1. Zelda
    The SEED
    Written by Zelda
    Published Jul 19, 2018
    3.5/5,
    Pros - build quality
    design
    cable (6-wire, 2-pin)
    Cons - lacks balance, timbre and coherence with included tips
    cable may arrive with a dark coloring on some units
    sounds better with aftermarket tips
    REVIEW: Kinera SEED

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    Specifications
    • Driver(s): 1 Dynamic (8mm) + 1 Balanced Armature
    • Sensitivity: 108 dB
    • Impedance: 17 ohm
    • Frequency: 20 ~ 20000 Hz
    • Plug: 3.5mm
    • Connectors: 0.78 mm, 2-pin
    • Cable: 1.2m; Silver-Plated Copper wire
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    *the IEM unit was sent by Penonaudio for review*

    Price: U$D 49. From Penonaudio and Aliexpress/Ebay Store

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    Design

    The new Kinera SEED is very good in both build quality and design, and for the price it’s almost flawless if looking for a fixed over-ear IEM option. The shells are made of what it looks a fairly solid plastic material, consisting of two pieces that are well assembled, with an all black color in a bit glossy finish. The oval form factor is practically identical to the known Shure or Westone shells, which have also been used by so many Chinese companies and small DIY brands. It is completely smooth, compact and very ergonomic. On the outer part there’s the ‘Kinera’ writing and on the inner part the ‘Seed’; quite an elegant touch for the price.

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    The nozzle is made of metal painted in gold color. It has a certain angle and a standard diameter of ~5mm with a smooth lip that can fit most eartips with no problem. Instead of the typical mesh or grill at the tip of the nozzle, in the Seed IEM it is divided into 2 bores. It’s impossible to confirm the actual inner driver configuration due the solid black color, but can be assumed that there are different tubes for each of the drivers.

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    The nice looks of the SEED continues with the included cable. First of all, it applies a 2-pin (0.78) removable connection, instead of the most common MMCX option used for the low budget IEMs. It is indeed a much wiser option, as the 2-pin are more solid than the typical cheap MMCX implementations.

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    The cable itself is made of 6 twisted strands on the lower half that then divides into 3 for each channel. This is too rare on any $50 earphone over the usual 4-wire cable setup (maybe the Tin Audio T2 is an exception with an 8-wire cable). The wire type is advertised as silver-plated copper. Quite a comfortable cable even with the fixed guides for over-ear wearing. However, it’s not perfect; it arrived with some strong dark sections along the whole length of the cable, probably due the black paint on the plug or y-split. Moreover, silver-plated cables are prone to some discoloration or oxidation after some regular use. Not something that affect the sound quality anyway, so unless you’re too picky, the cable is of great quality at just the $50 price.

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    The fit is very easy with this type of ergonomic shells and they are really very comfortable. Isolation, too, is decent, a bit above average level, but the shells do not appear to be completely sealed as a very small vent can be spotted.

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    Sound

    The simplest way to describe the sound on the Kinera Seed should be raw, forward and a bit aggressive. While using a hybrid drivers combo of an 8mm dynamic and a single balanced armature unit, it presents the sound as each driver working on its own. Not that there is lack of harmonics, rather that it sounds as each driver works independent of its counterpart. The result is the more forward and a tad aggressive presentation, and the reason to describe it as ‘raw’ the less noticeable combination on the two drivers. With other dual hybrids on the same 1+1 setup, the drivers were tuned as being one driver complementing its counterpart; such as the Remax RM800, or more expensive Magaosi K3 HD and Mee M7 Pro. It is not to say the Seed sounds worse or better, just simply different, and actually the clarity is quite good for the price.

    Starting with the bass frequencies, the focus is mostly on the mid-bass region, with a bit less emphasis on the upper bass, but a much less perceived sub-bass. The mid-bass has a dominant presence and strong attack, but then the rumble and depth are rather limited. The speed and control are decent, and it doesn’t sound overwhelming despite the extra power from the mid-bass. In fact, the transition towards the lower mids is a bit sharp and the dynamic driver does not add much of warmth or coloration to the rest of the sound.

    Up to the midrange it is rather forward in a not uncommon single BA way. Thanks to that characteristic, the mid bass strength doesn’t affect much the lower mids, but as result does not give much of extra warmth or texture to the midrange. Voices have a more forward priority over most instruments when it gets to position, so the presentation is not too natural or wide nor the image very accurate. The separation is decent but lacks some air due the more forward signature. Detail, however, is quite good for a $50 IEM, and shows good articulation, speed and resolution for what should be expected from a BA driver. There is some extra tilt towards the upper mids; not harsh or tiring, but does get more attention. Tip rolling is recommended to achieve the best balance possible as the stock silicone tips are not the best option I found (my preference, foam tips).

