REVIEW: Ostry KC06
Feb 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2,536

Zelda

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REVIEW: Ostry KC06

 

 

 
 
Specifications:
 
Driver Unit: 10mm high dynamic CCAW Drive unit
Rated Impedance: 16Ω+/-15%
Sensitivity: ≥110dB (at 1000Hz)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 25 KHz
Distortion: ≤1% 110dB (20μpa)
Channel balance: ≤1.5dB (at 1000Hz)
Rated Power: 10mW
Maximum Input power: 30mW
Plug size: 3.5mm gold plated dual-channel plug
Cable: 1.35m environmental antibacterial TPU wire
 
 
Price: ~$60.
Available from ebay.com, penonaudio.com, aliexpress.com and others.
 
Official product page:
http://www.ostry.com.cn
 

 

 
 
 
Accessories:
6 pairs (S/M/L) of narrow-bore tips in 2 colors, white and semi-transparent grey
6 pairs (S/M/L) of wide-bore tips in same colors
3 pairs (S/M/L) of even wider tips in semi-transparent color, with red color core
1 soft carrying pouch
1 shirt clip
Earguides
 

 

 
 
Build Quality & Design:
Build quality is decent, nothing outstanding for nowadays standards in this price bracket. If I'm not wrong, the housings implement some titanium material in them. They feel quite sturdy. The cable on the housings entry is not from the rear or down part, but from the sides; short but nicely relieve. The cable is a bit stiff and springy but low in microphonics. The straight plug is quite thin and lacks the necessary relief. The Y-split is very small and there's no chin slider.
The design is quite nice, with a very classy finish, and a tad flashy.
Overall, they could be better built, but fortunately the sound quality makes up for everything.
 

 
 
Fit, Comfort & Isolation:
The KC06's design is quite straight and very easy to fit. Personally, I got better results with the narrow-bore tips, as they are more spherical and better sealing than the wider ones. No tip-rolling was really needed, and aftermarket tips didn't improve the fit, comfort or sound quality. The housings are very, very lightweight and smaller/shorter than what pictures may suggest. Rather comfortable for long listening sessions, but still not up there with the smaller Hifiman RE-400 or HSA Crystal, or even budget sets as the Philips SHE3580, nor as ergonomic as the Vsonic VSD1 or the Moe SS01, but nothing to complain about.
Isolation is a slightly lower than average, at least with stock tips. Aftermarket tips might improve it a tad more.
 

 

 
 
Sound:
According to the company, the KC06 model has no need of a burn-in process. Even though, my pair was given a standard 40~50hrs burn-in without serious changes noticed.
Expectedly, with 16Ω of impedance and 110dB sensitivity, the KC06 are very, very effective, and the easiest to drive among every other headphone I ever tried, be it IEMs, buds, over-ears or full-sizes. Even the old Soundmagic PL50 is second to these Ostry.
 
The overall signature is slightly mid-centric with a noticeable emphasis on the higher regions, mainly the lower treble.
 
The bass is quite soft in impact and lacks some body. Mid-bass does manage to show some sense of fullness, and doesn't feel as missing or "anemic" as the old RE-0, PL50 and similar, and even richer than the Hisound BA100, but definitely a lightweight contender, especially in the sub-bass extension and depth. However, the low-end quality is another story; it's very tight and detailed and really good in speed. It won't have much rumble but has the more natural decay of the dynamic drivers.
 
The midrange is the KC06's main attraction. Definitely forwarded, not too thin, not too thick, with great clarity and transparency. Very well-balanced from lower to upper mids, carrying a very nice warmth that gives a better texture and makes them more enjoyable and musical. Moreover, the sound is very open and airy with impressive detail. Vocals are simply at their best, very natural. Fairly intimate and very sweet with lot of energy, without sounding grainy or edgy, and reach a level of detail that is really worth praising, and putting on shame many of the other brands competitors.
 
The treble is similarly forwarded. Lower treble regions are somehow more prominent than the upper ones, what limits the highs extension a bit. Fortunately, as bright as they can sound, they remain reasonably smooth and easy to listen, never harsh or sibilant, which is always a plus. The KC06 are very resolving and handle complexity without much effort; sure, not as effortless and resolving as the B2 and R-50 (or other TWFK BA 'well-tuned' IEMs), but truly impressive for only $60.
 
While soundstage couldn't be called small or narrow, it won't have the presentation that less intimate, neutral or v-shaped phones may offer. Even so, they will make sets as the VSD1-S sound more 'closed' and limited.
 
 
Amping:
Surprisingly, despite of being too easy to drive they show quite an improvement from amplification. They're one of the few in-ears that benefit so nicely when amped without showing a hint of distortion. For best results it's preferably to match them with a slightly warmer amplifier/source to give the bass better texture and better body, making the KC06 more 'balanced' from lows to highs. With a stronger, higher-end amplifier they would rise even to a much higher performance in every aspect, matching the well-praised earphones in the $150+ range.
 
