Dark or Light
logo
Logo

KiiBOOM Allure and Evoke Review

As Good a Debut as the Phantom 81?

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

We first discovered KiiBOOM in November and were impressed by just how good its very first keyboard was, the Phantom 81. Can it do the same with its first two pairs of earphones? 

The Allure and Evoke couldn't be more different, one with a single dynamic driver, tiny in-ear design, and $99 price (the Allure). The other features three separate drivers, two balanced armatures and a dynamic driver, a mid-sized resin shell, and a much steeper $169 price point. But both have the same goal of being the single piece of audio equipment you can use for music, games, and everything in between. 

Both manage to impress in certain ways, but the Evoke is certainly the more attention grabbing of the two and delivers a better, more engaging sound… and for quite a bit more money upfront. 

In this review, we'll be looking at both pairs to see what they offer, digging in to see if they're worth choosing over the competition, and how they perform for gaming. 

One thing is for sure, though: KiiBOOM is proving itself to be a company to watch. It's out to impress and has succeeded with all three of its launch products. That doesn't mean you should assume that any of them are leading the crowd just yet - they each have things yet to improve upon -  but they're far better than we would ever expect from a company as new as this. It's exciting. 

We explored what made the Phantom 81 so neat, so let's see what the Allure and Evoke bring to the table. 

KiiBOOM Evoke and Allure - Overview and First Impressions

The Allure and Evoke are the first two IEMs from KiiBOOM, a company formed from a group of enthusiasts who wanted to craft products they would personally enjoy at accessible prices. So far, they’ve made an excellent first impression, and that starts with packaging. When the Phantom 81 arrived, I was surprised at just how high quality it was, and that same thing applies to both of these IEMs. They make a great first impression.

The IEMs each arrive in colorful boxes made of sturdy cardboard. The Evoke comes in a pink box and the Allure in bright green. The tops of the boxes unfold rather than pop open and close again with strong magnets. You could keep these for long-term storage or as a storage box for something else. They’re surprisingly nice! The only thing is that they appear to be mis-labeled as the Allure being the more expensive hybrid and the Evoke being the single DD model. Don’t mind this. The Allure is the cheaper dynamic driver IEM and the Evoke 

Opening the boxes reveals the large, leatherette travel cases each pair comes with. It’s honestly rather shocking to see earphones at this price come with such a nice travel case since it’s more often found on sets upwards of $400 (not always, but usually). It creates a stellar first impression. Inside are the buds themselves and a selection of six silicone tips. Apart from the case, the accessories for each are limited, but I’m not complaining. It’s enough to find a good fit and the case is more important than small addons like cleaning brushes or a pair or two of memory foam tips you can buy for $10 on Amazon anyway.

Looking at both sets for the first time, they seem to be well made and both look quite nice. I’ll go into specifics in the following sections, but KiiBOOM has made the effort to make both sets unique and aesthetically pleasing in their own way. They have nice cables that compliment the earpieces well and both appear to be robust and well made.

First impressions are good, so let’s take a look at each set in particular. 

KiiBOOM Allure - Specifications 

  • Current Price: $99.00 (KiiBOOM)
  • Driver Information: Single Beryllium Plated Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
  • Impedance: 18 ohm
  • Sensitivity: 112db
  • Cable Connector: 0.78mm 2-pin
  • Frequency Response: 20-40kHz

KiiBOOM Allure - Features and Impressions 

The KiiBOOM Allure is the more affordable of the two sets. At $99, it uses a single dynamic driver that’s plated in beryllium. That’s a nice touch for an IEM at this price and is usually reserved for more expensive IEMs. For the uninitiated, beryllium is a form of metal coating often used on headphone and earphone dynamic drivers to increase their rigidity. This, in turn, allows the drivers to move more quickly and provide faster, crisper bass and better details and clarity throughout the upper registers. To my eye, it’s the beryllium coating that is most indicative of the company’s emphasis on providing value per dollar.

The earpieces are small and very reminiscent of the Thieaudio Elixir. They’re almost identical in size and shape, which is a good thing as both IEMs are able to provide an easy, low-profile fit. The ear pieces are made of aluminum for long-term durability and a more premium feel. The faceplates are inset into the metal shell and feature a glossy, dark swirl. 

The buds attach to the cable using a standard 2-pin connection, so are easy to swap to a custom cable and repair yourself should the stock one ever get damaged. KiiBOOM has gone with a paracord sleeved cable in black and green to match the earbuds and it works well aesthetically. I do find that fabric cables tend to tangle a bit easier and are slightly more microphonic (you can hear it against your clothes inside your ears a bit), but it’s not bad and feels fairly premium for the price.

Image Credit: Vortex Reviews via Squig.Link

As the cheaper of KiiBOOM’s two launch offerings, and reasonably priced in general at $99, it you would expect it to lag behind its more expensive counterpart. And to be clear, it does, but the sound profile is different enough that it seems more like a way for the company to cater to two different listening tastes rather than carve out a performance difference. 

The Allure’s dynamic driver has a slight bass boost and a good amount of gain around 2kHz to add spaciousness to the sound. It’s not especially bass-heavy but provides body to the listening experience. The mids are tempered and the highs are fairly smooth with little bits of sparkle. It’s an enjoyable set that’s going to work well with different kinds of music and as a quick go-to for games if you’re trying to plug in for a quick session in the campus computer lab.

The technical performance is fine for the price. There’s nothing that really stands out as being exceptional to my ear but there’s also nothing that’s bad or dragging the experience down. The tuning lends itself to hearing more details in the mids and highs, but it’s not going to shock you with how etched out those tiny details are in the listening experience. 

