alamnp

100+ Head-Fier
Outstanding value for KB Ear Believe
Pros: Crystal Clear Treble, Full Bodied Mid, Fast Detailed Bass, Great separation, Outstanding Percussion Accuracy, Huge Sound stage, Can Handle Complicated Music without Problem (A+++)
Cons: None at this price point
KB Ear Believe is the first beryllium DD ever sold below $200. I was really skeptical towards Believe initially. I was not expecting much because I already have a bunch of low tiered and mid tiered Chifi, and they don't differ that much from one another, probably about 5%.

I wanted to confirm it that it's not just the hype, so I jumped the gun on Thanksgiving getting my very first Beryllium driver from KB Ear.

I received my KB Ear two weeks ago and unboxing KB Ear Believe was just quite an experience.

KB Ear Believe comes in Aluminum 5-axis CNC casing with 3D plate at the back that looks very nice. It is smaller than typical IEMs, as a matter a fact KB Ear Believe probably one of the smallest IEM that I have.

KB Ear comes with plentiful accessories, 3 silicone tips regular bore, 3 silicone tips wide bore (Standard), 2 memory foam ear tip, upgraded Copper Silver plated cable 2pin 0.78mm - 3.5mm jack, and a really nice leather pouch.

I love the industrial all metal design with 3D back plate and I consider KB Ear Believe as very cool and good looking pair of IEM’s.

Ok, before we move forward to the essence of this review, to be fair, I did my 100 hours burn in for my KB Ear Believe. I also purchased KB Ear balanced Copper Silver plated cable with 2.5mm jack. Word of caution, KB Ear Believe NEEDS a lot of power, so please get yourself a DAC/DAP to extract its full potential. If you are going to just plug this to a phone or Iphone, I would suggest don't even bother getting Believe. It does have low impedance of 17 Ohm; however it also has lower Sensitivity than most IEMs at 98dB. With my Iphone X, max volume only yield about 60dB of sound.

With 2.5mm jack balanced cable you get extra boost about 10dB, however I don't really need 2.5mm jack balanced cable, with the 3.5mm jack unbalanced cable I don't have to max out my BTR5 with Believe, at 50% there is plenty to hear.

For the purpose of this review, I will be pairing KB Ear Believe with my FIIO BTR5 DAC.

Fit:
KB Ear out of the box fit likes a glove to my ear canal. I don't even have to do tip rolling. It provided me with great seal to start with, probably due to its small size.

Sound:
The overall sound of KB Ear Believe is perceived as neutral balanced with enhanced the upper mid range that gives great detail retrieval and crystal clear treble without sibilant. I am so surprised that Believe can walk that thin line of being sibilant and not, and able to maintain that crystal clear clarity without being too brilliance. I don't really understand this, but this makes Believe as an exceptional IEM. Out of the box, the sub bass and mid bass were fast and detailed without bleeding over to the mid range. Initially, I did not like the bass because even though it was detailed enough, but it's lacking in punch. However, it changed after 100 hours burn in, the bass really hits it when the song requires it. Sound stage also improved after 100 hours burn in, it is wider, taller and deeper with great separation. I usually do not enjoy Coldplay songs on other IEMs because they sounded congested, but OH BOY!!!, not with Believe, I was so surprised how Believe can handle complicated track accordingly, providing much details, accuracy and precision on percussion. To me, it's just heavenly. Instrument placement and separation on Believe, I think is the best compared to any other single DD within its price range.

Comparison vs NM2+:
NM2+ is a lot bigger than Believe, fit and seal is better with Believe than NM2+
The bass out of the box, probably NM2+ is better; however its mid bass do bleed out to the mid range giving that warmth overall feeling compared to Believe clear clarity full bodied overall feeling. The mid range, no doubt Believe has a clear edge against NM2+, Believe has clear and precise mid range without mid bass bleed, male vocal more full bodied and female vocal more intimate and seductive in my opinion (I listened to Halsey and Blackpink songs alot). NM2+ has a tendency for distortion an higher volume, not sure making the Treble diminished especially with Bass ear tips provided by them. With Believe, the treble is spot on, plenty of extension, BRILLIANCE and yet not sibilant.

I want to thank KB Ear in creating this exceptional IEMs for me to enjoy.
Thank you.

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A
alamnp
I only used my FIIO BTR5 with KB Ear balanced cable 2.5mm; however IT sounds good already even with the stock 3.5mm cable.
BTR5 has 80mW unbalanced and 240mW balanced (120mW each side).

I did 100 hours burn in prior to this review. IT DOES SOUNDS DIFFERENT AFTER 100 HOURS.
Otto Motor
Otto Motor
Speaking of NM2+: how can you handle the upper midrange? It is fatiguingly bright for many...
A
alamnp
I did EQing with BTR5, was not to my liking after I got my BELIEVE

Wretched Stare

Head-Fier
Near perfection at this price!!!
Pros: Great Bass control , Treble sparkles to a near perfect level , Mids are so engaging and soundstage is very natural and with excellent imaging. great accessories and build quality in far better than anything I would have expected in this price range.
Cons: Needs power to reach its full potential but at this price range it is hard to find anything major.
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Packaging is very good similar to the Diamond that I also though was great in its presentation. Build is similar to the Diamond a nice style shell ..metal with a carbon fiber backplate, I personally love the blue in it.. so pretty.
Comfort is great and it has a large selection of tips to fit most people.

Comfort and isolation is very good, the shape seems to be perfect for my ears.

Sound:

Bass: Mid Bass is punchy and clear , Sub Bass is present yet not overpowering overall the Bass seems a neutral with a little lift in the Mid Bass, Sub Bass can be more aggressive if not properly amplified this gives the Believe a dual identity depending on how you power it. I found it a bit more warm using the ifi hip-dac but I liked it very much that way. Running of the Aune X1s it sounded as intended as that until is very transparent.

Mids: Are very nice neutral and full of details with lower amplification they sound rich and warm. either way wow such good mids vocals are very pleasant with a slight recession in heavy bass recordings. Upper Mids are forward but never reached the shouty level some others have, very good detail retrieval here and tonality in general the tonality was quite good with a smooth transition from low to high.

Treble: Has a great extension and reaches that perfect sparkle point with natural details far past this price point and better than some BA hybrids in my opinion. No harshness or lazy treble just some good tuning here with highs that are non fatiguing and rich with details.

Soundstage: Was natural in its shape and while not the widest it fits perfectly into the Believes tuning, with great accuracy, imaging , details it just sounds right. I have many wide soundstage IEMs sometimes it just sounds unnatural the believe is great as it is. Even with Dolby, THX or DTS:X on still sounds great but not really needed.

Conclusion:

The KBEAR Believe performs far better than many things in this price range, its built solid, has great premium accessories, It is a worthy successor to the Diamond ( that I still Love) the signature is engaging and I find myself wanting to use them a lot , considering the amount of IEM and headphones I have this is a big compliment to KBear and to the Tuning that went into this product.
I can recommend these to people who listen to many kinds of music it will not disappoint.




SPECIFICATIONS

Driver Unit: pure beryllium DD
Sensitivity: 98 dB/mW
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20000Hz
Impedance: 17 ohms
Cable: 2 Pin 0.78mm


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pepodenata

100+ Head-Fier
KBear BElieve The value for money. (My choice IEM OF THE YEAR 2020)
Pros: Good build. Excellent comfort and fit. Good cable and eartips as standard. Organic, mature and musical tone without losing the technicalities. Great balance of frequencies, quickly, and good transients.
Cons: I have to leave this field empty. You can't put a single 'but' at this price.
SPECIFICATIONS

  • Driver Unit: pure beryllium diaphragm dynamic driver
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB/mW
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20000Hz
  • Impedance: 17 ohms
  • Cable: 2 Pin 0.78mm
  • Tested at $130 USD (Aliexpress coupons)
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ACCESSORIES



Comes with:



1) PVC leather case



2) 4 strands of 6N Monocrystalline Copper Litz - Original cable is better than most iems at this price, no miking and 3.5mm terminated.



3) Two types of silicone tips in stock in various sizes - one is softer in consistency (black) than the other (gray).



4) Foam tips (2 sizes)



In this review, I limited myself to the standard silicone gray-red tips and the standard cable.



The standard grayish-red cable and tips included in Believe are perfect. You should not worry about it. Great sound, great fit, and most importantly (they are short tips so as not to cover the driver's ventilation hole in the mouthpiece), in addition, due to the large upper opening of these tips, it is responsible for providing great clarity to the All the range of frequencies and organic tone of the mids ... The tips with less aperture and longer, will bring more remote mids, less organic, and a set with less clarity, muddy, worse image.



BUILD- INSULATION- COMFORT

The construction is very good. The housing is metal, small, with a 3D carbon fifra back plate with blue tones. They are very nice ... The insulation is average. The fit is excellent and they are very comfortable, to be enjoyed for hours.


DRIVABILITY/SOURCE


I first tested them with more modest sources like LG V30 and Sony NWA55 (Japan region with no European volume limit). On V30, it drives them fairly well at a volume of 60 (total 75), beyond that, distortion appears and the picture gets muddy. In MWA55 it drives them medianly at a volume 95-100 out of a total of 120 (without distortion). Later, I ran them with my DAP A&K Kann Alpha (medium gain) at a volume of 75-83 over 150. Here they escalated to another level. And finally, I ran them with my Pro-ject Prebox S2 + Burson Soloist SL MKII amp desktop combo, on low gain (volume knob between 10-11). My review is based on these last two sources, as BElieve needs good amplification to show its full potential.

I do not recommend anyone to buy this iem to use with a pc, tablet or mobile phone, as it will simply sound muddy and the experience will be disappointing.





SOUND



KBEAR BElieve is an off-road, neutral-warm IEM in the shape of a U. Organic tuning, refined, mature and smooth, with good technicalities. The upper media are very soft and not tiring.



If I had to describe them in two words, they would be (analog valve).



Extremely natural and delicious high-mids and highs, with clarity, resolution and extension. They go to the limit, but it's amazing how they manage to spread, right to the point of derailment, but, in the end, you say ... Wow! And you wonder: is this DD or EST? Yes, it is strange, but the dynamic driver gets confused with an electrostatic at this point. (Don't get me wrong, it's an extension of ROUNDED notes), never bright or hissing.



The bass is very decent, with good spread and an adequate amount, not too loud, but it's there when you need it. With fast decay and more extension and amount of the sub bass and less in the low.



It's amazing how they reproduce blues, folk, acoustic tracks, live tracks, rock, and very good metal.



The voices, both male and female, are very intimate, organic. Magical.



Where other Iems leave you indifferent due to their extreme security of tuning or their tuning of false brilliant clarity that is annoying when things get complicated, Believe has that perfect point to enjoy MUSIC with capital letters in all its splendor.



For only 1 dynamic driver, KBEAR BElieve has very good details (micro and macro) with good recovery, instrument separation and clarity. Visuals are above average in this price range, and it performs very well with very complex musical passages.



The soundstage is not the widest, but it is deep and high, with good holographic imaging, especially when amplified. Let's say an 8.5 / 10. If you are looking for an immense soundstage, on the verge of being artificial due to its immensity in an IEM, this is not the place.



Those looking for a tremendously analytical-technical IEM, look elsewhere.



Basshead's will also have to go 'with the music elsewhere'.


CONCLUSION AND SUMMARY


I have other iems and headphones 3,4,5 and even 15 times more expensive. BElieve has come stomping into my collection. It is a value in itself, regardless of price. It is one of those IEMs that you listen to, and it leaves you so satisfied that you are not able to put a specific price on it.


At the $ 130-150 price that can be found, not only does this strike me as a real bargain, but it also happens to top MY preference over all my other purchases, and I rate KBear BElieve as (IEM OF THE YEAR 2020).


Buy and enjoy, BELIEVE.



DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY


This is an honest review, from a particular audiophile; I have bought this iem for myself, and nobody has paid me or given me anything. It's just love for BElieve.
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C
Codename john
I am now a believer! Just wow 😲
slex
slex
Right On👍😊
asifur
asifur

Nimweth

Headphoneus Supremus
I'm a Believer!
Pros: Excellent all-round timbre
Natural presentation
Good detail
Solid bass
Transparent mids
Extended treble
Good soundstage
Superb build and accessories
Cons: Needs amplification (lots of it!)
Tip sensitive
Sub bass could be more present
Moderate isolation
This unit was supplied for review via Amazon.com at a substantial discount.
Product link:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B08N5XHV85

The KBEAR Believe is KBEAR’s flagship IEM featuring a dynamic driver with a 9mm pure beryllium diaphragm and a powerful N52 Neodymium magnet.
It resembles the earlier Diamond closely and is very well made, being crafted from CNC machined aluminium and finished in black with a carbon fibre faceplate. Apparently this is formed from volcanic ash! Behind this there is an iridescent blue colour with a holographic effect and in the centre there is a silver KBEAR logo. There is a glossy clear resin surface. The gold-coloured nozzles are of high quality with a silver grille. There is a small pinhole vent at the base of the nozzle and another on the side of the earpiece adjacent to the channel identification.
The earpieces are smoothly contoured and have a bit of heft to them, but are very comfortable. The interface is 2 pin and the supplied cable is also of very high quality, being a 6N single crystal copper type with a loose 4-core braid. It is very supple and fits very well over the ear. The plug, Y-split and chin slider are all metal with a black carbon fibre finish and silver end caps. The chin slider is a clear plastic sphere. The build quality is exemplary.
The packaging is also impressive, being sumptuous and comprehensive. A colour printed slip case with an image of the IEMs covers a black rectangular box with a gold KBEAR logo. Inside you will find:
  • KBEAR Believe IEMs
  • 4 core 6N single crystal copper cable.
  • 3 pairs light grey silicone tips with red bore S, M, L.
  • 5 pairs white silicone tips, medium bore, XS, S, M, L, XL.
  • 3 pairs dark grey/blue silicone tips, S, M, L.
  • 3 pairs black wide bore silicone tips S, M, L.
  • 2 pairs medium foam tips, 1 white, 1 black.
  • Velcro cable tie.
  • Faux pigskin case with magnetic closure.
  • Instruction manual
The IEMs were used with the stock cable. I initially used the large grey wide bore tips, and afterwards the dark grey/blue tips with a yellow bore. After some experimentation I ended up using some large KZ Starline tips which resulted in an improved fit and seal and produced a better bass response. A 100 hour burn-in period was carried out. The source was an Xduoo X20 DAP and I found that I needed to use an amplifier to obtain the best results so pressed my Fiio A5 into service.
The immediate impression was “natural and effortless”. The timbre was authentic and the overall profile was neutral with a gentle U shape. The bass was nicely judged and well-textured with the focus between the sub- and mid-bass. The mids were neutral and transparent and the treble was very smooth and silky-textured with good extension which lent a very natural tone to strings. Once the tips had been replaced, the staging improved with good extent in all three dimensions and layering and imaging being of high quality.
Bass
Once I had found the correct tips, the bass was just about perfect with zero distortion, exceptional clarity and transient response. Sub bass could perhaps have been a little deeper. Timbre was absolutely natural and possessed superb weight and extension. Bleed was totally absent. The mild mid bass emphasis imparted an attractive bloom to the area without adding colouration.
My first port of call was Roy Harris, Symphony No. 6, second movement. The amazing recording by the Pacific Symphony Orchestra under Keith Clark really came to life with the Believe. After an anguished and tortured melody in the brass, percussion joins, at first the timpani and then bass drum, gradually becoming more intense. A mocking passage with syncopated accompaniment follows, reminiscent of Bliss’s score from “Things to Come”. The bass drum becomes more extreme and all hell is let loose in a brutal conclusion with astonishing power and impact. The Believe took all this in its stride with superb depth and realism with the final bass drum strike incredibly clean and powerful.
Jonn Serrie’s “Le Tresor” from the “Midsummer Century” album features an acoustic guitar solo playing over synth washes and electronic effects with a deep sub bass foundation. The bass retained its musicality without dominating the presentation and the overall feel was lush, warm and inviting, although sub bass was a little lighter than ideal.
The deep bass elements in “Tubular World” from Mike Oldfield’s “Songs of Distant Earth” were conveyed with depth and power and a real sense of weight. The delicate electronic effects remained clear and distinct even during the most dynamic passages.
Mids
The midrange was neutral with an attractive natural warmth and timbre yet retained excellent transient qualities and a notable transparency.
The first movement of Holst’s “Japanese Suite” features a solo bassoon quoting the principal melody. The natural timbre was striking and imaging here was very believable. The melody is then taken by the strings and full orchestra and a wonderful atmosphere was created in this beautiful Lyrita recording with the LPO under Adrian Boult. The sense of being in the hall was palpable.
Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins’s entertaining version of “I’ll see you in my dreams” had such an infectious rhythmic quality that it was impossible for me not to tap my feet! There was a real ‘live’ feeling here with Atkins’s electric guitar blending and contrasting perfectly with Knopler’s acoustic solos reminiscent of Django Reinhardt, and the bass and percussion driving the piece along with verve and enthusiasm.
Vocals shone with excellent projection. “For You” by Judie Tzuke was very clearly reproduced with her voice distinct above the clearly enunciated multi-tracked backing vocals. The string quartet instrumental in the bridge was beautifully realised, showcasing all the qualities of Lem Lubin’s superb production.

Treble
The treble was clean, pure and highly detailed with excellent extension and resolution, the finest nuances not escaping the Believe’s attention.
“The Glass Hall” is a track from “White Winds”, the third album by maestro of the electric harp, Andreas Vollenweider. It begins with delicate crystalline sounds spread across the stage. These were amazingly precise and clear on the Believe. A woodwind solo begins, followed by the harp and percussion. Every tiny subtle detail was captured in the complex and intricate production and the whole blended together in a most satisfying and musical way.
Charles Ives’s remarkable work, “The Unanswered Question” was perfect material to demonstrate the superb treble performance of the Believe. Underscored by a serene string accompaniment and strident trumpet solos, the aggressive woodwind tone clusters cut through the orchestration in a striking and incisive fashion with each instrument separately discernible yet combining perfectly to produce the required disturbing atonal chordal effect. The performance by the NYPO under Leonard Bernstein is a modern classic and the Believe’s rendition really highlighted why this is so.
The clean and immediate reproduction of Joe Morello’s amazing drum and percussion work in Dave Brubeck’s seminal “Take Five” was another example of the Believe’s treble quality. Cymbals shimmered and decayed very naturally and the timbre of the various drums was totally authentic. The rhythmic integrity of the piece’s unusual time signature was realistically conveyed.
Soundstage
There was a very expansive stage with good dimensions. Imaging was clear and precise with separation and layering first class.
The Believe’s portrayal of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in a classic recording by the Saar Chamber Orchestra conducted by Karl Ristenpart was remarkable. So clear and detailed was the sound that it was amazing to think that this dated from 1960! Solo violin soared above the string accompaniment and lively bass line while the harpsichord continuo remained clear and well defined within the resonant acoustic. Each element was easy to follow and it all gelled into a most satisfying musical performance.
The spatial quality in “The Dawning” from “Vision Seeker” by new age artist Shayla was very expansive with the Believe revealing the choral elements which formed a huge three-dimensional stage for the sparkling piano lead which was clearly placed in the high centre of the image. Separation and clarity were the watchwords here with the open and airy nature of the atmosphere adding to the effect.

In the introduction to “Year of the Cat” by Al Stewart, solo piano is on the left and the percussion and guitar occupies the right channel. Soon the vocals appear, in the centre with the studio reverb endowing them with a sense of space and highlighting their position in the stage. Peter White’s wonderful acoustic guitar solo and the ensuing sax cameo both impressed with their naturalness and realism.
Comparisons
TRI i3 (1 DD + Planar + BA)
The i3 has a big bold ‘cinematic’ sound with a much deeper sub-bass and a warmer mid bass. Mids are wonderfully neutral and smoothly detailed courtesy of the planar driver with its superb resolution. Treble is more reserved and less prominent but still possesses good levels of detail. Timbre is very natural and there is a notable musical quality. Soundstage is particularly good being very expansive in all three dimensions. Like the Believe, an amplifier is mandatory to achieve the best reproduction.
TRI Starsea (1DD + 2BA).
With its four different sound profiles, ranging from bright and neutral to balanced and V shaped, all of which are excellent in their own way, it is like getting four high quality IEMs for the price of one. The Starsea is particularly good with classical music and the various switch options add versatility, adapting it well to different styles of music, offering the chance to choose the appropriate setting for a particular genre. Its proprietary drivers are perfectly integrated and the transitions are seamless. The silicon bass unit provides a fast and detailed sound and their own TRI-Hi-A BA treble unit the best I have heard so far with impressive extension and clarity.
KBEAR Diamond (Single DLC DD)
The Diamond has a very natural tonality with a prominent mid-bass and can occasionally be over-warm. It has an authentic and accurate timbre and tonality, good detail and an attractive musicality but the midrange is a little recessed. The Believe improves on it in all areas, especially in mid presence, treble extension and soundstage.
Tin Hi-fi T4 ( Single CNT DD)
The T4 has a solid bass foundation, a transparent and expressive midrange displaying good presence and a clear, extended treble. It has a largely neutral/bright presentation as expected from Tin Hifi, and the bass is well extended but linear in nature, so bassheads may want to look elsewhere. The midrange and treble are very refined and detail retrieval is very high. Soundstage is a particularly good feature, with width, height and depth all above average in dimension, and layering, separation and positioning all top class. The only caveat is the quality control regarding the MMCX connection which has suffered from problems.
Conclusion
IEMs with a pure Beryllium diaphragm normally retail at a much higher price. The implementation here has really paid off, with the Believe displaying a dynamic, warm/neutral profile with superb transparency, rhythmic ability and detail retrieval. The only minor criticism would be that I would have liked just a bit more sub bass presence.
KBEAR/TRI has emerged as one of the premier brands with recent successes like the Diamond, Lark, i3 and Starsea, and this has continued with the Believe which I feel is their finest product so far. It is tip sensitive, so experimentation may be required to find the best suited to your ear anatomy. It also does need additional amplification to give of its best, when it will reward the listener with a high quality sound commensurate with a much more expensive price tag. Very well made, beautifully presented and with superb sound, the Believe represents outstanding value. It recommends itself and cements KBEAR’s rising reputation in the earphone market.

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bavlf
bavlf
“natural and effortless” 👍🏼
voja
voja
Great to see you still being active @Nimweth

Have to say that you are among the first ones who welcomed me to this forum and helped me in the IEM world!
Nimweth
Nimweth
Thanks @voja I am pleased I have been of help.
  • Like
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Takeanidea

Headphoneus Supremus
KBEAR Believe - unbelievable? or hype? The truth is out there
Pros: Sound - bass - visceral impact
mids - sweet and detailed
highs - just shy of listener fatigue
Looks - holographic finish
Build - ergonomic shape
Value for Money - a decent upgrade from the $100 market
Cons: 2 pin connector
Straight 3.5 mm jack
About everything

Hi there and welcome to what I feel is an important chapter in the history of my reviews thus far. Few of us can have failed to see the stories coming out on the KB EAR BE-LIEVE. It's been hard for me to avoid reading too much about these, but, as you know, if there's any chance I can get hold of a pair to review, I really like to abstain from other folk's musings. This way, I give you a fresh insight into what you might be interested in buying. If you just want to know what it's all about, again, at least I should be original. This puts my credibility on the line as a reviewer. I don't mind about that. I want to do my own work. That's important to me. You can use this as a way to evaluate against other reviews out there. Between us all, there'll be a picture emerge.

Do you know about Beryllium?

Beryllium is considered to be an extremely efficient material to use in speakers. It has become a highly desirable feature in full size headphones. The Focal Utopia headphones use beryllium driver. The technology has now made its mark in the IEM sector. What is Beryllium? It's a metal, it's extremely rare, extremely dangerous and extremely strong. This is what it looks like. What you see below is as pure a beryllium as you might expect to see. It has to be extracted from minerals. For every 20 beryllium units there are estimated to be 1 million silicon units in the universe. Once beryllium enters the body it can't be expelled. We all have a tiny amount of this in our bodies. Beyond that amount, even a tiny increase is likely to be cancer causing. Therefore, the manufacturer of this extremely sought after material is strictly controlled and exorbitantly expensive. Whilst brittle at room temperature, once beryllium is heated it becomes strong. Very strong indeed. Not only can it make a fantastic driver, because it can be rolled out to an incredible thinness and yet still be stiff enough to keep distortion down, it makes for 17 times sharper x-rays images and keeps the space shuttle in 1 piece when it's coming home.

