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Kinera H3

Rating:
4.125/5,
  1. audio123
    Kinera H3 - Triple Hybrid Delight!
    Written by audio123
    Published Jul 20, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Treble Extension, Soundstage Width & Transparent Mids
    Cons - More Sub-Bass Extension
    Introduction
    Kinera produced their first iem in BD005 which is a 1 Balanced Armature + 1 Dynamic design. I get to know the existence of BD005 through E-earphone and I started to follow the brand as they look good. When Kinera started asking for reviewers to help them review their Kinera H3 which is their new product in a standard triple hybrid configuration – 2 Balanced Armature & 1 Dynamic, I decided to take up the opportunity. I would like to thank Kinera for this review unit and I will give my judgement on the H3. So far as of now, you can purchase the Kinera H3 through https://penonaudio.com/KINERA-H3 . The H3 will be available in 3 different colours – Blue, Black & Red. For more information on Kinera, you can check https://www.facebook.com/kinera2017/

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    Specifications
    • Driver: 2BA+1D
    • Impedance: 48Ω
    • Frequency Response: 20-20000HZ
    • Sensitivity: 101DB
    • L&R Channel Balance Sensitivity: <2DB
    • Max Input Power: 10mW
    • Cable Length: 1.2meter
    • Wire Material: 6n single crystal silver plated copper
    • Plug material: 3.5mm golden plated
    • Earphone interface: 2-pin (0.78mm)

    Unboxing & Accessories
    The Kinera H3 comes in a black rectangular box sporting a golden Kinera logo on the surface. Inside the box, you get a 6.3mm to 3.5mm golden plated adapter, airplane adapter, user manual, appreciation card and a black storage case which contains a pack of eartips (S, M, L) & the Kinera H3.

    The adapters are quite useful for different purposes – travelling and home usage. User manual gives a detailed explanation on how to use the Kinera H3. I like the concept of providing an appreciation card in the package which is a nice gesture as it gives a premium feel to the user. The eartips provided are silicone and they reminded me of the Sony Hybrid Silicone eartips.

    The black storage case has a black Kinera logo on it and it is rectangular. The exterior of the case is smooth and semi-hard. The case has a black colour zipper. Unzipping the case is quite smooth as the zipper does not get stuck in the process of unzipping. I have to point this out as I had bad experiences with some cases in which there is too much resistance in unzipping it. Inside the case, the interior is made of a fleece-like material. One side of the case has a cloth mesh which is used to function as a separate compartment to put accessories such as the adapters and eartips. In my case, I put either another iem or an upgrade cable. This type of case has been one of my favourites due to the size and the soft texture.

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    IEM Build & Design
    The Kinera H3 that I am reviewing is in red colour. I expect the build quality to be the same for other colours too. The H3 has a glossy black faceplate with a gold Kinera logo on it. The combination of black and gold synergises with one another well and I am a big fan of the aesthetics. The shell is a dark translucent red and you can still see through to observe the drivers. The dynamic driver is pretty noticeable since it is the biggest in size. It utilises 2-pin 0.78mm flushed socket for the detachable cables. Moving on to the design, it is akin to a custom iem shell but in a universal form, just like the iBasso IT03. In my opinion, the shell is quite perfect for my ears but this can be subjective as we have different ears, thus we will have different fittings of it. The nozzle is straight and I am able to use SpinFit tips with it. I tried with other tips from Acoustune, JVC or Sony and it yields a good result as it can fit. The nozzle has a metal mesh too which is used to block earwax from going into the interior of the iem.
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    Cable Build & Design
    The cable is not your usual stock cable. It seems to be an upgrade over the normal stock cable for detachable iems. As stated in the specifications, the material of the cable is made of 6N single crystal silver plated copper. Let start off from top to down. At the 2-pin connector, you will see a marking of different colours on each respectively. Red colour will indicate the right side while blue colour will indicate the left side. It is a nice touch so users can differentiate between left & right. There is a memory wire area whereby the cable is being enclosed in a transparent heat-shrink tube. It is very flexible and different from the usual stiff memory cable. The cable is braided with 4 wire conductors. There is a translucent y-splitter. The jack is 3.5mm gold plated and has a silver housing with grip.

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    Sound Analysis
    Lows

    The H3 has a sub-bass extension that goes rather deeply with a nice rumble. The mid-bass is not very authoritative. It is controlled and smooth. The bass has an above average decay and the bass note packs a punch to it. I find it very controlled for a dynamic driver. The bass does not hit hard at all and instead it helps to add some body to ease the transition into the midrange so the lower mids will not be lean. I was on low gain initially but after changing to high gain on my DAP, the bass becomes more tight and clean. It gives a kick to the bass as it is being expressed with more authority. Either low or high gain, I still find the bass rather pleasing and there is no shortage in the quality and quantity.
    Mids
    The midrange is slightly recessed. The lower mids have a nice body to it that suits male vocals particularly well. The mids are slightly bright due to the detailed upper mids. Midrange is very transparent and crystal clear without sacrificing on any aspects of the midrange. It packs details and does not sound analytical at all. Instead, it is very lively and natural. There is a good balance between technicality and musicality.
    Highs
    The treble has great clarity to it and most important is that there is no sibilance even with SpinFit tips. It is extended well without any graininess. The crisp gives the treble a nice bite that adds a dynamic punch to your music. In my opinion, the treble can do well with more body so it will be a fuller performance. Other than that, I feel it has an appropriate amount of air, extension and clarity.
    Soundstage
    The H3 has a wide soundstage which is above average. It gives a 3D feel and encapsulates the listener in the process. The depth of it is decent enough to give some intimacy. With its width, it enhances the overall imaging and provides a fuller sound.


    Comparisons
    I use the Ibasso DX200 to compare the iems.

    Kinera H3 vs iBasso IT03 with Stock Cable
    The H3 has less sub-bass quantity and extension than the IT03. The mid-bass on both iems are approximately the same with H3 slightly ahead due to its more dynamic punch. Overall, IT03 bass is much tighter with a faster decay. I would say H3 has a thicker bass note than IT03 so it makes IT03 seem very clinical and precise when comparing both of them. The lower mids on both are very similar. I would choose the H3 for the midrange as the upper mids is not as shouty as IT03. H3’s upper mids are much more smooth and crisp. IT03 has better extended treble and provides more sparkle than the H3. Soundstage on both has similar width but H3 has more depth, thus it is able to provide more intimacy for vocals.

    Kinera H3 vs Fidue A83
    The H3’s sub-bass does not extend as deep as A83 and has less quantity too. The mid-bass of A83 is more controlled and reserved than the H3. H3’s bass is more detailed and clinical than the A83. The decay of H3 is quicker due to the bass note on the A83 having more weight. This does not mean the A83 bass is sluggish, it just cannot keeps up with the H3. The lower mids on both are approximately the same. The upper mids on H3 is more forward than A83. There is a slight grain to A83 in comparison to the H3. H3 has slightly more airiness than A83. The sparkle on both are quite close. A83 has a deeper soundstage while H3 has a wider soundstage. Instruments positioning is better on the H3.

    Kinera H3 vs FLC8S (Red-Grey-Gold)
    The H3 sub-bass extension is not as deep as FLC8S but it has more quantity. The H3’s mid-bass has more slam to it and enhances the dynamics. Lower mids on the FLC8S are thinner than H3 and male vocals sound grainy. The upper mids of FLC8S is more articulate and smoother than the H3. There is more crisp to it as such. FLC8S treble is more extended and with the air and sparkle it boasts, the H3 is unable to keep up with it. FLC8S has a slightly wider soundstage and both shares similar depth.

    Kinera H3 vs Oriolus Forsteni
    The sub-bass extension on both are around the same but Forsteni has more crisp to it. The Forsteni has a much clearer bass definition. Mid-bass of Forsteni provides more thump to the music. The lower mids on both are on the thin side. The upper mids of H3 has more definition to it and there is less grain. It is more pleasing to hear the H3. The treble of Forsteni is extended better with more air but it is shouty in comparison to the H3 which gives one a more intimate feel. Both has similar width on soundstage and H3 has a more depth.

    Kinera H3 vs Campfire Audio Dorado
    The sub-bass of H3 is less extended than the Dorado. Dorado has better bass definition and there is more quantity. The mid-bass of H3 has a sweeter punch to it. Lower mids of Dorado is thicker than the H3. Upper mids of H3 is presented more clinically than the laidback Dorado. Dorado has more air and sparkle in its treble department which makes the mids more recessed than H3. Dorado has the advantage in soundstage for both width and depth.

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    Conclusion
    I am pretty impressed by the H3 after being exposed to many top performing triple hybrids in the market already. The H3 has a very controlled bass and sweet upper mids. The bass quantity may not be for bassheads but I feel at its price point, the bass definition is excellent. Whether you want to listen to male or female vocals, the H3 does them justice. I am delighted to be able to listen to the Kinera H3.

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    For more reviews, visit https://audio123blog.wordpress.com/ .
  2. Brooko
    Kinera H3 => Unrealised Potential
    Written by Brooko
    Published Oct 27, 2017
    2.5/5,
    Pros - Build, fit, comfort, cable quality, sonic ability if prepared to EQ, value if prepared to EQ
    Cons - Lipless nozzle, default sound signature (splashy treble, recessed lower mid-range, dissonance and stridency issues)
    [​IMG]
    Picture are default 1200 x 800 resolution - click to view larger images.

    INTRODUCTION

    Reviewing is often a double edged sword. It can be exciting trying something new, and the advantage of being sent a sample is that if you don't like it – it really doesn't matter. I guess my single mission statement (which is quite often hard to stick to) is “be completely honest”. That can be hard when you're first starting out reviewing, trying to break through with manufacturers, and worried that if you're negative, they may cut you off further samples. The problem of course is that if you're overly positive, real buyers will soon find out the truth, and your reputation as a reviewer is over anyway. So for those newer reviewers my advice is – don't hold anything back. You can be critical without being nasty. And manufacturers need to know the bad as well as the good. Its the only way they can become great.

    So why am I going through this big spiel? Its simple really – Penon Audio approached me recently to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing some of the brands they are selling. I said sure – why not – it would give me access to a couple of products I'd read about, but hadn't had the opportunity of reviewing. And I like dealing with Penon – they are a really good store with really good service. I've purchased a few items off them, and they're always a pleasure to deal with.

    They asked me which IEM(s) I'd like to start with, and so I suggested the Kinera H3. It has a pretty good following on head-Fi, with a lot of very positive reviews. I was simply keen to try it out.

    Well it arrived a couple of weeks ago, and let me just say the experience I've had with the H3 doesn't quite match the hype that surrounded this ear-phone. So lets get an alternative view, and hopefully this is accepted in the manner its intended – to simply give a manufacturer some feedback on what is good and what isn't (in my humble opinion of course).


    ABOUT KINERA

    From what I can find on the net, Kinera is the primary brand of DongguanYu Tai Electronics. The company was formed in 2010 and their research center has just over a dozen employees. In 2012 they started research into personal audio, and the Kinera brand slowly started to form a product range.

    In their own words:
    Yu Tai has a pragmatic, innovative professional R & D team. They are the production strength and are committed to bring to the world the most beautiful sound quality, the most enjoyable listening experience, by virtue of "quality, integrity, innovation and win-win" business philosophy and high-tech R & D team.

    They can be found at Facebook here


    ABOUT PENON AUDIO

    Penon Audio's on-line store was established in 2013, and their main goal is to sell the best selection of audio products at the most affordable prices for both audiophiles and business users. They combine an extensive range of products with very good service – and can be found on-line HERE

    DISCLAIMER

    The Kinera H3 that I’m reviewing today was provided to me gratis as a review sample by Pennon Audio. I have made it clear to Penon that I still regard any product they send me as their sole property and available for return any time at their request. But I thank them for the ability to continue use of the Kinera H3 for follow up comparisons. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also Penon and Kinera.

    I have now had the Kinera H3 almost 2 weeks. The retail price at time of review is USD 99.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

    I'm a 50 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last few years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (mostly now from the FiiO X5iii, X7ii and iPhone SE) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, MS Pro and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2, and LZ Big Dipper. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present – although needs updating) is listed in my Head-Fi profile.

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.


    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables (unless impedance related etc), and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 50, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the Kinera H3 straight from the headphone-out socket of most of my portables. I did not generally further amp them (I did test them with my E17K, Q1ii and IMS HVA), as IMO they do not benefit greatly from additional amplification (YMMV and it may depend on your source). In the time I have spent with the Kinera H3, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in). Time spent now with the Kinera H3 is around 20-30 hours.

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    The Kinera H3 arrived in a rectangular retail box with a fold out front opening lid. The box measures approx 180 x 120 x 50mm, is matt black , and has a simple “Kinera H3” embossed on the lid.

    Opening the lid reveals a carry case, and a couple of adaptors. Inside the carry case is the Kinera H3, replaceable cable, and the tip selection. Underneath the top tray is a further cut-out, and this houses a business card and the manual. One thing to note about the manual – it includes a frequency response graph, and it is quite different to mine (and a few other people I know who have good reliable rigs). Kinera did release an updated graph which is somewhat closer to my measurements.


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    Outer boxInner boxFull package contents

    The accessories include:
    • 3 pairs of silicone tips (S/M/L)
    • 3 pairs of silicone tips (S/M/L) – similar Sony hybrids
    • 3.5 to 6.3mm adaptor
    • Airline adaptor
    • Soft shell storage case (large)
    • Cable tie
    • Warranty and manual.
    • 1 x 3.5 mm single ended two pin earphone cable
    • Kinera H3 IEMs
    The storage case is 120 x 75 x 40mm (so reasonably big). It is semi-rigid and consists of a soft shell outer over a fabric lined inner. It is a rounded rectangular shape and zipped on 3 sides. It gives reasonable protection for everyday use. The entire package is more than reasonable for this price point, although personally I'd also like to see at least some foam tips included.

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    (From the Kinera documentation)
    ModelKinera H3
    Approx price$99 USD (Penon Audio)
    TypeTriple hybrid IEM
    Driver set-upSingle dynamic with dual BA
    Freq Range20Hz – 20 kHz
    Impedance48Ω
    Sensitivity101 dB (at 1 kHz)
    Cable1.25, replaceable 2 pin (0.78)
    Jack3.5mm gold plated straight
    Weight23g with default cable and tips
    Casing materialAcrylic


    FREQUENCY GRAPH
    The graph below is generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget.

    I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else's, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response - especially if you've followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I always use crystal foam tips (so medium bore opening) - and the reason I use them is for very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements - and output is under 1 ohm.

    Any graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference.


