Zerest Audio - Kagami Plus Sound Impression
A brief introduction about Zerest Audio. Zerest Audio is a small startup audio company currently manned by only two people handling the whole flow of the company. Not an easy feat if you ask me.
They have two models in their lineup namely the Kagami and Kagami+. So what are the differences you ask?
Here are the snippet from Zerest’s website: Kagami+ “The Kagami + is designed to produce a neutral tone, with excellent sound separation. It has a well balanced treble that does not produce sibilance, and provides a solid and accurate bass response. It's an excellent pair of monitors to hear all the details you didn't know existed.”
“The Kagami features a warmer tone compared to its Kagami+ counterpart. There is a slight boost to its bass for a more exciting sound, with a added depth, making it a good fit for rock and blues.”
I have the Kagami+ with me for the purpose of this review and will share my impressions of Kagami+. The packaging is bare minimal with a cardboard kind of box, and accessories are bare minimal as well, eartips and the IEM and cable itself.
This is the cons which i think it’s the weakest point of Kagami+, but from what i understand from Jeremy from Zerest, the poor construction and finishing is due to QC issues which happened from the factory and the batches were rejected and the two of them have to rework the units which includes reglue, measuring the units to ensure no/within tolerable imbalance. Fit is very good as the unit is very light and with the proper eartips, the isolation is actually pretty good. Personally i don’t have any issues with the fitting and comfort.
Foobar2k Windows 11 -> Link2Bal -> Kagami+
Foobar2k Windows 11 -> Chord Mojo -> Kagami+
iPod Touch 4G -> Kagami+
Sound wise, the Kagami+ is indeed neutral sounding, but i do feel it does sound a little U shaped without having the recessed vocal as the typical v shaped tuning. I would say the tuning is very easy to like, or rather safe which most of the people will like. It is free of sibilance, treble response is smooth and not offensive or coming in as hot even when you crank the volume up.
Well the bass does have some impact, however the bass does bleed into the mids occasionally, only when the track gets a little busy, such as Slipknot’s Duality.
Bass has got average texture to my ears
Speed it good enough but as mentioned earlier, when the song gets too busy, it will struggle to keep up and sound a little muddy, other than that, it is fine
Vocal does sound a little recessed, but in terms of body and texture, it is good, doesn’t sound lean nor too thick
To my ears, male vocal does sound a little lean to my ears, but it is still natural
Female vocal like Billie Eilish’s, it does sound full and thick and very enjoyable on tracks like Your Power
Michael Jack’s vocal in Dirty Diana is being overpowered when the track gets a bit busy during the chorus
Treble on Kagami+ is not offensive yet detailed enough. I wouldn’t say it is very well done but it is average for its asking price.
Enough air to not make the track sounds dark
Good detail retrieval, sometimes can be a little unforgiving on badly mastered tracks
Soundstage to me feels quite in your head kind, not too wide or narrow, it does have a very nice reverb kind of effect that made it sound a little 3D
Imaging is average on Kagami+, on busy track like Duality by Slipknot, it is a little hard to pin point the instruments
Instrument separation is not bad, you can hear the instruments properly without one attempting to overpower/cancel out each other
Very easy to drive, doesn’t really benefit much from amping based on my experience
It will sound good even out of Apple’s Dongle, but of course it does scale with better source, in terms of soundstage/bass/treble depending on DAC that you are pairing it with
In my opinion, Kagami+ is not a bad IEM, but it has to offer more in today’s market in order to stand out, at 89$ SGD, It is not exactly cheap for a budget offering, there are various brands out there which has a lot more to offer at slightly lower price, or you top up a little bit more to get something like Dunu’s Titan S which has incredible price performance ratio.
I must be clear that I don't hate or dislike Kagami+, I just think that it is an average IEM which maybe can be priced a little bit lower. I also understand that this is a new startup company which is solely handled by only two people, i wouldn’t be so hard on them. Also, what’s important is that they are willing to accept any criticism and take it as an opportunity to grow and improve, this is very important especially in a new startup company.
Last but not least, even though it is an average IEM, I'm sure they need the support in order to grow and provide us with better output. Grab a pair if you’re interested or if you happen to like Kagami+’s tuning. Zerest’s Store
*I received this review sample from Zerest’s Jeremy, I am not in any way influenced by Zerest to produce this review, all words are of my own. I will not receive any monetary benefit even if you decide to purchase via the link i have shared(Non Affiliated)