- Large, voluminous and voluptuous low end.
- Warm, organic, unctuous, full, dense and big sound.
- Sensation of a wall of sound.
- Good soundstage, with volume and depth.
- Very good ergonomics.
- Quality of construction and beauty of design.
- The cable tangles a bit and is slightly stiff.
- The zipped case is very large and not very useful.
- Few accessories, few tips.
- One could ask for a bit more brilliance in the treble and better technical skills.
- The invasiveness of the bass may not be to the taste of some listeners.
Link to the Store
As stated on the WEB itself and I quote: “KiiBOOM is a collective of hobby enthusiasts from all around the world, with passions ranging from mechanical keyboards, high-fidelity audio, art toys (designer toys), garage kits, fountain pens, knives, watches, and fashion. Each member brings a unique set of R&D, marketing, and manufacturing skill sets from their respective fields, and allows an extremely diversified and comprehensive pool of knowledge on how to improve their hobbies.” On the other hand, the global team spans from the USA, Germany, Mexico, the UK, Singapore and Korea. It is clear that they are not just a headset brand, but also specialists in mechanical keyboards and parts.
In the IEMS section, they have two models, the KiiBOOM Evoke, a hybrid 1DDD+2BA model, with a resin capsule and a semi-custom shape. Its price is around 169$. But the model I am going to review at the moment is the KiiBOOM Allure, a Single Driver Dynamic for 99$. It has a Beryllium-plated diaphragm, known for its strength and light weight. A diamond-like carbon polymer (DLC) diaphragm has been used and three separate layers of beryllium have been applied to stiffen and reinforce the diaphragm. The acoustic cavity of the housing material was also generated using a proprietary software algorithm and CNC machined precisely to avoid any parallel surfaces.
Beyond the brand’s own introduction, the KiiBOOM Allure is an IEMS that I liked right from the start. Their frequency response is pleasing, with good bass, full mids and a remarkable level of clarity, transparency and detail. The sense of fullness is almost as wide as that displayed by the trendy planar IEMS. All of which makes for a lot of enjoyment during this review. Let’s take a closer look at why I was so pleased.
- Driver Type: Dynamic driver with Beryllium-plated diaphragm.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz.
- Sensitivity: 112dB.
- Impedance: 18Ω.
- Jack Connector: Gold plated SE 3.5mm.
- Cartridge Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm.
- Housing Material: CNC machined aluminium alloy.
The KiiBOOM Allure comes in a large box, sized 189x147x86mm. Their colours move in the range of greens, turquoises and blues. On the main side is the design of the capsules, in their white line profile. The name of the brand and model is highlighted in large, also in white, at the top. There is a small description of the contents on a green background label in the lower left corner. The back of the case features what could be the brand’s mascot, an owl with headphones on a skateboard/keyboard. A brief specification and other branding can also be read. The box is made of thick cardboard that opens like a chest. Inside is a huge zippered case, protected with foam. It has metal brand lettering on the bottom. Inside are the IEMS and the silicone tips. The box is very large and the interior layout is not usable for storing the IEMS with a DAP or something similar. I think the internal shape makes the case not very useful. The contents are minimal:
- The two KiiBOOM Allure capsules.
- A 4-strand cable covered in textile, in green and black.
- Three pairs of silicone tips, sizes SxMxL.
- A huge zippered case.
The cable is not bad at all, I repeat that the case is not very useful due to its large size and interior design. And only one set of silicone tips is not enough.
Construction and Design
The Allure capsules are made of aluminium alloy and the outer plate looks like stabilised wood in shades of green and black, but coated with some kind of hardening varnish. It could be another material, I don’t know. This plate is recessed and is highlighted by a metal rim. The shape of the outer face is almost semicircular, while the shape of the inner face is semi-custom, with very rounded edges and a subtle, very unobtrusive side bulge. The 2PIN 0.78mm connection is on a hard plastic plate embedded in the flat edge. Nearby, there is a hole. There is another one at the base of the projection towards the mouthpiece. On the inside face are two black ink dots indicating the channel. The mouthpiece appears to be of the same material and has two diameters: the smaller 5.1mm and the larger, outermost 5.8mm. The length of the mouthpiece is about 4mm. It has a perforated metal filter for protection. The brand name can be read on the rim of the capsules in dark grey ink.