Screenshot-2021-02-03-at-17.01.09-1024x662.png
This bit of rock is choc full of Beryllium Oxide

Introduction
Believe-945x1024.jpg
BE-LIEVE, by KB EAR

The sound, the most important thing, is shaped by a diaphragm made from pure beryllium. This is normally found in much more expensive IEMs, and, even then, there are few models on the market.
There is a single driver per side. Although there is little crossover distortion in earphones with drivers this small, a single design eliminates that issue completely.
Of course, to get a quality sound, you need a decent full range driver, and that driver needs to be tuned just right. To attain as good a response as they could, KB EAR have gone for a Beryllium dynamic driver. The strength and lightness of this metal makes it ideal for a speaker.
The sound signature of the Believe is a thick smooth one, that goes to a good level of detail without sounding harsh and goes very low in the bass with some visceral air being pushed around the contours of the ear.
I compare the IEMs against a number of others; they comfortably outperform the Etymotic ER4XR and the NF Audio NM2+, and compete well with the now discontinued ACS Evoke Studio.
The case is a nice thick leather affair.
The cable and shell designs are gorgeous. The fit is reasonable; some tips will slide the drivers out from the ear canal. The research on the tips has been quite exhaustive. I shall give you my findings and we will see where our opinions have met up, and where they've diverged somewhat.


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As you can see, PURE BE diaphragm - cardboard outer

The controversy

A little snippet of what's gone on in my BE-LIEVE journey. It's quite an irony... they've stopped promoting these because some folks have questioned how legitimate the claims of a pure Beryllium diaphragm are. KB EAR have asked for evidence from their Japanese supplier, who have been quite dismissive of them. They can't find anyone who will test their obviously tiny diaphragms without it costing a bomb, so KB EAR are in limbo. The BE-LIEVE has become inexorably tied in with it's own name. Do you believe this is pure beryllium? Or is the cheaper, sprayed on variant? Either way, these should not be overlooked, no way.


The review takes shape - some days in the life of
The Sound, and how tips can make or break these monitors


The KB EAR Believe Beryllium in ear monitors. Day 1 is a tip rolling day, with some insights into 4 of the dozen or so supplied.

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This is just the start - these are very tip sensitive

Day 3 and serious testing is now underway. The ACS Evoke is a single driver IEM. It was purchased by myself for £139 2 months ago, this was a 2nd hand price, it retailed for £299 when released. The Believe has a thicker, bassier and less detailed sound. The Evoke has a thinner, more precise sound. The Believe needs more volume than the ACS, as the ACS squash right into the entrance to the ear canal, being much smaller.

ACS-1024x576.jpg
You can see the size difference, and bare in mind the Believe is a good fit...

A behind the scenes look at my review process. What you see below is 2 days worth of tip rolling and observations. I continued my head to head comparisons with suitable opposition, in this case, the vintage 4 driver from Sony, the XBA4ip. Still held in high esteem today, these trailed behind the KB EAR Believe in detail, bass, linearity. They would also have been beaten in the fit and comfort category where it not for my custom shells
😁


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A 4 driver hybrid from yesteryear - Sony's down from the ear 4 driver model - IP? That stands for iPhone

BE-LIEVE v Etymotic ER4XR & NF Audio NM2+2 more single driver IEMs which are both still on the market, neither we're anywhere near as good as the KB EAR in my opinion. The ER4XR has this reputation of linearity and stunning isolation etc etc. It's uncomfortable, for one. It lacks bass , for 2. And it doesn't the details of the BE-LIEVE. The NM2+ sounds like all the frequency ranges have been turned up compared to the KBEAR. It sounds like it's being pushed too hard, like everything is competing against each other. The NM2+ is far more sensitive, in fact I turned down the volume on my AK380 from 80 to 70 to get a volume match

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The NM2+ was by no means a slouch
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The father of the universal IEM - Etymotic

Many hours later, in I'm now in Day 3 of the Believe. I have now tried and tested every one of the supplied tips. I have been given some advice in the group to try some non generic ones, so when I have recovered from this ordeal I'll try some of those... The best sounding tip was the one I started with! Even the size was the best fit for me.... Hours wasted....Still, it had to be done.And if you're still wondering whether tips make a difference to the sound, try taking the tips off and putting these in your ears
😯


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9 tips, tested twice per track, at least - how long did that take?

Spinfit

Day 5 - and on recommendation from an owner, I decided to see for myself whether there was anything in this Spinfit brand of eartips. And this is how it went...
The Spinfit CP145 tips arrived an hour ago. I am a medium fit. The barrel of a Spinfit spins around the outer silicon layer. The outer layer of the Spinfit is thinner than the poshest BE-LIEVE tips. The inner barrel of the Spinfit is more flexible but the same thickness as the posh tips. As you can see there is a significant height difference, but that doesn't translate into the Spinfits making the BE-LIEVE stick out from the ears, or fail to reach into the entrance to the ear canal. How does this translate into the listening experience? The CP145 have more bass, both sub and mid bass are more prominent, with more visceral effects. More air is being pushed around the ear. This airiness is also evident in the mids. The overall volume even seems to be higher. I suspect that this is due to the Spinfits being less rigid. Sometimes, I got the feeling that the micro effects were too much in my face. The upshot? What we need is a Spinfit/posh tip hybrid with the height of the Spinfit and the more rigid outer wall of the posh tip and l, of course, the spinny thing going on. Simple! The posh tips have a tighter bass. The mids and highs are more laid back. There is poise and control here, but at the expense of visceral bass. The track below has it all ; beautiful synth lines, commanding vocals and a raucous bass line to start. It became an excellent candidate for my evaluation.

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Almost at the end of my tether tip exploring

Many portable audio fans swear by the Spinfit. I had to try it as I had heard so many people say that these are the only tips they use. The height is much more than the reds, but I was able to squash them in to pretty much the same depth. I've kept the CP145 on for the moment, as I think overall they're a narrow win! I'll try them against the RHAs next....

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You get the idea? 25% taller, yet still a good fit - Spinfit is on the right

RHA Dual Density Tips

One of the KB Ear family recommended these, having been surprised (shocked) as to my preference of the CP145 from Spinfit. The RHA are the gent's current favourite. RHA tips? For an intrepid reviewer, no problem! I had some knocking around from a review of their flagship CL1 Ceramic and Dacamp L1. With great expectations I put these on. They weren't as good.... They weren't in the same league, in my opinion. The bass on the BE-LIEVE, when it's setup right, has sub and mid bass viscerality. The bass was not as powerful on the RHA tips. A BE-LIEVE track has rich mids; micro effects are revealed; highs are just short of listener fatigue(think here of cymbals/echo/intentional distortion). The RHA had muddier sounding mids; the sound was less defined, significantly less clear. The tips on the RHA were slightly smaller than the CP145, the inner barrel was much stiffer, the outer layer appears to be the same thickness. RHA tips start at £3.95, Spinfits are £18.95. Ultimately, the choice is yours. One thing I have learned in my week with the BE-LIEVE; they respond to whatever you are doing with them in an obvious way. This is both a blessing and a curse, because you may never be satisfied with your tip rolling on these! It is also a testimony to how much it is possible to achieve from these, rather special earphones.

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Spinfit reigns supreme - so far

Sound Quality in a nutshell

The Believe is a seriously good earphone. The bass response varies widely between tips, but is a big feature of the IEMs. It benefits from silicon tips. I felt that the bass was too overwhelming with the comply foam tips. There is some visceral air being pushed around the ear, even with the silicons. That said, the bass was still pretty fast and accurate. I wasn't aware of much bleeding into the mids. The mids and highs sound very clear. The subtle parts of the mix, often lost in other earphones, are fairly easy to pick out. Particularly, percussion is both louder and more realistic sounding than other earphones I compared these too. Only one comparable earphone gave a mid response with more accuracy, at the expense of having less bass response than the Believe.

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Are you becoming a BE-LIEVER?

Fit build and cosmetic appeal

KB EAR gave me a decent fit with their entry model, the Lark. These beryllium beauties are a quantum leap from their more humble brothers. The design should go under the flaps of the outer ear of most people. I am now about to get technical, so, stay with me here, you're going to learn something... There are 4 chambers we are concerned about when we put our IEM towards the entrance to the ear canal(that bit is called the external auditory meatus). The cavum is the bottom chamber, the dividing bit is the helix crus, and the top chamber is the cymba. There is a semi circle of cartilage you need to fix the IEM under, to lock it into place. The cartilage that sits to the right of the cavum is the antitragus. For the top bit, the cymba part, that bit is called the antihelix. There now - you haven't wasted your life reading this; you've been educated! Science aside, just how many manufacturers are ignoring all these locking points and just shoving double flanged tips on, or making the IEMs tiny so as they just shove into the ear canal? It's a bone of contention with me. The Sony, Etymotic and ACS mentioned above do not have that ergonomic fit. The newer KB EAR and NF Audio are the correct way forward. They are both trying valiantly to work with the ear's contours, not against them. The result is a nicer looking and a more comfortable fitting earphone. With more of the outer ear covered, there is more opportunity for isolation. With a larger shell, there is less chance of microphonics, that annoying audible thud that comes up through the cable and terminates at the nozzle. Did you know? The Spinfits can add to the luxury of a decent fit too. The inner barrel twists as you turn the shells in your ear, making for an even more precise fit. This is what the Believe looks like in situ.

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Technical stuff - KB EAR know what they're doing

The finish of an IEM is important. We buy with the eye, like it or not. Of course, I want to think that you have a little read here to see what the thing performs like, but nevertheless. An IEM that looks nice will sell better than an IEM that looks ghastly. Other than if it has Apple written on it. The Believe not only looks the part, with it's holographic styling, smooth curves, soft copper twin braided cable with a beaded plastic chin strap, a posh as possible jack and 2 pin termination; it also has that practical benefit of staying in the ear without too much effort. I'd prefer a QDC connector, less of a metal termination on the 2 pin, and a right angled jack. I'm being ultra critical here, just to keep you on your toes. It's what I do. I need to point these things out, so you don't have to worry about them. The sensitivity of the BE-LIEVE shouldn't be in question, not at 17 Ohms. Yet, in my Astell & Kern AK380, which is a pretty powerful DAP, being a former flagship, I set my volume at 75-80 in everyday use. I think these IEMs need a DAP to be at their best, and a decent one at that. Something that can throw a bit of power around. Don't put it in a 100W integrated; I'm not saying that. Just something more than your average phone can produce. The BE-LIEVE deserves better.

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Showing cable, tips, termination and vents

Conclusion

I hope that KB EAR can find the evidence they seek, and quieten down any dissenters that question the purity of the Beryllium content. Beryllium is a big draw for an IEM and I understand that the Company don't want to lose the trust of their followers. Let us not forget though; these IEMs are pretty special, no matter what they're made from. As a stepping stone to a Custom In Ear Monitor or an upgrade from the sub £100 bracket, of which there are some truly great bargains to be had, I am confident that you would see yourself as advancing your appreciation of your favourite tunes, if you put your faith in the quality that is oozing from every pore of the KB EAR BE-LIEVE. Just....Believe

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Thank you for getting this far -I've had a good time


I hope you found what you wanted in
this posting of mine. Stay tuned, I don't think we've heard the last from KB EAR, they're going places


Til the next time


Takeanidea


The Geekologist


Team Subjective
Last edited:
Takeanidea
Takeanidea
Thank you for the nod of approval, it makes it all worthwhile 😁
asifur
asifur
Good one... I just got lost somewhere in between and started to think it's all about ear tips.... Then again back to the KBEAR... Quite a learning journey
morndewey
morndewey
Great review. Love the brief geology section!

baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
KBEAR BElieve Review – Bearly Believable?
Pros: Good build, comfortable, well fitting.
Very good technicalities for a single DD set (may not beat multi driver types at this price point though).
Refined, organic and smooth tonality.
Good timbre.
Good accessories.
Good price to performance ratio compared to other purported full beryllium DDs.
Takes massive EQ like a champ.
2 pin connector -> better lifespan than MMCX in general.
Cons: High powered source needed as per the low sensitivity – sounds muddy, congested and smears in bass when not powered adequately. (***PLEASE CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE IEMS IF YOU ARE NOT INTENDING TO GET AN ADEQUATELY POWERED SOURCE WITH THE KBEAR BELIEVE***)
Average isolation.
Average soundstage width.
Bass not the fastest in decay/transients when underpowered (this improves with amping).
KBEAR BElieve main (1).jpeg


DISCLAIMER

I would like to thank the KBEAR Official Store for providing this review unit.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

BEAR WITH ME, ISN’T IT BARELY BELIEVABLE THAT THE BELIEVE IS BRIMMING WITH BERYLLIUM?


