money are an outstanding value no doubt. However, where things get interesting is when I changed cables and tried them on my iBasso DX 160. First off, the stock cable is the weak link, and once I put a better cable on them, things balanced out better in the mids and the KS2 jumped to another level of performance. Also, when I hooked them up to the iBasso DX 160 they lost a lot of the fun sound I was hearing, and got a little bright in the upper mids and lower treble. They just sounded off, when connected to my player. So, I hooked them back up to my cell phone, the Samsung Galaxy S10+, and put my favorite silver cable on them, and the magic happened. :ksc75smile: Connected to my phone, using Quboz HiRez and the Satin Audio Athena 8 wire cable, the sound is warm and smooth, yet dynamic and impactful, with much better balance and clarity in the mids, and the soundstage got deeper and wider. I totally get why KB EAR suggest using the KS2 with a mobile phone and not a player. I am so impressed with how fun these sound, while still being quite capable, that they just became one of my daily drivers. I especially love the KS2, when I go on my daily walk. They have a fun sound, that works well with every genre I throw at them. I can put my playlist on and never have to skip a track because it sounds harsh or irritating, and they sound better from a cell phone, so I don't have to carry 2 devices. So, for those that are interested in an affordable yet capable iem, with a fun sound signature that pairs extremely well with just a mobile phone, I say the KS2 is a must have. I really cant believe how much enjoyment I get from the KS2, for such a small amount of money. Bravo KB EAR!

KS2 and Satin Audio Athena 8 wire
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Me with my new favorite combo, for my daily walk.

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F700
F700
Well done and congrats for the front page ahah! My review of these will come later this summer. I will have to be cautious not to parrot you, because we seem to share the same taste of sound signature.
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Wes S
Wes S
Thanks! I appreciate the kind words, and look forward to your review.
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NymPHONOmaniac
NymPHONOmaniac
I'm happy you enjoy them, they weren't my cup of tea at all, but I do enjoy the Kbear KB04 alot.
Big and Bold
Pros: Expansive Soundstage
Powerful sub bass
Extended Treble
Bold fun V signature
Cons: Sometimes woolly bass
Recessed mids
Upper mid/lower treble spike
Occasional harshness
Minimal accessories
Tangly cable
Introduction
It's not long since KBEAR released their excellent KB04 hybrid which could be described as a "Diamond Lite". It delivered a good proportion of the Diamond's performance at a fraction of the cost. Now we have another 1DD + 1BA hybrid at an even lower price, the KS2.

Where the KB04 had a quality metal housing, the KS2 is built from resin. It features a 10mm dynamic driver with composite diaphragm, partly PU and partly bio-cellulose. The balanced armature is described as a "high end custom unit" and is placed within the nozzle.

Description
The KS2 comes in a small rectangular box with an image of the IEMs on the front and specifications on the back. KBEAR has dropped the black and green colour scheme and it is now black and white. The earpieces are nestled in a card cutout below which is a branded box containing the cable and three sets of spare eartips. There is also an instruction manual.
The earpieces are quite well made in solid resin with a dark green transparent finish revealing the components and a KBEAR logo in the centre. "KS2" and channel identification is written on the side. The nozzle is gold-coloured and quite long. There is a white plastic 2-pin socket and a small pinhole vent for the dynamic driver on the underside.

The cable is a standard 4 core braided type similar to that supplied by KZ with a chunky plastic Y-split and no chin slider and is thus prone to tangling. The connectors are a 2-pin angled and hooded type with short pins and the termination is a 3.5 mm right angled plastic plug.

First Impressions
I found the pre-fitted tips too big as the nozzle was quite long so replaced these with the smaller size ones and used the supplied cable. Thus equipped, I obtained a very comfortable fit and seal. I used an Xduoo X20 DAP as the primary source and also employed a Huawei smartphone and a CD player. The immediate impression was of a bold V-shaped signature with powerful bass and an energetic treble with good extension. Mids were recessed but still fairly present and the overall tonality was warmer than neutral in the bass and brighter in the high frequencies. The soundstage was a particularly good feature, being large in all dimensions and especially in width. This amounted to a "fun tuning" not dissimilar to the KZ ZS10 Pro.

Bass
The KS2 delivered an impressive bass with a powerful sub-bass presence. This continued into the mid-bass which displayed good punch and impact. "Windjana" is an instrumental album by Tony O'Connor evoking the Australian landscape. The first track, "Skyland" begins with a deep bass drone accompanied by didgeridoo and percussion. The KS2 certainly delivered a satisfying rumble but it did rather dominate the proceedings with the other elements somewhat overshadowed. The detail could also have been clearer. In Karl Jenkins's "Benedictus" from "The Armed Man", the basses and cellos had good weight and depth but lacked a little separation. The deep bass drum strikes displayed good decay and impact and the positioning and imaging were very good here, courtesy of the wide soundstage.

Midrange
The lower mids were recessed and gained some warmth from the bass. This produced a slightly distant feel which helped to enhance the width of the soundstage. The upper mids were brighter going into the treble and there was occasional harshness here on certain material. Kostia's "Girl from Barcelona" is a lively piano solo and the instrument showed good impact with the lowest notes rich and warm and the upper register possessing some extra brightness. The overall effect was exciting, though perhaps not wholly natural. Classical music was bold and expansive, sounding more like a blockbuster movie score than perhaps it should, and reminded me of the KZ ZS10 Pro's tendency to "grab you by the lapels" urging you to listen! "Alborada del Gracioso by Ravel certainly shone in the recording by the Minnesota Orchestra. The KS2 revelled in this track and the slightly over-the-top presentation really worked resulting in an extremely entertaining performance.

Treble
The KS2 did display the upper mid/lower treble emphasis found in many dual hybrids and this produced a brighter than neutral bias. This threw solo elements forward in the mix. The lead synth voice in "Aquarhythmie" by Richard Vimal dominated the track and occasionally sounded sharp but there was good detail in the accompaniment with all the elements readily audible. The performance of Rossini's String Sonata No. 1 by the Age of Enlightenment Orchestra was sprightly and incisive. The violins were somewhat brighter than usual but this extra brightness helped to highlight the counterpoint which was easy to appreciate. The bowing detail was crisp and clear.

Soundstage
The KS2 possessed a large three-dimensional stage. This was partly helped by the recessed mids but imaging was good. Separation in the bass was not as clear as in the higher registers but the spacious presentation was very appealing. As expected, film music sounded very good on the KS2. The ambience of the recording venue in "Come Back to Us" from Thomas Newman's score to 1917 was very well-rendered with the solo cello floating above the orchestral backing with a believable sense of space and the overall warmth of the tonality helping to preserve the atmosphere.

Conclusion
The KS2 is a classic V-shaped IEM with a appealing dynamic and exciting character. Its presentation will not suit all genres but it performs well, especially at the price. It does face stiff competition from the recent rash of new dual-driver releases such as the CVJ CSA (which is more neutral) the KZ ZST-X and KBEAR's own KB04, at a slightly higher price. The latter is better made with a full metal jacket, has a gentler V profile and improves on the KS2 with superior layering and detail. Spending a little more would bring models like the KZ ZS10 Pro into the equation which has a similar profile but better detail retrieval.

Classical music lovers may need to look elsewhere, but if electronic music, rock and pop is your thing, the KS2 represents excellent value as an entry-level Chi-fi IEM.
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NymPHONOmaniac
NymPHONOmaniac
Spot-on review!
Redefining the Sound Stage
Pros: Sub-bass and general quality of the lower zone.
- Remarkable scene and instrumental recreation.
- V-shaped profile, fun and somewhat softer.
Cons: Distant and not very expressive mids.
- Something unreal in the treble.
- Absence of bag or box of transport.
- Very typical cable and few tips.
- Again, V-profile.
Introduction

As I have recently done, I'm going to look again at some IEMS of the Shenzen brand, KBEAR. This time, it is the new model KS2, a hybrid that mounts a dynamic 10mm driver and a BA driver of its own manufacture. To this set, an electronic crossover has been added, to take full advantage of the potential of its drivers. Unlike the model previously analyzed, the body of the IEMS, is not metallic, but transparent, made of high density polycarbonate. In addition, the capsules have a semi-custom shape, which provides such good results, in terms of ergonomics and isolation. The KS2 is a V-shaped IEMS, very easy to move, very suitable for mobile use and for everyday use. In the following, we will see, in greater depth, all the benefits of this affordable product.