The cable is curious, it follows the same green and black colour pattern as the outside of the capsule. It consists of 4 strands covered with textile fibre. The sleeve of the gold-plated 3.5mm SE plug is metallic and hexagonal. It has an indentation in the first third and a grub screw to secure the cable inside. The brand name can be read on one side. The splitter piece is similar, but smaller. The pin is an unthreaded nut, which slides more than usual. It has guides on the ear and the 2Pin connectors are metal cylinders, with a ring as an indentation. The 2Pins are external and come out of a black rectangular piece of plastic.
The capsule is attractive, light and very comfortable. Very good design. The cable also has a good design, which attracts attention. The problem is that it coils up too much and the pin is not very effective.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
Both the size and shape make it easy for the capsules to rest on the ears in a very comfortable, pleasant and comfortable way. It hardly touches any part of the outer ear and can be worn for hours without any warning of discomfort. The only comment is that the nozzles could be a bit longer, so that the insertion is a bit deeper. But I have found no problems in getting the best sound, using my home-made foam-filled tips. With them, the fit is full, the isolation high, the fit high and durable, very suitable for daily use, for public transport, walking, even running. Excellent.
To call the sound in V, albeit very mildly, is perhaps a way of disparaging the Allure’s profile. The frequency response moves within a maximum 10dB difference, between 20Hz and 10kHz, which attests to its balance. Without being clearly emphasised at the sub-bass end, its peak is above 40Hz and its upper range counterpart, above 2.3kHz. It is true that the upper-midrange emphasis is greater than in the bass, but only by a small margin. The first half of the midrange does not feel hollow and the treble has a slight dip, within a sweet and quiet exposure, which progresses in a controlled manner towards the audible end. Overall, the bass plays a good role, with a clear and decided weight, but without reaching bass-heads levels, but offering a great component of fun, thanks to a noticeable punch and quality. The sound has a tendency towards warmth, counterbalanced by the brightness and controlled transparency of the upper mids and the first treble, as if they wanted to balance the whole profile, but a mutual respect whose beneficiary is the sound of the Allure.
The bass of the KiiBOOM Allure is characterised by a rather large spatial volume. Their size is almost three-dimensional in this respect and makes the sound wide and round. It is deep, there is weight, excitement and power in its reproduction. It doesn’t rely on an emphasis on the extreme sub-bass, but it does focus around 40Hz, on that threshold between physicality and sensory capability. This slight feeling towards the mid-bass gives it a point of appealing rubberiness, though it slows its progression. The hit is hard, powerful, lingers and is felt. It is agile, though not the fastest, as it takes time to generate the space that the bass takes up. Despite this, the beryllium-plated DLC driver does its job very well in this respect. The bass is not thick, has good resolution and the ability to generate well-drawn, clear and crisp bass lines. It is adept at recreating layers and conjuring up a complex mix of sub-bass, bass drums and distinct lines. It’s not easy for the Allure to collapse or muddy the bass, even at a good volume. They are able to withstand heavy loads without distortion. The result is that the driver is very capable of delivering complicated, overdriven, polyrhythmic and unfiltered bass. All this makes it a great candidate for electronic music. Also, because they are really lush, unctuous and a lot of fun in this respect. The low end is full-bodied and perhaps a bit invasive. But the stiffness properties of the diaphragm ensure that even so, the bass is contained, despite the volume, and even achieves a good level of dryness and good recovery.
The surface has good roughness, it feels descriptive, although it is not a very abrupt or remarkable texture. The technical ability, combined with the power that gives it that mix of sensations, makes the texture lean towards the soft side, less wild or pronounced.
