New Head-Fier
KBEAR Neon Review!
Pros: - Fatigue-free sound
- Midcentric sound signature that is quite rare within and under 60USD.
- Non-fatiguing upper frequencies.
- Controlled, thumpy lows.
-Does not suffer from any “BA Timbre” despite sporting a 1BA Driver.
- No presence of midbass bleed.
- Quite an immersive listening experience.
- Easy to be driven but benefits and scales when paired with a decent source.
- Does not sound thin which is good considering that most 1BA IEMs I know suffer from thinness.
- Very good isolation when fitted properly.
Cons: - Fit will vary from person to person since it is a bullet type that requires deep insertion to sound good.
- Lack of sub-bass may be experienced on bassy tracks.
- Slight veil on the upper mids is present especially when underpowered.
- Treble might be lacking for those people who want more extended than usual treble response.
- Slight congestion is present on very busy tracks.
- I did not have any problems with the fit and cable, but I think a shirt clip will greatly help distribute the cable weight evenly to avoid microphonics.
-A cable winder would be a great treat (my nitpick).

KBEAR Neon Review!

Good day! After 4 days of casual and critical listening, here’s my written review for the KBear Neon. Almost Etymotic!

  • KeepHiFi sent over this unit to me in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Rest assured that the following observations and findings will be away from bias/es as much as possible. (Non-affiliated product link here! Click me!)
  • The following remarks and observations shall be made and owned only by me.
  • No monetary compensation is/was involved before, during, and after the period of creation of this review.
  • Your mileage may (and always, will) vary.

Burn-in time: 5-10 hours per day, 4 days.

Source/s used:

  • Hidizs AP80
  • Not-By-VE Avani Realtek Dongle
  • Zishan U1 USB DAC (AKM Variant)
  • Cyberdrive Feather DAC
  • Non-HiFi smartphone (realme 5i, Samsung Galaxy On7)
  • Local Files via Foobar and Roon, YouTube Music, Deezer, and Qobuz with UAPP.

IEM and configuration: Stock silicone small eartips, stock cable, any form of EQ or MSEB off, 40-60% volume, both high and low gain.

Sound signature:
  • Almost flat. In safer terms, it is neutral-midcentric sounding IEMs. Linear lows presentation, forward mids, and less forward highs when compared to the mids. Easy to be driven properly but scales well with a fairly powerful source (ex. Dongles, DAPs).

  • Lows are present but far from being a basshead. It is linear as both sub-bass and midbass are at equal levels. Decay leans to the faster side of the spectrum and is very controlled, thumpy, and tight. As a result, the KB Ear Neon is not meant to be enjoyed in very bass-heavy tracks and genres, as it will be lacking a sub-bass rumble and depth like its other sibling/s such as the KS1 and KS2 but the Neon, excels well in control and decay when compared. It is still enjoyable on EDM tracks but it isn’t its forte.
  • The mids on the Neon are forward in general, unlike most IEMs that exist within the 60USD or under price range. There are no instances of midbass bleed perceived here in this region and yet the lower mids still managed to sound accurately thick, smooth, and detailed. They do not sound distant or thin on most tracks. Upper mids are nearly the same as the lower mids in terms of the level of forwardness, but experience a bit of veil on some tracks especially when underpowered. That experience reminds me of my experience with the TRI Meteor which I have reviewed before when I did not pair it properly within my first hour with it. Instances of sibilance and peaks are not present during my testing period and is a good sign for those people that do not want any harshness to their listening experience.
  • The treble is also linear to my liking with slightly below average extension. It isn’t rolled off in my experience by any means, but it will be lacking for those people who want that additional presence to the sound. As a result, cymbals may lack that “splash” and “attack” but avoided any pierce or harshness nicely. Detail retrieval is also decent and can present nuances fairly easily.
Soundstage, Imaging, and separation:
  • The soundstage is average in terms of expansion. The Neon is quite immersive as well, maybe due to its deep insertion requirement. It can sound wide by making the fit shallow instead of inserting it deep into your ear canal but it will affect the depth, not immersive, and can make the mids pushed back a little bit. Separation is also average with some little congestion on very busy tracks. Imaging is above average and presents vocal and instrument positions with precision.

  • Fatigue-free sound
  • Midcentric sound signature that is quite rare within and under 60USD.
  • Non-fatiguing upper frequencies.
  • Controlled, thumpy lows.
  • Does not suffer from any “BA Timbre” despite sporting a 1BA Driver.
  • No presence of midbass bleed.
  • Quite an immersive listening experience.
  • Easy to be driven but benefits and scales when paired with a decent source.
  • Does not sound thin which is good considering that most 1BA IEMs I know suffer from thinness.
  • Very good isolation when fitted properly.

  • Fit will vary from person to person since it is a bullet type that requires deep insertion to sound good.
  • Lack of sub-bass may be experienced on bassy tracks.
  • Slight veil on the upper mids is present especially when underpowered.
  • Treble might be lacking for those people who want more extended than usual treble response.
  • Slight congestion is present on very busy tracks.
  • I did not have any problems with the fit and cable, but I think a shirt clip will greatly help distribute the cable weight evenly to avoid microphonics.
  • A cable winder would be a great treat (my nitpick).

The KB Ear Neon is most likely inspired by the Etymotic Extended Response (ER) line of IEMs not only in the form factor but also in the sound. It isn’t quite like the Etymotic’s DF-Neutral signature sound by any means, but it is almost as uncolored as how Etymotic IEMs sound. The KB Ear Neon altered things a bit by making the vocals forward and the bass tight, thumpy, and controlled to cater most tracks and even podcasts in your playlist without sounding too “boring” or “technical”. The Neon will be a great delight and will be my recommendation for people who like bullet-type IEMs, wants a “neutral” or “midcentric” sound signature, and do not have any problem with deep insertion in terms of fit and isolation.

Pairing recommendation/s:
  • Fairly powerful Warm/neutral sources such as DAPs and DACs
  • Start with soft and small eartips and make your way there.
  • The cable is already good in terms of weight and durability, but using a shirt clip with it can help reduce microphonics.

Thank you for reading!

Additional Photos:



Headphoneus Supremus
Looks goodm sounds very good.
Pros: Excellent balance and details.
One of the best Mid range under $200.
Clean and cohesive sound.
One of the most supple and comfortable cable.
Excellent fit and set of accessories.
Cons: Not for those looking for fun sound signature.
Lacks treble extension.

KBear is a well known IEM maker, this chi-fi brand has a whole lot of IEMs in the budget region. KBear too has a couple of IEMs priced over $100 but they make some of the most capable entry level IEMs. Most of these IEMs are hybrids which always pair a DD with some BA drivers but what I have here is not something KBear usually makes. Neon is an excellent looking IEM, its straight barrel design resembles the more premium Etymotic ER series IEMs but this is different. Housing a single BA driver it steps away from the bassy and boomy shadows of the Hybrid drivers, bringing better accuracy and precision to the table. Available in a variety of colors it is priced at just $50 and should appeal to the accuracy loving bunch.

I would like to thank Mei from Keep Hi-Fi for this review unit.

Get one for yourself from here:



Unlike their cheaper IEMs this gets a more premium unboxing experience. The Neon has a grander looking package with a bit more premium presentation. It ships with a very good looking cable, a spacious case and 6 pair of tips.


Neon has a straight barrel shell made out of resin and is very strong and more durable than other expensive acrylic based IEMs. It will survive falls like a champ and will not even complain about it. This is a fairly comfortable IEM but stability is not very good when worn cable down. But when worn cable up the cable takes up the weight and stabilizes it. I find the cable to be excellent too. Its supple and barely has any microphonics to worry about. This is a silver plated copper cable. Neon has a QDC type socket but I don't think this cable will fit the QDC IEMs.




Neon does not need a lot of power to sound good but, but it has a few problems with weaker sources. This $50 IEM with just 14ohm impedance at 1KHZ does not tell the whole truth. Neon needs a good amount of power to sound at its best.

With my Redmi Note 10 Pro it sounds good, clean and clear with good separation and layering but the stage is smaller and notes have some finishing jitter, it sounds a bit agitated too. But when driven out of the Burson Playmate things improve a lot. The stage is much bigger now with better air between instruments and some micro details are clearer. Don't worry if you do not have a lot of power at your disposal, a good dongle will do.

Is it reasonable to invest in a dongle instead of buying a more slightly more expensive IEM? Let's find out.




Housing a single BA driver makes things uncomplicated. It has nothing else but details and accuracy in its heart and mind. Unlike other single BA based IEM like Campfire Satsuma and Akoustyx R110, Neon has a more balanced sound. It barely has any flavoring keeping the tonality and timber much closer to natural.


Neon does not favor the lower end much while delivering a aptly fuller lower end. The sub bass extension is not as good as $200 IEMs but is very good for a $50 IEM. The mid bass has more volume and fuller notes but it just does not have a lot of weight or energy giving it more accuracy and precision. On the down side, the upper bass is a bit more prominent and can give it a drier and less juicy feel. The decay speed is on the faster side, it does not wait for the notes to gain weight but that give it the precision leading to a cleaner and better defined notes. People are critical about the texture and layered feeling of BA based IEMs, don't expect an evolved layering but it does not lack texture.


Neon slightly struggles with the lower end but the mid range is one of the best under $200 for any type of IEM. It just simply does not miss a single note while keeping things calm and clear of any sharpness. This is something really impressive. Both vocals and instruments have excellent transparency. Let it be Dotan or Halsey, they all sound pleasing with impressive texture and definition.

What's surprising is that, when driven out of a good source this IEM has no anomalies with emphasis and note formes. Expensive IEMs like Kinera Norn and even Thieaudio Monarch struggle with this type of consistency. If you like a bit of attack this IEM will provide that but it does not get anywhere close to aggressive. It does not have a lot of definition with fast paced songs like "Halsey - Easier than lying" and that's where this IEM is brought down to its suggested price. It has a well defined upper mids and the extra energy results into more transparent and cleaner notes without pushing the boundaries of comfort.


This is where this single BA based entry level IEM gives starts to struggle. The lower treble region has the energy of the upper mids delivering very good instrumental clarity. The mid treble region maintains average sparkle and energy as it starts to drop energy. Till this points Neon has good details and clarity. It does struggle with air and $200 level separation. Things get worse from here on. It barely maintains any relevance, restricting its extension.

Am I disappointed? Not at all, this lack of energy gives it a friendlier feeling. Those who do not want to have the sharpness with their music will enjoy it a lot.


The Neon is not huge with stage. It's just above average and that alright. I was not expecting a lot from it and it doesn't disappoint. Both lower and treble regions take smaller volume while the mid, especially the vocals enjoy the lion's share. It has very good sonicality and is capable of delicate cue placements.


VS Akoustyx R110:

This is the last single BA based IEM I reviewed and it was very good and had a similar sound signature to the Neon. R110 has a more voluminous lower end with slightly slower decay with better sub-bass extension and more gradually fuller mid bass. Its mid range has similar satisfaction and has taller notes. It does not have the extra bit of energy in the lower treble and upper mid region but has slightly more extended treble. Both IEMs have good layering and separation but the R110 does better. Stage size is where the R110 and Neon differ the most. R110 has a 40% bigger stage as its taller and has better depth in the Z-axis. I know this is an unfair comparison but I don't see many BA based IEMs under $100.

VS Campfire Satsuma:

Satsuma is a more fun and engaging IEM. It has the extra bit of pleasing presentation leading to extra cohesion which the Neon does not have. Satsuma brings a lot of lower end grunt, more than the R110. It has the meatier and fuller feel with the punch which the Neon does not have. Mid range is slightly smoother on the Satsuma but has the extra bit of details and resolution too. The biggest difference here is the distinction of fore and background instruments. Satsuma has it cleaner. Treble of both the IEMs are weak but Satsuma still has a hint of sparkle but can that justify the price difference? Nope. It can't. Satsuma has a bigger stage too, nearly 60% bigger as it has better expansion in all the directions.



This is not the best IEM under $150. It does not compete with IEMs like Akoustyx R110 either but guess what, this has some mid range traits that can make IEMs priced more than $500 red with envy. It does not push for higher transparency in the treble region but focuses on mid range squeezing out some of the most enjoyable vocals and instruments under $100.

If you want mid range, if you want an IEM that focuses on vocals, KBear Neon is the only IEM you need.


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Ace Bee
Ace Bee
Congratulations on front page feature!


