Betting on the Red Bird
- Powerful lower range, especially the sub-bass, which will delight bass heads.
- Balanced and harmonious midrange, thick, dense, weighted, but clear.
- Representative, but soft treble.
- Successful, unchanging design.
- The sound quality improves with higher sources.
- Although the basses are versatile and hold up well, they are capable of revealing bad recordings with critical lows.
- Basic cable and packaging.
- Limited extension and treble presence.
- Not an example of technical IEM.
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At this stage, KBEAR needs no introduction. But let’s do a bit of history. KBEAR is a headphone brand from Shenzhen Lingyin Technology Co., China. It was founded in 2014 in Shenzhen, by a passionate and individualized young team, committed to developing fashionable and sound quality HIFI products for global audiophiles. As a dynamic and innovative brand, it is always on the move and this leads to a handful of new models every year. This time, KBEAR returns to a range of affordable and specialised models. We are talking about the new Rosefinch, an IEMS that combines a traditional capsule design for the brand, together with a more bassist profile, which may be very appreciated by many followers. But let’s take a closer look at this model in the following review.
- Driver Type: 10mm dynamic driver with 5 micron silicon composite bio-diaphragm.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz.
- Sensitivity: 103±3dB.
- Impedance: 16Ω.
- Jack Connector: 3.5mm SE gold plated.
- Cartridge Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm TFZ type.
- Cable: 4-core OFC (18*0.05). Optional microphone.
The KBEAR Rosefinch comes in a small classic packaging, with dimensions 75x103x36mm. The box is rectangular and its position is vertical. It is eminently white and on its main side there is a drawing of what could be bird feathers, in shades of red. In the centre, on the right, the name of the model can be read under Chinese characters. At the top right is the brand name. Behind it are the model specifications in Chinese and English. At the bottom are the brand’s contact details. The wrap-around cardboard slides vertically, revealing a transparent plastic cover that protects the product. Underneath is a white cardboard-lined mould containing the two Rosefinch capsules above the brand logo, written in black letters. Under this layer are the rest of the accessories. In a nutshell:
- The two KBEAR Rosefinch capsules, with a set of medium tips.
- 1 set of grey translucent tips, sizes SxMxL.
- 1 four-strand OFC cable.
- 1 instruction manual.
Little else. The packaging is small and the accessories are at a minimum. There is not even a carrying bag, let alone the zippered case of the past.
Construction and Design
The Rosefinch capsules repeat the design of other models of the brand, changing the motif of the outer plate. The outer plate is laser engraved and made of aviation-grade zinc alloy. It has a zig-zag pattern of rectangular elements, inside which is dark red paint. The brand logo is engraved at the apex of the outer face. The rest of the capsule is made of transparent polycarbonate.
The driver used is a 10mm dynamic driver with a biological diaphragm made of 5 micron silicone.
The inner side is made of transparent resin, revealing the interior and the drivers. There are two holes on this side, one coincides with the centre of the DD and the other is located further to the edge. On this edge, the rectangular 2-pin connection plate is placed superficially. It is a small piece of transparent plastic. On the same edge, but on the other side of the adjoining vertex, the name of the model and the letter indicating the channel are written in white letters. The mouthpieces are metallic and gold-plated. They have a height of approximately 6 mm, an equal maximum diameter and a smaller diameter of 5 mm. It is covered by a dense, ultra-thin, white grid of microscopic holes. As you can see, the nozzles are thick, but of a very adequate length.
It is an effective and durable design. Although it is repetitive, it is good, beautiful and cheap. Again, the maxim «successful model, don’t touch it», or «if something works, why change it» is true. I think that reducing costs on the one hand can be reflected in improving other parts, in this case, I think that the beneficiary can be the driver used.
As for the cable, it is a dark copper braid of four OFC strands, each consisting of 18 0.05mm wires. The cable is relatively thin and seems the least valuable part of the assembly: the connector sleeves are black plastic, as are the splitter and pin, the shapes of which are very common and seen on cables in much more affordable products. The common part of the cable is thin, but this feeling is accentuated by the two-wire splitter at each capsule. It has a relatively stiff over-ear coating. The 3.5mm connector is gold-plated and its sleeve is 90° angled, but it is also made of black plastic, matching the rest of the cable. The dark copper colour, the plastic parts and the design make the cable feel very basic, just for transmission purposes.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
Little can be added to a design that I know and have tried before, with a more than remarkable performance. The size and the classic appearance of the capsules, with a semi-custom external shape, with a very rounded interior and no edges or corners, provides a superficial fit, quite free of contact with the external parts of the ear. And, if it does exist, the friction is very soft, due to the smoothness of the material used. This means that, as the hours go by, it does not affect the perception of comfort provided by this model. Thus, the ergonomics are high and quite good. Once fitted, there is hardly any possibility of rotation and, with the right tips, there is no risk of the IEMS becoming detached or falling out. In this respect, due to the 6mm diameter of the mouthpiece, the channel of the tips used must be taken into account, in case of changing them.
The size of the capsules is not very large, although they are a bit fat. Their weight is not heavy, but I would say that the metal plate is noticeable. However, once they are in place, this weight is negligible and hardly noticeable.
With my silicone tips, filled with foam, although the fit is quite shallow, the sealing is very adequate and the insulation level is high. But due to the length of the mouthpieces, narrower tips could be used to achieve a deeper insertion, although the diameter may prevent this process in narrow ear canals.