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Specifications

  • Drivers type: 1 DD of 10mm (biological diaphragm + PU) + 1 BA custom
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 106±3dB
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Connector Jack: 3.5mm
  • Capsule Connection Type: 0.78mm 2Pin

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Packaging

KS2s come in a small box, wrapped in cardboard, mostly white. Its dimensions are 80x123x36mm. On the front side there is a realistic picture of the capsule, the brand and the model. A detail that has caught my attention is that in this photo, the silicone type that comes in the IEM, is transparent. Inside, the tips included are made of black silicone. In the back of the box, there are the specifications in several languages, as well as the information about the brand: address and e-mail. The sides of the cover are black and show the logo, in silver letters, and the model chosen, in this case "Green no Mic". After removing the cardboard, a transparent plastic sheet protects the contents. The capsules can be seen through it, embedded in a dense white mould. Under it, there is a box, also white, with the logo in black. Inside are the rest of the accessories, in short:

  • The two capsules.
  • 3 pairs of black silicone tips, sizes SxMxL.
  • 1 pair of black silicone tips, size M, more spherical, placed in the capsules.
  • The 4-strand cable, made of tinned copper.
  • Instruction manual/warranty.

For the price, the accessories are the minimum, but there is no carrying bag, something essential to store the IEMS, even if it was a cloth bag.

I'm not a big fan of this type of cable, but it's the typical one that everyone mounts, so it's the norm. Fair enough.

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Construction and Design

The capsules are made of dark green translucent polycarbonate in the model chosen. The shape is semi-custom, whose external part has that silhouette similar to the African continent. In the center of that face, there is the logo of the brand, in white ink. The whole capsule is very rounded, with its edges smoothed. Above all, its inner face, where its forms are very curved. On it, there are two small holes, one near the nozzle, which coincides with the center of the dynamic driver, and another one closer to the edge. Next, on that side edge, there is the model name and the indication of the channel, in small white letters.

The nozzle is metallic and gold, its length is 5.5mm. The base is a small ring, with a diameter of 6.4mm. The inner cylinder, measures almost 3mm and its diameter is smaller, 5.1mm. Finally, the outermost ring, has a diameter of 5.9mm and its length is almost 2mm. Its interior is protected by a dense silver metal grid.

The capsules mount the two-pin connection, 0.78mm, on a transparent plastic plate, which protrudes a little over a mm, from the body of the IEMS.

The KS2 uses two drivers: a custom BA driver, for the mid and high frequencies. The other is a 10mm dynamic driver, moving coil, with a composite diaphragm (PU + Biological Diaphragm). It also installs a precision electronic frequency divisor.

Finally, the cable is the classic 4-strand tinned copper cable, with a transparent plastic coating. It is heavily twisted and relatively docile. Its connector is angled and consists of a black plastic oval piece. On it, in relief, you can read the mark. The splitting piece, also plastic and black, is Y-shaped. It has no pin. The sleeves of the 2Pin connectors are slightly angled and are of the same material and colour as the rest of the parts of the cable. Near them, there are typical guides on the ear, whose shape is more closed than it would be convenient. Both pins are semi-hidden in the connection cavity. Each connector has a letter, which is difficult to read as it is in fine relief, identifying the channel.

The construction is very correct, no faults are observed. The cable is very similar to the other products in the segment and performs its basic function. The design is based on a typical stand, which gives it a smooth and pleasant shape, without being really original. In the end, we are talking about a product whose price is around 21 euros, at the time of writing this review. For all this, the quality is quite good.

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Adjustment and Ergonomics

As usual with this type of capsule, for those lucky enough to have a common morphology, among which I'm, the adjustment is very simple and safe. The fixation is instantaneous and durable. There is hardly any friction with the parts of the ear and it does not move easily, nor does it fall out. The orientation of the mouthpiece can provide various forms of insertion, depending on the tips used. In my case, I have been able to use, successfully, from large tips, for superficial insertion, to tri-flanges, to obtain a greater immersion.

Due to their construction, their weight is very light, which makes them very pleasant IEMS for continuous and daily use.

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Sound

Profile


The KS2s have a V-U profile, with a very deep low zone, emphasis on sub-bass and mid-high. The treble has a slight tendency to relax, but maintaining the extension. Its face is not explicitly warm, nor clearly bright, but has a more balanced and neutral tendency.

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Bass

The lower zone of the KS2 is perceived as deep, with a not very rough texture, I would even say quite smooth, for the energy it possesses. It has a notable extension in the sub-basin zone and feels well executed, without being forced, nor unnatural. As usual, at KBEAR, the bass has good speed and response, it is able to reproduce complex bases, with good definition, which shows the great resolution capacity it has. On the other hand, although it is very capable of representing all the notes of the range, recreating many planes, its descriptive capacity is perceived as somewhat limited: the smoothness of its texture, is not able to reflect all the nuances and details of the bass, due to a somewhat simple representation of the area. However, given the price range, the general feeling of the area is very pleasant, as well as accurate, inclining its emphasis on the lower area, lightening the middle area.

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Mids

The midrange is worthy of an almost U-shaped profile, quite liberated at the bottom, distant at the center and emphasized at the top. This is a simplistic way to summarize the range, but, in these KS2s, the profile is clearly shown. The voices are felt at medium distance, with a good dose of clarity, following that smooth texture, which doesn't give a lot of detail, but a good drawing, as well as a pleasant timbre. The definition is not very high, since the reproduction is easy, but harmonious, without inconsistencies, nor too much sibilance. In this sense, it seems that, in the KS2s, an attempt has been made to attack the critical point, passing the lime, slightly, over it. Although, in spite of this adjustment, it is sometimes necessary not to go over the volume, if one wants to keep this upper-middle zone under control. The resolution level continues in the same line as the lower zone, quite appropriate to its musicality, but somewhat limited for lovers of more analytical mids. The KS2 is not an IEMS for critical listeners, it is quite tolerant of many genres and all types of recordings, but without entering into a very explicit field, without losing sight of the musicality and the fun factor.

However, a great virtue of the KS2, is its ability to recreate three dimensions: despite the but commented, is very capable of locating, in a very spaced and distinguishable, both voices, as, especially, instruments, distributing them to the width and depth of the scene, providing them, even, of good height.

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Treble

The treble has a particular sonority: it is not supposed to be bright, but it is easily perceived. Their pitch keeps them present, close, but not totally crisp or sharp. Anyway, there is a good amount, like a good IEM in V, but I think we wanted to stabilize its incidence in the rest of the sound, managing not to completely polarize the result. That's how it feels very much on par with the bass boost, finding a balance, quite decent, between both extremes. In this way, the KS2s are not critically high-pitched. They feel thin, but also have good extension and energy, but are not perceived as being purely fatiguing and that is something that helps their use to be quite prolonged.

Perhaps the worst part of the high zone is the one that provides a somewhat more unrealistic sonority, in the flashes of voices and instruments. And the best part is the ability to reveal micro details, without being too disturbing.

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Soundstage, Separation

As I have previously mentioned, the KS2s provide a good recreation of the scene, for their price range. Both depth and width are particularly good. The stage is quite coherent, perhaps one of its best virtues, with a remarkable capacity for instrumental positioning and detail, even at a three-dimensional level. In this way, there is an ample amount of air and space. In the perception of the elements, height, distance and width can be glimpsed, but without the image being totally surrounding. Even so, the level shown is remarkable, but without being too impressive.

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Comparisons

KBEAR KB04


The initial differences are obvious. Starting with the fit and ergonomics, the KS2s are lighter and more adaptable. Following the volume, the KS2s are more sensitive. When it comes to sound, despite the fact that both have a V-profile, the KB04 has a greater tendency to brightness and less emphasized bass at its lower end. Continuing with the low end, the KS2s execute the bass in a smoother way, while the KB04s have a more perceptible texture, perhaps their greater enhancement in the mid-bass, affects in this sense. Despite the similarity of both zones, I find the bass of the KS2 drier, smoother, deeper, but also less expressive.

In the mid-range, the differences persist: in the KS2s, the voices are more distant and less full. In the KB04 they are closer, more complete, but also brighter, with the danger that this entails. The energy in the upper mid-range is slightly higher. But the biggest difference is in the tuning of that part: I had previously spoken of a somewhat more unrealistic sound in the KS2. You can see that here. The female voices are more explicit and complete on the KB04, while on the KS2, they are polished, more trimmed, in a way that they don't show as full. In the KB04, they are more vivid and natural looking, but the problem is that this greater clarity can cause more hearing fatigue. The instrumentation has more sparkle and presence in the KB04, presenting a brighter recreation, at times thinner and more defined, but less distant and less smooth than in the KS2. This makes the overall sound of the mids more realistic and natural in the KB04.