100+ Head-Fier
The Misunderstood Diamond in The Rough
Pros: Female Vocals, Neutrality and Isolation
Cons: Fit, Gear Picky, Sub Bass
My first impression of this IEM was that it was thin sounding with no bass or treble sparkle. It’s fair to say I hated them. However, the issue wasn’t the IEM, but the gear I had been using the IEM with.

The sensitivity of this IEM is actually a lot lower than you’d think, and I need to increase the volume a good ~8db more than other IEM’S I own. That is to say, I find these IEM’s need headphone levels of power to truly shine.

This problem is compounded with that fact that this is a pure BA IEM and many BA IEM’s can sound shouty or fatiguing depending on the gear you pair it with.

Test gear that synergized well with the IEM was a THX 789 with volume maxed on low gain and a Dragonfly Red to act as the DAC and volume control with a Mac Mini. I own higher end amps, but the THX 789 has a magic with BA IEM’s and just synergizes better with this particular IEM. The Dragonfly RED was the only DAC with volume controls I have at the moment which the THX needs to sound its best.

With the above gear, this shouty and thin sounding IEM transformed in to a fuller bodied and more neutral sounding one with a emphasis on the upper mids.

This is a mid-centric IEM akin to the HD600 series. Treble doesn’t sparkle at all and there is little to no sub bass, but the mids really shine. I have a drawer full of dozens IEM’s in which many cost many times these do, but if I was looking for a female vocal emphasis and a generally neutral sound, I would reach for these. Faye Wong’s Eyes on Me sound pretty good on the Neon.

These IEM’s do come with a few caveats.

1) The fit is pretty bad. And they need deep, deep insertion. On the plus side, isolation is pretty good.

2) The lack of sub bass and treble means these IEM’s are not for synth or rock genres of music.

3) Sadly, they don’t sound very good out of a phone, laptop or video game console.

With that out of the way, if you can get past the gear requirements female vocals in mostly acoustic music sound really, really good. The Neons are much more detailed than is should be for the price. Isolation is also very good and perfect for work while stationary.

These are hard to recommend to a casual buyer, but if you’re a true head-fier with mountains of gear and a collection of IEM’s, these are a nice one to add to the list.
Last edited:
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Previously known as Ultrazino
Member of the Trade: HEDD Audio
Pros: This is a good IEM for Chi-Fi fans who value accurate sound.
Cons: From a consumer perspective, I find the comfort a bit lacking. The sound could do with more dynamics.
The KB Ear Neon is a single-BA budget IEM designed for audiophiles. Though the company’s official name is KBEAR, I pronounce it as “K.B. Ear” in my head and I think that’s how it’s supposed to be spelled out. This review is a slight step outside my comfort zone. KB Ear is not a new company at all. In fact, they are very well received in the “Chi-Fi” category and known for high sound quality considering the price. The new Neon will not changing anything about it. For just around $50 the Neon only has a single full-range BA per side.

Personally, I’ve been treating my ears to high-end gear for a while now. Can this budget offering win me over?


Get the KB Ear Neon from the Official AliExpress Store


To be fair, at $50 we are not expecting Campfire-grade build quality. But then again, there are also excellently designed IEM at this price, for example the Final E2000. KBEAR tries to impress with a replaceable and transparent hi-fi cable. But the design is not thought through to the end.

20210608-_KE80017.jpg20210608-_KE80020 2.jpg

Build Quality​

The Neon features a bullet-shaped shell made from hardened resin. The resin is not fully opaque and allows you to take a look at the Knowles 29689 BA-driver inside. At the moment, the Neon is available in 3 different version that are only different by color. Featured here is the black color. Next to purple, there is a red & blue variant that makes it easier to visually separate the left and right channels. That is an interesting choice because the cable is replaceable. That means you could easily exchange left and right ear pieces as the stereo channel is decided by the cable only. Yet even the black shells have a small colored dot indicating left or right. The channel separation is already very obvious due to the cable’s asymmetrical shape.

The nozzle is made of metal and where it connects to the main body, there are no uneven gaps. Curiously, the brand name is basically hidden on the underside of the IEM with just a tiny space for the laser-engraving on a metal ring. The nozzle has a mesh grill preventing dirt falling inside.


For one, KBEAR’s cable is excellent. However, I think it is a bad choice for the Neon in particular. I don’t know if KB Ear actually manufacturers the cable or has it supplied by an OEM partner. Anyway, the silver-transparent cable impresses with high flexibility and low memory. This one isn’t easy to accidentally tangle up. There are also no issues with crosstalk or bad shielding. Technically, I’m quite impressed by the cable considering the low price of the complete package.


However, the choice for qdc-style 2-Pin connection is very awkward. The bullet design of the Neon has a tiny shell. It would hide so well in the ear. But the cable connection is almost as big as the IEM itself and it makes the IEM stick out so far that I cannot even place the cable over my ears. The cable’s softness helps to prevent microphonic noise, but it would have been far superior if vibrations were cancelled by contact of the outer ear. This was a very bad design choice, because ultimately I can only wear the Neon with the cable down. Yet the connection isn’t even rectangular but protrudes even further. Why… KBEAR, why?


The KBEAR Neon is tiny! It’s such a small IEM that it would have the potential to be among the most comfortable designs yet, next to the Final E- and F-series. But the cable ruined it completely. There is no grip, no ear hook and no way you could lay on the side wearing these IEM. In my opinion, this is a flawed design. A fixed cable that goes off to the side would have been much more elegant.

On top of that, some users might experience ear pressure. The IEM is fully sealed and has no solution to release pressure. Compared to multi-BA designs, the single BA of the Neon sits even closer to the ear drum. This means that if you insert it deeply, overpressure might cancel the sound completely! I could consistently reproduce the issue. This is something that is worth mentioning! I am sure KBEAR has received some complaints about defective units (“no sound”) of which users were just inexperienced and didn’t realize thy had to release pressure by fiddling around with the IEM.

The included ear tips are very average. The provided sizes should be sufficient for most users. Average sized ears also get the bonus of a single pair of foam tips. Be sure to clean your ears thoroughly, first! The light grey foam will take on the color of your ear wax very quickly.

Even with the fully closed housing, the isolation is merely average. This might be due to the transitions between the separate parts or that the resin is rather thin. If you were considering to use these as monitoring IEM on-stage, I hopefully made it clear that you should consider alternatives. For casual listening, the issues above have less impact.



The separation is much better than most dynamic drivers at the price.
The KB Ear Neon is an IEM that’s very easy to listen to. It features a very balanced frequency response with good transitions. Overall, the Neon sounds fairly realistic without the “shout” that many neutral IEM often have. While there is great stereo width, unfortunately, the depth placement is lost for the most part resulting in a flat soundstage. For monitoring, the imaging (instrument placing) is still good enough, but you probably do not want to rely on the Neon for professional work. Ultimately, there are unsurprising limitations in regards to resolution when compared to pricier IEM. But considering the highly competitive price, this is a very good IEM designed for price-sensitive audiophiles foremost.


There is no doubt that there was great care taken into the tuning of the KB Ear Neon. The bass is fairly flat with a slight tendency towards upper bass. Midrange frequencies are exemplary neutral. Up on top, the treble response is pretty much what you’d expect from a single BA with expected downfalls in regards to extension and a pronounced resonance.



Let’s get this out real quick: If you’re a bass head, the KB Ear Neon isn’t for you. This is mostly due to the lack of rumble. At the very low-end, the Neon fails to create pressure and has heavily limited headroom. However, I do not consider this an issue at all. I hear a light-weight sound that seems agile and provides a relatively good punch. On top of that, there is decent texture. These are the terms you want to tick when designing an audiophile IEM. In this regard, KB Ear succeeded.


The tuning of Neon’s midrange is exemplary, but the single driver still struggles to reproduce a realistic soundscape. Unfortunately, the dimensionality of the stereo image is lost and the presentation is very flat and dry. The timbre is great, but voices won’t really come to life as the Neon struggles to separate multiple layers on the audio track. The limitations are absolutely acceptable considering the price, and the separation is much better than most dynamic drivers at the price.


There is an old prejudice towards balanced armature receivers that they fail at full-range reproduction. Now the Neon will not tackle that preconception. In the contrary, Neon’s treble noticeably lacks air. Apart from the limitations due to frequency extension, KB Ear did well, though. There is good definition but no sibilance. The Neon is still a very closed-in sounding IEM, but considering the challenges, I wouldn’t feel comfortable criticizing the result.



This is a very good IEM designed for price-sensitive audiophiles foremost.
If you put sound quality first, the KB Ear Neon has an incredible proposition at the price. The tuning is excellent considering the limitations of a single BA, and the detail retrieval outperforms similarly priced dynamic drivers. In regards to the build quality and product design, this is still very much a Chi-Fi product. The cable connection is the most puzzling aspect, in my opinion. Nonetheless, if you want to get a natural or neutral sounding IEM for only $50, definitely consider the KBEAR Neon.

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500+ Head-Fier
KBEAR Neon Review - An "ok" Etymotic wannabe
Pros: – Neutral-to-bright signature with fast bass, good soundstage and imaging and nice male vocals
– Easy to drive
– Unique design in their price range
– Great isolation with the right tips
– Superb stock cable
Cons: – Female voices don’t sound as good as male ones
– Practically no sub-bass
– Cable weight can be annoying


Some time ago KBEAR posted a photo of a highway during night, showing car lights’ trails (timelapse photo).
I have posted a comment under their image saying “Kbear Neon, feels like a great name :D”, and they have answered “Haha, really?”.
Then, one month later KBEAR tagged our instagram page saying “thanks for your name idea are coincidentally same with our design team”.
I felt really honored to advise a nickname for the new IEMs from KBEAR and I felt even more grateful to be able to try them at their release.
For the ones that do not know about the older KBEAR F1, it was the first attempt from KBEAR to make a single BA IEM, and it was (honestly) a very creative idea, resulting in a mediocre timbre and tonality (which was not good for all genres) but with an interesting sound approach. The Neon are their second attempt to fill the single BA market gap, so let’s hope this time things have taken a clearer direction.
At the moment, I have been listening to music with the Neon for almost 70-80 hours continuously and I think it’s time to write something down.

Disclaimer: the KBEAR Neon were sent by KBEAR for free in order to write a honest review.
At the time of the review, the KBEAR Neon were
sold for about €42 on the KBEAR Official Aliexpress Store

You can buy the KBEAR Neon from the Official KBEAR Store on Aliexpress HERE!

For more reviews, visit!


Technical Specifications​

  • Configuration → 1 x BA (Knowles 29689)
  • Sensitivity → 105 dB
  • Impedance → 14 Ohm
  • Frequency Response → 20 Hz – 20000 Hz
  • Cable → 1,2m – 4 Cores 4N detachable silver plated cable with 0.78mm PINs, no microphone
  • Connector type → straight gold plated 3.5mm jack connector


The packaging is pretty cool as you can see from the photos: its design is pretty unique. It contains:
  • The KBEAR Neon
  • The detachable cable
  • A set of 3 tips
  • A hard carry case
  • Instructions

Design and Build Quality​

The design is pretty unique: their cylindric housing is lightweight and pleasantly colorful while keeping a pretty high level of refinement.
The cable is meant to be connected horizontally and the overall design is notably inspired by Etymotic products (although the design and color combination is pretty different), a choice that can be a hit or miss.
The silver nozzle has a visible lip to prevent tips from falling off and there isn’t any pressure vent.



The 4N 4-cores silver plated cable included with the KBEAR Neon is probably the best stock cable you can find in this price range. It feels premium in the hands, it’s not prone to tangle and has a chin slider.
Could not ask for a better stock cable, especially for the price.


Comfort and Isolation​

Even though the design is inspired by Etymotic earphones, the fit is a bit different.
The housings are thicker than the more popular Etymotic IEMs and cable weight is different. They are comfortable with no doubts, but the cable weighs a bit more than expected so they fell off my ears in some occasions; I think the choice of including a good cable with the Neon is great, while on other side I think it should have been a tad more lightweight.
The included tips are ok, although I have preferred switching to the final E-tips for my daily use as the stock ones weren’t as comfortable.
Isolation is very good once the right tips have been found.


How do these sound?
This is the real reason you’re reading this review (I guess).
[Personal preference: I listen to almost every genre, even though my main preference goes to EDM subgenres. I always like a bit more energy on the bass and on the highs, leading to a personal preference for Y-shaped sound signatures, but if I have to choose, I’d prefer having many different IEMs with various signatures, in order to choose a particular one of them when I want to listen to a specific genre. I love switching between my IEMs so it’s even better if they’re very different from each others.]