The KBEAR BElieve is a purported full beryllium single DD set, priced so that one doesn’t need to sell our kidneys! It sports an organic, refined and smooth warm U shaped tuning, with very good technicalities (for a single DD). Timbre is good as per its single DD roots, but it has high power requirements due to the low sensitivity. When paired with lower powered sources, the bass is muddy, smears and is congested, so those that do not have optimal sources best look elsewhere. But once adequately amped, the magic starts and I daresay it can hit about 70% of the technical performance of the fabled DUNU LUNA, which is truly lunatical, no pun intended!


SPECIFICATIONS

  • Driver Unit: pure beryllium diaphragm dynamic driver (imported from Japan)
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB/mW
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20000Hz
  • Impedance: 17 ohms
  • Cable: 2 Pin 0.78mm
  • Tested at $159 USD


BEAR WITH ME, ISN’T IT BARELY BELIEVABLE THAT THE BELIEVE IS BRIMMING WITH BERYLLIUM?

Please skip on to the next section if you don’t want to read about beryllium and its controversies.

Alliterations about bears aside, 2020 is truly the year of the beryllium driver. Indeed, a lot of CHIFI brands are riding on a beryllium made hypetrain, and there’s been lots of single DD beryllium coated/plated gear released this year like the Moondrop SSR/SSP, Fiio FD1/Jade Audio EA1 and Urbanfun YBF-ISS014 (assuming it is not the “noble metal” driver version and that the QC is not a fail), amongst other hybrid containing beryllium coated/plated sets too.

Marketing aside, my personal take, is that what is more important than driver type/driver materials/driver count, is the actual implementation of the material/driver and the actual tuning. Also, I think beryllium may be toxic to process, so we have to be eternally grateful to the workers who risk their lives to get these pieces of audio nirvana to us!

That also leads us to talk about the issue of price. The beryllium coated/plated sets discussed above are generally cheaper than a purported full beryllium driver. So let’s address the biggest elephant in the room: does the KBEAR BElieve truly have a full beryllium single DD at this relatively cheap price point of $159 USD? Before the KBEAR BElieve, probably the cheapest advertised full beryllium DD set would have been the Periodic Audio BE ($299 USD) which has equivocal reviews, and deeper down the beryllium rabbithole, you have more expensive luminaries like the SummitFI single DD beryllium DUNU LUNA ($1700 USD) and Final Audio A8000 ($2000 USD).

Skeptics will surely ask, “How can the same tech be possible for $159 USD?” “That’s bearly barely believable for the price!” Well I’m on the fence about this, but just 3 years back, I would have laughed at you if you told me a multi driver IEM (some even with piezos) could be gotten at $16 USD (you can ask more in the Chinese brands or sub $100 thread on headfi). Back then, a triple driver set from a western/japanese brand then would have minimally cost north of $150 – 200 USD. I’m not privy to the inner workings of CHIFI land, but with economies of scale and cheaper labour/assembly in CHIFI land (and perhaps less robust patents/licensing), I would say, “never say never”, I wouldn’t discount the possibility?

I know there’s been a big shakeup in the audio world recently when a member of Audioreviews Facebook (Delta Fyre) dissected a certain brand’s IEM shell and realized the driver wasn’t beryllium as advertised, so biggest respect to him for exposing this (literally), and it prompted a withdrawal of that product by the company. Delta Fyre for sure deserves a noble metal prize for services to CHIFI (no Urbanfun beryllium pun intended). So now in addition to graphs for IEMs, this year we also move on to dissecting drivers and doing x-rays of gear to see what’s inside (yes there are folks doing x-rays in the audio forums!)

A famous and well followed Youtube reviewer also likewise dissected the KBEAR BElieve’s shell, showing the driver looks at least metallic, but I don’t have the necessary tools/expertise to proof otherwise for my set. There’ll be skeptics and “believers” (no pun intended) of the KBEAR BElieve regarding this beryllium question. Some will say even if KBEAR sends the driver to a lab for testing, the report may be rigged, or even if they send it to Facebook laymen brethren to dissect, it may be a planted set. Anyways, one can open the driver and show the world it looks like beryllium, but do non professionals have the necessary equipment (eg spectrometer) to show the type of metal and even the purity and coating amounts? So this will be a beryllium made can of worms that will be argued till the cows come home, so I guess we need to move on to how it actually sounds. However, let me state for the record that false advertising of a purported driver material/type is a big no go for me, even if the IEM sounds great.

FWIW, take it from me that the driver in the KBEAR BElieve takes to EQ like a champ (with minimal distortion), even with massive EQ, which is kind of a hallmark of other beryllium sets I’ve used, though as discussed, I can’t prove anything, cause maybe plated beryllium sets also can also take EQ very well. And as stated above, I do feel that what is more important than driver type/driver materials/driver count, is the actual implementation of the material/driver and the actual tuning. And I daresay when adequately amped, the KBEAR BElieve can hit about 70% of technical performance of the DUNU LUNA (which is lunatical [no pun intended], considering the LUNA costs 10 times more). So question about driver type aside, the price to performance ratio for the KBEAR BElieve is very good. I will do further comparisons with the DUNU LUNA and other similarly priced single DD types in the comparisons segment below, but let us continue with the review proper.


ACCESSORIES

In addition to the IEM, it comes with:

1) PVC leather pouch

2) 4 strands of 6N single crystal copper Litz – the stock cable is very well braided and thick, with no microphonics. It’s very good haptically and asthetically. Cable skeptics and believers (no pun intended) can have your own arguments whether aftermarket type cables will improve the sound, which is beyond the scope of this review.

3) Two types of stock silicone tips in various sizes – one is of softer consistency (black) than the other (grey). The KBEAR BElieve is extremely tip sensitive, using wide bore silicone tips on it drops the bass and using narrow bore ones boosts the bass quite markedly. Of course YMMV as we all have different ear anatomies, but do explore with eartips to do slight modifications in the sound to suit your preferences.

4) Foam tips (2 sizes)


Accessories are very nice, and are quite similar to the predecessor, the KBEAR Diamond. The cable however is different from the KBEAR Diamond, the one included here in the KBEAR BElieve seems to be a 4 strands 6N single crystal copper Litz cable rather than the SPC cable of the Diamond.

For the purposes of this review, I stuck to the stock greytips and the stock cable.


KBEAR BElieve accessories (1).jpeg


KBEAR BElieve eartips (1).jpeg



BUILD/COMFORT

The KBEAR BElieve’s shell is very well made, comfortable and well fitting. It is on the heavier side as it is made of metal, but I had no issues using it for long listening sessions. I didn’t find any driver flex, but YMMV as this may be partially related to the eartips we use and different ear anatomies.

I liked that it came with a 2 pin connector, as I’m not a fan of MMCX connectors due to potential longevity issues, especially with frequent cable swapping.


ISOLATION

Isolation on the KBEAR BElieve is average with the stock tips used, as per most vented single DD types.


DRIVABILITY/SOURCE

I tried running the KBEAR BElieve with a Khadas Tone Board -> Toppping L30, Khadas Tone Board -> Fiio A3 amp, Shanling Q1 DAP, Ziku HD X9 DAP -> Fiio A3 amp, a low powered smartphone, Sabre HIFI DAC (ESS ES9280C PRO) and the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro.

So other than whether the KBEAR BElieve contains a full beryllium driver, let’s address the second biggest elephant in the room: the KBEAR BElieve is one power hungry IEM, I already suspected it from the store specs of a sensitivity of 98dB/mW (impedance: 17ohm). But on actual listening, this drove the point in that amping is mandatory. It sounds muddy and gooey on smartphones and lower powered dongles, with the bass smearing when underpowered. Sure you can drive it from a non LG smartphone or lower powered source at higher volumes. It's not a matter of absolute volume, but amping tightens the bass, increases dynamics, microdetails and perhaps soundstage.

Personally, I think most 3.5 mm dongles can’t drive the BElieve optimally, maybe some extreme dongles like the 9038S may be able though. On high gain with the Topping L30, them the real potential is shown, with the sound opening up. The Final Audio E5000 was similarly another power hungry IEM in terms of raw amping needs, also sounded meh and muddy without amping, though the BElieve is not as power hungry as the Final E5000. The KBEAR BElieve is actually a tinge more power hungry than the TRI I3 (which has a planar)!

For the rest of this review, I used the Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30 (high gain). I suspect a lot of folks who will be getting the KBEAR BElieve, may be using it from lower powered sources and are not gonna get the intended sound, and may walk away thinking it is a muddy set, similar to the Final Audio E5000 being muddy when underpowered. So be warned, it needs amping to scale to its real potential.

Since the KBEAR BElieve is on the warmer side, it doesn’t pair the best with warm amps/DAPs, as the bass may be a bit more woolly and muddy, so do consider neutral or brighter sources with the KBEAR BElieve.

Some folks will then ask, what is the point of pairing a more expensive source such as an amp/DAP with the KBEAR BElieve, doesn’t that add to the additional costs of the IEM? Well, for one, the KBEAR BElieve is a midfi IEM, and I guess folks that buy midfi stuff may probably own a higher end source or two and they will probably read up about the source requirements. And getting an amp/good DAP is probably a one time investment as we progress further down this rabbithole hobby. Sources may end up being the limiting factor in the audio chain sooner or later, and is a worthwhile investment I feel, more worthwhile then spending tons on cables for sure. Getting a good amp/DAP will also be future proofing as we can unlock other gear that have high requirements. I mean if it were a sub $20 set like the recent BLON BL-01 (which is aiming for a different market segment) and someone told me I need an amp to unlock the BL-01’s potential, I would ask them to fly a kite. But a lot of other IEMs such as the Final E series (Final E3000, Final E5000) and even the more expensive full beryllium Final A8000 are not the easiest to drive, and need amping to scale to their optimal sound.

One can also argue that IEMs are for their portability (compared to headphones), and that getting a desktop amp (or a powerful DAP) doesn’t make economic sense for a midfi IEM. Well that’s a valid point, and at the end of the day, if one doesn’t intend to invest in a powerful source, then I would advise to look elsewhere from the KBEAR BElieve, there’s lots of other options around the same price that don’t need amping. Horses for courses as they say, I apologize if I’m boring everyone here with this long discussion about source pairing, but I want to reinforce to everyone that the source will be the limiting factor and probably the biggest variable in getting optimal sound when it comes to the KBEAR BElieve. Do know make an informed decision: I don’t want to see people getting the KBEAR BElieve only to realize later that you don’t have a proper source pairing for it.


SOUND & TECHNICALITIES

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Graph courtesy of KopiOKaya from Audioreviews (IEC711 compliant coupler). 8ish kHz area is probably a resonance coupler peak.


The KBEAR BElieve is a warm U shaped set, it sports an, organic, refined and smooth U shaped tuning, with very good technicalities. The upper mids do look emphasized on the graph, but on actual listening, with adequate amping, they are very smooth and non fatiguing, managing to balance a fine line between having forward upper mids without shoutiness. With boosting the volume a lot (Fletcher Munson curve) or on poorly recorded material, then there might be rare instances of shoutiness at the upper mids. This isn’t a set that has the typical CHIFI sawtooth upper mids, but goes for a more mature and refined tuning.

For a midfi single DD set, the KBEAR BElieve has very good details, instrument separation and clarity. Imaging is generally above average but may not beat some multi BA/hybrids at this midfi price bracket. Nevertheless, the KBEAR BElieve manges to keep up with very complex musical arrangements. Soundstage is not the widest but it is quite deep and tall in soundstage, especially when amped. Those that want very large soundstages (you may argue even on the verge of artificially large soundstages) better look elsewhere.

Note weight on the KBEAR BElieve is a tinge thinner than average. The timbre for acoustic instruments is very good, as per its single DD roots, but there might be some rare instances of a metallic tinge for violins (which I have heard in some other beryllium sets).


