KBEAR launched the new INK in May. The shells of the INK are the same as we saw in earlier models like Diamond And Believe. The 2.5D arc-styled faceplates also have a similar geometrical pattern as we had on the Diamond and Believe. INK houses a newly-developed 8.8mm dynamic driver that uses an optimized DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) diaphragm.
KBEAR packed the INK with a high-purity 8-core oxygen-free copper silver-plated cable. This cable has a Litz braided structure. The cable has 2-pin 0.78 connectors and a 3.5mm termination plug.
What’s in the box
- 8.8mm dynamic driver unit.
- Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) diaphragm.
- Precision brass sound-guide system.
- High-quality 8-core oxygen-free copper silver-plated cable.
- Rich accessories.
- Impedance: 16Ω±2Ω.
- Sensitivity: 102±3dB.
- Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-40kHz.
- Interface: 2-pin (0.78).
- Termination Plug: 3.5mm straight plug.
- Price: 69.99$
I would like to thank KBEAR for providing me with the review sample of KBEAR INK (no affiliate link).
KBEAR says that they have tuned the INK with a powerful lower end and clean vocal performance. Vocals are tuned following the Harman target curve. And they nailed it, this is exactly how the INK sounds. A perfect V-shape IEM with a couple of dB elevation on lows and treble compared to the Harman curve which sounds in harmony.
My first impression of the INK is that it serves up piles and piles of bass. The INK is tuned to have generous amounts of bass, and for recordings that are mixed to be slightly more neutral, this gives the track much more energy. The bass on the INK reached deep down into the sub-bass region, where it produces an environmental type of bass. The sub-bass is also not particularly rolled off even when compared to the elevated mid-bass region. It’s also very punchy and controlled, so it sounds like there is a subwoofer easily flooding the soundscape with sub-bass richness. The midbass on the other hand is generally punchy, quick, and controlled. Drum hits end up very controlled, and each hit has the appropriate amount of attack, decay, and sustain. So each hit on the drum skins sounds very natural. Bass guitars on the other hand are presented with a flowy presentation while remaining textured.
The vocal range is surprisingly very detailed and controlled. Although the vocal range doesn’t end up particularly euphonic, vocalists have this slightly breathy quality. So the vocals on the INK end up being strikingly detailed, particularly with vocal-centric tracks. The pianos have an immediate sense of attack, and they tend to be very detailed. However, the pianos could do with a bit more fundamental weight. Guitars on the other hand tend to have a slightly brighter timbral tilt but still could use a bit more emphasis on the fundamental of each note. The 8.8mm DLC dynamic driver remains very clear and presents midrange tones very accurately. However, the more emphasized bass region may overshadow the midrange when a vocal track plays at the same time as a bass-heavy passage.
On its own, the treble is crystalline. And it’s slightly elevated, which brings a slightly better tonal balance with the more elevated bass region. Cymbal hits are well defined and controlled, but still, retain an appropriate amount of splash to give it a natural response. Interestingly, when electronic music starts playing, and there is a more treble-focused passage, the notes are a bit more rounded. With passages that play treble-focused electronic notes, the edginess of the notes is slightly smoothed over. While the treble is not going to outshine the more elevated bass region, the silver filter can shift the balance a bit to make the treble a bit closer to the bass’ elevation.
With a less airy presentation, the INK doesn’t have a particularly expansive soundstage. However, the images within the soundstage are spaced appropriately, and the images produced have enough clarity that they are distinct from each other. Of course, the INK can create a coherent centre image, however, that image is left well inside my head. I would have wanted a centre image that was slightly pushed forward to feel slightly more natural. The general direction of the images can easily be perceived, however, there are dead spots between the extremes and the centre image. So images that pan from left to right would sometimes disappear within those dead spots, and reappear on the other side.
KBEAR INK might be one of the best alternatives for V-Shape sound signature lovers and comes with the same accessory pack of bigger brothers. The craftsmanship of the IEM shells and the included cable is one the best in this price range. And the leather carrying case that comes in the package is very generous that you don’t see often under 70$. What else do you want? 🙂