The treble begins in the same path as the final midrange, being more crisp and defined in the KB04, recreating a greater amount of detail and nuance. It is clear that it is a more persistent, sparkling area, but it is also more vivid, dynamic, more exciting and revealing. The KS2 still shows that slightly more erratic tuning, which wants to avoid falling into the persistence of the KB04, but without achieving the best musicality and coherence in this range.

The more direct sound of the KB04, generates a more focused, more boxed, which does not expand so much laterally, nor in height. The more relaxed sound of the KS2 does have more openness and extends, more freely, in all directions. It has more depth, a less cut width and its height is more evident, as it manages to recreate a more ethereal and large sound. The KB04, with its higher energy in treble, defines the sound in a way that does not allow it to escape, sounding all together more rigid and packed. In contrast, there is more air and distance in the KS2.

Within the same brand and similar profile, KBEAR has presented two slightly different tunings: A brighter, more defined and somewhat more classic profile for the KB04. While for the KS2, my opinion is that they wanted to create a more U-shaped IEMS, giving more energy to the lower end, softening the mids and highs, to create a more relaxed sound, not so explicit and less persistent, which offers a more obvious emphasis on recreating a larger and more open scene, not on the details.

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Conclusion

KBEAR brings out a new model and redefines, slightly, both ends of the sound range. On this occasion, the sub-bass is emphasized and the treble is re-tuned. The result is something different, although, the best thing is the scene and the separation. The KS2 is a slight redesign of the V-profile, with a remarkable low zone (especially the sub-bass), treble with good level of nuances and a great stereo image, for its price level. They are comfortable and lightweight, although, a carrying bag is missing. Their characteristics make them a good ally for daily use and for those who enjoy these virtues. They are even highly recommended for neophytes, who will find in them a good touchstone, which will help them to scale in this hobby. And the best thing is that they only need a Smartphone to enjoy them.

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Sources Used During the Analysis

  • Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus.
  • Burson Audio Playmate.
  • Tempotec V1-A
  • HiBy R3 Pro

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Ratings

  • Construction and Design: 75
  • Adjustment/Ergonomics: 83
  • Accessories: 50
  • Bass: 86
  • Mids: 75
  • Treble: 78
  • Separation: 80
  • Soundstage: 82
  • Quality/Price: 90

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Purchase Link

You can read the full review in Spanish here
NymPHONOmaniac
NymPHONOmaniac
nice review! did your rating is about quantity or quality for b, m, t?
cqtek
cqtek
Is that a "trick" question?
Thank you for your words.
The KBear KS2
Pros: + fun all rounder, coloured and enjoyable signature
+ fatigue free on bright tracks
+ good industrial fit design
+ exceptional performance in electronic/trance genre
+ ready to go out of the box
Cons: - Perceived value and performance largely depends on the library of music it plays with.
Introduction

Welcome to the KBear KS2 iem Review. Like potential future owners of KBear iems, the KBear KS2 is my very first experience and introduction to the company’s products.

KBear is no stranger to the iem market and have made a positive impression and reputation with their successful KBear Ear F1, KB06 Hybrid, KB10 and Diamond DLC iems.

Today we shall have a look at their latest, KS2 Hybrid iem.


Design, Build and Comfort

The KS2 design adopts a familiar look of between their KB06 and Diamond designs, ensuring a higher adoption of good fit for users. The design and size is of average size by industry standards, and they sit fairly flushed in the ears without visually sticking out of the ears. Fit is good with the inbox M size ear tips. A slide in, forward twist motion and they sit snuggly in the ear.

The KS2 housing appears to be plastic in nature given how they look and feel. The housing appears fairly sturdy and stands up to daily casual use. A small air vent is located on the inner side of the housing (just above the large 10mm Dynamic driver is located) where the ear concha is located. The nozzle is a fine looking gold coloured aluminium alloy. Given its price point, this is quite a bonus in terms of built quality.

The KS2 accepts 0.78mm 2-pin cables and comes with a well braided (dark copper-like) dainty, soft and flexible 4 Core OFC Tinned Copper cable. The cable itself has a plastic moulded splitter. Those used to using a chin slider may need to manually apply one, as the default comes chin-slider free. Also the 2-pin ends are fitted with a springy memory foam that retains the ear hook shape. It’s easy to stretch and bend when wearing them over the ears. The left and right sides of the 2-pin mould comes with L and R indicator, facing outwards. A first for me as most indicators are done facing inwards. A small detail but i guess a well thought out solution for new users to iems with changeable cable.

Still, given the KS2 allows cable swapping, it’ll make for some fun experimenting with the default sound or turn the KS2 into a TWS iem with Bluetooth add-ons.

The KS2 is driven by a combination of a single Dynamic Driver and a Balanced Armature, 1 DD + 1 BA. A 10mm composite diaphragm DD and a high quality BA.

Score : 8/10


Sound Quality

For this section, the KS2 iem with stock cable, were put through over 200 hours of continuous playback and followed with 48 hours of “resting” the drivers, since they arrived. This ensures during the review period, the iem sound characteristics have reached maturity.

Choice of portable set-up employed in this review.

  1. The FiiO M6 high resolution portable player.

A little note, the KS2 has a very Low impedance of 16 ohms and high sensitivity of 103-9dB, and has been recommended by the company not to be used with high powered players. It’s a product suited for smartphone use.

To get the ball rolling, my initial impressions.

The KS2 has very light, airy, with wide upper staging, a nice low end without too much weight to be fatiguing.

Somewhat consumer-ish yet has audiophile flavour in its sound. Taking a generic base model iem, to compare, less thick, more air, slightly faster, better staging characteristics.

Technically competent, details are present and doesn’t overwhelm the listener (especially for those new to the hobby. Vocals are not too upfront and not recessed, across different tracks I’ve tried with.

And the DD+1BA combo is fast. Play Ayumi Hamasaki’s Euro mega mix, and it’s like an adrenaline rush and addictive. 😍

It’s somewhat neutral-ish tonality and overall character very easy to just dive in and enjoy straight up.

A quick First tots, “how to do flagship-like sound on a Budget?” ... KBear KS2.

And yes, it’s Forgiving of poorer recordings (example. Ben Haenow album)

If anyone wish to stop reading here, to me, the KS2 is easily a very good value iem, I’d grab one just for enjoyment sake.


Detail Retrieval

The KS2 has an interesting treble nature. Very clear, bright, some roll off at the top to avoid glare or harshness. In fact, it is never harsh even on poor recordings. On Ben Haenow’s Greatest Mistake, which has a fair bit of harshness in its recording, is quite easy on the ears with the KS2. It is able to articulate detail on a level found perhaps in iems priced and tiered much higher (in the USD 100-300). Details might be even more if not for the limited air presence in its presentation. Like Sarah Jarosz’s Lost Dog track, the micro details are harder to catch and some are lost to the darkness.

Score : 7/10


Dynamics

The KS2 is an all-rounder here. It can deliver the loud and soft layers in vocal tracks, even layers across as the vocal and accompanying guitar strings move from a loud to a softer passage. Again, Sarah Jarosz’s Jacqueline track, exhibits this strength clearly.

Eric Clapton’s Change the World track, has the slower section transition to the more up tempo later half, rendering the layered change of energy between the softer passages to the more energetic later half. Was enjoying this transition as the change in energy within the track was one of the highlights to me.

Score : 7.5/10


Imaging

From Eric Clapton’s Layla unplugged Live recording, the instrument placements were well highlighted. Vocal backers whispered clearly in the left with the accompanying pianos. The guitar rifts floated centre right and cymbals lightly complete the right end. Eric’s guitars are clearly centre, tilted right just a little. Given its price, this performance is more than commendable.

Score : 8/10


Soundstage

The Kit Chan’s Music Room Final Goodbye and last tracks were used for this test. The limited air and blackness of the KS2 kept the staging wider in the width section and less so with the height. There is more sideways perceived staging than height and depth. The atmosphere turned into a very intimate landscape and only give way to the more intimate staging when the audience started clapping.