Bass:
The KBEAR BElieve has a midbass that is north of neutral but not at basshead levels. Subbass is of less quantity than midbass. With lower powered sources, some may find the midbass quantity overly thick and the midbass decay slow, but this improves with amping as discussed. Subbass extension is okay for a single DD, the subbass can give a visceral rumble when called for, but this is not a subbass focused IEM, nor a basshead IEM.

In terms of bass transients, it is not the fastest (especially when compared to other beryllium type DD bass), texturing is good but not class leading. Even when amped, the slower bass decay does damp the transients and resolution a bit. This adds a bit of warmth to the music, I like it, but I know some who are adverse to it. Dynamics and timbre in the bass are very good. When amped, there is almost no midbass bleed, which is quite surprising for the slower bass decay, so no worries about the bass impinging into the other frequencies.

If you want to boost the bass to basshead levels or tame the bass to something more neutralish, then please feel free to EQ to your heart’s content. As discussed, the KBEAR BElieve takes to EQ like a champ (with minimal distortion), even with massive EQ, which is kind of a hallmark of plated and full beryllium sets, so EQ lovers will have a field day with this set.


Mids:
Mids-wise, they are slightly recessed at the lower mids, but are quite natural and transparent nevertheless. Upper mids are boosted, but as discussed, the upper mids are very smooth and not shouty (when amped). Female vocals are slightly more forward than male vocals, vocals for both genders are very intelligible. I liked that the upper mids manages to balance a fine line between having forward upper mids without shoutiness. As per the Fletcher Munson Curve, it can on rare occasions be hot in the upper mids at high volumes or with poorly recorded material. This isn’t a set that has the typical CHIFI sawtooth upper mids, but goes for a more refined tuning.


Treble:
The lower treble of the KBEAR BElieve continues on from the safe upper mids tuning, and is non fatiguing. The higher treble does extend quite well and is not harsh for my treble sensitive tastes. I didn’t find any sibilance (unless it is already present in the recording). Details, clarity and resolution are captured very well in the treble regions and cymbals sound very natural (cymbals can sound splashy on other CHIFI types).


COMPARISONS

As per comparing apples to apples, I left out multi BA/hybrids and rarer driver types from the comparisons as they have their own strengths and weaknesses among the different transducer types. I apologize that I’m not able to audition or get hold of a loaner unit for the hypetrain NF Audio NM2+, I think a lot of folks are interested to see how it performs against the KBEAR BElieve (as both are single DDs around the same price). If i do get it one day, I’ll definitely update this review, but I’ll make do for now to compare some TOTL single DD types all the way to $100ish USD single DD types.


DUNU LUNA ($1700 USD)

Just to put it out there, the DUNU LUNA is my most favourite single DD set in terms of how it melds technicalities, timbre, tonality and musicality. The DUNU LUNA is usually discussed in the same breath with the other full beryllium single DD summitFI set, the Final Audio A8000, and I do think the Final Audio A8000 has better technical performance, though I found the Final Audio A8000 too bright/fatiguing for me due to the wealth of resolution and details and there’s a peak somewhere at the 5 – 6 kHz region, so it isn’t my cup of tea.

I know it is kind of lunatical (no pun intended) to compare the KBEAR BElieve ($159 USD) to the $1700 USD DUNU LUNA, but since they are both advertised to have full beryllium DDs, here we go:

The DUNU LUNA has better timbre and thicker note weight. The DUNU LUNA is more refined, has faster transients and has better technicalities/dynamics, but it costs 10 times more, so that’s kinda expected. If I were to give a ballpark figure, I think the KBEAR BElieve can hit around 70% of the DUNU LUNA’s technical performance (when amped). Despite the high price, the DUNU LUNA is also not perfect, it has a subbass/higher treble rolloff. The DUNU LUNA is easier to drive, but has worse isolation.

So between the 2, it depends if you wanna chase the last 30% sound for huge diminishing returns, or are happy with hitting 70% performance for 10% of the cost, but the only problem is I can’t unhear what I have heard (the 30% improvement) in the DUNU LUNA hahaha.


Final Audio A8000 ($2000 USD)

The Final Audio A8000 as discussed above is another summitFI set that has excellent technicalities and also is advertised to have a full beryllium single DD. I would say the Final Audio A8000 has the best resolution, transparency, transients and technicalities I’ve ever heard in a single DD set, though it needs amping as it is also not that easy to drive.

For sure the Final Audio A8000 has better technicalities than the KBEAR BElieve (in clarity, transients, resolution, details, imaging, soundstage), but I found the Final Audio A8000 too bright/fatiguing for me due to the wealth of resolution/details and there’s a peak somewhere at the 5 – 6 kHz region, though I’m treble sensitive. Ballpark, I would say the KBEAR BElieve can hit about 60ish% of the technical performance of the Final Audio A8000 but the latter costs 12 – 13 times more, so big diminishing returns once more as you go up the ladder. Likewise it is an unfair comparison at the different price point for these 2 sets, but I brought it out since they are both advertised to have full beryllium single DDs. Between the two, the tonality is rather different too, the Final Audio A8000 goes for a brighter and crisper tonality compared to the warmer and more analoguish KBEAR BElieve.


KBEAR Diamond ($79 USD)

The KBEAR Diamond is the predecessor of the KBEAR BElieve, they both look similar externally, but are of a different colours and driver types (DLC versus purported beryllium). The nozzle is also slightly shorter in the KBEAR BElieve compared to the KBEAR Diamond, I actually find the fit more secure in the KBEAR BElieve cause the longer nozzle seems to “push” the KBEAR Diamond out of my ears.

The KBEAR Diamond does scale with amping too, but is easier to drive than the KBEAR BElieve. The KBEAR Diamond has poorer technicalities, is more V shaped, and can get a bit hotter in the upper mids, with a more depressed lower mids region (which some found polarizing). KBEAR Diamond is more bassy (when same tips are used). I do believe, no pun intended, that the KBEAR BElieve is a true upgrade over its predecessor, and is worth the extra outlay assuming you have an optimal source.


TFZ No. 3 ($109 USD)

The TFZ No. 3 is a more V shaped single DD basshead set. The TFZ No.3 has more copious midbass and subbass quantities, but the bass quality is worse, in being not the most textured, with boominess and midbass bleed in spades. The TFZ No. 3 also has a more shouty upper mids at higher volumes (Fletcher Munson curve), and it also has worse timbre and technicalities than the KBEAR BElieve, with a quite compressed soundstage too.

The TFZ No. 3 would suit bassheads and would be very good for bass forward music genres, but is kind of a one trick pony. I think the KBEAR BElieve is the more refined pair between the two, and is smoother and has better technicalities, although the TFZ No. 3 is much easier to drive (in fact it has a higher sensitivity and can hiss like a snake with certain sources).


Toneking Ninetails ($125 USD)

The Toneking Ninetails is more versatile as it has 9 tuning options (from basshead to V shaped to neutralish), so it has more sonic signatures than the KBEAR BElieve. The Toneking Ninetails IEM was a cult classic with good reviews among owners, but a lot were hesitant to purchase it due to the unconventional looking design. The Ninetails is actually quite well fitting and comfortable once you know how to wear it, but the KBEAR BElieve is still more comfortable due to the more ergonomic and conventional profile.

The Toneking Ninetails is easier to drive but has weaker technicalities than the KBEAR BElieve. Timbre between the two is similarly good. The Toneking Ninetails is also semi open backed and hence has a better soundstage, though this double edge sword makes it poorer in isolation.


CONCLUSIONS

The KBEAR BElieve is a purported bearly barely believable full beryllium single DD set, priced so that one doesn’t need to sell our kidneys! It sports an organic, refined and smooth warm U shaped tuning, with very good technicalities (for a single DD). Timbre is good as per its single DD roots, but it has high power requirements due to the low sensitivity. It can be played from a lower powered source, but the bass is muddy, smears and is congested, so those that do not have optimal sources best look elsewhere.

The big question about whether you “believe” or do not believe that the KBEAR BElieve does contain full beryllium drivers can’t be answered conclusively here, but I’d say it has good value proposition compared to some other full beryllium luminaries like the DUNU LUNA, just that the requirement for a higher powered source may limit the potential pool of buyers or some folks may be underpowering the KBEAR BElieve with weaker sources and may walk away thinking this is a muddy set.

The KBEAR BElieve hits close to my preferred tuning target actually. I do recommend this set for those that want a warm and smooth organic tuning, to chill back and just enjoy the music (without much loss of technical performance). Diehard bassheads or those that want a very crisp and analytical signature may need to look elsewhere. Technical chops, as we discusssed, are very good for a midfi single DD, although some similarly priced multi BA/hybrid types may trump it in this department.

The KBEAR BElieve has quite a smooth and well balanced tonality, and it will be accompanying me on many late night chill jazz sessions after a long day of work!
Last edited:
sebek
sebek
I know you consider KBEAR Diamond an upgrade to Blon BL-03 in timbre quality as well. Is KBEAR Believe an upgrade of the Diamond also regarding the timbre? Better also in this respect?
baskingshark
baskingshark
I would say KBEAR Diamond's timbre for acoustic instruments may be a slight tinge better than the BElieve, very very minute difference. But BElieve trumps the Diamond is most other areas when both are adequately amped.
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bhima
bhima
Thank you for comparing the power requirements to the E5000. Great review!

nxnje

500+ Head-Fier
Pure Be on a budget
Pros: – Engaging warm signature with excellent resolution, detail retrieval capabilities, superb vocal reproduction, precise imaging and instrument separation and good extension on both ends
– Great build quality and attention to details
– Good cable
– Pure “Be” (beryllium) at less than €200? Is this real?
Cons: – (Not a real con, if I have to be honest, it’s just something you need to know before buying)
Bass becomes boomy and loses clarity if the amplification isn’t adequate
– Upper midrange and highs could be annoying for some people (this improves a bit with proper amplification, which I remember, is mandatory for using these)
– Soundstage width isn’t disappointing but could be improved
– Isolation is just average
Introduction
I am extremely happy to write a review of this product.
I have been following KBEAR since they were born and I own many of their IEMs, from the old F1 to the newest ones.
The KBEAR Believe, which is their newest product, features a pure single Beryllium driver (pay attention, it is a PURE Beryllium driver, and not just a Beryllium plated one), and many people are already comparing these with products that cost 4x or 5x times their price.
Is there too much hype? I don’t know, as I do not own stuff like the Dunu Luna or similar products in order to compare, but I’m sure that after many hours of testing (around 60 hours at the time of the review, and I’m sure I will spend much more time with these even after this review) I’m ready to share my personal impressions on these.

VISIT US AT AUDIO MONKEYS: https://www.audio-monkeys.com

Disclaimer: the KBEAR Believe were gently provided by Keephifi with a huge discount (I have paid €0.87 for these) in order to write a honest review.
At the time of the review, the KBEAR Believe were sold for around €125 on the KBEAR Aliexpress store or for a bit more on the Keephifi store.


IMG_20201211_154911(1).jpg


Technical Specifications
  • Configuration: 1 x DD (Pure Beryllium)
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB
  • Impedance: 17 Ω
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20000 Hz
  • Cable: 1.2m – Detachable – No microphone – 0.78mm PINs
  • Connector type: straight golden plated jack
Packaging
The packaging is definitely good, without being too elegant nor too basic.
The box is definitely long as it contains some good stuff which is also well presented to the customer, and here’s what you find in the box itself:
  • The KBEAR Believe
  • The detachable cable
  • Two sets of wide bore silicon tips (black ones are softer than transparent ones) and two pairs of foam tips
  • A good looking pleather carry case
  • Instruction papers
IMG_20201211_152612.jpgIMG_20201211_152645.jpgIMG_20201211_152736.jpgIMG_20201211_152836.jpgIMG_20201211_152941.jpgIMG_20201211_153000.jpgIMG_20201211_153238.jpg

Design and Build Quality
I don’t mind if a brand uses the same shell for different products, as this also helps the company to lower the overall cost of the single products (why should they make a completely different shell, paying the cost which is needed to switch to another productive process, if they can manage to create different products by using something “ready-to-use”?).
You may be wondering what was the need in writing this sort of “introduction” in this particular paragraph, and here’s the answer: KBEAR Diamond and KBEAR Believe have the same shell, just in different colors (silver vs black).
Apart from this, the build quality is excellent, and what really stands out is the attention to detail, which is a rare thing to see in the Chi-Fi industry, moreover in the entry-level segment.
The backplate is lucid and features a carbon fiber-like painting under the main transparent layer, resulting in an overall clean ahestetic which is also practically immune to fingerprint.
There are two pressure vents as you can see scrolling through the photos: one in the lower half of the nozzle and one more on the straight side, just near the L/R indication.
There’s no fear of losing tips or finding them stuck into your ears as the nozzles feature a useful lip that helps keeping the tips on it.

