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Kinera Earbud

Rating:
4/5,
  1. ostewart
    Kineras first earbud is a success!
    Written by ostewart
    Published Jan 18, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Smooth but detailed sound, comfort, airy
    Cons - They can sound a little lean, bass extension is limited, these are not a production model
    Firstly I would like to thank Kinera for sending me this sample for review, these received over 50hrs of burn-in.

    *disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings.

    DSC_9792.jpg

    Gear Used:

    HP Laptop > iFi Nano iDSD BL > Earbud
    iBasso DX200 / Audio Opus #2 > Earbud

    Build Quality and Accessories:
    As these were a limited edition item, they did not come in any retail packaging. They came in their carry case only.

    The earbuds are well built using strong plastics, and a colour changing, glittery finish. The jack is hand soldered, and has a high quality jack with my name engraved on it, the cable itself is a 4-core cable that is plain black but very soft and comfortable in use. There is a metal y-split but no chin slider.

    They come with a carry case and some foam covers that make them more comfortable and also sound slightly better. There is a black pair of foams, a pair where one is blue and one is red, and another pair with an opening in the middle which again changes the sound slightly.

    DSC_9787.jpg

    Comfort:

    It has been a long time since I last used earbuds, and it is a bit odd wearing them again, but once in place they stay secure and are comfortable to listen to for long periods of time. They are perfect for using when you don’t want to be fully isolated from the outside world. This does mean they leak a fair amount if you listen at louder volumes.

    DSC_9775.jpg

    Sound:

    These little earbuds are not very sensitive, and due to this need a fair amount of power to sound their best. I found them to work very well out of the iFi Nano iDSD BL personally.
    I also preferred the sound of the earbuds with the included foam covers attached, as they became a little thin sounding without them.

    Lows: Now the bass doesn’t have bottomless extension and huge sub-bass, but it does have control and a certain amount of punch. What I have found with these is that they focus on an accurate bass representation. The bass is not lacking but it isn’t boosted like a few IEM’s I have used. The bass actually has excellent articulation and presentation, but outside noise will take this away quite quickly.

    Mids: The midrange is slightly forward on these, and is not a warm lush presentation; instead it brings a clear and crisp tone. This is not to say the midrange is dry and devoid of body, it still has a slight smooth tone to it, but it does have good power and is well detailed. The layering in the midrange is superb; you can easily hear different vocal and guitar tracks in songs. The upper midrange to treble transition is smooth and without sibilance.

    Highs: The highs on these are very well presented; they are not pushed back but have good directional cues and great imaging. The highs have good impact but it does roll off a little early in terms of extension, lacking in that final bit of air up top. The highs are not splashy or uncontrolled, they are smooth and accurate.

    The soundstage from these earbuds is actually very impressive, with good width and ok height, there are out of head moments to be had for sure. Separation is a strong point of these, easily picking apart complex mixes.

    DSC_9778.jpg

    Conclusion:
    These unfortunately were a limited run of earbuds from Kinera, and are not available for purchase. It is a shame, as they sound very good; the sound is on the balanced to mid forward side with excellent clarity and detail retrieval. They need a fair amount of power to reach their full potential but when powered properly they offer a spacious and well separated sound. Some may find them lacking in a little bit of body, but once you get used to the sound, they offer an engaging and smooth sound.

    Sound Perfection Rating: 8/10 (A great earbud with excellent clarity, but lacking a tiny bit of body)
  2. ngoshawk
    A worthy limited edit (unfortunately) earbud
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Jan 15, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Solid build, love the color (BRG!), and the cable. Excellent fit for someone who has earbud issues. Signature-wise fairly laid back with an unobtrusive nature. A worthy look for budget earbuds
    Cons - Limited Edition. Not the most distinctive sound. Almost played it too safe with sound sig. Better female vocals would be appreciated.
    Kinera Limited Edition Earbud



    I would like to thank Steve at Kinera for sending me this sample for review; the critters have about 40hrs of burn-in.


    *Disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favorable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings. Plus Kinera was kind enough to personalize individual pairs with the moniker of our choice.*


    [​IMG]



    Gear Used:


    Shanling M1

    iBasso PB3


    Compared to:


    AUGLAMOUR RX-1

    Monk (Original!)

