Kiwi Ears Dolce English Review


More Than Just Sweetness




Construction and Design




  • Very good technical bass and treble performance.
  • Female vocals are forward and clear.
  • More than acceptable level of separation.
  • Very good ergonomics and low weight.




  • I perceive hollowness in the central range, something that offers a different representation of male and female voices, as well as less instrumental presence in the first part of the mids.
  • The upper-mids might become a bit «hot» for some.


Purchase Link


Link to the Store




The Kiwi Ears Dolce are the second IEMS I’m going to review from the brand based in Ireland and Manchester, but manufactured in China. There are now about 6 models of the brand. My first contact with them were the remarkable Quartet and I would have loved to try the Quintet, but it was not possible. On the other hand, I am lucky enough to be able to review the Dolce, IEMS that cost almost 9 times less… Yes, their price is 25$, so they are within a fairly low budget, although there is also a lot of competition in this range. What has Kiwi Ears done to try to stand out in this segment? Well, the Dolce has a 10mm dynamic driver with LDP (LDPE+LCP) diaphragm. This is an «innovative composite driver developed by cross-linked crystallisation of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) foils in a similar way to liquid crystal polymers (LCP). This strengthens the ultra-thin films chemically, ultimately improving their tensile strength and elasticity. Combined with powerful neodymium magnets, the LDP diaphragm driver delivers incredible performance with low total harmonic distortions across the entire frequency band. The LDP transducer is the next dynamic transducer solution for optimal audio resolution and tonal balance.» On the other hand, They have been called Dolce alluding to their sweet, warm and rich character, yet also aiming for clarity, balance and naturalness. Let’s see what is true in this introduction.





  • Driver Type: Dynamic driver with 10mm LDP diaphragm.
  • Sensitivity: 102 ± 3dB.
  • Impedance: 16Ω ± 10%.
  • Jack Connector: 3.5mm SE gold plated.
  • Capsule Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm
  • Cable: High purity OCC cable.





The Kiwi Ears Dolce come in a small box, whose dimensions are 80x91x35mm. The front side has a gradient blue background with curved lines that look like contour lines. In the centre is a realistic photo of the capsules. At the top, near the centre is the brand logo. To its right, the slogan «Live the music» and below it the model name as well as the diaphragm material, all in white lettering. The pattern is the same on the back and there is little information about the model on the back. Just icons of the certifications it holds, the model name, that it is made in China and the address of the brand’s headquarters. After removing the outer cardboard, a white box appears with the brand logo in large green letters. After opening the box, you can see the capsules inside a black protective base, a black cardboard box and a warranty card. Inside the black box are the accessories, i.e. the cable and the set of tips to complete the three SxMxL sizes. Nothing else. It’s also hard to expect anything else for 25$.



Construction and Design


The Dolce capsules are made of ultra-durable, 3D printed, medical grade resin. Their shape is semi-custom, medium-sized, even in thickness, very light. Their outer face looks like plastic and is painted with a gradient blue. The shape of this face is subtly pyramidal. However, it is actually made up of three faces: the two at the ends are flattened and the central one curves from one side to the other. Between them, they all describe the usual African continent outline. The inner side of the capsules is transparent. The 2Pin 0.78mm connection is a shallow QDC connection, which limits the choice of a spare cable. On the curved part next to the connector you can see the brand logo and the lettering indicating the channel inside a circle, all in grey ink.
The base of the nozzles has a good length, is designed for a good ergonomic feel and forms an integral part with the whole of the inner face. A small hole can be seen at the foot of the nozzles. The mouthpieces themselves have two levels, the first and narrower one has a diameter of 4.6mm and the second and outer edge has a diameter of 5.7mm. To protect them, they are covered by a dense metal grille.
The cable is somewhat more than the most basic. It is detachable and, as mentioned above, 2Pin 0.78mm QDC. It is made of high purity OCC copper. It consists of a 3.5mm SE gold-plated connector, with an L-shaped plastic sleeve. It is made up of two strands joined by a transparent sleeve. The splitter piece is a small black oval plastic piece. It has no adjustment pin, only that the wires are joined together up to a certain height. The 2Pin 0.78mm connectors have the classic QDC black plastic L-sleeve. On the inside of the sleeve, near the end, is the lettering indicating the channel, embossed. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of this variant of the 2Pin connection, because it limits the possibility of using any type of cable, although it is true that there are many options with this variant, it is not the most widespread. Although it is also true that the cable seems to be of sufficient quality not to change it: it has a good thickness, it is not very rigid, it is attractive and the microphony is low.



Adjustment and Ergonomics


This is perhaps one of the most remarkable non-sound aspects of this model. Actually, the ergonomics are very good. The shape is adequate, the weight is very low, the projection of the mouthpieces and their angle is almost perfect. The adjustment is immediate and does not require any repositioning, just insert and it’s done. Once adjusted there is no rotation. I could say that this is one of the most suitable sets for intense, daily use, even for sport, running, etc. If you can find the right tips, the seal can be quite occlusive and the soundproofing high. The low weight of the cable and plastic sleeve also helps in this respect, making the Kiwi Ears Dolce IEMS very comfortable and lightweight.







