First off, let me start by saying thanks to Vicky from Ostry for arranging a sample unit of the KC06A for my honest evaluation for just the cost of the shipping.
The KC06A’s predecessor, the KC06, caused quite a serious hype on Head-Fi and the new model did as well. Besides a slightly different design, the new one is said to have a bassier and warmer sound signature, but should share the core values of the good sound.
In my review, I’ll also add comparisons to the Brainwavz M3 and Havi B3 Pro I, two IEMs that also offer good value for their money, when I describe the KC06A’s sound quality.
Transducer: 10 mm CCAW double-cavities driver
Sensitivity: ≥ 102 dB @ 1 kHz
Impedance: 16 Ohms (+/- 15%)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
Distortion: < 1% @ 102 dB
Channel Imbalance: < 1.5 dB @ 1 kHz
Rated Power: 10 mW
Cable: 1.35 m environment-friendly antibacterial TPU cable
On the top of the package, where “Ostry” and “KC06A” are printed in a glossy red, there is a window on the centre that allows you a sneak peek on the IEMs and the straight 3,5 mm connector.
On the sides, there is the model name as well as Ostry’s slogan “O’s life always try”.
The actual delivery content contains of the in-ear monitors, a grey carrying pouch with the Ostry logo on it, the warranty card, a shirt clip, black silicone ear-hooks, dark grey silicone tips (for “bass”; S/M/L), light grey silicone tips (for “treble”; S/M/L) and black silicone tips with firm red stem and a metal mesh sound filter (one size; M).
The selection of eartips that have got an effect on sound is quite good, though I’d have liked to see three sets of the metal mesh tips in different sizes as well as a zippered case instead of the pouch.
Aesthetics, Build Quality:
The IEMs are made of dark, shiny metal, but aren’t heavy at all and have got the Ostry lettering in dark grey colour on them.
The “faceplate” is designed with red and white tribal pattern that kind of forms an “O” and continues on the body.
Build quality is sublime and there is nothing that I could criticise.
The cable has got a dark grey, semi-transparent coat, which lets you see the silver and red wires. Joyfully, the cable is very soft and flexible. A bit sad is that there is almost no strain relief, but I don’t really miss it due to the flexibility.
Designing the y-split, Ostry took it literally and made it in the shape of a small “Y”-letter which is manufactured of metal and shows the model name. Unfortunately, a chin-slider is lacking.
The straight 3.5 mm metal plug with the Ostry logo has got two grooves which make it grippier.
With the KC06A, it is possible to wear it with the cables straight down as well as guiding them over the ears. Just as with all of my IEMs, I prefer the latter more professional style, as it improves fit as well as seat and reduces microphonics (cable noise). With the Ostry, I don’t need the silicone ear-hooks, as the cable goes around the ears smoothly.
Sit, fit and comfort are pretty good and to my surprise, I don’t miss the chin-slider too much on this particular IEM.
Microphonics are close to zero with the KC06A when I’m wearing it with the cables around the ears.
The in-ears have got two holes in each of the bodies, but isolation is not too little and still mediocre for vented IEMs and for example stronger than with the SoundMagic E10 and Brainwavz M3, but less than with the Havi B3 Pro I.
Before listening more critically, the IEMs were burnt in for at least 100 hours (just in case).
The KC06A was mainly used with my iBasso DX90, playing WAV, Hi-Res, FLAC and some 320 kBps MP3-files.
With these easy to drive IEMs, Ostry includes three different styles of eartips for shaping sound. With the dark grey and light grey tips, I used the large ones. However, as Ostry only includes one pair of medium-sized metal mesh filter tips, fit wasn’t the best and I could only achieve a seal when inserting the IEMs very deeply, wherefore my third description of the metal mesh tips may not be that representative.
Incidentally speaking, the tips mainly have got an effect on treble (as my measurements with my Vibro Labs Veritas setup also prove, but I haven’t included them because my microphone isn’t completely calibrated yet).
Sound signature is warm and with a focus on the lows, with a quite broad-banded bass emphasis of circa 6 dB. Level doesn’t drop much in the sub-bass range and goes up into the middle upper fundamental tone, with only very minimal effect on the lower mids, although very deep voices sound more full-bodied.
Mids are present and a bit on the darker side, but not too much.
Highs are more in the background and overall quite consistent, although a bit relaxed in the middle highs. I can hear two peaks at 6 and 8 kHz, but they are still below the ground-line. Super treble is in the background, but reaches clearly above 14 kHz with good subtle sparkle. Overall, sound is homogeneous, but bright instruments like hi-hats have got a too dark impact and character.
The treble tips alter the middle and upper highs, which are a bit emphasised and brighter than before, but not much, and only form a mild v-shape that is comparable with the Fidue A73’s signature.
Using a sine generator, I can hear a resonance at 6.2 kHz and a peak at 8 and 12 kHz. Besides that, level in the super highs is identical to the bass tips.
Subjectively, I perceive the sound with the treble tips as the most natural out of the three, as cymbals have got a more natural character and the mildly bright upper treble compensates for the emphasised lows.
Mesh filter tips:
As only one size was included that didn’t provide an excellent sit (although it wasn’t that bad either), I’ll keep it short: audibly, sound is dark, mid-centric and with recessed treble and slightly reduced bass. My measurements could then also prove the more prominent mids and less present treble.
KC06A’s resolution is on a high level for the price and surpasses the Brainwavz M3 in the lows and treble, but the Brainwavz has got the higher resolving mids.
The Havi gets also very slightly beat in terms of mids and treble resolution/refinement, but the B3 Pro I reveals more details in the bass and fundamental tone, with the quicker and more arid impact.
Out of the three, the Ostry has got the most natural treble from what I perceive.
The low-range on the Ostry is a bit soft and I also kind of dislike that it doesn’t have a consistent aridness, as mid-bass and sub-bass are audibly softer than upper bass. It isn’t really slow, but belongs to the rather voluminous sort.
The Havi has got the faster bass response and the Brainwavz seems more controlled as well.
With faster music, the Ostry sounds a bit more congested than the other two IEMs, which is due to the slower decay in the mid-bass.
By the way, the bass tips offer the quickest bass response out of the three included tips, but also sound a bit blunt.
Spatial presentation is actually pretty good, with a stage that has got a decent width which is definitely wider than average, along with a good depth as well.
Instrument separation is quite sharp and precise and exceeds the M3’s and B3 Pro I’s, although the Havi has got the airier stage and better instrument placement, but doesn’t separate them as sharply from each other as the Ostry does.
The Brainwavz M3 has got more spatial depth wherefore it has got the better scaling, but the Ostry comes very close.
The Ostry KC06A is a technically excellent in-ear on a high level with a more consumer-oriented signature which is luckily not exaggerated for a reasonable price. Its resolution is very good in its class and I go that far to say that it can, regarding precision and resolution, compete with the Sennheiser IE 80 quite well (which on the other hand has got a different sounding).
Just like the Brainwavz M3 and Havi B3, there are also some weaknesses next to the strengths, and so the Ostry sounds a bit congested with fast music, compared to the other two IEMs I used for testing, which is mainly due to the bit slow decay in the mid-bass.
In other categories like resolution in bass and treble as well as instrument separation, I see the KC06A as the (slight) winner though.
In the end, it is all to one’s personal preference which IEM is the better suiting one – that said, the Brainwavz has got the best speech intelligibility and spatial depth, whereas the Havi has got the quickest and driest bass response and the airiest soundstage, and finally the Ostry offers, in my ears, the overall best resolution and most natural treble along with the sharpest instrument separation.