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    My sonic impressions of the Kinera H3 – written well before I measured:
    • Bass is nicely presented with a little more sub than mid-bass emphasis. It seems well extended and is elevated compared to the mid-range. Rumble is clearly audible.
    • Lower mid-range is kind of weird. It sounds both a little recessed and can be somewhat distant with male vocals (and can be a little thin and nasal as well with some recordings). Female vocals are quite forward though and can be strident depending on the singer and the recording.
    • Upper mid-range seems to be emphasised. Female vocals have a sense of euphony, but again with some artists (London Grammar, Agnes Obel) there is almost a sense of brittleness – almost like the usual peak in the vocal fundamental is too early and there is a gap in the presence area.
    • Lower treble extension is good – but it is hot (very hot). Cymbals are quite splashy and there is a lot of sibilance.
    • Overall I can see what they've tried to do with the tuning, and it is very, very clear. Its just been overdone though, and the attempt to bring added clarity in the mid-range has caused some coherency issues.
    • Channel matching is excellent

    BUILD

    The first time I saw photos of the Kinera H3, I thought they were gorgeous, and having a very ergonomic acrylic build at this price point was a real surprise. The Kinera H3 has a traditional custom monitor shape (classic peanut shape) and is entirely made of acrylic. I'm sure there must be a join somewhere, but for the life of me I can't find one. The body measures approx 22mm across and 16mm in height, with a depth of approx 12-14mm. The internal face is extremely smooth and well polished, and contoured to the shape of your ears. The acrylic in the main body is also translucent, and I can clearly see the DD and dual BA drivers.

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    External face plateInternal faceWell contoured smooth surfaces

    The external face is flat with a black high gloss surface and the word Kinera on each ear-piece. There is a single vent at the rear of each IEM body. There are no L or R markings, but there doesn't need to be as the H3 is clearly designed for over ear use, and it is clear which ear-piece is left or right. The nozzle is located at the front of the IEM and is angled up. It extends from the main body by around 7mm and has a nozzle width of just under 5mm. It has a mesh cover to protect the nozzle from wax, but has no lip (at all) and unfortunately this means a limit on tip rolling (more on that later).

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    From the frontFrom the rear (note vents)0.78mm 2 pin connectors

    At the top of each IEM is a 2 pin 0.78mm socket which is slightly recessed into the body. The cable fits snugly and the connection is very sturdy. The cable is made up of 6N single-crystal copper with silver plating, and then coated with a very flexible polymer coating. From the IEM to the Y-split, there are two twisted pairs, and below the Y split is a twisted quad. From the two pin male connector, there is a preformed wire loop which is flexible and quite comfortable, and also sits really nicely. The preformed ear loops basically form their own passive strain relief, and the y-split is simply a clear rubber pass through (so no relief required). It has nicely designed designed cinch. The Jack is 3.5mm, gold plated, straight, and features enough length to allow fitting to my iPhone SE with case intact. This would be one of the nicer cables I've come across aesthetically in this price range. Its very lightweight and flexible, and only mildly microphonic (this disappears when using the cinch and some basic cable management). The cable is 1.25m in length although some of this is taken up by the preformed ear loops.

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    Preformed earloopsY-split and cinch3.5mm jack

    Internally the Kinera H3 utilises a 9mm custom dynamic driver with a composite diaphragm. This is coupled with dual balanced armatures for the mids and highs and a pair of crossovers.

    Overall the build quality is quite impressive for this price point with the only real issue being the lipless nozzle, and some minor driver flax when first inserting them in your ear (the flex is really minimal).


    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION

    I'll start with the easy one (isolation), and we can then look at fit and comfort. Isolation is dependent on tip selection, and if you get a good seal, it is actually pretty good (above average for a vented dynamic IMO), but will not ultimately reach the high isolation of sealed BA IEMs. It would still be reasonably good for a busy street, or some forms of public transport – although wouldn't be my personal choice for long haul flights.

    As I said mentioned earlier, the Kinera H3 has a very ergonomic body shape, with a good length of slightly angled nozzle, and for me personally they are extremely easy to fit. They are designed for over-ear use. Anyone used to ergonomic over-ear designs should have no issues. They are extremely comfortable for everyday use.


    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]
    Lipless nozzle = tip limitationsMy stretched OlivesFit and comfort is sublime

    Unfortunately with no lip on the nozzle, choices for tip rolling are limited. I had no problem at all fitting practically any tip, but they would simply dislodge when removing the H3 from my ear, and its not nice having to continually fish tips out of your ears. My usual go-tos, including Spiral-dots, Sony Isolation, and Ostry tuning tips proved problematic. Spinfits worked but I've never been able to get a decent seal with them. So I was left with Comply and/or Stretched Shure Olives, which both fit and provided a good seal.

    The Kinera H3 sits nicely flush with my outer ear, and are comfortable to lie down with. I've slept with them a couple of times, and have no discomfort on waking. So how do they sound?


    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the Kinera H3. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X7ii (single ended), no EQ, and stretched Shure Olives. I used the X7ii simply because it gives me a very transparent window to the music with low impedance, and more than enough power. There was no DSP engaged.

    For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the X7ii (AM3A amplifier module) was around 45/120 (on low gain) which was giving me an average SPL around 65-75 dB. Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.


    Relativities
    • Sub-bass – has really good extension and even at my lower listening levels is clearly audible. I would call it slightly boosted above what I would term normal or in balance. There is some really good rumble to give presence but it stops just short of overshadowing vocals. I'm detecting no bleed into lower mid-range (masking of frequencies).
    • Mid-bass – sloping downward compared to sub-bass and elevated compared to lower mid-range. Has reasonable impact.
    • Lower mid-range – quite recessed compared to bass and mid-range, and can sound thin and unnatural, especially with male vocals. Has a funny little dip immediately before a sharp rise just before 1 kHz and EQing this out really helps with coherency.
    • Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, and there is a sharp rise and hump from 1-2 kHz followed by a recession at 3 kHz. The result is a very forward vocal range which unfortunately can sound quite strident and brittle. Its simply peaked far too early, and coupled with the drop just before 1 kHz can be very unnatural depending on the music you're listening to. Unfortunately this is not an upper mid-range tuning which resonates with me.
    • Lower treble is fine at around 5 kHz then builds rapidly to a wide peak in the 6-8 kHz area 20 dB above the low point of the vocals, and just under 10 dB above the already high sub-bass. In short, there is simply too much of it. It's sharp, etched, and gives unnatural glare to cymbals, and also ruins any natural decay in this area.

    Resolution / Detail / Clarity
    • Clarity is good, as is resolution, but its just too much in your face. With warmer tracks its not too bad, but as soon as you get something with a lot of upper frequency energy it really triggers my “wince-meter”.
    • Cymbal hits are overemphasised turning a “tish” into a “tizzz”, and decay is a blob rather than a trailing shimmer.
    Sound-stage, Imaging
    • Directional queues are very good – quite precise, and presentation of stage with the binaural track “Tundra” is definitely just beyond the of my head space (is this the recess in the lower mid-range?) – so pretty good sense of width and depth.
    • Loreena McKennitt's “Dante's Prayer” was next and unfortunately both the cello and piano were tonally incorrect (didn't have the depth or timbre I know is in the track). McKennitt also had slight signs of sibilance, and I've never noticed this with any other IEM. Imaging was pretty good overall though. The main reason I use this track is for the applause at the end – it can be quite 3 dimensional and flow around you with the right earphone. The Kinera H3 struggled because of the tonality. No sense of realism.
    • Amanda Marshall's “Let it Rain” was my next track and I couldn't finish it. There was massive amounts of sibilance with Amanda's vocal – its the way it is recorded – so not unexpected. What was unfortunate was that the sibilance was definitely enhanced.
    Strengths
    • Overall bass presentation
    • Reasonable sense of stage and imaging
    • Detailed at low listening levels
    Weaknesses
    • Mid-range is recessed and thin with some vocals (male), strident and brittle with others (mainly female) and does not sound natural
    • Lower treble is far too etched and unpleasant to listen to with anything involving cymbals
    • Sibilance can be a real issue
    Special Note

    I had to continually rest and reset my ears when I was doing this review. The problem was that it was easy for my brain to put its normal filter over the sound and try to compensate for the brightness (brain burn-in). By going back to a reference regularly (HD600) I could keep my impressions on track.

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    Despite the 48 ohm impedance and 101 dB SPL sensitivity, the H3 is actually really easy to drive and most portable sources will have no issues. I tried it with the X7ii, X3iii, and my iPhone and there were no issues. With my iPhone SE around 30-35% volume is more than enough with most tracks. I also tried the H3 with the FiiO A5, Q1ii and IMS HVA. They didn't seem to add anything – although the HVA's natural warmth did soften the H3's peakiness just a little.

    [​IMG][​IMG] [​IMG]
    Easy to drive from most sourcesAdditional amping not really necessaryIMO parametric EQ is essential


    RESPONSE TO EQ?

    Thank goodness for this section! The basic EQ on the X7ii wasn't going to be enough and I'm not as proficient with EQ on Neutron as I am with the parametric equaliser on the Equaliser app on my iPhone. I still don't have this right, but basically I applied the following parametric settings, and its amazing how much the H3 improved:

    400 Hz > Q=0.5 > +1.0 dB
    800 Hz > Q=2.0 > +3.0 dB
    1.5 kHz > Q=0.5 > -2.0 dB
    3.0 kHz > Q=1.0 > +3.0 dB
    7.0 kHz > Q=1.0 > -6.0 dB

    Even going back to Amanda Marshall's “Let it Rain” was a vast improvement (still minor sibilance, but no more than usual). It would be fair to say that if this was the default signature, the H3 would be getting genuine high marks – especially at its price point.


    COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS

    I was left with an impossible task in this section, and no easy solution. Do you compare the H3 un-EQ'd with other IEM's in a similar price range, and because of its default tonality and sonic flaws, give unfavourable comparisons? Or do you apply the EQ and show people it's potential?

    To be fair to the readers of this review and also Kinera and Penon, I had to do both. So I've taken the cream of some $50-$150 IEMs I have available now, and compared both EQ'd and un-EQ'd. The graph shows the un-EQ'd H3 though.

    For this test I used my iPhone SE and the Equaliser app – which I could turn on and off to make easy and quick comparisons. So I could volume match a lot easier, I used the FiiO E17K rather than the iPhones stepped volume control. For volume matching, I used test tones and an SPL meter.

    For the comparison I used the $59 FiiO F5, $79 Meze 12 Classic, $99 Oriveti Basic, $100 FiiO F9, and $150 Simgot EN700 Pro


    Kinera H3 (~USD 100) vs FiiO F5 (~USD 59)

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    Kinera H3 vs FiiO F5Frequency comparisons

    Both are built from quality materials, but there is no doubt that the Kinera H3 has better fit, finish and overall comfort (both are comfortable to wear though). The H3 also isolates better. Both have replaceable cables, but the Kinera cable is easier to manage and the F5 has had problems with loose MMCX connections.

    Without EQ, the Kinera H3 has deeper bass and a lot more treble energy. There is also something funky about the mid-range causing some tracks to be quite strident and brittle. The F5 is a lot more balanced, a lot smoother, and more natural, but does have an overly strong upper mid-range peak around 2.5 kHz which if corrected makes it overall a far better IEM. On pure default OOTB performance – the choice is easy – the FiiO F5 is much better overall value sonically.

    If I use my WIP EQ though the Kinera H3 surpasses the F5 and if this adjusted tonality would be default, my recommendation would change.


    Kinera H3 (~USD 100) vs Meze 12 Classic (~USD 79)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Kinera H3 vs Meze 12 ClassicFrequency comparisons

    Both are again built from quality materials, but again the Kinera H3 has better overall fit, finish and comfort (again both are comfortable to wear though). The H3 isolates better and has a far better cable (the 12 Classic is fixed).

    Without EQ, the Kinera H3 has much stronger bass and a lot more treble energy. Mid-range strength is similar, but tonally the Meze 12 Classic is a lot more balanced and realistic sounding. If anything the Meze probably needs a little more bass, but apart form that, it really is a fantastically voiced IEM. OOTB there is no question, the default tonality of the Meze 12 Classic is much better.

    Again if I use my WIP EQ though the Kinera H3 at least equals the Meze 12 Classic and with the superior fit and overall build, would surpass it.


    Kinera H3 (~USD 100) vs Oriveti Basic (~USD 99)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Kinera H3 vs Oriveti BasicFrequency comparisons

    This is a better comparison – both same price, both have impeccable build quality and fit/comfort, both have quality replaceable cables – and both need EQ to correct tonal/balance issues (IMHO of course).

    Without EQ, both have similar bass strength but the Basic appears much warmer because of a lower mid-range emphasis, and much lower treble energy. One is warm smooth and overly bassy (the Oriveti Basic). The other is V shaped, but also overly bright, and uneven in the mid-range with a tendency toward brittleness and stridency. TBH without EQ I wouldn't buy either (personal preference).

    If I EQ both (my WIP EQ for the Kinera H3 and a simple bass cut on the Oriveti Basic) both are transformed into something I'd pay money for. As far as my preference goes EQ'd, I'd probably take the Basic though – the EQ is far simpler and the end result is a far more balanced IEM.


    Kinera H3 (~USD 100) vs FiiO F9 (~USD 99)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Kinera H3 vs FiiO F9Frequency comparisons

    This is probably the most apt comparison of the lot. Both are same price, triple hybrids, extremely good builds, with good quality replaceable cables, and excellent fit and comfort.

    Without EQ, the F9 is a lot leaner in the sub-bass but the first thing that strikes me is how much more natural the FiiO sounds. Its not subtle either. Despite the H3's extra sub-bass, the F9 actually sounds warmer a lot of the time, and that’s simply because of the etched upper end of the N3. The FiiO can have a few issues at times as well with a quite narrow peak between 7-8 kHz, but it only really gets annoying with some tracks, where the H3's default signature annoys me the majority of the time with its hazy upper end energy.

    If I EQ both (my WIP EQ for the Kinera H3 and a simple 8 kHz cut on the F9) the H3 is transformed and the FiiO is simply improved (it was already very, very good). Again for my preference (after EQing both), I'd stay with the F9 – again the EQ is far simpler and the end result is a far more balanced IEM.


    Kinera H3 (~USD 100) vs Simgot EN700 Pro (~USD 150)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Kinera H3 vs Simgot EN700 ProFrequency comparisons

    So what happens if you're prepared to invest a little more? Well in the $150 range you have the Simgot EN700 Pro. It is an excellent single dynamic. Both IEMs have excellent build, fit and comfort. Both have wonderful quality detachable cables. Overall aesthetically, the two are on a par (which actually says a lot in favour of the H3).