Overall, the Allure is a nice set that wins more points for its looks, build quality and excellent case than the holistic quality of the listening experience. It’s not bad at all but feels safe. Which means that most mainstream listeners are also going to find that it works well for them without breaking the bank. I still think there’s room to grow to compete against a very crowded market at this price point, though. 

KiiBOOM Evoke - Specifications

  • Current Price: $169.00 (KiiBOOM
  • Driver Information
    • 1 x 10mm Dynamic Driver - liquid-crystal polymer (LCP)
    • 2 x Balanced Armatures
  • Impedance: 16 ohm
  • Sensitivity: 112db
  • Frequency Response: 20hz-44khz
  • Cable: Upgraded 4-core Oxygen-free copper cable

KiiBOOM Evoke - Features and Impressions

The Evoke, on the other hand, is a lot of fun and shows what KiiBOOM can do with more room (and drivers) to play with. This set uses resin earpieces with a traditional Universal IEM shape. That means that they’re molded based on a wealth of data on the shape of the human ear and are designed to secure with the tip in the inner ear and to settle into the folds of the outer ear as well. They’re bigger than the Allure, but that’s to be expected from a triple driver versus single driver design but are quite comfortable even over extended listening sessions. 

It’s very obvious that the Evoke are the more premium pair. And though the earpieces are certainly more striking with their brighter, almost three-dimensional faceplates, it was the cable that stood out the most. The Evoke uses a silver plated cable that’s thicker and quite shiny. It’s lined with a traditional plastic material and is soft, with very little cable memory. Like the Allure, it connects to the ear pieces using a standard 2-pin connection, so is easy to replace if you ever need to. Both sets are terminated with standard 3.5mm single-ended connections. 

The Evoke presents you with a few choices for their look, too. I was sent the Emerald version, which is green with gold flecks. This model is $199 while both Turquoise and Jacinth are $169. It looks good, but isn’t worth paying the extra $30 for in my opinion. Turquoise is gorgeous and gem-like with its multifaceted deep green face. Jacinth is black with orange, yellow, and green flecks. Maybe it’s that winter has finally set in, but it looks almost autumnal to me. 

Inside those shells, the Evoke takes a completely different approach to creating sound. It uses a three-driver array that consists of a large 10mm dynamic driver for bass, a full-range balanced armature for the mids, and a micro-tweeter balanced armature for the highs. The three registers are split between these drivers, allowing each to focus on a narrower band and theoretically perform at their best. 

Image Credit: Vortex Reviews via Squig.Link

And coming from the Allure, there is a major, immediately noticeable improvement to sound quality. Bass is more plentiful and much better done. The dynamic driver here uses a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) diaphragm. KiiBOOM describes it as a “subwoofer in an earphone” and I can see why. The bass isn’t overwhelming and doesn’t bleed into the mids, but it’s powerful enough that everything I listened to, from classical to prog rock to first-person shooter games, sounded full and punchy.

The Evoke is also much more capable at pulling details out of what you’re listening to. The balanced armatures do good work to make the earphones sound higher resolution yet natural. They’re not competing with high-end earphones like the Thieaudio Oracle, mind you, but they do a very good job for their much more affordable price. Within their pricing category, the presentation of sounds is also very natural and lifelike (the technical term here is “timbre”), which is also good for lending a sense of realism to the listening experience. 

They also do a good job of pulling sounds apart and allowing you to hear more of what’s happening the song or game you’re currently enjoying. There’s adequate layer separation to pick out those details even in busy sections and the soundstage is wide enough that it’s just outside of your head, emphasis on width versus depth.

For gaming, this is an alright set but you’ll want to enable Dolby Atmos. They do a good job of creating a sense of space that makes gaming enjoyable and have solid stereo imaging, so can be used for games stock. But, Atmos takes them to the next level to where I was able to play Call of Duty: Warzone and Battlefield 2042 unimpeded — hardly a given for in-ear monitors. 

KiiBOOM Evoke and Allure - Compared

Image Credit: Vortex Reviews via Squig.Link

These two sets of earphones clearly cater to different audiences, but I thought it would be worthwhile to compare the two using the graph above. It clearly illustrates the improved bass and the enhanced details the Evoke is able to deliver if you track the red line. The emphasis on low-end is primarily in the sub-bass with a bit more in the mid-bass too. Rises in the right third illustrate why those details are more audible, in addition to the drivers just being more capable.

Comparing the two side-by-side, if you can make your budget stretch, I highly recommend saving up for the Evoke. The Allure is fine, but the Evoke is such an instant upgrade that it’s worth waiting to just get the better model from the start. 

Final Thoughts

Like the Phantom 81, the Allure and Evoke are very solid first entries from KiiBOOM. This company has impressed me through and through since our initial review and seem poised for great things in this space. While nothing they’ve made is the best in its class yet, they’re each objectively good and a solid value for what they deliver. While the Allure would be a 7, or GOOD, on our scale, the Evoke would be an 8, which places these two at a steady 7.5 and are definitely worth considering. 

We’ll be watching KiiBOOM with excitement to see what they do next. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. 

7.5Good
Pros
  • Both earbuds are comfortable to wear over long periods
  • Great travel cases included
  • Allure: Well-priced and well-balanced
  • Evoke: Excellent cable
  • Evoke: Very good bass and energetic sound
Cons
  • Allure feels a bit too safe
  • Allure’s cable is more prone to tangling
  • Accesory packages are a light


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight