*Originally posted on Head-fi.org on May 10th, 2016*
Today we are going to be taking a look at the K2S, a new micro-driver earphone from VJJB.
If you have been perusing the Chinese earphone thread on Head-fi within the last year or two, you might have noticed the VJJB K1S, an attractively designed earphone that brings to mind elements of the Final Audio Piano Forte lineup. Most recently, VJJB’s gorgeous K4 wooden earphone has been getting some positive feedback from the Head-fi community. So what talk is there of the middle child, the K2S? To my surprise, not much at all.
I purchased the K2S through AliExpress and am not affiliated with VJJB or any online sellers. This review contains my personal opinions and feelings about this product. I hope you find this helpful when looking to purchase your new earphone.
A little about me:
Over the last couple years I decided to dive head first into the world of portable audio. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI’s multi-earphone review thread and being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own reviews. Fast forward a couple years and I’ve had the opportunity to write about some great products for wonderful companies like RHA, Havi, FiiO, NarMoo, Brainwavz, and Meze. I don’t do it for money or free stuff, but because I enjoy it. If I can help guide someone to an earphone that makes them happy, I’ll consider that a job well done. My gear used for testing is pretty basic composing of the HTC One M8 cellphone, the Topping NX1 portable amplifier, and my aging Asus G73 gaming laptop paired with the Plantronics Rig USB amp.
Build, Accessories, Comfort:
The K2S makes use of aluminum for the housings, y-split, and straight jack. This keeps them light and comfortable. The housings are a traditional barrel shape with tapered sides. This tapered design feature trickles down to the jack, functional in giving you something to grip when plugging them in and out of your favorite audio device.
The flat cable used is one of the better I’ve come across. It’s not nearly as wide or heavy as what you will find on the NarMoo R1M or Don Scorpio Bass Colour. This keeps it nearly as manageable as a more traditional cable. Wearing the cable over ear cuts down on microphonics (cable noise) which are fairly intrusive when worn cable down. That said, it’s no worse and quite a bit less intrusive than some fabric sheathed cables I’ve used, like those appearing on the RHA S500i and Piston 2/3.
My K2S came without any retail box to cut down on shipping costs, but was still delivered with some basic ear tips (s/m/l) and a soft, fabric carry bag. While a basic hard shell case would be nice, the included bag has held up well over repeated use and protects the K2S from scratches and dings.
The inline mic with single button media controller is the same found on the QKZ W1 Pro. My experience with callers was the same; they won’t be stunned by the quality of your voice, but at the same time they won’t be asking you to continually repeat yourself. The single button controller worked flawlessly with the HTC One M8 allowing me to answer and hang up calls, skip back and forth through music tracks, and even fast forward or rewind.
The K2S is a good example of a budget micro-driver done right, even though it took a while for me to warm up to them. Out of the box I was underwhelmed so they ended up getting very little use over the first few weeks of ownership. They sounded okay but lacked any “wow factor”. A big part of this was the tips used. The generic stock tips wouldn’t seal well in my ears, and the small bore constrained their sound. I recommend swapping to something with a wider bore and used the large sized white silicone tips from the Havi B3 Pro 1 throughout the duration of this review.
Despite my initial misgivings, throughout the months they’ve shown themselves to be a pleasant listen and a capable earphone, more often than not traveling with me on a daily basis. There is something about their warm signature that works with everything I toss at it. Add in their comfort, decent isolation, inline mic, and easy-to-drive nature with mobile devices and you have a great earphone for out-and-about use.
Treble is slightly emphasized and in some instances comes across sounding a little artificial or thin. The K2S isn’t as detailed and clear as the notably more costly JVC HA-FXH30, but brings more to the table than the similarly priced Remax RM-720i. It strikes a nice balance between the two. Their treble presentation is also more refined and less strident than the RHA S500i but falls short of the RHA’s impressive detail output.
Mids are mildly recessed, but clear and unimpeded by other frequencies. I especially like their male vocal presentation which is intimate and natural. While more forward than the mids of the S500i, they lack the raw detail of RHA’s foray into the world of micro-drivers.
Bass on the K2S trails off early leaving just enough subbass extension for a mild and satisfying rumble. Midbass is quick and punchy, giving your beats some authority. Texture is excellent throughout. To my ears midbass is a little too present, but a 1-2 dB drop at 60 Hz and 230 Hz helps to bring it down to more pleasurable levels. I wouldn’t say they are a bassy earphone, but they’re certainly not light on bass either.
The K2S has an average soundstage with a typically intimate iem-like presentation. You get the impression of a decent sense of space with nice transitions to the sides and behind, but nothing in front. They avoid sounding congested and display solid separation and black space between instruments.
Despite my initial lack of enthusiasm for the K2S, it’s grown to be one of my favorite micro-driver earphones. At its price point it does a lot right without any glaring negatives or auditory quirks to bring it down. If you are looking for a light, comfortable, and inexpensive earphone to use as a daily driver, you may want to keep the K2S on your shortlist.
Thank for reading!
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
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Distorted Minds – Hexstatic
Felt – G.I. Josephine
Gorillaz – Empire Ants ft. Little Dragon
Between the Buried and Me – Three of a Perfect Pair (King Crimson cover)
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
King Crimson – Night Watch (live)
Gramatik – Control Room Before You Feat. ILLUMNTR
Skindred – Death to all Spies
Steely Dan – Haitian Divorce
Supertramp – Rudy
Haywyre – Sculpted
Radiohead – Jigsaw Falling Into Place