IMG_20201211_153720.jpgIMG_20201211_153742.jpgIMG_20201211_153810.jpgIMG_20201211_153835.jpg

Cable
I hope this one will last a long time as the first impression is definitely good: the cable is sturdy, features a chin slider and the jack connector is well soldered. The 0.78mm PINs have no problem in getting connected to the IEMs.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to get a pair of Believe with microphone, but this is something I don’t mind as I prefer getting a good cable like this one instead of a lower quality cable with a mediocre microphone. I have many 0.78mm PINs cables so I can always swap it if needed.
Overall, another thumb up for KBEAR.

IMG_20201211_153423.jpgIMG_20201211_153534.jpgIMG_20201211_153511.jpg

Comfort and Isolation
Although they aren’t the most comfortable pair of IEMs I have used, they’re very comfortable for long sessions: I have been able to keep them in my ears for 7-8 hours with no issues while studying, and I have repeated similar listening sessions overnight while listening to music and relax forgetting I had them in my ears. I would like to point out that these are small to medium sized earphones, so the majority of the listeners will find them comfortable with no doubts (I have relatively small ears and I find them perfectly sized).
They aren’t super lightweight, but far from being heavy, so weight is something we can’t really complain about.
Isolation is ok (although is not excellent), I’d say average, and improves a lot if you use foam tips.

Sound
How do these sound?
This is the real reason you’re reading this review (I guess).
[Personal preference: I listen to almost every genre, even though my main preference goes to EDM subgenres. I always like a bit more energy on the bass and on the highs, leading to a personal preference for Y-shaped sound signatures, but if I have to choose, I’d prefer having many different IEMs with various signatures, in order to choose a particular one of them when I want to listen to a specific genre. I love switching between my IEMs so it’s even better if they’re very different from each others.]
TEST GEAR
  • DAC: Topping E30
  • AMP: Topping L30
  • Mobile phones: Poco F2 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Portable DAPs: Benjie S8/AGPTEK M30B
  • Other sources: Presonus AudioBox iONE, Cooler Master GS750
HOW DO THEY SOUND?
Do they need an amp?

Yes.
I am not gonna lie: these don’t sound very good if underpowered.
If you don’t have a good amplifier or a good source in order to drive these, look for something else. These are very hungry, and it’s not just a matter of volume: you can reach medium to high volumes without any amplifier as well, but you’ll immediately hear that there’s something that does not reflect the words you’re gonna read below, as the bass becomes muddy and the upper region (from upper-mids to upper treble) becomes more fatiguing and less refined.
So, an amplifier is MANDATORY if you want to hear what these IEMs are capable of.
Sound signature: the KBEAR Believe is a warm U-shaped pair of IEMs.

Lows: sub-bass extends deep, with great control and accuracy on lower notes. Bass is incredibly textured and has a bit of added thickness (which exceeded my expectations as I was expecting a more neutral low-end) and although the majority of times thickness means “slow bass” this is not the case: the Believe aren’t super fast like other IEMs (moreover if we speak about full BA sets) but can really keep up with fast tracks without showing any hint of difficulty by doing it. This particular thickness is what gives the Believe a natural and a somewhat realistic bass, without being overemphasized nor boomy (if amped well).
You may be thinking that low-end is extremely emphasized, but it’s not: in the overall signature, the bass shines more for its quality than its quantity, and you’ll hear that everything is coherent: it’s not a bassy earphone, but there’s some emphasis and this needs to be pointed out.

Mids: the central part of the midrande is slightly recessed, but not lower and upper mids. Starting from lower mids, in fact, the bass energy warm things up making male vocals superb and detailed. Instruments are accurately reproduced, with good articulation and separation between each others, and although they have a slightly lower volume than the rest, this is something that does not really stands out as soon as you put them in your ears as they perfectly amalgamate with the rest in the signature.
Upper midrange is interesting: while the added upper-midrange can be fatiguing for many, the Believe really have the ability to give energy, detail and intimacy to female vocals without becoming sibilant (I have heard one or two episodes of sibilance in the whole time I have tested the Believe, and it occurred in both cases when I was already listening tracks which are prone to get sibilant on very warm sets as well).

Highs: highs follow the upper midrange energy with added sparkle, and this really gave me the impression that the highs are perfectly counterbalancing the bass.
Extension and details are the two key words, and there’s also a good amount of air even though they’re not the most open IEMs I have tried.
I’m not gonna advise these to people who are sensitive to highs, but the resolution and microdetailing capability need to be pointed out.

Soundstage isn’t really big, but it’s well rounded in every dimension, even though I would have like some more added width. They don’t miss depth or height like other Chi-Fi sets, and the overall staging is more than satisfactory. Imaging is very good, and although soundstage isn’t huge for a pair of IEMs every instrument is placed right where it should play.

I don’t have any other Beryllium earphones so I’m just gonna compare them with my favourite ones under €200 (I feel sorry if I don’t have some mid-fi stuff for the comparison, but if you keep supporting one day we’ll be able to get even more stuff for this purpose): the Brainwavz B400.
KBEAR BElieve vs Brainwavz B400

This comparison is very easy, and this because these two earphones are completely different. The Believe are U-shaped with added bass and upper midrange emphasis while the B400 are flatter nearer to a flat-ish tuning.
Low end is tuned so much differently, with the B400 being faster and more controlled on weaker sources as well, whereas the Believe have a much more natural, slower and and thick response. Midrange is great on both but instruments stand out a bit more on the B400. Vocals are good on both but really shine on the Believe. Highs are much smoother on the B400 but they’re far from being as detailed and extended as the Believe.
Soundstage is less expansive on the B400 and imaging is also slightly better on the Believe, this also thanks to the better extension in the upper end which helps separating the instruments giving some air between each of them.
The Believe also come with a much better cable (plus, the 0.78mm pins are more reliable than MMCX, at least for me).
The B400 insulate better and are a bit more comfortable.
The Believe don’t sound good without proper amplification, while the B400 sound well even if paired with a simple smartphone (they also benefit when used with a proper source but the improvements aren’t as noticeable as on the Believe).
I cannot choose between them, I love both and considering I had the chance to try both sets I cannot figure out which one I’d take if I didn’t have any of the two. Sorry for this, but it’s very hard to decide between two sets that have many differences and that can be used for different purposes or different genres.

Final Thoughts
It’s not easy for me to find the proper words to end this review.
The Believe are just great: they sound very well, with an engaging sound signature, energetic vocals and excellent resolution. Plus, there’s a lot of attention to detail in terms of manufacturing and excellent build quality.
There aren’t big flaws and this is something that’s worth mentioning, considering the price: yes, there are some minor flaws like the average isolation or the limited soundstage width but the overall experience you get with these is definitely worth every euro spent.
There’s no need to look for something else if you’re not very sensitive to highs and if you have a proper source, as these are extremely good, but please, DON’T BUY THESE IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN ADEQUATE AMPLIFICATION, or you’ll end up using them without hearing what they’re really capable of.
Last edited:
nxnje
nxnje
@slex Hello.
I haven't unmounted it honestly, I'm really afraid of breaking it.
They're identical, but one has a Be driver, the other one has a DLC driver (Diamond Like Coated PET Driver).
The BElieve are really, really, really good.
I don't have the Diamond with me unfortunately but I can only spend good words on the BElieve.
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asifur
asifur
what's the ideal burn in period for the kbear believe? @nxnje
nxnje
nxnje
@asifur I don't know what is its "burn in period" precisely, but I can say I have used them for about 100hours till now and I didn't notice big changes if not a bit (very marginal though) more control in lower end (negligible difference anyway). I cannot say if this is a placebo effect or a real change though.
I say this because I'm one of the many that think 90% of the burn-in effects are placebo, so I'm not the guy to trust when it comes to burn-in :D

Otto Motor

Headphoneus Supremus
KBEAR Believe – Beryllium For All
Pros: Good midrange and treble resolution; good treble extension; good staging; natural timbre.
Cons: Mid-bass boom not for sensitive ears; needs (tinkering with) amplification.
The KBEAR Believe is a warm sounding earphone with a thick low end and a good resolution from the midrange into the well extended treble. It relies strongly on (neutral) amplification.

Resolution in midrange and treble is excellent, but the bass is a bit strong for me in the mix...which can be fixed with the right amping.


acsnUc4.jpg



I formulated my thoughts on the KBEAR Believe in this video:

Last edited:
bhima
bhima
Its the tuning that really creates the sound signature though. Its why the DUNU Luna and A8000 both cost more and likely sound better than this. Its why many single driver earphones can compete and often beat most multi-driver setups.
A
alamnp
you may need to burn in Believe for over 100 hours. IT DOES SOUNDS DIFFERENT after 100 HOURS.
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Otto Motor
Otto Motor
I burnt it in for over 200 hours. No difference found.

Codename john

100+ Head-Fier
Believer
Pros: Lush mids , imaging, natural stage, great with female vocals, silky highs, resolution
Cons: Hard to drive, overbearing mid bass, recessed male vocals
Firstly , I bought the K Bear Believe with my own hard earned money. I have no affiliation with K Bear whatsoever .2020 started slowly it seemed the juice had run out on the Chi fi bandwagon . Mainly because of the pandemic.Towards the end of the year the wagon was moving at breakneck speed with great sets coming out seemingly every other day. Great tech innovations , cool designs we were spoilt for choice ! Under $200 became cluttered with much hyped end gamers. Riding at the front of the hype train was K Bear Believe . Sporting a pure beryllium driver usually found in kilobuck sets. The anticipation in the everyman scaled dizzy heights . Was the mythical Believe really pure beryllium ? Coming in at under 200 dollars? Well disbelief was the order of the day . So much so skeptical reviewers actually opened them up to find it was indeed pure beryllium. Mine arrived 2 days before Christmas. Let's dive in.... I really like the design especially the sparkly 3 d faceplate. Nice to see something other than the customary German resin cum custom design that have become rather boring . Of course they are similar to K Bear elegant Diamond. The cable is nice . A 6N copper litz with a 2 pin connector. All in all, the Believe looks elegant and attractive.

Now to the rather large elephant in the room . They are difficult to drive . Using a smartphone won't do the trick . Even with the hidizs portable dongle attached to the Galaxy Note 10. Whilst they sound clean enough you have to push them to the limit which doesn't really work unless the recordings are pristine . On my ifi dac amp they sound ok but on occasions can sound bloated , also congested With the Fiio M15 they sound really good ! But seeing as they cost much more than the Believe, it's not ideal . This reminds me of smart phones using luxurious first generation tech that doesn't get perfected until 3 or 4 th iterations . While I can't fault K Bear for being adventurous not everyone has expensive DACS / DAPS capable of driving the Believes and that in itself is a bit of a faux pas.
LOWS. Bass is thick, lush and resolving . Slam is good, note weight is punchy and thick . My issue here lies in the mid bass. On certain tracks kick drums sound too forward , sounding exaggerated and overwhelming. Apparently cable rolling can resolve this issue also using the open red silicone tips tame the mid bass slightly . It's a shame because this only happens occasionly in the main they sound creamy with good rumble, nice tonality and a relaxing feel and good musicality. We are not talking Penon Orb good but good enough for the price.

MIDS.
Midrange is very pleasant with good definition and clarity. Vocals sound relaxed never shrill or shouty. Female vocals sound exhilarating with clean tones also perfect weight. They spread nicely across the range never sounding boxy. Male vocals can sound recessed, lacking grumble and bite. Whilst being audible falsettos sound too far back in the mix . Baritones lacking roundness and heft albeit pianos , strings and guitars sound great. With natural timbre and great presence. Also commendable the air between notes sound fantastic. Placement and space are first class conveying emotions perfectly. HIGHS. Treble sound really good with good definition never sounding rolled off . Decays are quick, extension and transients shimmer making the highs sparkly never splashy or too sharp ! K Bear did a great job here . The highs never sound dark or overtly rich. They work well with the overall signature bringing clarity ,sparkle and resolution to the party. One of the highlights of the Believe SOUNDSTAGE/IMAGING.