Drew out another album, Yanni Live - The Concert Event. Staging on Opening tracks, Rainmaker and Keys to Imagination, were more intimate. The live element is understated with less air and more of a blacker element instead. Giving listeners more focus into the performance itself over the whole experience. Listeners who prefer a more intimate live setting may consider the KS2.

Score : 6.5/10


Speed

One of the consistent is the relatively fast performing nature of the KS2. It’s faster than the average iem and works extremely in its favour of pop music, giving an extra fun nature to any already fun genre of music. A-Ha’s touchy! is one of those pop tracks that benefit from the speed. Very “springy” and light presentation makes the track more enjoyable that it already is. Another track would be N’Sync’s Pop. The electronic music moves in so smoothly and punctuated by the drums. The last part where Justin Timberlake solo’s beepbox was sublime.

Score : 7.5/10


Timbre

With Yanni’s Live Concert Event album, the instruments enjoy a nice non-fatiguing sparkle in the treble, though the piano keys, violins, trumpets and other instruments, have a timbre that is of a flavour all by itself. Only vocals appear closer to a natural shade. Which after many listening sessions across other tracks, I think its timbre nature was tuned to be coherent with the rest of its sound signature.

With this respect, those looking towards a more natural timbre for live and unplug playlist would have to explore other options. Live performances can still be enjoyable with the KS2, if we’re open to the different flavours that iems in general deliver.

On a track like Ben Haenow album, with quite a bit of harshness in its recording, the KS2 timbre actually brings a certain character when listening to the album. Almost like setting the tone and colour to how the songs are presented. Slamming Doors by Ben Haenow is one track that brings to mind enhanced by the KS2 timbre.

On the flip side, with Ayumi Hamasaki’s I Am..., the KS2 timbre brings about an exciting feel to the track. The grungy guitar nature in the track benefits from the KS2 delivery, and heightens the vocals in a dramatic nature. You’d just want to fall deep into the storytelling of the track itself. I love the delivery of the timbre in Ayumi’s Connected track. The electronic trance like nature of the track feels sublime and KS2 delivers it with excellence.

And I’ve to emphasise this portion may be the decisive part for those who would like the KS2 or perhaps look to other KBear iems. In terms of the vocals, they remain largely natural with a tinge of colour (recording dependent), while string instruments and even the high hats, there is a degree of colour involved, keeping them off for those who only insist on a natural sounding tonality. As a whole, I still regard the timbre as “complete” in its own way and excels with Japanese fast tracks and electronic/trance music in general.

Score : 7/10


The Unassuming Super Performer

We’ve been so pushed into a state of mind, placing a proportionate view of performance comes with higher prices. Lots of marketing, storytelling of premium material, patented or patent pending architecture go into justifying a product’s price and “performance”.

The KBear KS2 is a shining example of high performance, can come in surprisingly affordable price tag. Sure, the KS2 is not exactly your dream top-of-the-line flagship killer iem (though it could be for some) BUT it does well in quite a few aspects. And that’s no small feat.

The KBear KS2 sounded great out of the box, and after 200 hrs of breaking in, it still maintained its great sound. For those who feel they need to give their iems some warm up before use, the KS2 is good to go right away. A big plus for those who are mobile and just grab their gears and go.

For customers who are new to KBear iems, the KS2 will be setting quite a high bar in terms of price to performance value. I’ve some iems in the 3-digit price bracket, and the KS2 gave me a peek at how much competition is pushing the sound quality. Safe to say, the KS2 to me, has perhaps among my highest recommendation. Even if (that’s a big if) the KS2 may not be your daily driver, it sure deserves a spot in anyone’s stable of iems.


The Package

The KBear KS2 comes with the following,
  1. The KBear KS2 iem
  2. 4-Core OFC tinned copper cable
  3. 3 pairs of silicon tips (S, M and L)
  4. Warranty document

Tracks used for the review
  1. Sarah Jarosz - Lost Dog
  2. Sarah Jarosz - Jacqueline
  3. Eric Clapton - Change the World
  4. Eric Clapton - Layla
  5. A-Ha - Touchy!
  6. N’Sync - Pop
  7. Ben Haenow - Greatest Mistake
  8. Ben Haenow - Slamming Doors
  9. Kit Chan - Final Goodbye
  10. Kit Chan - Reprise “喜歡你“
  11. Yanni - Rainmaker (Live)
  12. Yanni - Keys to Imagination (Live)
  13. Ayumi Hamasaki - I Am
  14. Ayumi Hamasaki - Connected

Product Specification

KS2
Transducer typesingle 10mm composite diaphragm Dynamic Driver and a Balanced Armature
Operating principle Vented
Frequency response:20Hz-20kHz
Impedance:16 Ω @ 1kHz
Sensitivity:106dB +/- 3dB
Stock cable
Material 4-Core OFC (Copper)
GeometryTinned Copper
Y-splitGeneric
Monitor interface2-pin 0.78mm
Connection3.5 mm single-ended
PriceUSD 23.99


Review Ratings

Rating (out of 10)
Sound Quality8
Build Quality7.5
Design and Usability 8
Comfort8
Value for money8


If this review interest you, and the product could be something you’d like to try or add on to your collection of sounds, you may find themselves available on here.

Https://keephifi.com/


Disclaimer:

The KBear KS2 monitors were provided by KeepHiFi for the purpose of this review.

I was invited to provide my honest and unbiased opinion and have no affiliation or receive any form of compensation for this review.

This review did not go through KBear or KeepHiFi, meaning they will see this review at the same time as you are here.

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Attachments

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Reactions: WendyLi
Excellent tonality at a decent price
Pros: - Excellent Tonality – Fatigue-free long listening sessions
- Well-positioned mids
- Comfortable, isolating fit
- Enough details to ensure you don’t ask more
Cons: - Noticeable slowness in bass decay which impacts texture
- Layering and separation are strictly average
The KBEAR KS2 is a relatively new entrant in the crowded sub $30 IEM segment where there is a good number of 1DD + 1BA options.

Currently available for purchase on Aliexpress for $23, this one does not burn your payroll.

Note: The review unit was offered to me for free in exchange for an honest review by KBEAR representative. This however does not have an impact on my review.
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Build, fit and packaging

The KS2 comes in a decent packaging box and the contents are organized pretty well. The contents are just the essentials – the IEMs, cable, eartips and a small manual.

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Fit is fantastic – they are small enough to fit all ear sizes and comes with a 4 pairs of ear tips in total.
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I did not feel comfortable using the stock ear tips as they have a lot of friction when in contact with skin. I replaced them with a softer, better quality one.

So how does it sound?

Here's the setup for my evaluation

Source: FLACs (16/44.1, 24/48 and 24/96) or Tidal Hi-Fi

Chain : Bit perfect playback through Foobar2k on Laptop > Topping D50s > iFi iTube in buffer mode > Headamp GL2

The impedance on this one is pretty low on this one; so I had to reduce volume by 5dB on the DAC.

As always, a perfect seal is essential to any IEM. A quick listen to the KS2 is enough to acknowledge that it is a well-rounded package for the price. The IEM has enough weight on bass frequencies and extends well into sub-bass frequencies. While the bass texture is not outstanding, it is good enough to have an enjoyable experience. Tracks like After Hours by The Weeknd and Get Lucky by Daft Punk are quite enjoyable on the tonality front, but also bring out the minor drawback on how the bass texture is not quite crisp – not something to worry for the casual listeners.

The mids and highs are tuned quite well and they are the highlight of this IEM. The BA excels in delivering sibilance free highs with sufficient details. Vocals are fleshed out well – neither too forward nor recessed. There is some bass bleed into the lower mids, and it is noticeable, but not so pronounced to cause annoyance.

While the KBEAR KS2 does well on most genres, I found that 80s classic rock like Africa by Toto, Take on me by a-Ha are much more enjoyable on these.
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How does it compare to the humble Sony MH755?

Both have different tonalities and enjoyable, but MH755 easily outshines the KS2 in technicalities and offers a much cleaner listening experience that would satisfy most listeners. The only front where KS2 outshine MH755 is the soundstage presentation, which definitely has more space than the MH755. A track where you can easily notice the difference is Heartless by The Weeknd; KS2’s dynamic driver unit cannot catch up to the ups and downs of the track as fast as the MH755 does.

Conclusion:

The Kbear KS2 is definitely a good daily driver for most of us – the tonality is quite likeable from the get-go and most tracks are presented quite well by this IEM.

