Zerest Audio: Kagami Plus

General Information

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QUALITY, MEET AFFORDABILITY

Our high-performance drivers deliver rich clarity, allowing you to fully immerse in your favourite jam. We promise a perfect balance between affordability and quality, with no hidden and unnecessary costs.

LOOK GOOD, SOUND GOOD

Our chrome plated outer shell comes with a beautiful reflective finish - giving it the name 'Kagami' which means mirror in Japanese.

Our inner shell comes in 4 unique pantone colors. One of our chosen colors, Marsala, even won the pantone color award of the year.

STANDARD

Our 10mm dynamic drivers are
specially tuned after vigorous rounds of testing so that we can bring you the finest of sound details.

Every pair of earphone is hand assembled and quality controlled in Singapore so that you get the very best.

COMFORT & DURABILITY

Nothing beats a pair of comfy earphones that sits snugly in your ears. Made with durable ABS plastic, and weighing only 20grams.

The size of our earphones are perfect for small ears and it's lightness means it can be worn comfortably for long periods of time.



SPECIFICATION:


MODEL: ZEREST AUDIO KAGAMI PLUS

IMPEDANCE: 16Ω

SENSITIVITY: 98dB

FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20KHz

CABLE LENGTH: 1.3M

PIN TYPE: MMCX CONNECTOR

PLUG TYPE: 3.5mm

DRIVER UNIT(S): (1) DYNAMIC DRIVER



Official Site:
https://www.zerestaudio.com

Latest reviews

Zerstorer_GOhren

100+ Head-Fier
Smooth, Pleasant Yet Rustic
Pros: • A warm, balanced sounding that most listeners familiar with.
• Smooth treble without any jarring and sibilance.
• Very light and compact IEM that can be wear for a long listening session.
• Easy to drive set.
Cons: • That cheaply-made ABS shell.
• Technicalities are indeed its inherent weakness.
• Poor isolation due to a short nozzle design of its shell.
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Oi! Mates, Welcome to my another review article on this month and what we have here is an introductory product from a new audio company from Singapore, Zerest Audio. This product model of theirs is called Kagami Plus.

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Kagami Plus is a single dynamic driver set-up encapsulated in an ABS plastic shell to provide an enough protection and average durability. It’s house casing was coated with some metallic silver-coloured paint on its faceplate while the base part is just a plain, exposed blue plastic. To be honest, the overall design is just too plain in my liking as eye-pleasing aesthetic design are one of my criteria on purchasing an IEM but it depends on some people given that they might like its minimalist cues on it. Kagami Plus uses a MMCX connector for flexibility and ease to do cable swapping within a seconds.

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When it comes to wearing aspect, it does fit enough though it doesn’t insert well into my lugholes due to its short nozzle as it is bit shallow that it has a poor isolation. The good thing of Kagami Plus is that it very comfortable that I can do a long listening session due to its lightweight.

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The packaging of Kagami is more of a bare bone one as it includes some basic accessories like the IEMs itself, a four(4) core cable in 3.5mm termination jack, some eartips of standard sizes and a small card contains of simple instruction manual and warranty.

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When it comes to drivable rating from audio player sources, its amplification is well noted that it can be easily powered from decent audio sources like smartphones, tablets and other media player devices.


The tonality of Kagami Plus is more of a U-shaped sound signature as bass and treble has more emphasis over midrange. The tuning is more of a safer one that most of the listeners will be enjoy a balanced tuning of this IEM.


LOWS/BASS:

Due to its U-shape tuning, the bass is most prominent to the overall sound. It has a sufficient punchiness but not that haptic and deep bass that a basshead wanted to have one on their preferred sound signature.

Sub bass is more prominent than the mid bass as it has a substantial rumble to perceive but it doesn’t mean that it overwhelms the mid bass. Mid bass has an enough texture to give an ample body to bass kicks and bass guitar but it is still bit lacking when it comes being a concrete sounding on my preference to bassy IEMs.

There is also some hint of bass bleeding that will affect the quality of midrange and treble as it smears slightly on vocals and instruments.