    Monk+, Purple color (my favorite…)


    [​IMG]

    Iniziale:


    Since this was a limited edition earbud, produced as thanks for reviews of the Kinera H3, we were able to personalize the unit with the name of our choice. A very nice gesture from Kinera & Steve. I will state that I am sorry that this earbud will not be produced, because it IS a viable product in the SUPER competitive low-end bud market. It seems that new designs/products come out daily, and to me that is a good thing. These would compete well in that market, if produced. The unit came with a nice Kinera-branded carrying case, as well as the usual assortment of foam covers (donut and full). Another nice touch was the Velcro cable cinch. Quite sticky, but some prefer to tie their unit off this way. I prefer simply to wrap the cable loosely around three fingers and place in the case.


    A well-built unit, with a skinnier cable run, this critter fits my ear better than almost any earbud I own or have tried. I admit up front, I am not one for listening to earbuds for longer periods. My ears simply do not cooperate. A shame, really what with all of the affordable products out there. Another downside to this, is that I often cannot get a proper fit/seal from buds such as the venerable Monk/Monk+, two of my all-time favorites, and almost exclusively responsible for bringing “audiophile-quality” buds to the masses. I liken what Lee did to what Mazda did with the Miata (MX-5) and convertibles. Without either, the Smartphone-replacement bud would be much further behind as a result.

    [​IMG]

    As such, Kinera wanted to get into this very lucrative market paying their earbuds as excellent replacements for the (usually) cheap buds, which accompany your 4-figured Smartphone. It has largely succeeded, and should be worth a listen


    As for the critter itself, when I saw that it was British-Racing Green, I immediately fell in love. Thinking quickly of the latest Aston Martin in the same color, gave me that premium feeling.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    The cable is among the best affordable units I have seen. Made of 4-core wire enclosed in black plastic, the braiding and feel is top notch. Supple would be an excellent word for the cable, and imminently untangleable. I had no problem keeping the cable straight. And the hand-soldered jack where it all terminates is just a really nice premium touch. This is a good quality unit.


    That said, I must point out that the damping foam covers both the left and right vent holes in my pair, giving a somewhat muddled sound. Our dear friend @Golov, who took his apart and “corrected” the problem, which occurred only on one of his, pointed this out. He did state that the correction opened up the sound a bit. I have not done this yet, but will do so.


    I usually run earbuds without foam cover or donuts. Because of the aforementioned problem of earbud-fit, foams tend to exacerbate the problem, so I run the buds naked. That said, some of the four included here do sound better with foams on. Others sound better foam-off, so I ran all four both ways to ascertain the “qualities” of each.


    As stated above the fit of the Kinera is better than almost every earbud I have tried. While most of what I have follows the venerable Sennheiser MX shell shape, the Kinera does, but with that slimmed down cable run. I do believe this is the reason I can wear them for extended listening sessions as opposed to the others.


    Leaking of sound does happen, well…because it IS an earbud. That said, I find less leakage than others. To me it is most definitely ear-shaped-dependent. The real benefit of an earbud, besides being affordable; is that they are easy to use, and one can quickly ingress/egress the pairs. When in a situation where one must constantly put in and take out the bud, this is a nice benefit. As such, that slim cable run makes it easier for me.


    [​IMG]


    Suono:


    The Kinera have a laid-back somewhat warm profile, to me. Nothing really stands out as either over-emphatic or underwhelming. Some might call this a neutral aspect of the bud, but I think it is a cohesive effect of all parts working well together. They do need a proper power to run, as they are not very sensitive. As such, you will most likely have to drive your Smartphone volume pot up a few notches. Conversely, the RX-1 is extremely easy to drive, almost too easy as it’s brighter signature can tend to overwhelm or become tedious at higher volumes. The Monks conversely? Well….they are Monks, so not much can be added that hasn’t been said already. Personally, I prefer the original to the “plus” version. To me, they present a “more full” signature, with a bit better bass reach than the younger sibling. Preference is of course, yours.


    I concur with Oscar in that without foams, the Kinera can sound thinner. The bass does not reach as far, and tends to get lost in the brighter signature as a result of that lack of “insulation.”

    [​IMG]

    Bass:


    With a decent reach to the bass, the Kinera is not mind nor market-altering. It simply presents the bass in a thorough and honest way. With that decent reach, I was left with a want for a deeper and cleaner reach. This could have been cleaned up a bit, but let’s not forget that this is in that affordable market and quite agreeable, it is. That said, I do like the slightly warm presentation. I prefer warm on all of my devices, but do appreciate a “clean/clear” sound, such as the RX-1 provides. To me, the Monk (original) has a better grasp, going slightly deeper, with better control. The Kinera is good, but the Monk better. Here is where the Kinera trounces the RX-1, which I do like, even with my warm-sig preference.


