KBEAR KS2 - Reviews
Big and Bold
Pros: Expansive Soundstage
Powerful sub bass
Extended Treble
Bold fun V signature
Cons: Sometimes woolly bass
Recessed mids
Upper mid/lower treble spike
Occasional harshness
Minimal accessories
Tangly cable
This review sample was supplied by Sunny from Better Audio US, Amazon.com. Product link:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B08CK98TP6/ref=ya_aw_od_pi?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Introduction
It's not long since KBEAR released their excellent KB04 hybrid which could be described as a "Diamond Lite". It delivered a good proportion of the Diamond's performance at a fraction of the cost. Now we have another 1DD + 1BA hybrid at an even lower price, the KS2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Classical music lovers may need to look elsewhere, but if electronic music, rock and pop is your thing, the KS2 represents excellent value as an entry-level Chi-fi IEM.
IMG_20200730_150038.jpg
IMG_20200730_145826.jpg
IMG_20200730_183803.jpg
IMG_20200730_150419.jpg
IMG_20200730_150604.jpg
  • Like
Reactions: jeejack and Sebulr
Redefining the Sound Stage
Pros: Sub-bass and general quality of the lower zone.
- Remarkable scene and instrumental recreation.
- V-shaped profile, fun and somewhat softer.
Cons: Distant and not very expressive mids.
- Something unreal in the treble.
- Absence of bag or box of transport.
- Very typical cable and few tips.
- Again, V-profile.
Introduction

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

KBear KS2 01_resize.jpgKBear KS2 02_resize.jpg

Specifications

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

KBear KS2 03_resize.jpgKBear KS2 05_resize.jpg

Packaging

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

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

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

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

KBear KS2 06_resize.jpgKBear KS2 07_resize.jpg

Construction and Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

KBear KS2 08_resize.jpgKBear KS2 09_resize.jpg

Adjustment and Ergonomics

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

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

KBear KS2 10_resize.jpgKBear KS2 11_resize.jpg

Sound

Profile


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

KBear KS2 12_resize.jpgKBear KS2 13_resize.jpg

Bass

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

KBear KS2 14_resize.jpg

Mids

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

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

KBear KS2 15_resize.jpg

Treble

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

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

KBear KS2 16_resize.jpg

Soundstage, Separation

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

KBear KS2 17_resize.jpg

Comparisons

KBEAR KB04


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

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

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

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

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

KBear KS2 18_resize.jpg

Conclusion

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

KBear KS2 19_resize.jpg

Sources Used During the Analysis

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

KBear KS2 20_resize.jpg

Ratings

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

KBear KS2 21_resize.jpg

Purchase Link

You can read the full review in Spanish here
The KBear KS2
Pros: + fun all rounder, coloured and enjoyable signature
+ fatigue free on bright tracks
+ good industrial fit design
+ exceptional performance in electronic/trance genre
+ ready to go out of the box
Cons: - Perceived value and performance largely depends on the library of music it plays with.
Introduction

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

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

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


Design, Build and Comfort

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

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

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

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

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

Score : 8/10


Sound Quality

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

Choice of portable set-up employed in this review.

  1. The FiiO M6 high resolution portable player.

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

To get the ball rolling, my initial impressions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Detail Retrieval

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

Score : 7/10


Dynamics

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

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

Score : 7.5/10


Imaging

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

Score : 8/10


Soundstage

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

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

Score : 6.5/10


Speed

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

Score : 7.5/10


Timbre

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

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

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

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

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

Score : 7/10


The Unassuming Super Performer

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

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

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

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


The Package

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

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

Product Specification

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


Review Ratings

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


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

Https://keephifi.com/


Disclaimer:

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

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

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

9B58077B-6627-4920-A341-C7FE6D415A00.jpeg
FC205A07-160D-480B-82D1-82342169F827.jpeg
C08E576F-C88C-4262-BCFA-F0F20CC2B28C.jpeg
F4D17DBA-2901-42BB-88A3-94353700ED5F.jpeg

Attachments

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

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

Note: The review unit was offered to me for free in exchange for an honest review by KBEAR representative. This however does not have an impact on my review.
IMG20200709133052.jpg

Build, fit and packaging

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

IMG20200709132759.jpgIMG20200709132737.jpg

Fit is fantastic – they are small enough to fit all ear sizes and comes with a 4 pairs of ear tips in total.
IMG20200709133116.jpg

I did not feel comfortable using the stock ear tips as they have a lot of friction when in contact with skin. I replaced them with a softer, better quality one.

So how does it sound?

Here's the setup for my evaluation

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

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

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

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

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

While the KBEAR KS2 does well on most genres, I found that 80s classic rock like Africa by Toto, Take on me by a-Ha are much more enjoyable on these.
IMG20200709133016.jpg

How does it compare to the humble Sony MH755?

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

Conclusion:

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

I definitely recommend to try this, if you get a chance – it offers way more than what it is priced at.
KS2 hybrid earphones from KB EAR
Pros: Fun technical tuning with big bass and energetic treble emphasis. Solid all plastic build, light easy to use and drive. Good imaging overall clarity with a fairly spacious presentation. Average isolation. Not so expensive.
Cons: BA in the nozzle that brings you that treble first. Not the tightest or speediest of Bass. A bit bright with a bit of mids recession. Lacks depth and natural warmth to mid bands. Crash symbols will dominate.
KB EAR KS2.
DSC07373.JPG
KB EAR has been hard at work making them earphones for the enthusiasts of all levels. Budget level earphones has come a long way and it seems we are getting bombarded with something new and exciting monthly. The KS2 is a new hybrid from KB EAR incorporating a single BA in the nozzle and a 10mm composite (PU+ Bio diaphragm) dynamic driver all housed in a smaller ergonomic plastic shell.

KS2 was provided for a review. Thanks goes out to WendyLi of KBEAR for the review sample. These here are my thoughts regarding their newest hybrid earphones.
DSC07375.JPG
KS2 comes in a smaller packaging and is acceptable for the price point. Solid all plastic build is common with budget offerings. There is no reason to think these will be faulty in build or quality. These come with your standard copper cable in 2 Pin TFZ style connector and a set of silicones. The accessory selection is to be expected given the price point. The looks of the KS2 is about standard for the price and housing looks to be as sturdy as it will get. So ultimately it will come down to the sonics of the KS2.