    Without EQ, both have similar bass quantity – the EN700 Pros is less on the graph, but sounds the same because it has a better balanced mid-range and lower treble. The EN700 Pro's mid-range sounds a lot more natural and coherent (slow rise to 3 kHz), and does sound very good OOTB but it is a vibrant and coloured sound (albeit one I quite like). The H3 in comparison is definitely also vivid, but its like it has a haze across everything.

    If I EQ with my WIP EQ for the Kinera H3, the haze disappears, and it becomes a really enjoyable and dynamic IEM. Again though when put up against an IEM which is excellent OOTB already there is really no choice (for me anyway). The EN700 Pro is going to sound great with any source, and if you're like me and have 2-3 sources you use, then the EQing of a $100 IEM (Kinera H3) is just going to be a hassle.


    VALUE

    Boy this is tough. If you look at the potential, and you don't mind tinkering with EQ, for $100 you can get an extremely good sounding, looking and fitting IEM in the Kinera H3. But its a labour of love, and without EQ for me the overall SQ becomes grating and quite quickly objectionable. Given that I know how many people avoid EQ, and especially if its even mildly complex, then OOTB the potential value of the Kinera H3 unfortunately diminishes quite quickly.

    KINERA H3 – SUMMARY

    I actually dislike these sort of reviews, but sometimes you have to grit your teeth and get through it. The temptation is always there to gloss over the faults (something I try to avoid), and with the Kinera H3 if they aren't highlighted now, they (Kinera) won't fulfil their potential.

    I do want to take the time to say sorry to Amy from Penon. They gave me a choice of monitors to review, and I specifically asked for the Kinera H3 because of the glowing praise they had received from a number of reviewers. If I'd known the reality, I would have chosen something else.

    On the plus side, the Kinera H3 has fantastic build quality, an extremely well designed ergonomic shell, and a really nice cable, You simply don't find this sort of quality on a $100 IEM most of the time. They also look fantastic. One issue they do have though is the lipless nozzle (which limits tip choices) – please Kinera fix this on your next model.

    But if I'm talking default package, that's pretty much where the good stuff ends. The tuning on these is really a work in progress. For starters the lower mid-range dip is quite recessed, but what makes it worse is the early rise to accentuate the vocals, and then a dip in the presence area at 3 kHz. In my experience if you make the rise to sharp and too early you get coherency issues, and unfortunately the H3 has a few. Combine this with the sudden dip at 3 kHz and you can get some dissonance. But the really big problem is the wide-band peak in the upper treble. It is over-accentuated, splashy, and casts a real haze over any music with natural treble energy. Without EQ – I really don't enjoy using these.

    The good news is that with the parametric EQ I've provided in the review (and it is by no means a perfect EQ – I'd love it if someone tweaks it further), the Kinera H3 responds brilliantly, and becomes a much better IEM. If this was the default tuning I'd likely be lauding it – especially at this price.

    So how do you rate an IEM with so much potential, but so many faults sonically? It becomes really hard because you don't want to destroy it, but you do want to be honest. You have practically perfect fit and build with minor points off for the nozzle issue. But sonically they just don't sound great without some reasonably complex EQ (in my humble opinion anyway). Add a small amount for the response you get with EQ, and you end up with a 50% score. Overall a 2.5/5 from me, and probably testament to the potential more than anything. I couldn't honestly recommend these to anyone unless they were prepared to use EQ.

    To Kinera I would say you are actually on the right track. Get yourself a really natural headphone to use as comparative reference (e.g. HD600) and use that to reset your expectations when you are tuning. If you get the tuning right on your next release, you have the potential to be a leader in this price range.

    To Amy and the team from Penon Audio – thanks so much for the review sample, and I think I'll let your team choose next time.


    [​IMG]
  3. ryanjsoo
    Kinera H3 Review – Sensation(al)
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Jul 30, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - End to end extension, Bass definition, Natural yet clear midrange, Great ergonomics and isolation, Fantastic cable
    Cons - Larger size may not suit everyone, Some cosmetic QC issues, Separation could do with some work, Thinner treble
    Introduction –

    Kinera is yet another up and coming Chi-Fi manufacturer who, until now, have yet to really produce a runaway hit. To my knowledge, they have only one in-ear under their belt, the BD005, which was well received amongst a small group of enthusiasts but failed to really capture the iem market like other in-ears from TFZ, Magaosi/Audbos and even Simgot. So it came as a surprise when their newest earphone, the H3, blew up on social media. With an immensely prospective triple hybrid driver setup combined with a very reasonable $100 USD asking price, the H3 almost instantly became one of the most talked about, sought after earphones on the net.

    Though I’m not one to be swayed by common perceptions, after all, budget hybrid earphones are nothing we haven’t seen before from manufacturers like 1More, Xiaomi and Magaosi. And in many ways, the H3’s reception very much reflected that of the K3 Pro with early impressions comparing them favourably to more expensive models and the same amount of ecstatic excitement orbiting every teaser post on social media. With that said, let’s see how good the H3 really is.



    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Steve from Kinera Audio very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the H3 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.



    About Me, Background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases –

    I generally prefer a u-shaped sound that is close to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound. I’m not particularly treble sensitive so I may be more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I will note if I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review and describe the sound changes.

    Read More



    Accessories –

    [​IMG]

    While they aren’t quite as lavishly packaged as the K3 HD and Simgotearphones, the H3 nonetheless has a much nicer unboxing than most Chi-fi earphones. They come packaged within a textured hard box with gold print denoting the brand and model. The box magnetically latches open to reveal the hard case, flight adapter and ¼” adapter within foam.

    [​IMG]

    The case is on the larger side and is similar to units included with Shozy products, it is protective and adequately stores the earphones and accessories in addition to a small DAP though portability is not ideal.

    [​IMG]

    Inside the case is the H3 and 3 pairs of Sony hybrid style ear tips. The tips are very comfortable and mimic the superb fit and seal offered by the authentic Sony’s. While a few of them had offset stems, I didn’t find this to noticeably affect fit and they are otherwise well moulded. I’m a huge fan of the Sony Hybrid tips and unsurprisingly, Kinera’s imitation tips provided much the same experience with comfort and seal.



    Design –

    The H3 is an intriguing earphone with a custom style housing that reminds me of Ibasso’s IT03 albeit appreciably more compact. They assume an over-ear fit and achieve impressive comfort and solidity despite their unorthodox housing design and entirely acrylic construction. At present, Kinera provide the H3 in red, black and blue, all with the same black faceplate.

    [​IMG]

    Despite being entirely constructed from plastic, the H3’s feel very solid, rigid and well-weighted in the hand whilst remaining forgiving on the ear. Their semi translucent housings add a lot of visual intrigue to their funky design and their gloss black faceplates adorned with golden Kinera logos are both classy and eye catching. Kinera is using a two-layer process to achieve a uniquely smooth look on the faceplates. Unfortunately, my set was riddled with small bubbles and even a notably large one on the tip of the left earpiece out of the box. Perhaps there was some issue with the lamination since my unit is a pre-production review sample and the earphones are otherwise flawless with no seams of joining issues, I am also able to press the clear coat back onto the underlying paint though it only holds temporarily.

    [​IMG]

    And in terms of fit, don’t let their larger dimensions and strange protrusions deter you, the H3 provides a very solid, stable fit that is easily one of the best I’ve experienced around this price. The earphones slot into the ear with authority and lock firmly into place, staying put when running. Furthermore, they do so without any sense of discomfort like the iBasso IT03, providing great if not perfect comfort over long listening sessions. Buyers also shouldn’t worry too much about public appearance, due to their medium depth fit, the earphones don’t protrude too much and look quite subtle when worn with only the black faceplate visible to onlookers.

    [​IMG]

    The nozzle itself is perfectly angled though it has no fluting or ridging so eartips can be prone to falling off. It is of a common size, fitting T200 Comply foam tips in addition to CP100 Spinfits and Sony Hybrids which is great for those that can’t find a solid seal with the included tips (though they are almost identical to Hybrids). The tips is finished off with a nice metal filter that prevents earwax and debris from entering the housings.

    [​IMG]

    The H3’s are vented though very minimally so and they produce as strong a seal as the fully sealed TFZ King. Some driver flex is present though I didn’t notice any audio degradation over time. Isolation isn’t as flawless as the fully sealed King but remains immediately superior to more open hybrid designs like the K3 Pro and I had no issue using the H3’s on public transport. That being said, one thing Kinera could consider in a predecessor, is relocating the vent on the tops of the earphones to another location. I found that the left vent was covered by my ear while the right vent was left open, simply due to the shape of my ear. However, this produced a different amount of isolation in either ear, creating an uncomfortable sensation and finding the right was a bit more finicky than necessary.

    [​IMG]

    Fortunately, the H3’s come with a fabulous 0.78mm removable cable system that is perhaps not as widely adopted as MMCX but is more reliable and less temperamental. The cable itself is of terrific quality, it’s a 6N silver plated copper design with a nice braid and super soft texture. The cable is supple, easily coiling for storage and quickly untangles when removed from a pocket/case. In addition, the pre-formed ear guides were perfectly shaped for my ears unlike the TFZ Exclusive series, Magaosi K3 earphones and Simgot EN700 Bass, producing superior stability, comfort and practicality. The cable also resists microphonic noise when walking and its smoother texture avoids catching on clothing. This is topped off with a low-profile y-split that avoids severing the cable to enhance durability and a case friendly Oyaide style plug with ample strain relief.

    [​IMG]

    The H3, despite some small quality control issues with my unit, nonetheless delivers some of the best ergonomics I’ve experienced around this price. They have a solid but lightweight build that is stable in the ear, great passive noise isolation, a strong, reliable seal and pleasing comfort. Moreover, their excellent cable really enhances usability and their classy look provides a splash of colour without coming off as even remotely gaudy.



    Sound –

    The H3 combines a single dynamic driver with two balanced armatures of unspecified size and model creating a very convincing hybrid setup that easily rivals the Magaosi K3 Pro and 1More Triple Driver. While I was immensely excited to crack the H3 open and give them a thorough listen upon receival, I was at the time committed to my review of the Magaosi K3 HD, a similarly priced earphone that utilizes a similar hybrid driver setup. But even coming from the more expensive K3 HD, the Kinera H3 immediately impressed me with their excellent detailing, natural midrange and bass performance that far outstripped the competition. The H3 is not the flagship killer than many have put it out to be, but it is a fantastically well-tuned earphone nonetheless and one that many buyers in the market for a sub $100 earphone can strongly consider.



    Tonality –

    The H3 is a v-shaped earphone with an emphasis on sub and deep-bass and lower treble. And though they carry a slightly brighter sound with less present lower midrange elements, they lack the immediate sense of brightness created by the TFZ King. They are a slightly more aggressive earphone that lies closest to the TFZ King in tuning from the earphones around this price that I’ve tested, though their more even midrange grants them with an appreciably more balanced sound on a whole and they never came off as mid-forward or mid-recessed to my ear.



    Drivability –

    The H3 is a relatively easy earphone to drive with a higher 101dB sensitivity that makes them just a little less efficient than the TFZ King. Unfortunately, this also means they pick up the same amount of hiss from most sources though noise is hardly as noticeable as something like the Campfire Jupiter. Moreover, with a 48ohm impedance, the earphones aren’t as sensitive to output impedance as the majority of hybrid earphones nor are they excessively power hungry, making them a nice daily in-ear that works perfectly with portable sources. From my HTC 10, the H3 sounded very nice with no hiss and a very similar tonality to my sub-1ohm Oppo HA-2. My 10 and iPod Touch also provided more than enough volume, I typically stuck to 1-3/16 volume levels, leaving plenty of overhead for louder volume listeners. And despite that higher impedance, the H3’s didn’t find a huge benefit from amplification though they did scale nicely when plugged into my HA-2, Mojo or X7 with notably improved bass resolution in particular. The H3 is well designed to maximise their sound quality from portable sources with enough technical ability to take advantage of dedicated DAC/AMPs.



    Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –

    The H3’s soundstage is one of the weaker aspects of their sound though it is good enough to avoid holding the rest of the sound back. The H3 doesn’t have the most spacious presentation, the K3 HD, King and EN700 Bass all sound immediately wider than the H3 though the Kinera hardly suffers from congestion. They have a wider presentation, width sits on the periphery of that out of the head sensation but rarely extends much beyond. Depth is similarly intimate to the K3 HD, which is enough to convincingly portray live recordings but still lacks the immersion of higher priced in-ears like the 1More Quad Driver. Imaging is good, not great and instruments have accurate placement even if they can’t always be pinpointed; the King does quite a bit better in this regard. The H3 also has some issues with separation, again, they never sound congested, but mids aren’t quite as layered as the King and highs sound more integrated but intimate than the K3 HD.



    Bass –

    The first thing I noticed was the H3’s exceptional bass reproduction that seemed all too developed for an earphone costing just $99 USD. I do feel like that statement requires some context, the H3’s still don’t possess the slam and definition of the Flares Pros or New Primacy’s for instance but, when compared to the rather uninspiring competition, the H3 is easily one of the best. This begins with their fantastic sub-bass extension that matches the class-leading Basic, slightly edges out the TFZ King and provides a substantial leap over the EN700 Bass and Magaosi earphones. Tuning is also very well considered, bass has slight emphasis throughout and while bass is linear, sub and deep bass are their driving force. Quantity wise, they are closer to the King than the warmer K3 HD though low notes have great depth augmented by a nice sense of power and weight. They also lack the bloat of the Simgot’s and Magaosi’s in addition to the muddiness of the Basics by nature of their tuning. The H3 is also appreciably more textured and defined than the King, bass on the H3 is taught and easily the most balanced and linear of all the aforementioned earphones.

    When listening to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “In the Stone”, the H3 easily provided my favourite rendition among these earphones with a tight, snappy sub-bass rhythm accompanied by full yet textured mid-bass and a slightly warmer upper-bass response that avoided midrange spillage. By contrast, the slower K3 earphones and Simgots struggled to extract texture from the rapid bass line while the King’s slightly muddier response and mid-bass dip (relative to the H3), sapped them off some bass detail. The H3 still isn’t the fastest earphone I’ve heard, far from it, even the King has slightly better transience partly due to their leaner response and generally well-tuned driver. That being said, they very skillfully combine the fuller tuning offered by many earphones around this price with the technical strengths of TFZ’s budget masterpiece. Of course, buyers need to consider that the K3 still doesn’t compete with hybrid earphones like the $300 New Primacy or the $1000 AKG K3003 nor do they come close to the single dynamic driver ie800 and Flares Pro; those earphones are tighter, more detailed and more textured. But considering that those earphones also cost magnitudes more, the H3 is truly a mastery of both tuning and quality, they are a rarity at this price.