    For the highs, there’s a strong focus on the lower treble region while the upper treble is much more limited and laid back. Nothing too surprising for a single balanced armature performance on the $50 tag. As such, there is limited extension and more intimate presentation. The treble results to be a bit splashy and too forward, not fatiguing, but not too pleasant either. Balance between quantity and quality is actually fair enough, though.

    Moreover, I didn’t find the Seed better for a specific music genre, though the texture is not the most natural against dynamic drivers on its similar price range like the TinAudio T2 or VSD5s, which have a better timbre and balance. On the other hand, the Kinera has more speed and accuracy which is reflected in fast tracks.


    Eartip rolling didn’t make huge differences, but the little nuances can be critical with the Seed. Personally, I didn’t find the stock silicone tips to give the best balance, as it sounded kind of a W-shaped sound, with forward mid-bass, forward vocals and lower treble, but leaving the rest on the background. Sony or Dunu silicone (aka ‘hybrids’) gave a bit more balanced mid-centered sound, but also smoother. With wide dual-flanges the sound was much better in terms of overall balance, stage and neutrality. Foam tips also worked excellent on the Seed, and probably my best pick. Although the result is more laid back on the mids and highs, and a bit thicker bass texture, the presentation is smoother and gives more sense of musicality. The detail is not really affected, just drops a couple of dBs on the treble region, but brings more linearity to the whole sound.
  2. Johnny Mac
    Kinera Seed Yin, is it a win?
    Written by Johnny Mac
    Published May 26, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Non-fatiguing sound sig, Great for vocals, snap-on pouch is great.
    Cons - Cables initially tainted, may sound to bland for some.
    Intro
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    I was on a month-long vacation back home when a very familiar parcel arrived in my workplace, the Kinera Seed Yin or Kinera Seed black as most would call it which retails for $49 and is a hybrid single Dynamic with a Balanced Armature driver configuration. It was sent directly by the Kinera group for me to be reviewed. Note that this is my first attempt at reviewing an audiophile grade item so feel free to close the page already but it wouldn’t hurt if by chance you would see through this realview until the end, see what I did there with the “Realview”, a novice trying to sound cool. Before the review, a quick description from yours truly, I started having this audio hobby way back 2013 when a friend introduced me to a local audio group and found the glory there is in Hi-Res audio and the chain from the source file to your earphone ear tips will greatly impact how a gear would produce sound. I’ve had my fair share of research and experience and personally prefer neutral sounding gears leaning towards the brighter side but so much about me and let’s get back to business. Going back to the Seed Yin, the package was made of matte white cardboard box loaded with the necessary information one needs about the IEM (In Ear Monitor for those not familiar), take a good look on them before you proceed onward.


    Packaging and Accessories
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    The Seed Yin package covers the basic needs, 3 sized S, M, L black silicon tips and a rubbery snap-on pouch with red trim and a pale “Kinera” logo. The 3 silicon tips provided decent sizing options, texture is great which isn’t slippery at all and not too rough as well, great for entry level personal use, no noticeable irritation was observed and for the rest of the realview, we would be using the M sized tips. The pouch was the one that got the most interest within the overall package, it is delightfully easy to use on to go and the snap-on feature is just too easy and fast to use and store the Yin Seed on, here’s to hoping they would continue providing this on the next entry level Kinera IEMs.

    Build Quality
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    Staying true to its name, Seed Yin mimics your typical seed silhouette which rests easy on the ears, taken into consideration individual ear shapes, mine is of the rounder frame. Made out of 2-part plastic bound into a single earpiece, no noticeable glues are observed if ever glue was used in the first place. The backside of each is printed with a faint white Kinera Seed branding while the frontside is highlighted by gold trimmed Kinera lettering along with the L-R markings along with a vent. A gold-plated metal nozzle is used with no mesh included but instead utilizes the dual bore system so better keep those ears clean. The Seed Yin has removable cables and uses the .78mm 2-pin configuration which is widely used so cable rolling can be done if the idea is welcome with you. It is also a 6 core AWG SPC OFC cable with black plastic Kinera branded Y-split and 3.5mm gold-plated jacks.