Sound analysis was done using my Fiio M15, Shanling M6 pro, M5s, M3s, Ibasso DX160 and the Sony ZX300. The KS2 was burned in for a total of 150 hours before evaluation.
DSC07374.JPG
Sub $30 earphones have a place in all of our collections. Let's be real who takes their flagship earphones to the gym. I certainly wouldn’t. But there is no reason to have a sub $30 earphone that will sound terrible. Especially with the ever increasing competition in the budget sector.The KS2 has a lot of marketing involved with a lot of reviews associated with the release. One that caught my attention was the frequency comparison to the highly vaunted IER-Z1R. Interesting to say the least. I can see where the sound design has some similarities but do they actually sound alike? Unfortunately not. The similarities is that both IEMs are a V shaped design but that really is about it.

The sound of the KS2 has some prominent bass and prominent treble in the design. Unfortunately vocals sit at the back of the mix. The BA sits in the nozzle of the housing and throws out mids to treble end while the dynamic does bass to mids duties. Due to the lively treble end there is a perception that the stage is wider than it really is. This is a trick I am familiar with IFI uses on their 3D switches. For folks that are familiar with how they tune the 3D switch you will be familiar with how the treble here is utilized on the KS2s to give a similar effect. Reality is the stage of the earphones sounds average to my ears lacking depth and height. Then the mid bands sit back in the mix giving credence to a brighter sheen for the sonics.
DSC07377.JPG
KS2 is a technical fun tuning but at the cost of mid range recession and overall refinement. Unfortunately there is some coherence and timbre issues. Treble BA in the nozzle means your gonna hear that treble and everything associated with it first and foremost. A design choice I have seen with many that suppose to reduce treble resonances. If the treble was not so forward I think these would sound a bit more balanced however in their stock form treble seems to cast a shadow on the entire spectrum on some test tracks. Tunes with less prominent bass end the sound has a cooler sheen and vocals sound brighter than they should. Warmth is missing from vocal performances and add to that a bit of recession and you get to hear a lot of beats but not so much articulate smooth or warm vocal performances at the same time. Anything with treble end and treble comes through first then the bass then the vocals in this order.This works well with modern genres, rock, pop, hiphop and EDM but with acoustic, jazz and orchestral scores not so much.
DSC07376.JPG
For folks that love them a V shaped sound signature the KS2 actually has a competent tuning. It doesn't have the tightest speediest bass but you can’t expect that from the budget sector but for what it is worth the bass adds to the fun factor of the KS2. Sub bass has no roll off and mid bass has big punch and presence. Bass guys will appreciate the bass quantity on the KS2 and the ability to hit them lowest of notes when called for. The quality of the bass for the price range is acceptable. You're not getting a $25 earphone to critique how fine them bass notes are. One can only wish budget bass is good as a $1700 flagship high end bass. That would be something.
But in reality what you're getting is an earphone that you can throw on a phone and use out and about. No amps needed. Bass genres shine on the KS2 but I do notice some grating treble issues with EDM at times. Synthetic treble notes. Actually all treble notes will be highlighted.
DSC07379.JPG
Clarity is good on the KS2 due to the ample treble presence but here is where the tone of the earphones are skewed toward the bright end of things. I noticed for acoustic live pieces this actually made for a good detailed live set due to being able to pick off guitar presence in a roomy manor. It is when you get something like speed metal where there is a lot of complex speedy passages with a lot of crash symbols happening where the KS2 sounds a bit harsh. Slower, more melodic tunes sound good. Not so much faster precise recordings that use a lot of high hats and crash symbols for the drums.
DSC07381.JPG
My biggest gripe has to be how present crash symbols are. You can barely hear anything else when there is a lot of slushiness thrown out on the recordings. Example. Painkiller Judas Priest. Don’t know if it is due to the BA in front of the nozzle but anything really with sharpness to it in the treble will come through loud and clear.

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

Mid bands have good clarity and focus but lacks some depth to the sonics and always takes 3rd place in the sound balancing. If vocal performance is very important to you. KS2 is not the way to go. They don't completely fall off the cliff in vocal performance but it is a clear V shaped sound signature. Imaging for the mid bands is actually quite good. Your music will sound like it should and while the KS2 lacks in refinements, gives you music you're familiar with good energy and a sonic performance that can be enjoyable. Especially when not listening critically out and about. Just know what type of tuning you're getting into here and if this is the type you're looking for then by all means these are good in that regard.
DSC07380.JPG
These would make for a good casual phone to listen to when you're going about your daily lives. They have a surprising amount of clarity and make good use of hybrid technology. No faking the BA timbre for the highs and no faking that dynamic bass end. It has a big bass end and the treble to go with it throwing out an energetic sound tuning for your walks. If you're in the market for an earphone that can be easily enjoyed out of your cell phone without the use of an amp and don’t plan on spending half your paycheck on an earphone. These might be what you're looking for. As always happy listening.
Pros: Sub-bass rumble/quantity
Has some air in the treble and pretty good extension
Soundstage
Good for bassy music
Female/male vocal balancing
Fit
Isolation
Cons: Does not punch above its price point
Looks and feels a bit cheap (build)
Recessed female and male vocals
With some songs it is sibilant
Loose mid/sub-bass, makes it a bit muddy
Bass extension not that good, "compensates" with more rumble quantity
Loose bass bottlenecks the instrument separation, details and makes the overall sound a bit muddy
Lack of accessories
20200724_143212.jpg

Disclaimer: Received this review unit for free from KBEAR´s official store on AliExpress. Thank you very much.

Price: 21 usd

Specifications:

Brand:KBEAR

Model:KS2

Interface: 0.78mm Pin TFZ

Frequency range: 20-20kHZ

Sensitivity: 106±3dB

Impedance: 16Ω

Color: Green/Black

Material: Environment protect PC

Whether with mic: Yes/no

Plug:3.5mm L curve gold plated connector

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

20200724_143427.jpg

Accessories:

Silicone S/M/L Narrow bore tips

Cable

20200724_143642.jpg

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

20200724_143735.jpg

20200724_143847.jpg

20200724_143859.jpg

20200724_143955.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Comparisons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I removed the mesh and this is a better IEM (for my taste) after this easy "mod". Warmth takes a step back, I get clearer mids and not or very little sibilance.
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
  • Like
Reactions: F700
Pros: Great bass performance – Light, comfortable shell design
Cons: Recessed mids – Sibilance
Greetings!