I definitely recommend to try this, if you get a chance – it offers way more than what it is priced at.
Last edited:
KS2 hybrid earphones from KB EAR
Pros: Fun technical tuning with big bass and energetic treble emphasis. Solid all plastic build, light easy to use and drive. Good imaging overall clarity with a fairly spacious presentation. Average isolation. Not so expensive.
Cons: BA in the nozzle that brings you that treble first. Not the tightest or speediest of Bass. A bit bright with a bit of mids recession. Lacks depth and natural warmth to mid bands. Crash symbols will dominate.
KB EAR KS2.
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KB EAR has been hard at work making them earphones for the enthusiasts of all levels. Budget level earphones has come a long way and it seems we are getting bombarded with something new and exciting monthly. The KS2 is a new hybrid from KB EAR incorporating a single BA in the nozzle and a 10mm composite (PU+ Bio diaphragm) dynamic driver all housed in a smaller ergonomic plastic shell.

KS2 was provided for a review. Thanks goes out to WendyLi of KBEAR for the review sample. These here are my thoughts regarding their newest hybrid earphones.
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KS2 comes in a smaller packaging and is acceptable for the price point. Solid all plastic build is common with budget offerings. There is no reason to think these will be faulty in build or quality. These come with your standard copper cable in 2 Pin TFZ style connector and a set of silicones. The accessory selection is to be expected given the price point. The looks of the KS2 is about standard for the price and housing looks to be as sturdy as it will get. So ultimately it will come down to the sonics of the KS2.

Sound analysis was done using my Fiio M15, Shanling M6 pro, M5s, M3s, Ibasso DX160 and the Sony ZX300. The KS2 was burned in for a total of 150 hours before evaluation.
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Sub $30 earphones have a place in all of our collections. Let's be real who takes their flagship earphones to the gym. I certainly wouldn’t. But there is no reason to have a sub $30 earphone that will sound terrible. Especially with the ever increasing competition in the budget sector.The KS2 has a lot of marketing involved with a lot of reviews associated with the release. One that caught my attention was the frequency comparison to the highly vaunted IER-Z1R. Interesting to say the least. I can see where the sound design has some similarities but do they actually sound alike? Unfortunately not. The similarities is that both IEMs are a V shaped design but that really is about it.

The sound of the KS2 has some prominent bass and prominent treble in the design. Unfortunately vocals sit at the back of the mix. The BA sits in the nozzle of the housing and throws out mids to treble end while the dynamic does bass to mids duties. Due to the lively treble end there is a perception that the stage is wider than it really is. This is a trick I am familiar with IFI uses on their 3D switches. For folks that are familiar with how they tune the 3D switch you will be familiar with how the treble here is utilized on the KS2s to give a similar effect. Reality is the stage of the earphones sounds average to my ears lacking depth and height. Then the mid bands sit back in the mix giving credence to a brighter sheen for the sonics.
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KS2 is a technical fun tuning but at the cost of mid range recession and overall refinement. Unfortunately there is some coherence and timbre issues. Treble BA in the nozzle means your gonna hear that treble and everything associated with it first and foremost. A design choice I have seen with many that suppose to reduce treble resonances. If the treble was not so forward I think these would sound a bit more balanced however in their stock form treble seems to cast a shadow on the entire spectrum on some test tracks. Tunes with less prominent bass end the sound has a cooler sheen and vocals sound brighter than they should. Warmth is missing from vocal performances and add to that a bit of recession and you get to hear a lot of beats but not so much articulate smooth or warm vocal performances at the same time. Anything with treble end and treble comes through first then the bass then the vocals in this order.This works well with modern genres, rock, pop, hiphop and EDM but with acoustic, jazz and orchestral scores not so much.
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For folks that love them a V shaped sound signature the KS2 actually has a competent tuning. It doesn't have the tightest speediest bass but you can’t expect that from the budget sector but for what it is worth the bass adds to the fun factor of the KS2. Sub bass has no roll off and mid bass has big punch and presence. Bass guys will appreciate the bass quantity on the KS2 and the ability to hit them lowest of notes when called for. The quality of the bass for the price range is acceptable. You're not getting a $25 earphone to critique how fine them bass notes are. One can only wish budget bass is good as a $1700 flagship high end bass. That would be something.
But in reality what you're getting is an earphone that you can throw on a phone and use out and about. No amps needed. Bass genres shine on the KS2 but I do notice some grating treble issues with EDM at times. Synthetic treble notes. Actually all treble notes will be highlighted.
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Clarity is good on the KS2 due to the ample treble presence but here is where the tone of the earphones are skewed toward the bright end of things. I noticed for acoustic live pieces this actually made for a good detailed live set due to being able to pick off guitar presence in a roomy manor. It is when you get something like speed metal where there is a lot of complex speedy passages with a lot of crash symbols happening where the KS2 sounds a bit harsh. Slower, more melodic tunes sound good. Not so much faster precise recordings that use a lot of high hats and crash symbols for the drums.
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My biggest gripe has to be how present crash symbols are. You can barely hear anything else when there is a lot of slushiness thrown out on the recordings. Example. Painkiller Judas Priest. Don’t know if it is due to the BA in front of the nozzle but anything really with sharpness to it in the treble will come through loud and clear.

This is where I wished the KS2 had a bit less treble energy. Reality is when you're out and about the ample bass end is a good choice but external noise has a tendency to drown out bass notes first. Not so much the treble end. So that is when you're gonna hear a lot of treble. In a less noisy environment the bass comes in loud and clear.

Mid bands have good clarity and focus but lacks some depth to the sonics and always takes 3rd place in the sound balancing. If vocal performance is very important to you. KS2 is not the way to go. They don't completely fall off the cliff in vocal performance but it is a clear V shaped sound signature. Imaging for the mid bands is actually quite good. Your music will sound like it should and while the KS2 lacks in refinements, gives you music you're familiar with good energy and a sonic performance that can be enjoyable. Especially when not listening critically out and about. Just know what type of tuning you're getting into here and if this is the type you're looking for then by all means these are good in that regard.
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These would make for a good casual phone to listen to when you're going about your daily lives. They have a surprising amount of clarity and make good use of hybrid technology. No faking the BA timbre for the highs and no faking that dynamic bass end. It has a big bass end and the treble to go with it throwing out an energetic sound tuning for your walks. If you're in the market for an earphone that can be easily enjoyed out of your cell phone without the use of an amp and don’t plan on spending half your paycheck on an earphone. These might be what you're looking for. As always happy listening.
Pros: Sub-bass rumble/quantity
Has some air in the treble and pretty good extension
Soundstage
Good for bassy music
Female/male vocal balancing
Fit
Isolation
Cons: Does not punch above its price point
Looks and feels a bit cheap (build)
Recessed female and male vocals
With some songs it is sibilant
Loose mid/sub-bass, makes it a bit muddy
Bass extension not that good, "compensates" with more rumble quantity
Loose bass bottlenecks the instrument separation, details and makes the overall sound a bit muddy
Lack of accessories
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Disclaimer: Received this review unit for free from KBEAR´s official store on AliExpress. Thank you very much.

Price: 21 usd

Specifications:

Brand:KBEAR

Model:KS2

Interface: 0.78mm Pin TFZ

Frequency range: 20-20kHZ

Sensitivity: 106±3dB

Impedance: 16Ω

Color: Green/Black

Material: Environment protect PC

Whether with mic: Yes/no

Plug:3.5mm L curve gold plated connector

Drive Unit: Hybrid 10mm composite diaphragm Dynamic Driver +Balanced Armature

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Accessories:

Silicone S/M/L Narrow bore tips

Cable

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Cable: The cable is basically a 4-core KZ cable, it tangles itself quite easily and is pretty thin. I would normally recommend getting a 3rd party cable but since the iem itself doesn’t punch above its price point, it might not be a very smart choice to spend more money on the cable when its better to just use that money to get a better iem (KB04 from KBEAR themselves isn’t much more expensive and seems to be a better value).

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FIY: IT IS NOT BLUE!!! It is green, trash camera ***

Build: Plastic shell and metal nozzles. The shell doesn’t have any sharp edges so it’s not uncomfortable but the plastic does make it look and feel a bit cheap.

Fit: Very good fit and it also stays in my ears without the need to readjust it. I say it is good enough to use it during physical activities because of the fit.

