BQEYZ KB100 REVIEW: Benchmark sub-50$ iem that is here to stay

BQEYZ KB100 REVIEW :

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SOUND: 9/10
CONSTRUCTION: 10/10
DESIGN: 9.5/10
ACCESSORIES: 7.5/10
VALUE: 9.5/10

THE PLUS:

  • Clear, articulate, rich and well-layered sound
  • Superbly balanced sound
  • rich natural timbre with good transparency
  • Excellent construction and design
  • VALUE

THE SO-SO:

  • More treble sparkle and we got a TOTL iem

NO BS (ENTHUSIASTLY) RECOMMENDED!!

We know we live in a cruel unfair world where good people can suffer while the bad ones can be happy and wealthy. More your humble and good-hearted, more you likely will be crush by competitive neurotic capitalist society. This unfairness extends to the audio product too, where intense biased publicity can make mediocre products like Beats Audio became a social phenomenon, transforming everybody into brainless basshead banger as if they really listen just to rap.

This perhaps explains why one of the best ChiFi company still isn’t known by lot of audio enthusiast. Let’s be clear : we talk too much about KZ! Let’s just calm down a little and try to explore more serious Chinese audio companies!

Okay, perhaps the company name isn’t easy to memorize as well….but still, yes, BQEYZ is among the more professional and capable iem company right now. They sure have a refined audio engineer team that give lot of time to tuning listening, because all their iem are well-tuned. Coherent and balanced sound tuning isn’t a gift from God, it’s hard meticulous work, and when you got lucky like with one model out of 10, it’s a proof your still amateurish (yeah, I talk to you again KZ).

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After having reviewed and liked both BQ3 and SPRING1, I choose to give a try to the less known BQEYZ KB100 model, wich is perhaps the best balanced model among these 3 models.

The KB100 is a 2 dynamics plus 1 balanced armature hybrid earphones. It has a unique housing shape all made of metal. The drivers in there are excellent, and this include the custom BA too, which isn’t either a cheap Bellsing BA or a good Knowles, it’s made by BQEYZ and this inspires respect (again).

Priced at a very affordable 50$, the KB100 can only be found in PENON audio store, and I think BQEYZ collaborates with this audio store that time to time create iem or earbuds. Kudos if its the case, because KB100 is just too good to be true. I say that even If I know sub-50$ earphone price range is among the most competitive territory.

Okay, now you already know I love the KB100. Let’s see why in this review.

As said, the BQEYZ KB100 can be found in PENON Aliexpress store or HERE.

DISCLAIMER : After I review some of their products, I contact BQEYZ to know if i can review the KB100. They were happy to tell me how to get a review sample. Thanks to BQEYZ as well as PENON for sending me this free sample. As always, I’m fully independent, neither I’m affiliated or have affiliated link to any products I review.

SPECS:

  • Driver unit: 1 balanced armature + 2 dynamic hybrid driver
  • Frequency response: 7-40KHZ
  • Impedance: 15Ω
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB / mW
  • Plug: 3.5mm
  • Connector: 2pin 0.78mm
  • Weight: 25±5g

ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :
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UNBOXING is super minimalist. Small black box. You open it : you see good looking KB100. You have an okay braided cable (same category as TRN cable and better than KZ). And you have 4 pairs of silicone eartips. Hurray!

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CONSTRUCTION is very impressive for the price and I would say the same even priced 100$. Why? Firstly, because its a unique housing design with an appealing shape that I never seen anywhere. Secondly, its all metal but the nozzle which is plastic. Housing is really well crafted, its one part mate black with beautifull mirror metal lining and the other part is red brushed alloy that has meticulously been carved. It has 3 venting hole in front housing. Construction is perfectly done, you will not find any defect, it look extremely durable as well as not prompt to scratch. Its a little thick, but otherwise quite small.

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DESIGN is as impressive as construction. The kinda half-moon curvy shape make the fit very easy and natural. Yep, these are very comfortable even is nozzle is thick. I find them more comfy than both Spring1 and BQ3. 2Pin connection is tigh and secure. Again, this is highly impressive for this price range.

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ISOLATION is good, I mean….if you play music loud…and if you play music loud, well, outside noise will be block but sound leakage will be present due to numerous venting hole. But sound leakage is less noisy than iem with back housing venting hole.

DRIVEABILITY is easy, you do not need ultra powerfull DAP or portable amp to enjoy the KB100. At 15ohm impedance and 105db sensitivity, its not the more sensible iem on planet earth but sure not power hungry either.