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

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

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

IMG_0418.JPGIMG_0419.JPGIMG_0421.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compared To A Peer

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0423.JPGIMG_0427.JPGIMG_0428.JPG

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

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

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

IMG_0434.JPGIMG_0433.JPGIMG_0432.JPG

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

– B9

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

Specifications

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

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

Some Test Tunes

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

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


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


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

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

IMG_6194.jpg



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

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

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

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

IMG_6203.jpg



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

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

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

IMG_6205.jpg



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

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

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

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

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

IMG_6210.jpg



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

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

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


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



Why? - Ermhoi



Black Boboi - Red Mind



D.A.N. - SSWB



“Shard of Glass” - Fenella



Fuku-Ura



Monochrome Echo


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

Musicality:
KS2’s micro detailing results in a very more-ish sonic experience, alongside superb bass rendering portrays an incredibly musical signature, which excels with a wide gamut of genres ( - apart from occasional poor rendering of brass timbres.)
The low 16ohm impedance of the KS2 totally engages you on a visceral level, esp. vocals & Electronica – which are are imbued with a “live” feel
Whether listening passively to binaural tracks soundscapes, or playing my new Korg Wavestate synthesiser – which sounds incredible regardless of the array of timbres classical, acoustic, synthetic etc….chosen from the huge sound palette!
IMG_6226.jpg



Comparisons:
TRN-VX have similar levels of excitement & energy, however VX’s 5BA 1DD hybrid configuration helps to smooth out transient peaks and render timbres during complex tracks, & sound more refined at higher volumes. Detail retrieval and sound-stage of both are excellent! However, KS2 boosts the treble response, & has thinner mids susceptible to not resolving instrument timbres & plastic/splashy inauthentic percussion. In contrast the VX has less bass quantity & artificially boosted upper mids.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ratings:

Build: 80

Fit: 80

Bass: 85

Mids: 75

Treble: 80

Soundstage: 90

Imaging/Layering: 90

Accessories: 75

Price: 93

Attachments

Last edited:
Pros: Bass impact, Bass-oriented, Fun signature, Decent V-Shaped tuning, good staging and imaging for the price
Cons: Mids sounded sucked out, affecting overall timbre and tonality, Treble can be harsh at times, Sound is genre dependant
KBEAR KS2 Review

KS2 | Overall Score: 6.7/10

More Reviews at: https://www.perrivanaudio.com/

Driver Setup: 1 Dynamic Driver + 1 Balanced Armature

Price: $23.99 (USD) to $24.99 (USD) (discount link at the bottom)

Intro

Disclaimer: The KBEAR KS2 was provided at no charge by KBEAR, however thoughts and opinion on this product are entirely my own.

This is a review of the KBEAR KS2, I will cover its build quality, accessories and sonic qualities and provide my thoughts and opinions in relative to current market offerings. I was given a $3 discount link for my viewers if you are interested in getting one for yourself or as a gift and I will include the link at the end of this review.

1594978113773.png


This unit costs about 24 USD and houses a hybrid set up which is very common in the market right now and we shall see if the KS2 is able to rise amongst the homogenous pool of IEMs under this price bracket.

Accessories (Score: 5.0/10)

The unit only comes with a pretty usual chi-fi cable and a set of ear tips which is acceptable at this asking price. However, it could do better by providing a carrying case/pouch, which is reasonably common in IEM packaging and accessories. I will give it a pass given its low asking price but come on, every new guy in this hobby requires a case for their IEMs.

Build Quality and Fit: (Score: 8.0/10)

The KS2 shell is made from plastic which makes it very light. For the price, I did not expect the finish to be this good but and It gave me the impression that it can take a decent amount of abuse from daily use. Fit wise, the KS2s are comfortable and I was able to wear them for hours while working from home throughout the day. Cable seem to be one of those generic cables you get from most Chifi products so nothing much to talk about here other than its tendency to tangle up.
You may need tip rolling as the stock tips did not provide my ears enough seal. I used the Final silicone tips which helped me solve that issue.

1594978086761.png

1594978097121.png


Score: (Overall Score: 6.5/10)

The KS2 is a V-Shaped IEM that emphasises its Bass and Treble regions which makes tracks sounds very energetic. It has an impactful low end and airy presentation to keep things engaging for the listener. Sometimes I do feel that this unit clearly appeals to many bass heads given its quantity and rumble it provides.

Sources used:

- Ibasso DX120
- IPhone XR
- Atom DAC and AMP

Music and Albums, I listened to

- Alan Walker – Alone/Faded/Darkside
- Billie Eilish – When we all fall asleep, where do we go?
- Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture
- Chainsmokers – Sickboy
- Cigarettes After Sex – Cry
- The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
- One Republic – Human
- Keane – Fears and Hopes
- Nino Rota – The Godfather OST
- Osaka Shion Wind Orchestra – 2016 all Japan Band competition
- Fedde Le Grand – Cinematic
- ARTY – Rebound
- ACDC – Highway to hell

Bass (Score: 8.0/10)

This unit has a huge boost in its sub-bass regions and that rumble can be clearly picked up in most of the tracks which may or may not undermine its overall presentation depending on your signature preferences. The bass rumble hits hard in bassy tracks such as “bad guy” by Billie Eilish which is kind of satisfying at times as it is not sluggish nor muddy. Mid bass region is not as strong as its sub-bass, but it still has that impact and punch when situation calls for it. I also do notice that it suffers from slight mid bass bleed, but I can accept that given how the unit is tuned.

In general, I do agree with the tuning of the bass of this unit given that it is catered to v-shaped and bass enthusiasts, more accurate mid bass with emphasised sub bass to give that rumble and body to satisfy listeners.