    Sound

    Kinera is widely known by some either by their previous BD005 and H3 IEM’s, the BD005 showcasing the warm sound signature and the H3 showcasing the uber bright sound signature. You’d be guessing by now that the Seed Yin would be neutral? Well, the Seed Yin was marketed as such. Do take note that it was recommended to let it undergo a 50-hour “burn-in” process, for those who believe it, you’re the North, those who don’t, you’re the South which really is based on personal experience but for the benefit of the doubt, the recommended 50-hour burn-in process was done using my trusty old rockboxed Sansa Clip+. For the realview, I used the Opus 1, a known neutral sounding player, on a 110-step volume configuration and no EQ’s used. Listening to Incubus’s Megalomaniac in FLAC made me lean my head, the usual crash and ride cymbals that I wholly adore were noticeably tamed down yet the highs were easy to the ears and sparkle was barely there, the bass had the body of a supermodel, narrow but has a touch of impact to it. As the song progressed, vocals came in and there we go, it made me smirk, it was clear and crisp and had air that didn’t cloud the spectrum. I played the same song again to check if the supermodel was still there, present! I then moved mover to Pink Floyd’s Money because I needed some cash for the supermodel, right off the bat the coins falling down each side exhibited a semi-intimate soundstage the one you would feel on a private cinema or a pub, then the guitar plucks chimed in, crisp and clear but had me looking for pronounced plucks. The mid bass was there again, just showing up but not showing off and then came the vocals, David Gilmour sang definite and clear. He might be serenading the supermodel so I finished the song twice and moved over to Spandau Ballet’s True. I was again greeted by the crunchy guitar plucks but not the one similar to a roast pig’s skin, this might have been sitting on the table for a good 20 minutes losing some of the crunch. The bass was still narrow and had impact, sub-bass skinny. Succeeding songs such as Linkin Park’s Sharp Edges, DNCE’s Toothbrush, Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon, Shawn Mendes’s I don’t even know your name were then used and overall the Seed Yin exhibited the easy sounding nature of this IEM, mids and vocals detailed and airy, highs and treble toned down, bass narrow and had subtle impact, sub-bass echoes but doesn’t cloud. This might not have accurately represented the neutral sound signature it was targeted to achieve, it did however push the right buttons to be used on the go and for breaktime sessions that would last longer than you planned.

    Conclusion
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    The Kinera Seed Yin, priced at $49 is definitely a recommended gear, sounds easy to the ears, comfortable design language which may be subjective and the inclusion of the snap on case just sealed the deal. It did however had a drawback when it was initially released as the 1st batch came with the problematic cables being tainted black in some areas, my realview unit had the stain but had no sound signature effects, I was ready to call it a bummer as who likes a brand new gear looking like it was dirtied and used but to my surprise, Kinera released a statement and updated all Seed Yin cables to a new one and sent non-tainted brand new cables and as a plus, you’d get to keep the older one. How’s that for after service. However, new purchases will come with the new cables and no replacements will be sent. See you next time and by the way, the Supermodel would still be around.

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    1. crezo
      Nice write up!

      I just discovered my old BD500s and hooked them up to my AP200 - EQ'd to brighten them a bit I've totally fallen in love with them again. How would you compare the sound signature on these new seeds? I'm much more of a 'fun' V or W shape guy rather than too neutral.

      I love the rich/warm and great bass and sub bass on the 500's sounds like the bottom end is much less emphasised on the seeds, would that be right?
      crezo, Aug 20, 2018
      Johnny Mac likes this.
    2. Johnny Mac
      Yes, the Kinera Seed isn't bass oriented at all. It's midrange is the sweet spot and the highs are also presented well. I haven't tried the bd500's so can't really tell the comparison. Just a heads up, there's a new Kinera Seed version which comes with a copper cable with mic control so try to check it out as well. I have sold the ap200 though as it was too sluggish despite having great sound.
      Johnny Mac, Aug 24, 2018
      crezo likes this.
  3. Dobrescu George
    Kinera Seed - V-shaped Fun!
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published May 20, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Clear Sound, Soundstage, Instrument Separation, Price, Comfort, Ergonomics, IEM Shell Build Quality, Bass strength, Treble Strength, V-shaped, Detail
    Cons - V-shaped sound works with certain music only, Can be a bit aggressive, Cable doesn't have a guide to the direction it enters the IEM, included tips are a bit basic,

    Kinera Seed - V-shaped Fun!

    Kinera, the company behind Kinera H3, has now created another IEM, this time named Kinera Seed. It comes at a less expensive price than H3 did, but we'll see how it stacks up to the original and how it actually sounds like.

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    Introduction


    We reviewed Kinera H3 in the past, and it proved to have been fun to review, but it was a pretty interesting IEM, as to some, it was too bright and too extremely V-shaped, while for others, it was a love at first sight, with an excellent detail for that price range, and a very impressive overall signature. By impressive, we mean that it would impress anyone at first listen, for the better or for worse. Kinera provides good customer service, and they respect themselves and offer a good overall customer support.

    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Kinera, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Kinera or anyone else. I'd like to thank Kinera for providing the sample for this review. The sample was provided along with Kinera's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review will be as objective as it is humanly possible, and it reflects my personal experience with Kinera Seed. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Kinera Seed find their next music companion.



    About me


    https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/about.html



    Packaging


    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

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    The packaging for Kinera seed actually looks better than the one for Kinera H3 looked like, Kinera seems to have made it prettier, and it still looks hard enough to resist the harsh transport conditions all items are place through by the postage, or the couriers bringing them to their customers.

