KB ear Neon (or how I learned I don’t hate BA)

So I just got my KB ear Neon today along with the KZ DQ6. Since I wanted to hijack the upgraded cable off of my KZ zs10 pro to test out the DQ6 I decided to listen one more time to my zs10 pro and I quickly remembered why I though I hated BA treble…

I then tried out the single BA Neon and learned what a well tuned BA can actually do. I honestly only bought the Neon because I thought it looked kinda interesting and $50 for something to go in my collection as a different looking IEM is really not an issue. I bought the DQ6 because I wanted to try it out after seeing some reviews.

I don’t mind the DQ6, there is some drive behind the bass and the physical shape is more comfortable then my Aria. Honestly they are not bad at all.

The Neon was a shock. Very clean sound. Not a powerful bass, but a very clear sounding one. The mids and treble were relaxed, but still also very clear. Honestly I would rate them very close to my Er2xr, which is very high praise since they are my favorite IEM (that also has my most hated cable). Also unlike my etymotic the cable is great (especially for a cheep IEM default cable), the case is a perfect size (unlike moondrop’s mini case), and the tips are serviceable (but tips are a really personal preference kind of thing anyways).

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Some advice on what to keep in mind with the Neon. Since it is a BA iem, depending on how good the stock cable measures, you will get FR changes if you change it to a better cable (different resistance = different FR with BA iems).

Also, I have heard that the Neon works better when you use it in a deep fit style. Basically take the smallest tip you can still get a seal with and PUSH it in. Since you got the ER2XR, this shouldnt be unfamiliar to you I guess.

I’ve been enjoying mine for the last couple of days, here’s some observations:

  • They fit very comfortably and the build is great for the price; it’s like they took everything that made the F1 good and improved on it (cable, case, style).
  • Speaking of the F1, they’re an improvement in sound, too. The F1 (Bellsing) sounds downright sharp compared to the better-balanced Neon [both at the same volume using the same stock tips]. The (Tehnz) version of the F1 is obviously warmer, leaning to muddy. Almost apples to oranges, there.
  • The cable is slightly tacky/rubbery, but is tangle-free and pleasantly hefty without being burdensome. Did some walking with them and they aren’t very microphonic for tip-down wear, nor did they become unseated in my ears from cable sway.
  • The cable itself measures ~1.2 ohms @Rikudou_Goku
  • Much like the F1, the Neon isn’t very sensitive for an all-BA set and needs some volume to come alive. The Prisma Azul is like that, too, so I don’t know if there’s a resistor somewhere in the build that keeps cables/sources from changing FR too much.
  • I’ve tried all manner of tips, and I think my preference is for Symbio N, which add a twinge of warmth to them. They’re pretty neutral to start, and I didn’t notice any major improvement from deep insertion with Bi- or Tri-flange. The stock tips are middle of the road and a good place to start, though (KBear black/red).
  • Unfortunately, the nozzles are slightly narrow and some favorites (Spiral Dot, Final Type E, Symbio W) do not fit properly. SpinFit CP100 fits fine, but barely.
  • They are a great little beater set, but they do have some of the usual 1/BA trappings (Narrow soundstage, average imaging/separation, BA bass). I find that vocals and strings shine pretty well on these, and while it is BA bass from a single full-range driver, it’s well textured here.
  • I’ve never owned any Etys so I can’t draw any comparisons there. I will say that @Rikudou_Goku is correct, in that you want to seat these well in your ear. I don’t think that you need to J-J-JAM IT IN but definitely get it in there.
  • Definitely agree with @TkSilver on these, they are a worthy successor to the F1 and a great rec for a budget all-rounder if they fit someone’s preferences.
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Oh, that is VERY high. Guess I will measure it with the stock cable and with one of my own cables to see if there are any changes, which I expect there are.

Hard to say, and it could just be my multimeter; the lowest-reading 2-pin I have on hand measures 0.8 ohms, and with the Neon rating as 14 ohms I’m not sure how much of a difference that could make. With some swift-swapping, rudimentary and non-scientific testing, it seems like the 0.8 ohm cable maybe brings the treble up slightly? I can’t say that it isn’t more than placebo on my part, given the constraints of auditory memory and swiftly slapping on different cables and inserting for A/B. Interested to see what everyone else comes up with, though.

We find out when I get mine then. Hopefully I should get it this week…

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I don’t have a multimeter, but I did some A/B testing with a silver cable I have. Besides not being a good shape for actual use it did seem to boost the treble a bit, which is not exactly what I prefer even if it was a better shape. So I might just stick with stock since it sounds nice to me with out needing EQ.

I might have to try those Symbio N tips. I have been collecting tips probably as much as I have interesting IEMs. I am going to be picking up the Final Audio E500 or maybe the E1000 since the IEM is almost as cheep as the tips and I want to try the tips out. Leaning towards the E500 if the binaural stuff is true, since it would also be something a bit different.

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Thanks for your thoughts on the Neon. I agree with most of it.

  • I did ditch the cable for a KBEAR Expansion 24 core as it does not have ear hooks and was not going to sacrifice the hooks on my other cables. The stock cable does measure around 0.6 on my multimeter. Borderline B or C rating.
  • Yes, people are saying it is easy to drive and while that is true, it sounds much better with more volume. I am using a balanced output which is the other reason I swapped cables. The Neon will take a lot of volume to bring out the details.
  • Just my opinion but I prefer the small Final tips and push them way in to get all the bass. The soundstage is odd, it is too wide on some tips and on the narrow side with deep fit. If I pull mine out a bit, the stage widens, the bass drops, and the mids push back. It is hard to get it right.
  • Larry Fulton posted these PEQ settings to try
  • 41Hz, +6dB, Low-shelf
  • 2500Hz, +3dB, Q=1.0
    Bumping the 2500 gets you closer to Etymotic. Bumping the bass if you are listing at lower volumes. I noticed at higher volumes,I don’t need these adjustments.

Yes, it is a nice set, just seems like it needs some tweaking to fit within your preferences.