Mids (Score: 5.5/10)

The mids on the KS2 is average at best and it depends on the tracks that you listen to. In general, the mids is its weakest link as most tracks sound as if the vocals are sucked out and especially for male vocals, they do not have that body to them, and the result just feels artificial.
While it is expected to experience a less emphasised mid-range, it just makes the unit more genre picky since they do not do justice to vocal heavy tracks at all, while favouring bass beats and sparkling synths.

Treble (Score: 6.5/10)

KS2’s treble is a bit splashy and sibilant at times, but it does give the overall presentation energy and lift to keep the experience engaging. There is some emphasis in the lower treble and mid treble region, and it checks out with the frequency response curve so heads up if you are very sensitive to treble.
In general, the treble does provide a lot of uplift and energy to the tracks especially EDM and Dance genres, but they really do not go well with vocal heavy tracks or tracks with a lot of cymbal-like crashes that makes it hard for me to love.

Overall

In my opinion, the soundstage and imaging capabilities of the KBEAR KS2 is pretty good, not super impressive but it is there and at this asking price, it has got to be one of its strengths as compared ot other offerings in this price range!

It is one of the better tuned V-shaped signatures at this price range and it offers a good sub bass rumble as one of its selling points. Although treble did get harsh at times, I did enjoy many tracks on it as well due to its energy and ability to keep things exciting.

Conclusion

At the price of $24 USD, the KBEAR KS2 does provide quite a bit of value to the consumers. Despite the absence of a carrying case, they do possess their own niche and carry it well. In the current cutthroat chi-fi market where many similar tuning IEMs are being churned out like a sweat shop (with KBEAR being no exception), it's good for IEMs to have an area they excel im rather being generic sounding with no effort put into tuning. If you are considering the KBEAR KS2, do take note that they are catered to certain genres but other than that, it's a pretty decent entry choice for beginners or a good wildcard IEM that experiences players switch things up and get a feel of that bassss while listening to genres where they shine. I would like to point out that I am not a fan of its signature, but they do impress me in certain songs and genres such as EDM, Dance and Trance

Product Link and Discount Code

New product link:

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

Place order without paying and enter the Discount code below:
NEWKBEARKS2
Last edited:
Pros: Amazing Cable, Extremely Comfortable, Theatre-like Sub-Bass response with Punch, Large Soundstage that Complements Bass, Great for Gaming, Easy to Drive
Cons: Genre Specific, Elevated Treble, Somewhat Sibilant, Thin and Peaky mids,
KS2.jpg


1. Brand: KBEAR
2. Model: KS2
3. Earphone type: In Ear
4. Impedance: 16Ω
5. Earphone sensitivity: 106dB at 1KHZ 1mW
6. Frequency response range: 20-20KHz
7. Plug Type: 3.5mm
8. Color: Black; Green
9. Whether with cable: Yes
10. Earphone connector: 0.78mm 2Pin
11. Version: Without mic
12. Driver unit: 10mm composite diaphragm(biological diaphragm+PU) dynamic driver+balanced armature

Disclaimer: The IEM was generously provided to me by KB Ear, however I will treat the product as if I purchased it with my own wallet.

Let's jump straight into the review. Other users have posted magnificent photos so look at theirs instead if you want a visual tour of the earphones.

Music (Specialized)

When it comes to music, the KB Ear KS2 is an IEM that excels at bass oriented music with low treble presence in the mix and no vocals. Specifically Lo-Fi. All other genres out the window!

Bass (10/10)

Upon first listen on the KS2’s, the bass immediately stood out. It was like I was discovering car subwoofers again, the surprise on my face definitely showed, there’s no way I was keeping a pokerface when it came to the KS2’s bass.

The lowered emphasis on mids makes room for the bass to shine through in all its’ glory. The bass region effortlessly sweeps through 20hz to 100hz with authority without bleeding into the mids. Personally, the KB Ear KS2 beats my Planar IEM; the Audeze iSine 20, 500USD MSRP out of the box when it comes to bass. It even beats other IEMs like the Sennheiser IE80 250USD MSRP when the bass dial is maxed out. If you’re a basshead, reduce the treble peak at 8khz by -5dB to -10dB and crank up the volume.

The KS2’s bass detail is quite impressive, I can feel the drivers pushing air into my eardrums with no distortion and there’s some decent punch accompanying it. Not only is there’s decent bass quantity, but bass quality too.

Mids (6/10)

Every other genre is thrown out the window as the mids feel thin, compressed and peaky due to the slight emphasis on some parts of upper mids. The IEM’s can present vocals but this is not what you buy the KS2’s for. Given how expansive the soundstage is, I thought the KS2 would do well with Orchestral or Classical music. Unfortunately violins are screechy and the thin mids take away the magic of the majority of string and wind instruments.

Out of the budget IEM’s I own, I prefer smoother mids, whether it be darker like the FAD E3000 or brighter like the Tin T2.

Treble (5/10)
Forget vocals, forget snares, the KS2’s treble might make your ears bleed if you play the wrong track. Stick to Lo-Fi and you’ll be safe.

Although I’d like to mention one thing. Reduce the treble peak at 8khz by -5dB to -10dB (depending on preference) and you’ll discover a subtle sparkly top end. I didn’t discover a sparkly top end until I had to pay 300USD for a Sennheiser HD600, but hey I guess you can find sparkly treble for 35USD now.

Micro-Detailing, Soundstage, Imaging, and Gaming (8/10)

The KS2 does not sound like 35USD when it comes to soundstage. I’ve used these for a semi-professional tournament in an FPS game called Squad (on PC) and the positional accuracy and distance for gunfire was like it came out of my Audeze iSine 20’s. Micro-detailing exceeds my expectations too, it may not sound like there’s much due to the amount of sub-bass, but it really shows in tracks that have multiple layers and the KS2 successfully shows technical prowess here. I’m not comparing the KS2 to budget gear so keep that in mind when I say the KS2 is technically capable.

Amp Scaling (It sort of does)

I was told the KB Ear KS2 are to be driven off mobile devices, and they are right! With more power comes more bass, but the treble end also lifts with the bass. I felt much more comfortable just plugging the earphones into my phone or similar weak sources like the front side of my PC or a Behringer UM2 that fares the treble less aggressively compared to driving the KS2’s off my FiiO X5 or Objective O2.