SOUND :
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OVERALL SOUND APPRECIATION
is a very positive one, especially about whole cohesion of sound for multi drivers earphones. Simply put : it sound rightly balanced with no serious peaks in any region even if mids and treble is emphased. At first, i feel the bass was lacking, but when i discover I can clearly heard lower bass line as well as kick, I change my mind. Its not beefy bassy headbanger, nope, its refined, flat, articulate and controled bass-licious. But the real deal is about mids and treble, this is even more coherent and accurate, with high level of precision that sound effortless. It have soft brightness to it and high level of separation. And this treble is again a refined one, far from being trebly it give all its energy in lower and mid treble. Smooth, extremely well balanced and revealing is the KB100.

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SOUNDSTAGE isn’t enormous, it have good wideness and deepeness and sound like stereo bookshelf speaker you listen closely.

IMAGING is well define even if slightly intimate in its presentation, spacial placement are close too you, so its easier to pinpoint instrument when the music isn’t fullfill with them. Anyway, i do not encounter congestion even with symphonie, just lack of air in separation.

CLARITY is excellent, but not clinical or ultra sharp vivid HD like, this is due to an average background cleanest wich isn’t completely black.

TIMBRE have both thickness and transparency, its textured just enough to avoid grain and opacity, so this is why i call it ‘’polished brightness’’.

BASS is slightly tamed, very flat in its rendering but it avoid sounding dry or overly thin. Extension go down to 20hz, but did I hear this? Nope, cause its not pumped up, good luck hearing this buttom frequency without any bumping help, so, forget about rumble or slam even if ultra sub bassy music will deliver the sub bass properly it will sound some DB lower you use too with most your iem including not super bassy one. Mid bass is a little more bodied, but still quite soft in attack. The control, clarity and separation is quite good toug and upper bass have extra emphasis to help energize it. This type of bass do wonder with jazz, soft-rock post-rock and classical, some electro sound okay too, like IDM that use kick but I don’t think KB100 is tuned for bass addict. Didn’t we have enough of thos V or U shape IEM anyway??

MID RANGE is smooth, super clear and accurate with excellent imaging. As said, its just slightly bright, far from any harshness or shoutyness bright timbre can create, this in fact give realist texture to instruments and voice as well as extra clarity without affecting natural tonality of whole sound. Instruments like cello, violin and piano will all sound good, but due to lower treble extra presence, attack of violin is more vivid than piano. Vocal are well centered, not super wide and invasive in presentation, but very clear and present. Upper mids-lower treble bump do give some extra bite beneficial for guitar or violin, but it avoid serious sibilance or harshness even if this is were most brightness came from. Listening to violin quartet with KB100 is very rewarding and lively, with natural tone and timbre and precise imaging accuracy that sound effortless, never artificial.

TREBLE
will be mixed bag depending of what you like about highs. If you love them well define, bodied, crisp and tigh : you will be delighted. Fan of treble of Final Audio E serie tuning should dig them too. But, if your into sharp, vivid and sparkly highs, these will sound too restrain in upper highs for you. Brilliance and sparkle as well as long highs decay aren’t really there, because emphasis is in lower and mid treble, this is were most energy of KB100 came from and still, some people will find them neutral or mid centric, wich is the case too because of how smooth and natural is the tuning curve of lower mid-range to mid treble. If you listen only to classical guitar, harpsichord or xylophone, this will be serious issue, if not, perhaps you will get addicted by rich textured treble of instrument like saxophone, violin or electric guitar, it really is lushly textured.

SUB BASS : 7.5/10
MID BASS : 8/10
MID RANGE : 9/10
TREBLE : 8.5/10
SOUNDSTAGE : 8.5/10
IMAGING : 8.5/10
TIMBRE : 9/10
ATTACK-DECAY : 8/10
CLARITY : 8.5/10


RANDOM MUSIC TESTING:

ARIANNA SAVALL ”Mester D’amor”

Level of clarity and clean black background is very impressive here. Instrumental are clean, a hint bright and textured, with snappy attack. Arianna voice is sublime, pure as diamond sharp, with emphased presence and slight upper mid agressivness, wich is what is responsible for percussions clarity and separation.Acoustic guitar sound excellent, organic and sharp, with tigh decay. Soundstage is wide, airy, quite vast in spaciality wich give large space between instruments and well centered singer.

