KB Ear KB06 review :
NO BS HALF-RECOMMENDED!!
KB Ear is a rather new ‘’chi-fi’’ comer, and receive mitiged praise for their audacious iem wich use a single balanced armature. This was due to quality check issue as well as using different drivers models for the same iem, leading to paradoxal impression including mine that wasn’t positive at all.
Now, because of F1 intense covering from multiple audio enthusiast as well as reviewers, their third model pass under the radar. This is strange due to the fact it use an hybrid dynamic + 2 balanced armature implementation and they cost near half the price of F1.
One thing sure, they sound better than both pricier F1 and even I4. This is why I feel obligated to review the KB06, because they are the best KB ear earphones yet even if they choose a very commun ‘’chi-fi’’ tuning wich consist of V shape plus upper mids emphasis to create a balanced but slightly brigth musicality.
Now, let’s see if at around 20$, they can be considered a good bet for budget audiophile.
The KB Ear KB06 can be found for around 20-30$ in multiple ALI EXPRESS like AK AUDIO STORE that have them for sale quite often.
1. Product Name: KB EAR KB06
2. Brand: KB EAR
4. Earphone type: In Ear
5. Impedance: 24Ω
6. Earphone sensitivity: 111db
7. Frequency response range:7Hz-40KHz
8. Plug Type: 3.5mm gold plated straight jack
9. Cable Length: 1.25±0.04m
10.Color: Black And Silver
11.Whether with cable: Yes
12.Earphone connector:0.75mm Pin connector
13.Whether with mic:With mic
14.Whether can replacement cable: Yes
15.Driver unit: 2 Blanced Armature and 1 Dynamic driver
ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :
UNBOXING is expeditive and remind me of KZ earphones. You open a little box and got the minimal wich is earphones, a braided 2pin cable of similar quality than the KZ one and 4 pairs of silicone eartips. At this price, I do not exactly ask more than this.
CONSTRUCTION is quite nice and i’m impress by the very small half metal half plastic housing, back black metal plate have a nice finish to it and well implemented open back vent with a mesh. Cable is okay, using new improved KZ cable, but I will not use it because I don’t like earhook.
DESIGN is well thinked and I hope this housing will be use for other iem as well, its very small and the angled shape with long nozzle make it very comfortable and easy to fit any type of ears.
ISOLATION is average and as its an open back iem, their significant sound leakage that can be problematic in silent environment or working place.
DRIVEABILITY is quite easy with its 111db sensitivity and 24ohm impendance, but you need minimal amping capabilities nonetheless to expand soundstage and dynamic. Any DAP would do, but for a phone I suggest at least a USB-C dac-amp cable.
Overall sound impressions was rather positive due to my very low expectation after hearing the F1. This time I feel KB06 was well tuned, delivering clear bassy sound with bright mids and vivid upper treble. Soundstage wasn’t the most impressive in term of widness but deepnest was good as well as overall spacial placement. But as always with cheap balanced armature, sometime about timbre annoy me, now it was more about thinnest and dryness of it, as well, lower bass go out of control and can became problematic.
SOUNDSTAGE is okay for its price range, it do not feel stock in your heard, but you have intimate widness without alot of tallnest and quite alot of deepnest….make you feel in a tunnel in some way.
IMAGING is more about upper mids and treble here, and if big bass occur you will struggle to find proper instrument placement in mid range. It’s pretty frontal and fowards, nothing to applause here.
BASS have good extension but pump up the sub bass quite alot, still the mid bass kick is fowarded too, even agressively, wich make it for an exciting listen but not a very accurate one. The lower end tend to sound sloppy and uncontroled sometime wich lead to mid range veil or distraction. For example, cello will sound very bodied but violin will struggle to find its place at its side. Its not the fastest bass as well, wich affect overall transient response.
MID RANGE is slightly pushed fowards, but the mix of thick bass and thin mids make it a strange one, still, level of clarity is quite high until the upper mids drop. The vocal are a little recessed when bass occur but we have good details in texture, timbre is transparent and slightly grainy. We do have hint of sibilance as well. Separation in this range is okay for its price. Mids aren’t very bodied and exciting to listen to and lack attack-decay and weight.
TREBLE isn’t particularly emphased, as if KB want to give all they got into the mid range, wich is not so balanced to my ears. So, your percussion will sound quite far away in the background, at least their no foward splashiness but neither their enjoyable sparkle too. We are in a dry territory, with some lower treble peak to extrack as much lower range details as we can. It work to some extend and give extra air to soundstage, but it affect richness of timbre as well as….lack of micro details.
SUB BASS : 6.5/10
MID BASS : 7.5/10
TREBLE : 7/10
TIMBRE : 7/10
ATTACK-DECAY : 6.5/10
SOUNDSTAGE : 7/10
IMAGING : 8/10
What hit you first is how wider, taller and more around your head feel bigger soundstage of DT6, as well, instrument separation is more articulate and spacious, making the KB06 feel very congested in comparaison. BASS of DT6 have more body but less mid bass punch, still, it sound more natural and fuller than dryer and sloppier KB06 bass. We can say DT6 is more U toward W shape while the KB06 is V plus upper mids push, wich lean to a brighter MID RANGE that sound less alive and coherent than DT6, wich present vocal in a wider and more transparent with a more natural timbre, instrument separation in this region is well layered with DT6 and more constraint and compressed with KB06. TREBLE is more extended with DT6 and offer more details as well as highs sparkle and decay, the KB06 have grainier and harsher highs that sound more agressive while DT6 is gently trebly.
Now, its time to the SPACESHIP to offer notably smaller soundstage and for a spacial ship, it do not have a big space to travel into either, while KB06 is above average for its little price and offer more space between instrument, or more specifically between low, mids and highs frequencies range. BASS is as well more authoritative and pumped up with the KB06, making the Spaceship sound more neutral and flatter and lack in lower bass extension. MID RANGE have as much presence but due to more spacious separation, vocal and instrument do not mix as much with KB06 wich keep them cleaner and offer greater definition. TREBLE is more extended with emphasis in upper highs for the Spaceship, wich give it extra sparkle KB06 lack, classical guitar or harp have more brilliance, but the attack is less energic than KB06 wich make overall listen flatter and less exciting than KB06.
Kbear work hard to be recognize among audiophile and even became a sponsor here on Headfi, but to gain more credibility among our community, I think they will have to work harder on tuning and acoustic implementation of their drivers. Here, when I praise the small housing, it isn’t because of its acoustic implementation that put the dynamic driver too near the back of the 2 balanced armature that for their part take too much place into the nozzle…even if i’m not a sound engineer, what I here can be connected to this ackward configuration.
Still, the result isn’t that bad as the level of clarity of mid range is impressive for a slightly V shape iem even if the lower bass rumble can affect it drastically. As well, with the right ear tips you can expand soundstage and gain extra articulation in imaging.
All in all, KB06 remind me of chi-fi old days where tuning work came second to mass production concept and do not stand appart from the average contenders. Its neither good or bad, and sure offer nice price value if you are new into budget earphones. The construction is excellent, the sound is okay, the price is competitive at 20$ but not at 30$.