Before I start with my take, Krila has already been reviewed by my colleague and friend at MBA – Chris Love. You may check his review here. Let me start with the disclaimer here – For the reader’s information, I have not read Chris Love’s review in detail. I have just glanced through when he published his review. At that time, I had no clue that I would be reviewing this IEM. Having said that, when I received the IEM and decided to write about them, I decided not to go through any other review – be it written or video format. It is easy to get influenced and I want to be as honest as I can be with my impressions about the product, even if it varies with the majority. So, here we go:
KZ Krila – Introduction:
I started this journey around August 2021 when I came to know that a thing called IEM exists with a removable cable, 2-pin, ear shape design, etc. It was all very new and exciting and my first one was the KZ ZSN Pro X (1 DD/ 1BA). The cable used to be even better looking than the current ones. I still remember how delighted I was looking at the IEM when I received it. I perceived it so differently from the mainstream audio stuff which sparked my enthusiasm to a greater degree and here I am. Thanks to COVID and WFH, I had a lot of free time to dig in. I never knew I would come this far. Coming to the KZ, I read some comments on social media that everyone starts with a KZ. Cannot be 100% true. But partially, Yes – It’s global, cheap, has good build quality, and good V sound (at least at that time). I too was quite impressed with the IEM, being my first. Not so much now, obviously. My perception of the audio has changed a lot over the period. Now in August 2023, writing about the KZ product for the first time feels very special. Makes me think how far I have come in this journey and how well KZ has improved the tuning over the period. Leaving aside all the controversies that KZ lands into every now and then, I am here to write about the quality of the product rather than the brand itself. Also, the kilo-buck IEM killer thing – just forget it right here. You will get to know, as you go through. So, let’s dive in:
Krila (1DD/ 1BA) has a neutral-bright tonality with a sub-bass boost depending on the Switch control. There are 4 Switches. By default, it is set to ‘1111’ – All the Switches are turned ‘ON’ and vice-versa. ‘0000’ indicates no bass boost, whereas ‘1111’ provides you with a sub-bass boost of about 3 db and decreases the high/ ultra-high frequencies by 1.5 db. I played around with the Switches, and I liked the modes where the bass is boosted up to match the pinna gain level achieving a good tonal balance overall. I liked both the default mode ‘1111’ and ‘1110’. With the other modes, the IEM is treble dominant the more you reduce the bass, and I didn’t find them impressive enough. The audible differences among the different combinations are subtle but noticeable. The IEM is equipped with foam tips by default which suited very well to my ears. I never liked the foam tips but here is an exception especially with this IEM. Comes with a Pin to turn on/ off the Switches, like the one that’s included with the phone SIM removal kit. Build quality is great for the price. Fit is very good. Comes in a usual KZ box with no carry case or pouch which is disappointing.
I have listened to this IEM for about 50+ hours, and one thing I noticed is that the BA timbre that was invading my listening experience initially, has almost gone now at the time of this writing. It’s still present, but it does not have any negative impact on my listening experience anymore. You may say, I got used to it. But I believe that is not the case here. Tonality has improved over the listening time. Most of my listening has been with the combination ‘1110’ and I never tried to change after my initial playthrough with the Switches, as I find this mode to provide optimal balance for my taste. Tonality-wise, I find ‘1110’ is a tad better than the ‘1111’. But it’s very subtle. QKZ Max cable with 4.4 mm termination was used throughout my testing.
Gears used for testing:
- Tempotec V6
- Cayin RU7
Bass is subtle at best. Good sub-bass presence, depth, and texture. Not much rumble present. However, the bass tone is excellent here. Mid-bass is a bit underwhelming – lacks body, slam, and authority. Not for the bass lovers to be honest. Speed is very good and does not interfere/ muddle with the lower mids. As a result, the warmth is not present. Overall, owing to the subtle but good sub-bass presence, the music does not sound boring to my ears. However, for my taste, I wish there were much more mid-bass presence and punch. I feel it’s tuned for such audiences who prefer neutral tonality with super clean mids and clarity. It’s very good in that regard.
Mids are very clean, transparent, and sound natural to my ears. Although the BA timbre does not have an impact on the listening experience, I have to say the tonality is not the best here compared to the competition and is not a deal breaker either. Honestly a nitpick at this price point. Having used both the V6 and RU7, I feel the V6 provides slightly more body overall. The body appears fuller and V6 has been the preferred choice of listening. Very subtle but noticeable. Other than this, I don’t see both the sources outperforming each other. The instrument timbre is excellent. The instruments have a great depth to them and sound fuller – this is one of the best parts I admire about this IEM. Details are great and dynamic transients are phenomenal. Vocals sound excellent, both male and female – nice placement, lively and natural. The transition from the upper mids to the treble region is neither smooth nor harsh. It’s energetic and the vocals do appear shouty at times but for the most part, they are not. The energy can be subjective, and I believe, with this set, it’s very manageable.