    Midrange –

    The H3’s continue their tirade of superiority into their midrange which is similarly very well considered for their asking price. Some added clarity imbues subtle immediacy to midrange elements without sounding thin, raspy or unnatural as some clarity orientated earphones around this price tend to. The H3 is also quite balanced through their midrange with just a slightly brighter tuning that is immediately clearer than the Simgot EN700 Bass, more balanced than the V-shaped K3 earphones and more even than the mid-forward King. Male vocals are very well done, full-bodied and clear if not quite as clean sounding as the TFZ King. Simply Red’s “Stars” sounded raw and vibrant, yet not artificially so while Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill” was flattered with full yet defined vocals. Upper mids are similarly flattered which is rare given that most budget earphones struggle a bit with female vocals. The H3 once again impresses with its well-refined tones, vocals never come off as fatiguing, strident or over-forward and guitars are sublime with excellent detail retrieval that matches and occasionally outdoes the K3 HD. And while the H3 is slightly more aggressive in its presentation, female vocals are smooth and well-bodied as are strings, trumpets and wind instruments.

    In terms of outright resolution, layering and clarity, no earphone around this price I’ve heard notably bests the TFZ King though the H3 comes remarkably close. In addition, the H3 takes a step back on clarity in favour of a little more midrange body, lacking the sligthly off voicing of the King. They also sounded more “correct” to my ear when switching from the Magaosi K3 HD and when switching from more expensive in-ears such as the $599 64Audio U3 and $800 Campfire Jupiter. Usually, direct comparison to these in-ears really reveals the flaws in a budget earphone’s tuning but the H3 had no outstanding tonal deviations even if quality and refinement weren’t competitive. The H3 was also surprisingly consistent and forgiving of different mastering styles; whether I was listening to the brighter tones of the pop charts or the mellower mastering of classical and jazz, the H3 provided a revolving, natural and perfectly bodied response. As for the downsides, the H3 doesn’t have the greatest midrange layering and separation and they do lack the transparency of higher priced or more neutral offerings like Hifiman’s RE400/600, but they do provide an exceptionally pleasing tonality with gobs of detail and nuance; something that is surprisingly hard to come by and that many manufacturers would like to charge a lot more for.



    Highs –

    While the H3 greatly impressed me with their detail retrieval and clarity, treble isn’t quite as flawless as the bass and midrange responses with some tonal oddities that compromise refinement and, at times, detail. The H3 is roughly in-between the K3 HD and King in tuning with a slightly more aggressive lower treble response and some extra middle treble granting them with great clarity to treble notes. Listening to David Bowie’s “Everyone Says Hi” and the H3 provided a clarity that was on par with the TFZ King yet one that was similarly a little thin if not quite as splashy. The H3 did sound more tonally pleasing to my ear than the King and due to their more even treble, especially with regards to lower/middle treble, they were also appreciably more detailed. In fact, the H3 has similar detail retrieval to the exemplary K3 HD making them one of the most detailed earphones around this price. In addition, the H3 manages great high-frequency resolution and very good extension that was on par with the K3 HD and King if not immediately superior; high-hats have pleasing texture and cymbals are granted plenty of air, strings sound expansive and the H3 produces some nice shimmer when called for. Moreover, they do so without sounding metallic or harsh, the H3 never came off as fatiguing to me even when listening to brighter tracks.

    But where detailing and clarity are all immensely impressive, the H3 does suffer from some treble issues. For instance, cymbals do tend to sound tizzy and very high-frequency details get thinned out and a little truncated despite their extension being quite good. While the H3 isn’t as peaky as the K3 Pro, the K3 HD is a slightly more even treble performer, with similarly impressive detail retrieval on top. The H3 isn’t inherently flawed with regards to high-frequency reproduction but I do have to be critical. And to my ears, the treble tuning on the H3 slots in nicely with the rest of the sound even if they are lacking some body, smoothness and that last element of refinement.



    Verdict –

    It can be hard reviewing an earphone like this, one that is so thoroughly hyped but so thoroughly dismantles the competition. Because while there is no doubt in my mind that the Kinera H3 is a fabulous earphone, it is still far from a perfect iem and even $200 earphones like the Pinnacle P1 will easily best them in terms of sheer sound quality. But that’s not to say that the H3 is a bad buy because, at just $99, they provide exceptional refinement within their tuning while retaining a truly surprising amount of nuance. The H3 has replaced the TFZ King as my $100 benchmark with that similar technical ability wrapped within a more pleasing, linear tonality and a more stable, compact shell.

    [​IMG]

    The H3 gets a resounding recommendation for any buyer looking for a u-shaped earphone with great detailing, a clear but natural midrange and a class leading bass response. Of course, bass lovers should still look into the Oriveti Basic and those who prefer a more dynamic tonality can definitely consider the K3 HD, but the H3 provided the nicest balance of elements to my ear. To top it off, they also have a super stable, comfortable fit and an excellent cable that is better than those included on earphones costing several hundred dollars. Their excellent noise isolation and removable cable also make them a practical, durable daily driver and their added stability over the TFZ King makes it the clear choice for any kind of active use.

    Verdict – 9.5/10, There is no shortage of readers asking for the best ~$100 earphone on the market and Kinera have done a great thing, they’ve made my job a lot easier, the H3 makes an easy recommendation not only due to their accessible yet highly enjoyable sound but also their featured design and excellent build. And while I do have some qualms with quality control, any issues I experienced didn’t affect listening.

    Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my review, please have a look at my blog for more just like it:
    https://everydaylisteningblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/kinera-h3-review-sensational/
  4. B9Scrambler
    Kinera H3: What a Gem
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Aug 9, 2017
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Attractive and Comfortable Design - Refined Sound
    Cons - Minor QC Issues - Recessed Mids - No Nozzle Lip
    Greetings Head-fi!

    Today we're checking out Kinera's newest earphone, the H3.

    The entry level earphone market has seen a massive influx of products that offer ridiculous bang for your buck. The 100 USD price point has gotten particularly competitive this year with products from Simgot, Magaosi, TFZ, Oriveti, and many more coming out to positive impressions and fanfare. Kinera's decision to dive into this price point with a triple hybrid, of which there are already quite a few, means they're going to have to bring something unique to the table to really stand out and make their name.

    Does the H3 have what it takes? Let's find out.

    DSC01563.JPG DSC01568.JPG DSC01569.JPG

    Disclaimer:

    A huge thanks to Steve with Kinera for seeing if I would be interested in checking out their new earphone, and for setting me up with a complimentary review sample of the H3. The thoughts within this review are my own and do not represent Kinera or any other entity. There is no financial incentive for writing this review.

    At the time of this review the Kinera H3 retailed for 99 USD and could be picked up via their store on AliExpress; https://kinera2017.aliexpress.com/store/3102002

    Be sure to check them out on Facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/kinera2017/

    *Edit: Score edited down to 3.5 to reflect extended use thoughts and performance vs. newer, similarly priced products. I still enjoy the H3 a lot, but it certainly has it's flaws.*

    I'm a 30 year old professional working for what is currently the largest luxury hotel chain on the planet. I have a background in Psychology which probably explains my somewhat dry writing style. My entry into the world of portable audio was due primarily to a lack of space for a full-sized stereo system during my university years, and truly began with the venerable JVC HA-FXT90. After reading pretty much the entirety of IjokerI's multi-earphone review thread, reviews from other established writers, and thus being greatly inspired, I took a chance and started writing my own.

    Fast forward a couple years and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to write about products for wonderful companies like HiFiMan, RHA, Accutone, ADVANCED, NarMoo, Mixcder, Brainwavz, Meze, and many more. I don't do it for money or free stuff, but because this is my hobby and I enjoy it. If my reviews can help guide someone to a product that makes them happy, I'll consider that a job well done and payment enough.

    Gear used for testing was a Shanling M1, HiFiMan MegaMini, and my TEAC HA-501 headphone amp. 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 I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even mid-range response, and reduced mid-bass. Lately I've been enjoying more mellow and relaxed products with a bass tilt. Two of my favorite in-ears, the Echobox Finder X1 with grey filters installed and the Fischer Audio Dubliz Enhanced are good examples of my preferred signatures.

    DSC01552.JPG DSC01553.JPG DSC01557.JPG
    Packaging and Accessories:

    The H3's textured, black cardboard box, adorned with gold letting looks quite classy and has a very involving, tactile feel in hand. The magnetically sealed flap opens and closes with a reassuring snap. Lifting it reveals a foam insert which houses cutouts containing a 1/4" to 3.5mm adapter, an airline adapter, and a fairly large, rectangular clam shell carrying case. Underneath the case is a business card thanking you for choosing Kinera and a fairly basic manual covering the earphone specs, safety reminders, maintenance tips, the correct way to insert the cable into the earpieces, and warranty information. Within the case you find the H3 itself and spare eartips. The full accessory kit included with the H3 is;

    - H3 ear pieces

    - 1 cable

    - Sony Hybrid clone silicone eartips (s/m/l)

    - 1/4" adapter

    - airplane adapter

    - clam shell carrying case

    - Velcro cable tie

    Overall it's a fairly basic accessory kit. The included Sony clone tips are of good quality, and without the real thing on hand to compare with I would never have been able to tell the difference. The case is spacious and plenty large enough to hold everything that's included. The airplane and 1/4" adapters are handy, pending you're going to take the H3 with you on flights and hook it up to a desktop system via a 1/4" output. If you're not planning to use those they're a somewhat wasted inclusion that would have been better left out in place of something more useful, such as a mobile cable or a more extensive tip selection.

    DSC01554.JPG DSC01556.JPG DSC01558.JPG
    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The H3 is a pretty sexy earphone, there's no denying it. My particular example is sitting here looking stunning with it's red/black color scheme, accented with Kinera in gold lettering. Damn, they look good. Adding to the visual appeal is the opaque inner body which allows you to catch a glimpse inside to view the inner workings and layout of the well-tuned single dynamic, twin balanced armature setup. I also appreciate that the fit and finish on my example is nearly flawless, with the only blemish I could locate being a small strip of uncolored acrylic where the black backing and red inner housing meet. It's not something you would notice unless you're deliberately hunting down flaws.

    Another bit of visual flair in the H3's favor is the braided 6N silver-plated copper cable terminated in 0.78mm, 2-pin connectors. The braid is tight and consistent below the y-split, but a little loose above, particularly on the right side. I love that Kinera went with preformed, flexible ear guides instead of memory wire. In my experience it's just as effective in keeping the cable in place, but is much more comfortable and less fiddly. The straight jack also gets a big thumbs up as it can easily be disassembled should you damage the cable and need to make some repairs, or decide to re-terminate with a 90 degree angled jack.

    The H3's beautiful design, clearly inspired by custom in-ear monitors, also happens to be exceptionally comfortable. All the curves in the body are smooth and laid out in a way that ensures they perfectly conform to my outer ear. Just insert and give the H3 a slight twist which locks them in place. Their design also ensures they are very stable during heavy activity. Keeping in mind that they are not sweat resistant, I could easily see someone using the H3 for working out or some other strenuous activity, because they're not going to be falling out.

    IMAG2416_1.jpg
    Given how tightly they conform to my outer ear, the H3 is one of the most isolating earphones I've come across. Toss on some Sony Isolation Hybrids (foam/silicone combination) and these drown out external noise almost as well as a couple active noise canceling earphones I've got on hand, those being the Mixcer ANC-G5 and OVC H15.

    To counter all this overwhelming positivity, I must point out a couple minor QC issues that cropped up. Note that I haven't seen mention of these two items in any other comments or reviews. In the ear piece itself, when removing the cable the metal contact/sleeve pulls out slightly. The straight jack's strain relief doesn't fit as tightly as it should, and as a result can be pulled out of place and up the cable. Neither of these issues have stopped me from using the H3, nor have they gotten worse after weeks of heavy use.

    Overall the H3 isolates well, is wonderfully built, and visually is an absolute stunner. Minus the aforementioned QC issues, my only concern about the H3 is the lack of a lip on the nozzle. When trying out alternate tips I found some had a tendency to slip off. Not an issue unique to the H3, but a mild annoyance nonetheless.

    DSC01564.JPG DSC01565.JPG DSC01566.JPG
    Specifications:

    Impedance: 48Ω

    Frequency Response: 20-20000 Hz

    Sensitivity: 101 dB

    Cable: 6N silver-plated copper with 2-pin, 0.78mm connectors

    Sound:

    Tips: Due to the nozzle design I didn't really have any success tip-rolling with the H3 since none of my wide bore tips would stay on. Alternate tips that worked were Dunu's Heir-style tips from the Titan 1, KZ's "Starline" tips, and HiFiMan's compact dual-flange tips. None of them affected the H3's sound in any significant way. While all testing was done with the stock mediums, Dunu's tips were the most comfortable for me.

    Source:I didn't find the H3 particularly hard to drive though it did seem to scale nicely when moving from something portable like a phone or Shanling M1, to my desktop amp the TEAC HA-501. Through the TEAC the H3 sounded quicker across the board and it's treble presentation was tighter and cleaner.


    The H3's two balanced armature drivers and one dynamic driver deliver what I hear as a warm, slightly skewed v-shaped signature with the lower mid-range being the least prominent aspect of it's sound. It makes for an exciting listen, and one of the better options in it's price range.

    Treble has shown itself to be well extended with an airy, detailed, presentation. Given the H3's stock sound runs a little bright, treble heavy tracks can be quite fatiguing, especially as the volume increases. One quality I appreciate is that while the H3 is very detailed in the treble regions, its not unforgiving. This could be seen as both a positive and a negative, but to me it’s a plus. I can use the H3 with poorly recorded or low quality files and I’m not overwhelmed and distracted by flaws in the track. They’re there, but not brought to the forefront.

    Mids on the H3 are pulled back a bit, particularly the lower mids with some male vocals coming across quieter than they should. This is most notable with much of the hip hop I listen to where male vocals fail to stand out and instead occupy the same space as the background instrumentals. Female vocals fare better and display the prominence I would expect within the context of a track. Although the H3's mids are slightly recessed, their weight and thickness somewhat makes up for the set back placement.

    In the low end is where the H3 truly excels to my ears. From the perspective of quantity, the H3 carries with it a healthy, robust bassline. It's got some serious mid-bass punch backed by an addictive sub-bass rumble that routinely had me seeking out tracks with a sub-bass focus. The balance between mid- and sub-bass is tuned so neither takes a more aggressive stance. The H3's bass is also highly textured and fairly rapid, making it an awesome pairing with the liquid drum and bass mixes I listen to on a routine basis.