MIDS:

The mids are a bit recessed in the overall sound as vocals are less engaging and tad emotive in my liking due its more leaning towards being warm sounding that I find it lacking especially in females vocals while the instruments sounds very pleasant and natural that I find them engaging enough.


It has a good presentation on male vocals due to its warmth that it adds up some texture to sound more bodied. Female vocals are a bit lethargic and lean due to its less energetic and subdued extension to give a confined, less opened sounding.


As for instruments, it has a substantial texture on some percussive and wind instruments to sound more natural but on strings like acoustic guitars and violins aren’t that engaging and less detailed due to lack of crisp and definition due to its warmth nature.


HIGHS/TREBLE:

Despite of the emphasis on treble, it doesn't have that harshness nor strident that most treble-elevated/bright IEMs prone on that issue. It has smooth delivery across the treble region that some listener will perceived it as a dark sounding due to its inherent warm tuning.


Sibilance and raspiness certainly absent due to a less peaky on upper mids but there is a caveat in all of these smoothness which is some comprises on clarity and resolution.


Treble extension is a bit lacking due to to limitation of its driver as I really want a more sparkling and airiness from the clattering sound of cymbals.


But overall, it has a silky and safe tuning that prolong listening experience will be more pleasant and comfortable to a listener.


SOUNDSTAGE, IMAGING AND OTHER TECHNICALITIES:


I'll be straight on this one as technical aspects are one of the criteria that I'm looking for an IEM. This is not a technical IEM as I can pointing out its flaws immediately.


Soundstage is more of an average on its width, insufficiency on its depth and more emphasis on height which I find it not proportional on its perceive sound field. Imaging is bland as it doesnt really defined the placement of instruments and vocals and they are fuzzy and congested. Its more aif a typical two-dimensional stereo presentation. Separation is quite average at it has only a minimal gap on its spacing of each instruments.


Only coherency is somehow a redeeming factor of this IEM since it's a single DD and it gives a cohesive and nimble perfomance to give a more solid, dynamic sound.



PEER COMPARISONS:


HZ Mirror



  • HZ Mirror is cheaper and delivers a better tonality over Kagami.
  • HZ Mirror's shell is a metal alloy while Kagami is made of ABS plastic in durability will be a bit problematic in a long run given that ABS plastics doesn't work well in a tropical climate.
  • Technicalities on both IEMs are comparable as they have similarities from soundstage to coherency but I still choose HZ Mirror by a hair.

ND NSK:


  • ND NSK is way cheaper than Kagami but once again it has a bit better on tonality and even technicalities.
  • ND NSK has better stock cable (still one of the best cable in under US$20/£14 range)
  • ND NSK has an overall better technicalities like a wider soundstage, better depth and equally good height reach on its sound field. Separation and Imaging is even better on ND NSK.
  • ND NSK has a QDC-type 2 pin connector while Kagami has MMCX connector, I slightly prefer the later as I have bad experience with QDC connectors.


As I end my review here, Zerest Audio is still on a learning curve on how to deliver a better product on their next releases. For sure that their first product is commendable and quite impress on their effort on how they market their product but given to the ever-changing and competetive portable audio market, it's a bit of a challenge on their part that they must release a more solid and refined product in the future. I'm looking toward on it, Zerest Audio.


Despite of the inherent weakness of Kagami which are its technicalities aspect, choice of materials on its shells and price point, There is a silver lining to it and it is to deliver a fun, engaging and smooth sounding IEM that will be very versatile to all genres and gives you a satisfying listening experience.


Zerest Audio Kagami Plus is currently price at US$ 65.00/ £ 51.