    The package is simple, but useful, you get Kinera Seed, 3 sets of silicone tips, and a carrying pouch with a magnetic opening.

    Although there isn't much else in the package, for around 50 USD, Kinera seed surely doesn't feel like a letdown, more likely, like what you'd expect from a IEM at this price.

    We can consider the cable to be something interesting, because Kinera Seed comes with detachable cables that are pretty good-looking and which we feel you can reuse for other IEMs, if they rely on the 2-pin connection. The mere fact that they are a 50 USD IEM with detachable cables relying on the 2-pin connector makes Kinera Seed pretty special.



    What to look in when purchasing an entry-level In-Ear Monitor


    https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.ro/p/what-to-lookl.html




    Technical Specifications


    Driver:1 dynamic driver + 1BA
    Sensitivity : 108 ± 2 db
    Impedance : 17 Ohm
    Driver Diameter :8 mm
    Frequency Range : 20 to 20000 Hz
    Plug Type : 3.5mm
    Connectors : 0.78 mm, 2-pin (detachable)
    Cable :1.2 m Silver-Plated Copper



    Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort


    Before everything else, we need to consider that Kinera Seed is a 50 USD IEM, so they are priced really friendly.

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    The build quality is pretty good, they are made out of hard plastic all-around, it looks fairly resistant, the cables look thick and like they can take a beating. Kinera Seed relies on 2-pin connectors, and they provide a fair amount of fun for usage. The cables have soft ear guides, which we find to be good, better than solid ones, and better than not having any ear guides at all.

    The cables connectors are 2-pin, which, in theory, is the most solid type of cable connector for a IEM. On that note, the cables seem to be provided by a third party and they seem to not have been made especially for Kinera Seed because there are no insertion guides, and you need to take into account the shape of the IEM and insertion when inserting the cables.

    Kinera Seed is very sleek in appearance, made out of a glossy plastic that doesn't get dirty easily, and while we aren't fans of the bore being made out of a golden color, it is hidden by the IEM tips when in usage.

    The fit is over-the ear only, and we have to say, the fit is incredibly good. They are much better than Kinera H3 when it comes to how they fit, we had complaints with H3 about driver flex and the fit being on the larger side, but with Kinera Seed, they fit just perfect. The IEM body is small enough to be comfortable, and their shape is very ergonomic. There is no driver flex, there is no cable noise (microphonics), pretty much everything is perfect with their fit and comfort.

    We honestly feel that they are made to last and to be used for a long time, and they reach a golden level of comfort.



    Sound Quality


    Where Kinera H3 was very aggressively V-shaped in its sonic signature, (strong bass, distant midrange, strong treble), Kinera Seed is also V-shaped, but less aggressively. The basic way to describe their sound is that it is a V-shaped signature, with a strong bass emphasis, a recessed midrange, and a strong treble. The treble grows until about 7-9kHz, after which it starts to roll off.

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    Now let's go in depth with describing their signature.

    The bass is pretty deep, and while it is not absolutely quick, it has a natural speed and doesn't come off as too slow. It provides excellent overall impact, and fair detail, and it doesn't have any kind of roll-off. The sub-bass is the most enhanced part of their bass, while the upper bass is less enhanced, but not recessed.

    The midrange starts dropping in volume compared to the sub-bass and the mid-bass, being recessed in direct comparison, to the point where we feel it might not work well with voice-driven music, or with music that sounds good on a mid-forward IEM (Like Shozy Hibiki or Etymotic ER3XR). The clarity of the midrange is quite good, despite this recession, and we're confident that the levels of detail will satisfy most people well, especially for the price range.

    The treble is enhanced, a little hot, and a little peaky, but it is expressive and impressive. It explodes well, it reaches almost around 7-9kHz, after which it starts rolling off. This means that cymbals are expressive, and that Kinera Seed works extremely well with acoustic music and music that requires a strong bite, like acoustic guitar driven music. They can also work well with J-Pop, J-Rock, K-Pop, and even with Rock music, especially older rock, but with rough metal they can be a little too hot and the cymbals can sound a little too forward.

    The levels of detail they manage to achieve are once again, impressive. Like Kinera H3 had a very impressive detail, Kinera Seed also manages to achieve that, with a nice overall presentation.



    Soundstage


    Here's where we were quite impressed. The soundstage of Kinera Seed is actually quite excellent. It is not exactly huge or large, for any price range, but for 50 USD, they have a really impressive instrument separation and soundstage size, they don't come off as congested, despite their recessed midrange, and despite their overall aggressive signature, instead, they come off as well separated and presented in a pretty airy fashion.



    ADSR / PRaT


    The ADSR and PRaT (Texturization) of the sound is natural to slower, all impulse response is good, but it isn't the quickest or the lightest we've seen, being on the natural side of things. Fine dents in the textures of Mindless Self Indulgence aren't very well expressed, but the main texture of their synths is fun and lively, vivid enough for the music to be gun. The music of Masa Works design sounds impressive, and the textures are fairly well detailed there.