    The H3's sound stage displays more width than depth, with channel transitions being very clear and stepped accurately. While not massive, the excellent imaging and separation qualities make this a very engaging earphone. During my initial impressions I had a feeling these would be quite effective for accurate sound positioning in gaming, an impression which ended up being fairly accurate. They perform in line with two earphones I routinely use for gaming, the Fisher Audio Dubliz Enhanced and Brainwavz B100, and almost serve as a go-between for the two very different signatures of those earphones.

    Overall the H3 is a very crisp and clean sounding earphone with a good amount of refinement to it's signature. I prefer a more forward mid-range but the detail and clarity this hybrid set up brings to the table makes this tune more than adequate. It would also be nice if it's treble was less prominent. It seems unnecessary and doesn't really add anything, falling into that trap of advertising it's a hybrid by emphasizing the detail and clarity a BA can bring to the table.

    Select Comparisons:

    DSC01632.JPG
    Audbos K3 (119 USD): The K3 is a solid all-round earphone with fantastic build quality, a great accessory kit, and a competent u-shaped tune. It's a great sounding earphone, but the H3 is better. I find the K3 to have a warmer, darker presentation than the H3. This makes them less immediately engaging but better for longer listening sessions. While still quite detailed, the H3 shows off better retrieval and improved texturing. This statement is especially applicable to the low end where the K3's lack of punch and texture is quite apparent. The K3 doesn't have the end-to-end extension of the H3 either, resulting in a more mid-bassy presentation. The H3's sound stage is also larger and more dynamic than the K3s.

    Where the K3 makes up some ground is in it's accessories. The included tips are some of my favorites due to the sticky compound and proven durability. It also comes with two cables terminated in MMCX which you can argue both for (widely supported) and against (durability). The primary cable is especially nice, and is one of my favorites due to the flexible yet dense sheath and well-shaped preformed ear guides. Audbos's semi-hard carry case is a notable step up in quality over the H3's, with it's faux-leather exterior and soft, spacious interior adorned with two large pouches for holding everything securely in place. While I greatly prefer the K3's accessory kit, the H3's excellent sonic performance takes my preference.

    DSC01634.JPG
    Fischer Audio Dubliz Enhanced (109 USD): The Dubliz Enhanced has been one of my benchmark products in this price range since reviewing them back in April. They do everything well and nothing poorly, all wrapped within a warm, non-fatiguing yet very detailed signature.

    As you would expect from the statement above, the Dubliz Enhanced and the H3 are very different beasts. The H3 is significantly brighter than the Dubliz. Comparing the two back-to-back the H3's extra shimmer and sparkle up top makes for a much more exciting, but also fatiguing, and less natural listen. Without hesitation I can say the Dubliz Enhanced has a significant edge in the mid-range. It's much more forward, authoritative and lush, giving up nothing in terms of detail and clarity to the H3. Bass is a much more even comparison with the two performing about on par. Quantity is quite similar with the Dubliz having a more prominent mid-bass hump. While the H3 has a more airy presentation, the Dubliz sounds larger and displays greater variance on the same tracks in how far it will distance sound.

    Build is also quite different with the Dubliz having a solid aluminum shell in a more traditional and versatile barrel shape. Fit and finish is clearly in Fischer Audio's camp. While I found the H3's custom-like shape more comfortable and much more secure, it's size and unique shape means it's not going to work for everyone. The Dubliz should offer more universal appeal in terms of fit.

    Given the great variation in signature and design, I find these two earphones complimentary. If I want an exciting listen I'll listen to the H3. If I want something more mellow but no less detailed, I'll choose the Dubiz Enhanced. Edge goes to the Dubliz for the more natural presentation and forward, lush mid-range.

    DSC01636.JPG
    TFZ Exclusive King (99 USD): The King is less bassy and has a much more prominent mid-range (especially lower mids) with a similarly enthusiastic treble presentation. I found the H3 to show off more sparkle in the upper ranges, giving cymbal hits a more engaging sound. Neither sounds quite right since the King is a bit dry in it's presentation, but I prefer the H3's presentation. The biggest knock against the H3 in this comparison is the recessed mid-range which really stands out when flipping between the two earphones. Detail is nearly on par but male vocals simply sound too far away and quiet. Guitars also have a rawness and texture to them that's missing on the H3. The H3 is significantly bassier but retains the speed and punch of the King, while improving on raw extension. The King has the larger sound stage, without question, though imaging and layering qualities are quite similar. Neither sounds even remotely congested.

    They are both beautiful looking products with great build quality. Since I haven't run into any QC issues with my King (fixed cable version btw) I'll have to give it the nod. Security in fit and comfort are clearly in the H3's wheelhouse though, especially given the weight the King carries. Accessories are about even. I like the variety and quality of the King's included tip set, but the H3's carrying case offers much more protection than the King's soft, faux-leather baggy.

    It's hard to say which one of the two I prefer. The H3 is better fitting and more comfortable and I appreciate it's bass presence and smoother, more refined sound. The King's mid-range really highlights the H3's recession and shortcomings in that area, however. I suppose the King would be better for more serious listening, while the H3 would make for a more livable daily beater.

    DSC01640.JPG
    TFZ Exclusive 5 (92.90 USD): I find the 5 a more fitting comparison to the H3 given it maintains nearly all of the positive qualities of the King while adding in a more robust low end. This results in a signature that's more in line with the H3's.

    Once again the 5 is less bassy than the H3, but not to the same extent as the King. It's bass feels a touch less nimble than the H3's and less balanced with it's focus shifted more to sub-bass regions. The 5 has lots of heft and weight behind it's bass though, a quality I find quite unique to that earphone. The H3's treble presentation is brighter, thinner, and more sparkly than the 5. The 5 shares the King's slightly dry sound and as a result the H3's treble is more engaging for me, though I also find it more fatiguing. The mid-range is once again the area where the H3 doesn't cut the mustard. While the 5's mids are not quite as forward as the King's, they're still much more prominent than the H3's. Maintain the lush texturing of the King and add in the unique weight and heft of the 5's presentation and the H3 falls short of the mark. Sound stage is much closer with me giving a slight edge to the 5.

    Despite being much smaller, the 5's ear pieces are all metal and as a result significantly heavier than the H3 and it's use of lightweight acrylic. The 5's design to my ears is more ergonomic and more comfortable than the King but it still falls short of the H3, never feeling quite as secure and unobtrusive. As much as I like the look of the 5, it's much more subtle than the H3, lacking it's attention grabbing qualities. The 5's accessories are pretty much the same as the Kings, so I'm split there.

    When it comes down to it I prefer the competing 5's sound but the H3's design and comfort.

    Final Thoughts:

    The H3 has proven itself an excellent entry into a very competitive segment. The custom-like design looks absolutely phenomenal to my eyes and it's well-thought out ergonomics make the H3 one of the most comfortable earphones I've come across to date. This backed by a refined, v-shaped signature that compares well with other offerings in the segment makes them a pretty easy recommendation. I only wish the mid-range was pulled forward into the mix where it wouldn't simply play a supporting role.

    If this is an indication of the quality of products Kinera can bring to the market, I'm excited to see where they will go next. For now, if you're considering a new earphone around 100 USD, Kinera's H3 should be vying for your attention.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)

    Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (Album)

    Elton John - Yellow Golden Brick Road (Album)

    King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)

    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)

    Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)

    Infected Mushroom - Converting Vegetarians (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

    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone)
  5. SOULSIK
    Kinera H3 - perfection at $100
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published Oct 5, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - great treble. great bass. engaging. energetic. great fit
    Cons - might be bright for some






    [​IMG]

    INTRODUCTION

    Lots of affordable options have come up in the past and more so in the present. Sometimes, I get request to review a budget product and when I review them, they do not live up the hype. This time, it is a little different. I would call these a gem in the midst of all chifi hypes that are sometimes not so justifiable and are often hyped up by individuals who have not had many experiences with hifi gears in the first place.

    DISCLAIMER

    This unit was sent to me by kinera for my honest review. I get no financial gain from this review, in fact I will be giving away my pair to share the love. hopefully I can organize something with kinera to do more giveaway for you wonderful people sharing the same hobby as me.

    ABOUT Kinera

    To be honest, they do not have a website (at least from what I can search on google). And I do not know much about them. They have a facebook page and telegram for fan chats. They make great affordable products, they are relatively new and are from china.



    PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

    Description

    • Model : KINERA H3 In-ears monitor
    • Color available :translucent black /red/ blue
    • Driver: 2BA+1D
    • Impedance: 48Ω
    • Frequency Response: 20-20000HZ
    • Sensitivity: 101DB
    • L&R Channel Balance Sensitivity: <2DB
    • Max Input Power: 10mW
    • Cable Length: 1.2meter
    • Wire Material: 6n single crystal copper silver-plated
    • Plug material: 3.5mm golden plated
    • Earphone interface: 2-pin (0.78mm )
    Package

    • Kinera H3
    • 6 pairs of silicone eartips (S/M/L)
    • 2 adapters
    • Carry box
    BUILD QUALITY



    Best build quality I have seen for $99.

    cable provided is a 6n silver plated copper terminating in a gold plated 3.5mm sturdy metal jack. Best stock cable I have seen at this price range

    The housing is high quality acrylic that fits and feels good on the ears. No cheap feeling here at all. They look beautiful and nobody will believe you if you tell them how much it cost you.

    wonderful fit design, much like custom in ear monitor but it is more generalized for the rest of the population. if these fit you like it did for me, you are in for some sweet isolation and sound quality.

    They comes with 6 pair of silicone tips that mimic the sony hybrid design, which means they are comfortable as they can get in terms of tips.

    They also comes with a practical semi hard carrying case.


    PRACTIALLY

    THE FIT: Wonderful fit. best fit for $99. subjectively, these fit me perfectly but may not be fore everyone.

    SOUND ISOLATION: absolute isolation is achieved with the perfect fit. of course there is no such a thing a absolute isolation, it just feels that way. You get the point.

    PAIRING: These are not hard to drive, they are driven well with a phone or a digital audio player, with latter being preferred due to better sound quality.

    SUGGESTED USE: You can use these anywhere as you please, just not anywhere near your mom when she’s talking to you as you will get smacked for not answering.

    SOUND QUALITY

    LOWS – the rumble, the punch, the awesomeness. Tad bit less clearer than the 1more triples, but that is okay, you can barely notice it. It is absolutely wonderful region. If you have a pair of beats or some ****ty bass producing product, these will blow you away, at the very least with the bass

    MIDS – a little bit too harsh at times, especially the vocals but you can get pass it. It is a great engaging experience. Again, not for everyone. In fact if you want that relaxing sound, these may not do it for you.

    HIGHS – these shine in the trebles. Again, very engaging but not for everyone

    SOUNDSTAGE/IMAGING/SEPARATION:

    • Sound stage is inmate. Imaging can improve but great for this price.
    FINAL THOUGHTS

    For what you pay for, you are getting a well rounded iem that can really pump you up and engage you
      Dobrescu George and 10fold like this.
  6. ExpatinJapan
    Kinera H3
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Sep 16, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Good overall sound, quality cable, a jewel in the $100 range
    Cons - Needs a nozzle groove for tips, some sibilance and loose bass at high volumes
    Kinera H3 Review
    - Expatinjapan


    [​IMG]

    Kinera H3 review
    -expatinjapan

    https://www.facebook.com/kinera2017/

    [​IMG]

    A surprising affordable IEM that burst onto the audio scene in recent times and won the hearts of many a new convert to its build, design and dynamic sound.

    Coming in a variety of colorful styles, visually beautiful and affordable.

    Unboxing

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The Kinera H3 comes in a simple and stylish black card box.

    [​IMG]
    An adapter for airplane travel, and 1/4 adaptor plug and a hard card shell case for keeping the earphones safe and clean when on the move.

    [​IMG]
    The case itself is quite spacious and one could be able to fit two or three earphones within.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The Kinera H3 comes with a two cable and a study 3.5mm plug.
    I got the simple black version but there are some very cool looking two tone versions available.

    [​IMG]
    The Kinera H3 has screens to protect its internals from wax and other grime.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The Kinera H3 comes with a selection of tips to get you started.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    Always nice to get a thank you. :)

    Specifications

    [​IMG]

    Model : KINERA H3 In-ears monitor
    Color available :translucent black /red/ blue
    Driver: 2BA+1D
    Impedance: 48Ω
    Frequency Response: 20-20000HZ
    Sensitivity: 101DB
    L&R Channel Balance Sensitivity: <2DB
    Max Input Power: 10mW
    Cable Length: 1.2meter
    Wire Material: 6n single crystal copper plating silver
    Plug material: 3.5mm golden plated
    Earphone interface: 2-pin (0.78mm )
    Package
    Kinera H3
    6 pairs of silicone eartips (S/M/L)
    2 adapters
    Carry box


    [​IMG]

    Sound

    [​IMG]
    Kinera H3 and Opus#3 dap.


    The Kinera H3 was tested and reviewed with a variety of daps using FLAC tracks at home, commuting and resting at cafes drinking coffee.

    The Kinera H3 is built for on the go, its a simple no fuss 1 dynamic driver and two BAs. Generally I would expect a V shaped sound for this particular combination of drivers and the H3 stayed true to traditional form and expectations in this regard.


    [​IMG]

    Do you want some bass? You got it! Do you want treble? You have it. Want some mids?...well heres a sprinkle for you, enough to keep things coherent but not invade that V shaped engine built for dynamism and energy.

    The bass is surprising generally controlled, although on some more heavy tracks it found the going a bit difficult and it could get a bit unruly and boomy, but this was the exception to the rule, and there is enough quality bass to satisfy even the most jaded budget fi shopper.

    I thought the sub bass was present enough and separate from the lower bass reaches to again give that sense of general control.
    Its definitely not a bass head bass.

    The mids are recessed as to be expected with this particular design, which is a favorite for many listeners who prefer their earphones with a little less mids. Adjusting the gain didn't effect any serious significant changes in this regard, but it did add that lil something, something that brought the H3 to a fuller performance.

    The highs are the show stealer, it definitely leans that way at times, giving a sense of clearness, detail and clarity. At various times it can venture in sibilance, but not excessively so its generally quite forgiving. But for my precious spoiled ears due to my small stable of high end IEMs I found that extended listening of several hours could be a little fatiguing for me, also I am not a adherent to the V signature cult.

    The Kinera H3 was fine from low to just above mid volume listening levels, push it too far in the volume stakes and it could loose some of its control on the lower and also at the high end.

    I found the width of the sound stage to be greater than the depth. Height is good.
    Instrument separation is quite acceptable.

    [​IMG]
    Kinera H3 and Shozy Alien+ dap

    I swapped a few cables to see If I could edged any sonic improvements out of the Kinera H3, and there were some but they were mainly incremental and were most noticed the higher up the Dap chain I traveled. Those dynamic drivers do enjoy a bit of extra power to drive them.

