The Orchestra sounds balanced and articulate across the spectrum. Kiwi Ears claims the Orchestra’s tonal balance is excellent and I can vouch for it as well. The unit provides a linear, even presentation and backs it up with a proper technical foundation. The resolution and the clarity are quite nice for the price. Additionally, the Orchestra is quite easy to drive with decent audio equipment. Let us dissect the sound into a couple of sections and take a closer look.
The bass range of the Orchestra is slightly recessed compared to the rest of the spectrum. Especially in the sub-area. However, it is safe to say that the bass is sufficient in many genres. If you’re an avid EDM fan who loves the slam, you may need to look elsewhere. The Orchestra has this tight, concentrated, clean bass that never overpowers the midrange. It is perfectly adequate, quantity-wise.
The midbass is also linear and clean, like the rest of the low range. This contributes greatly to the sense of spaciousness that the monitor provides. The Orchestra has a very airy presentation thanks to this tuning. The headroom feels breathy without any overlapping ranges or major dips. On another note, good mastering and proper source selection play a big role when it comes to the bass quantity.
The midrange is most certainly the star of the show. If you listen to tracks with a lot of mid-based instruments, you will love this IEM. Let me explain why.
The Orchestra has this pristine midrange presentation. Every instrument sounds natural and immensely clean to my ears. The vocals are articulate, airy, and resolving. The male vocals have a good body and texture, they do not feel light or artificial. The female vocal reproduction is also quite good, the vocals feel vivid, energetic but very controlled in the upper midrange. The Orchestra reproduces the sounds of woodwind instruments and string instruments in a very realistic and natural way. I want to highlight this ability of the Orchestra because it is worth mentioning over and over again. Listening to the cover of the Iron Maiden’s ‘Fear of the Dark’ from Thomas Zwijsen with the Orchestra takes you away for a pleasant ride. You hear every vibration, every thump, every single note, clean and pristine. Mr. Zwijsen is one example only. Listening to jazz divas like Melody Gardot and Norah Jones is an excellent experience with the Orchestra. You will enjoy anything that has cellos, guitars, violins, flutes, piccolos, clarinets in it. Throw in a couple of natural instruments onto the stage and let the Orchestra sing.
Just like the midrange, the Orchestra features excellent treble reproduction. The highs are resolving, clean and spacious. The extension is quite impressive as well. As with the rest of the ranges, treble is very controlled and does not try to steal the show from the midrange. It rather follows and fills the gaps in perfect harmony. This range, in combination with the bass range, enhances the perceived clarity and resolution of the overall signature.
The treble extends into the top octave without any unwanted sharpness thanks to the controlled nature of the Orchestra. Furthermore, the vivid and energetic highs contribute to the dynamism of the IEMs and increase the excitement factor during the listening session. ‘Fearless’ from Pink Floyd is a good treble-benchmark track in my opinion. Listening to this piece reveals the Orchestra’s immensely clean and organic treble response. Well done!
It is quite obvious that the engineers behind this product have carried out a serious R&D process for the Orchestra. It really is a capable monitor with a very special midrange. It shows great resolution, good dynamism, and very good PRaT. The transients are not the fastest but they are sharp and accentuated. The tonal balance is the strongest suit of the Orchestra and the signature feels quite uniform throughout the spectrum. You don’t hear any dips or peaks.
There is also ample air between the instruments and the stage feels spacious. The imaging of the unit is very good for the price but note that it does not have an immensely wide or deep soundstage. The width is perfectly adequate but the depth is not as alluring as the width. The instrument positioning feels accurate and you can easily pick out individual instruments during crowded, congested passages which is a good indicator of a solid technical foundation.
Source & Ear Tips Selection
During the review, the main source was the Topping E50 & the L50 stack. The stack features a balanced signature and a neutral tonality and pairing it with the Orchestra resulted in a very clean and detailed presentation. I would recommend you to choose devices that have good bass response and resolution at the same time, such as the Topping D70S. That way you can enjoy slightly more bass, quantity-wise, and preserve the brilliant performance of the mid and treble ranges. As for the tips, I achieved a rounder and slightly more powerful bass response with the JVC’s Spiral Dots and I can easily recommend you to get them as they are my go-to tips for more than 5 years.
vs. Hiby Crystal 6 ($459 USD)
The Hiby Crystal 6 is another interesting product. It has a balanced sound signature with emphasis on the upper midrange region. The Orchestra’s note weight is thicker and meatier compared to the Crystal 6. They both have good resolution and detail-retrieval capability. Also, the Orchestra has a more polite upper midrange, so it is more suitable for sensitive audiophiles. The Orchestra has better tonal balance and it has a much better midrange reproduction. The instruments feel more natural and accurate through the Orchestra. The bass reproduction is somewhat similar. The Crystal 6 has slightly more energy in the sub-area compared to the Orchestra. Treble ranges of both of the IEMs are vivid but Crystal 6 has a crispier treble with sharper extension.
vs. Etymotic EVO ($499 USD)
The Orchestra has a slightly warmer tone compared to the EVO. The EVO feels even more linear and a little dull in comparison. The technical ability of the Orchestra feels more solid, it handles congestion a little better than the EVO. The EVO features a slightly more energetic upper midrange compared to the Orchestra. Although it is a personal preference, the Orchestra’s midrange feels slightly more natural to my ears. You don’t always hear the instruments in their raw, analytical form in real life.
The resolution and clarity of both earphones are certainly impressive. If you like absolute linearity, go for the Evo. If you’d like a more musical and slightly more mid-centric approach, go for the Orchestra.
To be honest, I really like the Kiwi Ears’ first earphones. I think it can compete with mid-tier’s offerings with its solid midrange and treble performance. It sounds natural, accurate, and organic, especially if you are listening to genres such as classical, blues, and jazz. The Orchestra has a unique faceplate design, a very good custom-like shape and it offers an excellent fit. Thanks to the solid shell, it also passively isolates the noise around you. As for the accessories, the cable is nice but you don’t get many tips with the product so you might want to get some aftermarket tips for a little more nuanced low end. If you’re in the market for an IEM that has a truly unique midrange, the Orchestra is a safe bet that you can count on. I recommend you to try it.
Page 1: Intro, Kiwi Ears, The Orchestra, Packaging & Accessories, Design, Build & Fit
Page 2: Sound Signature, Low, Mid, High, Technical Performance, Source & Tips Selection, Comparisons, Last Words