The treble is well-extended and airy. Not smooth sounding. Energetic with great details at this price point. Didn’t experience sibilance at any moment and the highs are well controlled. Cohesiveness between the drivers is great – as if I’m listening from a single driver. Overall, a very pleasant listen and nothing to write about that affected my experience.
Krila is technically brilliant at its price point. The soundstage is spacious with great width, height, and depth. Good breathing space for the instruments to shine. Highly resolving for the price. Layering and details are pretty good, thanks to the speed and dexterity of the drivers. Imaging is precise to the point and excellent. Overall, a terrific IEM to begin with to get that taste of technicalities that are usually reserved for mid – high-end IEMs. Times changing really!!
Nice build quality and fit
Audible changes through the Switches are subtle but clear.
Driver speed contributes to excellent dynamic transients – a highlight of this IEM.
Subtle but tight sub-bass response with good tone and depth, but not much rumble is felt.
No bass bleed and super clean Mids.
Mids sound accurate be it vocals and instruments with nice depth.
The treble is well-extended, energetic, airy, and detailed. Not smooth.
Wide and spacious stage with great depth, height, and width.
Imaging is accurate and precise.
Great resolution and technicalities at the price point
Fast-paced music and complex tracks excel – Great detail retrieval at the price point.
Balance between being analytical and musical.
Great Price to performance value
Light BA timbre is evident now and then – Not the best tonality at the price point. Not bad either.
Bass is present and felt but the mid-bass is lacking body, authority, and slam.
Mids sound a bit thin for my taste. Depends on the source.
Upper mids are slightly hot, shouty vocals – noticed rarely.
Not versatile across all the genres – Subjective
No carry case or pouch
KZ Krila Vs CCA DUO (2DD)
I have received Duo very recently. I will try to make a comparison with Krila in even more detail when I review Duo. So, for the sake of comparison, take these as my initial impressions. The duo has more mid-bass punch, slam, and more body in the Bass region. The duo sounds slightly warm to neutral to my ears retaining the finer details. Krila lacks the body in the mid-bass region. Driver speed is better with Krila making the mids sound very clean. However, I find DUO has a more balanced sound because of its good bass presence compared to Krila. Even the sub-bass texture and rumble are better on the Duo compared to Krila. Tonality is a tad better on Duo – Expected from the absence of a BA driver. Mids, I would go with the Krila as they appear super clean with great instrument timbre. The duo is not bad by any means. Krila has a slight edge regarding speed and depth. The vocals are great on both sets. Treble is energetic on both sets. Slightly more on Duo. But at the same time, the warmth the Duo provides makes it an easier listen compared to Krila. But Duo is hot up top compared to Krila based on my initial impressions. The Soundstage of Duo appears smaller compared to Krila. Imaging appears precise and more accurate compared to Krila. Other technicalities appear to be the same. I feel, DUO is more versatile compared to Krila. It just plays every genre very well.
KZ Krila Vs Hidizs MS3 (1DD, 2BA)
Both are not in a similar price range. It is an unfair comparison, to be honest, however, should I not test the claims of KZ? Let’s find out. The main difference between the two is the Bass. The MS3 has greater authority in the Bass region. Sub-bass has a greater depth, textured and rumbling. Mid-bass has a good body, slam, and punch. Bass heads will be thoroughly satisfied with the MS3 and may dislike Krila in this regard. Neutral bright vs. warm tonality. As a result, Krila appears more clean sounding than MS3. However, MS3 mids are very resolving as that of Krila and I find the right balance here with MS3. The instruments sound crispier with Krila. Vocals are a bit forward on Krila compared to MS3. Although both have BA drivers for highs, the tonality is better on the MS3. It sounds more natural to my ears with a good tonal balance. The treble is smoother on MS3 and is very good for longer listening sessions. Treble on Krila is more energetic and can cause fatigue after a point. It is subjective and I find them comfortable listening to long hours. Power-wise, MS3 was much easier to drive compared to Krila. Technically, I find both do very well. Bigger stage and nice imaging. Layering, separation, and resolution are comparable. The price to performance goes to Krila if you don’t mind the lack of mid-bass. Two different signatures intended for different audiences. Irrespective of the price, I enjoy the MS3 the best here. It has very good bass and smoother treble performance and I find them very comfortable for longer listening sessions.
KZ Krila – Conclusions
At 17$, this set does well, more than what is expected at the price point except for the mid-bass and that’s where it is divided in my opinion. This set is not perfect – some may like it and others may not. Both are well justified here. But to be honest, you should at least try this set for what it offers. It may even change your perspective and make you feel how good the speed and transient response really is. The instrument timbre and depth are fantastic. Technicalities are way beyond what you can imagine at this price point. Unheard at this price point, at least for me. Kilo buck IEM killer?? No way. But at the current price point and even above – A sure-shot winner.
Last but not least, thanks to Concept Kart for arranging the sample for review purposes, and is highly appreciated. If interested, you may buy the IEM from the below link:
Thanks for reading through and cheers!!