Kbear has quickly risen through the ranks to become a major player in the budget IEM market. They are one of the brands that are continuously setting the bar in terms of how much value you get out of a product. Some of the IEMs that we have checked out, such as the KBear Diamond and KS2, easily prove that KBear has what it takes to make great sounding IEMs.
But KBear doesn’t seem to be satisfied with only making great budget-priced products. With the experience that they have gained in the past couple of years, they have decided to compete in the mid-fi market. The product that they have chosen to debut in this new price bracket is the KBear Believe.
This IEM is the follow up to the well-received KBear Diamond. It features familiar design elements but has some new tricks up its sleeve. Its internals has been revamped and now feature a beryllium diaphragm dynamic driver.
But with how fierce the competition in this price bracket is, can the KBear Believe compete with the more established brands? Keep on scrolling to find out.
We would like to thank KBear for providing the complimentary review unit and for making this review possible. However, this does not influence our review in any way. Everything written here is my honest opinion.
Packaging and Accessories
One of my favorite things about KBear’s products is that they don’t skimp on the packaging and accessories. They always seem to put a lot of thought into how to give a good first impression on their customers. The KBear Believe is no different.
The packaging is very similar to the KBear Diamond, which also impressed us in our review. You get a large rectangle box that is significantly larger than most IEMs in this price range.
But this time around, you are getting a box art that gives a preview of what the IEMs look like. The technical specifications can also be seen at the back of the box.
Inside the box, you will see a presentation that is very similar to the KBear Diamond. Everything is neatly arranged with no wasted space. Of course, the IEMs are the center of attention and can be immediately accessed upon opening the box.
Just like the Diamond, the Believe does not disappoint when it comes to the included accessories. The ones that you get include two sets of foam ear tips, three pairs of silicone ear tips, and a premium-looking stock cable. That is more than enough to get you started, especially if you haven’t purchased IEMs in this price range before.
Overall, KBear once again nails the packaging. And with that out of the way, let us talk about the build quality and sound quality.
Design and Build Quality
The KBear Believe is a gorgeous looking IEM that beats most IEMs in its price range in terms of its aesthetics. KBear has utilized the same shell design from the KBear Diamond for the Believe. However, there are a few upgrades that make the Believe a lot better than its predecessor.
The shells are still made of CNC Aluminum, which gives the shells a very solid and durable feel. The nozzles are also made of aluminum, which makes changing ear tips feel more secure. There are virtually no weak spots or any points of failure giving you more confidence in using the IEMs.
But unlike the KBear Diamond, the shells are now a lot lighter, making them feel more comfortable to wear. Additionally, the KBear Believe is now rocking a new faceplate design. It has a holographic design that reveals blue accents in the carbon fiber when you change the angle that you are looking at.
One thing to note is that the shells are not utilizing the semi-custom design that a lot of universal IEMs at this price point are now using. While this isn’t an issue, the feel of the shells inside my ears does not feel as snug as other IEMs that we have reviewed, such as the BQEYZ Spring 2 or BGVP VG4 (make sure to also check out our reviews of the Spring 2 and VG4 as they are also excellent IEMs).
But overall, the shells are incredibly well done. The build quality alone already punches way above its price point.
The KBear Believe features a new cable that hasn’t been utilized in any prior models. The new stock cable is a Hakugei 6N UPOCC Litz cable.
The aesthetics of this cable is on point. The look and feel of this cable are easily on par with a lot of the budget Chi-Fi upgrade cables in the market.
KBear nailed the key points that I am looking for in an IEM cable. The cable is soft and easy to handle. It also doesn’t have that plasticky feel that a lot of stock cables in this price range have.
The hardware used is also very good. Key components such as the 3.5mm plug, the 2-pin housings, and the Y-split are made of metal. Additionally, the Y-split and 3.5mm plug’s housing has a carbon fiber finish that matches the Believe’s faceplates. And to top off its premium look, the cable features an orb-shaped plastic chin slider that is similar to the one found on the BQEYZ Spring 2.
The Believe’s stock cable is perfect for its price range. The only thing that would have made it even better is if KBear were to offer a 2.5mm or 4.4mm balanced version of this cable.
The only reason why I changed the stock cable during my testing was that I wanted to run the Believe in balanced mode. Otherwise, I would have used the stock cable, and I imagine most users would be very happy with this setup.
Before we get to the sound quality, I would like to talk about the Believe’s power requirements first. Like a lot of the newer dynamic driver IEMs that are coming out, the KBear Believe needs a source with higher output, such as a headphone amplifier or DAC/Amp, to truly shine.
These IEMs can still work when using more basic setups such as dongles like the ddHiFi TC35B and TC25B (you can review our full review here). However, the sound was more congested and not as detailed compared to my other sources. Bluetooth adapters such as the TRN BT20S Pro (you can check out our full review here) also proved to be insufficient. For this review, I have mainly used the Astell & Kern AK380 + Amp as well as the Fiio M11 in high gain mode.
Tested with: Astell & Kern AK380 + AK380 Amp, Fiio M11, iFi Nano iDSD Black Label, ddHiFi TC35B.
KBear has always been good when it comes to the packaging and build quality of their IEMs. But what truly determines their IEMs’ worth is the sound quality, The KBear Diamond that we previously checked out was great, but it had some issues that prevented it from competing above its price range.
The Diamond’s V-shaped signature that heavily focused on the bass worked well with a lot of modern genres. However, for more detailed tracks, it proved to be insufficient compared to the expensive models. But this time around, I am glad to see that KBear has stepped their game up to bring a more technically competent IEM.
As mentioned earlier, the KBear Believe utilizes a new driver that has not been used with KBear’s previous offerings. The Believe is equipped with a beryllium coated diaphragm dynamic driver, which is theoretically a lot better in terms of technicalities compared to traditional dynamic drivers. This is also quite a big deal considering current IEMs with this driver configuration, such as the Dunu Luna, are way more expensive than the KBear Believe.
The KBear Believe features a balanced signature, which is a departure from their previous offerings. However, fans of the Diamond should not be worried since this IEM does not sound sterile. It takes the best qualities of the Diamond and significantly improves upon its weaknesses.
One of the big improvements of the KBear Believe is found in the low frequencies. Like most dynamic driver IEMs, the bass is well executed here. But unlike the KBear Diamond, the Believe’s bass response has been significantly toned down.
It has a more mature and realistic presentation with better control than the Diamond and other IEMs in this price range. It still has that tight and punchy nature of its predecessor, but it never overdoes it. The bass never sounds bloated and never bleeds into the midrange.
If there is any critique that I could give to the bass response, it is that the midbass sometimes pokes out in places where it doesn’t need to be. However, this is very subtle and is in no way an issue of the IEM.
The mids were not the strength of the KBear Diamond. They were recessed and had this unnatural warm tone that can easily be observed when compared to other IEMs. But this time around, the Believe handles mids much better than its predecessor.
The mid frequencies are now more forward and better highlight vocals and instruments such as guitars. They are perfectly placed in the mix, which prevents them from being too shouty or too recessed.
Both male and female vocals sound very engaging. Detail retrieval is also very good making small nuances easily pop out.
The Believe also handles bright sounding tracks very well. Female vocals, in particular, that usually have problematic peaks with other IEMs are always kept in check with these IEMs.
Just like the mids, the Diamond wasn’t the best at reproducing the high frequencies. This is, once again, not the case here since the Believe has an excellent performance in the highs.
The Believe features a well-extended treble with lots of air and details to make for an engaging listening experience. Cymbals seem to always have the right amount of presence in the mix. They always remain audible but are never too distracting.
Hi-hats cut through the mix without being harsh. Crash cymbals never sound piercing, even at higher volumes. The Believe just seems to perfectly get enough detail out of the highs while avoiding any forms of harshness.
As a result, you can wear the Believe for long listening sessions without experiencing hearing fatigue with bright sounding tracks and more demanding genres.
Imaging and Soundstage
The imaging and soundstage is another area where the Believe excels at. While the Believe isn’t the best that I have heard in this area, it is still on par or better than the best IEMs at this price range.
Live recordings and other tracks that are supposed to sound wide feel realistic on these IEMs. Again, the soundstage isn’t the widest, but each element in the mix have adequate spacing in between them.
Imaging is also excellent on these IEMs. The position of each instrument is very easy to tell. This makes live tracks and well-engineered albums very engaging to listen to.
Also, the way each instrument and various elements in the mix are separated is also quite admirable on the Believe. The lows, mids, and highs sound independent from each other. This is quite the feat considering this set isn’t a multi-driver IEM.
KBear has finally done it. They have created a great sounding IEM that I can confidently pit against more expensive IEMs. And outside of the sound quality, it also nails everything from the accessories to the build.
The only slight issue that I can see with the Believe is the need for a good source to truly make it sing. Considering this is a sub 200 USD model, I don’t think a lot of consumers in this price range have invested in a good DAP, DAC/Amp, or headphone amplifier.
But if you already have great sounding sources, then you will enjoy the Believe even more. The KBear Believe easily gets a recommendation from us.
- Impedance: 17Ω
- Frequency response: 20-20KHz
- Sensitivity: 98 dB
- Drive Unit: Pure Beryllium Diaphragm Dynamic Driver (Imported from Japan)
- Cable: 4 strands of 6N single crystal copper litz
- Connectors: 2-Pin 0.78mm
- Plug Type: 3.5mm
Albums Used For Testing
- Milet – Who I am
- Babymetal – Legend Metal Galaxy
- Mamamoo – Travel
- Blackpink – The Album
- Final Fantasy VII Acoustic Arrangements
- Square Enix Jazz- Final Fantasy VII At Billboard Live Tokyo
- Moe Shop – Moe Moe
- Yorushika – Plagiarism
- Sayuri – Me
- Intervals – Circadian
Stephen is a musician, cinematographer, and headphone enthusiast who is passionate about reviewing audio equipment. He has been playing guitar for at least a decade, which introduced him to professional recording equipment such as headphones and in-ear monitors. With the help of reviews and online content, he was able to learn the ins and outs of the hobby. His goal is to give back to the community by providing quality content to help others enjoy the beautiful (and expensive) world of audio.
Favorite Headphones: Sennheiser HD660s