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SPECIFICATION:

MODEL: ZEREST AUDIO KAGAMI PLUS

IMPEDANCE: 16Ω

SENSITIVITY: 98dB

FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20KHz

CABLE LENGTH: 1.2M

PIN TYPE: MMCX CONNECTOR

PLUG TYPE: 3.5mm

DRIVER UNITS: (1) DYNAMIC DRIVER


Some Tracks Tested: ( * = 16-bit FLAC, ** = 24-bit FLAC, *'* = MQA, '*' = DSD, *'= .WAV)


Alison Krauss -When You Say Nothing At All *
Jade Wiedlin - Blue Kiss**
Led Zeppelin - When The Levee Breaks **
Mountain - Mississippi Queen *
Queen - Killer Queen **
Guns N' Roses - Patience *'*
Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven '*'
Sergio Mendes- Never Gonna Let You Go '*'
Pearl Jam - Daughter **
Roselia - Hidamari Rhodonite *
Assassin - Fight (To Stop The Tyranny)*
Celtic Frost- Visual Aggression *
New Order - Blue Monday *
The Corrs- What Can I do (unplugged version) *
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Voodoo Child *
The Madness- Buggy Trousers *
Metallica - Motorbreath **
Mariah Carey- Always Be My Baby *
Destiny's Child - Say My Name *
Malice Mizer- Au Revoir *
Mozart - Lacrimosa *
New York Philharmonic Orchestra - Dvorak- Symphony 9 " From the New World." *
Eva Cassidy - Fields of Gold (Sting cover)*
Michael Jackson - Give In To Me *
Exciter - Violence and Force *
Diana Krall - Stop This World **
Debbie Gibson - Foolish Beat *'*
Lucretia my Reflection – The Sisters of Mercy **
Suzanne Vega – Luka **


P.S.
I am not affiliated to Zerest Audio nor receive monetary incentives and financial gains as they provide me a review unit for an exchange of factual and sincere feedback from yours truly.

Once again, I would like to thank Jeremy Lin for providing this review unit, I truly appreciate on his generosity towards me and other reviewers.
Last edited:

RemedyMusic

New Head-Fier
Kagami+ - A toy for your ears
Pros: Forward vocals (subjective)
Very nice openness on top
Punchy and thumpy low ends
Very good treble extension
Enjoyable U-shaped tuning
Mids have forward nature (subjective)
Cons: Build is made of cheap plastic
Kramp sound stage
Instruments especially drum snares, sometimes sounded non realistic/artificial
Very basic inclusions
Big ears might have trouble with fitting. Loose fit.
Oddly angled nozzle
INTRODUCTION:

Zerest Audio is a company based in Singapore. This is the first time I have heard of them and I would like to thank Jeremy Lim for reaching out. This unit was sent for free, and in exchange, this honest impression from me. For more details,please visit their official website www.zerestaudio.com
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DISCLAIMER:


My opinions here are completely my own. I am NOT in any way influenced by any form of incentive. This is purely my honest, subjective impressions and experience with the gear on hand. I cannot stress more that you should take this as a grain of salt for we have different perception to sound and what we hear. I always try my best to stick with the stock accessories that come with the gear by default. You are free to try other methods such as tip rolling or cable rolling. Below are worth noting before concluding on what I say here:

1. DAP (digital audio player, be it phone, laptop, mobile, or stationary setup)
2. DAC or dongle or any external amp
3. Ear Tips
4. Cables
5. Source of audio file be it offline FLACS or streaming services like Deezer, Apple music, Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify and the likes..
6. Your playlist. It matters and is worth considering when reading from a reviewer's perspective. It is apparent that you get to know your favorite reviewer and what they are listening to leisurely and critically.

My reviews are more on how music sounds in my ears. The technical stuff like frequency graphs and the physics behind the tech and drivers used, I leave to other reviewers.


SPECIFICATIONS:

Configuration: 10mm dynamic driver (polyethylene terephthalate)
Impedance: 16ohms
Sensitivity: 98db
Freq response: 20hz - 20khz


PACKAGING:
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Packaging is somewhat basic as well for inclusions. Package includes the following:

1. 3 silicon tips (S,M,L)
2. A pair of foam tips
3. A pair of Kagami+
4. Cable
5. Documentation


Now let us dive into how Kagami sounds..

LOWS:

Lows have good weight and density here. Definitely elevated but I doubt if it is for bass heads. A casual listener will find this gratifying. Drum kicks and bass guitars have a punchy and thumpy nature. And minimal bleeds to neighboring frequencies. Sub bass is more pronounced than mid bass. Has good control and average texture. No Limit by Marcus Miller was still presented very nicely as my test track for lows. Comparing it to my other IEMs around 100$, the Kagami is inferior by just a small margin.

