Review - KBEAR Robin (sub 50€)

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 


The KBEAR Robin was sent to me free of charge by KeepHiFi in exchange for the publication of this review. They have not requested anything specific, so, as always, my review will be as sincere and unbiased as possible, however, it is always good to keep in mind that I have received this product free of charge.

You can find the Robin on their website here: https://keephifi.com/es/products/kbear-robin-1dd-4ba-in-ear-headphone

They also have an Aliexpress store that you can find here: https://www.aliexpress.com/store/5721043?spm=a2g0s.12269583.0.0.22c8ab80xdIlal

(these are not affiliate links, Acho Reviews does not receive anything from the use of these links, find out more here About my reviews)



Intro…

When KeepHiFi offered to send me the KBEAR Robin for review, they also asked if I would like to compare it to the cheaper KBEAR Lark, which they would also send out. As you may know, I already reviewed the Lark back in December last year and I found the highs to be rather disappointing, however, I later found out that there were actually two versions of the Lark (with no way to tell which is which) and one version had the “correct” highs, whereas the other (probably the one I received) had treble issues.

I mentioned this to KeepHiFi and they sent me a set of Lark also so I could revisit them and also compare them to the Robin. As I have mentioned in the past, I like to give products some burn in time and then spend at least a week with them before I post a review. The normal way to do this would probably have been to re-evaluate the Lark first and then move on to the Robin but I am not always (ever?) normal, so I have decided to review the Robin first. Once I have done this review on their own merit, I will spend some time with the new set of Larks (currently on the burn in rig) and post both my updated opinions (if they are in fact updated) and some comparisons to the Robin.



Presentation…

The presentation of the Robin is identical to that of the Lark (I don’t need to revisit them to be able to compare this part), a simple cardboard sleeve inside which a black flip top box is contained. Inside the box we find the IEMs, the cable (in my case without a mic but a version with a mic is also available), various sets of silicone tips and the usual user manual, along with a storage/carrying case that I am quite fond of (the one from the original Larks gets a lot of use).



Build and aesthetics…

The build of the IEMs is also very similar to the Lark, a clear shell with a metal faceplate, although the design has changed and is offered in both blue and black. To be honest, I liked the design on the faceplate of the Lark but I also like the difuminate coloured finish of the Robin. Obviously aesthetics is a very personal thing, so all I can say is that I like them although they are not what I would call the most beautiful IEMs I have ever seen.

The included cable is functional but does not scream quality. However, it is more than adequate for the job and does not need to be replaced unless it is something one chooses to do on a personal level. I have actually been using the cable from the Starfields as the blue cable matches the Robin quite nicely.

As far as comfort, which is obviously also personal, it is just as comfortable as other KBEAR offerings and those from other brands that opt for the same shape shell. In my case I find them comfortable and the shape is something that I am used to.



Sound…

So, on to the important part, how does this sub 50€ hybrid IEM sound?

Starting from the lowest notes, as usual, I find the sub bass to have a slight roll off to it as we dive down into the lowest notes. The sub bass is not absent, it is still noticeable and can still give a bit of rumble when the track calls for it, but I do find it to be slightly lower than the mid bass region. 

Putting the Robins through the “Chameleon” work out, increasing the volume levels slightly more than my usual listening levels, there is enough sub bass there to feel the rumble, however, it does not get to the “eardrum resonating” levels that other IEMs do. In fact, I find that the subbass is very similar to the original Larks I have, nicely present but without being overdone. As I said, I haven’t tried the new set of Larks yet, so I am not going to do much comparing, but I did like the lower end and mids of the originals, and the subbass on this set is very reminiscent of those. It is certainly enough for my tastes, although I wouldn’t say it is at the level of what a bass head may want or expect.

Moving into the remaining bass frequencies, these are more present than the subbass, with a bit of an emphasis on mid bass that sometimes seems to roll over slightly into the lower mids. This is not something that stands out, in other words, I wouldn’t necessarily say that these IEMs suffer from bass bleed as such, but there are moments when the bass can just dirthy the lower end of the mids slightly. This is more apparent in songs that use overly extended electronic bass sounds, whereas with electric bass guitars it does not seem to be the case, or in the case of shorter more staccato bass hits (even if they are electronic). For example, the bass of “No Sanctuary Here” sounds great on these IEMs, even if the bass is electronic, and does not seem to interfere with the mids at all.

Moving into the mids, the tonality of instruments is very pleasurable, however, voices do come off as recessed. The vocals seem to always be one step behind the music of the song. A lot of the music I listen to is simple instrumental and vocals, and I find myself enjoying the lower mids and the overall tonality of the guitars, basses, etc. with a nice warm touch to them but do miss a little more presence when the voices come in. Now, this is not something that is terrible, far from it, but I think a little more presence in the higher mids would go a long way to giving vocals that little push to the front. 

To be honest, when listening exclusively to the Robins, this is not something that is too apparent, it is more when moving from a set that has more vocal presence that is really stands out. I think that one of the tracks that most exaggerates this from my playlist is “Bombtrack” by Rage Against The Machine, where the vocals are overshadowed by the instruments. 

When climbing up into the treble areas, sibilance is avoided for the most part, although “Code Cool” (the usual sibilance test) can produce a few “S” that are slightly too much but in general it is more than acceptable. The extension of the treble is also decent (one of my main gripes with most budget offerings), with a decent sensation of air for a set of IEMs in the sub 50€ price bracket. The Robin are not going to compete with other options that use better BA drivers for the high end but, again, they are better than the majority of options in their price bracket and certainly don’t suffer from the roll off that is present on so many single DD sets.

The soundstage is about on a par with what I have come to expect from IEMs in this price range, nothing spectacular but certainly not bad in comparison to many. The placement of images inside this soundstage is also acceptable, it is not milimetrical but is enough to make tracks such as “Bubbles” enjoyable.

As far as speed and dynamics, the Robins do seem to hold themselves together fairly well, except that, due to the recess of the vocals, when tracks get a little busy and complex in the low end, it can become a little overpowering and give the sensation that they are a little clustered. I feel that this is due to the recess of the vocals more than the actual lack of capability of the drivers themselves as fast moving instrumental passages do seem to be more coherent )or at least avoid that sensation). 

The detail is something that also suffers due to this. When listening to simple passages, such as the intro to “All Your Love (Turned to Passion)” by Sara K., there is detail (although they are certainly not detail monsters) but a lot of details seem to get lost once things get busier.



Conclusion…

The KBEAR Robin are another set of IEMs that come in under 50€ and offer plenty of fun for their price. I wouldn’t really say that they are the best at anything but I can see that many people will enjoy them, depending on their music tastes. Personally I don’t find them exciting but at the same time, I have spent all week using them to listen to music while working and haven’t really found myself wanting to take them out.

I feel that the Robin are a set of IEMs that are great for when you are not actually focusing on them but can seem to fall when you pay too much attention to them. I find that EDM and other instrumental music is very enjoyable but the recess in vocals stops me from praising them more for my preferred genres of music.

I will certainly be spending sometime with the new set of Larks soon and will come back with some comparisons once I have done so. If you want to know how they compare, check back in for the Lark Round 2, I will try to throw some other comparisons in at the same time.

SenyorC