Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite Review

The Orchestra from Kiwi Ears came out in 2021 as a new product and a new brand that was influenced by the design of John Park, a community member who learned how to design and tune in-ear monitors as a hobby. When the Orchestra came out, I was one of the first to listen to this product and I gave it a very good review for its great tonality and one of the better balanced IEMs you could get for under $500 at the time.

Fast-forward a couple years and now every single IEM is tuned very similarly, and even making even my preference target sound a tad boring in some sense. With that said, Kiwi Ears is back again with an all-new Orchestra Lite. 

This new iteration on the original still features 8 balanced armature drivers, with some subtle tuning changes, a more efficient sensitivity rating, and a new look. The IEM comes in a bright green or blue translucent shell design with a cloudy mist swirl pattern behind the Kiwi Ears branding. This does not glow in the dark like the original did. (note, I never could get that feature to work either way)

The cable included is a silver-colored 4-wire braided cable with silver metal connectors and splitter. The connectors used are 2-pins, with a 3.5mm stereo jack. In addition, there is a nylon zipper pouch, and a generic set of tips in the box.

On the wearability scale, I found these quite easy to wear and they fit me well without pain. They are on the larger side of universal IEMs, and do feature an above-average bore diameter. Despite this, I never felt pain or any inkling of discomfort wearing them. I have heard other users/reviewers mention that the fit was not best suited for their ears however, so take that as a precaution.

Sound Impressions

The Orchestra Lite is a U-Shaped balanced earphone with a slightly elevated bass response, smooth mids, and what I'd say is a slightly dark treble that is also fairly smooth. The Orchestra Lite adds a few dB of bass and reduces the treble from the original Orchestra.

One of the first things that jumped out at me on the Orchestra Lite is just how resolving it is, especially at $249. Instruments and vocals both come out with extreme clarity and succinctness and from all sides in full detail. I was a bit enamored at being able to hear all these little minutia sounds at first, but I did then start to pick out some of the flaws I did not like about the Orchestra Lite as well.

While the general tonal balance is nice and works well, I did find that it sounded a bit unnatural. The bass is quick with a lot of speed, but it does not have proper decay. It's elevated, but doesn't come across as weighty. The mid-range is perfectly leveled, but it presents itself in a very, very forward way -- where there is a small soundstage and the setting is quite, quite intimate. And perhaps, that is why the Orchestra Lite comes across as exceptionally resolving. You hear everything, because its all at you, all at once.

The Orchestra Lite is still a balanced tuning, and I never did experience fatigue from things like sibilance and treble peaks - they just don't exist here, but I did find fatiguing just coming from how sharp and one-noted the presentation comes off as. It is clean, it is clear, and it is well-defined, but it lacks musicality, and it lacks realism in a sense that I am looking for more natural resonance, more natural decay, and more trailing note harmonics.

So, at the end of this all, I came into the Orchestra Lite with some decently good expectations and even a really solid initial impression. I came out of it wanting more. It's more resolving than the original, but it lacks a certain body and human element to it that makes this product seem artificial.