  • DAC: Topping E30
  • AMP: Topping L30
  • Mobile phones: Poco F2 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
  • Portable DAPs: Benjie S8/AGPTEK M30B
  • Other sources: Presonus AudioBox iONE
Do they need an amp?
No, they don’t need an amp. They play well when driven from a smartphone with no issues. There are small improvements if amplified but it’s not strictly needed.
Sound signature
BL-Mini’s signature resembles a neutral signature with a light/neutral lower end and some brightness on top.

Lows: starting from the low-end, there’s no presence in the sub-bass region, so people like me that usually listen to EDM, drum and bass, dubstep and similar genres will miss some rumble in most of the tracks.
On the other hand, bass is tight, fast and well textured, so where you lose something, you gain something else and this really depends on which genres you usually listen to.
Mids: the midrange is forward with nice resolution, instruments are positioned in the space in the right way and with the right body, although the stage depth sometimes compromise their naturalness. Male vocals have good depth and timbre although I miss some warmth that is usually given by a slower and fatter bass, but they sound much better than expected. Female voices, on the other hand are not as good, with less presence and energy; the upper-midrange does not feel completely muted but female voices are somehow less forward and exciting than male vocals. Considering that these are promoted as good earphones for vocals, female vocals left me a bit disappointed whereas male ones were more surprising despite the light bass response.
Highs: the highs have some sparkle but they’re not excessively sharp, but I understand someone will find them annoying for long listening sessions as they’re emphasized and have some sparkle. Details are good even though the Neon are not revealing monsters. There’s a lot of air to the signature and this also improves the overall performance creating more space between instruments.
The soundstage is pretty wide with good depth and average height, imaging is precise and instrument separation is generally good, even though very complex tracks can highlight the limits of the Neon. The overall performance is good for the price but there’s still a bit of work to do to make them more natural in the whole spectrum.

Some comparisons:

One of the shortest comparisons ever.
The Neon just sound so much better in every aspect: more textured low-end, better male vocals and instrument resolution, more details and less fatiguing sound with more coherence and better timbre.
The Neon also have a better stock cable.
Overall, this is a REAL upgrade from the old F1, it’s like a day and night improvement.

KBEAR Neon vs Hifiman RE-400
Two different earphones from two different brands that share the same objective: offering cheap earphones with neutral-to-bright signatures.
The RE400 are a big classic that still retain its crown: the timbre and tonal accuracy are better than the Neon, with a more natural midrange and better vocal reproduction. Bass is fuller on the RE400, while the Neon is capable of revealing more textures in the lower-end. Male vocals sound deeper and clearer on the Neon whereas they’re more linear on the RE400. Midrange resolution is better on the Neon but the RE400 have a more natural timbre, and female vocals are resolved better on the RE400 with more energy and intimacy. The Neon have a more emphasized treble, which is much more detailed and open; they also have a wider and depper stage with superior imaging.
RE400’s cable is horrible, I have always said that, so the Neon gets an easy win in this department, and so happens when it comes to build quality. Comfort is better on the RE400.

Final Thoughts​

The KBEAR Neon are the proof that many Chi-Fi brands like experimenting new things trying to make some signatures and IEMs accessible for everyone, and this is a good thing for us all.
I like them overall, they’re competent, fast and comfortable (at least to me), and even though they still need some tuning refinements to sound even better, they’re an interesting pair of IEMs aimed to those who already have experience in the Chi-fi world and search for a cheap close-to-neutral set.
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500+ Head-Fier
A Lack of Color
Pros: Fit, comfort, stock cable
– Natural vocal representation (both male/female)
– Well defined snare-hits
– Mostly inoffensive, neutral tuning
Cons: Stock tips are bad
– Lack of sub-bass rumble
– Narrow stage, 2 dimensional imaging
– Blunted transients, not the most resolving IEM
– Emphasis ~8KHz might be noticeable on some tracks


KBEar released the Neon outta nowhere, and at first glance I assumed the existence of a Knowles BA driver at this price-point (where most IEMs are using Bellsing BA drivers) was supposed to be the sole Unique Selling Point.

To my complete surprise, the KBEar Neon had another trick up its sleeve and a darn good one – its tuning. I never thought KBEar would come up with something that goes for neutrality to the degree that the Neon has gone, and it’s quite fascinating indeed.

This review originally appeared on Audioreviews.
Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. KeepHiFi was kind enough to send me the KBEar Neon for review.

Sources used: Questyle CMA-400i, Hidizs AP80Pro
Price, while reviewed: $50. Can be bought from KeepHiFi



The packaging is typical for the price-range, no surprises there (check the Photography section if you’re interested in the looks of the package). As for the accessories: love the cable, like the carrying case, hate the tips. The cable is really nice: supple, doesn’t tangle, has a tight braid, and rather noise-free. It’s a 4N SPC cable, so I expect it to get yellow over time with usage (lower purity).

I’d recommend a tip-change, however, esp a small sized one (more on this in the sound section).


The IEM has a bullet-type shell, not unlike those Final E/F-series IEMs. The IEM shells are made of UV-cured resin and are supposedly tougher than typical ABS shells. The translucent shells give a view of the driver which is nice. The front cap, however, is metal, and houses the dampening filter (from what I gathered). The back of the housing has raised 2-pin connectors and fits the stock cable really well (third-party cables might not fit as snugly). Pretty nice build overall.



Bullet style shells are generally very comfortable for me, but I’ve met a few people who find them intrusive so if you’re one of them, try these before buying. Also, these IEMs require a deep fit and the shell size isn’t really ideal for that. It’s a bit too thick in terms of shell diameter, even thicker than the Final E5000. Fortunately with small tips things worked out well for me. Isolation was pretty good as well.


I’ve mostly used the Questyle CMA-400i since I’ve been at desk for most of the last week (home office etc.). However, they were driven really well by the Hidizs AP80 Pro ($150, review coming soon) so with an entry-level DAP you’re good to go. They don’t need much power to drive (14ohms, 105dB/mW @ 1KHz) but is sensitive to output impedance changes (and also changes the FR if you put an extra resistor in the line). For eartips: I used the ePro horn tips (small size) to facilitate deep fit.


The KBEar Neon uses a single, unvented BA driver (Knowles ED-29689). KBEar didn’t mention if they’re using a Knowles damper but I’d guess they are using some form of damping in front of the driver nozzle (based on how it sounds).


The following listening impressions are made on the following setup: stock cable + ePro horn tips + Hidizs AP80Pro.


The general sound signature of the KBEar Neon can be termed as “neutral”. The bass is almost flat and lacks the rumble around the sub-bass region in typical BA fashion. However, due to the mid-bass being almost in-line with the lower mids, there is no sterility or thinness in the midrange representation. Similarly, the pinna gain (~3KHz) is not too heavy handed with just ~6dB of extra boost vs the lower-mids. This results in up-front male and female vocals with none having the shouty/thin characteristics. Vocals are one of the best aspect of the KBEar Neon, after all.

Treble meanwhile rolls off after 9KHz and doesn’t really allow for a lot of sparkle. KBEar did add a bit of a boost ~8KHz to bring back some clarity. This works on most tracks but in some poorly mastered tracks the 8KHz peak was a bit more noticeable. However, despite the flat tuning (which is similar to DF-neutral apart from the upper-mids being more pulled back), there are some issues with the transition from upper-mids to treble.

I feel like the slope from the 3KHz to 7KHz region is a bit too steep. As a result, there is a distinct lack of clarity in this region. Many go for neutral tuning hoping for more clarity around this region and KBEar Neon won’t cater well to those needs. Transients are somewhat blunted too (likely due to heavy damping in front of the driver), making the KBEar Neon more on the smooth, rounded side rather than a resolution-monster. Moreover, the 8KHz peak has more of a contrast with its preceding frequencies as a result, resulting in some added grain in treble.

Soundstage, in typical deep-inserting IEM fashion, was mostly focused on the width rather than depth/height. Placements of instruments are mostly on a flat plane, so you don’t get the so-called “holographic imaging”. Dynamics are not much to write home about as this is a single-BA IEM and is mostly constrained by the nature of the driver (and also some tuning decisions). Separation was good on slower, less busy tracks, but tracks with a lot of instruments tended to blur some of the instruments (e.g. Tool’s Chocolate Chip Trip). Timbre had a sense of BA-artificiality to it.

All in all, the KBEar Neon acts as a showcase of KBEar’s version of neutrality. I like it for the most part but I do think the lower-treble region can be lifted by a couple dB or so for better clarity. Other than that: solid tuning, mostly enjoyable neutral sound signature.

Bass: 3.5/5
Mids: 4.5/5
Treble: 3/5
Imaging/Separation: 3/5
Staging: 3/5
Dynamics/Speed: 3.5/5


Measurements done on an IEC-711 compliant coupler. 8KHz peak is exacerbated by coupler resonance but there is some noticeable emphasis around that region. Deeper fit shifts the peak a bit further.



vs Etymotic ER2XR ($100): The Etymotic ER2XR is priced (usually) 2x the price of the Neon. However, at times they’re on sale for $60 (though mostly US only). Nonetheless, at the time of writing, the price is $100, so the comparison will be made on that basis.

Build quality is good on both. The cable on the ER2XR is worse in terms of haptics. The other issue with the ER2XR (a big issue) is its fit. I can’t use it for more than 20 mins as it causes pain to my ears. I am not down with torturing myself for a pair of IEMs so exercising caution is advised.

The sub-bass is boosted on the ER2XR vs the KBEar Neon. The mid-bass is more fleshed out on the KBEar Neon, however. I personally prefer the texture and rumble of the ER2XR bass, but I really like how KBEar tuned their mid and upper-bass regions. Snare hits are really well portrayed as a result.

The midrange has more clarity on the ER2XR due to the reduced mid-bass. It does make the lower-mids sound somewhat lean. Female vocals get more focus as a result. Treble has better clarity and extension on the ER2XR. Soundstage is about same on both, imaging slightly better on the KBEar Neon.

I’d probably pick the KBEar Neon myself as I can actually use it without feeling the pain of wearing Etymotic IEMs. If you can withstand Etymotic fit (or crave it even) the ER2XR is the more resolving pair with better timbre.


If budget is a concern and you don’t wanna deal with the Etymotic fit, KBEar Neon is one of the few options in this price range if you’re after neutrality. The name, Neon, refers to the inert gas and signifies this tuning decision rather aptly. However, I do think the treble tuning needs to be re-thought for their next “neutral reference” IEM (perhaps the Helium?) and trying other driver/housing types might be a good idea too.

For now, I can recommend the KBEar Neon to those who want a neutral signature that doesn’t sound lean or dry in the midrange.

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New Head-Fier
KB Ear Neon - Colour The Uncoloured
Pros: Build
Cable Haptics
Cons: Veil
Cable Connector



In the chase towards the ‘flattest-sounding’ IEM, there has been a lot of manufacturers and brand names that showed off their tuning expertise to be offered to the mass market. Most of them have a different approach to deliver somewhat close to the Diffuse Field Neutral sound signature. Yes, it is not a Harman’s target and it is less appealing for the general consumer but rather a niche tuning catered to a very specific crowd. But a target curve is just a target curve. The whole listening experience is also weighted by other factors.

KB Ear really did their homework with the Neon and it was a really interesting feat having them compared side by side to some more pricier, similarly tuned and similarly configured IEMs. It will definitely appeal to a specific group of audiophile but will also provide a new listening experience for the more adventurous ones. This review unit was provided by KB Ear.


Packaging is fairly simple. The black sleeve with the neon-colored wording really pops out and actually gives me some sort of a neon-light-district vibes. The IEM itself is packed neatly inside, nestled securely in foams. Supplied along with the Neon are 3 sets of silicon eartips, a set of foam eartips and a nicely made carry case. It’s a fairly simple packaging here but the presentation is different from what I was accustomed to.

The shell is made of resin with an aluminium nozzle and while the color choices might be questionable, it really does reflect its name. The overall design itself suggests that it should perform at its best with a deep fit. And I mean a very deep fit somewhere similar to that of the Etymōtic’s deep. The cable supplied with the Neon is one of the best stock cable that I have experienced so far. The behaviour and feel of the cable just speaks for itself = quality. It is also worth noting that the connector is uniquely marked with a bulge which makes it easier to differentiate the left and right IEM (the bulge should be pointed forward when in use).