In the pure tone test, the 20Hz and 30Hz frequencies are perceived as lighter. But it is at 40Hz that the true power of the Allure is felt. The sonority is quite good and realistic, it would have been deeper if the excitation was more inclined towards the lower LFOs, but the timbre is certainly natural and adequate.
Thanks to the very tight bass, its three-dimensional volume does not overshoot into the mids. The coexistence of a powerful sub-bass line and a female voice is a testament to the skill of this driver: the voice is never overshadowed, but rather sounds above it, with enough clarity and unique presence that its image is clear and never mixed up. And the big bass body will seem to want to take over the midrange space, but it will be like a fight that will always be evenly matched. This is where I’ve driven the Allure and this is where it excels, offering the best of both worlds that I look for: mids and lows present and in harmony. It’s the second pillar towards a big, full sound. And that means that both the male vocals and the instrumentation will also show up with good prominence, but not predominantly, but in that right consonance to create a wide, flowing and light enough sound front. Yes, just enough, this is something that adds a certain warmth to the sound, because the whole is not bright, nor luminous, just balanced, organic, euphonic and natural, with a certain analogue flavour.
This is not an analytical sound, it maintains an expressive smoothness with a remarkable level of detail, enough to offer a good range of the minute part and minute nuances, but without being completely explicit. It’s a balance between power, technique, exposure and a juicier presentation, without losing sight of the fun factor. It can’t be compared to other detail monsters, but its musicality will always be a cut above, as well as offering a physicality that is not easy to find in all soundtracks. In this way, the Allure delivers a powerful, punchy midrange that is held at a good distance so as not to sound intimate, offering depth and encompassing a wide, oval space in the scene, as well as a fairly accurate and easily located image. Undoubtedly, the result is a balance achieved for an uncompromising enjoyment, which engages from the first listen and which ends up imposing itself thanks to its technical skill and sonorous exuberance.
The treble tuning is soft in presence, but has an extended sonority. Unlike many other IEMS that have a pronounced control zone, here, the treble roll-off is not very noticeable and while it is true that the descent is gradual, the extension is not minimised. Thus, a very adequate timbre is maintained, which is never bright, but does not feel omitted. Thus, the brightness is controlled, not prolonged, not excessive, the treble does not crunch with vigour. It is a restrained, confident spark that does not burn, nor does it excite in a sharp way. Power is limited, but easily perceived. The extension is quite good all the way to the air zone, resulting in a consistent representation, with a fairly constant presence throughout this range. The result gives the sound an accurate and polite realism, lacking in flaws or omissions, being a range with its own personality and ability to add to the sound the remarkable dose of harmonics, sparkle, detail and light needed to complement the presence of the lower ranges.
The sensation of such a full sound can present a somewhat more compact, less expansive scene. The slight lack of air may also influence this. However, the sound is wide and has remarkable depth and laterality. One could say that the image is oval, with a very good sense of volume, thanks to the physicality and body of the bass, something that is also repeated in the mids. But this is not a volatile or gaseous scene, and the sense of dispersion feels bounded. Everything is in a wide, but collected space, without the sound coming out of the head, very well ordered, offering a consistent, effective, distinguishable and realistic image.
Separation is good, as is the level of transparency. The sound does not feel opaque, but neither is a dark background visible, providing a more obvious distance between notes. As mentioned, detail is soft, but the system has sufficient resolution and definition to recreate a remarkable level of micro nuance, enough to generate a sound of good ornamental richness. But its best assets remain its strength, sonic power, musicality and ample bass and midrange presence, without losing sight of the expressiveness of the treble.
The toughest battle between IEMS in the same segment is on. The Dunu Kima is one of the best IEMS I have tested in this price range. To say the best would be a lie, for several reasons. First, because I haven’t heard all the IEMS in this price range. Second, categorical statements in the audio world are meaningless, based on the assumption that reviewers are biased, as we review based on our tastes, experiences and the desire to persist in this hobby.