Comfort: Pretty ok during shorter sessions, but because the shell takes up the entire ear you won’t “forget” that they are in and during longer sessions the heat builds up and gets fatiguing because of that.

Isolation: Above average because it takes up the entire ear but not top-tier because it is vented.

Setup: Ibasso DX160 (low gain, volume around 36), stock cable, stock tips L sized

Lows: A lot of more sub-bass than mid-bass. The bass isn’t that tight nor loose and the speed is pretty average. It isn’t muddying the sound though because of the low mid-bass quantity.

Mid-bass: On Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47) the bass needs to be tighter for it to sound natural but quantity is pretty good for it.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (02:55-03:01) the “chopper” sound was pretty hard to hear due to the loose bass making the sound muddy and the instrument separation/imaging not being that good. The (01:11-01:52) section was worse though because the individual bass strikes where very loose.

Sub-bass: A lot of rumble as heard in Djuro – drop the bass (01:15-01:30) but the extension isn’t that good (rumble quantity is most likely acting as “compensation” for the extension) and the punch that is usually heard in that section is quite loose but still hearable.

The punch in Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22) is tight but speed and especially texture is a bit lacking.

The punch is even looser on Armin van buuren – Don’t want to fight love away (03:33-04:31) where it should be tighter.

On hip-hop tracks however the bass is actually quite suited for it, like in Flo Rida – Low (0:16-0:27).

Mids: Both male and female vocals are recessed but they are pretty evenly balanced so neither the male or female vocals stick out more than the other. Quality is pretty good though.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52) the vocals are pretty average in how natural they are (for hybrids), but the issue is that it is recessed where it should be more forward (although not more forward than the instruments more like it needs to be in the middle).

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55) the piano is played very silently and calm, so that does place the vocals in front of the piano, but it still needs to be even more forward.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35) is a bit shouty but not sharp.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26) my ears are dying from a combination of sharp female vocals and electric guitar combination.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17) recessed male vocals but quality is pretty good.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17) lack thickness, warmth and quantity. So, the quality and quantity are bad here.

Highs: Deuce – America (03:03-03:16) has sibilant treble and very fatiguing, not good.

Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42) sibilant electric guitars.

Most tracks aren’t sibilant but if they are, they are VERY sibilant. Extension is pretty good and there is air in it.

Soundstage: Above average soundstage impressive for the price, the air and treble extension are the most likely helping it a lot.

Tonality: Warm V-shape, the timbre is decent for a hybrid at this price but definitely won´t beat DD´s. The biggest factor in why it doesn’t sound that natural, is because of the recessed mids. Doesn’t sound thin so it’s not analytical and not very thick either.

Details: Bass speed and tightness does make the details worse but otherwise it is pretty average.

Instrument Separation: Bass speed and tightness does make the instrument separation worse but otherwise it is pretty average.

Songs that highlight the IEM:
Good genres: Hip-hop, Dance/electronic

Bad genres: Acoustic songs, OSTs, Jpop, Pop, Trance, Rock, Metal



Comparisons:

CCA C10:
Treble is better extended and with more air in the C10, lower treble is similar but upper treble has more quantity so it sounds a bit brighter because of that (and because of the bass).

Female vocals are more natural on the C10 and also more forward. Female vocals are a bit more forward on the C10 but is more natural on the KS2 because it has some more warmth and thickness. Vocal balancing between male/female is better on the KS2 because it is leaning more towards the female vocals on the C10.

Bass is tighter, faster and lower extension on the C10. But the quantity (especially sub-bass) is much higher on the KS2 and also rumbles more.

Soundstage, details, instrument separation and timbre are better on the C10.

I would recommend the C10 over the KS2 because it has an overall more refined SQ and is more natural. But if you want a more fun iem then the bassier KS2 is better.

Final Audio E3000: Treble quantity is lower on the E3000 but sounds more natural, although the KS2 has better extension and is airier.

Female vocals are more forward on the E3000 and more natural. Male vocals are also more forward on the E3000 and much more natural due to it having more warmth and thickness.

Mid-bass quantity and texture is better on the E3000. Tightness and speed are better on the KS2.

Sub-bass extension, texture and tightness are better on the E3000 but speed is equal while there is more rumble on the KS2

Soundstage is better on the KS2 while timbre, instrument separation and details are better on the E3000

E3000 is better if you want a more relaxing and warmer sound, while being more natural. KS2 is better for a more fun sound.

Blon BL-03(mesh mod): Treble quantity is similar, but extension and air are better on the 03 and it sounds much more natural.

Female/male vocals are more forward and more natural on the 03.

Bass has more quantity on the 03 and is tighter, faster, extends lower and more textured on the 03. But the KS2 rumbles more.

Soundstage is a bit bigger on the KS2 but instrument separation, details and timbre are much better on the 03.

The 03 pretty much outmatches the KS2 in almost every way (except soundstage, where the KS2 is bigger and therefore better). 03 is recommended over the KS2 for pretty much everyone except if you prioritize sub-bass rumble and/or something that will fit without problems (as the 03 needs a lot of tip rolling and O-ring to fit good and even then, the KS2 fits much better).

Conclusion: in conclusion, the KS2 is something I would not recommend to people that already have a lot of iems. It is however a good starter or a beater set for physical activities, as everything works out of the box. Thanks for reading.
F700
F700
Very good review :thumbsup:

I removed the mesh and this is a better IEM (for my taste) after this easy "mod". Warmth takes a step back, I get clearer mids and not or very little sibilance.
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
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Pros: Great bass performance – Light, comfortable shell design
Cons: Recessed mids – Sibilance
Greetings!

Today we’re checking out another inexpensive hybrid earphone from the Kobe Bryant inspired brand, KB EAR.

The KS2 is a 1+1 hybrid with one balanced armature and one dynamic driver per side. Coming in at under 30 USD, the KS2 has to square up with heavy hitters from brands like KZ, TRN, Moondrop, and more. Oddly, some of the strongest competition comes from KB EAR themselves in the KB04, another recently released 1+1 hybrid.

Does the KS2 warrant release so soon after the KB04, or will its metal-bodied relative retain top dog status in KB EAR’s budget segment. Let’s find out, shall we?

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What I Hear The KS2 has a fairly prominent v-shaped tune with massive bass and strong treble that keeps it feeling lively and energetic. It’s fun and competent, but won’t satisfying those looking for something that falls under the realm of “balanced”.

As noted, bass presence here is quite prominent. The KS2 extends very well into subbass regions giving listeners quite a visceral, physical presentation. Midbass keeps up well adding some needed warmth to the presentation and showing just how punchy the dynamic in this budget friendly earphone can be. Texturing is pretty good too giving grungy notes an appropriate level of grit to them. The low end is fairly quick, with rapid notes retaining composure quite well, though on the rapid double bass common to speed metal the KS2 starts to get a bit smeary.

The midrange is a bit less impressive. While vocals are articulate and detailed, they feel set back too far, too often. That’s fine on tracks where they are secondary and used more like another instrument (common to breakbeat and similar EDM genres), but with other genres I found myself raising the volume a hint to bring them up. Doing so highlighted another problem area; sibilance. “T”s can be quite sizzly through the KS2, “s” less so. While less naturally sibilant tracks remain fine through the KS2, inherently sibilant tracks like Aesop Rock’s “Blood Sandwich” can be downright unpleasant, especially at higher volumes. Timbre is handled fairly well, though slightly dry sounding at times giving the presentation an unnatural edge. Still better than most though, so it get s thumbs up from me.

Treble fairs better with the KS2’s armatures providing a solid experience. The presence / brilliance region balance is handled well with enough lower treble emphasis to give the KS2 good detail. There is enough upper treble emphasis to provide some shimmer without sounding boosted for the sake of artificially enhancing clarity and/or detail. In typical armature fashion notes attack and decay fairly quick without any unnecessary lingering. Control is good but the KS2 can sound splashy and loose at times. General emphasis is a bit much too and could stand to be dialed down to allow the midrange more room to play.

Sound stage performance is pretty decent for a budget earphone, but it’s not the cavernous beast I was led to believe. Vocals have a default presentation just inside the ear with notes spreading off into the distance, generally to around my shoulders. Channel-to-channel movement is accurate enough and perfectly suitable for light gaming. For something a bit more serious or competitive, it’s worth spending a little bit more for the Moondrop SSR which walk circles around the KS2 in this section, but for 25 bucks the KS2 does a good job. That goes double for layering and instrument separation which are also quite nice for something in this price range. On really busy or bassy tracks it can sound a bit confined, but this is more of an exception than the rule.