SOLANGE ‘’Don’t Touch my hair’’

Kick is very tigh with good impact, not too agressive, and separation with sub bass kick is nicely layered, synth notes float in well spacialize soundstage. Solange voice is very clear and natural, with nice transparency and centered stage presentation but not quite wide in presence, still its not thin….just accurate. Imaging is excellent around her voice. The part of the song that get excited with a dude singing with Solange do not sound congested and keep both voice and instrument all lively and well separeted. This track is well mastered and the BQEYZ KB100 take full advantage of this, offering a very immersive, dynamic and crisp presentation. Again it show how great tuning balance is done. Exquisite.


COMPARAISONS :

VS FAAEAL HIBISCUS (55$) :
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SOUNDSTAGE is both widder, taller and deeper with the HIBISCUS, making the KB100 sound a little in your head.
IMAGING is clearer and more accurate with the KB100, instrument separation have good definition even it space between them isnt super wide. HIBISCUS is more about transparent layering, wich affect crispness of positioning definition as well as background clarity.
BASS take a similar path with both, being rather soft in attack, little rolled off in sub bass region, and flat in presentation, but I feel KB100 bass is thicker and little less controled than HIBISCUS wich have dryer, more transparent presentation and less weighty mid bass attack. Anyway, both aren’t particularly bassy and lack some sub bass rumble. Bass of KB100 tend to slightly warm the lower mids more too.
MID RANGE is more fowards and detailed with the KB100, attack in this range is more snappy too, vocal have more body and presence making them feel nearer you while the HIBISCUS vocal are little recessed and thin sounding. Here, the HIBISCUS offer better transparency and layering but in a more restrain spaciality compared to KB100. Vividness against smoothness, the HIBISCUS might be less articulate than KB100, but its less aggressive too.
TREBLE is more emphased with the KB100, especially in low and mid treble where it tends to extract more details and texture than more laid back but well balanced HIBISCUS. Still, highs of KB100 lack some brilliance and even if HIBISCUS isnt super sparkly, highs are more natural and crisp, less grainy and tighter. Overall balance of mid and highs is airier with the Hibiscus, so while it might sound darker than KB100, its less prompt to over saturation and congestion.

VS BQEYZ BQ3 (50-60$) :
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SOUNDSTAGE is slightly wider and deeper with the BQ3, this is even more evident without bassy music.
IMAGING is more accurate and well define with the KB100 as if BQ3 omit to show lower treble instrument separation. While bass and highs are better separated, whole mid range isn’t.
BASS is more tigh, weighty and punchy with BQ3, attackis more agressive as well making BQ3 more bassy than softer bass response of KB100. MID RANGE is were strange things happen with the BQ3, giving it a very liquid tone and unbalanced insturment presentation were some type can either sound very foward or kinda recessed, tamed in definition and textured compared to more fully covered and balanced mid range of KB100, wich sound both more natural and textured, as well, instrument attack is snappier with KB100.
TREBLE is more recessed and softer with the BQ3, explaining this overall liquid sound we have, even if it have some extra upper treble sparkle, its way less balanced and naturally revealing than the KB100, percussions sound thin and too metallic with the BQ3 while it sound realist and textured with the KB100.
All in all, the KB100 is clearly my favorite here even if less bassy and slightly brighter than BQ3.

CONCLUSION:
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Again, and perhaps never like before, BQEYZ does a marvelous tuning job as well as craftmanship design.

To my ears, the KB100 might really be the very best sub-50$ iemin term of right balance, cohesion, resolution and imaging….all that without sounding artificial or too peaky in any frequencies range.

Sure, treble head will be like ”I want more treble” and basshead like ”I want more bass”, but let this will either muffled this deliciously clean, lively and well layered midrange or distract our ears without aggressive micro details, wich the KB100 do not lack in first place.

In fact, we have plenty of everything, the bass is controlled and enough thumping, the mid range is slightly fowarded but fully covered and treble is rich, textured and on line with rest of sound spectrum.

Why some inferior is over hyped while other one stay in the shadow? Well, one thing sure: The KB100 is there to stay and we can’t say that for over hyped earphones that fastly fall in complete oblivion.

The BQEYZ KB100 is a classic earphones that will age well and get more and more recognition, both from audiophile, audio enthusiast, and even basshead and treble head, but even more by those who love balance and superbly rich mid range. 50$ can’t get you better iem than the KB100, it just can get you different specific flavor while the KB100 is colorful.

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