Hi all and thanks for reading my first post on this forum…
I’m in the race for a new IEM and have my eyes set on the Kiwi Ears Orchestra ($500) which, unfortunately, receives very little publicity. The reviews that are out there are fantastic though without a single exception, and I’m drawn to its cross-spectrum neutrality with a hint of warmth. I really dislike bass- and treble boosts, vocals without any texture or being nasal or shouty. At the same time I love to hear some shimmer in violins and a piano being presented as 1 instead of 3 completely different instruments. But above all I’m looking for a highly engaging musical experience that makes it impossible not to drown in the music, no matter whether I’m listening to Monteverdi, Wagner, Fitzgerald, Coltrane, Zappa, or Metallica.
Because of the above I thought I should strive to find a very balanced IEM as the perfect compromise, even when not top of the bill for any specific genre. With this in mind and rather not wanting to spend over $500 I thought the Kiwi Ears Orchestra was an excellent starting point. After reading and watching reviews for 7 days straight I’m back at square 1 as nearly all IEM offerings seem to favour the V-shaped tuning that I do not. There’s some stand-outs like maybe the Dunu Zen, but not only is it $200 more expensive but it still comes with its own sonical peculiarities (although I AM attracted to its single driver approach; knowing from loudspeakers that not having to use crossovers solves many problems while adding rhythmic qualities at the same time). So being more expensive most often leads to doing something really better while compromising on another topic.
I’ve been seeing a lot of love for the FiiO FH7 and there may be more to come with the new FD7 but I’m not sure if they are neutral and engaging enough to make me happy. They do seem to be the more complete package though. On the other hand FiiO IEMs don’t receive much love when technicalities are compared and are always way down on those lists. Funny enough individual reviews are always great, so what gives?
So… Long story short: Is there anything to consider next to the Kiwi Ears Orchestra for me given the above or should I simply pull the trigger - slightly scary for a first product of yet again a brand new Chinese company.