Overall I find the KS2 to be a well-tuned v-shaped earphone. I don’t think it does anything particularly new or special and it certainly isn’t my cup of tea, which is fine. I don’t expect manufacturers to be overly ambitious with their budget gear. The KS2 plays it safe and provides buyers with a tune that is sure to please the majority.

Compared To A Peer

KZ ZSN (19 USD): ZSN has more subbass, less midbass and is more textured. Speed and general punchiness are about the same. ZNS’s mids are more forward, thicker, and less subject to be overshadowed by upper regions. KS2 is more sibilant. Timbre is similarly fine, but neither are perfectly accurate; dry on the KS2, slightly light on the ZSN. Treble on the KS2 is notably more boosted, particularly in the brilliance region. I find it hides the mids slightly which is not the case on the ZSN. The ZSN is less forgiving of lower quality files than the KS2, which results in the ZSN’s treble sounding cleaner on higher quality files, but worse (i.e. splashy) on lower quality files. When it comes to sound stage the ZSN has the edge. Default vocal positioning is slightly further from the ear giving off a very subtle element of extra space. Imaging, layering and separation all feel just a bit more accurate and defined through the ZSN.

Overall I prefer the tuning of the ZSN. Performance is close, but the ZSN ends up sounding like the more refined, mature product. It’s an even better value too. Performance is slightly better, build is more impressive (higher quality plastics, metal faceplates, thicker cable) and it’s even more affordable.

TRN V30 (25 USD): V30 doesn’t extend quite as well as the KS2 but subbass presence is still solid. Midbass is a bit punchier out of the V30. Texturing is similarly good with the KS2 having a slight edge. I find the V30 slightly more nimble and coherent on rapid double-bass notes. Mids are more forward and warmer on the V30 giving it a more natural timbre and overall presentation. KS2 wins on detail though, leaving the V30’s mids sounding almost veiled. Treble is in general less boosted on the V30 but with a similar presence/brilliance region balance. Like the KS2 it can be a bit harsh at high volumes. I’d say their treble quality is about on par with the V30 being slightly more enjoyable due to the reduced emphasis. The V30 has a wider sound stage, thanks in part to vocals having a less intimate default positioning. Imaging is more accurate out of the V30 and individual track elements feel better separated, but the KS2 does a better job with layering.

Overall I’ve got to give the V30 thanks to the improved timbre quality and less aggressive treble. Neither is in any way special when it comes to build, though the V30’s cable is slightly improved; more flexible with better strain relief. Ergonomics go to the KS2 though. V30’s fit is a little odd without ideal tips.

KB EAR KB04 (39.99 USD): Bass out of the KB04 is tighter and more refined sounding with a better mid/subbass balance. It’s more textured too, and doesn’t fall short in terms of extension. Midrange placement, detail, and timbre quality is similar between the two, but it works better on the KB04 thanks to less emphasis at the extremes. I don’t find myself increasing the volume to the same extent to bring up vocals. Treble on the KS2 is brighter but less well-controlled leading to notes sounding slashy. The KB04 could benefit from more emphasis in the brilliance region to bring it more in line with the KS2, especially since it has a clear edge in detail and clarity. Neither has a particularly special sound stage but again, a slight edge goes to the KB04. I find the presentation wider and similarly deep with cleaner channel-to-channel transitions and improved instrument layering and separation.

Overall the KB04 is the better product in nearly every way. The improvements aren’t particularly vast, but given the KB04 can routinely be found for only a few bucks more and comes with beautiful metal shells, better tips, and a nicer cable, I see no reason to pick up the KS2 over it.

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In The Ear The KS2 has a very familiar silhouette with the same shape and design to its face plate used by brands like KZ, FiiO, TFZ, among others. The rest of the shell doesn’t stray far either, except that it is quite a bit thinner giving the KS2 a tighter, lower profile fit. The plastics used feel in line in quality with KZs and CCAs, behind brands like FiiO with the FH1S, and above TRN with the V30. Fit and finish is quite good with all component parts lining up perfectly. Seams are impressively, well, pretty much absent. Can barely feel them even with a fingernail.

The twisted copper cable also bares comparison with similarly priced models from KZ, CCA, Tripowin, among others. The light sheath looks and feels basically the same with a low y-split, easily tangled above thanks to some aggressively formed ear guides. The y-split is nicely relieved out the top, while entry below is more or less reliefless. It’s there, but too stubby and tough to do anything. Absent is a chin cinch, which is a little disappointing since the KB04 had one. The 90 degree angled jack is one I haven’t seen in quite a few years, back when KZs were still branded with their early G.K. Affiliation. It’s a solid rubber jack that is quite compact with a long extension to allow wide compatibility with DAP and phone cases. Strain relief isn’t great, again too stubby and tough, which is about the only thing I can knock this jack for. One thing I appreciate about this cable and the ear guide design is that cable noise is kept to a minimum.

Comfort is a big plus with the KS2. The ergonomic shape, low weight, and overall slenderness results in an earphone that is quite easy to wear for long periods. The sharply angled ear guides keep the cable tight to your ear without causing discomfort, and help ensure a stable fit even when going for a run. Isolation is passable, falling into the slightly below average category in my experience. I can easily hold a conversation with someone (no music playing of course) without struggling to comprehend what they’re saying. Key strokes on a keyboard are dulled slightly but still quite audible. Cars passing by are too. Tossing on some foam tips helps, but expect to have to increase volume to drown out your surroundings if using the KS2 in noisy areas.

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In The Box The KS2 comes in what has quickly become a very common style of packaging for earphones of this style and in this price range. The exterior sheath contains an image of the left earpiece with a neat looking clear tip installed, along with the usual branding and model information. On the rear are the specs in three languages, along with location and contact information for KB EAR.

Sliding the sheath off sees the earphones under a clear plastic window, neatly tucked into a cardboard covered foam insert, and a smaller KB EAR branded cardboard box containing the included accessories. In all you get:
  • KS2 earphones
  • 0.78mm 2-pin 4 core OFC cable
  • Single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
  • Manual
Overall a very basic and familiar unboxing experience. It was cool when KZ started the trend a few years ago, but now that so many brands are offering virtually identical experiences, it’s time for change. Kinera and TinHiFi do an especially good job with their budget-tier product packaging. I was also a little disappointed that the included tips are one of the same generic single flange sets we’ve been getting with inexpensive earphones for ages, as opposed to the clear set displayed on the package.

Final Thoughts The KS2 is a perfectly fine earphone for the price. As a daily driver it ticks all the right boxes; light, comfortable, and with a tune that does well out in the real world. The big bass isn’t lost when outside noises bleed in, and the emphasized treble keeps detail levels satisfactory. I really wish the midrange was less recessed though, as vocals are pretty easily overshadowed.

I don’t think the KS2 is a class leader in any way, but that doesn’t really matter when it is inexpensive, sounds good, and should provide users with plenty of entertainment. Plus, it can match and possibly exceed the performance of the MS1 – Rainbow at a third of the cost (read about that in my early impressions post), so good on KB EAR for that.

Thanks for reading!

– B9

Disclaimer Thank you to Wendy with KB EAR for reaching out to see if I would be interested in covering the KS2. For a discounted review sample price (10 cents CAD), it was purchased through their AliExpress store and shipped off to Canada. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on time spent listening to the KS2. They do not represent KB EAR or any other entity. At the time of writing it was retailing for 23.99 – 24.99 USD: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001209302741.html

Specifications

Frequency response: 20-20Hz
Impedance: 16ohms
Sensitivity: 106dB +/- 3dB

Gear Used For Testing LG Q70, Earstudio HUD100, Earmen TR-Amp, Asus FX53V, TEAC HA-501

Some Test Tunes

Supertramp – Crime of the Century
Slipknot – Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dreams
Last edited:
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Pros: Amazing tall/deep/wide 3D holophonic sound-stage
Incredible value!
Bright/Live sound signature
Non-fatiguing for prolonged listening
Great imaging & layering
Accurate & tight bass/sub-bass
Cons: Underwhelming shell design
Slightly overcooked treble & veiled mids
Tonality & timbre could be perceived as genre specific
Average fit & isolation
Minimal packaging & accessories
Ordering the KBEAR KS2 – when dealing with the ever friendly KBEAR Official Store (product link below) was a great experience - the parcel being shipped quickly once the order placed.