The Kiwi Ears Dolce’s profile leans towards a slightly brighter V. Although there is some linearity in the bass I don’t think it adopts a U-profile, for that it should have a little more lift in the sub-bass and during my actual testing this was not the case.
On the other hand, I noticed something remarkable in the sound of the Dolce. In general, it is a bit dry, as if it lacks a bit more salt, sparkle, light or clarity, despite the good projection of the upper-mids and highs, I find that it lacks some juice in the whole frequency range. Although this may be because I’m not very used to IEMS of this budget range and «feel» like I’m missing «something» that is hard to describe. With the passage of time and a better brain burning I have managed to get into its kind of sound, to end up discovering the qualities it possesses.





As can be seen in the graph, the lower range is notably represented, although it is not the most present. It has good linearity from the sub-bass and this results in ample, if less sensory, bass. It also limits its speed and sense of precision. Don’t get me wrong, the performance on a technical level is surprising for $25. The feel on every hit, the dryness and the compact bass effect are there. The limits are in the timbre. Although the behaviour of the pure low frequency tones is quite natural, with a quite realistic behaviour, on a sensory level it feels a bit of colour rather than physical impression. But again I would like to emphasise the good behaviour and the realistic sound of the set during this test, reproducing the LFOs with simplicity, but without any failure whatsoever. Coming back to the bass present in the music, its representation is quite tight, they have a little punch and a good impact, although not at bass-head level, but enough to make the music fun. The thickness of the low end moves between thin and mid-bodied, due to the extension it possesses, where the low-mid is the most representative area.
During the reproduction of complex and unfiltered bass passages, the Dolce has held its own without any problems and is able to maintain musicality without consequences. This means that they have the ability to respect the music and reproduce it without any problems. In this respect the technical progress in aspects such as resolution and definition in the lower range, for such an affordable price segment, is exemplary. And the Kiwi Ears Dolce is a great example of this progress.





The V-shape is most clearly expressed in the mid-range. There is a slight dip towards the first half of the midrange, coming from a rather linear bass. But the upper part of the mids is clearly emancipated on a centre that is certainly sunken. This generates a slight imbalance between the voices, in favour of the female voices, as well as a certain feeling of hollowness in the central part. In this way, one notices a lighter body in the instruments in that area, as if they lacked pulp or base. On the other hand, this tuning gives the voices more prominence, as if they were a step further forward. And this is something that also happens in the male voices, although to a lesser extent. I wouldn’t say that the Dolce’s sound is clearly warm, but neither is it completely luminous. I would say that it is sweet, slightly soft and harmonious. Despite the contrast between the two parts of the midrange there is no loss of musicality and the whole is still quite full, pleasant and competent. Although, in reality, it lacks weight and presence in that first half, which affects the upper-mids, female voices and the instrumentation in this area, generating that hollowness and a certain sensation of remoteness and less presence, body and weight in the beginning of the range. In reality, this tuning tries to thin out the music in this part, to subtract density and gain clarity in a somewhat truculent way. And in part, it achieves this without the results being bad, and it is here that the V-tuning takes on its most evident character.
On the other hand, the Dolce does not fall into the facile recreation of mids based only on details, losing the basis and the substance of things. In that sense, the tuning as a whole is to be congratulated because both the nuances and the body keep a good relationship and one does not feel that there is a clear predominance between them, which confers a balance that is pleasant and abounds in the musicality of the IEMS in the middle zone.
In terms of sibilance, the more distant level of the male voices compensates for its presence. In the female voices it can feel higher and closer, though the Dolce take care to nuance the last instance of energy so that the end result is neither unpleasant nor fatiguing. It’s all about sweetening the music.





Perhaps the Dolce are not inoffensive or muffled in the upper zone. After the emancipated upper-mids comes a slight dip or control zone that should slightly nuance the treble. But, coming from a high level, as well as adequate treble extension, even beyond 11khz, the treble feels present, even in the foreground of the mix. The extension is evident and so is the energy level. There is sparkle and brightness here, but also a good level of naturalness and a point of subtlety that keeps the treble from being too persistent or lacerating. It’s called Dolce for a reason. The band is the protagonist, though, both in terms of closeness and behaviour.



Soundstage, Separation


The scene is presented eminently frontal, there is a certain height and a more than acceptable level of laterality and depth. There is a certain cohesive feel to the sound that prevents it from being perceived as more separate and clean, preventing the distance between elements from being more obvious and discernible. There is no sense of a clean background, but rather the sweetness of the sound and the limited level of resolution of the ensemble prevents this. But it is not a congested or dark sound by any means. It is pleasant and one understands that such limitations are implicit in a $25 budget.
The stage is wider horizontally than it is deep, which implies a limitation in the levels of layering, something that implies a certain sense of seclusion and intimacy, aggravated by the feeling of hollowness in the central area of the mids.
The image and positioning of the elements is quite adequate. There are no flaws and everything is coherent, although not in a perspicuous way. In this sense, I stress again the limitations of resolution and definition, being good in macro aspects, but not skilful or capable in aspects of micro detail or tiny nuances, although with good sources it is capable of doing a good job in trying to scrutinise such small aspects. But it must be understood that these limitations are present alongside other technical aspects. All in all, though, the overall package is more than acceptable, even pleasant and with the feeling that «there is something more», something that can help to introduce neophytes to the audiophile world.





TinHiFi C2


I like to compare similar models to establish a benchmark. In this case, for price and performance, I have chosen the TinHiFi C2s as a rival to the Dolce. While the curve is relatively similar, especially in the treble, the sound is not quite the same. The C2s are more balanced, less V-shaped, with softer ranges, something that influences a low end that seems more emphasised and noticeable. The Dolce has a slightly clearer and subtly more polarised tendency.
On a physical level there is a clear difference, the Dolce’s are made of resin and the C2’s are made of metal. But basically they are similar in size and the ergonomics are good in both. But the lighter weight and more perfect fit of the Dolce puts them above the Dolce.
The C2s are easier to move and at the same volume from the same source they sound louder.
In terms of sound, the Dolce seems to reach the extreme sub-bass more easily and is more focused in that area than the C2, whose bass is wider and more extended towards the middle of this range. This gives a different sonority between the two IEMS. The Dolce sounds more compact, the C2’s extension makes it linger a little longer in the room, but makes its texture and descriptive character superior. It feels a little more visceral, with more body and presence. But technically speaking, the Dolce is more refined, although the fun factor falls on the side of the C2. The Dolce’s better technical ability is noticeable in pure tone reproduction, as it has a more concise and controlled LFO behaviour, with more controlled and faster definition, speed and decay. The C2s, in these conditions, generate slightly more reverberation which gives it that greater fun factor, with that higher energy and roughness, but more controversial definition and control. In the end, preference over the end result can tip the balance one way or the other. I’ll take the fun factor of the C2, but I recognise the technical level of the Dolce.
The central range of the C2s is more homogeneous and there is no hollowness in the middle of the midrange. The sound is denser and also more fluid, there is a greater overall presence and completeness of all the elements in the mids of the C2s, as opposed to a more polarised representation in the Dolce. The male voices are more full-bodied and grounded in the C2s and the female voices are closer in presence. There is more clarity but also a subtle imbalance between the voices in the Dolce, but there is also a greater sense of vibrancy in the Dolce, more sparkle and less darkness. But in the C2s there is more balance between voices and also between instruments.
If you look at the graphs, there is a certain similarity in the treble. But it turns out that this is an area where the mics used can have some problems. The end result is different. The Dolce’s come from a more emphasised upper-mids and the highs seem to integrate better. Whereas the C2s seem to stand out more, coming from a lower plateau. While the extension is similar, the initial sparkle does not have the same colour. I think the Dolce has a better implemented treble, which sounds a bit more realistic and more in tune with the sound and less impostured. It is even a little thinner and more incisive, thinner and a little more technical. And, believe it or not, that gives it a greater sweetness, assurance and beauty in this upper region.
The C2s offer a wider musical wall, that strength, density, fluidity and homogeneity gives it a scene that seems wider and higher. It is still frontal, but it looks bigger and more powerful, but it loses a little depth. The Dolce has a slightly more dynamic scene, with a little more movement and distance. There is more separation and more room for the development of details, which have more space and stand out a little more. Although, in the end, the level of resolution is not very different, there are no more details in one than in the other, but in the Dolce they are easier to glimpse, as they are cleaner and freer. All this affects a more accurate image and also a greater sense of depth.
There is no clear winner between the two IEMS and the small differences discussed above will determine the preference for one set or the other.





It’s nice to find so many alternatives in the low-budget range that manage to do as decent a job as the Kiwi Ears Dolce. These IEMS are a very comfortable model that possess a certain sparkle within a technically sound midrange and treble. And, as the name suggests, that technical prowess is not stark, but spiced with sweetness. There are times when a high level of resolution is harsh, but the Dolces know how to combine all the virtues so as not to fall into a single one and thus elevate the overall result. Their strengths are clear, concise basses, forward female voices, trebles with extension and representation. They are not the classic all-rounder ensemble, but that is another virtue, possessing a certain distance from the pack to be able to stand out. Added to this is a very high comfort and a very low weight. A lot of virtues for a very low price.



Sources Used During the Analysis


  • Tempotec MARCH III.
  • Tempotec Sonata BHD Pro.
  • Burson Audio Playmate II.
  • Aune M1p.
  • HiBy R3 Pro.