Conclusively, I was suprised that lows here are clean and tight. I liked it and definitely for a casual listener. Not the quickest presentation of lows here, but not slow to muddy up your tracks.
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MIDS:

I am mid centric, and Kagami suprised me here. Specially the vocals. Vocals are forward here which I personally prefer. 95% of the time, vocals does not sit behind the percussions. If that is your thing, you will love the mids here. This will also benefit singers who study and do cover songs. Elements and instruments have average tone and timbre. On my first hours of listening, the mids sounded very artificial but later on, this character faded away. Instruments is still presented in a natural and organic way. Comparing it to my Tinhifi T3plus, I prefer Kagami’s mids. It is my personal preference and I want my mids forward.

Conclusively, mids here are the star of the show. Especially in terms of vocals. It is safe to conclude, Kagami’s strength is mids and vocals.

TREBLES:

In terms of treble, Kagami has a nice openness and air. Did not sound veiled at all and many small nuances and details are audible. New new Orleans by Christian Scott my favorite test track for treble hotness, did not sound piercing or shouty. Treble has good control here and I have no recollection of any sibilance. Code Cool by Patricia Barber has some close to sibilance presentation but not enough to make me grin. Cymbal strikes and bells did not feel painful to listen to. Treble sensitive might like to consider this. This might be fatiguing to listen to after 2 hours of straight listening.

Conclusively, trebles here have good control and openness is the name of the game. Those who love their trebles will love this one. Treble sensitives need to audition before purchasing.
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FIT & ISOLATION

Fit offers comfortability but is a bit tricky for me. Seal has a loose manner and oddly I used the L stock tips. The M size is just too small for me given that I always go for M sizes. Tip rolling is strongly suggested. Isolation is below average as I have my on-stage performances to test this. Wear does not exhibit any physical pain but I find myself always trying to find the right angle for good sound, fit and seal. Which is cumbersome on my part. This is a factor that should not be overlooked. How could I listen enjoyably if I have to constantly adjust. The overall weight is lacking and is too light in my opinion.

TECHNICALITIES:

Stage is somewhat kramp for my ears. Note that IEMs offer the minimal soundstage compared to earbuds and headphones, but with Kagami, I find the sound stage somewhat narrow. Imaging is average as I can still follow elements easily but not as accurately as my other IEMs. Separation is its weakness and this is quite a turn off for me. T3plus offers more capable technicalities. In terms of resolution, this is another weak point for the Kagami.


SOURCES AND GEARS:

LG V30 hifi dac (high impedance mode)
Hiby Music player
UAPP app (USB Audio Player Pro)
Tidal Masters subscription
offline FLACS
Hidizs AP80 pro
Deezer Hifi subscription

Here are some tracks I usually listen to when reviewing:

That’s the way of the World by EWF
Africa by TOTO
The Girl in the Other Room by Diana Kral
Balmorhea album All is wild, All is Silent
Sila by Sud
Smooth Escape by D’Sound
Never too Much by Luther Vandross
P.Y.T by Michael Jackson
Ain’t no Sunshine by Eva Cassidy
Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC
Another one bites the Dust by Queen
Good times bad times by Edie Brickell
Alice in Wonderland by Bill Evans
Ain’t it Fun by Paramore
Redefine by Incubus
Far Away by Nickelback
Lovesong by Adele
Lingus by Snarky Puppy
Harvest for the World by Vanessa Williams
Love Bites by Def Leppard
No Such Thing by John Mayer
As by Stevie Wonder
Whip Appeal by Babyface
Ain’t Nobody by Chaka Khan
Futures by Prep
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Every Summertime by NIKI
SADE tracks
AC/DC tracks
Queen tracks



And many more… I always listen to High resolution format, being the least quality 16bit/44khz FLACS be it offline or online.
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VERDICT:

With all honesty, I find myself surprised by Kagami in terms of tonality. How could a build so cheaply made, sound this good. Yes you heard me. Cheaply made. The material used is the first disappointment for me. It feels really cheap on the hands. Like a cheap toy. I sometimes try to convince myself that it doesn’t sound good but it is pretty decent sounding. I might even pick these over the recently released KZ’s for sound. Secondly, the fit is an issue for me. Though it offers pain free experience, I find the fit loose and not adequate for live performances. If you are just sitting around with your music player, this can be but if you are on the move, it is somewhat a disaster in my experience. Technicalities are somewhat below average for me. The T3plus got me covered on this one. The main strength of Kagami for me is its vocal presentation. I like my vocals forward and Kagami even does a better job than T3plus on this aspect. Moreover the midrange frequencies.

