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$60 Budget Battle - Dual DD 1 BA vs Single DD; Which One Will Reign Supreme? - Honest Audiophile Impressions

Today, we are putting the Kiwi Ears Forteza up against the Kefine Delci on the audiophile battlefield. Let's let them battle it out and see which one will reign supreme.


A BIG thanks to Linsoul Audio for providing the Kiwi Ears Forteza. A BIG thanks to Kefine for sending over the Delci.


Purchase:


Kiwi Ears Forteza (non-affiliated link):


Kefine Delci (non-affiliated link):


Specifications:


Kiwi Ears Forteza:

Impedance: 32ohms

Sensitivity: 103db

Frequency Range: 20Hz-20KHz

Driver Config: 2 x Dynamic Drivers (10mm + 10mm)+1 X Balanced Armature


Kefine Delci:

Impedance: 28ohms

Sensitivity: 108db

Frequency Range: 20Hz-20KHz

Driver Config: 1 x Dynamic Drivers (10mm)


Box:

The Kiwi Ears Forteza comes comes in a black box with some Kiwi Ears branding. The outer sleeve shows a picture of the Forteza and has some branding, the specs are crammed on one side.

Very basic and simple on the inside.

The Kefine Delci comes in a black box, the outer sleeve shows the specs on the back.


Very basic and simple on the inside.


Accessories (cables, tips, etc.):


The Kiwi Ears Forteza comes with a soft shell carry case that has a little bit of Kiwi Ears branding on the top. Inside there is a pocket for your accessories and just enough room for the Forteza to fit in the bed. The case is lightweight, will provide minimal protection but should fit in most pockets easily.


Kiwi Ears includes 3 different pairs of silicone tips S/M/L. I preferred the grey with red stems as they offered the best seal, also didn't have near as much treble murder as the other tips. The cable included is good for the price point. I have no complaints with the cable. Connects with a 2 pin connection.


Kefine Delci includes a pill shape hard shell carry case. The case has a pocket on the inside for accessories and plenty of room in the bed for the Delci to sit. The pill case is small, lightweight and should fit in most bags and larger pockets.


The Delci also comes with 2 different pairs of silicone tips; narrow bore and wide bore. I preferred the wide bore tip as they didn't fatigue my ears as much with bass intensity and the 8k peak.

The cable included is quite nice. I like the brown and black weave, the metal split and termination makes it feel more premium. Connects with a 2 pin connection. The connections from the shell are metal and do add just a little discomfort to my ear.


Build/Comfort/Isolation: Kiwi Ears Forteza is a nice looking IEM with a lightweight and ergonomically shaped shell.

The faceplate has Kiwi Ear branding along with some artistic flare. The semi-transparent resin shells show off the internals. There is a decent sized wing on the back and the nozzle is angled well. The nozzle has good length.



Overall, the fit was adequate for me but I did have issues with the shape of the wing and where it landed in my ear. Comfort was also an issue for me, as I could only wear the Forteza for about an hour before I had to take a significant long break. Isolation of outside noises is quite good, probably somewhere around 60-65% would be my guess, most things were dulled nicely, only the louder stuff like vacuum cleaners and coffee grinders were heard more.


Kefine Delci is a CNC machined metal shell that is small and lightweight. There is some Kefine branding on the faceplate.


The backplate is flat and smooth. The nozzle is of medium length and has a good angle.



The Delci is quite comfortable and I had no issues with discomfort. Isolation of outside noises is good as well, I'd guess about probably somewhere around 60-65% would be my guess, most things were dulled nicely, only the louder stuff like vacuum cleaners and coffee grinders were heard more.


Source Pairing:


The Kiwi Ears Forteza is rather easy to drive with impedance of 32ohms and sensitivity of 103db. It did respond well to a little more power but all of my dongles, DAP and desktop devices ran it just fine. I had no issues with higher output devices causing hissing. I did find though that the Forteza sounded better on devices that didn't lean neutral analytical. The Forteza would become treble murders on devices that were neutral, analytical and cold leaning.


The Kefine Delci is rather easy to drive with impedance of 28ohms and sensitivity of 108db. It did respond well to a little more power but all of my dongles, DAP and desktop devices ran it just fine. I had no issues with higher output devices causing hissing. I did find though that the Delci sounded better on devices that leaned neutral analytical. The Delci would become bogged down in the bass and mids on warmer sources or sources that emphasized the bass region.


Sources used to test: Fiio K11

Aune X1s GT

Mytek Liberty DAC ii

Mytek Liberty THX HPA

Aune S9C Pro

Aune S17 Pro

Fiio K19

DROP SMSL HO150X

Fiio K9 AKM

Fiio KA17

Aune Yuli

Fosi Audio DS2

Hiby FC3

Hiby FC4

AFUL Snowy Night

Hidizs XO

Simgot DEW4X

Fosi Audio DS1

Hiby R5 Gen 2

Sony NW-A105



Reference Music:



This is what will settle this $60 budget battle once and for all. Performace on the sonic battlefield, who will reign supreme? How do the Kiwi Ears Forteza and Kefine Delci sound?


Kiwi Ears Forteza:


Bass of the Forteza is big, rambunctious and boisterous. There is a lot of bass on tap. Sub bass presence is not shy on the Forteza as it rumbles and grumbles a lot. The mid bass also is prominent, not as much as the sub bass, but there is plenty of impact, punch and slam. The upper bass isn't nearly as prominent, it is slightly tucked. The bass is rather big, rambunctious and boisterous through out the mix, no matter the genre. It has a big presence and is very noticeable in all tracks. But the bass lacks control and is quite  rambunctious and boisterous; there is quite a bit of bounce and bloat to the bass. Tonality of the bass is not the most natural but it is adequate. Detail retrieval and resolution are both mediocre at best. The bass is fun but if you are looking for a refined, defined bass the Forteza has other intentions.