Comfort, Build, Smell and ASMR (10/10)

Though the design of the KS2 is generic, I believe it’s a tried and true design that many will enjoy as the shape will fit many users. It’s also very light. I had no problem with wearing these for 10 hours at work today. I'm still sitting at my desk using these for ASMR.

The black glossy paint is mesmerizing, the white logo is a nice touch, the plug is L shaped and perfect in my pocket.

The cable is brown and braided which puts $500 earphones to shame, looking at you Audeze! But it smells of incense and smells like my grandma’s house back in 2004. Quite the nostalgia trip.

Should You Buy?

You don’t buy the KB Ear KS2 for a do-all IEM, you buy it for the ability for it to surpass $500 IEM’s when it comes to making Lo-Fi an enjoyable experience. For $35 it’s a must buy, however even better if you can find it on sale.
Last edited:
Pros: Punchy and lively presentation
Class-leading separation and soundstage
Cons: Thin midrange
Very hot highs
KS2 is a budget-friendly model from Kbear and at the same time my first encounter with the Kbear brand. KS2 is one of those models you suppose to hook around your ear and comes in a fairly simple package without any goodies, but it would be rude to ask anything more for a modest price of $25. So let’s dig into the review and see how they perform.

Build and comfort
Kbear KS2 is made out of plastic but it feels well-made and sturdy enough so you don’t have to worry about occasional rough handling. This also means they’re lightweight which is always a good thing for earphones since weighty ones tend to fall out of the ear. Fit is a very personal thing, but in my case, these really fit like a charm.

The bundled cable is of a braided type, it tangles very easily but on a positive note, it’s not microphonic at all. Earhooks are preshaped and in a slightly smaller radius than I’d ideally prefer, but again that’s highly personal. It’s detachable too, using 2 pin connectors, so you can exchange it for a better one if you wish so.

All in all, I feel that build, fit, and comfort are quite decent and there’s nothing that would put me off in this department. So let’s move to the most important part of the review and that’s their performance.

Kbear KS2 01.jpg

Sound
First thing first, Kbear KS2 is your typical V-shaped response type of earphone. This means that the bassline is emphasized. The bass is not only weighty but punchy too. Also, I never found it too bloated or unwieldy so I enjoyed it quite a bit even though I’m not what you’d call a bass-head.

Moving to the midrange part, I stumble upon my first complaint. The lower midrange is recessed and the body of both vocals and instruments is lacking. The upper midrange on the other hand is alive and kicking. Now pair that with quite pronounced higher region and it makes for an exciting and sparkly listen. Often too sparkly if you ask me since vocals tend to sound thin and hissy.

Other than that quirky tonality, dynamics proved to be really good, and KS2 sounds lively and exciting. Both layering and sound-stage are probably the best I’ve heard at this price point. All instruments have enough room to breathe, and they’re spread as wide as the in-ear concept will allow.

EQ-ing them
I wanted to try and rid the KS2 of their overemphasized V-shaped tuning and rid the vocals of this snake-like appearance. Fortunately, they react quite well to it and I managed to somewhat tame that overwhelming upper-region presence by lowering frequencies between 8 and 12 kHz by about 3 dB. This move didn’t really kill their overall liveliness but provided a much-needed relaxation and much more pleasurable listen to my ears.

Conclusion
Kbear KS2 possesses some commendable qualities such as very punchy and lively presentation, class-leading separation and sound-stage. However, they stumble with very aggressive V-shaped tuning that makes for unnaturally sharp and thinned out timbre. A little bit of EQ-ing goes a long way in this case and if you’re willing to play with it, you might end up with a very exciting, but not that neutral, pair of in-ears.

...

I also made a video review:

Pros: Lively, dynamic sound without any annoyance; huge soundstage; value.
Cons: Generic design; thin mids; not the greatest timbre.
frontis-copy-800x445.jpeg


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The KBEAR KS2 is a warm-fun-lively V-shaped earphone that excels by its gigantic soundstage in all dimensions at the price of recessed mids.

This review was originally posted at www.audioreviews.org


INTRODUCTION

OK, let’s cut the crap right away. This earphone is not for the gallery, it is not sexy, it features a generic design. No staged photos, no camouflaged sales brochure, no other window dressing required to stimulate buying appetite. The KBEAR KS2 is all about functionality: sound and fit – and value. Apparently, 70% of the cost are in the drivers. It is KBEAR’s lowest priced budget model. As you know, KBEAR is a brand that has come a long way in the last half year with their popular Diamond and KB04 models both tuned with the help of KopiOkaya and myself – two big-hearted however poor pro-bono amateur tuners who made these products fly off the shelves like hotcakes. The KBEAR KS2 were apparently tuned by a professional team.



SPECIFICATIONS

Driver unit: 1 10 mm DD + 1 BA
Impedance: 16 Ω
Sensitivity: 105 ± 3 dB dB/mW
Frequency range: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Cable/Connector: 2-pin, 0.78 mm
Tested at: $23
Purchase Links: KBEAR Official Store


PHYSICAL THINGS AND USABILITY


The package contains the barebones: the 2 earpieces, 3 pairs of tips (S/M/L), cable, and the paperwork. Yawner! This content, including that shade of green, reminds me of some 2017 KZ hybrids…although, so I was told, this KS2 earphone has nothing to do with KZ. I am relieved.

KBEAR KS2


The generic shells are made of good-quality resin, and they fit my ears well…although, they are not the smallest around and could be thinner. But they are really light. The cable is also nothing to write home about, we have seen such design frequently before, it works just fine. No microphonics at all, it is reasonably thin and pliable. Certainly better than the one that came with the Blon BL-03 or TRN-VX. But: it appears to be the latest gimmick in budget stock cables that the ear hooks are designed to strangle your concha. The loop looks tight as hell…but was working ok in the end.

The largest included tips do the job for me. And bingo, the KBEAR KS2 work out of the box. At a sensitivity of 106 dB at 16 Ω, the KBEAR KS2 play just fine with my iPhone SE – they are really easy to drive. You may not have known how much guts your phone’s amp has. Ergonomics is generic, and fit/comfort what you expect: average. Isolation could be better.