I think Zerest audio could have done a better job on this one. Especially with the build. The technicalities I understand. We are talking sub $100 IEMs here but companies like Tanchjim are releasing technically capable products in this price range. If Zerest Audio wants to join the competition, I think they should up their game on their research and tech. Nonetheless, Kagami was fun to listen to but not yet there to join my daily rotation of IEMs. The fit is another issue but I leave it to you and your ears.

So that is a wrap! Hope you enjoyed reading and I hope to see more of Zerest Audio in the near future and may this review somehow give them the motivation to improve. Thanks and catch you on the next one!
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NymPHONOmaniac

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: -Well balanced V shape
-Warm yet well resolve enough
-Natural timbre
-beautifull full bodied male vocal
-free of sibilance or offensive peaks
-versatile tuning
Cons: -Average technicalities
-not well define bass
-lack of attack snap and natural resonance
-poor imaging
-very poor construction
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TONE: 8.2/10
TECHNICALITIES: 7/10
CONSTRUCTION-DESIGN: 5/10
SOUND VALUE: 7.5/10




ZEREST AUDIO is a new startup from Singapore. They have for now 2 IEM in their fresh IEM catalogue: the Kagami and Kagami plus. Today, i will review the Kagami plus which is more aimed for audiophile and promise a well balanced neutral sound with high resolution free of sibilance. The Kagami+ is a single Dynamic driver IEM selling for 65$.

CONSTRUCTION

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While the sound have nothing to do with a cheap 10$ IEM, the construction did make you question the price of this earphones. Sure, Zerest is a small startup, but they better step up their game in term of housing material and manufacturing. Construction is all light cheap (ABS) plastic glued togheter unprofessionally. While it have the advantage of being light and quite comfortable, the plastic shell yeal fragility and are prompt to easy scratch, mmcx connector will surely get loose very fast if you connect disconnect cable alot.

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Sorry Zerest, I need to underline this: this level of craftmanship quality is just not competitive enough at 65$. Accessories are minimal but their a big carrying pouch wich is a welcome gift. Cable is very basic too.

SOUND IMPRESSIONS

(source used: Xduoo LINK2, Xduoo X20, Xduoo XD05+)

TONALITY is stated to be neutral by Zerest, but it would only be perceive as so from mass audio enthusiast since it’s a well balance U shape with warm bass and mids and crisp upper treble peak. Lower Bass is the most boosted part of spectrum and tend to embrace whole tonality, it have good amount of lower mids and smooted upper mids. As stated, it’s free of sibilance and treble isn’t harsh yet deliver some intricate micro-details adding a bit of air on top of otherwise thick warm tonality.

TECHNICALITIES are decent, not mind blowing and seem all the talent is into treble speed attack, which are fast, snappy and sparkly. We have good extension at both end of spectrum, but not in a linear way. IMAGING is a bit veiled and imprecise especially from low to mids which are overly warm and lack micro definition. Resolution is average yet not too dark. Transparency is a bit fuzzy. Soundstage is intimate, average wide and lacking in deepness. Imaging is rather dark and imprecise.

BASS is the problematic part to my critical snobbish ears, it’s warm and a hint boomy and separation lack proper space and definition. Whatever hit of bass you get, digital or acoustic kick drum, it will kinda sound the same. It have a warm slam that feel very dark in resolution, lacking texture for proper grip. Kick presence is swallow by sub and mid bass and their some bleeding into lower mids, which can be seen as positive since it had body and breath to vocal and woodwind instruments. This type of bass benefit some electronic music like dub-techno from Azu Tiwaline, the boom is enjoyable this way since this music barely have no mids and is all about bass hit and highs sounds. Simply put, this type of ”slam obsessed bass” is good when it come to headbanging hit, but no for acoustic instrument or electric bass that need deep linear extension.

