KBEAR DIAMOND REVIEW
THE PLUS: Smooth cohesive sound, Bass quality, Realist Tonality, Nice female vocal, Big Soundstage, Transparent timbre, Above average resolution, Excellent construction, Excellent cable
THE SO-SO: Thin overall mid range, lack of highs sparkle-decay
If I have one word to describe the young Chinese earphones company call KBEAR, it would be Perseverance.
In about one year, they go from an unknown company to a very visible and talked about brand. The fact they use multiple influencers and even are an official Headfi sponsor sure has something to do with the widespread visibility they earn, but this is just one side of their Perseverance. They seriously work hard to create iem that will stand apart in the overcrowded Chi-Fi market, and even if I seriously doubt about their tuning experience before, I think the experience they accumulate with numerous ‘’hit and miss’’ experience of the past has begun to pay off.
The DIAMOND I will review today is proof that collaborating with diversify tuners can lead to something special.
At 80$, the DIAMOND fall in the sub-100$ market where competition is extremely high, but as it’s a single dynamic driver earphone, this might help him to be considered among best offerings in its price range.
The KBEAR DIAMOND can be buy from official STORE.
Disclaimer: As I know ”Otto Motor” headfier and, to less extend, Kopi Okaya which are both the DIAMOND tuners, my curiosity was sure triggered to know what their work sounds like. As a big fan of DLC dynamic driver too, I need to try those Diamond and accept happily to be part of reviewers. I have no affiliation with nobody and don’t consider myself as a promoter, hyper or active influencer.
The DIAMOND uses a Diamond-like carbon-coated diaphragm (DLC) dynamic driver, which is known for its fast transient response potential that permits a higher level of clarity and transparency. As well, the housing body is made of thick coated aluminum, which diminish unwanted resonance and distortion. Other earphones using DLC drivers are Moondrop Kanas, KXX and Starfield as well as FAAEAL Hibiscus, JVC HA FD02 and other more expensive iems.
KBEAR has come a long way since their first earphones packaging which was just a little box with minimal accessories. The DIAMOND product presentation is very nice. The black box is nice and thick, the earphones are well showed at the side of beautifully packed leather carrying case. The case is of excellent quality and have a distinctive look. One of the highlights is the excellent silver-plated copper cable that is included too. As well, you have a generous of ear tips including 6 pairs of silicone and 2 pairs of memory foams. For the price, the accessories and packaging are more than enough.
These don’t look like sub-100$ earphones at all and again, Kbear surpasses themself with the craftsmanship of these beautiful earphones. The DIAMOND are thick, heavy and glossy. They don’t look fragile at all and even the carbon-fiber back plate of the housing doesn’t look prompt to easy scratch. In hand, they are smooth without sharp asperity. Construction is all metal apart from the backplate. 2Pin connector is tightly embedded inside the body without any space, which proves high attention to detail of assembling. The nozzle is long and has the right angle to fit properly the ears.
CABLE too have excellent construction which is very rare in the sub-100$ market. This choice is surely a costly one which inflicts on the final price and perhaps suggests a low-profit approach. This 8 cores braided silver-plated copper cable is super soft, free of any microphonic, have a well functioning metal slider, metal 2pin connector and high-quality metal jack with gold plated end. In fact, this cable might be among my favorite 2pin cable of my collection.
The DIAMOND is very comfortable for my big ears, but very small ears might find them too large and thick. These are thought to be used over ears with ear hook cable to keep the stability of position, and as they are a little heavy, I don’t think its a good idea to use cable without ear hook. Anyway, the housing design with its angled long nozzle is well done and most of its weight tends to push inside your ears. I never encounter long term discomfort with the DIAMOND nor I feel they can fall from my ears.
At 16ohm of impedance and 102db of sensitivity, the Diamond are relatively easy to drive but can benefit from good amping source. Due to slightly low sensitivity, I feel you can get the best out of them with either a powerful DAP or portable AMP.
The DIAMOND cut outside noise quite a lot, offering higher than average isolation. This is surely due to its thick metal housing. For noise leakage, it’s similar to must iem with venting hole, the DIAMOND having one just above its housing do create some minimal sound leakage that can distract sleeping bats or meditating cats.
The Diamonds have a vast, airy, well-balanced sound with an emphasis on the bass, high mid and delicate and scintillating highs. This kind of sound is easy to appreciate, its timbre being silky and transparent, its spaciousness quite precise without falling into artificiality. Yes, I admit that these are the only headphones I have tested from the Chinese company KB Ear which offers a mature, refined and highly musical tuning.
SOUNDSTAGE is quite impressively wide and out of your head, it’s above-average too in deepness and tallness for a single dynamic.
IMAGING is okay, not phenomenally accurate or precise but for not too busy this isn’t an issue and will even feel enough holographic. Still, when the tracks became overly busy, layers of sound begin to struggle for proper definition.
TONALITY is a hint bright and dry, but smooth and quite realist too. Balance is cohesive as well.
TIMBRE is transparent, softly textured and with a little thickness to it that permits to avoid sounding thin.