In terms of packaging, the Kima is very difficult to beat, I prefer its cable and accessories. The Allure’s giant box, its limited repertoire of tips and its good but improveable cable make it inferior to the Dunu. When it comes to the design of the capsules, it’s even closer. Although the greenish wooden outer plates of the KiiBOOM are very attractive, I find the multi-flat face of the Kima more striking. In fit/ergonomics I prefer the Allure.
To choose between one or the other IEMS, as far as sound quality is concerned, one has to be very clear about one’s tastes. And here I cannot be neutral. My little Bass-Head heart goes for the KiiBOOM Allure even if they are not the most transparent IEMS on the market. But they do have something that I can’t overlook and that goes straight to the root of my musical preferences: that low end, the relationship to the mids and the fullness of their sound. The bass is faster and more technical on the Kima, but it doesn’t have the punch and presence of the Allure. This may be too much for some, but the Kima will be there to solve the problem. If, on the other hand, you prefer pure fun, the Allure will be the choice. The bass is fatter, more sensory, darker, wider, more noticeable, more powerful and resounding in the KiiBOOMs. On the Dunu everything is thinner and more precise, less textured, but also more neutral and permissive, without the ability to fill out the sound as the Allure does. Sure, this ability can be intrusive, but it’s the difference between those who are looking for that feel and not others. The wall of sound starts there, and the Dunu’s are thinner and less physical.
In the midrange, the Allure’s bass space is noticeable and, comparatively, the Kima’s feel freer and cleaner. The KiiBOOMs sound denser, darker and warmer, but also more opaque. There is more light and sense of detail on the Kima, at least, that brighter feel is more prominent than on the Allure. Male vocals are more physical, dense and dark on the KiiBOOMs, while the Kima presents them as thinner, more delicate and vivid. The same is true of the female vocals. In general, the voices are fuller and closer on the Allure, while the Kima are brighter and take some distance. In terms of detail, the unctuous sound of the KiiBOOMs tones them down smoothly and they become more explicit on the Kima. There is a little more resolution in the Dunu in the clarity of these technical aspects.
The treble has a similar tuning. While the Dunu’s are a little thinner and more expressive in their first phase, the Allure’s gain in extension, sounding a little smoother, but fuller. But both are smooth. If a little more liveliness is desired, the Kima would be the choice.
In some situations, the Allure’s breadth and bass space provide a wider, more three-dimensional soundstage, comparatively speaking, relative to the Kima’s, which feel a little flatter. That extra volume is the big difference between the two models. I see more light and separation in the Dunu.
Testing the KiiBOOM Allure over and over again I can’t be biased. I know that they are not the best IEMS in some technical aspects, they are warmer and darker, not as detailed and have a big and voluminous bass. But that voluptuousness is so appealing to me that it prevents me from being neutral in this case. And so I must begin this conclusion by warning readers of this incorrectness in my analysis. The Allure is perhaps one of the IEMS I have enjoyed the most from the first impression. From the bass to the mids, from its powerful and voluminous low end, from its wall of sound, from its organic and unctuous sound, from the smoothness and expressiveness of the treble, from the comfort of its capsules, to the design of its external faceplate. All these details have captivated me from the first sight, from the first listen. So it’s no wonder that I have succumbed to the charms of the KiiBOOM Allure and rate them higher overall than the sum of their parts. And that’s because of the fun/satisfaction factor I’ve found with them. In this case, this model has hit the nail on the head of my non-rational preferences and that deserves 5 stars, not justifiable on a logical level, but on an emotional level.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- Aune Flamingo.
- Earmen Angel.
- TempoTec Variations V6.
- Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Red Copper Limited Edition.
- ACMEE MF02s.
- xDuoo XD05 BAL.
- TempoTec Serenade X + iFi Zen Can.
- Burson Audio Playmate.