 All-in-all the KC06 offer quite a unique sound that reminds me a lot of one of my favorite sets, the Hifiman RE-400, not only in balance and presentation, but also, and more importantly, in quality. The mids are simply beautiful, and they are the only IEM that it's capable to rival the RE-400 special and unique midrange tuning, which is no easy task, even at the $100+ range, and almost impossible in the sub $100. Bass quantity is almost identical, but the Hifiman's sound flatter with better extension on both ends, while the Ostry's give a slightly brighter tone on upper mids and lowest highs. Curiously, the harder to drive RE-400 show almost no gain from amplification, while the easy KC06 improve a lot, even beating them when well powered.
 
 
 
 
Value:
At their retail/street price the KC06 are really worth recommending on sound quality alone. The design is quite attractive, too, and while I can't complain about the fit/comfort, the isolation is sub-par for the daily use. Now, for those that don't need too much isolation and are looking for a silky midrange with beautiful vocals, the Ostry KC06 could be an excellent match that rivals the widely praised RE-400, for a relatively lower price.
 
 
         ==========================================================================
 
Impressions and Comparisons from other Head-fi'ers
Thanks to ebrian for collecting all these impressions/comparisons and everyone for posting them. For starters I've selected some, and probably will add more later:
 
Impressions:
 
sfwalcer's impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1230#post_10487600
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1410#post_10499571
 
baycode's impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1380#post_10497900
 
ebrian's impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1485#post_10507346
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/2025#post_10586130
 
Telltale's impressions: 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1500#post_10508485
 
gyx11's impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1515#post_10509311
 
steepers' full impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1605#post_10519674
 
vwinter's full impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1695#post_10538607
 
Theogenes full impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/2205#post_10726674
 
SkiesOfAzel full impressions:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/2220#post_10744925
 
 
Comparisons:
 
shotgunshane's comparisons of KC06 and SoundMagic E10:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/75#post_10393635
 
SkyBleu's comparison of KC06 and VSD1S:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/195#post_10414840
 
Zelda's comparison of KC06 and Moe Audio SS01:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/165#post_10412798
 
gyx11's comparison between Havi ProI B3 and KC06:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1335#post_10494560
 
gyx11's comparison between Havi B3, KC06 and Tenore:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/684159/chinese-asian-brand-info-thread-headphones-iems-amps-dacs/4005#post_10658030
 
UnityIsPower's comparison betrween Gr07 BE and KC06:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1350#post_10495829
 
ebrian's comparison between Kc06 and Tenore:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1635#post_10528618
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/1650#post_10528867
 
james444 comparison of KC06 and Tenore:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/2145#post_10646323
 
syedZ2ez4's comparison of KC06, im70, im50, ckr9, dx90:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/706595/review-ostry-kc06/2190#post_10697965
 
Feb 20, 2014 at 5:11 PM Post #5 of 2,536

james444

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Thanks for your review and glad that the Ostry KC06 finally get a little more attention! I've had them for two weeks now and think they're pretty amazing for the price.
 
In fact, I'd rate them even higher than you. Haven't heard the RE400, but compared to my RE600, the only thing the latter have over the KC06 is a tad more detail and refinement in the mids. On the other hand, the KC06's bass is better textured and more dynamic, while the RE600 sound overly damped in comparison. Treble presence is also better on the KC06 and makes them sound more airy / open than the rather polite RE600, while treble quality is about the same. And soundstage, which benefits from both dynamic bass and airy treble is simply no comparison imo, the KC06's presentation being noticeably more 3D than the RE600's.
 
Overall, the only thing the KC06 are really somewhat lacking in my book is isolation... well, and maybe a tiny bit of extension, but that's about it. At $60, they're a bargain buy for those looking for a well-balanced sound signature and have my unreserved recommendation.
 
Feb 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM Post #6 of 2,536

Zelda

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  Thanks for your review and glad that the Ostry KC06 finally get a little more attention! I've had them for two weeks now and think they're pretty amazing for the price.
 
In fact, I'd rate them even higher than you. Haven't heard the RE400, but compared to my RE600, the only thing the latter have over the KC06 is a tad more detail and refinement in the mids. On the other hand, the KC06's bass is better textured and more dynamic, while the RE600 sound overly damped in comparison. Treble presence is also better on the KC06 and makes them sound more airy / open than the rather polite RE600, while treble quality is about the same. And soundstage, which benefits from both dynamic bass and airy treble is simply no comparison imo, the KC06's presentation being noticeably more 3D than the RE600's.
 
