Review: KB EAR Lark
Updated: Jan 18
I am back from a short hiatus (due to school) to bring you the review of the KB EAR Lark!
Disclaimer: The earphones were sent to me by KeepHifi for reviewing. However, this does not affect my opinion on the product in any way whatsoever. I was told to give my honest feedback on the product.
It seems that KB EAR has been on a roll this year, churning out multiple decent earphones with a budget price tag. I have previously reviewed their earphones such as the KS2 and the Stellar and even their bluetooth cable, all of which were decent at its price point. At this point, I have pretty high expectations for KB EAR’s products as they are always trying to do better with each product. Now, let’s see how the Lark fares.
Sound: V-shaped with airy highs and quality bass
This graph depicts how the earphone sounds to me (Note the change in High, Mids and Lows)
Driver: 1x BA + 1x Dynamic Driver (10mm)
Socket: 0.78mm 2-pin socket
Price: 29.99 USD (+ 1 USD for Microphone cable)
Decent layering and separation
Good quality bass
Good build quality
Complete accessory pack
Drums lack impact to it
Vocals takes a slight dip
Suitable Genres: Funk, Jazz, Songs that are bass-focused
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
2 Sets of different sized eartips (S, M, L; in grey and white)
1 Semi hard earphone case
1 x earphone cable (3.5mm; L-shaped jack)
1 x KB EAR Lark
First things first, look at that unboxing experience, everything is labelled clearly and it feels so premium! I really like what they have done with the whole packaging of the earphone! Great job KB EAR!
I really like how complete this accessory pack is with 2 different sets of earphone tips and the semi hard case. The case feels like denim and it’s really sturdy and has a small compartment at the top of the case to allow you to slot extra eartips or a cleaning tool in it.
It’s really one of the more complete packages for earphones in the market and I really have nothing to complain about here. Keep it up KB EAR, I really hope that all your earphone packages will be in this format from now!
Outfitted with a sturdy aluminum honeycomb patterned faceplate, I think it’s really one of the defining traits of the earphone. It makes the earphone look really unique and the faceplate adds an amount of weight to it, making it feel very premium too. It does, however, invite scratches (as can be seen in some of my pictures) on the faceplate but still feels good nonetheless.
The acrylic shell of the earphone is rather light, which some people may like due to the overall weight of the earphone being lighter. However for myself, I found the weight to be a tad mismatch because the weight tends to go toward the faceplate, which means it will fall on the faceplate.
Overall, great build quality, really love the honeycomb patterned faceplate! It’s really one of a kind!
COMFORT AND ISOLATION
Despite it sporting an aluminum faceplate, it actually feels alright on the ears. I never once felt that the earphone is falling out of my ears when using it and stays on snugly. The stock eartips fit really well for my ears and never felt the need to change it.
Seal is also good, which means that isolation is great. Never once did I hear anything from the outside. The soft, supple cable is comfortable and does help with making you feel that the earphones are in place.
Before I give a general overview of the sound, the setup I use to test are as follows :
DAP - Cayin N6ii (T01)
Cable - Stock (3.5mm)
Eartips - Stock
Overall, the Lark has a v-shaped warm sound with more emphasis in the treble and bass and the mids taking a slight dip in terms of presence. The Lark is tuned with a tad more sharpness in the highs but it is not piercing, just very crisp. The separation on these are also pretty good considering its price, I would say that it’s one of the best in terms of separation for an earphone at its price range. It helps you to clearly listen out for each layer due to its distinctiveness.
In the highs section, the Lark seems to have a specific frequency range in which the highs are elevated which gives the feeling of a crisp treble. High hats are very crisp but it decays rather quickly.
As I am more into funk music lately, BRADIO has been my band of choice these days. The Lark makes listening to “Back To The Funk” very engaging, it draws you in with the high energy of the hi-hats and makes you want to groove to the music. However, I did notice that the spike in the high frequency seems to be at a specific range as the treble within the high frequency range seems to be slightly lacking. For instance, when the snare hits, it doesn’t have that after-effect impact of it. On Polyphia’s “G.O.A.T”, Tim Henson’s guitar doesn’t shine that much despite being close to the high frequency range.
In essence, the spike in the highs at that specific range does help with engaging in the music but upon closer inspection, other instruments or beats within the high frequency range tend to be slightly lacking. This may make the Lark sound like a treble cannon to some or it sounding a bit unnatural in the highs department.
Generally the mids are slightly more laidback compared to the highs and lows. Drums and guitars take a slight dip in presence and it has less of an attack when all of the instruments are being played together. Vocals are airy and sound more forward than the drums and guitars but are still laidback.
When listening to BRADIO’s “Back To The Funk” guitars are tight, with a strong presence on the left channel but the snares (or beats in this song) sounds like they could use a bit more impact to it. This is also the same for Frederic’s “Sukiraism” where the guitars are clear but the drums lack definition here.
Vocals are decent, they sound natural and are audible. However, I find myself having to turn up the volume when I do want to listen to more vocals but the other instruments then tend to overpower it. More vocals would have been better in this case.
In conclusion, vocals are airy but still tend to be a bit too laidback for my liking. A boost in the midrange would have been a bit better to give the drums more kick.
I have to admit that the bass is surprisingly good for an earphone of this price range. The bass has a decent extension that draws that makes you want to listen to it longer to enjoy that delicious bass. Kickdrums can be felt in your ears at a comfortable volume without fatigue, and with that amount of bass, it adds a layer of thickness to the music.
For bass, I usually like to use Polyphia’s “So Strange (feat Cuco)” at around the 2:40 mark to gauge how low an earphone can go. In an earphone with good bass, the bass rumbles with authority here and the Lark does that but I just wished that it could be just a bit deeper. That would have made the bass perfect. On BRADIO’s “O.TE.A.GE.DA!” the bass is clearly audible and tends to shine together with the lead guitar and it’s super funky to listen to with its interesting bass lines. I like that the bass is really clear to the listener and I never have to strain myself to listen out for the bass especially when trying to figure out how the bass is being played.
Overall, bass on the Lark is very decent for its price and it will not fail you if you are a bass lover. I feel that it has really good quality bass with decent enough extension for one to enjoy without the fatigue that comes with such deep bass. I would suggest that the bass be tuned a tad deeper still to give listeners a bit more rumble in their songs.
I read online that KB EAR has actually revised the Lark after it was released to give it a reduction in the highs, around the 4 Khz frequency range. KeepHifi was kind enough to send me both units to compare. From what I could tell, the previous sounded very grainy in the highs. High-hats sound as if grains of rice were being shaken around in a bottle. I was glad that they revised the unit and they are no longer selling the previous version.
Soundstage and Imaging
The Lark generally has a wider soundstage than most earphones, giving the impression that the music is played in a small concert hall. Imaging actually ties in with separation here and both are very good for its price. Whichever music that I listen to, there’s a very clear distinction between the layers of instruments and the positioning! It does add another layer of musicality over it.
All in all, KB EAR has made another earphone that I really enjoy despite the slight laidback of the mids section. With a complete accessory pack, decent layering, soundstage, deep bass and sparkling highs, it has a quite a 3D effect on you which entices you to listen more. All for just 30 USD. Good job KB EAR!