In today’s article, I’m reviewing the KiiBOOM Evoke earphones. The Evoke is a hybrid triple-driver IEM with 1DD+2BA drivers. It’s priced at $169.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by KiiBOOM for an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
KiiBOOM Evoke Review
- Driver Information: 1 x 10mm Dynamic Driver – liquid-crystal polymer (LCP)
- 2 x Balanced Armatures
- Impedance: 16ohm
- Sensitivity: 112db
- Frequency Response: 20hz-44khz
- Price: $169
What’s in the Box
Inside the box, you get an extra large zipper carrying case with felt lining and a few pairs of eartips. It’s a lovely case but it’s far bigger than necessary. The included eartips are good but I feel there should be more variety at this price point.
Let me start by saying I love these shells. The KiiBOOM Evoke’s shells are 3D-printed from medical-grade resin and finished by hand. There are 3 colourways on offer: Emerald, Turquoise and Jacinth.
Internally, there’s a liquid-crystal polymer (LCP) dynamic driver for the bass and two Knowles balanced armatures for the midrange and treble.
Subjectively, the Evoke is gorgeous. The Emerald set I have hosts glittery green and black faceplates with a smattering of gold foil. Objectively, the build quality and finish are excellent.
There’s a single vent behind the 0.75mm 2-pin socket. The nozzles are aluminium and have a protective metal grille plus a good lip for holding eartips securely. These look and feel like a premium set, similar to the Mangird Tea (I and II) or Fearless IEMs.
Evoke’s shells are comfortable too; I can literally wear these all day long and they feel great. The passive noise isolation is well above average too, so you could use these as stage or studio in-ear monitors (but they’re great for train/bus commutes too).
Along with the IEMs, you get a lovely 4-core oxygen-free copper cable. The cable is twisted and has a smooth TPU sheath. Matching aluminium components (including a chin slider) adorn the cable from top to bottom. The cable is slightly thicker than average but it’s also pliant and supple. As a result, it handles really nicely, is tangle-free and is a pleasure to use.
Gear used for testing includes the Shanling UA5, xDuoo XD05 Bal and iBasso DX120.
The KiiBOOM Evoke is an efficient IEM and doesn’t require extra amplification to perform well. You can run these straight from a smartphone or dongle DAC.
Evoke’s sound signature is U-shaped and on the warmer side of neutral. It has a darker tone compared to some of its contemporaries. As a result, it’s the kind of IEM you can listen to all day without feeling listener fatigue. It has a laid-back and easygoing approach but it holds up quite well in its technical performance, which we’ll look at in more detail below.
The bass is elevated and hefty due to the emphasis it has on the sub-bass. I’d personally prefer less sub-bass because, in its current state, it feels a bit thick and girthy. In contrast, the mid-bass is nice but kick drums tend to have lingering decays because of the weight in the sub-bass.
It’s a controlled bass and although it bleeds into the lower mids, it doesn’t dominate the sound. The bass extension is good but bass notes are rounded and could use more texture.
The midrange is full-bodied and rich but not oversaturated. Certain instruments and vocals lack a bit of bite due to a dip in the upper treble. This results in softer notes making certain vocals and instruments lack spice and crispness.
Vocals are lustrous and smooth and female vocals tend to have greater presence and vitality with male vocals sounding a touch subdued. However, the midrange resolution is good and there’s no shoutiness in the upper registers. Furthermore, voices and instruments sound natural albeit cozy.
The treble is laid-back and smooth as butter. Most of the focus is put on the lower treble region before it dips sharply between 6kHz-9kHz and then rises again. This gives the mids a spacious feeling and at the same time, keeps the treble inoffensive and non-fatiguing.
The downside to the attenuated upper treble region is less note definition and precision. A bit more energy here would improve clarity and provide crisper attacks, especially on percussion instruments. As it stands, however, the treble tuning is ideal for treble-sensitive listeners.
Soundstage and Technical Performance
The Evoke’s soundstage has a rounded and natural shape with modest dimensions. There’s ample depth and good layering, courtesy of the solid overall resolution. Instrument separation is good and the sound is fairly spacious and airy, despite the softened treble and average width of the stage.
KiiBOOM Evoke vs Seekreal Airship
The Seekreal Airship (review here) has a more natural balance between the sub-bass and mid-bass. This gives male vocals and the lower mids more space and clarity. Furthermore, bass notes sound cleaner and not as thick as they do on the Evoke.
Both IEMs peak at around 2.5kHz in the upper midrange but the Airship has more clarity and vocal presence. This is due partly to its increased upper treble and less emphasis on the sub-bass.
More than anything, it’s the added upper treble of the Seekreal that is the main differentiator. It adds crispness and definition across the board, in addition to expanding the soundstage. However, those who are sensitive to treble will find the Evoke more to their liking.
KiiBOOM Evoke vs FiiO FH3
The FiiO FH3 (review here) is more upfront and a bit in your face compared to the more relaxed presentation of the Evoke. FH3’s bass has more texture and definition, most notably in the sub-bass.
The FiiO’s midrange notes are leaner and have slightly better definition. They’re not as thick as they are on the Evoke, nor as coloured. Despite its thinner notes, FH3’s stage isn’t any airier or larger, a result of the forward positioning of vocals and instruments.
There’s more treble energy on the FiiO. This is where it gets its additional clarity and bite. However, some people find it a little too aggressive (I’m not one of them). So, the Evoke is more suited for the treble-sensitive here and also for those who prefer a thicker bass.
The KiiBOOM Evoke is a promising early model from this new player in the IEM scene. It’s ideal for anyone who likes added bass presence and softer treble. Despite its warm tonality, the Evoke surprises with its overall resolution and organized soundstage. Last but not least, these shells look fantastic and provide excellent passive noise isolation.