In this review, I’m taking a look at the Khunpol X Apollo White Wizard earbuds. White Wizard is a collaboration between Khunpol cables and Apollo earbuds. The package retails for $283 / 9,500 THB.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by KStudio for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Khunpol X Apollo White Wizard
- Driver: 15mm dynamic driver
- Impedance: 32 Ohm
- Sensitivity: 114 dB
- Frequency response: 13Hz-29000Hz
Packaging & Accessories
The Khunpol X Apollo White Wizard comes in a small white cardboard box. Inside the box are the earbuds, a detachable SPC MMCX cable, a carrying case and some spare sets of foam covers.
Most earbuds tend to have a fairly generic design and form and that is the case with the White Wizard. However, there are a couple of things that differentiate these earbuds from all the others out in the wild. First of all, the White Wizard earbuds are painted: the left side is blue and white while the right side is caramel and white coloured.
Next are the MMCX connectors which is a bit of a rarity when it comes to earbuds. This is beneficial because it means that if the original cable is damaged it can be replaced easily. It also means you can customize the cable should you wish to do so.
The included cable from Khunpol is 6N OCC silver-plated single crystal copper. At the top end, it has colour-coded metal MMCX connectors. The Y-split and straight plug have a silver and gunmetal grey colour with a unique and striking design. They look modern and have a premium aesthetic.
Although the cable components are fairly large, they’re extremely lightweight. In terms of handling, the cable is a little stiff but the upside is that it’s resistant to tangling. However, it does exhibit some microphonics and can be a bit noisy when you’re moving about.
If you’ve used earbuds with this type of shell you already know how these would feel in your ears. I am personally a fan of this generic style and prefer it over more fanciful shapes such as the Astrotec Lyra Nature LE. With the foam covers in place, the Wizard feels stable and secure in my ears; I’m never worried that the earbuds will fall out of my ears. Noise isolation is almost non-existent, as it always is with earbuds. But as a tradeoff, we get that magical earbud soundstage (more on that later).
Gear used for testing includes:
The White Wizard has a warm signature that’s all about tone and naturalness. It’s an earbud that has clearly been tuned with musicality in mind. But it’s no slouch when it comes to technicalities either. The sound is brimming with details and it has a classic earbud soundstage i.e. a really good one.
A well-delivered treble plays a large part in White Wizards overall appeal. It sets the stage for a midrange that’s clear but full-bodied and a bass that’s present and textured but never overbearing. Driveability is not an issue either – White Wizard works great straight from a phone or dongle DAC.
White Wizard’s bass is somewhat emphasized and focuses mainly on the mid-bass. The fullness of the mid-bass adds body and warmth to the midrange without muddiness. The sub-bass rolls off a little but it can still get a rumble going. It’s not the most physical or assertive but it doesn’t feel lacking in any way.
It’s a treat listening to the bass guitar in Weather Report’s “Teen Town”. The White Wizard reproduces it with abundant texture and just the right amount of thickness. At no time does it smother the horns or organs in the midrange. While it may not be the ultimate in cleanliness, the natural sound of the bass attack and decay is pleasing and packed with rhythm.
How fitting it is that the White Wizard is able to conjure up such a magical midrange. This is a midrange that is rich but not overly sweet. Despite its inherent warmth, the midrange doesn’t feel bloated or sluggish – it’s merely natural and organic. Furthermore, it has good clarity too so vocals are articulate and instruments have satisfying accuracy. There’s sufficient space between sounds and the tone of the midrange feels full-bodied and emotive.
When listening to Osi and the Jupiter’s “Útiseta”, I can detect some slight colouration but it’s so intoxicating that it doesn’t matter. The immersion and emotions felt when hearing songs like this are what makes this earbud special.
When tuning a warmer earbud, a good treble is essential to maintaining a good tonal balance. The White Wizard’s treble checks all the boxes for me. It’s buttery smooth yet packed with details. It has good extension coupled with rounded, airy notes. Most of the emphasis is on the lower treble before it steadily rolls off only to rise again in the uppermost region (similar to Moondrop’s VDSF).
While it isn’t a prime example of utmost precision, the Wizard’s treble is a treat to hear on tracks like The Pineapple Thief’s “White Mist”. Despite the percussion being fairly subdued on the actual recording, the intricate hi-hats and cymbals are easy to pick out and follow.
One thing we always expect with earbuds is a large, open soundstage. White Wizard has a spacious natural stage that is not only wide but also has great depth. It’s not a huge soundstage but it creates a rounded space with clear boundaries. The centre image has good density thanks to its note size and forwardness. Positioning is fairly strong and there are clear layers of sound around and behind vocals. In the end, it’s a very natural and lifelike presentation.
Astrotec Lyra Nature ($169)
The Astrotec Lyra Nature has a 15mm dynamic driver. It has a similar tonality to the Khunpol X Apollo White Wizard. Bass quantities are about the same on both earbuds but the White Wizard’s bass has better definition and clarity.
The Lyra Nature’s midrange sounds muddy and congested in comparison to the Wizard. Although the WW is warmer, it has better separation and clarity. Lyra Nature’s mids are upfront, relatively thick yet somewhat shouty in the upper midrange.
Treble quantity is again similar on both models but feels stifled on the Lyra Nature. Lyra’s soundstage is considerably smaller due to the forwardness and thickness of its midrange.
Simphonio Dragon 2+ (tested at $308)
The Dragon 2+ is a premium earbud with a 15.8mm dynamic driver. It’s got a leaner, brighter tonality than the White Wizard. The Dragon 2+ bass is tighter and less punchy. As a result, it’s not as warm or musical. It has a leaner midrange with a more pronounced upper midrange boost. This boost in conjunction with thinner notes makes the D2+ slightly shouty with female vocals. It has more clarity but the tone isn’t as natural as the White Wizard.
The SImphonio has a similar treble presentation as the Wizard but the perceived level is more forward and brighter due to having less warmth in the bass. Neither earbud has an advantage when it comes to detail retrieval though. Both earbuds have similar soundstage dimensions; despite the Dragon 2+ having leaner notes, the stage position is more forward.
The Khunpol X Apollo is an earbud that has been designed from the ground up for musicality but it also scores points for technicalities. If you’re looking for a high-end earbud that’s warm and engaging yet clear and dynamic, put these on your shopping list. You’ll be glad you did.