    Mids:


    I did state that the mids are forward on these, and that is my interpretation. I think what I hear is that there is a push, but a polite push. Not wanting to move the mids too far forward (aka RX-1), Kinera engineered a “pleasant” mid sound, focusing on male vocals and good detail. Guitar sounds, as well as male vocals are the highlight here. Jerry Garcia has quite a nice voice through the Kinera. But, I think this comes at the expense of what I would call excellent-detail. There is good detail, but that politeness keeps it from being outstanding. The mids of the Kinera are akin to the original Monk, in my mind, but not pulled off as well. An excellent model to shoot for, the Kinera falls a bit short.

    [​IMG]

    Treble:


    I have sensitivity to harsh treble, caused by too much loud rock-n-roll on my old Alpine car stereo as a teenager. Something I do regret now, as it hinders me from hearing subtle differences that others hear without problem. As such, I must choose my wording carefully, lest I come across with wrong impressions…That said, the Kinera has a pleasant presentation without sibilance, or roll off. Imaging is quite good as a result. “Laid-back” is the way @audio123 describes the treble and I would concur, adding that the airiness of treble suffers a bit (which is to my benefit as a result). The RX-1 simply has too much for me when run naked, but tamed fairly-nicely with foam covers. Cymbals are represented well on the RX-1, but placement can still be heard on the Kinera.



    Soundstage/Imaging:


    With decent height and adequate width, the Kinera does a fine job, falling short in depth, though. This is an affordable earbud, so there are limitations. Spatial location as a result suffers, but is decent. If an instrument is to be heard from the left, it certainly is, but without that detailed separation found on higher priced product. Average placement of instrumentation can lead to some congestion as a result. Again, average is not bad, and still considerably ahead of most included Smartphone “headphones.” But, when compared to the others, the Kinera comes in at the middle of the pack. Not bad, to be honest.



    Conclusione:


    What with all of this bashing, you might think me ungrateful, or hateful…or worse. Nothing could be further from how I feel about the Limited…in fact I must congratulate Kinera on their first foray into this realm. Having taken a full-on leap into the $100 IEM market with the excellent H3, on the heels of the affordable hybrid BD005, the Limited is exactly what they present themselves to be…a company’s initial interpretation into the affordable earbud replacement market. In that regard, Kinera should be commended. A very pleasant sound signature, which can be used to counter our “more expensive” purchases, the Limited is an easy throw-in-the-bag inclusion for that quick listening session when those IEM’s/Headphones are not needed or would take too long to bring out. Our only wish (following on their Telegram thread and echoed by @Headpie), which many decry is the fact that the Limited will not be produced. An exercise in R&D, that I am honored to be a part of. Well done Kinera, please keep it up.

    [​IMG]

    I thank Steve and Kinera for this honor and appreciate their faith in our reviewer’s skills. Following on the H3, this was an unexpected treat, and I do thank them both for this!
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  3. B9Scrambler
    Kinera Earbud: Limited release? What a shame...
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Jan 15, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful design – Ergonomic and comfortable – Smooth sound signature
    Cons - Lacking micro-detail – Attention to detail in terms of build quality lacking
    Greetings!

    Today we're checking out a limited release earbud from Kinera, one I will call the Kinera Bud from here on in.

    You may recognize the Kinera name from their popular 2017 release, the H3, which stirred up quite a lot of interest and a touch of controversy too. Pretty much everyone agreed that they were a beautiful creation with top notch ergonomics and a stunning look, but there was a division on sound primarily due to the enthusiastic treble response. You can read my view on the H3 here. Spoiler, I liked it and still do.

    Mid-2017 Kinera started asking on Facebook and in their Telegram group if people would be interested in a earbud, taking polls on shell design, driveability, and sound signature. Based on fan feedback, they settled on a Yuin-style shell, 32 ohm impedance, and a warm-leaning sound. That's exactly what we got.

    This earbud was a limited release experiment to test market interest, gather feedback, and try their hand at tuning a product unlike anything else in their portfolio. As a result only a handful (under 100 I think) were sent out into the world. Feel free to correct me in the comments with the actual number if you know.