Staging is not the widest I've heard I never had a problem as it doesn't sound too intimate. Width sound natural , at times they stretch beyond the ears and never really sound in your head. This is due to very good separation, spatial cues and very good air between instruments and vocals. This brings great musicality and also a really good sense of resolve . This is clever tuning . It makes the Believe sound very emotive. Details are very good not Blessing 2 good but thankfully they never ever sound fatiguing .
VERDICT. While I have a few issues I really like the Believe. It's a bold, adventurous , slightly flawed endeavour. I have to applaud K Bear for bring expensive tech to the masses. I love the design, packaging and cable. Also kudos for bringing a weighty, lush, emotive and resolving set to the table. My nitpicks can be put down to first gen issues , which hopefully will be resolved in their next iteration.
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Last edited:
slex
slex
Nice impression!Maybe the tuner likes female voices!😄
C
Codename john
Thanks 😉
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asifur

New Head-Fier
Kbear Believe - The Intimate Music Experience
Pros: + Lightweight & good fit
+ Excellent depth & clarity in bass
+ Transparent mids
+ Extended Treble
+ Soundstage has good depth despite being shallow
+ Great Vocals (both male & female)
+ Very intimate music experience due to shallow soundstage
+ Great Timbre.... depth and clarity of each instrument clearly identifiable
+ Comes with a great plethora of ear tips
+ Good package for the price bracket
Cons: - lower mids seem a bit recessed due to U-shaped signature
- Requires extensive amplification for it to shine (lot of power required also)
- Shallow Soundstage in terms of width
- Cable is not good enough for this IEM
KBEAR BELIEVE - GREAT FOR INTIMATE MUSIC EXPERIENCE


Disclaimer
:

I have bought this IEM with my own hard earned money and no one has paid me anything or supplied me with any review unit. So, everything mentioned in this review are purely my own based on my experiences with the IEM.


Introduction:

KBEAR has been ascending from nowhere to being a Chi-Fi player in the last two years or so with the usual hits and misses. Initially settling at the budget low end, they are slowly moving into “mid-fi”. Their KBEAR Diamond from a year earlier was probably a small success.

The KBEAR Believe was marketed as containing a pure Beryllium diaphragm, a stiff material that translates to a fast driver speed and maximum articulation in sonic reproduction. This is difficult to implement properly – and expensive. The two earphones that work well with this driver type are the Dunu Luna ($1700) and the Final Audio A8000 ($2000). Considering that KBEAR Believe seemed like a fantastic deal.

IMG_5064_photo.jpg
IMG_5079_photo.jpg

Specifications:

Drivers: pure beryllium diaphragm dynamic
Impedance: 17 Ω
Sensitivity: 98 dB/mW [amplification needed]
Frequency Range: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Cable/Connector: 4 strands of 6N single crystal copper/2 pin 0.78 mm
Price: $159-179
IMG_5067_photo.jpg


The Package:


The package is great for the price, without being too elegant nor too basic.
The box contains a long list of good stuff
IMG_5071_photo.jpg

Here’s what you find in the box itself:
  • The KBEAR Believe
  • The detachable cable
  • 2 pairs of foam tips
  • A plethora of silicon tips (found inside the leather carry case)
  • A good looking artificial leather carry case
  • papers
IMG_5074_photo.jpg

IMG_5063_photo.jpg


Design & Build Quality:


I don’t mind if a brand uses the same shell for different products. You may be wondering what was the need in writing this sort of “introduction” in this particular paragraph, and here’s the answer: KBEAR Diamond and KBEAR Believe have the same shell, just in different colors (silver vs black).

Apart from this, the build quality is excellent, and what really stands out is the attention to detail, which is a rare thing to see in the Chi-Fi industry, moreover in the entry-level segment.
The backplate is lucid and features a carbon fiber-like painting under the main transparent layer, resulting in an overall good presentation.
IMG_5068_photo.jpg

There are two pressure vents as you can see scrolling through the photos: one in the lower half of the nozzle and one more on the straight side, just near the L/R indication.
There’s no fear of losing tips or finding them stuck into your ears as the nozzles feature a useful lip that helps keeping the tips on it.

IMG_5072_photo.jpg

Though the cable that comes in the box is a decent one, it is not the one that can make this IEM shine. Hence, a better cable would've been much appreciated. Specially a silver plated one.

Comfort:

Although they aren’t the most comfortable pair of IEMs I have used, they’re very comfortable for long sessions - I have repeated similar listening sessions overnight while listening to music and relax forgetting I had them in my ears. I would like to point out that these are small to medium sized earphones, so the majority of the listeners will find them comfortable.

IMG_5080_photo.jpg


NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SOUND....

Items used for this review:

IMG_5129~photo.jpg

Tracks used for this review:

INXS – Beautiful Girl (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
INXS – Need you Tonight (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
Anika Nilles – Mister (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven (Acoustic Live at MTV) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
Lost Frequencies – Crazy (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
Martin Garrix - Pizza (24bit/48kHz)
The Chainsmokers – Something Just like this (24bit/48kHz)
Smith & Thell - Goliath (24bit/48kHz)
Owl City - Fireflies (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
Coldplay – Daddy (24bit/96kHz)
Coldplay - Hymn for the Weekend (24bit/96kHz)
The Doors – Spanish Caravan (24bit/96kHz)
REM - Losing my Religion (24bit/88.2kHz)
Mumford & Sons – There will be time (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
Ronan Keating – When you say Nothing At All (Flac 24bit/48kHz)

IMG_5082_photo.jpg

Source of Sound & DAC/AMP:

The iBasso DX-160 had been used mostly.
Other than that the IFI Hipdac & Hiby R6 PRO had also been used individually & also together (I got the best sound when combining these 2 items)
IMG_5201_photo.jpg

Other than that, the iPhone 12 Pro coupled with IFI HIPDAC and IKKO ZERDA ITM03 Dongle also used.

Let's now talk about the quality of Sound....


Do they need an AMP?

YES!! IT'S MANDATORY!
I am not gonna lie: these don’t sound good unless powered by a good dac/amp.
People who don't have good DAC/AMP should not go for these.
These are very hungry, and it’s not just a matter of volume: you can reach medium to high volumes without any amplifier as well, but you’ll immediately hear that there’s something that does not reflect the details given below.
So, an amplifier is MANDATORY if you want to hear what these IEMs are capable of.

Sound signature: the KBEAR Believe is a warm U-shaped pair of IEMs.

The BASS:

The Bass is incredibly textured and has a bit of added depth or thickness. This particular thickness is what gives the Believe a natural and a somewhat realistic bass, without being overemphasized. The bass shines more for its quality than its quantity, and you’ll hear that everything is coherent. The Bass is not bloated by any means.


The MIDS:

The midrange is slightly recessed, but not lower and upper mids. Starting from lower mids, in fact, the bass energy warm things up making both male & female vocals superb and detailed. Instruments are accurately reproduced, with good articulation and separation between each others, and although they have a slightly lower volume than the rest.

I had tried this out with a silver plated balanced cable and that makes the mids a lot more pronounced without losing any of the details and is not fatiguing at any point.


The HIGHS:


Highs follow the upper midrange energy with added sparkle. Highs have good extension and details, and there’s also a good amount of air even though they’re not the most open IEMs I have tried.

The SOUNDSTAGE:

Soundstage quite shallow actually, but it’s well rounded with good amount of depth making the overall staging good.

Imaging & Timbre:

Imaging is very good, and although soundstage isn’t huge for a pair of IEMs every instrument is placed right where it should play.

IMG_5216_photo.jpg


Conclusion :

I don't own any other pure beryllium IEMs and hence unable to compare this against the famou s others

I found this much better than other IEMs like Fiio FH3, Dunu Titan-6, Final Audio E4000 etc... in similar price range.

This IEM gives a very intimate music experience - almost as if you are there on the stage itself.
Though these sound great this may not be ideal for LIVE tracks or concert versions where soundstage plays a key role.

Having said all that I've found a quite satisfactory when paired with good cables & dac/amps.

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ShrayNarang
ShrayNarang
Quick question, What app are using for playing music? It looks like plexamp but I wanted to confirm.
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asifur
@ShrayNarang Ihave been using Qobuz throughout... those are just collages i made... of the tracks

Hooga

100+ Head-Fier
KBEAR BE-LIEVE
Pros: Soundstage and imaging.
Snappy bodied midbass.
Lively trebles.
Support quite a few different musical genres.
Cons: Prentetious about amp pairing. Sound “cheap” on inappropriate sources.
Thin, artificial timbre on high mids and low trebles.
Not cheap asking price.
Cable and tip sensitive.
These drivers have been anticipated by an even denser than usual storm of hype-y marketing content. All sorts of information have been released before and together with the product, and the first “reviewers” spent nothing short of bold words about these.

Alleged magnificent features apart, a major disclaimer is one way or the other present on all articles : “BE-LIEVE require huge amping”. Of course I checked on that. Long story short: BE-LIEVE do require an uncommon source in a sense, but this is not about power figures as (milli)Watts written on the amp spec sheet, rather about quality of power delivery. You’ll find a detail of my analysis further down below.

This is very significant to our case today as – to me, at least – BE-LIEVE’s sound output when an inappropriate amp is being used is a total deal breaker. I pinpointed where and what I hear in such cases in my analysis down here.

BELIEVE is also sensible to cable and tips selections. Not at the same “dramatic” levels applicable to amping, but much more than other IEMs nonetheless.

Let me pass right away to my notes now, I’ll add more considerations and my conclusions at the bottom of the article.

Ah no, another dutiful thing first: I got this pair of KBEAR BE-LIEVE as a review unit from my friends at KEEPHIFI (www.keephifi.com) entrusting me to an unbiased analysis and openhearted subjective evaluation, which is what I’m reporting here below. You can purchase BE-LIEVE at their store.

Ok, off to the notes now.


Test setup

Questyle QP1R / Sony NW-A55 mrWalkman / Apogee Groove / Auglamour GR1 / ifi ZEN CAN / Hiby R3Pro / Hidizs AP80Pro / Fiio X3 mk-III / Lotoo Paw Gold Touch – Final E-clear tips – Nicehck 16core High Purity Copper cable – lossless 16-24/44.1-192 FLAC tracks.

Signature analysis

Tonality Timbre is almost natural with a light wam tint on top, with the exception of the highmids-lowtreble section sounding a bit artificial. Tonality is quite nicely calibrated, mildly warm, clearly U shaped, credible.

Sub-Bass Rolled down and slower compared to midbass, averagely textured. Sub-bass and low-mid-bass are one of the two areas where inappropriate amping quality is more evident (they turn sloppy and very bleeding in such case – in the worst cases the effect extends way into the midbass)

Mid Bass Definitely pleasant, relatively fast decay (attack is not snappy though), with good texturing.

Mids Flatly recessed but not for their entire extension, their high part goes up quite quickly. Low and central mids are lean; within that I find them nice. Mids in the higher part of the segment are instead thin and deliver a somewhat artificial timbre.

Male Vocals Quite nice, too lean to aspire to a “vocal rec” score for my taste, yet still natural, good.

Female Vocals Also nice, and also lean tendent to thin. They often get close to sibilance although very rarely I heard them pass the treshold (depending on tracks and source ofc).

Highs Trebles are forward and lively, quite energetic too. I find them “cold” if I take them per se, thus somewhat incoherent with the general warm-ish tonality. They also would do with a bit more air. I dont hear any dreaded metallic zings around which is very good. Lowtrebles are too thin and share a somewhat artificial (“plasticky”) timbre with highmids.


Technicalities

Soundstage Quite wide and height is beyond decent. It takes a higher end source to widen it further and especially to hear some depth which is just hinted or missing on lower tier sources.

Imaging Nice although it tends to a L-R distribution in lieu of a more natural X-Y casting. Inappropriate amping will severely screw imaging and instrument separation in the high mids, making them nothing short of “a mess” on crowded and/or loud orchestral passages.

Details When sub-bass bleed is controlled by appropriate amping bass detailing is quite nice. Treble details are average for the asking price.

Instrument separation Separation and layering are in general well done, see “Imaging” for exceptions.