    Portable Usage


    When it comes to their portable usage, Kinera Seed is pretty much excellent. They are lightweight, small, they fit well, they are to be worn over-the-ear, they come with a fairly good-looking cable, and they isolate well.

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    Starting with their weight, they weight very little, and the soft ear guides also help take some of the weight off the ear and distribute it more evenly. The fit is normal (neither too shallow, neither too deep), so they sit comfortably in the ears, and they don't come out of the ears after a period of usage (the tips don't seem to get slippery).

    The over-the-ear wearing style cuts down on the microphonics, to the point where we can't hear any microphonics at all, and the cable looks good, feels good, and most important, feels pretty trustworthy. It looks and feels like it can take some abuse, and that is great for their portability. The IEM shells as well, look like they can take a beating and come back for more.

    The isolation is good, Kinera Seed seems to isolate well from the outside noise, but we'd like to mention that you should always pay attention to your surroundings while wearing headphones or IEMs in public. The isolation is so good, that you'd hear almost nothing in a busy marketplace, if there is music playing in Kinera Seed.

    The storage solution, while not very protective, it offers a trendy solution to storying Kinera Seed while not in use, and the fact that their pouch is pretty slippery on the outside means that you can easily slide it in and out of a pocket with little friction. This also means that it is easier to store in tight spaces, than more protective, but more intrusive cases.

    All in all, the portability factor is golden, and Kinera seed is a very portable IEM.



    Comparisons


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    Kinera Seed vs Kinera H3 - We mentioned the two across this review, but it is time to do an in-depth comparison between the two. Starting with the package, Kinera H3 comes with slightly more, a better fitting cable, we can't say that the cable itself is better, but it fits better with the IEM body, and with a better carrying solution, a hard carry case that offers them more protection. H3 calso comes in a more basic package, while the package for Kinera Seed feels like a total upgrade in terms of the unboxing feeling they offer. The comfort is much better on Kinera Seed, with a better fit, better ergonomics, smaller IEM body, and no driver flex. The sound is in advantage of Kinera Seed on an overall level, because they are easier to listen to, less aggressively V-shaped, with less treble emphasis, so they get hot less than Kinera H3, although they can also get hot, and they are also treble-happy and V-shaped. Kinera H3 feels more detailed, offers more instrument separation, and offers a clearer overall sound, with better treble extension, making Seed feel like a downgrade, but H3 is also more specifically tuned, with a more specific overall signature, stronger treble especially, where Seed has a stronger bass and a more balanced overall sound. If you want the most exquisite Kinera experience to date, you can go for H3, but please keep in mind that their strong V-shaped sound will be a love it or break it thing, while for Kinera Seed, we feel that they will appeal to a larger audience, and they are still a great experience from Kinera.

    Kinera Seed vs Shozy Hibiki - The packaging seems similar on the outside, but Shozy Hibiki does not come with a carrying solution, where Kinera Seed comes with a carrying pouch. The ergonomics are similar, both fit very well, both have good cables with them, and both are pretty, although with the shells resembling carbon fiber, Shozy Hibiki might have one above Seed in the physical aspect. When it comes to their sonic abilities, both are detailed, and both have good clarity, but that is where the similarities stop, Kinera H3 is pretty strongly V-shaped, where Shozy Hibiki is pretty mid forward, especially if you compare them directly, one after the other. Shozy Hibiki is clearly better for those looking for a midrange forward or midrange strong IEM, but it doesn't have the same bass impact as Kinera Seed, which is pretty strong and impactful in the treble. Shozy Hibiki works much better for vocal-driven music, Jazz and such, where Kinera seed is probably going to be more enjoyable with Electronic music, acoustic, and music relying on bass and treble. Both are great IEMs, just best for different kinds of music and best for different tastes.

    Kinera Seed vs Final Audio E2000 - Final E2000 is priced at a similar price point as Kinera Seed, so it makes a good comparison point to them. The overall package is pretty different, with Final Audio having a slightly different carrying pouch, although still a pouch, and Final E2000 comes with a better set of tips included in the package. If there is one that has better ergonomics, E2000 would be it, with a smaller body size, and with metallic body, but the difference isn't quite that big, since Seed is already pretty ergonomic, and the main thing where Kinera gains back some ground is in the fact that they are detachable from their cable, where Final E2000 has a fixed cable. The sonics are pretty different, with Final Audio E2000 being one of the more balanced and natural IEMs we tested, especially at this price point, and Kinera Seed being one of the more energetic, V-shaped IEMs with an impressive sound we tested. The bass and treble of E2000 are both good, but Kinera's are larger in amount, and a bit quicker in their impulse response (important for textures), while the midrange is hugely different, Kinera Seed having a clear, clean, well separated, but recessed midrange, where E2000 has a midrange as natural as you can get at this price point, with everything sounding right and natural. Both are great for their intended publics, we feel that one should pick either based on their listening tastes, Kinera Seed is more impressive in listening, where E2000 is less impressive at first listen, but grows on you.