The BASS, without being particularly flexible and elastic, extends well and offer a fleshy and transparent presence, especially in the section of the low mids which are notably emphasized. This is not to say that we have a sharp, fast and energetic bass, in fact, it is quite relaxed and lacks a bit of control. Indeed, it tends to slide on the lower mediums which are already a little distant. What we have above all is the weight in the presence, which becomes evident with the rendering of the cello, the kick which is thick but soft in its attack and particularly toms which have a well-defined roundness although a shortened echo. The extension to the extreme low lacks a bit of freedom and seems to cut before 20HZ. Despite everything, the almost liquid rendering, round in its heaviness, and anything but too restrained, gives a layer of fun to an otherwise calm sound.
The MIDS has a soft timbre and beautiful transparency, their presence flows naturally with the rest of the instruments, giving a central cohesion to the sound. Free from aggressive sibilance, the tone is realistic even if the tone is thin and minimally textured, grain-free, and tenderly defined. Without being too hot to the point of lacking in resolution, the midrange, especially the lower mid, can sound a bit tamed, lacking in liveliness and energy to make musicality come alive. This is best understood with the male vocals, the saxophone, the acoustic guitar or the piano which sometimes lacks weight in the impact and texture in the presence. On the other hand, the female vocals have more presence and an emphasis on the high mids which energetically push them forward. The transparency of the timbre allows a good definition of the different layers of sounds. We aren’t in thick, warm, lush sound here, more in the slightly bright, smooth and transparent territory.
The HIGHS are a little behind compared to the high-mids, but that does not affect the resolution so much, rather the sound texture in general. Most treble energy came from low and mids-highs, which give extra snap to violin and acoustic guitar, but do not dig for micro details and can make some highs range percussions sound little thin and too metallic. DIAMOND isn’t for the treble head, but I don’t feel them sounding overly dark at all. Still, I feel tonal balance is negatively affect by treble tuning, which feels overly roll-off in the upper end compared to the bass and lower treble boost.
VS MOONDROP STARFIELD (110$)
These two iem are rather similar in sound signature, but less so in tonal balance and timbre. The STARFIELD offer thicker, fuller and more natural timbre while the DIAMOND is more transparent and airy. SOUNDSTAGE are very similar with both but slightly wider with the Diamond. IMAGIN too is a hint sharper with Diamond. BASS is more controlled and extends naturally to its bottom end with the STARFIELD while the DIAMOND is a little more punchy and boomy, with thinner timbre and hint of dryness. MIDS is fuller, has more presence and natural timbre with the STARFIELD, the DIAMOND mids are thinner as well as little more shouty and edgy, this can be good for instrument attack in this range but affect tonal balance negatively. TREBLE sound again fuller and more life-like with the STARFIELD, but lack extra sparkle and decay that add air to DIAMOND presentation. Still, highs sound little more artificial with a hint of metallic brilliance compared to perfectly balanced STARFIELD.
All in all, STARFIELD is pricier and offer a more balanced, natural and refined tuning that enlight DIAMOND micro-imperfection.
VS DUNU DM-480 (80$)
The DUNU is brighter and more energic sounding than the DIAMOND, but this isn’t good news. SOUNDSTAGE is smaller and lack the airy feel of DIAMOND, making IMAGING too intimate in separation proximity, as well, layering isn’t particularly transparent. BASS is slightly faster and more punchy than DIAMOND but more boomy and grainy too, lacking again in natural extension wich Diamond does better. MIDS is notably more bright and aggressive and sounds more artificial than smoother DIAMOND. TREBLE is again harsher, more shouty and less delicate and airy than DIAMOND. It digs more micro-details but throw it at you in an unrefined way.
All in all, DIAMOND sound from another league here, offering better tonal balance, technicalites and more natural timbre as well as vaster soundstage.
KBEAR DIAMOND stands apart from all other Kbear earphones, as if everything else was just clumsy experiment from another mediocre hit or miss Chi-Fi company similar to KZ and TRN.
What is even more impressive, is the fact they achieve fuller, more balanced and refined sound with only one great single dynamic driver. One might think it’s easier to tune a single driver, but it isn’t true, it’s easier to throw multiple balanced armature drivers so it does the tuning job for you by covering precisely different frequencies range section. In they end though, the sound is less cohesive and can even be disastrous without right implementation, which is rarely done in the sub-100$ price range (you will not found a sound tube in KZ and must TRN multi-BA’s or hybrid iem).
Sure, the DIAMOND is not perfect, but it’s meticulously tuned to deliver a cohesive musicality and in this the price range, we can’t really ask for me.
Not only the sound is smooth, transparent, lively and well-articulated, but the bass has beautiful slam, mids are clear and highs are delicate without harshness. As well, this level of quality of construction and accessories is exceptional for its price.
If you search for something more balanced and transparent than the BLON BL-03 or with a faster transient response than MOONDROP STARFIELD, the KBEAR DIAMOND earns the special place of being one of the best value dynamic earphones you can find under 150$.