    DSC02489.JPG

    Disclaimer:

    Kinera asked early in the development phase if I would be interested in reviewing this earbud. Based on my experiences with the H3 I was happy to accept the offer. While I always try to remain fair, unbiased, and uninfluenced by outside sources, this particular sample was not only complimentary, but personalized with an engraving of my online handle, B9Scrambler.

    I think that is damn cool and recognize that it may incite unintended bias into my opinions. I also know that the purpose of this project above all else was to gather truthful feedback. Not only would a biased review help no one, but it would also hurt any legitimacy I hold as a reviewer. Be prepared for a critical breakdown of what I think of this product.

    While it was briefly available, the Kinera Earbud retailed for 23.00 USD.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer unique examples of signatures I enjoy.

    Source:

    For at home use the Kinera Bud was powered by a TEAC HA-501 or iFi Pro iCan desktop amp, or straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, Shanling M1, or F.Audio S1. The Walnut F1 also made it’s way into the rotation at times.

    While I personally find the Kinera Bud works well through most sources, it is better when amped. Kinera recommends running it this way too, and I get why. At high volumes unamped with my cellphone, congestion seeped in and the low end lost composure. Since I am a low volume listener, I could get away running them unamped most of the time, but I can't argue they sounded more impactful and spacious when amped regardless of the volume. Amping recommended.

    Specifications:
    • Impedance: 32 ohm
    • Sensitivity: 115 +/- 2dB
    • Frequency Response: 10Hz – 20Khz
    DSC02488.JPG DSC02487.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The Kinera Bud didn't come with any packaging, but it did come with a nice little accessory kit. Leading off is the same large, Kinera branded carrying case that came with the H3. It's a bit big for the average pocket making it more suitable for a bag, but it can hold a small player and the earphones comfortably enough which is always handy. You also get three pairs of foams; two sets of full foams with one in black and the other in red and blue, plus one set of donut foams.

    So yeah, a very basic package overall. I honestly wasn't expecting it to come with a case given the price and limited release, so that was a welcome surprise. They could have easily maximized profits by leaving that out and I don't think anyone would have complained. The foams are also of excellent quality; dense, durable, and the donuts were cut so they centered properly over the face of the earphone, something you can't always take for granted with budget gear.

    If the Kinera Bud ever goes back into production as a mass produced product, I would love to see it come in a scaled down version of the H3's packaging. Give us a magnetically sealed cardboard box just large enough to hold the included case, similar to how Campfire Audio does it, but with the same materials used on the H3's packaging. In terms of accessories, include two pairs of everything you get now and a 1/4” adapter. I was told this earbud was intended to be used amped and including a 1/4” adapter would get that point across well enough.

    DSC02498.JPG DSC02503.JPG

    Design, Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    I haven't hidden that I appreciate an attractive earphone. On that note the H3 is one of my favorite iems from a design standpoint, especially in the deep red I was sent. I've always wanted a 2008 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT wagon in that color, something I'm reminded of every time I look at the H3.

    The Kinera Bud continues what the H3 started and to my eyes looks absolutely stunning. The black metallic paint they choose really serves to highlight the Yuin shell's soft curves. I also love that Kinera chose to write their brand name in cursive. While some find that chintzy, I think it looks classy and mature, plus it goes well with the overall aesthetic they were going for. Criticisms are levied at the end of the shaft where the cable enters. Inside it is uncolored giving away that the shells are white plastic underneath. I also wish that the L and R marks were in cursive or something a little more distinctive. Kinera went with somewhat cryptic arrors. I was a little unsure what they meant first and had to perform a quick channel test to be sure. FYI: when inserted in your ears you want the arrows pointing forward.

    The cable Kinera stuck to this sexy little minx is decent. It looks a lot like the excellent cable that comes on the HE 150Pro but falls short of the high standards that one sets. Starting with the good, there is very little in the way of microphonics (cable noise), it resists tangling fairly well, and the kicker; it remains flexible in sub-zero temperatures! Woohoo! I detest when cables get stiff in the winter and this one doesn't. Sweet. And now for the less good. Kinks and bends are retained. Strain relief is also 100% absent. I'll chalk that up to being a limited release product. If this goes into production I'd expect proper strain relief at the y-split and jack. Speaking of the y-split, there is a butt-ton of glue present holding everything in place. It works find but is visually unimpressive. That would need to be cleaned up for a proper release too. The straight jack in nice though, using a similar setup as the H3. This means it can be disassembled by hand should you need to fix anything, pending you have the know how of course. That feature can stay.