    Recommended Pairings


    Kinera Seed seems to respond fair to pairings, they have a limit on how revealing they can get, but they answer well to source synergy. They are a hybrid IEM, but besides hissing, high output impedance shouldn't affect them very much.

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    Kinera Seed + Samsung T580 - This combo actually works fairly well, the sound is vivid, expansive, the soundstage is large, and everything feels vibrant and lively. Plus, T580 isn't very expensive, and it is a great tablet for consuming multimedia.

    Kinera Seed + Hiby R6 - Not exactly a similarly priced combination, but we found excellent synergy in this one, as R6 is slightly relaxed, it tones down the brightness of Seed, it makes them less hot, and even more even across the board. It also gives them a pretty energetic overall sound with excellent details and clarity. The whole synergy is quite good, and we feel like many would be very satisfied with R6 driving Seed.

    Kinera Seed + iBasso DX150 - We took some photos with the combo, so we felt like it would have been weird not mention this pairing. DX150 is actually one of the besy synergies with Kinera Seed because with its default AMP6 it has a smoother treble, with less treble energy, than say, Hiby R6, so it helps them smoothing out those energetic higher registers, also providing a thicker midrange, which leads to a more balanced overall presentation for Kinera Seed. If you require one DAP that really works well with them, then DX150 would be just it, and more.



    Value and Conclusion


    Like we've said, Kinea seed is a very friendly priced IEM, with a lot going on for it. Being a 50USD IEM, one doesn't have quite that many expectations from it, but we found out that it delivers more than you'd expect.

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    Starting with their build quality, it is made out of plastic, but they seem pretty well made, and they sport a pretty thick and resilient-looking cable, they come with, and with 2-Pin connectors which are very well regarded by the audiophiles everywhere. The comfort is just as good as the other parts of them, with a medium insertion depth, not too deep, and not too shallow, easily reaching a sweet spot with most ears. There is no driver flex, and no microphonics, and honestly, they simply feel good while being worn.

    The package they come in includes the bare accessories necessary to enjoy them, three pairs of tips, and one carrying pouch, but we need to factor in their price once again, which bumps up the value of the overall package.

    Then, the sound. The sound of Kinera Seed makes it totally worth the asking price, and a totally great choice if you're into this kind of sonic signature, with a really deep and impactful bass, with a clear, detailed yet recessed midrange, and with a clear and powerful treble. The V-shape plays in the favor of Kinera this time and we found them to work greatly with more types of music than Kinera H3 did, which might be mostly because H3 had a stronger treble, and a more V-shaped sound, while Kinera Seed is more balanced across the spectrum and comes with an easier-to-listen-to sound.

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    All in all, we're really happy with Kinera Seed, it clearly is an evolution from Kinera, and if you're looking for an inexpensive, easily replaceable, yet detailed and clear IEM, with a V-shaped sound, they are totally worth checking out, as they might become a true love for your ears.

    I hope my review is helpful to you!

    Stay safe and remember to always have fun while listening to music!



    Contact us!
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      acap13 likes this.
  4. ngoshawk
    Kinera SEED (Yin)-The Set You Take Out For Coffee
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Apr 25, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent in-ear fit.
    Very nice cable.
    Pleasant, fun sound.
    Affordable alternative to mass Smartphone buds.
    Good tall soundstage.
    Unobtrusive in characteristic.
    Cons - Mids are a bit too far forward for me.
    Bass shy at the deepest levels.
    Prone to fingerprints.
    Its unobtrusiveness could be its downfall.
    Kinera SEED (Yin)-The Set You Take Out For Coffee


    Kinera Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kinera2017

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    The SEED has had quite a journey…from prototype (received by some, not me) to “first pre-release” (received by me, but immediately told to wait for the second iteration), to the “final version” (which is simply the Yin version, with another development to follow, this year). What I might call a fairly unique audio experience, where a select set are presented with the initial offerings, then goes public; followed by a tuning development. This is kind of like what a car company might do…offer the base version, then a luxury model of the same car, and even a sport version. Think Mazda Miata, and you get the idea (Sport, which is the base version; Club, which is the racing version; and Touring, which needs no intro). And let me tell you, the new Miata’s are a damn fine hoot to drive. Harkening back to the original 1990 version, history is wrought deep within the new one…



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    Following my time with the bipolar H3 (some liked, some did not), and the semi-acclaimed BD005, the SEED has big aspirations to fill, and one might think that for the lie to succeed depends upon how well it is received. Also, as Kinera is fairly well known in Asia/Japan, the company looks to expand into the NA/European market. A worthy company jump. So, when Steve contacted me to see if I was willing to try the SEED, I of course agreed. On the heels of the British Racing Green earbud (link: https://ngoshawksounds.blog/2018/01/15/kinera-limited-edition-earbud-unfortunately/), which is unfortunately an exercise in limited quantity and many lucky enough to receive liked very much; the SEED has big goals indeed in setting the stage for Kinera and their “growth.”



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    Initial impressions left for context:

    The Kinera SEED is a move "upscale" by Kinera. After the aforementioned IEM’s, Kinera sought to make a statement. And in the name, itself they are. By planting a SEED into their lineup, Kinera state that this model will in fact change over time. Tuning as they see fit, the SEED represents another direction for the company, calling it the Yin with the Yang to follow. With the introduction of this production run SEED, Kinera sees the culmination of close to two years. And after my initial listen, I approve.

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    An excellent fit, a fairly unique and sexy shape highlight this iteration of the SEED (the Yin, with the Yang to follow later this year…). Having roughly 10 listening hours, and about 25 total hours so far, I can state that this is well above the H3 and worthy of Kinera's effort. The company has even very recently changed cable providers, due to an error not of their own making. Not only that, all purchasers will receive a new cable without question, and without charge. Excellent service from Kinera to say the least!


    Specifications:

    • Drivers: 1 dynamic driver + 1 balanced armature
    • Sensitivity: 108 ± 2 db
    • Impedance: 17 ohms
    • Driver Diameter: 8 mm
    • Frequency Range: 20 hz to 20,000 Hz
    • Plug Type: 3.5 mm
    • Connectors: 0.78 mm, 2-pin (detachable)
    • Cable: 1.2 m Silver-Plated Copper


    Gear used/compared:

    Audio-Opus Opus#2
    Shanling M3S
    Shanling M5

    iBasso PB3
    Ray Samuels Intruder
    iFi xDSD

    Tin Audio T2
    Hypersense Hex02


    Null Audio Lune MKVI, OCC Cast Silver/rare Metal Alloy, Litz 4 (2pin) cable- 2.5mm TRRS connector ($149 SGD, $114 USD)-provided a deeper reach of bass, and a somewhat fuller sound. The added “oomph” was appreciated.

    Null Audio Arete MKIII, OCC Cast 7N 48 Strand Copper (2pin) cable - 2.5mm TRRS connector ($99 SGD, $75 USD)-provided a bit more open sound than the Lune, spacious with a nice bass support line.

    The combo of either Null cable listed above would make the SEED a very economical IEM. Good stuff, made better with a simple cable change.

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    Songs used:

    Joe Satriani- In My Pocket, Cherry Blossoms, others
    The Dave Brubeck Quartet- Blue Rondo a la Turk, Take Five
    Twenty One Pilots- Twenty One Pilots
    10,000 Maniacs- Noah’s Dove, Candy Everybody Wants
    Joe Satriani’s In My Pocket through the Shanling M5, just rocks. Rich, full, decent detail, and an overall fun sound.


    Deeper initial:

    On Cherry Blossoms, the overall signature short of vocals can be pretty much defined. Running the SEED through the iBasso PB3/Opus#2, there is a good overall tone, fairly well defined, hearing distinctly the pluck of the orchestral part combining well with Mr. Satriani’s guitar. An almost deep rumbly bass is had, showing the limitation of bass here in my mind. And that is with the 64Audio foam tips. Not bad mind you, just not as much as I would have liked. That said, when the piano accompaniment comes on, there is a good feel, a good solid support there. With good height, but not as much width as I would like, the soundstage is decent enough to pacify most. Nearing the end of the song, there is a bit of “discombobulation,” but it could also be the complexity presented through the song. In more open parts, there is none of what I just stated, presenting a very pleasant sound. There is also a bit of distortion wrought through the song, purposely in the recording, so take that as you may. Presenting a good front, the latest SEED tuning is quite pleasant, and can certainly rock.

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    Using Dave Brubeck’s seminal Take Five, the sax sounds close and sensuous. This is almost front row/on stage emphasis and here is where that push (to me) of those mids up front helps. With the cymbal/snare support off to the left, the sax solo is just where it should be…at the front and sounding strong. This is not clarity of say something costing several times more, but there is certainly enough engagement to hold one’s attention. A definite step up from the H3.

    Overall feel:

    Bass is just that bit too shy. There are hints of it present, kind of like anticipation. You are almost there, then another sign pops up stating your destination is 30 miles away still, then again. Not an unpleasant bass though, just not enough.

    Mids are slightly forward to me, but not when compared to my 64Audio U8. Those have quite the expansive mids, opening up wide to encompass the sound. With the SEED, the mids sit compactly, but still a bit forward on some songs.

