Koss KEB70

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Koss KEB70 400x300.jpg
Reviewed Jan 2012

Details: Aluminum-shelled in-ear from Koss
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $44.99)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 100 dB | Freq: 15-20k Hz | Cable: 4′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: generic single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (2.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes) and soft carrying pouch
Build Quality (3.5/5) – The machined shells of the KEB70 look and feel very sturdy but are attached to a thin, tangle-prone cloth cable that has a tendency to fray. Strain reliefs are a bit hard and there is no cable cinch. L/R markings can be tough to see
Isolation (3/5) – Decent
Microphonics (4/5) – Surprisingly low in the cloth cable
Comfort (3/5) – The shells are smooth and rounded at the front but slightly heavy in the ear. Long strain reliefs and lack of a cable cinch can make over-the-ear wear tricky. The stock tips are strange – short and thick

Sound (5.4) – The KEB70 is a budget-minded earphone with a consumer-friendly sound signature. The low end offers sizeable mid-bass lift with moderate sub-bass extension left over. The deep bass is not emphasized as it is with the MEElectronics M9 and tends to be subdued slightly by the mid-bass hump of the Koss but the low end is decently clean and controlled on the whole. The bass tends to be a little slow but not smeared – just a bit ‘fat’. The midrange is warm and surprisingly detailed for an entry-level product. It is placed just behind the mid-bass in emphasis but not quite as recessed as that of the M9. The M9 is clearer and more neutral in tone but not as smooth as the KEB70.

At the top, the KEB70 is laid-back and slightly rolled-off. There are no significant spikes to cause harshness or sibilance. The M9 has similarly mediocre top-end extension but tends to be harsher and grainier. The KEB70 sounds slightly darker, however, and lacks a bit of detail and resolution in comparison. In terms of presentation, the Koss offers surprisingly decent layering and space, sounding reasonably open but not very airy due to the laid-back treble. The soundstage has good width but not much depth – par for the course as far as budget-minded in-ears go.

Value (8/10) – At the current sub-$30 prices, Koss offers a good-sounding budget earphone with surprisingly solid shells in the KEB70. There are a number of minor quirks that might cause one to think twice before picking one up in place of a MEElec M9 or other established entry-level earphone but the smooth, impactful sound is well worth the price of admission.

Pros: low microphonics; smooth and pleasant sound
Cons: poor stock eartips; heavy; tangle-prone cable


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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