MIDS while just a hint more recessed than lows and upper treble, are very well done in term of tone and have a lean lushness to them, making it sound very pleasant for vocal and instrument that benefit from warm coloration. They are innoffensive and not very textured, free of sibilance. Female have hint of extra low harmonic that thicken the body with an appealing breathyness. Male vocal sound wonderfully full and bodied with presence focus. Instrument that need precise definition like piano or violin will sound a bit blend and thin. Yep, these are bipolar mids that is hit or miss depending of music genre, so i would not suggest to listen to classical, not piano jazz trio, but guitar jazz trio is quite good, folk too, still, the Kagami prefer pop music that doesn’t have too much instrument and speed.

TREBLE is quite good, its vivid yet not too agressive and avoid harshness and splashyness. It have hint of nice sparkle to it too which is a proof of good extension that permit to add a bit of air to overall sound presentation. This isn’t the richest treble, it do dig micro details but not the full picture of them, so violin in higher harmonic will sound a bit thin and boxy, while for acoustic guitar it will benefit brilliance and sparkle which is a plus. In fact, treble might be my favorite part of these IEM even if not very textured, round or fully extended. When both acoustic guitar and clavichord sound well define and lively enough in attack and decay, i’m sold.

COMPARISONS

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VS MOONDROP ARIA (1DD-80$)

Well, what hit first is how more V shape and mid bass boosted is the Kagami, after its how warmer and less transparent-detailed it is. Let say it already, technically Aria is miles ahead, but tonaly it might be less appealing for some since it sound colder, leaner and more neutral and pretty light in mid bass punch too. Vocal, while cleaner and more textured-detailed are less dense and lush than Kagami too. Treble is notably fuller, more sparkly and resonant and extended with Aria. Soundstage is wider-taller and notably deeper and imaging way more precise, spacious and well define in separation. All in all, Aria feel from another league here, but we can give to the darker Kagami a more fun bassy tonality and lusher timbre.

VS TINHFI T3+ (1dd-70$)
Well, these two are more similar in tonal balance though T3+ is brighter and more V shape this time which make it for a quite agressive listen after being with warmer lusher and smoother Kagami. Kagami is more natural in timbre though less detailed and the attack si a bit more loose especially in bass where the punch isn’t as tight and weighty-punchy as T3+. Mye ars find the Kagami way more pleasant musically, and permissive of bad recording since it will not extract background hiss and artefacts as easily, but if i was listening to rock or music neading more abrasive treble and upepr mids the choice will be T3+. Vocal while being more fowards are more agressive too with T3+, making me prefer the one of Kagami. Soundstage is a bit deeper and imaging a bit more precise with T3+, but treble is less well balanced and attack a bit more shouty.
All in all, technically they are near on par while tonaly the Kagami is less fatiguing and have a more cohesive warm balance.

CONCLUSION

While the Kagami isn’t a king of technical performance, it offer a very well balanced and pleasant sound, rich and natural in timbre, lush in the mids, warm and weigty in bass that will please fan of Ibasso IT00 ,or Tinhifi T3+ searching for a smoother tonality.
The achille heel of the Zerest Audio Kagami it’s poor construction and design, which can’t be take seriously for 65$, so until this is solved it’s overall buying value will be in jeopardy.
Nonetheless, Zerest Audio is a young company with great potential that offer a very accessible yet good sounding first IEM.

—————-

PS: I wanna give a big thank you to Zerest Audio for sending me this sample after I manifest them my curiosity about their Kagami+ IEM. As always, i’m not affiliated nor pay to write a review of this product.
You can buy the Kagami and Kagami+ directly from Zerest Audio official website here:
https://www.zerestaudio.com/


-----
For more honnest audio reviews of obscure and popular audio products, give a read to my blog here:
https://nobsaudiophile.com/
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