Note: This is a shortened review of the one I posted on headphones.com here: https://www.headphones.com/community/reviews-learning-and-news/kiwi-ears-orchestra-review-the-quiet-mid-fi-contender. In there you'll find a more detailed analysis of the Orchestra's sound, frequency response graphs, and direct comparisons to the MoonDrop Dusk and DUNU SA6.
The Kiwi Ears Orchestra is an 8-BA IEM priced at $500. What's particularly interesting about this IEM is that it is actually an effort by a to-remain-unnamed designer to establish their own brand after having tuned some of the most popular ChiFi IEMs to have come out recently. I can't mention any names so I'll leave it at that.
The tuning of the Kiwi Ears Orchestra takes on a reference-neutral sort of style with a notably moderate level of pinna gain. This is in contrast to many recent IEMs with a healthy helping of upper mids such as the MoonDrop Dusk.
The bass response has a midbass focus and plays a complementary role to the overall sound profile. As far as BA bass timbre goes, it isn’t too noticeable on the Orchestra. There’s quite a realistic sense of attack and decay allowing the Orchestra to easily play both deep, booming drum notes or incisive, rapid-fire bass guitar lines without much compromise.
The mids are the strength of the Orchestra. There's a really good balance in the upper and lower mids that gives it a slightly warm neutral tone. Interestingly, I find that stringed instruments perform exceptionally well on the Orchestra, moreso than any other instrument. For some reason, they have standout resolution and a really engaging tone when listening, especially for electric guitars.
The treble response is smooth and quite consistent all the way to the upper treble. Speaking of the upper treble, the Orchestra is able to reach into there further than most other IEMs, adding a sweet extended shimmer to cymbals. Upper harmonics of instruments are cleanly highlighted by the Orchestra's treble, adding a good sense of definition and clarity.
Like many IEMs, the staging of the Orchestra isn’t too noteworthy. It does clear instrument separation and layering to take advantage of stage depth. In terms of resolution, I'd consider the Orchestra's resolution to be competitive with other strong performing IEMs at a similar price point.
With so many IEMs coming out in mid-fi, the Kiwi Ears Orchestra is one that has probably flown under the radar for most people. It's quite a shame since it's a solid choice if you’re looking for something with more moderate upper mids in a market with few options for those with that preference. While it doesn't take the price/performance crown from the Dusk, it does give the DUNU SA6 a run for its money. For a debut IEM, the Orchestra is a commendable effort from Kiwi Ears.