The only caveat I had with the Neon is the cable connection. It is secure enough until you are used to using them deep inside your ears. Once, the entire Neon was left inside my left ear while trying to pull them out. Yes the whole IEM, not just the eartips. LOL! Most probably it was me not being extra careful but the connections really should been more secure considering the design approach.


Functions & Specifications

  • Material: Resin Shell with Aluminium Nozzle
  • Transducer Type: 1x Balanced Armature (Knowles ED29689
  • Sensitivity: 105dB/Vrms @ 1kHz
  • Impedance: 14ohms @ 1kHz
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz

What’s In The Box

  • KBEar Neon
  • Silicon Eartips (S, M, L) x1
  • Foam Eartip (M) x1
  • Carry Case

Sound & Tonality

Despite the fun sounding name and interesting shell colour choices, the Neon carries a neutral sound signature (which is an uncoloured sound). Accompanied with an arguably BA-natural tonality, they’re leaning close to the Diffuse Field Neutral but somehow manages to maintain the balance between being too analytical and too fun, which is a very wise decision.

Source Used

Xduoo X2S > Xduoo XQ-10 > KBEar Neon
Foobar2k > IFI micro iDSD Black Label > KBEar Neon


The Neon does extend into the sub-bass region but they are by no means rumbly or elevated. It’s just there. Mid-bass is neutral but is also somewhat ‘thumpy’. Yes, ‘thumpy’ in a way that it tries to provide some sense of energy on the lower end to avoid from sounding too anaemic (they’ll still sound anaemic if you’re used to more fun signature, YMMV). Upper-bass however is clean but somewhat blunted in speed. The bass on the Neon is not the most detailed despite sounding clean and textured but it is at least typical of a Diffuse Field Neutral tuned IEM.


The transition from the upper-bass to the lower-mids is good and as expected from a single BA driver, there’s no audible bass bleed here, obviously. The mids is forward but somehow they sound veiled. Don’t get me wrong, the detail retrieval is OK but there’s some kind of muffle which retracts the full potential of the Knowles ED29689. But on the plus side, that slight veil avoids the mids from sounding hollow. Upper-mids is tastefully done to be engaging enough without being thin and far from being shouty.


Lower-treble is clear and almost…almost crunchy sounding. It somehow lacks the energy to proper complement the upper-mids. Treble is fairly detailed, controlled and peakiness is a non-existent which renders the Neon suitable for longer listening sessions. The brilliance on the upper-treble is good but they’re rolled off quite a bit early, resulting in a less airy presentation. Nonetheless, the treble is inoffensive and will suit most people who prefer the characteristics of a neutral, somewhat accurate ‘reference-tuned’ IEM.


The Neon do sound a bit closed in. They are slightly wider than deep but lacking in height. If the stage is slightly taller, it would render the Neon to be almost holographic sounding (with constraint from the stage depth). Still, a good soundstage presentation nonetheless considering the asking price and the limits of a single BA driver that’s being used.

Imaging & Separation

On to some more technicalities, the Neon paints the spatial cues in a well defined and precise image despite the small-ish soundstage. Separation however is not rendered as beautifully as the imaging itself. It can get rather congested, which also affects the layering to be somewhat more 2-dimensional. While these two should come hand in hand, it may be due to the veil that took its toll on the separation as opposed to the size of the soundstage.


The Neon is relatively easy to drive and its behaviour is pretty much similar to one of the more highly regarded IEM…more on that in the comparison section. Truth be told, they don’t quite scale very well with more power being fed. There are slight improvement but rather insignificant.


Similar to most neutral-sounding IEMs, they’re source sensitive and are very fond of warm sources. Reason being is that warm sources will balance out all the uncoloured part of the sound spectrum to be more pleasing, immersive and fun to listen to.


*disclaimer: comparison is made based within the niche area of “neutrally-tuned” IEM, and not based on the general consensus.

FiiO FA1

The FA1 is FiiO’s take on the single-BA IEM market which utilizes a Knowles ED33357 accompanied with a more ergonomically designed shell. The sound signature is balanced-neutral and can at least be an all rounder if need be (YMMV). Bass sounds more natural and smoother on the FA1 but detail retrieval is excellent in comparison to the Neon. Mids have more body (read:lush) and clearer on the FA1 which renders better detail retrieval than the Neon. Treble is more exciting (still a safe treble) and airier on the FA1 despite being the more ‘balanced’ sounding IEM.

On to some technicalities, soundstage on the FA1 is rounder and taller. But then again it’s not a night and day difference since it’s still a single-BA, derived from the same base model. Layering is perceptibly similar on both despite the FA1 being slightly deeper. Imaging and separation is noticeably better, well distinguished and more accurate on the FA1 as compared to the Neon. In short, the FA1 is more comfortable, slightly balanced sounding with a slightly better technical performer than the Neon.

Etymōtic ER3SE (stock filter)

The ER3SE is similarly designed to be a minimalistic, deep fitting IEM and built with an aluminium shell as opposed to resin shell on the Neon. Well, these are the guys who pioneered this particular niche IEM-scape after all. Bass is similarly neutral but more detailed and wonderfully textured on the ER3SE. Mids are more transparent and detailed on the ER3SE but almost sounding hollow as compared to the Neon. Treble is safely tuned to give enough energy and sparkle but are similarly rolled off for both the ER3SE and the Neon.

This Etymōtic is my current benchmark for technical performance under the $200 mark. To be fair, the Neon is not that far off in some region. Soundstage is similarly closed in for both IEMs but the ER3SE has a more evenly distributed width, depth and height which renders them to be more holographic sounding. Imaging and separation on the Neon is clearly outpaced by the ER3SE. Not to mention the layering on the ER3SE is more defined and polished. All in all the Neon is a good, cheaper alternative for one to experience something almost similar to the Etymōtic.


For Who

In my humble opinion, those who prefer Diffuse Field Neutral signature will most likely grow fond of the Neon. Standing between the lines of being anaemic, sterile and monitor-ish sounding IEM, the Neon is indeed one of the less ‘fun’ IEM which targets a specific group of people. I mean, yes it’s a niche tuning but IEMs that bear this particular sound signature are very versatile to begin with. The Neon do benefit from deep insertion similar to the Etymōtics so potential buyers be wary.

Stars & Verdict

Unlike a single-DD IEM, a single-BA IEM is arguably the more unfavourable configuration for most people due to the known limitation of the driver. But in the real world application, as long as the IEM caters to your sound preference and use case scenario, it should be more than adequate to provide a satisfying listening experience (given that you like the signature). Despite its quirks, it’s not too much to say that the Neon is quite a competitive IEM (considering its price) within the niche single-BA, neutral-sounding IEMs realm.

4 Stars




  • Neon0.jpg
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Thanks man..currently don't have the 30ohms..on 75ohms they're slightly leaner tho. Will have amother go once I can get my hands on one of the 30ohms (provided that I still have the Neon, lol).
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Based on the graph, 80Ω gets it very close to the Etymotic target. 30Ω will have slightly less of an effect. I think what you hear with your 75Ω adapter is pretty much as good as it gets. :)


Headphoneus Supremus
KBEAR Neon Review – Rarefied Neon Gas
Pros: Unique midcentric tuning (rare in budget CHIFI).
Good accessories.
Excellent isolation.
Good timbre for a pure BA set.
Laid back, non fatiguing tuning.
Fast and clean midbass.
Good technicalities.
Easy to drive.
Will make an affordable budget stage monitor.
2 pin connector, better lifespan than MMCX in general.
Cons: Subbass and higher treble roll off.
Insertion depth affects the sound and comfort a lot -> varying impressions as such.
2D soundstage (wide soundstage but sounstage depth/height below average).
Lack of edge definition/bite – may be pro or con depending on personal preference.
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-04 at 19.25.46 (1).jpeg


I would like to thank KBEAR for providing this review unit. It can be gotten here:


The KBEAR Neon is a unique midcentric set, featuring good timbre, isolation and technicalities. It does have a subbass and higher treble roll off as per most single BA sets, but otherwise is a recommendation for vocal and mid lovers. There’s not many single BA or midcentric sets at the budget CHIFI segment, so this is a refreshing tuning for vocal and acoustic genres.

  • Driver configuration: Knowles 29689 full frequency Balanced Armature driver
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 14Ω
  • Sensitivity: 105dB
  • Cable: 2 pin
  • Tested at $49.99 USD


Other than the IEM, the KBEAR Neon packaging comes with:
  • Foam tips – 1 pair
  • Silicone ear tips – 3 pairs (S/M/L)
  • Carry case
  • 4 core 4N copper silver plated cable – well braided, non tangly. Slight microphonics, but perfectly usable sonic wise.
WhatsApp Image 2021-07-04 at 19.25.44.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2021-07-04 at 19.25.46.jpeg

Accessories wise, quite good for the price, I’ve seen worse in pricier IEMs, cough cough TRN VX. Everything is rather usable OOTB here, so no need to mess with getting aftermarket tips or cables, which can add to costs (looking at you BLON BL-03).

For the purposes of this review, the stock tips and stock cables were used, so as not to change the sound signature with aftermarket gear.


The KBEAR Neon is a bullet shaped IEM following the legacy of the Etymotics housing, and is meant to be worn cable down. The housing is light and each earpiece weighs in at an amazing 2.3 grams.

Do note that insertion depth of the KBEAR Neon makes a humongous difference in the perceived sound, and also for comfort. This may also account for the different impressions that various consumers/reviewers will find with this set. With a shallower insertion, the KBEAR Neon’s bass is rather anemic, vocals are in the background and the soundstage becomes wider. With a deeper insertion of the KBEAR neon, the bass and upper treble are boosted and the sound seems better for me, things don’t sound so hollow or distant. One might need to try smaller sized eartips (either stock or aftermarket) to get a deeper fit, so it is not a case of using the usual sized tips you are familiar with on other IEMs.

Of course this is a YMMV situation as we have different ear anatomies and comfort levels for deep insertion IEMs. Though even with a deeper insertion on the KBEAR Neon, I find the comfort is acceptable for me, it isn’t as “violating” or deep fitting as the Etymotics series IEMs. For comparisons, I couldn’t use the Etys for more than a few minutes due to ear discomfort and ear abrasions (though granted the Etys had one of the best passive isolation in a non custom IEM and they did sound good). I’ve managed to use the KBEAR Neon for a few hours with the deep insertion method, without much issues.

As per most cable down IEMs, there are some microphonics, but this can be mitigated to some extent by using a shirt clip. Another tip I learnt in this journey, is that some folks use cable down IEMs as over the ear IEMs to minimize microphonics, it does look weird but it gets the job done, though it might wear out the cable at the bent point over the ear, but detachable cables can be replaced anyways, so no biggie.

I liked that the KBEAR Neon featured a 2 pin connector, I had my fair share of mishaps with MMCX type connectors after switching cables once too often.

The only issue about the 2 pin connector of the KBEAR Neon, is that one may inadvertently connect it in a reversed polarity, causing out of phase issues. The KBEAR Neon housing can be rotated, there’s a dot on the IEM to signify the orientation of the IEM housing, so just make sure both dots are facing up or both are facing down. As per convention, the red dot is meant for the right earpiece, left dot is meant for the left earpiece. I didn’t hear any difference when both dots were facing up versus both dots facing down, but according to KBEAR, the dots are officially meant to be both facing down:


Anyways, if the music is out of phase, it is pretty obvious, music seems to be coming from behind the head and sounds weird. Alternatively, just use some free online links to check if your IEM is in phase, eg

If music is out of phase, just reverse one side’s housing and you should be back in phase.


Isolation on the KBEAR Neon is excellent as per an unvented BA set. One of the better passive isolating IEMs I’ve tried so far.


I tested the KBEAR Neon with a Khadas Tone Board -> Topping L30 amp, Sony NW A-55 DAP (DMP-A50 FEv2 Classic Mr Walkman Mod), smartphone, Shanling Q1 DAP, Tempotec Sonata HD Pro, ESS ES9280C PRO DAC/AMP, and a Khadas Tone Board -> Fiio A3 Amp.

The KBEAR Neon is easy to drive, no amping or heavy powered gear required. The Neon runs off practically any weak source. Though as usual amping can increase soundstage, microdetails and dynamics a tinge.



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

The KBEAR Neon is a midcentric set. Tuning is towards laid back, especially when shallow insertion is used. As per most single BA (balanced armature) IEMs, there is a subbass and higher treble roll off, resulting in limitations in extension of the FR at both extreme ends. Thus, bassheads best look elsewhere for your subbass rumble, and trebleheads best look elsewhere for your sparkle and air. But the Neon’s midcentric tuning is very well done, there’s really no harshness or peaks in the tuning, it’s a very agreeable and smooth midcentric set.