    Probably most users will be using a mobile phone or a sub $400 dap to listen to music with the Kinera H3 and won`t be connecting a $500 or so cable and a $1000 dap to it.

    I did enough plunking on the Double Helix Cables silver SPC, it seemed to open up the energy more and gave a bit more control to the bass.
    The Kinera H3 cable is a 6N silver coated copper cable.

    [​IMG]
    Kinera H3, Double Helix cable and Symbio Mandarines tips.

    Build

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The nozzles have a slight ring on them,
    but I would prefer something more substantial to hold the tips firmly in place,

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Stock photos via Kinera to show the different models available.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Kinera H3 and Opus#2 dap. Overkill.

    Overall
    The Kinera H3 clocks in at a cool and affordable US$99. The usual 'good performance for the price' etc etc terms have been bandied about as usual, but I can attest this is one of those (not so sleeper) hits. A sub $100 earphone I can recommend to friends quite safely.

    The Kinera H3 comes with a quality cable that is fairly void of micro phonics when on the move, it looks to be in two styles and has a clear version and another which has a brown material covering of the cable which accompanies the black version which I have. I really like the look of the red and blue shell versions and their accompanying cables.
    Great for photography.

    The shell of the H3 resembles the iBasso IT03 a little with its inner ear guide flange.
    And as such this earphone is very comfortable, I was able to wear it for extended periods with no apparent discomfort due to the fit.

    Isolation is good, great when I did some tip rolling and put on the Symbio Mandarines. It does need a design change in an addition of a groove/rim on the end of the nozzles to lock tips more in place, especially the silicone ones.
    The cable is stylish and comes in a variety of styles depending on which model of H3 is purchased. Its great to see more companies offering quality cables in two pin (or in other cases MMCX) with their IEMs.

    I did get some improvements , though not overly dramatic when I switched around cables. Usually the copper vs silver experience was most significant. The Kinera H3 being a silver plated copper cable.

    Its a difficult item to review because it does so many things well for a fraction of the price, and also is a hyped item amongst consumers and also fellow reviewers.

    Admittedly when I first listened i was quite stunned at the quality, later listening sobered me up more as its various limitations and faults were revealed, and of course the H3 could not hope to compete with some of my other higher end IEMs - which is to be expected. Later listening revealed the Kinera H3 to be a quality product that performs quite well, consistently and competently even in comparison to its more pricey cousins.

    The various minuscule shortcomings of the Kinera H3 doesn't detract from what is in fact a decent earphone that has made waves in the online audiophile community, and is a continuation of the recent trend of more and more lower price earphones displaying decent build, design and sound quality.

    Consumers are going to have more and more options to satisfy their wallets in the coming years.

    To close, the Kinera H3 does live up to the hype surrounding it, a great shell design, a more than decent cable and an overall sonic performance that ticks all the right boxes If judged within its intended consumer market, It has its minor short comings, but those are to be expected for US$99, but as I have written these are minor in what is an excellent all round product.

    [​IMG]
    Pretty as a picture.


    Thank you to Kinera for sending the Head pie the Kinera H3 for review and impressions.
      acap13 and jeffhawke like this.
    1. acap13
      Do you think its possible to rectify the imbalance sound of this pair such as the overly treble emphasis ? Does you DHC cable manage to tone down the treble quantity or is it enough by just roll the tips?
      acap13, Jun 28, 2018
    2. ExpatinJapan
      Maybe go for the newer iDun then.

      I havent played with the K3 for a while now.

      You could try a warmer source or some foam
      tips I guess.
      ExpatinJapan, Jun 29, 2018
  7. ustinj
    Kinera H3: Impressive clarity and impact
    Written by ustinj
    Published Sep 2, 2017
    3.5/5,
    Pros - great bass impact and rumble, top-tier clarity to similarly-priced IEMs, luxurious cable, fit and comfort, value
    Cons - thin and slightly nasal midrange, recessed lower midrange, occasional sibilance, inconsistent shell quality
    Kinera H3: Impressive Clarity and Impact

    Overall: 3.9/5

    First and foremost, I'd like to thank Penon Audio for reaching out to me and sending me a review unit of the Kinera H3. I am not associated with Penon Audio in any other way, and these thoughts are my own only -- keep in mind that my review will mostly be subjective, as we all hear things differently. I will do my best to give the H3 a fair and honest review, as well as give some comparisons to IEMs I have/have owned.

    The Kinera H3 is available for $99 from the awesome people down at Penon Audio, at this link here.

    [​IMG]


    Please remember at all times that these are my subjective judgements of the IEM's sound, and I may hear things differently or prefer things that you may not. I will post measurements for the H3 as well.

    The recent but growing onset of multi-driver audiophile IEMs at a lower price bracket has certainly been the source of many discussions fueled by hype and excitement, though a number of them prove to be somewhat exaggerated and an overall letdown. On the bright side, there have been quite a few gems that manage to prove themselves to the masses.

    I used to hop on hype trains often, avoiding spending extra in hopes that I'd fine a "giant killer". Unfortunately, many times I have ended up disappointed and sometimes even empty-handed. I hope my review on the H3 can help some of you decide whether the $99 price tag will land you a reliable and worthwhile set of IEMs.

    Packaging

    The packaging is a textured carton, opening with a magnetic flap. It looks fairly simple and elegant, the typography and design of the cover print looks well done and professional.

    upload_2017-9-1_21-55-13.png

    Accessories

    The box includes two adapters -- both rather ordinary, being a flight/airplane adapter and a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter (1/8" to 1/4").

    More importantly, you'll find a fairly decent to large sized carrying case in black with the Kinera logo. The zipper is smooth and easy to use; the interior is roomy and has a somewhat soft felt lining. One side of the case has a small mesh pocket, fair for carrying spare tips or cable (or whatever else you may have).

    The case includes the earphones themselves, as well as 3 tips in S/M/L sizing. They look similar to the Sony hybrid tips and stay on the nozzle of the IEM fairly well. They are easy to get a seal with and feel above average in quality.

    upload_2017-9-1_21-53-45.png

    Build & Design

    The Kinera H3 has a "custom-made universal" shell, which is shaped to fit many ears snugly and securely, all while maintaining a high level of comfort. I've had custom in-ears before, as well as one or two IEMs with similar design -- for example, the KZ ZS3 and iBasso IT03 both have cymba protrusions and a deep fitting nozzle.

    Shell Quality

    The H3's shell quality looks fairly good, though not quite as crystalline / transparent when compared to an acrylic-poured IEM. My left monitor is quite transparent, while my right monitor is slightly fogged and smudged internally, blocking vision of the drivers quite a bit. Penon Audio sent me the H3 in blue variation -- the color is nice and uniform, while being nice to look at.

    The faceplate is an opaque black embedded horizontally with a gold, reflective Kinera logo. I noticed a large white strip between the black faceplate and the blue shell, as well as small white bits on the other end of the faceplate. The other monitor's faceplate doesn't have any detectable issues.

    [​IMG]

    The nozzle is simple and does not have a notch to securely keep the tips in place, which may be an issue depending on the tips you plan to use. I can say that the included stock tips feel pretty secure and it should be unlikely that they will be sliding off accidentally. Regardless of the fogging and white uncolored bits of the faceplate, the shell feels sturdy and should not fail from ordinary use. There are no rough sections or unexpected bumps, it seems smooth all around.



    Fit and Comfort

    This smoothness of the shell lends to its impressive levels of comfort, even in slightly smaller ears such as mine. Prior, I've found "custom-like" universals to be a bit large for me such as the iBasso IT03 and Aurisonics line -- those were too large and uncomfortable for me to wear after a short period of time. I don't have any of those issues with the Kinera H3.

    It feels secure and there's not much chance of it falling out. I can wear it for hours without discomfort.

    [​IMG]

    Cable

    The cable is hands-down the nicest cable I've used in an entry-level audiophile IEM. It's very soft and supple -- this lends to it's great comfort as well as surprisingly quiet microphonics. The ear guides are not memory wire, but simply formed to wrap around the back of the ear. Very lightweight and comfortable. It's a simple 4-core twist braid, sleeved in dark bronze. The two-pin connectors are clear and look of good quality. Y-splitter is of top quality, being some sort of clear-frosted rubberized TPU. It feels durable and won't get in the way. The 3.5mm jack is wrapped in an aluminum sleeve that is surprisingly light, with proper strain relief -- however, I find right-angle jacks to be more durable and practical than the straight-jack present on the cable.

    upload_2017-9-1_21-50-48.png

    Sound

    The sound of the Kinera H3 is typically v-shaped with a medium depth -- the bass is emphasized, lower midrange dips and rises into the upper midrange, and various treble emphasis gives path to good clarity.

    Here is a measurement of the Kinera H3. This is measured using a silicone coupler + Dayton IMM06, there is a slight 2.2k notch that shouldn't be there but I'm not bothered enough to fix it. It measures similarly to Crinacle's measurements.

    [​IMG]

    Bass

    The bass presentation of the H3 is very enjoyable, regardless of its clear emphasis. It's slightly above average in terms of tightness and speed, while still being able to sound natural. The impact and rumble of the notes is impressive, it can definitely pack a whallop without being too overwhelming or interfering with the midrange too much. Subbass extends deeply as far as music generally goes, so I don't feel like I'm missing anything in the lower registers. Quantity wise, the H3's bass sits well above neutral, but not quite pushing into basshead territory. It can sometimes sound boomy and overly rumbly, maybe contributing to fatigue in long term listening.

    Midrange

    The midrange of the Kinera H3 is its weakest point in my opinion -- this would be the factor that would determine whether or not this IEM works well for the listener. The lower-to-middle midrange is recessed in comparison to its surroundings. The upper midrange is quite forward (typical of many tunings to give clarity to vocals). However, vocal timbre is just noticeably strange, in my opinion -- vocals sound thin and restrained, as if they were being choked out. This vocal recession is much more noticeable here on the H3 than other IEMs I've tried in similar price range, such as the TFZ King and Series 4. Additionally, any sibilance or similar upper midrange baddies present themselves sometimes but not consistently, depending on the singer's vocal range. It overall is a bit fatiguing, though demonstrating impressive if not exaggerated upper midrange detail.

    Treble

    The treble is possibly the star of the show here. The treble is very detailed and comes with striking clarity. In fact, this was the first thing I noted about the H3's sound -- it has a good sense of air and decent sparkle for its price bracket. I find that it pairs well to create a decent sense of space horizontally, giving good depth in variation of distance from your head.

    Conclusion

    The Kinera H3 is rather impressive in its own ways for the price, being exceptional clarity, fun bass presentation, and sporting a very premium cable. However, it is not without its flaws in its midrange, which one may see as drastic or might not even care enough to note -- it's undoubtedly some variation of a v-shaped IEM, and whether this aligns to your tastes or not is up to you. Build quality should last a long time paired with its removable cable, and accessories are ample but just the necessities.

    10% - Packaging & Accessories: 3.75 / 5 - nicely packaged, but just the necessities in accessories

    20% - Build Quality & Design: 4.5 / 5 - shell quality is decent to good with minor inconsistencies, but cable is so darn good. comfort is also great

    50% - Sound Impressions: 3.3 / 5 - v-shaped sound with clear treble and strong bass, marred with tonally-funky midrange

    20% Value: 4.1 / 5 - impressive overall package for the price, but IMO not an "all-aboard the hype train" IEM

    Overall: 3.9 / 5







    images

    1. upload_2017-9-1_21-49-1.png
    2. upload_2017-9-1_21-57-25.png
      Brooko and B9Scrambler like this.
  8. HiFiChris
    Kinera H3: A very interesting & decent Newcomer
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Aug 3, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - good imaging, SQ matches the price, w-shape -> no bog-standard tonality, superb build quality on CIEM-/CUIEM-level (if consistent QC), removable cables (2-pin)
    Cons - (potential QC inconsistencies,) soft and slow bass response, lipless nozzle, 6 kHz treble emphasis might not please everybody
    Preamble:

    Originally posted on my German audio review site, the "Kopfhörer-Lounge", here comes my review of the Kinera H3, an affordable universal fit triple-driver hybrid in-ear that, despite its moderate price, is manufactured the same way CIEMs and customisable UIEMs are created. It features removable cables, too.


    Introduction:

    If you haven’t heard of the company “Kinera” before, then you are not alone, since before fellow Head-Fi member @Hisoundfi introduced me to them, I hadn’t heard of them either.

    Fast forward a few days, Steve from Kinera got in touch with me and asked me whether I would like to review their latest in-ear called H3, a triple-driver hybrid model with a quite typical layout of one dynamic driver for the lows and two Balanced Armatures for the rest of the frequency spectrum. He offered to send me a sample at no cost for me, and all I should do in exchange was to give him my honest opinion on the in-ear that would be used for feedback and further improvements, and to write a just as honest and unbiased English review of it (I also had to agree that they can use my posts, impressions, comments and reviews for their social media platforms).

    [​IMG]

    I agreed, and so here we are now, with a review of a very beautiful and professional looking hybrid in-ear with ergonomic acrylic shells and removable cables for just around $99.


    Some additional information about Kinera: they are a Chinese audio manufacturer and established in 2007. Before making their own earphones, they manufactured micro speakers for military detection. Besides the H3, they currently have the lower-end BD005 hybrid in-ear in their product portfolio that retails for less than $30.

    According to their information, they have different distributors around the world and are currently expanding their product line to the >$100 market, and are working on future products at a higher price point and technical level that might feature the ability to tune the sound by changing the crossover by using switches.

    They do not have a fully finished international website yet, but are quite active on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kinera2017/


    Technical Specifications:

    Price: around $99
    Colours available: translucent black/red/blue
    Technology: Hybrid
    Drivers: 2x Balanced Armature + 1x dynamic driver per side
    Impedance: 48 Ω
    Frequency Response: 20 – 20000 Hz
    Sensitivity: 101 dB
    L&R Channel Matching: < 2 dB
    Max Input Power: 10 mW
    Cable Length: 1.2 m
    Wire Material: 6n single crystal copper plating silver
    Plug Material: 3.5 mm gold-plated
    Earphone Connectors: 2-pin (0.78 mm)


    About hybrid In-Ears:

    As you can already see from the technical specifications and introduction, the Kinera H3 is a little different from most In-Ears produced in the past decade and doesn’t only rely on dynamic or Balanced Armature transducers for sound reproduction, but combines both in one shell.

    Most In-Ears use dynamic transducers for audio playback which have the advantage of covering the whole audible spectrum and achieving a strong bass emphasis without much effort. Valuable dynamic drivers are often said to have a more bodied and musical bass that has a more soft impact and decay and lacks of the analytical character that BA transducers are known for. On the downside, in contrast to headphones with other driver principles, dynamic transducers often have a lower resolution.