Mids of the the Forteza are a rollercoaster that I don't wish to ride again, ever. The mids are severely recessed until the upper mids. The Forteza has a drastic V-shape presentation that hurts the mids a lot. All of the lower and main mids are far behind the bass in presentation. The body of the mids is adequate, I just wish they were closer to the action as they sound like the instruments and vocals are standing behind the drummer on most tracks The upper mids starting around 2k are elevated too much and become shouty and bright rather quickly. The presence region of 5k-8k causes major issues with sibilance and fatigue as iit's way too forthright in its presentation. Instruments and vocalists go from one extreme of being behind the drummer to being on the verge of falling off the front of the stage and eating their microphone. The tonality of the mids is a rollercoaster of decent note weight and tonality in the lowers to painfully unnatural in the uppers. Detail retrieval and resolution are both mediocre at best.


Treble of the Kiwi Ears Forteza is a torture chamber of confusion. The lower treble is way too hot and elevated. The presence region of 5k-8k causes major issues with sibilance and fatigue as it's way too forthright in its presentation. The lower treble from 8k-10k is elevated to the extreme and glows hot all day long. 8k is massively peaked and instantly brings on ear fatigue even at lower listening volumes. After 10k the treble dissipates quickly. Their isn't much extension in the treble which over accentuates the 8k-10k region. There is way too much sizzle in the Forteza treble. There is an over abundance of sparkle and energy in the lower treble. Tonality of the treble is unnatural with a heavy dose of metallic timbre. Detail retrieval and resolution are both mediocre at best.


Technical abilities of the Kiwi Ears Forteza are, well you probably have guessed it by now, mediocre at best. The soundstage of the Forteza is average size, never giving you a good feeling of grandeur. You can barely tell differences in venue sizes, the differences are hard to hear. Imaging is adequate, there is no gaps or stuttering as details move around the stage. Placement is adequate as well; everything tracks okay across the stage. Depth is adequate as well. Layering struggles badly, especially in the mids as the recession just hides the details, making them hard to notice. Detail retrieval is mediocre, you won't hear everything but you will hear enough, considering the price. Resolution of those details is atrocious; undefined, bloated, bouncy, harsh, glassy and glaring. Tone and timbre is unnatural for the most part, at times unlistenable.


Kefine Delci:


Bass of the Kefine Delci is heavy-handed in the sub bass. There is plenty of rumble and grumble to go around but it isn't obnoxious. The mid bass has a good amount of impact, punch and slam. The upper bass has a pleasing amount without being too much or not enough. The bass is modestly controlled, considering the copious amount on hand. There is nice body and weight, presenting authoritative bass thumps. The tonality of the Delci bass is natural. There is good detail retrieval, considering the cost of the Delci. Resolution of the bass could be better but it isn't the worst I have heard in the price range.


Mids of the Kefine Delci are pleasant. There is a nice balance and cohesion to the lower and main mids. The upper mids are elevated and more forward; coming across shouty and forthright at times. There is nice body and note weight throughout the mids. Tonality is natural sounding, reproducing instruments and vocals accurately, though at times the upper mids can sound a bit forced. Detail retrieval and resolution are similar like the bass, not bad but could be better for the price range.


Treble of the Delci is elevated and forward, showing some hot moments. The lower treble is more elevated and is on the verge of too much. There is good air and space in the treble. The sparkle and energy is a bit rabid between 4k-8k. Tonality of the treble for the Delci is mostly natural, the lower treble can sound a bit stretched and forced. Detail retrieval and resolution are similar to the bass and mids; not bad but could be better for the price.


Technical abilities of the Kefine Delci are solid, especially considering the price. The stage is a bit on the smaller size but doesn't sound cramped or crowded, just somewhat intimate. Within the small stage you have good imaging; allowing you to follow and track details from one side to the other. The Delci portrays different venue sizes slightly but it can be difficult to hear grandness. Depth is somewhat shallow but you can read into the stage a row or two. Layering is adequate considering the staging size flaws the Delci has to overcome. Detail retrieval is good for the price point. Resolution could be better but it is adequate, with the upper mids and treble being where you notice the issues the most with some glaring and glassy moments. Tone and timbre is mostly natural, only the upper mid and treble have moments of un-naturalism where there is too much elevation and instruments and vocalists sound forced and stretched.


Comparison:


Kefine Delci >>>>> Kiwi Ears Forteza


Conclusion:


Overall, one of these will get some listening time and the other will not get any after I finish writing up the review. The Kefine Delci is significantly better than the Kiwi Ears Forteza. Every time I listened to the Forteza, I ended up with a headache and ringing ears for a few hours. The Kefine Delci on the other hand is a pleasurable listen even if it has a few flaws. I could listen to the Delci without getting a headache or ear ringing so that is is an instant win. I can recommend the Kefine Delci as it reigns supreme in this battle. The defeated corpse of the Kiwi Ears Forteza, let's leave it on the bloodied battlefield and move on to the next review.


I am Dave the Honest Audiophile. Thanks for reading, and I will catch you in the next one. Don't forget to enjoy the music and that honesty is the BEST policy!


I am not a professional sound engineer, producer, musician, or vocalist, etc. I have not done any scientific research, measurements, or in-depth testing of any kind; just my own listening, comparing and internet reading/research.  I have limited, real-life experience with recording, mixing and mastering gear.  I have been involved since my teenage years with various churches as an amateur sound booth technician.


Please take these thoughts, opinions and reasonings as just that, my honest audiophile thoughts, opinions and reasonings.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TalkDbs @TalkDbs


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Massdrop THX AAA 789: 


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