Having said that, one must be aware that midcentric tunings are very niche, they shines in vocals and acoustics genres, but they are not the best for bass forward music genres, eg EDM. Nevertheless, there aren’t many single BA types or midcentric tuned sets in the budget CHIFI arena, so the KBEAR Neon is pretty unique in this aspect.

The KBEAR Neon’s midbass is neutral and the subbass rolls off very early, as per the single BA physics. What the Neon cedes in bass quantity, it aces in quality. The midbass is very fast and tight and textured. It is the literal definition of “Fast and Clean” bass, with no midbass bleed. Mids are the star here, being boosted, but not harsh or shouty. It is a very transparent mids that lets all the vocals and instruments shine through, midlovers and acoustic/vocal lovers will have a field day. There isn’t the harsh 2 – 4 kHz area that plagues a lot of budget CHIFI tuning, this is a non fatiguing set. Treble wise, there’s slight sibilance, but it is still considered a safe treble for me, yet retaining good microdetails, though it isn’t the most airy treble, as per the higher treble roll off in most single BA sets.

Note weight on the Neon is on the thinner side, but that allows the single BA to move quite fast without any dulled transients. Timbre is surprisingly good for a BA set, it won’t beat a well tuned single DD in the timbral accuracy department, but it is one of the better sets for timbral accuracy for a pure BA setup that I’ve tried. Timbral accuracy on the KBEAR neon definitely trumps the garden variety KZ in timbre for sure. Acoustic instruments and vocals sounded quite natural in timbre, with maybe only a slight “plastic” quality in stringed instruments.

On one side of the KBEAR Neon housing, one can see the Knowles 29689 BA serial number, so this set does use Knowles drivers. But of course driver brand and even driver count is secondary to tuning and implementation, as we can see that some TOTL sets (cough cough Campfire Solaris) use Bellsing BA drivers, and some purported Knowles sets don’t sound anything special. But the Knowles house signature does shine thru in the KBEAR Neon, featuring a well rounded note with good technicalities, without needing to boost the upper frequencies to cheat and get the details in. As per some Knowles BA sets, there is a slightly blunted edge definition/bite in notes, this may be a pro or con depending on your personnel preference.

On to technicalities. As this set is a deep insertion type IEM, as per some Etymotics, soundstage is kinda 2D. Soundstage width is good, but height and depth are below average. But what the Neon cedes in soundstage, it makes up for in good left/right imaging. I’d take a set with precise imaging and more intimate soundstage, over a set with big soundstage but fuzzy and nebulous imaging. Details and instrument separation are good for this price range, the KBEAR Neon doesn’t use the typical overly boosted upper mids/treble cheatcode that a lot of budget CHIFI use to boost clarity and give fake details. The Neon manages to get the details in without going to shouty territory, and yet being quite a chill laid back tuning that one can use for hours without fatigue. Think of a monitoring type sound signature with good details, in fact I think the KBEAR Neon can be a good entry level stage monitor due to its isolation, good fit and good technicalities.


Here are some comparisons with single BA types. As hybrids/multi BA and single DD IEMs have their own strengths and weaknesses compared to single BA types, they were left out of the comparisons. I apologize as I don’t have any Etymotics IEMs with me now to do A/B comparisons, I returned them some time ago as I couldn’t tolerate the deep “violating” fit, but suffice to say the KBEAR Neon is much more comfortable for me than the Etys series.

Westone UM1 (1BA) ($99 USD)

The Westone UM1 is a 1 BA set that is tuned warm neutralish (but with a treble roll off). The Westone UM1 comes in a conventional bean shaped design, that is worn over ears instead of cable down like the KBEAR Neon. The Westone UM1 has worse isolation.

The Westone UM1 has worse details, imaging, instrument separation and clarity and has a more compressed soundstage width. The Westone UM1 has worse timbral accuracy. Both sets have a subbass roll off as per most single BA types, but the Westone UM1’s bass has a slight midbass bleed and is not as tight/textured/speedy.

Acoustic Effect TRY-01 (1BA) ($130 USD)

The Acoustic Effect TRY-01 is a 1 BA bullet shaped Japanese set that is also worn cable down. It has a non detachable cable (this may be a dealbreaker for some) and also has poorer isolation. The Acoustic Effect TRY-01 has slightly better technicalities and soundstage depth/height, but is more than double the price. Subbass extension is slightly better on the Acoustic Effect TRY-01, though the KBEAR Neon comes with better accessories.


The KBEAR Neon is a unique midcentric set, featuring good timbre, isolation and technicalities. It does have a subbass and higher treble roll off as per most single BA sets, though there’s not many single BA or midcentric sets at the budget CHIFI segment, so this is a refreshing tuning for vocal and acoustic genres. The KBEAR Neon’s sound is also quite drastically affected by insertion depth, but even with deeper insertion, I don’t find it as ill fitting as the traditional Etymotics types.

I have an admission to make, I’m not a single BA fan. I’m a single DD (dynamic driver) guy for general music listening, as they tend to give better timbral accuracy and tonality/coherency at the budget/midfi CHIFI segment, when compared to BA sets. BA bass that isn’t vented (in general), tends to move less air and have less decay, thus resulting in a less natural bass sound than traditional DD bass. In addition to the higher treble and subbass roll off, single BA types may be weaker in technicalities, when compared to multi BA/hybrids, as expected of a single BA physics limitation. Even if I do use unvented pure BA type IEMs, I use them for stage monitoring exclusively, due to their better isolation (generally unvented) and better technicalities than DD types.

However, despite my biasedness against single BA sets, the KBEAR Neon is a set I think is a keeper, as it shines in vocals and acoustic genres and can also perhaps be a budget stage monitor for stage use. Anyways most of us in this hobby have a few pairs of IEMs lying about, to suit different sonic signatures and music genres, and I think for those who don’t have a midcentric set in your Pokemon collection, the KBEAR Neon is a worthwhile set to consider. Just be aware that midcentric tunings aren’t all rounder, but they will really shine at vocals and acoustic genres.
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New Head-Fier
KBEar Neon: A Breath of Fresh Air
Pros: Excellent price to performance ratio
Great overall build quality
Unique design
Cons: Sound very dependent on eartips and fit
Low quality stock tips
The Neon is the second model from KBEar having a single balanced armature driver setup, with their F1 being the first. It has an SRP of 49 USD. The Neon was provided to me for free by Mei of KBEar in exchange for this review. You can purchase it now from your favorite audio gear sellers.

Impedance: 14 ohms
Sensitivity: 105 dB
Frequency response range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz


Poco X3 paired with iBasso DC03 and Shanling UA1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson

The shell is made of transparent resin, with a metal nozzle that has a quite larger diameter than most IEMs. Inside you can clearly see the single Knowles balanced armature that they used along with its model and serial number. There is a blue and red dot near the female pins that indicate the left and right side respectively, and when inserting the cable into the driver, the dots should be facing downwards for the correct polarity.

The cable is a lightweight 2 core silver plated copper that is moderately soft and pliable, the plug, splitter and chin slider are made of metal, and with the male pins, KBEar reused pins that were originally for cables that are worn over the ear. Due to this, the L and R indicators are upside down.

Now before I talk about the sound, I should say that the stock tips did not fit me well. Spinfits were the first tips that came to mind that I thought would fit well and be comfortable. I was right. However, the Spinfit made the sound suffer due to its long stem resulting in a shallow fit. I changed the tips to Acoustune AET06 with a shorter stem, resulting in a deeper fit, and the sound improved drastically.

Now let's get to the sound.

The lows have a slightly laid back presentation. Subbass is presented in a tight manner, has a below average reach accompanied by a moderately fast decay. Midbass presence is neutral and at just the right spot, having adequate weight to its punch.

Overall, the lows of the Neon will leave you wanting for more if you are a person who loves bass and/or isn't accustomed to a neutral or flat tuning. That being said, there is still room for improvement should KBEar make another single BA model with a flat signature.

The mids are forward and intimate, although it has a hint of being nasal on some tracks. Male and female vocals have an elevated thickness, but still, both sound very articulate, lively, and natural. There is a peak somewhere in the upper mids that you will sometimes hear and interpret it as being slightly "shouty" but it is rare and pretty much negligible.

Overall, the mids make this IEM shine. It is Neon's main strength. It's quite rare for an IEM in this price range to have this quality in the midrange department, therefore making the Neon unique.

The highs are neutrally placed and natural sounding. Sibilance was not perceived across all tracks. The decay is a bit slow and is well extended. However, because of the forwardness of the mids, the highs may sometimes get drowned out by it, especially when a number of instruments starts playing. Very noticeable in genres like metal or rock.

Overall, the highs give the Neon a decent amount of clarity and a good level of sparkle that adds an energetic vibe to what some may consider a boring tuning.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The stage has an above average expansion with a very good sense of depth. Imaging is accurate. Layering and separation is good on acoustic tracks but it starts to degrade when the treble gets overwhelmed by the midrange.

In the budget section of IEMs that is saturated with warm and V-shaped signatures, the Neon is a breath of fresh air. The overall design, especially the type of sound that the Neon will give you, is quite rare in this price range. With lows that will not give you headache, and highs that will not cause fatigue, I recommend this to anyone who wants something smooth and different.


100+ Head-Fier
KBEAR Neon Review
Pros: Price performance ratio
Non fatigued easy going signature
Vocal really shines
Cons: Stock eartips definitely ruined the experience
Nothing much other than that
Lacked the rumble as expected from single BA
KBEAR Neon Review


KBEAR Neon is KBEAR latest IEM with a 1BA driver configuration. It is claimed to be F1’s successor. Equipped with a single Knowles 29689 Balanced Armature driver and it retails for $49usd.


Tidal(Mixture of MQA and Hifi Quality Songs) -> iFi Zen Dac -> KBear Neon

-This review is done using stock cable and the ear tips are Sony's M Sized hybrid long silicone as I found that stock ear tips made the vocal sound very hollow and everything else seemed very boxed in. Hopefully KBEAR will take this into consideration and improve on this for the successor, also do note that i am wearing it with the deep insertion method.


I will do a breakdown as follows in describing how it sounds. I have had a fairly good experience using them for the past few days. I would describe Neon as a neutral and un-colored IEM.


The presence of the bass is just enough in my opinion. I’m always going after quality rather than quantity. The bass is what you will expect from a single BA if you ever heard a single BA before. It is fast, punchy and tight. Rumble and extension is nowhere to be found as this is a single BA after all. Basshead you should look elsewhere.


This is the part where Neon will shine in my opinion. Tonality and timbre is clean and good. Vocal doesn’t sound recessed nor too forward. Just right. It feels very natural albeit it has a slight tinge of BA timbre, but still good overall. No bass bleed as far as I listen to. Norah Jones’s Come Away With Me is very enjoyable as the vocal really stand out.


Treble doesn’t sound sibilant or piercing at all. Slight roll off to my ears. It also feels smooth and you can easily listen to it all day long without feeling fatigue. Detail and clarity is good but at times it will feel a little congested when there are a lot of instruments playing at the same time. Gurenge by Lisa for example, exhibited this behavior.


There is nothing much to shout out about the soundstage. I would say it is pretty average. Not too wide or nor too narrow that it made you feel “boxed” in, also depending on how you actually wear them, deep fit or normal fit, it will affect the soundstage in some way. Normal fit will make the soundstage a little wider, as for deep fit, the soundstage will feel a little boxed in. In my opinion it lacked the height, the soundstage feels rather like a straight line to my ears.
Separation is average and as mentioned above, it does get congested when there are a lot of instruments playing at the same time. The imaging is alright as well as the instruments can be pinpointed easily.


Sensitivity: 105dB
Impedance: 14Ω
Interface: QDC (I have tested with 0.78 and it works as well, QDC is basically a 2 pin as well as far as i know)
Plug type: 3.5mm
Frequency range: 20-20kHz


Final Thoughts

Overall an enjoyable IEM that puts a lot of emphasis on the vocals especially. Jazz, or tracks that focus solely on vocals is heavenly, for everything else, it will do just fine except for EDM which is to be expected because of the limitation of the single BA in Neon. This is a very good IEM for its price. If the upper treble can be boosted just a little and the low extends a little, then this is definitely a killer for the price. Despite all that, I would still recommend this to someone who is looking for something smooth and easy where you can just plug in and listen. However, the stock eartips is recommended in order to have the best experience/performance out of Neon, i would suggest you to spend some time to tip roll and find one that suits you. Trust me, it makes a lot of difference compared to the stock eartips.