TONALITY AND TECHNICALITIES

My tonal preference and testing practice


My test tracks explained

What did a member of our Facebook group tell me: “Don’t tell us it’s got a long trunk, fat legs, and rough brown skin. Tell us instead it’s an elephant!” And this elephant is big. BIIIIIG…biggest soundstage in all dimensions I could imagine: deep, wide, and tall. Seriously, it is gigantic. You feel you are in a huge cave and the music was recorded binaurally. The signature can be described as warm-fun-lively V-shape with a tad of plastic added (not too bad, though). Here you have it. That’s what your elephant looks like.

Yes, the KBEAR KS2 are quite alive, they have this jump factor…this live sound. They have lots of energy without being annoying or fatiguing on either end – although the graph does not support this. BUT, don’t judge this book by its cover.

When I first put the KBEAR KS2 into my ears – listening to Canadian rock of the Guess Who – I could not get them out again, so appealing and irresistable was the sound.

KBEAR KS2


KBEAR KS2


OK, the graph looks awful: a pronounced V…doesn’t this remind us of the boomy bass and shouty midrange in pre-historic times, back in 2017? Well, drivers have come a long way since then – and today, the quality of the drivers appears to offset the odd, strange-looking graph. And since the human ear hears the whole frequency spectrum and not just select cherry-picked areas, the elevated upper midrange can balance the boosted bass. And it does in this case. So, no shoutiness or boom.

Bass is surprisingly speedy and controlled, and also, of course, prominent but not fatiguing. The punch/rumble appears to come from way below, not from the mid-bass, which is usually easier on the eardrum. But, although it is dry, it can be a bit blunt. The upper bass is actually rather thin and therefore does not bleed into the lower midrange/vocals. Vocals are breathy and attenuated with a splash of pressurized air added, but they are quite there and very 3-dimensional. They are not the richest or densest, but they are ok in the mix. The vocals obviously get that famous extra energy from the upper midrange, but not in a bad way. This results in excellent clarity without sharpness. (Sub-) bass and upper midrange keep each other well in check and balance each other nicely. I can’t hear any obvious shoutiness. Treble are present and add tizziness to cymbals. This whole mix results in great speech intelligibility.

The star of the KBEAR KS2 is undoubtedly the huge soundstage. It is very impressive in all dimensions and gives you the feeling you are at a live concert – when listening to a live recording, of course. Cavernous but not hollow! In this respect, it beats many more expensive competitors. Detail resolution is equally impressive: I felt I was diving through a symphony orchestra when listening to Gustavo Dudamel’s/LA Symphonic’s Star Wars interpretations. All of the above point to the KBEAR KS2’s good suitability for gaming.

But limitations in the technicalities exist: it is the timbre! Ok for string instruments but off for woodwinds and brass. The tonality has a bit of plastic added to it, which appears to be an artifact of this kind of shells – had this before in the KZs. This is however somewhat forgivable as it is partially offset by the openness of the sound.


WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY?

Hmmm…we are bound by an extremely low price – so nothing really.


KBEAR KS2 COMPARED

The KBEAR KS2 are hard to compare as they are pretty unique: their build/design is generic and won’t win any door price, and their sound is well above the similar looking and priced Knowledge Zenith budget models of recent years. Maybe the <$20 NiceHCK DB3, which has a boomier bass and a more recessed midrange. The in-house <$30 KBEAR KB04 is punchier but also shoutier and a bit more tonally accurate, and it has heavier metal earpieces – it actually is the better value imo. The $199 Shozy Form 1.4 sound much richer and thicker, but the KS2 hold up quite well in their staging.

You find an INDEX of all our earphone reviews HERE.


WHY WOULD YOU WANT IT – OR NOT?


The desire to get the KBEAR KS2 really depends on your attitude towards consumerism. If you are a newbie and want to find out what signature you like, the KS2 is a good choice. If you just want to go for quantity of your collection or don’t have the cash to go higher, why not? But if you have drawers full of iems already, you may rather go a bit up the scale towards the TinHifi T2 Plus or the Shozy Form 1.1, or even the KBEAR KB04. I think the KS2 would work well for gamers because of their liveliness and soundstage.


CONCLUDING REMARKS

For me, the KBEAR KS2 are refreshingly unpretentious, pragmatic earphones: no amp needed, they play straight out of your phone. They are V-shape well done: gone are the days where the recessed mids were squeezed between a boomy low end and a screechy upper end. Here, all elements play well together and generate a pleasant and well-staged sonic experience – but with the limitations as described above.

The KBEAR KS2 are lively but nevertheless well-behaved earphones for the road, gym, or computer screen. They are not the audiophile steak & lobster fare, they are dripping burgers with greasy fries and lots of ketchup. Yummers! They are not served with champagne but with ice-cold thin American lager. Toss them in your backpack, throw them in your glove department. They are dynamic, they are fun, they are affordable…and they will be immensely popular soon…until the next model comes along. Believe me!

I think I need something to eat now.

Until next time…keep on listening!

Jürgen Kraus signature



DISCLAIMER

The KBEAR KS2 were provided unsolicited. Thank you very much.

Get the KBEAR KS2 from KBEAR Official Store.

Our generic standard disclaimer.

About my measurements.

You find an INDEX of our most relevant technical articles HERE.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: baskingshark
Pros: Fun tuning, huge soundstage, easily driven
Cons: Some timbre issues, not short on competition.
Disclaimer - @WendyLi contacted me to ask if I was interested in receiving this IEM in exchange for a review. Of course I was.

I've now had the IEM in my hand for a day and a half, I've listened to it both with my smart phone and with Fiio X5 III and Echobox Explorer DAPs.

First impression upon receiving the parcel was it's a ChiFi IEM and it is packaged as such. No frills, 3 pairs of silicon tips and a cable very much remeniscent of KZ's patented "tangleb*stard" cable. Though in use, the cable doesn't tangle too badly it seems. Everything here does its job and nothing more.

Straight up, plugging into a smartphone (in my case a Xiaomi Pocophone) and loading up Tidal, Beethoven's 5th selected and the soundstage is HUGE and very 3 dimensional. I can't think offhand of any bigger soundstages than this. There is however a slight congestion to the soundstage at dead centre, best demonstrated by listening to REM's Shiny Happy People - the sound of the backing vocals make it sound like Michael Stipe has swallowed Cate Pierson whole.
Sticking with R.E.M and moving to Losing My Religion, the mandolin is well over to the left and quite far forward of the listener. The timbre of the strings isn't bad, certainly compared to the steely nature of previous budget hybrids like KZ's ZS10. It's no Blon BL-03 though, not by a long shot. E Bow the Letter gives a thinness to Stipe's vocals that I'm not used to hearing, too.
Spinning Louis Armstrong's "We Have All The Time In The World" continues the trend of slight v shaped tuning (Louis' vocals sound great but the string backing music is a bit recessed for my liking) and timbre that is good but not class leading.
Another favourite track of mine for equipment testing is "There She Goes" by Babyshambles. Here I'm listening to the sound of the double bass and also for sibilance in Pete Doherty's vocals. Sadly the KS2 does quite badly with this track. The timbre of the double bass is quite far off, and the fluctuations in string pressure aren't so easily audible. At the top end it's also a bit off the standard of the best. I like to hear a small amount of sibilance in the vocal but there's a tad too much and it gets fatiguing. There is a lot of detail to it though.
Moving on to Crystallize by Lyndsay Stirling and the timbre on the violin is pretty good. Bass goes low without becoming obtrusive in its level (thus probably not one for the bassheads). However the sub bass isn't as deep as for example the Blon BL-03 or the TRN V90. On "Love Me or Hate Me" by Lady Sovereign there is a sub bass rumble that so many IEMs miss and these don't get it either. Moving on to Waste Another Day by Pennywise shows the bass to be fast and punchy, however the mids are almost too detailed and it starts to sound just a little bit confused. Play a less complex track such as Virtually Fat Free by Rootjoose and they reward by being super rhythmic and fun though.

Overall, these are a good IEM, although it's fair to say they're not really tuned to my liking. I'd prefer slightly less midrange recession, and to me timbre is everything. They do provide a punchy, fun listen though, although the treble can become a little bit tiresome. They are really easy to drive (no worries driving these from a phone) and definitely easy to recommend if the v shape suits you.
However, a few extra quid will buy a Blon BL-03 (if you have the means to drive it well) which has nowhere near the detail or soundstage but massively better timbre. Likewise the TRN V90 isn't a whole lot more expensive and a slightly better all rounder.
It does however just have the measure of the NiceHCK DB3 (similar tuning but less detail) and X49 (a bit subdued at the top and bottom), and cheaper stuff like the KZ ED9 (sounds really good but a bit too "polite").IMG_20200708_203030.jpgIMG_20200708_202902.jpg
  • Like
Reactions: baskingshark
Pros: Good price to performance ratio.
Comfortable, well fitting.
Above average isolation.
Good details, imaging and especially soundstage at this price bracket.
Deep subbass extension, punchy bass.
Cons: Plasticky build.
Timbre artificial for certain acoustic instruments/vocals.
Tonality issues - Overly V shaped, with upper mids/lower treble occassionally getting hot when bass frequencies are not playing, with overly recessed lower mids. Bass may be too boomy for non bassheads.
Disclaimer:
I would like to thank KBEAR for providing this review sample. My views are my own.

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-06 at 22.24.53.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2020-07-06 at 22.24.54.jpeg


Specifications:
  • Driver: Hybrid 10mm composite diaphragm Dynamic Driver + Balanced Armature
  • Interface: 2 Pin 0.78mm
  • Frequency range: 20 Hz - 20kHZ
  • Sensitivity: 106±3dB
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Tested at $23 USD

Accessories:
In addition to the IEM, it comes with:

1) Stock cable - thin with no chin cinch. Recommended to swap if possible.
2) Silicone tips of various sizes.

WhatsApp-Image-2020-07-06-at-22.24.52-1024x768.jpeg


Build/Comfort:

The KBEAR KS2 looks to have a similar shell to some KZs (like the ZST), and looks plasticky and cheap, but don't judge a book by its cover, build wise, it is quite comfortable, light, well fitting, with above average isolation. I did not detect any driver flex.


Drivability:
I tried the KBEAR KS2 with a humble Android smartphone, Shanling Q1 DAP, a ESS ES9280C PRO DAC, Tempotec Sonata HD Pro, a Khadas Tone Board -> Fiio A3 amp, and a TRN BT20 bluetooth device. The KS2 is quite sensitive, and hissing may be noted with some desktops/smartphones but the hiss generally disappears when music plays. Otherwise, one can mitigate the hiss with using an impedance matching device, amp/dac or an inline volume controller.

The KS2 is pretty drivable from lower powered sources like smartphones, but scales slightly better with amping.


Sound & Technicalities:

kbear-ks2-fr-1-1024x515.jpg

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

The KBEAR KS2 is a bassy deep V shaped set with some brightness in the upper mids as above.

Technicalities are good for the $20ish USD price, with a big soundstage, good imaging, instrument separation and details. In fact, it has one of the best soundstages at the $20ish price tag. The KS2 would make quite a good gaming and movie IEM in view of the good soundstage and imaging, though the bass is quite boosted, so footsteps and gunshots might be a tad overemphasized for gaming, but I quite like the KS2 for movie watching due to the great subbass extension.

String timbre is okay considering it is a hybrid, but woodwinds and brass instruments sound very artificial, so not the best option if you listen to classical or jazz. Vocal timbre is a bit chalky but intelligible and clear, so also not the best option if you are a vocals connoisseur. The tonality of the KS2 is skewed towards the upper mids and bass frequencies, and non bassheads might find the bass quantities boomy, with the lower mids overly recessed, with some occasional hot upper mids.


Bass:
Subbass extends well for a DD bass, with good rumble and decay. Subbass seems to be a tad more emphasized than the midbass in terms of quantity, with the visceral grunt of the subbass rattling the jaw in some music tracks with amping. Indeed, bass quantities are one level shy of basshead levels. I'm a basshead and like the bass amounts but I think those that want a neutral bass might need to look elsewhere or do some bass mods, as it might be too boomy for them.

Bass is punchy and the KS2 sounds quite good for bass forward music, eg EDM.
I didn't find overt amounts of midbass bleed considering the KS2 has rather copious bass, unlike some other basshead sets eg TFZ No. 3.

Mids:
The KS2's lower mids are quite recessed, certain songs sound thin/distant in lower mids. Guitars in particular aren't that well rendered in the lower mids and some chunks of music are missing in the lower mids for pieces I'm familiar with. In fact, the big soundstage of the KS2 might be partially explained by the distant lower mids.

Even though the graphs appear quite boosted in the upper mids/lower treble for this set, I find the big bass quantities balances out the upper mids and the KS2 isn't shouty when there are bass frequencies playing. The upper mids and lower treble do get harsh and fatiguing when there is female vocal predominant music or when the music is bass lite (i.e. no bass to balance the upper frequencies) or when saxophones, trumpets and flutes come out to play.

A warm source, or tape mods, or copper cables (if you aren't a cable skeptic) or even EQ may help with the upper mids issue if you are sensitive to these areas, but I usually listen to bass heavy music (which as above balances the upper mids), so I enjoy the KBEAR KS2 with the stock configuration without any mods.

Treble:
Lower treble is discussed in the above point with the upper mids. The upper treble extends moderately well, and isn't that fatiguing for me. Sibilance is mild, cymbals aren't that splashy compared to budget KZs. I like the upper treble amounts, which balances details and clarity without being overly harsh.


Comparisons:
Here are some comparisons of the KBEAR KS2 with other CHIFI gear in the similar price bracket ($20 - 30 USD):


1) KBEAR KB04 ($26 USD):
Ironically, the KBEAR KB04 from the same company is the KS2's main competitor in having a similar driver config (1DD + 1 BA) and price in a V shaped tuning (see graph below).

KB04 is less V shaped as per the graphs below, with lesser bass and upper mids/lower treble. Note weight on the KB04 is slightly thinner, but the KB04 is more balanced tonally. The KB04 also has slightly better instrument timbre.

I find the KB04 to be faster in transients for complex portions of music, with a more accurate bass, but the KS2 trumps the KB04 in soundstage and imaging.

Both sets are tuned differently and bring separate benefits to the table. The KB04 has better build, timbre and tonality, but the KS2 is slightly cheaper, has better soundstage/imaging and better bass quantity (I'm a basshead and appreciate this aspect). Overall, for my music preferences, I'll take timbre/tonality over technical performance for casual music listening, so the KB04 edges the KS2 for me.

kbear-ks-2-vs-kb04-1-1024x472.jpg

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


2) BLON BL-03 ($24 USD):
In general, I try not to compare single DD sets to hybrids as they have their own inherent strengths and weaknesses between the different transducer types, so it is really comparing oranges to apples, but since a lot of folks own the BL-03 and use it as a yardstick, here goes:

The single DD BLON BL-03 has better tonality, and more accurate timbre for acoustic instruments, with a thicker note weight.
Upper mids are not as hot on the BLON BL-03.
The BLON BL-03's bass is slower with more midbass bleed and it sometimes can't keep up with complex bass riffs.
Fit and isolation are poorer in the BLON BL-03. In fact the infamous BLON BL-03 fit may require one to splurge a bit on aftermarket eartips or even cables, so the BL-03 outlay may be closer to $40 USD actually.
Technicalities are also poorer on BL-03, with a smaller soundstage on BL-03.

Hence, the BLON BL-03 is better for timbre/tonality and would better suit those that listen to music genres incorporating a lot of acoustic instruments, whereas the KS2 is better for technicalities and fits well OOTB; the KS2 would be better for more complex music or synthetic music.


3) KZ ZS10 Pro ($30 USD):
The ZS10 Pro (1DD + 4 BA) is likewise a V shaped set, and the ZS10 Pro also suffers from an occasionally harsh upper mids/lower treble, but I felt the lower mids aren't as recessed in the ZS10 Pro.

The ZS10 Pro has better technicalities (except soundstage and imaging), but I found the timbre on both sets to be artificial for non-stringed acoustic instruments, with the KS2 being a worse offender in the timbre department.

The ZS10 Pro has more predominant midbass than subbass, unlike the KS2 which has subbass quantity > midbass. ZS10 Pro's midbass is not as tight with some flabbiness and midbass bleed.


Conclusions:
The KBEAR KS2 is an entry level budget CHIFI set with good technical performance for the price. Unfortunately, it lacks a bit in the timbre/tonality department. I think the KS2 can suit most genres due to the consumer friendly V shaped tuning, except maybe genres that need good instrument timbre e.g. classical, jazz. The upper mids/lower treble can get hot occasionally when the bass isn't playing, but pairing the KS2 with a warm source helps if you are sensitive to this area. Bass averse folks and lower mid lovers might also wanna give this set a miss.

So this brings us to the million dollar question: does one need another $25ish USD budget set like the KBEAR KS2 in the flood of budget CHIFI releases? Well, that's pretty subjective and only one that you can answer yourself. Those stuck in the neverending CHIFI IEM rabbithole who own higher end gear will definitely have heard something more refined in sound quality. Do you have a drawer full of cheap CHIFI collecting cobwebs somewhere and does your spouse/significant other give you a deathstare when they see another budget CHIFI coming in the mail? Are you looking to climb up the CHIFI ladder in terms of price/quality, rather than staying in a vicious cycle buying budget sidegrades, which do add up to the costs of a midfi set eventually? Then probably not. But the KBEAR KS2 will suit avid pokemonesque "gotta catch them all" CHIFI collectors or someone new to the hobby and starting to sample budget gear to discover their ideal sound signature. It would also be an affordable daily beater set for the price for beginners, or even a gaming and movie IEM in view of the great soundstage, imaging and visceral subbass amounts.

Overall, I'm rating the KBEAR KS2 to be a pass, with context being the KS2's selling price of a restaurant meal. It brings a big soundstage and good imaging to the budget CHIFI table. For experienced audiophiles, please temper your expectations and don't be expecting a tour de force considering the asking price of $25ish USD (well, the BLON BL-03 is an amazing anomaly at the same price tag, but probably costs more after purchasing aftermarket tips/cables for the fit). The KBEAR KS2 excels at soundstage/imaging and does more things right than wrong.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the music!
Last edited:
Top