Driveability Extremely capricious. Long story short: they sound inacceptably bad on lowend sources, so much that I strongly recommend assessing them on existing gear before purchase. Don’t ever take “reviews”, including this article of mine, as closely representative of your possible feelings about audio gear – and if you want to make exceptions don’t start with BE-LIEVE (pun intended)! They do get sensibly better with appropriate amping quality.


Physicals

Build Very nice housings both in terms of construction, sturdyness and style.

Fit Housing shapes are just a tad too big to seemlessly fit my concha which is a true pity but hey, we are all different. Nozzle length is ok for me, and insertion is easy. Although generous, stock tips’ supply is not adequate to my ears; after repeated tedious rolling sessions I settled on a pair of final E clear tips, which in spite of their realtively narrow bore don’t impact negatively on trebles here, and contribute to further control the very low end “sloppy” tendence.

Comfort Due to the housing being just a whiff too big and not lightweight (not too heavy either, luckily) I can’t say they are supercomfortable to me.

Isolation Good passive isolation once housings are properly fitted

Cable Stock cable is not bad per se. Oddly enough I find cheap Nicehck 16core High Purity Copper having some positive impact on the highmids weakness I mentioned above.


Specifications (declared)

Housing Five-axis-CNC “aviation grade” aluminum shells
Driver(s) Pure beryllium diaphragm dynamic driver (imported from Japan) (* I’m unable to assess such alleged “purity”)
Connector 2pin 0.78mm
Cable 1,2m 4 strands 6N single crystal copper Litz cable, with 3.5 single ended termination
Sensitivity 98 dB
Impedance 17 Ω
Frequency Range 20Hz-20KHz
Accessories and package Elegant & practical leatherette carry case, 1 set (S/M/L) wide bore soft umbrella black silicon tips, 1 set (S/M/L) wide bore stiffer umbrella white transparent silicon tips, 2 pairs of foam tips
MSRP at this post time $360,00 ($180,00 apparently “permanent” deal price)


How serious is BE-LIEVE’s need for “a good source”?

Simply put, it’s very serious.

As I mentioned at the beginning I found so many saying it’s a matter of sheer amping power. Of course I knew it very likely was not that, or more precisly not only that. In facts you do not need a source with a spec sheet mentioning “multiple watts” of output power to take the best out of BE-LIEVE (or any other IEM for that matter, even those featuring much lower sensitivity compared to BE-LIEVE).

What you do need is a source delivering an adequate level of current, that’s sure, and capable of delivering it in all critical sections of the spectrum exactly when needed.

Let me offer a synthetic view on my excursus on a total of 9 different amping sources, ranging in price from $50 to $3500, approximately, and from 8.8mW to 1.6W of 32Ohm load output power face value.

For reference, as a test track I’ve purposefully taken “Limehouse blues” from what many consider the best jazz master of the XX century being “Jazz at the Pawn Show”, which I happen to have available in 24b/192K flac format. The song’s elements which are significant to BE-LIEVE’s powering capriciousness are the constant contrabbasso’s line, which of course should be delivered as punchy, detailed and not bleeding, and the “treble-layered-crescendo” starting at +-7:00, which should offer good instrument separation, and no metallic zings or other artifacts.

For Single Ended sources the stock cable has been used. For Balanced Ended a NiceHCK 4N 23AWG High Purity OFC has been adopted.

Here’s what I heard on each of the tested sources:

Apogee Groove
Too soft on the x-lowend, and on the x-highend. The contrabbasso hits deeps but vibes in a relatively fastidious way. In the treble section clarinet and cymbals steal the scene a bit too much vs the vibrophone, some separation is lost and some microdetail is gone.
Anything between (roughly) 100 and 8K is good (within BE-LIEVE limits) and spatial drawing is “wow” level, as always when Groove is involved.
Mixed feelings face.

Fiio X3 mk-III
Single Ended output : Loudness is there, bass is boomy, treble looses definition, stage is meh. Low or High gain, same stuff more or less.
Balanced Ended output: (Low Gain) Contrabasso punches more softly and bleeds less. The crowded-treble section is not bad at all, yes separation is not masterful but way better than other entry-level sources (see below). (High Gain) waaay better on contrabbasso, “almost” nice actually. Trebles get a better control not much, separation also goes up a bit, but trebles also get dangerously near some thin-metallic nuances in the upper above frequencies. Finally, too bad for the range which is evidently compressed.
SE: semi-yuck face. BE: perplexity

Questyle QP1R
(Low Gain): sub-bass gets within nice limits, the contrabbasso hits “maybe” (I’m not sure) a tad less deep but its countour is definitely sharper, better than the one produce by Groove. What changes completely is the treble part where the vibrophone on second layer comes out much better, louder and detailed, and cymbals are apparently not “pasted”.
The counter of this seems to be lower resolution in terms of “greys in the middle”: if Groove lets me hear (say) 1000 nuances, QP1R only delivers like 5-600.
Spatiality is also evidently less “woah-level” compared to Groove but if I had to give a comprehensive score I’d prefer QP1R, under which BE-LIEVE sound “convincingly well” amplification-wise.
Switching to Mid Gain doesnt change sound, just gives a bit more of loudness headroom (which I dont need).
Switching to High Gain compresses sound a (slight but perceivable) bit.
Smile face

Auglamour GR1 (Groove or QP1R as source)
Xbass loudness and definition is on an in-between level vs amping from either Groove or QP1R directly. Treble section rendering is worse than Groove direct though.
Yuck face.

iFi ZEN CAN (Groove or QP1R as source)
Single Ended (0dB Gain) : X-bass levels are ok, haloing is similar to GR1, so above decent at least; treble section control is very good, layering is preserved properly. Switching gain up makes these 2 aspects even a tad better without reaching QP1R quality though. For the record the best compromise seems 12dB.
X-bass switch screws up on this aspect of course (as expected).
On the other hand ZEN CAN’s SE channel kills 80% of incoming dynamics so the overall sound output is dull and mushy, a shame compared with QP1R / Groove native outputs. Yuck face (at ZEN CAN)
Balanced Ended (0dB Gain) : We can’t even start talking about this. ZEN CAN’s BE channel inherently makes subbass sloppier which is obviously the opposite of what Be-lieve need. Big yuck face (not BE-LIEVE’s fault, but gets way shittier on BE-LIEVE than, say, on Oxygen or OH10).
Yuck face (mostly at ZEN CAN tbh)

Sony NW-A55 / MrWalkman firmware
(Source on “DSEE AI”; DC Phase Linearizer on Type A High, High Gain) : Well this is… Sony. The contrabbasso is less punchy and less bleeding. Switching DSEE to “Percussion” the contrabasso becomes a razor but the rest is too edgy too for my tastes. DSEE AI remains the best compromise (as almost always), and also renders the treble part very well. Spatiality is roughly on QP1R level so way south of Groove.
Smile face

Lotoo Paw Gold Touch
The source is per se supremely polished and nuanced. Recuping my previous analogy if Groove delivers “1000 greys” and QP1R only 5-600, LPGT has like… 2000. Some, me included, may consider them even… too many.
Contrabbasso is evidently less punchy, not boomy but not much more detailed than on Groove. On the treble side, the vibrophone on second layer comes out much better not because (like QP1R does) the vibe itself is given more authority, but because the clarinet is way smoother, nuanced, silkier thus leaving more space for the background voice to come out. Stage and imaging are +- at Groove level, maybe a tad less but top of the rack anyhow
Smile face (…at this price, better be!!)

Hiby R3 Pro
Single Ended: bass is worse than X3-III. Boomier, less defined, almost distorted, in a word crap. Same for the treble-dense part where separation goes nuts. Stage and imaging I just avoid describing…
Balanced Ended: (Low Gain) xbass is a better than SE, but not decisevely. Possibly marginally better than X3-III SE but it’s probably even debateable, it’s certainly worse than X3-III BE. Layering and separation in the crowded-treble part is way better than R3Pro SE but still far from good. In general, I hear a sort of “grey veil” blanketing everything. Stage becomes “intimate”.
SE : big yuck face BE : yuck face

Hidizs AP80Pro
Balanced Ended: (Low Gain) contrabbasso deepest punches are still invasive but not all punches are deep enough too be.
The crowded-treble part is better than R3Pro BE in terms of levels: back voices (vibe and piano) come out louder and stand better vs foreground ones, but separation is still meh so the result is a quite messy salad anyway, just louder. Part of the problem seems to be that – always in the “grey levels” analogy I made before – if LPGT has 2000 levels, Groove 1000 and QP1R 5-600, AP80Pro has just 200, and this shows big time on BE-LIEVE (and on other drivers too). Stage is averagely wide, and has at least “some” depth. Dynamics are “basic”, but existing.
(High Gain) This makes contrabbasso situation worse. It goes up in loudness but also down in speed, increasing the bleed. The crowded treble phase, instead, is better, if not that much. Dynamics are I would say on par.
Yuck face


Conclusions

When properly paired, BE-LIEVE are not bad at all. I’m not particularly fond of their timbre, especially that artificial-flavoured nuance in the high mids, and details are nothing more than average at their asking price, but the rest if more than OK and although not “inexpensive” they might be a sidegrade to assess for many.

There’s more to say though.

BE-LIEVE are extremely sensitive to source quality (DAC and AMP capacities).

No you do not need a multi-Watt amp to enjoy BE-LIEVE at the best of their abilities, and not even a mid-high powerful one. Even a quite low powered and definitely not kilobuck-priced DAP like Sony NW-A55 can get “correct” amping into BE-LIEVE and good sound quality out of them. Again, it’s not a matter of (big) amping power, it’s a matter of power delivery quality.

However, you do need an “adequate” amp for BE-LIEVE not to sound bad. Bad as in “cheap”. “Deal-breaking” bad, if you ask me. Ymmv, needless to say, but I-myself would not buy BE-LIEVE after auditioning them paired on an R3Pro, for example.

As I am a quite fortunate individual, I had the opportunity to assess BE-LIEVE on nine different sources ranging from a nice inexpensive portable amp to a multi-kilobuck TOTL DAP. Three of my sources could drive them properly – “BE-LIEVE bless…” – let’s talk about the rest though.

First: BE-LIEVE are not “specially well biased” by Apogee Groove. Given how spectacularly Groove feeds just about all other most capricious IEMs I own, I’m not going to book this situation as Groove’s limit rather as a testimony of how “unpredictable” (to be very mild) BE-LIEVE’s amping requirements are. I.o.w. the average BE-LIEVE user is called to be “un-rationally” careful about pairing.

Second: which parameters do I have to take into consideration to offer a comprehensive opinion on BE-LIEVE’s “value”, meant as the audio pleasure they deliver vs their asked price & pairing effort ?

Should I give all source pairing effort for granted, as I wrote above BE-LIEVE sounds nicely on A55, and even “very nicely” on QP1R. I’m not in love, but others might. Fine.

If I think to a few other drivers I personally like – on the same or different timbres – in the same price bracket and I imagine to apply the same enormous patience I dedicated to finding BE-LIEVE a suitable source pair, well… BE-LIEVE’s score will go down very sharply though.

Final E4000 on Groove or QP1R are not “just very nice”, they are “monumentally good“. Same for Ikko OH10, and for Shuoer Tape (these last on QP1R or A55 only, as Groove can’t bias Tape by design).

Oppositely, if I pair E4000 / OH10 / Tape with the same sources which make BE-LIEVE sound downright “bad” – let’s say an R3Pro – I do get lower output quality of course, but not so dramatically worse result compared to what comes out of BE-LIEVE.

So my bottom line is BE-LIVE are just OK if you apriori decide you "want to love them".
Their main “flaw” is their pretentiousness.
B9Scrambler
B9Scrambler
@aptquark People directly involved in the creation of it, be that through "doing the do" or other more savoury methods.
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asifur
what's the burn in time for the kbear believe? @Hooga
Hooga
Hooga
@asifur nice question. My general take about burn-in is that I as a user should not be involved in it. Commercially wise, the need to burn a driver in after buying it is the same as saying the vendor sold me an unfinished product. Why should *I* spend the time and effort to finish his job?
That said I did experience some burn-in variations on some IEMs (not at all every one I ever owned).
On BE-LIEVE I didnt notice any change after 50 hours. Other friends report zero variations after 100 hours.
Again, should I ever find out they require (say) 200 or 300 hours time to get better this on one side would be good news of course, on the other end would make my "Pretentiousness" note even bolder.
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