Headphoneus Supremus
Neon: It's a Gas!
Pros: Neutral balanced profile
Resolving mids
Expansive soundstage
Excellent fit and seal
Cons: Bass light
Dip in upper treble
Some sharpness in mids
The KBEAR Neon is the latest model from the company and is the successor to the F1. Like the earlier model, it is a single BA design. The F1 employed a 32257 type in different versions including Bellsing. The Neon uses a Knowles ED 29869 BA as found in the TRI Starsea.

The Neon comes in similar packaging to the Lark with a colour sleeve showing Chinese characters within a Neon-effect border within which is written " KBEAR Neon". Also featured are "The vocals hit the soul" and "Single BA in-ear Hi-fi earphones" in Chinese and English. The reverse has a list of specifications. Removing the cover reveals a square black box with a gold KBEAR logo. Inside you will see the IEMs sitting in a foam cut-out and two black boxes with gold writing, one long box containing the accessories and another containing the case. The contents include:

* 2-pin silver plated cable
* 4 pairs of grey silicone tips (S, 2 x M, L)
* 1 pair of white silicone tips (S,M,L)
* Carrying case
* User guide

The carrying case is finished in a grey textured material with a white KBEAR logo and has a zip closure. The presentation and accessories are excellent for the price and put companies like KZ to shame.

The Neon is a "bullet" style IEM. It has a transparent body through which the components can be seen and is available in three colourways, red/blue, black and purple. The nozzle is fairly long and there is a decorative silver ring with KBEAR branding just below the nozzle. The 2-pin socket is on the rear of the body and protrudes to accept a hooded connector. There are red and blue dots on the underside indicating the channel and polarity.

The cable is silver plated copper with hooded connectors, a straight silver coloured metal 3.5mm plug and metal Y-split with a ring chin slider. It is worn cable down and is very comfortable with little cable noise.

The Neon was tested principally using an Xduoo X20 DAP but a CD player and smartphone were also employed. The stock cable and medium tips were used which resulted in an excellent fit, isolation and seal. A burn in period of 100 hours was used to settle down the components.

First Impressions
The Neon displayed a largely neutral profile with a conservative sub-bass presence but with good speed and resolution. Mid bass through to upper mids were flat with a moderate rise into the treble which possessed good detail and clarity. There was a dip in the upper frequencies after which the level recovered and supplied some sparkle and air. Transient response was quick and agile. Staging was well above average with good separation and layering.

As may be expected from a single BA, there was a relative reduction in the bass level but there was still a good sense of weight and depth although there was a roll-off in the sub-bass region. Mid bass had good impact and speed whilst maintaining rhythmic integrity, and did not bleed into the midrange.

Jonn Serrie's "Le Tresor" was a good example. Its deep sub-bass foundation was hinted at rather than fully realised but there was good definition, texture and speed. Some of the atmosphere was lost but what remained was very clean and musical, freeing up the mid bass, allowing the piece to breathe and showcasing the overlaying acoustic guitar solo very effectively.

The deep pedal notes of the organ in Albinoni's "Adagio in G minor" possessed good texture and there was a sense of weight but the extension was just a little shy, robbing the piece of its impressive foundation. The timbre of the basses and cellos in the version by the Guildhall String Ensemble was believable with admirable clarity and detail and the piece retained its cohesion even though some of the impact was lost in the lower frequencies.

Arguably the star of the show, the Neon's midrange was neutral and accurate with good timbre for a BA. There was a moderate rise in the upper region which added some clarity and soundstage, layering and imaging were all very good.

"A Chloris" by Venezuelan composer Reynaldo Hahn is a beautiful duet for cello and piano in the style of Bach. In the performance by Julian Lloyd Webber and John Lenehan, the Neon gave a very good account of itself with excellent clarity. The timbre of the instruments was generally natural and lifelike with only the higher notes of the cello having a sharper "BA" tonality. The atmosphere and ambience of the performance was faithfully reproduced.

Rosanne Cash's sensitive recording of "This has happened before" demonstrated the superb vocal abilities of the Neon. The reverb on her voice, acoustic guitar, Dobro and steel guitars were all convincingly portrayed, and combined nicely to produce an emotional performance worthy of the phrase "The vocals hit the soul". This was ideal material for the Neon.

The Neon's treble was generally clean and well defined with good detail. There was a notable dip in the upper region before recovering in the extreme HF. This resulted in some variation of timbre but there was still a decent sense of sparkle and "air".

"Many Chinas" from the superb "Vapor Drawings" by Mark Isham begins with bright and detailed percussive elements on each side of the stereo image displaying excellent width. The Neon reproduced these very clearly with precise detail. When the bass, trumpet and keyboards joined in, the whole piece gelled together very well with excellent separation producing a satisfying musicality.

Pachelbel's famous "Canon in D major" can surely not have had a more elegantly paced presentation than that by the J. F. Paillard Orchestra on Erato. The slower tempo revealed so much more of the counterpoint and throughout the piece, the harpsichord continuo was clearly audible and the violin solo placed centre stage displayed excellent timbre.

Along with the mids, the soundstage was perhaps the best feature of the Neon, being expansive in all three dimensions and exhibiting good separation and layering with imaging also being above average.

"Walking in Space", by Amin Bhatia from "The Interstellar Suite", features binaural effects depicting an EVA or spacewalk. It starts with a representation of an airlock being activated and the astronaut beginning his activity, which is then followed by a cinematic musical theme on synthesisers. A huge stage was created by the Neon with the sound effects displaying accurate positioning and delicate sequenced electronic details moving across the image. The whole effect was spacious and very captivating.

The superb series of classical pieces by the Minnesota Orchestra on the Reference Recordings label always display an impressive soundstage. Ravel's dynamic "Alborada del Gracioso" is no exception. Eiji Oue's interpretation is full of drama, orchestral colour and impact and the Neon revelled in the piece with a convincing spread of the orchestra and a believable sense of the hall ambience, forming a solid three-dimensional image which was wonderfully entertaining. The positioning of the concertante instruments was precise and there was a very natural perspective. With just a little more depth and power, it would have been nigh-on perfect.

The Neon improves on its predecessor, the F1, in every way. It has a more extended bass (though still somewhat light), the midrange is clearer and more defined where the F1 was occasionally veiled (this will depend on the BA), and the treble is more extended. Soundstage is much more impressive. The Knowles unit is more refined and linear, and the presentation, fit and cable are also superior. The team at KBEAR and TRI certainly know something about tuning. If the dip in the upper treble could be fixed and a little more extension in the bass could be added, this would be a giant-killer! As it stands, the Neon is still a very good IEM at the price and eminently recommendable.


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Member of the Trade: RikuBuds
Pros: Well tuned DF-neutral
Good timbre for a BA iem
Neutral and uncolored
Decent bass texture for a single BA
Vocals (especially female)
Non-offensive treble
Tailor made cable
Cons: Questionable QC (channel imbalance and missing tips)
Deep fit recommended to maximize sound, not that comfortable (for me)
Imaging and separation can't handle fast/busier tracks
BA bass
Slight BA timbre across the range
Upper-treble roll-off
Might be too boring for some

Disclaimer: I received this review unit from KBEAR, thank you very much.

Price: 50 usd


Sensitivity: 105dB

Impedance: 14Ω

Interface: QDC

Plug type: 3.5mm

Frequency range: 20-20kHz



Carry case

(Missing tips in my unit)


Cable: 2 core SPC cable that is basically tailor made for the Neon due to it being very lightweight and without ear hooks. L/R markings are transparent and very hard to see though and since I wasn’t able to measure it due to the QDC structure, I compared the graph for the stock cable vs cable A3 that has a very low resistance.

graph (42).png

And there wasn’t any FR changes, either because the BA responds like this or because the stock cable measures similarly. In any cases, it isn’t required to change the stock cable as it works and looks great (IMO), but the chin-slider is non-working though.





Build: Resin build with aluminum nozzle and mesh. It’s a very small build and is also very lightweight. L/R are identified by the colors.

Fit: Bullet style fit and you can use it in 2 ways; either you use it like a normal bullet iem and use a normal sized tip that works for you or you can use it in a deeper fit which is achievable when you use the smallest tip size that you can still get a seal with. It sounds better to me with the deeper fit and that is what I am using and evaluating.

(Final Audio F series guide: )

Comfort: It’s a BA iem, so that means it has no vents and it is noticeable with its pressure build up. Although thanks to its bullet fit/size, it is better than other BA iems in this regard. So, if you are sensitive to pressure build up, you should stay away from the Neon. Personally, I can handle it but it isn’t really comfortable and I need a break after around 1 hour (and the deeper fit than normal isn’t something I like that much in terms of comfort).

Isolation: Very good isolation due to the ventless body, but not as good as the other BA iems since this is a bullet iem. Still a lot better than average though.

Setup: Schiit Asgard 3 (low-gain, volume around 8-9 o´clock), Final Audio Type E Tips S, stock cable 3.5mm

BA like bass with the speed and tightness, that is very flat and clean, and IMO too little quantity for my taste´s. Extension and rumble are very poor so it’s not an iem for bassheads, but it does have decent texture and quite good timbre despite all that.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), very clean due to it being very fast (especially the decay) and tight like BA´s usually are. Texture is lacking as with most BA´s but timbre is very impressive although there is still some BA timbre in it. The (02:55-03:01) section with the chopper is hearable and very clean.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), decent texture despite having very low bass quantity. Very clean due to the speed and tightness and timbre is good.

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), poor extension and rumble like a typical BA. Punch quantity is also very low with too fast decay while it is very tight.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), Too little bass quantity and texture but is clean due to the speed and tightness.

Mids: Very good vocals in both timbre and tonality (especially the female vocals). They are neither recessed nor forward as well as being very clean. Vocal lovers should enjoy this a lot and overall naturality is very good and very little BA timbre in it.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Vocal and instrument tonality are very good. Vocals have the brightness they need while the instruments got some warmth to them. Although the vocals could be a bit more forward. Details and clarity are very good here. Timbre is actually very good here.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), very good tonality with both vocals and instruments. Although the vocals do need to be more forward here. Timbre is also very good here.

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

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), sharp and the imaging and separation are struggling here.

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), very good tonality and timbre with both instruments and vocals, although the bass do need some more quantity.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), both vocals and instruments need to be warmer but timbre is good.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are a bit sharp.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), while not particularly sharp, it is quite chaotic due to the imaging and separation.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello timbre, texture and detail are very good but tonality could be warmer. Violin tonality, timbre, texture and details are very good but treble extension could be better as it is rolled-off.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality is good as well as the timbre. It is very clean but lacks bass quantity here.

Soundstage: Average soundstage, nothing special here.

Tonality: DF-neutral, very good tonality as it is leaning too much towards warmth or brightness despite having as little bass and the treble it got. The upper-treble roll-off helps it in not being as bright as it would have otherwise. Timbre is very good for a BA iem but there are still some hints of BA timbre, especially in the bass.

Details: Good, thanks to the tuning giving it an advantage here.

Instrument Separation: below average, struggles with faster/busier tracks.

Songs that highlight the IEM:

Good genres:
acoustic/vocal music, rock/metal

Bad genres: EDM, Hip-hop, R&B, pop, Trance


IEM: Audiosense T180 Pro, stock tips L, cable C1 4.4mm
graph (46).png

Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), similar extension but rumbles a bit more on the T180 Pro. Punch quantity is also higher as well as more textured on the T180 Pro but is faster and tighter on the Neon. Tonality is a bit more accurate on the T180 Pro but better timbre on the Neon.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), more quantity and texture on the T180 Pro. But tighter, faster and more natural timbre on the Neon but more accurate tonality on the T180 Pro.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a lot better timbre across the range on the Neon and isn’t sharp on it either, with more distinct bass strikes as it is quite muddy on the T180 Pro despite having similar speed and tightness. More bass quantity on the T180 Pro while the Neon is more textured. Better tonality on the Neon.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), better timbre and tonality on the Neon, although the vocals are a bit more forward on the T180 Pro. Detail and clarity are similar but better separation and imaging on the Neon.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more fatiguing and sharper on the T180 Pro.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), somewhat similar tonality but better timbre on the Neon and a lot cleaner.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), sharper, brighter and more fatiguing on the T180 Pro.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality and texture are better on the T180 Pro but better timbre and details on the Neon. Violin tonality, timbre, texture and detail are better on the Neon but similar treble-extension (rolled-off).