Overall, the only thing the KC06 are really somewhat lacking in my book is isolation... well, and maybe a tiny bit of extension, but that's about it. At $60, they're a bargain buy for those looking for a well-balanced sound signature and have my unreserved recommendation.

Very interesting. I've been interested in the RE-600 for a while, as i like the RE-400 a lot. Would like to confirm that myself.
 
Anyway, the KC06 is quite amazing. And if Ostry improve the design/build and isolation (even for a higher price), they'd make one of the best deals ever.
 
Feb 26, 2014 at 6:12 AM Post #9 of 2,536

tomscy2000

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Because I was curious what the various different versions of the KC06 were, I decided to write to Ostry, and amazingly, they replied back within hours. (Perhaps it was that I wrote them in Chinese, rather than English.)
 
This was Ostry's reply to me (my translations are in bold):
金色版的KC06與普通版KC06在音質上是沒有區別的。 The gold version of the KC06 and the regular KC06 are identical in terms of sound quality.
 
金色版僅僅作為配色的壹種,在節日或者具有紀念意義的場合下發售的限量版本,具有收藏價值。
The gold version is merely a limited collector's edition color variant, for commemorative purposes for the holidays.
 
紅色KC06A是屬於kc06的壹種調音改變,外形改變,線材顏色與工藝改變的壹種更為酷炫的版本,將於4月初上市。
The red KC06A is a retuned version of the KC06, along with exterior changes, such as cable color and construction changes, for a cooler-looking effect, due to be released in April.
 
KC06A對於大動態的音樂等適用性更廣,在樂感、解析力與分離度上比KC06有著更進壹步的提升。
The KC06A's dynamic expression has been expanded for a greater variety of music, as it has been improved over the KC06 in terms of musicality, resolution, and stereo separation.
 
與您的看法相同,均衡是我們認為正確的聽音方向。OSTRY是個新品牌,但是我們有著近20年的單元研發基礎與自主動鐵的研發。所以我們的每款產品將會以最高規格去制作。所有產品主打音質高端,外形酷炫,工藝高端,設計創新,高性價比的理念。
We also believe in balanced presentation as being the best for music listening. Although OSTRY is a new brand, our company has close to 20 years of independently-derived R&D experience for dynamic transducers. Thus, every one of our products are made to our highest specifications. All of our products contain our belief of delivering high-end sound quality, stylish and innovative design, great build quality, and exceptional price-to-performance ratio.
 
近期我們的刻圖定制服務已經開啟。下圖是耳機的刻圖定制服務。EVA迷的私人定制之壹。
Recently, we've begun a custom engraving service. The picture below shows an earphone with our custom design engraving service applied, as requested by an EVA fan.

 
 
Feb 26, 2014 at 6:43 AM Post #10 of 2,536

james444

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Besides the RE-400, what would you say is the closest IEM it sounds similar to?
 
H-200? TF-10? DBA-02? RE0? Etc.

 
As a rough approximation, imagine a RE0 with less damped / more dynamic (but still neutral) bass and larger soundstage.
 
  Although OSTRY is a new brand, our company has close to 20 years of independently-derived R&D experience for dynamic transducers.

 
Thanks for your translation! As I said earlier in the other thread, I'm highly impressed by their tuning skills. The above statement explains it somewhat.
 
Feb 26, 2014 at 6:45 AM Post #11 of 2,536

SkyBleu

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As a rough approximation, imagine a RE0 with less damped / more dynamic (but still neutral) bass and larger soundstage.
 
 
Thanks for your translation! As I said earlier in the other thread, I'm highly impressed by their tuning skills. The above statement explains it somewhat.

That sounds like what I need! Thank you for your description. Would you say its musical? As in the PRaT, and if it flows well.
 
Feb 26, 2014 at 7:59 AM Post #12 of 2,536

james444

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  Would you say its musical? As in the PRaT, and if it flows well.

 
Well, everybody has their own idea of that term, but to me they're very musical.
 
Feb 26, 2014 at 8:03 AM Post #13 of 2,536

SkyBleu

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Well, everybody has their own idea of that term, but to me they're very musical.

I'll take your word for it:) 
 
A pair I shall grab! (....soon)
 
Would you say the cable is of similar quality to the RE0?
 
Feb 26, 2014 at 8:17 AM Post #14 of 2,536

james444

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  Would you say the cable is of similar quality to the RE0?

 
It's most simlar to the GR07's cable and looks good to me. But only time will tell if it lasts.
 
Feb 26, 2014 at 8:46 AM Post #15 of 2,536

SkyBleu

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It's most simlar to the GR07's cable and looks good to me. But only time will tell if it lasts.

I find the Vsonic cables to be of nice, soft texture with assumed durability. Hopefully the Ostry's are as durable.
 

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