Review: KBEar Aurora – the Bling Bling

KBEar Aurora are the latest addition to the KBEar single dynamic driver lineup.
KBEar Aurora are the latest addition to the KBEar single dynamic driver lineup.

KBEar Aurora are a pair of luxurious near-Harman tuned IEMs powered by a single dynamic driver, featuring beautiful shells, organic timbre, and great tonality.

Thank you, KBEar, for providing the Aurora IEMs for review.

After the success of the KBEar Diamond and BElieve, KBEar continues to show its expertise in designing single dynamic driver IEMs. The latest release, KBEar Aurora have a 10mm diameter titanium dome diaphragm with a shell made of aluminum alloy finished with a special vacuum plating process.

The Aurora have tamed and polite treble.
Bottom Line

With a solid build quality and excellent sound performance, the KBEar Aurora are another pair of IEMs offering great value for your money. The shell is made of a strong and durable aluminum alloy with a polished finish that fits fairly well in my ears. In terms of sound, they are dynamic, highly entertaining, and show excellent performance from the lows up to the highs, making the Aurora an excellent bargain below the USD$150 price point.

What We Like
  • Premium build quality for shells
  • Above average isolation
  • Deep and well-controlled sub-bass
  • Spacious mids
  • Natural and accurate timbre
  • High quality accessories
What We Don't Like
  • Early roll-off in treble
  • Lack of balanced termination option

Company Introduction

KBEar is a relatively new IEM manufacturer from China. There is limited information available regarding this young company. Adapting the concept which Toyota adopted in releasing luxury cars under the name of Lexus, KBEar has a luxury IEM division too, named TRI. KBEar produces entry level IEMs and cables while TRI is focused on higher range models.

Despite being a young company, KBEar is ambitious to dominate the market through various approaches such as developing a luxury division. The brand’s popularity is increasing exponentially.

Technical Specification

Packaging

KBEar presents the Aurora IEMs in an attractive package resembling the aurora borealis. The accessories provided are par for the course for a USD$150 price range set.

The northern lights, or the aurora borealis, are beautiful dancing waves of light that have captivated people for millennia.
KBEar Aurora come in a white box with a 'northern lights' inspired design
KBEar Aurora come in a white box with a ‘northern lights’ inspired design
Technical specifications are listed on the back of the box.
Technical specifications are listed on the back of the box.
The northern lights poster in the box reflects the beauty of the Aurora.
The northern lights poster in the box reflects the beauty of the Aurora.

In the box

  • Aurora IEMs
  • Stock silver plated copper braided cable terminated with a 3.5mm unbalanced TRS jack
  • 3 pairs of red-grey silicone ear tips (big diameter opening)
  • 5 pairs of white silicone ear tips (1 pair came preinstalled)
  • Leather case
  • Cleaning cloth
  • User manual
The carrying case that comes with the Aurora is the same as the is included with the KBEar Diamond.
The carrying case that comes with the Aurora is the same as the is included with the KBEar Diamond.

Cable

The KBEar Aurora detachable cable is neatly braided and features soft PVC isolation in a light blue color. KBEar uses high purity silver-plated copper wires for the cable. A silver-colored metal housing surrounds the gold-plated, 2-Pin male connectors. The right and the left connectors are distinguished by color indicators, red for the right and blue for the left.

There are also heat-shrink ear guides located near the connectors that provide a comfortable wearing experience. Matching silver metal Y-split and chin slider are fitted on the cable. There is a flat, silver profiled metal housing with the KBEar logo that houses the 3.5mm single-ended headphone plug. In addition, it features a semi-transparent strain relief for additional durability.

The stock cable's color code matches well with the Aurora.
The stock cable’s color code matches well with the Aurora.
Each part of the cable has a matching color scheme and is robust!
Each part of the cable has a matching color scheme and is robust!

Design

Thanks to the use of aluminum alloy, the KBEar Aurora’s shells have outstanding build quality. Physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating, which is also known as vacuum plating, provides the surface with a polished mirror-like appearance.

The thin blue strip that runs around the faceplate matches well with the shiny PVD coated surface.
The thin blue strip that runs around the faceplate matches well with the shiny PVD coated surface.

On top of the faceplate, the KBEar logo can be seen printed in blue. There is a thin blue stripe running the length of the faceplate edges that gives the Aurora a beautiful appearance.

Besides the 2-pin female port, there is a pressure vent to mitigate driver flex.
Besides the 2-pin female port, there is a pressure vent to mitigate driver flex.

A small pressure vent and a 2-Pin connector are located on the top of the shell. There is a second pressure vent on the inner side of the shell to address potential driver flex of the 10mm diameter dynamic driver unit. Nozzles are fitted with mesh on top to prevent the entry of small particles, such as dirt and earwax.

On the internal side of the shell, there is another vent to help mitigate driver flex.
On the internal side of the shell, there is another vent to help mitigate driver flex.
Driver flex is when the driver bends due to the pressure of air against it. Usually, it occurs when you’re inserting the IEM into your ear and air in the shell creates pressure to bend the driver.
The mesh on top of the nozzle helps to prevent foreign material entering the IEMs.
The mesh on top of the nozzle helps to prevent foreign material entering the IEMs.

Internal

Powered by a 10mm titanium coated dynamic driver, the KBEar Aurora are a pair of relatively efficient IEMs. They feature an impedance of 18 Ohms and a sensitivity of 105 dB, which makes them suitable for use with devices such as tablets, smartphones, or USB dongles. Nevertheless, they reveal their true potential when paired with more powerful devices, such as DAPs or portable amplifiers.

Aurora Sound

In terms of presentation, the KBEar Aurora offer a very musical and entertaining presentation along with a warmer tone than neutral. The bass sounds dynamic, deep, and impactful, while the midrange is transparent and lively, and the treble offers a pleasing level of airiness and sparkle.

Both instruments and vocals can be clearly distinguished and placed. A good sense of airiness permeates the soundstage, while the depth, height, and width of the stage are on a moderate level, which is quite acceptable for a product in this price range.

Acoustically, the KBEar Aurora offer an above average soundstage in height, depth, and width. In this price range, the imaging and instrument separation are also above average. Some multi-driver/hybrid models, priced between USD$100 and USD$150, can offer better technical performance, but may not possess the same timbre or coherence.

Obviously, different strokes for different folks, so pick your poison.

The KBEar Aurora have an excellent timbre. Actually, I think the Aurora are more accurate in terms of timbre than the KBEar Diamond or some other similarly priced sets. Various acoustic instruments, such as brass, woodwinds, and string instruments, sound organic.

The sound signature of the KBEar Aurora is different from their appearance - they don't sound metallic at all.
The sound signature of the KBEar Aurora is different from their appearance – they don’t sound metallic at all.

Bass

One of the most notable features of the KBEar Aurora is their bass which displays a very dynamic and entertaining sound signature when I listen to genres ranging from rock, pop, electronic Music, to Hip-Hop. The sub-bass is characterized by a mildly warm tone and displays a good sense of depth and rumble.

As compared to the sub-bass region, in general, the mid-bass shows a fast and controlled presentation while preserving the same mildly warm tonality. There is no muddiness or midbass hump in this region, which is one of the highlights.

Even in relatively complex passages, the Aurora’s 10mm dynamic drivers provide good bass intensity, speed, and emphasis. The Aurora are great IEMs in this price range due to their expertise in bass presentation.

The Aurora snatched all the spotlight in this photo with their attractive color scheme.
The Aurora snatched all the spotlight in this photo with their attractive color scheme.

Midrange

In terms of tone, the KBEar Aurora exhibit a lively and transparent midrange, with a slightly warmer tone than neutral. They have a smooth and musical presentation, and they don’t sound recessed, like most IEMs with a V-shaped sound signature, so they are suitable for a wide variety of musical styles.

In the lower midrange, the Aurora offer good body and depth, as well as a satisfying sense of fullness, which is especially useful for male voices and instruments such as cellos or violas. There are no noteworthy negative conditions in this region, such as muddiness or mixing.

A typical description of the KBEar Aurora’s upper midrange would be that it is moderately pronounced, smooth, and close to neutral. Listening to female vocals or to instruments such as violins and woodwinds, the upper midrange is generally lively, soft, and balanced. Female vocals are performed in a fresh, slightly warm, and musical manner, without showing any negative aspects such as sibilance or harshness.

Typically, the tonality of instruments such as guitars is warm, a bit bassy, and bright towards the lower treble range, while the tonality of pianos is relatively soft and moderately bright.

A smooth and relaxed midrange make Aurora a great pair of IEMs for casual listening.
A smooth and relaxed midrange make Aurora a great pair of IEMs for casual listening.

Treble

With the KBEar Aurora, you will experience a moderately bright and pretty controlled upper treble, which has a good sense of airiness and details, which easily meets the expectations of single dynamic driver IEMs in this price range.

Despite a slight shortening of the extension in the lower treble, there is enough detail retrieval for this region. As I listen to instruments such as pianos and strings, it is controlled and produces an adequate level of clarity and definition without sounding too bright or sharp.

KBEar’s Aurora exhibit a slight peak in the upper treble region around 8 kHz, which is also visible on some graphs. When listening to instruments including Hi-hats or cymbals, I feel a sense of airiness and sparkle. Crash and ride cymbals, for example, do not demonstrate negative conditions like mixing or excessive sharpness.

Overall, the treble intensity and quantity are not too high or too low and will satisfy a wide variety of musical styles. In terms of the treble tuning, I like the sense of balance and clarity, without sounding overly aggressive.

The Aurora have tamed and polite treble.
The Aurora have tamed and polite treble.

Where to Buy

Conclusion

With a solid build quality and excellent sound performance, the KBEar Aurora are another pair of IEMs offering great value for your money. The shell is made of a strong and durable aluminum alloy with a polished finish that fits fairly well in my ears. In terms of sound, they are dynamic, highly entertaining, and show excellent performance from the lows up to the highs, making the Aurora an excellent bargain below the USD$150 price point.

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