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), better tonality, timbre and detail on the Neon.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), similar soundstage but better imaging, instrument separation, detail and timbre on the Neon.

Overall: Besides a few bassier tracks (not suited for them anyway) the Neon is outclassing the T180 Pro.

IEM: Aiderlot M5, Elecom EHP-CAP20 tips L, stock cable 3.5mm
graph (47).png

Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), similar extension and rumble. But tighter, faster and more textured on the M5 but timbre is a bit better on the Neon. Tonality is more accurate on the M5 as well as more detailed.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), very similar quantity but faster, tighter and more detailed on the M5. While timbre and texture are a bit better on the Neon. Tonality is a bit more accurate on the Neon as well as the M5 is too bright.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), brighter and more fatiguing on the M5 but a lot faster, tighter and cleaner bass on it. While timbre and texture are a bit better on the Neon.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), more forward vocals along with better vocal tonality on the M5. But vocal timbre, along with instrument tonality/timbre are better on the Neon. Detail and clarity are a lot better on the M5 though.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), brighter and more fatiguing on the M5.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), better tonality and timbre on the Neon. But a lot better detail and clarity on the M5.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), sharper and more fatiguing electric guitars on the M5.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre and texture are better on the Neon while it is more detailed on the M5. Violin tonality, timbre, detail and treble-extension are better on the M5.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), a bit better tonality and timbre on the Neon. But a lot more detailed on the M5.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), a lot bigger soundstage on the M5. Imaging, instrument separation and details are also outclassing the Neon on the M5. Timbre is a bit better on the Neon though.

Overall: The M5 is as you expect, have a lot better technicality. But the Neon is actually a bit better tuned and the tonality is more accurate for my library than the M5. If you want something brighter and more technical, then the M5 is a clear upgrade over the Neon but if you prioritize uncolored sound and more natural timbre, the Neon is actually better.

IEM: Blon BL-03 (mesh mod), Radius deep mount tips L, cable B3 4.4mm
graph (48).png

Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), a lot better extension and rumbles a lot more on the 03. Punch quantity is also a lot higher on it as well as more textured and with more natural timbre. Faster and tighter on the Neon so it is cleaner but tonality is a lot more accurate on the 03.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a lot higher quantity, more textured as well as a lot better timbre and accurate tonality. Faster and tighter so it is cleaner on the Neon though.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a lot more quantity, texture and better timbre/tonality on the 03. But faster, tighter and cleaner on the Neon.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the 03. But better vocal tonality as well as bit more forward on the Neon but better timbre on the 03. Similar detail though.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more relaxing and less fatiguing on the 03.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), instrument and vocal tonality/timbre are a lot better on the 03.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), more relaxing and less fatiguing on the 03.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre and texture are better on the 03 with similar details. Violin tonality is better on the Neon but better timbre while detail and treble-extension are similar.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), a lot better tonality and timbre on the 03.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), similar soundstage but deeper on the 03. Detail is similar but imaging, instrument separation and timbre are better on the 03.

Overall: The 03 is the better iem for my library and preference but if you prefer something less bassy and more vocal focused, the Neon is better.

IEM: KZ DQ6 (DIY Foam mod), Elecom EHP-CAP20 tips L, cable A6 4.4mm

graph (49).png

Bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends a lot lower and rumbles a lot more on the DQ6. Punch quantity is also a lot higher on the DQ6 and more textured with better timbre. Faster and tighter on the Neon but more tonally accurate on the DQ6.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a lot more bass quantity and more textured on the DQ6 with better timbre as well and more accurate tonality.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a lot more bass quantity on the DQ6 as well as more textured with better timbre. But faster and tighter bass on the Neon.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), better vocal tonality on the Neon as well as a bit more forward. But better vocal timbre, instrument tonality/timbre on the DQ6. Similar detail though.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more relaxing and less fatiguing on the DQ6.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), better vocal and instrument tonality/timbre on the DQ6.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a bit more fatiguing on the Neon.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, texture and timbre are better on the DQ6 with similar detail. Violin tonality is better on the Neon but better timbre and treble-extension on the DQ6 while texture and detail are similar.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), better tonality and timbre on the DQ6 with but cleaner on the Neon.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), soundstage is a lot bigger on the DQ6. Detail is similar but better instrument separation, imaging and timbre on the DQ6.

Overall: The DQ6 is the better iem for my library and preference but if you prefer something less bassy and more vocal focused, the Neon is better.

The Neon is a well-tuned single BA iem with good timbre. But struggles with faster/busier tracks when it comes to the separation and imaging. A specialist iem for vocal/acoustic music for anyone that want to try a more budget BA iem. But if you don’t care about the driver configuration, the Blon 03 and the KZ DQ6 are the better iems at least for my library. There are concerns about the QC on the Neon due to the channel imbalance (and the lack of tips in my unit) but Wendy has promised that they will improve the QC:

Thanks for reading.


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Cable source:

Reference/test songs:
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500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Highly Scalable
Faithful to Knowles DF Neutral Tuning
Cons: Build quality could be better. It looked like a toy!
Nasal and chesty Mids might not appeal to all
In stock form, NEON is "okay" at best

KBEAR NEON: The Scalable Canalphones​



By now you would already have read tons of review on this NEON. As such I will not be focusing too much on the “out of the box” nature of this highly anticipated BA offering from KBEAR, their 2nd single BA variant apparently.
What makes this NEON special is the usage of Knowles ED 29689, the very same BA used in Etymotic ER4 series. I am an Etymotic fanatic and zealot. Etymotic is my religion and I started using the ER4S and ER4P since 2006. A long audio journey which evolved into a very emotional attachment which is further cemented with the newer version – the ER4SR. When we talk NEON, there’s no avoiding the reference to ER4 series. The reason for this is simple, it is apparent that the design ques for NEON is of a barreled infuser intended to pump sonic bliss right into your eardrums. This is an archaic design that was first pioneered by Etymotic 30 years ago and still being widely used today. Having said that NEON is something I classify as a “Canalphones” as opposed to the normal term used by many (which is IEM).

Now, being a Canalphones also mean there’s some quirks around the usage of such devices. You cannot expect to wear this NEON like any other IEMs. It takes some ritual to wear them properly. As any Etymotic or even Shure users would attest (Both Etymotic and Shure utilizes Narrow Long Muzzle), it takes some commitment and practice to get it right.


  • To get the best out of NEON, it is especially critical to invest substantial amount of time and effort to pair it with proper tips. And I would recommend this be started with the smallest tips provided. The reason being, to ensure great seal with ideal placement, the nozzle of NEON need to be inserted deep enough. This cannot be achieved if the tips are too large in proportion to your ear canal diameter. Or if you force it in, it is guaranteed to induce great discomfort and outright pain. In my own scenario, I was able to use the smallest silicone tips that came with the NEON; however, I could only wear it for about 1 hour max as the pressure was building up uncomfortably due to NEON muzzle being exceptionally large for a deep insert Canalphones (in fact the LARGEST nozzle ever employed in any barrel type Canalphones). To mitigate this, I was lucky to have several unused 5mm bore sized S tips from my other IEMs. And I was able to get one that is small enough to allow for comfortable deep insertion and still wearable for over 2-3 hours. For the record I normally wear my Etys even up to half a day plugged in – achievable with the use of SpinFit CP800 sized S. If you see the photo of me wearing it, the entire barrel of the NEON is inside my ear canals, only the connectors are visible.
  • On top of that, the ritual of wearing this type of Canalphones may include dabbing the tips with some lubricants to enhance seal and comfort. Then wearing the NEON itself would be best done by opening the mouth to stretch the jaw during insertion. When the mouth is closed the facial muscle will then contract and secure the grip on the NEON tips.
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  • Another thing worth to mention, again the muzzle size of NEON is big. In fact, I think it is too big for a funneled type Canalphones. So, if you observed one of the close-up photos, you could see how small the ER4SR muzzles are in comparison. To balance this out, I picked small tips that also have smaller bore as noted in the photos. Sonically this have huge influence in sound presentation as I would describe later.
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  • How to know if you are inserting it right? The first thing that would be apparent is the size of soundstage. If the staging feels wide and spacious to you, chances are you have not inserted it appropriately deep enough. My own experience with Etys and Shure, they all share this common trait of boxed in headstage. But perhaps some do enjoy the perceived wide soundstage but usually at the expense of imaging, resolution, and dynamics. Mids would sound recessed and dull.
  • Related to the subject of wearing it right, with proper seal one of the biggest advantages for this type of Canalphones is the isolation. By my estimation NEON once sealed offers no less than 30db of external sound suppression. Perhaps even as high as 40db because I am literally oblivious to the surrounding sound – similar to when I wore my Etys and Shure phones. Isolation is one of the reasons why anyone would want to have NEON, you can enjoy music at lower levels due to sound being funneled in directly and without being tarnished by external noises.



When one decides to do a review and impression on an item, the item in question must be given the best opportunity to shine and be presented properly. So, happen that I have over 20 USB DAC/Amps in my possessions that is part of my #donglemadness venture. After doing initial check-ups, I opted to use the Ovidius B1 for the critical listening stages. Ovidius B1 is my personal favorite and a unit that I adore so much for being stellar in technical and musical element. Also being the most transparent dongle among them all. The second part of this review, I also used NEON with the rest of the dongles to see how it perform with different sources. Of course, all my tests are done with Deezer Offline FLAC 44.1/16Bit. Playlist used is this:
With just an impedance rating of 14 Ohm, NEON is super easy to drive and will be super loud even at 35/100. So be careful with the volume knob, LOL.

The Sound: In Stock Form​

I will make this quick. I was not too impressed, not like my pants dropping on the floor kind of WOW. It was just okay….
  • The timbre, it is definitely DF Neutral with slightly nasal tonality especially in the mids. I would say that the NEON is closer to being analogue sounding compared to the familiar Etys sound. And I see this as a plus actually because it reminds me a lot to my other Etys, the ER2XR which I equally love.
  • Treble quality and textures are definitely Knowles standard. Solid with fast attack and decays. However, I sense slight recessed presentation that prevented NEON from being outright sparkly or razor sharp. This is a two-edged sword as to some who are NOT familiar with Etys or Beyerdynamic sound, it is a blessing as it will be unlikely one will get Treble sibilance from NEON. The other aspect of this, Trebleheads will immediately notice this and will lament the “laid-back” presentation.
  • Bass. It is fast and amply impactful. This is no Canalphones for basshead. The attack is fast and prompt with equally fast decays. Bass extensions are quite commendable however I must admit it does feel a bit rolled off shorter that what I am used to (for Knowles BA). Sub-Bass exhibited great textures and vibrant seismic response, the Mid-Bass tightly punchy and commanding when needed be (depending on the songs played)
  • Mids, at first, I was taken aback by how chesty the Mids sounded like. On some songs the Mids were outright nasal and thick. But then as I continue to listen my ears gets attuned to this thick mids presentation. It is thicker sounding than ER2XR Mids. Texture wise it is quite engaging especially if you are the type that enjoy solid mids with focused nuances. Male and Female vocals are naturally intimate and engaging. Yet even here I sense some sort of veil that I can’t shake off, I expect better transparency coming from a Knowles 29689.
  • Dynamics are spot on for Knowles 29689 BA. It is not as vibrant as a DD would and this is expected. But then the reason for using a single BA is not because you want to be floored by its moderate dynamics. What it does admirably being a BA is the speed at which dynamics fluctuate
  • Speed, if anything, speed is one of the primary reasons why one would choose BA over DD. My love for BA was due to this speed element, I just hate congested passages. Being able to deftly handle multiple layers that can go as high as 280 BPM will determine how proficient a listening device is. NEON passed this test with flying colors.
  • Resolution and transparency. Hmm, how do I pitch this. The veil that I mentioned earlier? That’s already a tell-tale that I was expecting crystal clear presentation and not getting it – a bit worrying for a Knowles 29689. However worth to mention that I am practically nitpicking here because I know this BA is quite capable of reference grade resolution and transparency. So, there must be something that’s not quite clicking here……
  • Soundstage and imaging are as per expected for this type of Canalphones – it is still in your head sort of headstage and boxed in presentation, not everyone can live by this design. If there’s any consolation the same can be said of single BA Etys and Shure. Separation lines are well defined with precise enough imaging and placement. Spatial projection is not quite holographic as one would expect from single BA. As I mentioned earlier, if you do get big soundstage from NEON, it is because you are wearing it not deep enough. And again, I would say to some this may be perfectly fine. However, the tradeoff will be some resolution and imaging being sacrificed.