    I was expecting the housing to be a lot larger than it is when I first saw the Kinera Bud in the flesh. Unlike many, I hadn't previously seen an earbud using his housing and from the pictures thought it looked quite large. In reality, while the face is broad as is necessary to accommodate such a large driver, it isn't very deep and ends up seating near perfectly in my ear. Its profile is also very low meaning this earbud was completely unobtrusive when lying on my side. It also fit perfectly under my toque. When heading out into the brisk cold the Kinera Bud has become one of my go to headphones. Overall, comfort is a big plus. I definitely approve of the community's choice of housing here.

    Isolation. Wow. In-ear monitors, heck, even active noise canceling earphones and headphones don't stand a chance against the world-silencing capabilities of the Kinera Earbud. If you took that seriously you need to take a step back. It's an earbud. They don't isolate...at all...especially this one which has more ventilation than the rusty old 1982 Toyota Celica my cousin had as a field car when we were kids. God, I love that thing. Rob, if you're reading this I need a picture of that old beast!

    DSC02501.JPG DSC02499.JPG

    Sound:

    To foam or not to foam: As is often the case with earbuds, Kinera's is no different in that you can alter the signature slightly depending on if you're running it foam free, full foams, donut foams, dense foams, porous foams, whatever. Running the Kinera Bud free of foams leads to a signature that is open and airy with a near mandatory treble boost. This is really nice at low to mid-level volumes. With donut foams the treble response is softened and tightened, the mid-range thickens up, and the low end raises in prominence and impact. With full foams, the presentation thickens up with more mid-bass umph. Treble loses further energy and definition.The mid-range comes out very lush though. Initially I preferred the Bud with donut foams, but over time I grew to appreciate the extra treble presence afforded when running them foam free.

    The Kinera Bud has a smooth, easygoing sound with a mid-range and bass focus. It's treble is very reserved and definitely it its peak without foams where it stands up and balances out the signature surprisingly well. It's airy, detailed, and smooth with no uncomfortable peaks. Toss on any foam padding and comfort increases, sure, but it also serves to eat the detail this little bud outputs. I'm really quite torn on how I feel about the treble. On one hand (no foams) it's is presented nicely. On the other hand (with foams) it comes across slightly recessed and lacking clarity.

    At least the mid-range sits in a good place regardless of foam usage, though they're definitely more rich with foams on. Vocals are clean and smooth with females really shining, though a touch on the thin side at times. Most male vocals have a heavier, weighty feel to them. Guitars have a forward presence and great texture, especially with foams on. Michael Jackson's “Beat It” is a great track to use for testing the changes in mid-range (and other areas to if I'm to be honest) when switching between naked or the various types of included foams.

    Bass is deep and thumpy with a commanding presence that works great outdoors, compensating effectively for the usual losses you experience with non-isolating designs like this. Texture is suitable too giving grungy basslines the intended impact. It's fairly quick too, at it best when running foam-less where it is particularly nimble.

    With foams on, overall resolution is slightly lacking with the mid-range and treble coming across mildly veiled. This isn't particularly noticeable until you start comparing the Kinera Bud to similarly priced and more expensive products. Take off the foams and that veil is removed, though you also lose authority in the low end. Regardless of how you choose to run the Kinera Bud, it was non-fatiguing and as a result it was usually fighting with the HE 150Pro as to which I wanted to take with me outside.

    Where it really came out on top was in sound stage. The Kinera sounds pretty massive overshadowing most of my other earbuds, and running strong with the best of bunch. It really does sound huge, tossing sounds quite far from your head. Imaging is also accurate, though not quite as pinpoint as I would want for gaming, and it's layering and separation qualities are pretty average.

    I think the overall performance is excellent though it seems to be that the Kinera's technical performance is at it's best when listening free of foams. As such, that is how I prefer to listen to mine.