    Higher-priced and especially professional IEMs mostly use Balanced Armature transducers, which usually have got a higher resolution than dynamic drivers, are faster, more precise and have got the better high-level stability, which is important for stage musicians that often require higher than average listening levels. On the downside, it is quite hard to cover the whole audible spectrum with just a single BA transducer and strongly emphasised bass is only possible with multiple or big drivers. Some people also find In-Ears with BA transducers to sound too analytical, clinical or cold (in several active years in a German audio community where I wrote multiple reviews, gave dozens of purchase advice and help, from time to time I heard people that got into BA earphones for the first time using these attributes for describing BA earphones, especially their lower frequencies).

    Hybrid IEMs unite the positive aspects of both driver principles and use one dynamic transducer for the lows reproduction and at least one BA driver for covering the midrange and highs, wherefore the often as “musical” described bass character remains and the BA transducers add resolution, speed and precision to the mids and highs (, at least in theory) – and that’s what the Kinera H3 does with its technology. It is addressed to those people who perceive the clinically-fast character of BA transducers as unnatural and prefer body and weight, but want to keep the mids’ and highs’ resolution, nimbleness and precision.


    Delivery Content:

    Despite still falling rather into the lower budget category, the H3 comes with a delivery content that clearly surpasses what one would expect for around $100:

    [​IMG]

    The cardboard box has got a magnetic flap.

    [​IMG]

    Inside, one can find an airplane adapter, 6.3 to 3.5 mm adapter, a spacious carrying case and last but not least a warranty card as well as manual.

    [​IMG]

    Inside the Kinera-branded carrying case, one can find the in-ears, already with the cable attached and a Kinera-branded cable tie, as well as three pairs of Sony-like silicone tips.


    Looks, Feels, Build Quality:

    That the H3 retails for only around $100 is definitely not obvious in any way – its shells are actually extremely similar to those of universal demo models of custom-moulded in-ears or customisable universal fit in-ears, featuring a black, real faceplate with a golden Kinera logo that is perfectly attached to the acrylic body, without any visible seam or edge.

    The bodies are made of transparent red acrylic and look really nice (other colours such as blue and black are available as well). Inside, one can see a real crossover, the dynamic driver and two balanced Armatures as well as the sound tubes with an acoustic damper being visible in the tube coming from the two BA drivers.

    The dynamic driver is rear-vented, however the placement of the vent is rather cleverly done on the shells’ upper side wherefore it shouldn’t be blocked as much by the ear as if it were in a different spot (blocking the vent by the way results in a decrease in bass quantity, as it could also be expected for a back vent, along with a slight increase in lower midrange quantity).

    [​IMG]

    The Kinera H3 really is a perfectly built acrylic in-ear with a highly ergonomic, semi-custom-IEM-like shell design, and is on par with excellently built, much higher-priced customisable universal fit and custom-moulded in-ears. This is definitely applause-worthy, and given what it takes to manufacture these shells (they are hand-made and hand-finished after all), it even makes me somewhat speechless that this is possible for such a low price (oh boy, those poor underpaid Chinese workers…).

    [​IMG]

    The only thing that could be improved is the nozzle that does not have a lip/barb/collar wherefore the ear tips, while they seal just as good as they should, can come off rather easily.

    -

    Something also rather special although not as unique anymore as some years ago, is that the H3 also features detachable cables with 2-pin connectors.

    The cable has got four single silver conductors that are coated with a clear insulation and twisted. Strain relief is good and the y-splitter is low in profile and features a nice chin-slider.

    This cable is also very soft and flexible.

    It might carry some moderate plastic smell in the first few days but it mostly fades away after around one week.

    [​IMG]

    My UERMs’ cable is still a bit more premium in terms of appearance and haptics, however the cable Kinera uses comes very close.

    - - -

    Update:

    On the replacement H3 with blue shells I received (you will learn why somewhat further down this review), build quality was still good, however not as perfect (unlike the red H3 I initially got that was absolutely flawless and perfect in terms of build quality and finish): the logos weren’t 100% mirrored, the left side wasn’t buffed and polished well enough (the surface was ever so slightly hazy above the logo instead of being clear), and the transition from the faceplates to the bodies, while still good, was slightly visible and tactile in some areas.

    [​IMG]



    So my suggestion to Kinera is to definitely work on the quality control (which might however also mean that there will be a slight price increase). Even though the in-ears are handmade and hand-finished, it is not fair that some people might receive products that feature top-notch build quality only known from perfectly crafted CIEMs, whereas others might get a set of in-ears that is still well-built but not perfect.


    Comfort, Isolation:

    Due to the ergonomic shell design that is CIEM-oriented, the fit is nothing but excellent, at least for me. People with really small ears might experience some fit issues because the shells are more on the medium size on the scale, however this should not be any problem for everyone with medium and especially large ears.

    The ear guides have got a memory shape but do not feature any steel wire inside. While they might look like they are quite tight when not in the ears due to their quite small appearing radius, they are unnoticeable when the H3 is inserted into one’s ears and they automatically adjust their shape to the ears’.

    Noise isolation is better than average for in-ears with vented shells. Noise from the outside is blocked out sufficiently well and almost reaches the level of in-ears with closed shells.


    Sound:

    My main sources for listening were the Cowon Plenue 2, iBasso DX200 (AMP2 module) and Stoner Acoustics UD125.

    The largest included silicone tips were used for listening.

    - - -

    Frequency response measurements can be found here.

    Keep in mind though that I am not using a professional measurement coupler but a Vibro Labs Veritas coupler that was pseudo-calibrated to more or less match an IEC711 coupler’s response with applied diffuse-field compensation that is definitely not perfect at the current state and shows too little level around 3 and 6 kHz. But if you mentally visualise somewhat more level in those areas, the result will be fairly close.


    Tonality:

    The first H3 I received unfortunately suffered from channel imbalance in the lows due to a faulty dynamic driver (one side was warmer sounding than the other despite almost identical sub-bass levels and perfect channel matching in the mids and highs). The replacement (with blue shells) that arrived a few days later fortunately did not suffer from any imbalance issues at all.

    -

    The Kinera H3 sports a w-shaped frequency response – its sub-bass and midbass, midrange and middle as well as upper treble are emphasised.

    Compared to an in-ear that stays diffuse-field flat in the bass, such as the Etymotic ER-4S/SR, and compared to 1 kHz, its bass is emphasised by around 8-9 dB.

    Doing sine sweeps, I can hear the lows starting to climb around 300 Hz, with the climax being reached at 60 Hz although there is not much less presence between 80 and 120 Hz. The sub-bass does not roll off but keeps the presence.

    Since the emphasis mainly concentrates on the sub-bass and midbass (that is a bit warmed up), it does not bleed into the midrange and the H3 doesn’t have a dominant upper bass although it is punchy and undeniably forward.

    The midrange is emphasised, quite forward and therefore doesn’t sound recessed at all but has got more of an “in your face” character, not unlike the hybrid DUNU Alpha 1 earbuds or Shure SE425 but with a stronger emphasis compared to the latter, however the Shure is tuned very differently (quite neutral).

    Vocal balance and midrange timbre, unlike some other hybrid in-ears in the sub-$100-range, is pretty good and realistic, with an overall fairly uncoloured midrange with just a hint of brightness and air that just very slightly lacks some lower vocal warmth as counterweight.

    At 6 kHz, in the middle treble, I can hear an emphasis, along with another, however more broad-banded and weaker one in the upper highs around 8 kHz. The level is quite neutral above that and the extension in the super highs above 10 kHz is good until around 14 kHz.

    This guarantees for enough countervailing brightness to keep the balance upright due to the bass and midrange emphasis, however since the first emphasis is set rather low with around 6 kHz, cymbals gain some raw and metallic touch, that, while not too unnatural or distracting, can get a bit too energetic with more complex and faster-paced tracks with a lot of treble action while everything is fine with slower recordings and genres as well as those tracks that are not super energetic when it comes to cymbal play. Except for the 6 kHz elevation that can definitely be a bit too metallic and strong with songs that feature an energetic and fast cymbal play, the highs appear realistic and natural.

    Having the emphasis happen between 8 and 10 kHz instead of 6 and 8 kHz would have made the cymbals lose their metallic touch with more energetic recordings, but then again the H3 is a sub-$100 hybrid in-ear and there are other examples that are less even and less realistic in the highs.

    Resolution:

    Overall, the resolution is neither outstandingly good nor in any way really underwhelming and bad – it is average and about what you would expect to get for the price.

    Speech intelligibility is really good, with the upper mids being less well defined and separated with busier recordings compared to the upper treble that is very convincing and definitely better than what the price might suggest when it comes to separation, definition and detail retrieval (I assume that the crossover frequency is around or above 3 kHz).

    [​IMG]

    The dynamic driver’s bass has got a quite nice texture that, while it doesn’t reach the level of the much more expensive HiFiMan RE2000 at all and doesn’t even come any close, is still nice and appears rather nicely layered.

    However, the Kinera’s bass is generally more on the slower, softer, somewhat muddier and less detailed side, especially when comparing it to higher-end hybrid in-ears. While this might even be desired by some people (I’m referring to the softness and the “body” that it might add to the sound perception) and is not a very big deal for a hybrid in-ear in this price range, the bass could definitely be better defined and tighter with medium-paced and especially fast recordings.

    Soundstage:

    The Kinera H3 has got a rather wide soundstage with a really decent amount of depth (with about 70% of its width), creating a nice illusion of space and three-dimensionality.

    Imaging is fairly convincing as well and only suffers from slightly blurred edges due to the soft bass response. Directions are easy to spot nonetheless.

    Playing more complex and faster recordings with many musicians and tonal elements playing at the same time, the soundstage does not collapse but remains fairly intact with just somewhat more blurriness between the instruments due to the bass response.

    ---------

    In Comparison with other In-Ears:

    iBasso IT03 (>>$):

    The Kinera’s shells appear more premium because they are hand-made like it is done for CIEMs, and the cable is more flexible as well (both in-ears have got removable cables), however the iBasso might have the benefit of better build quality consistency and quality control.

    Both in-ears are ergonomically shaped and very comfortable.

    Both have got about the same amount of sub-bass and an overall quite comparable bass emphasis that stays nicely out of the midrange, while the H3 has got the slightly warmer midbass.

    The H3 has got the more forward vocal range while the iBasso’s is slightly brighter.

    The Kinera is somewhat brighter in the upper treble.

    The iBasso’s bass that is much tighter, better controlled and detailed – it is one of the tightest and fastest hybrid in-ears that exists anyway, despite the emphasis in the sub-bass. This is no competition at all.

    There is no large difference in perceived midrange details but the iBasso appears more resolving here as well, while it has also got the somewhat better separated and more detailed upper treble in comparison.

    When it comes to soundstage, the Kinera’s is somewhat wider and especially deeper, however the iBasso’s features the sharper and more precise separation and no haze between and around instruments (mainly due to the much tighter and faster bass).

    Fidue A73 (>$):

    The Kinera has got removable cables, the Fidue hasn’t. Both in-ears are supposed to be worn with the cables around the ears. The Fidue has got the smaller shells but both in-ears are very comfortable.

    The Kinera’s shells appear more premium because they are hand-made the same way as it is done for CIEMs and customisable UIEMs, however the A73 might have the advantage of a better build quality consistency.

    The Fidue’s bass is less emphasised but thicker in the fundamental range/lower midrange, giving deep voices and instruments in this range more body.

    The Kinera has got the somewhat more forward midrange.

    The Fidue is brighter in the upper treble around 8 kHz that some people might perceive as somewhat sharp but features a dip in the middle treble (and therefore also lacks the Kinera’s 6 kHz elevation) that generates headroom for it.

    Fidue’s A73 stays better focussed with fast and complex recordings and also features the somewhat better midrange resolution. In the upper highs however, it is the H3 that resolves better and has got the slightly better separation.

    The Fidue is also rather soft in the bass – however, it is better controlled and especially more detailed, better textured and noticeably better defined compared to the Kinera’s, especially when playing more complex and faster recordings.

    The Kinera’s soundstage is larger and airier with more room around and between instruments, while separation is comparable.

    1More E1001 (<$):

    The Kinera has got removable cables whereas the 1More does not. The H3 has got the superior cable as well.

    In terms of housing design, both are utterly different with the handmade Kinera representing the classical CIEM demo shape while the E1001 has got more traditional shells.

    The 1More is more v-shaped sounding, with a noticeably stronger sub-bass emphasis and the audibly more recessed seeming vocal range.

    The Kinera features the higher resolution in the midrange, especially lower midrange, along with better speech intelligibility while treble separation and detail retrieval are quite comparable.

    When it comes to the bass, both in-ears aren’t fully convincing and lack tightness, control, speed and definition while the 1More is ultimately slightly tighter and faster in the lows but appears more one-noted and doesn’t fully reach the Kinera’s separation, definition, layering, texture and details in the lower frequencies.

    In terms of soundstage, both feature a fairly wide presentation while the H3 has even got a bit more spatial width. The Kinera however offers more spatial depth and therefore sounds more three-dimensional, along with the cleaner separation and somewhat more precise imaging.


    Conclusion:

    What makes the Kinera H3 stand out from the crowd in the $100 price range is that it has got removable cables, and especially that it is handmade and hand-finished in the same way as custom-moulded in-ears are. A lip on the nozzle would not hurt though.

    Craftsmanship and build quality are outstanding for the price and can be on the same level as well-crafted, much more expensive custom-moulded and customised universal fit in-ears (however this is potentially not true for all delivered units as the finish on the blue replacement set I received shows – Kinera should definitely improve in the quality control department to make sure that every in-ear that was built is identically superbly finished).

    [​IMG]

    Tonally, it has got a w-shaped sound signature that is rather well-made but could use a bit less 6 kHz elevation, however this is not a too big deal for the price.

    Detail retrieval is just as you would expect it to be for the price category. The H3 has got a nicely resolving midrange and well-separated upper treble along with a pretty open sounding soundstage, however its bass should and could benefit from more speed, tightness, control and definition.


    Overall, the presentation is fairly nice for the price with a generally matching sonic performance and a unique level of build quality and features one would not expect to get for around $100.
      voxie and jeffhawke like this.
  9. Drewminus
    Impressive Value
    Written by Drewminus
    Published Dec 17, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great Bass, excellent fit and comfort, great value.
    Cons - Sibilant and a bit too bright at times
    Kinera H3 Review

    IMG_3771.JPG
    Introduction: I first encountered the H3 on this site and was curious what all the hype was about, I purchased it a few months back and thought I would share my experience of these excellent value IEM’s.