The Kbear Rosefinch has a W-decreasing tuning, where the sub-bass is the highest part of the profile. The low end is warm, slightly dark, thick and has a medium velocity. The mids have a descent that approaches 1Khz, which means a very progressive drop, something that affects the first half of the mids to have enough body to be present, but maintain that thickness typical of the bass. From here, the rise in emphasis is just as polite and the mid-highs remain gentle, just enough to add a gain of bell to provide clarity and some light, but without overpowering or breaking the overall warm character. The treble begins with a slight control zone, followed by a sparkle that is typical of other Kbear’s, which serves to enliven the zone and achieve some extension, which then relaxes into the air zone.
Kbear has kept the Rosefinch from being a niche bass-head IEMS. Undoubtedly, the predominant band is the lower band, but its focus on the sub-bass, only slightly stretched towards the mid-bass, prevents it from sounding too muddy or rubbery. Admittedly, the bass is thick and that adds elasticity to the punch, describing the area with medium speed. Still, the great abyssal depth of the bass ensemble makes the area enjoyable, even when the music is focused on this section. The Rosefinchs don’t flinch and are still able to show off with authority, respecting voices and treble. At no point do the basses become an abomination that swallows up the rest of the music, not at all. Thus, although the weight and body of the bass is very great, the rest of the range shines within the subdued darkness of the Rosefinch profile. Another good quality of these IEMS is that they scale quite well when the source is of good quality. At this point the bass is able to sound contained, drier, richer, gaining in texture and descriptive power. These are certainly qualities that the Rosefinch treasures and it is not just expensive IEMS that need to be connected to exceptional sources. This is how you can enjoy a sensory subwoofer loaded with tension and a remarkable sound pressure, as well as assuming a good stratification knowing how to differentiate between layers and bass lines, without reaching saturation, even maintaining a quite acceptable agility. Very remarkable for the price and its profile. The negative point is a combination with badly recorded and uncontrolled bass, this is where the Rosefinch can suffer.
If you isolate the midrange in itself, you will notice that the tuning is very adequate, well-drawn, measured and balanced. It is true that coming from such a high sub-bass, it might seem that the mids would be too far away, but this is not the case. You only have to cover the range below 200Hz with your left hand, in the frequency response curve, to realise what I am talking about. The result is obvious and my ears describe a warm, yet clear mid-range, with an important physicality in the first half, without sounding boxy, muddy or hollow. The Rosefinch know how to dodge these bad sonorities, though it can’t get rid of the thickness and a certain darkness coming from below. In this way, the male voices feel quite powerful, very full-bodied, dense, perhaps a little exaggerated in this sense of fullness. The base is big, that thickness is characteristic and also irremediable. This is how warmth is represented in a very open way in this first phase of the mids. These attributes also stick to the strings and keyboards, it is easy to notice their width avoiding a more propitious agility. It is not a slow sound, but its density seems to prevent it from moving, as if it were a sea of mercury. Even so, the sound is quite melodious and with more than acceptable dynamics. The guitars will not sound very sharp, but the bass will be predominant and physical. It is clear that this environment is not the best for details to be sparkling or splashy. The Rosefinch are on the soft side in this regard. Thus, the female vocals can come to sound a bit more subdued, also because the high-mids are well controlled. A little more light is missed, but to conjugate a more excited area at this point, together with an unashamedly warm profile, would have been a mistake and a clear tonal mismatch. So I prefer this more typical, autumnal coherence, rather than a meaningless seesaw, just to compensate. The result is a sound devoid of sibilance, but drier than usual, with a controlled attack, slightly lacking in delicacy, but remarkable for the relaxed, romantic and sweet side. A different point of view, but very acceptable and enjoyable.
The high end is totally in keeping with the character of the Rosefinch. I could say that it has a certain sonority of more classical earbuds. That is, a softly excited first part, with a good initial performance. This is followed by a restrained control zone, ending in a nice light punch that is lost before reaching the air zone. It is an inoffensive treble, which fulfils its role in a realistic representation of the sound, albeit with a nuanced tone, very soft and polite sparkle. The secondary emancipation is not enough to provide superior brilliance, although it does enable some clarity, sharpness and a pleasant and appreciable sparkle, especially for adding harmonics to the midrange. It is not a crystalline zone, nor is there a struggle between darkness. It is a dim, warm light, which does not lose its sharpness, although a greater amount of air and extension is lacking.
The most remarkable thing about the Rosefinch stage is the depth, observing the range of their LFOs. This generates a u-shaped stage, with a more than acceptable laterality, which avoids a congested or too centred sound. It is a more than adequate stage, good even, without too much height, but with a nice stereo feeling and a point of gaseous volatility due to that depth.
There is not much of a sense of air and separation is not a strong point either, due to the thickness of the notes and also their greater elasticity. Technically acceptable, the details are not remarkable, but neither is the sound blunt or highly nuanced, but its level of sharpness and warm exposure favour a sound that is more musical and sweet, rather than delicate or fine.
Kbear is still committed to establishing a line to follow within its affordable range, maintaining a design that complies very well as an effective, comfortable, light, ergonomic and very well accepted standard. On the one hand, it cuts costs with a basic cable and packaging. On the other, it takes a chance on a more specialised profile, which boosts the low end, but without losing sight of the mids. This is a warm, almost L-tuning, with a hint of darkness, where the treble is smooth, maintaining an initial sparkle. The mid-range starts with plenty of body and a thickness that creeps up from the lows. Then, the mid-highs are pleasant, balanced and coherent, completing a powerful profile in the sub-bass, gaining smoothness and musicality, as the frequencies advance, without losing the sharpness in sight.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Earmen Angel.
- TempoTec Variations V6.
- Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Red Copper Limited Edition.
- ACMEE MF02s.
- xDuoo XD05 BAL.
- S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN.