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KB Ear AURORA IEM Review – THICK BOY

KB-Ear, a brand based out of China is known for its High Fidelity Audio Products and their infamous product BELIEVE which I personally liked a lot. Since the Believe has been discontinued the Kbear  was pushed to the edge to release the successor for it and hence they released the Aurora! Even though they don’t look like the successor of the Believe in terms of physical appearance, let’s see how they compare to it in terms of sonic performance.

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SPECIFICATIONS:

10mm Titanium diaphragm dynamic driver.

Impedance: 18Ω±2Ω.

Sensitivity: 105dB±3dB.

Frequency response range: 20Hz-20kHz.

Standard 2-pin 0.78mm connectors.

3.5mm single-ended termination plug.

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DESIGN AND FIT:

The design language of the Aurora follows that of the usual and traditional in-ear monitors and not the design language of the Believe. The design and the colour scheme they went with is really good. The teal colour along with the shiny mirror finish looks fantastic in the real world but the shiny aspect is the worst part here since a lot of scratches are seen and picks up a lot of fingerprints too.  A matt finished sliver looks could have been better. 

The fit is decent and isolates from most of the external noises even though they are not designed as Custom shell shaped. The teal trim along with the subtle branding gave the earpiece a neat and clean look. The nozzle is of good length and the tips provided are good in collection and one can easily find a good fit with the provided eartips.

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The provided cable is a SPC cable which is 8 core and the look is very premium. The metal shell for the connectors and the termination area gave the cable a premium look and the colour scheme they went with this is very good too which is a blue colour. The cable has a nice supple nature and the cable has nice heftiness in the hand. The cable however has a sticky nature which is kind of obtrusive but otherwise the tangling issue is not highly present.

The 2 pin area is nicely recessed along with the body but the issue is with the cable where the 2 pin tends to be loose in the connector area hence careful attention is required in taking care of the connector area.

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SOUND:

The sound signature of the Aurora is a Warm Harman tuned set which has that nice mid bass presence with the smooth highs. The brand even calls this set to be a successor which carries the legacy of the lost Believe. In this review let’s check out whether this really is a successor of the Believe in terms of sound.

LOW END:

The low end performance of the Aurora is not that exciting in my frank opinion when compared to the Believe. The Aurora low end is fully focused on the mid bass region hence they sound thick and fat rather than fast and snappier. 

The sub bass here is GOOD but not that great where it is present but still lacks that rumble and bite. The sub bass presence is mostly masked out by the mid bass which makes the track appear very thicker and full bodied but lacks that crispness and bite. In the track “INSTANT CRUSH – DAFT PUNK”, the kick drums sound very thicker and fuller which is pretty appreciable but as i told before this lacks that sub bass kick and the bite. The presence is there but it’s masked out by the excessive mid bass. Since the mid bass is also slightly slower they are not the snappiest and crispiest but it’s definitely addictive since it has a nice fuller and thick sounding low end. At 1:30 the sub bass drops but it’s not that evidently felt in the Aurora rather the mid bass is the centre of focus here.

The mid bass is nicely tuned here which is fuller and soothing. The mid bass is thicker, full bodied and well separated. The control is nice but lacks the speed. It doesn’t have that speed of the Believe hence this sound slightly sluggish. Despite the slower mid bass they can handle the faster tracks very well. In the track “IN THE HEIGHTS – LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA”, the kick drums have a nice bite and the kick. The low end reverberation is brought out really well. The cymbal crashes especially are really nice and smooth and the timbre is very pleasing which we will talk about in the technicalities aspect. The separation and the layering in this track is really brought out very well. Since the soundstage is very intimate the space is lacking which made the whole presentation slightly crushed.

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Overall the low end is mid bass focussed, thicker, full bodied, well separated, pleasing timbre, controlled and tight, slower( but can handle the faster tracks very well ). The low end would have been complete if a little more sub bass boost had been done. A low end which is tuned to deliver the POP genres beautifully but the metal genres will take the hit.

KB Ear AURORA IEM Review

MID RANGE:

The mid range of the Aurora is slightly recessed, especially the instruments in the background. The vocal takes the nice placement which is presented well and forward but the instruments take the hit.

The best part about the vocals and the instruments in the Aurora is the Tonality and the Timbre. They are very smooth and addictive! The tonality is exceptionally done here. It’s warm, pleasing and smooth hence no hotness is seen throughout my listening. The timbre of the instruments are realistic and natural with a hint of warmth. The tonality is however slightly cold but that gives that nice soothing and pleasing experience.

Both the male and the female vocals are nicely rendered out with good body and fullness. The upper mids are not that emphasized hence lacks that female vocal sparkle. Despite that smoother upper mids the vocals sound great in the Aurora. This is a very pleasing set to listen for a longer period rather than being too energetic and fatigued over time. The detail retrieval is average though but the layering is done very well.

The instruments are nicely placed and layered well. The imaging is very nice too. The mids sometimes feels crushed since the soundstage in not that wider. Has a good amount of space but not the best in terms of the price. If the staging is slightly bigger and with some slight upper mid emphasis, the mid range could have got a bit more space to breathe and provide some sparkle in the female vocals.

In the track, “NO TIME TO DIE – BILLIE EILISH”, Billie’s voice is nicely placed and rendered. The vocal has that nice fullness and body. The vocal slightly sounds colder and darker but not that extreme. This also gives that nice sense of fatigue free listening. The instruments take a back seat but the placement and the layering is nicely done. The kick drums and the beat instruments take front seat over the stringed and percussion instruments due to that relaxed upper mids.

In the other track “SHAPE OF YOU – ED SHEERAN”, the male vocal is nicely rendered with the same fullness and body. The kick drums sound nice and sweet but lack that snappy attack though. When the kick drums kick in the stringed instruments takes a big back seat hence midrange lovers need to have less expectations over this set.

Overall even though the midrange is slightly recessed the vocal takes a nice position and made the whole presentation very engaging. Lacks the energy in the upper mids but eventually it provided the nice fatigue free, hotness free listening. The technicalities like the Layering and the imaging are nicely done. Staging is cramped a bit but overall a solid warm and smoother midrange.

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TREBLE:

The treble in the Aurora is good. They sound smoother and yet detailed. The treble extension is good but lacks the air! The instruments in the top end feel crushed and a bit congested. The brilliance aspect of the Aurora is fine with some sparkle in the top end. The percussion instruments sound slightly colder hence a bit more brightness could have been done.

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The cymbal strikes are however very natural and smoother. No harshness is observed and the attack, decay are at the sweet spot. The electric guitar strings and the trumpets do have that pleasing and addictive tonality. The separation is good and the resolution is pretty average in my time with this. The air is completely lacking hence the congestion and the cramping of the staging is evidently observed. 

In the track “ABARIBBA CUMBIAREMOS – EDDIE PALMIERI”, the trumpets and the instruments have a nice tonality. They sound very smoother and clean on the other hand too. The detail retrieval is good too. The track separation and the placement are nicely done but the lacking things are the wider stage and the resolution. The details sometimes get lost but overall the highs are very pleasing and warm to listen to. Slightly colder but very addictive.

In the other track “DREAMS – FLEETWOOD MAC”, the cymbal crashes are very pleasing to listen to while the vocal is nicely rendered out too. The highs are very good in terms of smoothness and tonality but the only thing this lacks is the resolution and the air. Other than that this thing has one of the pleasing sound signatures overall. The layering of the instruments and the separation are one of the best.

The treble in the Aurora is smoother, pleasing and addictive tonality, detailed enough, and has impressive layering. The staging and the presence of air could have been improved other than that nothing to complain of.

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TECHNICALITIES:

SOUNDSTAGE: The staging is not the biggest strength of the Aurora. The width seems to be very less but overall the staging seems to be well rounded instead of having that extra sense of width. The height is average too but the depth is nicely done here due to that thick bass response. The lesser width made the Aurora to be slightly congested. 

IMAGING: Imaging is very precise. The instruments can be easily pointed out even with that impressive thick bass response. The transient response is pretty smooth and the sweeping of sounds from one channel to the other feels pretty smooth too. The Aurora is able to handle the faster tracks too hence the imaging is not an issue in that area.

RESOLUTION: It’s pretty average and the predecessor Believe just surpasses the Aurora in terms of resolution. 

DETAIL RETRIEVAL: The detail retrieval is above average. Even with that cramped up intimate claustrophobic soundstage the details are brought out really well 

LAYERING: That’s the impressive and highlighting feature of the Aurora. The placements and the layering of the instruments are very neatly done.

Tracks Used:

  1. Sirens Of The Sea – Ocean Labs
  2. Global Gear (Instrumental) – Punya Srinivas
  3. Hideaway – Jacob Collier
  4. What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World – Hans Zimmer

PROS AND CONS:

Pros:

  1. Warm Harman Sound Profile
  2. Thick Bass with Lush Mid Section
  3. Smoother Treble
  4. Layering

Cons:

  1. Cramped Up Soundstage
  2. Imaging
  3. Resolution
  4. Lack of Presence of Air
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VERDICT:

Aurora, the latest offering from the Kbear is said to be the successor of the lost legend BELIEVE and i believe that this is definitely not the successor rather its focussed towards separate audience. I agree that the tuning has been changed where the Believe had that slight V shape whereas the Aurora has that Warm Harman. 

Aurora is a thick sounding pair hence called the THICK BOY. Full focus is towards the mid bass and the midrange is now presented forward when compared to the Believe and the highs has been tamed down and made it more smoother and pleasing with no hotness. Believe had that sub bass focussed sound and the technicalities are superior when compared to the Aurora.

Aurora has the narrower stage if not rounded, the detail retrieval and the presence of air is pretty average. The highs lack the sparkle and the upper mids are tamed down a lot which is pretty opposite to that of Believe. The two tunings are opposite and instead I would call the Aurora to be the successor of the Blon Bl03! Has a similar tuning with improved technicalities.

Overall I would take the Believe over this since i like more sub bass, bigger soundstage and better technicalities. But does that mean Aurora is a hit? NO! Definitely this will please a separate group of people especially who like the BL03 and this THICK BOY will definitely capture the attention from the Audiophile Community.

This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C

KATHIRAVAN

Follow him on – Instagram | Facebook

I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.

Shubham

Shubham Garg (Editor Shubz.in) is an engineer with a specialization in Mechanical Engineering from AKTU, Uttar Pradesh. Being a mechanical engineer he has always loved to learn the inner working of various machines and consumer electronics. He regularly tests various audio, home appliances, and daily use products, to provide the best advice to readers. He is a wizard that can make your shopping easy, saving you time and stress of figuring out what to buy.

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