    Specs (sponged off Penon):

    · Driver: 2BA+1D

    · Impedance: 48Ω

    · Frequency Response: 20-20000HZ

    · Sensitivity: 101DB

    · L&R Channel Balance Sensitivity: <2DB

    · Max Input Power: 10mW

    · Cable Length: 1.2meter

    · Wire Material: 6n single crystal copper silver-plated

    · Plug material: 3.5mm golden plated

    · Earphone interface: 2-pin (0.78mm )


    About me: I have always enjoyed listening to music and for many years played in a wind orchestra. I have only recently, 6-9 months or so, entered into the “audiophile” world, though I’m already well and truly converted.

    My music tastes are reasonably varied (in my opinion anyway) but in general I listen predominantly to some metal (mostly symphonic), rock, and classical. Although there’s also a bit of electronic and pop I regularly listen to. The list of music used predominantly for this review is below.
    Rolling In The Deep Adele
    I AM Arai Ken
    BLISS Arai Ken
    CREAM SODA Arai Ken
    NEXT TO YOU Arai Ken
    KILL THE PUPPETS Arai Ken
    THE TRUTH Arai Ken
    The View from the Afternoon Arctic Monkeys
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps The Beatles
    Eleanor Rigby The Beatles
    A Day in the Life The Beatles
    Adieu Cœur de pirate
    Pilgrims On a Long Journey Cœur de pirate
    Off to Sleep Cœur de pirate
    A Favor House Atlantic Coheed and Cambria
    Welcome Home Coheed and Cambria
    No World For Tomorrow Coheed and Cambria
    Key Entity Extraction I: Domino The Destitute Coheed and Cambria
    The Running Free Coheed and Cambria
    In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 Coheed and Cambria
    Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Daft Punk
    Face to Face Daft Punk
    Space Oddity David Bowie
    Life On Mars? David Bowie
    The Sound Of Silence Disturbed
    Sex Changes Dresden Dolls
    Coin-Operated Boy Dresden Dolls
    Blank Infinity Epica
    Mother of Light (A New Age Dawns, Part 2) Epica
    Unleashed Epica
    Burn to a Cinder Epica
    Chasing the Dragon Epica
    Sancta terra Epica
    Tear Down Your Walls Epica
    Ascension: Dream State Armageddon Epica
    Sensorium Epica
    Cry for the Moon "The Embrace That Smothers, Part IV" Epica
    The Essence of Silence Epica
    Unchain Utopia Epica
    Canvas of Life Epica
    Avalanche Epica
    Storm the Sorrow Epica
    Internal Warfare Epica
    Immortal Melancholy Epica
    COMPLEX Arai Ken
    BLACK NAIL Arai Ken
    Johnny Delusional F·F·S
    Save Me From Myself F·F·S
    Only If for a Night Florence + the Machine
    Stand By Me Florence + The Machine
    Wish That You Were Here Florence + The Machine
    Sweet Nothing Florence + the Machine
    Make Up Your Mind Florence + the Machine
    Queen of Peace Florence + the Machine
    Shake It Out Florence + the Machine
    Take Me Out Franz Ferdinand
    Love Illumination Franz Ferdinand
    Darts of Pleasure Franz Ferdinand
    Back to Black The Great Gatsby
    Young and Beautiful The Great Gatsby
    Cold Heart of the Klondike Tuomas Holopainen
    A Lifetime of Adventure Tuomas Holopainen
    Dance of Death Iron Maiden
    Somebody Told Me The Killers
    Andy, You’re a Star The Killers
    When You Were Young The Killers
    Summertime Sadness Lana Del Rey
    Born To Die Lana Del Rey
    Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin
    Apocalypse Please Muse
    Stockholm Syndrome Muse
    Time Is Running Out Muse
    Take a Bow Muse
    Map of the Problematique Muse
    Knights of Cydonia Muse
    Assassin Muse
    Uprising Muse
    Plug In Baby Muse
    BRYNHILDR IN THE DARKNESS -Ver. EJECTED- Nao Tokisawa
    Beauty and the Beast Nightwish
    The Phantom of the Opera Nightwish
    Beauty of the Beast Nightwish
    Bye Bye Beautiful Nightwish
    Shudder Before the Beautiful Nightwish
    My Walden Nightwish
    Over the Hills and Far Away Nightwish
    I Want My Tears Back Nightwish
    Storytime Nightwish
    Stargazers Nightwish
    Passion and the Opera Nightwish
    Wish I Had an Angel Nightwish
    Nemo Nightwish
    Planet Hell Nightwish
    Ghost Love Score Nightwish
    While Your Lips Are Still Red Nightwish
    The Kinslayer Nightwish
    Wishmaster Nightwish
    Don't Stop Believin' Northern Kings
    Take On Me Northern Kings
    Hello Northern Kings
    My Way Northern Kings
    No One Knows Queens of the Stone Age
    Go With The Flow Queens of the Stone Age
    A Beautiful Song Keiichi Okabe, Keigo Hoashi, Kuniyuki Takahashi
    Weight of the World Keiichi Okabe, Keigo Hoashi, Kuniyuki Takahashi
    Bipolar Nightmare Keiichi Okabe, Keigo Hoashi, Kuniyuki Takahashi
    Chop Suey! System of a Down
    Toxicity System of a Down
    Aerials / Arto System of a Down
    That's Not My Name The Ting Tings
    Let's Dance to Joy Division The Wombats
    Heads Will Roll Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    Semi no Waltz 9mm Parabellum Bullet
    ハートに火をつけて (ALBUM Ver.) 9mm Parabellum Bullet
    Finder 9mm Parabellum Bullet
    Hangyaku no March 9mm Parabellum Bullet

    Onto the Kinera H3

    Disclaimer: I purchased these myself and present this review as unbiased.

    Packaging/Build Quality: The packaging looks nice and gets the job done, nothing overly flashy but the magnetic clasped box is functional and the foam insert keeps the product and accessories safe during shipping.
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    The build quality overall seems good, though I do worry about the longevity of some of the parts used. That said Kinera seems more than willing to fix any issues that do arise.
    IMG_3766.JPG IMG_3770.JPG
    Accessories & Cable: The provided cable is quite decent, it’s nice and sturdy as well as relatively tangle free. I have not experienced any microphonics from the cable moving and rubbing against stuff during use. I’m a big fan of the over ear guides used, finding them much better than the memory wire often used. In general I prefer right-angled headphone jacks on IEMs and I worry about the bulk of this jack hanging off a DAP in a pocket or bag, but to date I have had no issues with anything becoming loose. I have found that some discoloration has occurred on the cable, it may clean off, it hasn’t bothered me enough to try.
    IMG_3765.jpg
    On accessories you get a 6.35mm adaptor, an airline adaptor, a carry case and two sets (S,M,L) of silicone tips, one set similar to Sony hybrids and another normal set. The included case is a semi-hard zipped shell, it’s a little on the large size in my opinion, but it does have an elasticized pocket to keep things in place.

    Fit and Comfort: One of the H3’s strongest elements is its excellent fit. I found using the included tips provided an excellent fit and a very good seal. Personally I didn’t experience any discomfort due to driver flex , but I understand that others have.

    Comfort wise I find it quite easy to wear these for hours on end, they sit very nicely in your ear and with the provided cable stay in place even while moving. They do protrude slightly from my ears and so they’re not something I could wear lying down.

    Sound: Most of my listening of the Kinera H3 has been with my Opus #1 though for the sake of comparison I did try them with my iPhone SE.

    I found the iPhone to give the H3’s a much more V-shaped sound with recessed mids while the Opus produced a flatter more W-shaped sound. The sound from the Opus was much more pleasing though I would say both sources adequately drove the H3s.

    The H3’s clarity is quite good and it has a decently deep and wide soundstage for an IEM. Separation is ok, I found the lower end let it down is this regard.

    Bass: The bass is very good, punchy with decent rumble and sub-bass, probably the H3’s strongest aspect.

    Mids: The upper mids are fairly decent, they’re forward and smooth, but I did notice that vocals in this region (especially females) can sound a little thin. The lower-mids aren’t as impressive and have a tendency to get lost amongst the upper-mids and bass.

    Treble: I have a love-hate relationship with the H3’s treble, sometimes is beautifully airy with decent sparkle, other times its overly bright and harsh. Which you get seems to be largely song dependent but the vocals is this range are unfortunately fairly consistently sibilant.

    Overall: I may have come over a bit harsh (hah) is that last part but I do feel these IEM’s are truly excellent value and I look forward to how Kinera will improve upon them in the future.

    I give them a solid 3.75/5
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  10. ostewart
    Energetic and fun
    Written by ostewart
    Published Sep 22, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent resolution, fun and engaging
    Cons - Can be a little bright at times
    Firstly I would like to thank Kinera and Penon audio for this sample, these received over 50hrs of burn-in before reviewing and no differences were noted.

    *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.

    Gear Used:
    Audio Opus #2 > H3 (Final tips)
    HP Laptop > JDS Labs EL-DAC > HeadnHifi O2 amp > H3 (Final tips)

    [​IMG]

    Tech specs:
    • Driver: 2BA+1D
    • Impedance: 48Ω
    • Frequency Response: 20-20000HZ
    • Sensitivity: 101DB
    • L&R Channel Balance Sensitivity: <2DB
    • Max Input Power: 10mW
    • Cable Length: 1.2meter
    • Wire Material: 6n single crystal copper silver-plated
    • Plug material: 3.5mm golden plated
    • Earphone interface: 2-pin (0.78mm )
    • MSRP: $99
    Packaging, Accessories and Build quality:
    The Kinera H3 come in a lovely textured high quality black card box, with the name Kinera and model H3 embossed in gold on the top. Open the magnetic flap are you will find the carry case and jack adaptors held in a foam inlay. The box is simple yet feels excellent for the price and I really like the simplicity of it.

    Accessory wise you get a clamshell carry case, a 3.5 to 6.3mm adaptor, airplane adaptor and 3 sizes of tips in 2 different types. You get S, M and L single flange tips, one type is similar to Sony hybrid tips, and the other has a stiffer blue core and also stiffer silicone. You also get a little velcro cable tidy and a thank you card from Kinera, along with a small manual. Overall everything you need is included.

    [​IMG]

    Build quality is very good, the finish of the shells looks great with no major imperfections, the cable is soft and supple (really good cable) and is detachable. The cable has good strain relief, there is no stiff memory wire on these, instead it is a soft section of pre moulded rubber. I really like the look and finish, the nozzle however does not have a lip, so make sure to use the stock tips or others that are quite tight on the nozzle (Final Audio tips work very well). Overall I have no issues with the build quality, pictures show them off better anyway.

    Comfort, Isolation and Driver flex:
    The H3 is designed similar to a custom IEM and due to its lightweight construction fit very comfortably in my small ears, and do not protrude very far out of your ear. They are quite slim and once you get a good fit you can wear them for hours without pain. They are some of the most comfortable IEM’s I have used and are really easy to get a good fit with due to the angle of the nozzle.

    Isolation is fairly average, this is due to a fairly shallow fit type and also the housing is vented due to the dynamic driver inside. They are still easily suitable for most everyday use, but if you are planning on using them in very loud environments there are other IEM’s that will isolate better.

    [​IMG]

    Driver flex is present up initial insertion, but the drivers quickly return to normal and the driver flex isn’t as bad as some other headphones out there.

    Sound:
    Split into the usual categories with a conclusion at the end:

    Lows: The H3 is a triple hybrid design and lets the dynamic driver handle the lows, the dynamic driver in these definitely has good punch and extends nicely into the sub-bass with minimal roll-off. The bass has good impact and is definitely a little on the fun side of neutral, bass guitar lines have good separation and articulation, kick drums have air to back them up and it’s a nice full bass presentation. The lows can handle EDM to heavy metal with ease; I’m quite impressed by their control. To be honest at this price range I think it’ll be quite hard to find headphones that handle metalcore as well as these.

    Mids: The mids are a little laid back compared to the rest of the frequency response, giving these a mild V shaped signature, but they are quite crisp and have good detail retrieval. Nothing really stands out in the midrange, both male and female vocals are handled quite well, there isn’t really any added warmth from the lows but the upper mids are perhaps a slight bit thin and on the drier side. They seem to avoid most sibilance and there is quite a bit of air around the notes in the midrange, separation is quite impressive. They could do with being a tiny bit more forward in the mix when things get busy.

    Highs: Now I am a fan of good treble and these certainly offer the quantity I enjoy, these do lean towards a slightly bright top end occasionally sounding a little overemphasised. A lot of this does depend on the recording though, feed them well recorded tracks and the highs will sound well defined, they are not laid back or dark sounding. The good thing is that if you find the highs to be a little on the hot side, tip rolling can help tame them (especially foam tips). There is plenty of sparkle and energy up top, but sometimes they are a little splashy. There is a little too much energy sometimes and cymbal crashes do sound a little odd due to excess energy at 7kHz.

    Instrument separation is good overall; there is good air around each instrument.
    Soundstage is not huge; it is slightly wider than usual with out of head experiences to be had. The imaging however is very good, especially with complex drum tracks.

    [​IMG]

    Comparison:
    Simgot EN700 Bass:

    The Simgot EN700 Bass is a good comparison as they are around the same price, the Simgot also feel very well built but the standard version has a fixed cable. So Kinera wins here with a longer lasting design. Both are very comfortable IEM’s, the H3 is lighter so is more comfortable for long periods of time.

    Sound wise the EN700 Bass has a more organic and natural tone to it, with a smoother sound signature. It is full bodied and very enjoyable; the H3 is far more exciting and has better top end resolution. I find the EN700 Bass to be quite polite and have excellent separation and resolution, the H3 can come across a little more fatiguing but there is more going on with better detail retrieval.

    Both are fantastic for the price, the H3 is quicker and more nimble, offering a more direct and engaging sound. The EN700 Bass is slightly laid back and more natural sounding, so which you prefer will be based on your preferences.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion: For $99 these are a very promising IEM from Kinera, with a fun borderline bright sound. They have a very slight V shaped sound signature, but the mids are not badly recessed. The lows are full but also very well controlled; the midrange is crisp and clear and the highs shimmer and sparkle with plenty of presence. These are an exciting and fun IEM and not for those that are very treble sensitive. I have found them to work very well with complex rock music, and the lows can really keep up. Tonally wise they are a little bit lean, but tips influence the sound a lot. Overall I really like these, Kinera have done a really good job, and considering the price these are fantastic value.


    Sound Perfection Rating: 7.5/10 (Highs can be a little hot, but the overall sound is highly enjoyable)
      Dobrescu George likes this.