    DSC02507.JPG DSC02493.JPG

    Select Comparisons:

    HE 150Pro (29.90 USD):

    The Kinera Bud and HE 150Pro has similar signatures with a focus on the mid-range and low-end, providing a smooth, fatigue-free presentation. The Kinera Bud has a larger sound stage with similar imaging and layering qualities, but slightly worse separation. The 150Pro's bass is the best I've heard in a bud and is well extended with a heavy physical presence; the Kinera Bud doesn't have quite the impact or texture but it's not too far off. The HE 150Pro's mid-range is less prominent but thinner and slightly clearer making it more comprehensive. Treble on the HE 150Pro is about as prominent with similar clarity and detail. These two are a great match for each other, but the HE 150Pro is my earbud bass king.

    Penon BS1 Experience Version (39.00 USD):

    The BS1 has a mid and treble focused sound with a slightly bumped low end, coming across less warm yet more natural than the Kinera Bud. BS1's sound stage is slightly smaller with better layering and separation qualities. Kinera's bass is more full and digs deeper with the BS1 showing better texture. The BS1's mid-range is more prominent and clear, though thinner. Treble is better extended and more energetic on the BS1. The BS1 overall sounds slightly more refined and mature.

    OURART Ti7 (59.00 USD):

    Ti7's presentation is less organic and lush than the Kinera Bud with a drier, more detail-focused sound. The Kinera Bud has a wider sound stage than the Ti7; layering and separation isn't as dynamic and impressive though. Kinera Bud's bass has more body and presence with greater physical impact. The Ti7's mid-range is slightly thiner and more forward with greater resolution. Treble isn't particularly energetic on either though the Ti7 is ahead in this regard with more lower and upper treble presence. I'm not sure which of these two I'd rather listen to, though both are great to look.

    Rose Maysa (109.00 USD):

    The Maysa's signature is notably heavier on mids and treble with a clear emphasis on detail and clarity. To my great surprise the Kinera presented a wider sound stage than the Maysa; layering and separation isn't as prominent or capable though. Bass is more robust and full than the Maysa's with more mid-bass emphasis but is nowhere near as nimble or textured. Mid-range is less forward and heavier on the Kinera Bud. Treble is less extended and emphasized too; comparatively it sounds quite recessed.

    General: In terms of design I think the Kinera is by far and away the best looking ear bud I've seen, followed up by OURART's Ti7. Out of the group above Rose's Masya comes third, the BS1 fourth, and the HE 150Pro last. Obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that ordering is purely subjective.

    In terms of build the Kinera Bud falls behind all of the above-mentioned earphones due to the cable. The BS1's cable is one of the best I've come across regardless of price. The 150Pro's is very similar to the Kinera's cable but with a neater y-split and no memory. The Ti7's cable is again quite similar, but even better behaved than the 150Pro's and with a higher quality y-split and jack. The Maysa's rubber cable isn't flashy but it has no significant negatives in my opinion. Comfort goes to the Kinera Bud though, with the Maysa and BS1 following close behind.

    DSC02505.JPG

    Final Thoughts:

    For a company that has made nothing but hybrids and balanced armature earphones up to this point (that I know of), I'd call their first foray into earbuds a success, particularly given the low price. There are aspects that reflect the low cost and inexperience with such a product, such as the sub-par cable construction (sloppy y-split and no strain relief) and high volume performance where they begin to lose composure and spaciousness, but neither of these issues are major concerns unless you mistreat your belongings or listen at particularly high volumes. My biggest issue with the way they sound is levied at the treble which is too highly influenced by foams, and should you choose to use them too much is sapped from the overall presentation. In the end it competes well with two of my favorite wallet-friendly earbuds, the Penon BS1 and HE 150Pro, with similar qualities to each and even gives the significantly more expensive Ti7 a good run for it's money.

    I truly hope Kinera revisits their earbud at some point in the near future. This form factor has been regaining popularity in recent years and there are some wicked good low cost options out there. The Kinera Earbud would be one of them if it were put back into production with a slightly more balanced signature and a more refined build. Alternatively, I would love it if they dove further into the bass side of the spectrum and tried to create the best budget basshead earbud. That would be pretty bad@$$.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    **This review original posted to The Contraptionist. If you enjoyed it, stop on by!**

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)

    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)

    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)

    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)

    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)

    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)

    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)

    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)

    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)

    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)

    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)

    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)

    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)

    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)

    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)

    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)

    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)

    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)

    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)

    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      audio123, ryanjsoo and ngoshawk like this.
  4. Cinder
    An Impressive First Run
    Written by Cinder
    Published Dec 13, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Relatively precise mids, good construction, attractive visuals, excellent cable, good accessories for the price.
    Cons - Can become uncomfortable after a couple hours
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    Kinera Earbud Review: An Impressive First Run

    You know what impresses me about Kinera? Not that they make great products, but that they can consistently do so in areas where they had previously no experience. They first caught my attention with the $ 100, “premium tier”, Kinera H3 — a triple-driver IEM that quickly made its way up to my favorite IEM for that price. Now they’ve done it again with the Earbud, a simple, yet effective, exercise in the earbud market space.

    The Earbud has a MRSP of $23 USD. Check out their Facebook page for more information on where to buy it.

    Disclaimer: This unit was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. I am not affiliated with Kinera beyond this review. These words reflect my true, unaltered, opinion about the product.

    Preference and Bias: Before reading a review, it is worth mentioning that there is no way for a reviewer to objectively pass judgment on the enjoyability of a product: such a thing is inherently subjective. Therefore, I find it necessary for you to read and understand what I take a natural liking to and how that might affect my rating of a product.

    My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass. The mids should be slightly less pronounced than the treble, but still ahead of the bass. I prefer a more bright upper range.

    Source: The earbud was powered like so:

    HTC U11 -> USB-C adapter -> earphones

    or

    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones

    or

    HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones

    or

    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones

    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    As per Kinera’s request, I burned the Earbuds in for 30 hours. In my before/after comparison I noticed no changes.

    Sound Signature
    Initial Impressions:

    The Earbud has a nice V-shaped sound signature, leaning towards warm. The treble is nice and pronounced, sitting ahead of both the mids and the bass. The bass is nice and emphasized by earbud standards, but lacks the impact and rumble of an IEM.

    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy

    Treble is pretty good, as I expected. While extension could use some work, and the upper end of the treble sounds a bit grainy, that seems to be a fault of the lack of a real seal. This is a consequence of the general form-factor of the earbud, so I can hardly fault it.

    There is no sibilance, nor any sharp edges to the Earbud’s sound signature.

    Mids: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams

    Mids are well fleshed out and are have a slight warmth; a touch I like. Irrespective of its warmth, the Earbud feels quite precise in the mids and has a good timbre. Instrumental separation is decent, though not mind-blowing, even at this price range. Sound-staging is also pretty good.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    Bass is pretty average for an earbud. It has some okay mid-bass body, but sub-bass, while audible, is not pronounced at all — another side-effect of the earbud form-factor.

    Packaging / Unboxing
    I received a pre-production unit of the Earbud. It did not come with any packaging, just a bare-bones little box. As such, I did not take any pictures for this section.

    Build
    Construction Quality


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    The Earbud’s construction quality exceeds that of your typical earbud. Its driver housing is made of a high-quality and strong-feeling plastic with a gloss finish. Underneath that finish is the interesting part though. Kinera painted the housing with a deep black paint mixed with a very dense layer of green glitter, giving the Earbud a unique feeling visually.

    Furthermore, there are two massive vents on the back. This is probably to feed the large dynamic driver inside enough air to produce a solid level of bass.


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    The cable is pretty good, and it’s clear Kinera didn’t want to skimp here (as with earbuds this is most often the first point of failure). It features a very simple 2x2 braid. The braid helps increase the strength of the cable and help it avoid getting super tangled. Microphonics is basically meaningless with the earbud as well, an advantage of its form-factor.


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    The Earbud’s cable is terminated with a 3.5mm jack housed in a premium-feeling metal enclosure. The folks at Kinera were also kind enough to engrave Resonance onto my copy, so a big thanks to them!

    Comfort

    As with most dynamic-driver earbuds, the Earbud is quite large. Folks with smaller ears will probably have a hard time keeping it in place. I, however (with my averagely-sized ears) didn’t have any issues, though I did start to notice some minor discomfort after a couple hours of listening.

    Accessories
    The Earbud comes with only a few accessories, though for $23 that’s still pretty good. Inside the box you’ll find:

    • 1x Kinera-branded semi-hard carrying case
    • 3x pairs of earbud foam covers
    That’s it. Though I can’t really complain since the earbud is priced so cheaply. Any $23 audiophile product that comes with a case of this caliber is a good value in my books.

    Summary
    The Earbud is a compelling value-based package. While I can’t stand by the poor isolation of the earbud form-factor as a whole, I understand that this is some people’s preference. So if you are looking for a good, but inexpensive earbud, the Kinera Earbud may be exactly what you are looking for!
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