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001209302741.html?spm=2114.12010611.8148356.5.2e331640NMi8ft;


To obtain the discount price:
1. Became a follower of KBEAR Official Store
2. Use discount code: NEWKBEARKS2


Out of the box, these iems can be used efficiently with any source, including smartphones, due to the low 16 ohm impedance rating. However, upgrading from the stock cable produces a much more audiophile experience.

The fact that they can be so easily driven, mirrors the signature of my favourite budget earbud drivers: DIY PK2 SR2 Pro – they also match them for their extensive soundstage in width, height, front & back. Hence, for little money an enveloping 3D holophonic stage can be experienced.

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The stage can appear to convey reverb due to its huge enveloping size. The tonality of the treble can sometimes appear hot on certain repetitive beats EDM tracks….hence some percussion can easily become splashy & irritating. I found that given a period of burn-in these spikes became less prevalent, once one is accustomed to their signature.

They appear to suit more synthetic genres which suit my listening preferences – however they’re not so good at rendering acoustic instruments & brass timbres such as: Jazz & Classical music. I noticed that during busier tracks with complex multi-layering, they struggle to render this kind of timbre. However, there is plenty enough quantity of bass & sub bass - resulting in a presentation that offsets the bright signature somewhat!

In order to improve instrument timbre, they do respond well to balanced cable upgrades. Initially I tried a cheaper silver plated cable, which I later replaced with a more expensive Kinboofi 4-Core Pure Copper Silver Plated Gold Mix Cable, which uses mmcx connectors. I’d already pre-ordered: right-angled mmcx to 2-pin converter adaptors, to allow the SPC superior cable to be used with all 2-pin iems in my collection.

This upgrade definitely added extra stage "air" & generated enhanced note thickness, great helping to convey & resolve instrument authenticity. The impressive technicalities displayed by K2’s soundstage, imho outweighs their deficiencies, coupled with their low impedance works particularly well with genres such as electronica soundscapes, as layers of detail builds up over the spherical spectrum.

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Build/Fit:
These are very average plastic housing shells which is to be expected at this price point, alas they do have a decent build quality. The fit is ergonomic there is some bulky protrusion, alas they do streamline effectively with the ears tragus, in order to provide an adequate seal.

Tuning / Sound Signature:
Being tuned by the same tuner as Blon-03, the KS2 have a bright balanced signature, which is mids-light/treble-heavy, coupled with a jewel of a sound-stage!

Soundstage:
The highlight of this set is their sound-stage, which is very tall, deep and wide, conveying a spherical 3D holophonic sound-field. Imaging is accurate – & you never get the feeling that any sounds are being stretched out, adding up to a very engaging experience.

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Highs:
Due to the BA located in the nozzle configuration, the treble is pushed forward due, hence some tracks can suffer from transient peaks. Using an upgraded SPC cable, whilst thickening the note-weight, also exposes the extra juice in the treble.

Mids:
The mids are less pronounced which generates a much less rounded presentation, this can results in certain instrument timbres such as brass being slightly veiled during more busy and complex tracks.

Bass:
An impressive quality and quantity of authentic tight bass and sub-bass sits very neatly in the mix…not overpowering or muddy, whilst refraining from bleeding into the mids.

EQ response:
Apart from upper treble frequencies over 7Khz, the KS2 respond to EQ well, especially when trying to order to balance out the signature by boosting mid–range frequencies.

Amp Scalability:
K2 amps fairly well, but the low 16 ohm impedance rating higher volume levels can sound rather brittle & do suffer from transient peaks - distorting at high volumes.
Bass response clarity remains non-muddy as a “hi-fi” sweet spot is attained. I found them easy to amp using warm or neutral sources, their synergy seamlessly adapts to any situation – such as being powered by the output stage of a synthesiser.

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Sources:
The best synergy is attained with FLAC files via balanced output of Sony NW-ZX300a – the DAP remains distortion-free at max volume. BT receiver mode of the Sony DAP with vinyl processor switched on, adds extra “analogue” warmth- in order to experience balanced from Dell 7559 gaming laptop & a newly aquired Korg Wavestate synthesiser!

SE output: Behringer UMC404HD / Xiaomi Mi 9T smartphone / iPad Air3 / Cayin N3 & NX4 DAC - gain switch increases all frequencies plus quantity of bass & rumble of sub-bass allows for “sweet spot” volume levels over halfway with no distortion. Additional mobility is provided by Radsone EarStudio ES100 with additional EQ via iPad app.

Listening preferences:
Considering the tonality of the KS2 their “live” signature excels with any synthesiser laden tracks & especially with those that combine a live band sound with studio overdub mixing, multi-layering e.g:


Velvet Universe - Voyager LP (Full) (1981.)



Why? - Ermhoi



Black Boboi - Red Mind



D.A.N. - SSWB



“Shard of Glass” - Fenella



Fuku-Ura



Monochrome Echo


Testing the Binaural capabilities of this set was auditioned with tracks: “Jettison Mind Hatch” by Tipper, “Y Dydd Olaf” by Gwenno. Ambient Internet Radio (NTS) / Soundscapes / Live Gigs, Vocals / Jazz & Classical / Electronica / FLAC LP’s Soundtracks: Andy Dragazis - Afterimages ( - Engaging atmospheres appear visceral, airy and binaural, placing you at the centre of the music, the timbre of strings is wonderful & otherworldly - underpinned by moody, suspenseful cello.)

Musicality:
KS2’s micro detailing results in a very more-ish sonic experience, alongside superb bass rendering portrays an incredibly musical signature, which excels with a wide gamut of genres ( - apart from occasional poor rendering of brass timbres.)
The low 16ohm impedance of the KS2 totally engages you on a visceral level, esp. vocals & Electronica – which are are imbued with a “live” feel
Whether listening passively to binaural tracks soundscapes, or playing my new Korg Wavestate synthesiser – which sounds incredible regardless of the array of timbres classical, acoustic, synthetic etc….chosen from the huge sound palette!
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Comparisons:
TRN-VX have similar levels of excitement & energy, however VX’s 5BA 1DD hybrid configuration helps to smooth out transient peaks and render timbres during complex tracks, & sound more refined at higher volumes. Detail retrieval and sound-stage of both are excellent! However, KS2 boosts the treble response, & has thinner mids susceptible to not resolving instrument timbres & plastic/splashy inauthentic percussion. In contrast the VX has less bass quantity & artificially boosted upper mids.

TRI-I3: The KBEAR with smaller housings can compete with the Tri’s stage: both having a tall, wide, deep: 3D holophonic, binaural stage. Synthetic & bass-centric tracks are favoured by KS2 which sound slightly punchier. As a mid-tier set, Tri- i3 are on a different sonic level, being less v-shaped & much more refined in their presentation – imho remaining unsurpassed at rendering classical timbre + excelling with vocal tracks.

Blon BL-05: The KS2 generate to the bright energy & detail retrieval of the Blon, which is offset by greater bass/sub-bass quantity which results in an overall signature that is noticeably more enjoyable, balanced and engaging.

Conclusion:
If you’re looking for a set with huge stage KBEAR KS2 represents amazing value. The soundt-stage & tuning of the single BA&DD configuration adds up to a bargain price. The main caveat being they have very average housings, & are tuned to emphasise treble - hence they might possibly be too genre specific for some?

On an experiential level, I for one will never tire of their 3D holophonic stage coupled with a “live” bright signature. Admittedly, the treble emphasis produced by the nozzle BA can be hot on occasions, and the mids would benefit from being bought more forward to create a more lush sound signature, despite this it’s hard to nit-pick their deficiencies given their low price.

Considering the recent feedback regarding the latest Chi-Fi releases utilising BA’s located in the nozzle, in a future iteration, I would like to own a set that is tuned specifically for the international marketplace.
Hopefully, a “modified” set could have similar shells to the TRN-VX - way improving the listening comfort, whilst retaining the KS2’s superb sound-stage. Situating the BA away from the nozzle would reduce treble emphasis & thus avoid splashy percussion.

Ideally the modified set could possibly implement a planar driver configuration? The resulting boost in mids would create a far more full bodied & lush tonality - increasing instrument rendering, which in turn would consequently improve clarification of authenticity! :)


Ratings:

Build: 80

Fit: 80

Bass: 85

Mids: 75

Treble: 80

Soundstage: 90

Imaging/Layering: 90

Accessories: 75

Price: 93

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