So, there it is, NEON in STOCK form. At best I will give it 4 stars overall.
However! This is not the end of the road…..stay on and find out how a 4 stars performer transform itself into reference grade worthy equipment.

The Sound: With Simple Tweaks​

  • The veil that I have described earlier, was primarily caused by too low an impedance being used by NEON. At 14 Ohm it is way too low for a BA. Even the lowest resistance Etymotic use on their Knowles 29689 was 25 Ohm with the ER4P. You see, on this particular type of BA the impedance value imparts great influence on the sonic characteristics. For ER4P, Etymotic chosen 25 Ohm so that the ER4P will exhibit thicker body in the lower registers hence producing not too skinny bass responses. In contrast the ER4S was set at 100 Ohm! And recently the newer ER4SR came with 45 Ohm minimum.
  • So, to see if my theory was correct. I conducted a second session and replaced the stock cable with my custom OFC unit which has integration with inline resistors to add 47 Ohm on each channel. And there it is! All the veils gone!
  • With the veil gone now I can audibly hear better presentation of Macro and Micro details. This is the performance of a Knowles 29689 BA that I am familiar with. Razor sharp imaging and pristine separation lines. Coherence greatly improved that is highly transparent and resolving. Even the decays for Treble and Bass are nicely presented now with succinct nuances.
  • With just a simple addition to the impedance value, the true prowess of Knowles 29689 is realized. This is the sort of sonic presentation that one should be getting from a properly implemented single BA.
  • What remains unique to NEON is the rich and chesty Mids. Now even more engaging and pleasurable to listen to



NEON also exhibited stellar abilities to scale with the sources. I would say that anything from JCally JM20 and above would pair with it perfectly. NEON sounds the widest and most spacious with THX Onyx, the smoothest with Lotoo PAW S1 and A&K PEE51, very technically competent with HiBy FC3, Hilidac Audirect BEAM 2SE, X1 and Questyle M1. Warmest sounding with Shanling UA2, Hidizs S9, JCally JM04Pro and Tempotec Sonata BHD. So, as you see this NEON is super flexible! That’s because it is exceedingly transparent and will faithfully present the nuances of the source being fed. Of course, to me personally, NEON sounds world class with Ovidius B1 😉


I love this NEON, not in its stock form, but the one which runs on 14 + 47 = 61 Ohm Impedance. NEON will appeal for those wanting to have the precision, resolution, speed, imaging, and transparency of the venerable Etymotic ER series at much affordable prices. The quirk is that I will insist on using the impedance adapter that will push it above 45 Ohm at least. A 30 to 75 Ohm will do. However, it must be understood that the higher the impedance, chances are bass thickness will be impacted – it will be less meaty sounding and potentially sterile too. So best to try keeping it below 90 Ohm.
The golden question is….how does NEON actually compares to Etymotic ER4SR?. well truth be told it is not easy to equal an ER4 BA. Etys developed this ER4 series 30 years ago and has placed great innovation and engineering into it. When I A/B Neon with my 47 Ohm ER4S tuned with Red Filters, the ER4SR audibly handles everything with matured finesse that is hard to beat. However, if I am not comparing them side by side, the NEON is spectacular in its own right (I am talking about the non-stock NEON). I daresay NEON performs respectably enough to place itself 2/3 of what ER4SR can do. And that’s mind boggling really.
Finally. Admittedly NEON is NOT for everyone. To have a NEON you must consider if you are willing to embrace and be committed to endure the quirks of using single barreled BA Canalphones. For example, one can skip all these hassle by just simply opting for HZSound Heart Mirror – but then Heart Mirror is a DD despite exhibiting uncanny nuances towards Knowles BA sound. A non-stock NEON will still be superior in the speed, imaging and timbre coherence over Heart Mirror.
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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Imaging, Clarity, Fast attack, realistic overall tone, mid bass punch, female vocal, micro-details
Cons: Poor bass extension, not really musical (subjective), lack of edge and snap to attack, no treble sparkle (lack of extension again), average construction, need deep fit to get best sound (subjective?)


TONALITY: 7.5/10

is nice. The box has a cool ''Blade Runners'' vibe to it. Accessories are generous enough. Carrying case is good-looking. 4cores SPC Cable too looks good enough.


CONSTRUCTION while mostly pleasant to the eyes is questionable in terms of built, with imperfection there and there and a nozzle that goes unglue after a week. The cable is Ok'ish. But Everything is made of plastic. And 2pin connectors arent very secure. And the fit...

Their multiple ways to insert the NEON in your ear canal, but some people including me think the ''Etymotic way'' is the best.
It consists of inserting the NEON very deep in there. Once you find the second seal part in your ear canal- the deep one- the real 3D detailed presentation begins. A shallow fit can either tame or boost the bass and soundstage, either way, it sounds more distant and hollow than the Deep Way.
It worth it, but Be careful about going deeeeeeeep.




I decide to do this review with the NEON deeeeeeeply inserted in ear as it should (?) if you want to achieve its full potential.

Vivid neutral with a slight emphasis on mid-bass, and an important mids range and mid-treble boost.

TIMBRE: Smooth bright, very transparent, a bit saturated, and artificial in texturing.

ATTACK: Fast but can got shouty with a fast busy track. In other terms: it shoots sound extremely fast but it lacks a bit of snap and natural decay.

SOUNDSTAGE-IMAGING: Soundstage is very impressive and unique, it feel as if it blossoms in the middle of your head then go out with 3D layers of sound surrounding you from every side, the bass can be in the back of my head while the vocal is in my head and the details of the highs in stereo out of it. Really, you must hear it to understand and this is the first reason why I live the ''deeeeeeep fit revelation''!
Imaging, with well-recorded music, is crisp and airy, with a lot of clean space between instruments. Again, uniquely impressive!

BASS is rolled off in sub-bass extension, but mid-bass is round, just enough weighty and punchy, with great separation and attack speed. Sub-line can be heard, well separated from the kick drum, but dry and thin in body. What can move a bit of air is the kick, but with fast decay that avoids any bleed. The tone is realistic, texture too.

Mids are open and transparent, very well separated and centered but a bit thin and brightish-dryish. Sax, piano, vocal all lack body density. From upper mids and up it's where the sweet tonality spot begins. Female vocal has great definition and presence.

Highs ,even if non-sparkly and lacking some bite and decay, are the star of the show for me, just after female vocal. They are airy, dig a good amount of micro details and never harsh or splashy. Snare is super thigh and crisp, percussions clear and not too upfront and when needed. It's near analytical treble, with slight roll off begining in 12khz region, so some instrument might lack of brilliance to them.

Shallow eartips fit way sound is a bit smoother and more distant, still boosted in mids.
Clarity is OK but imaging is abstract, the attack is slower and lack more snap too, all in all it doesnt offer an impressive sound experience compared to the ''Etymotic way''.



VS Audiosense T180 (single Knowles RAF-32873, 40$)
Less deep soundstage, inferior imaging. Timbre is more grainy-brightish. Bass have less weight. Both are mid and treble-centric but T180 dig less micro details and feel more shouty and harsh in upper mids. Vocal aren't as well extracted and busy tracks can easily go messy. T180 are more comfortable and better built, but in term of sound, they are less refined, clean and extended in bass & treble.

VS Akoustyx R-210 (120$, single custom Knowles BA):
Warmer, more forwards, with more natural timbre and wider, tapestry-like soundstage. Bass is thicker, warmer and less controlled and well separated. Overall sound is smoother and less clinical-analytical than NEON, but less out of your head and holographic too. NEON have dryer, thinner timbre and is more accurate in positioning-separation. Anyway, at the end i find RE-210 more musical and coherent, sounding more like a dynamic driver with weightier more weighty bass, more natural piano, violin, sax, vocal etc. Oh, and no deep insertion fit needed (not possible, like the T180). To be noted that in term of technicality alone, the 70$ cheaper NEON seem superior.



The NEON isn't an IEM for everyone, its sound signature is axed on clarity, mids and treble and can be improved with an audacious IEM insertion technique that only Ety fans know the secret.

Still, with right fit, it's level of technical prowess is high for the 50$ price and can deliver an impressively crisp holographic sound experience that I rarely or ever heard from any other IEM...will I try to Deeeeeply insert All my IEM now, to know if I can retrieve this impressive sound spatiality experience?

I don't think so. But I think some courageous audiophiles will.
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100+ Head-Fier
Love vocals and mids? You are at the right place 🎧🎶 - KB Ear Neon Review
Pros: - neutral tuning
- textured, fast, punchy bass
- open, detailed, midrange
- good BA timbre
- wide soundstage
- great IEM design and accessories
Cons: - very midrange and vocal-focused
- soundstage lack height and depth
- stock silicon tips aren't the best.
KB Ear Neon is KB Ear's latest IEM with a 1BA driver configuration. It is equipped with a Single Knowles 29689 Balanced Armature driver and it retails for $49usd. Its box comes with 3 pairs of silicon tips (S,M,L), a pair of foam tips, a 2pin 3.5mm cable, a case, and the IEMs itself.

Overall, pretty impressed with the unboxing experience. IMO the box is well designed and the accessory set is pretty decent.

With that out of the way, let's start the review.

*Disclaimer: This review is done using the included stock foam tips instead of silicon. Why? Read on further to find out…


  • I would describe the sound signature here as neutral. It is a mid-focused set with an emphasis on mids and vocals.
  • Bass here is BA bass, which means that it is textured, fast, dry, and punchy. No bass bleed detected. Foam tips (as per usual) loosens up the bass a bit, making it not as tight. Not a problem for me though.
  • The midrange is the star of the show here. I would describe the midrange here as detailed, open, well-articulated, and slightly warm. As expected from a BA driver, image separation is great and everything is rendered wide. If you are looking for clear mids with good image separation and detail, for $49usd, I think Neon is pretty good.
  • Vocal presence is good (if stock foam tips are used). Vocals, especially female vocals, are placed forward in the mix, which makes the Neon very good for vocals and acoustic tracks. I thoroughly enjoy using Neon for genres like indie pop, acoustic, or any songs that place heavy emphasis on vocals.
  • Timbre here is pretty natural for a BA, thanks to its slight warmth in the mids. Doesn't suffer from "glassy BA timbre".
  • Treble is smooth and slightly dark (again, thanks to foam tips). It is non-fatiguing and great for long listening sessions. No hints of sibilance can be detected too. Great!
  • Soundstage is rendered wide and open! Works well with the midrange here.
  • Left-right positional imaging is good. However, I do find front-back imaging to be lacking.
  • Love the design and colour choices of the Neon! Very fun and unique looking. Stands out from the crowd.
  • Great presentation and box design. Love the neon lights and the vibes that the box gives out.
  • Very good accessory set. Great portable slim case. I love the cable here as it looks and feels premium! Both silicon and foam tips are provided too.


  • Very midrange and vocal-focused. Looking for best bass and treble? This ain't it.
  • I would describe the soundstage here as being like a long, thin line. Despite Neon having a pretty wide soundstage, it lacks depth and height. Not the best for games as everything in front sounds like it is coming from behind.
  • Stock silicon tips aren't the best. I HIGHLY recommend using stock foam tips.
  • Foam tips roll off treble and loosen the bass. Thanks to this, treble lacks air and bass lacks tightness.
  • Sub-bass missing and bass could go deeper. But it is 1BA so I do not expect it to have Dynamic driver's bass capabilities.


  • With stock silicon tips, vocals (especially female vocals) sound hollow, distant, and compressed. It sounds like everything is coming from behind.
  • After changing the tips to the included stock foam tips, everything becomes better. Vocals sound fuller and more forward, mids have better clarity, and everything just sounds… correct.
  • Yes, common foam characteristics like rolled-off treble and loose bass are there, but I think the trade-off for better clarity, better vocals, and better mids is well worth it.


I think that KB Ear Neon is a pretty solid set of 1BA IEM for the price. I find that its midrange and vocal presentation works really well with genres like Indie, Bedroom pop, Chinese/Japanese/Korean vocals, acoustics, instrumentals, and many more midrange/vocal-focused genres.

One caveat though, and that is you need to use included foam tips. As mentioned above, the stock silicon tips that come with Neon aren't the best.

If you are looking for a neutral-sounding IEM that is mids-focused and sounds great with vocals, KB Ear Neon should definitely be in your shopping cart.