    Treble (not a good judge, I am) is tamed compared to the H3, and that is probably a good thing. I would classify it as having a bit of sparkle, and brightness, but not as much as it could have…this is evident on the live version of Take Five, as the cymbal support is just about right. What a song.

    Soundstage to me seems rather tall, but not as wide as I would have expected. I get the feeling of a tall open space with good sound characteristics. And while there is good layering, it is about par for this level of cost/performance. Decent and well presented. Overall so far, this is a good decent presentation in both sound qualities and aesthetics.

    I do like the lima-bean shape of the earpiece, even though I HATE Lima Beans…fairly unique and well presented, but on one of the pieces, the two halves do not fit as well as I would hope, and I can see some of the epoxy, which was not polished off completely. The fit of the two halves together is good, but finish is a bit below par. Countering that, there is no problem with how the very nice cable fits and stays. The cable covering at the pin insertion place adds quite nicely to the overall look of the IEM, and it not only protects the cable, but aids ingress/egress from one’s ear. Plus, it adds to the look in my book. Very well done.

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    A LONG week later…

    In talking to others about the SEED, and reading @B9Scrambler’s review, I came to some conclusions…The SEED is the IEM, which Kinera has been looking for. For the price, it is a fun enjoyable sound, albeit with limitations. Please do not go and try to compare this to more expensive IEM’s (even though I list some above…). This is not meant to be compared to those of higher priced. The SEED to me really isn’t meant to be compared to IEM’s OF this price. To fully understand the SEED and what it stands for, you must take is singularly, of its own accord. I might draw the ire of some for saying this and raise a few brows by saying that you really shouldn’t compare this to an IEM of this price. But respectfully, those people might miss the point.


    Taken singularly, the SEED is a very enjoyable IEM. While the mids are a bit too hot for me, this is a very good pair with which to enjoy at your local coffee house. The isolation is just enough so that you can enjoy the music, but not be completely isolated. Listening to Dave Brubeck’s seminal Take Five ideally evaluates this point. When one listens to Jazz, you may very well be out at a club. And that somewhat lack of isolation (using my 64Audio foam tips) adds to the overall nature of the SEED. You really do feel as if you are experiencing the Quartet off in the corner, while you enjoy your favorite shade-grown organic coffee, in the presence of those who share similar tastes.


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    The sound is right. And by that, I mean the stroke of piano keys is spot on, the staccato of drum stick to snare and bass drum support enhances that feel. Here is where the SEED shows off. It is not a detail monster, such as those four-digit TOTL IEM’s. But it is not meant to be. It is meant to be the pair you hook into your Shanling M3s, Cayin N5ii, HiBy R3 or whatever DAP you have that can match well. They all do see to fit well.


    Switching to Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs Candy Everybody Wants, and I am ever in love with her sultry piercing voice. Here, that bump in the mids aids in making sure the female voice is heard and heard well. Just a fun energetic sound, which could be what a commuter might be looking into for that daily trip. I use the Kinera on walks, and hold no qualms in doing so, it participates quite well in this vein.


    Soundstage is adequately wide and deep, with height of equal space. Not the largest, but certainly not the smallest. It is good and comes out nicely in What’s The Matter Here? In continuing with the seminal MTV Unplugged album. Clearly defined placement of instruments and layering provides us, the dear listener with toe-tapping sound, or a quickening of pace on that daily walk/workout/run. I will freely admit that the Shanling M3s/FLC8S is my go to combo for working out (yes I know…expensive), but here I could easily substitute the SEED for the FLC8S and miss nary a beat. Not it is not a replacement, but a more than adequate fill in.


    Think the second string second-baseman for your local pro team, who is that excellent fielder, but falls short at bat. You don’t bring them in for their hitting late in the game, but for their defense. And here, the SEED is a very good fill-in for that late inning closing session. Or to continue with the coffee shop analogy, the backup gets the start, the day after a double header, to give the starter a break. You don’t worry about the fill in too much.

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    Continuing with Noah’s Dove, you are brought back close to home. Close to you with good layering. The build of acoustic guitar, drum set and bass build well in support of that voice. Natalie’s voice of course. And it is a very respectable sound.

    Two areas I would like to see addressed, are the bass quantity and the hotter (to me) mids. To me, it lacks that impact I desire in a good IEM. That said, the bass, which is present is adequate. Just not as impactful as I would like. And a taming of the mids would be appreciated by my ears. I do get a bit of fatigue after a good listen at reasonably loud levels (not ear splitting, but loud enough). Again, take that last bit with a grain of salt as my hearing loss plays a part in my sensitivities. From those of which I converse with regularly, it does not bother them, outside of the lack of impact. I am OK with the overall sound, though.

    Separation and instrumentation are quite decent for a $50 USD IEM, and nothing to sneeze at. Compared to my older MEE Audio M6 Pro’s, the SEED is well ahead in both. Were I to be on stage or in studio, I could close my eyes and point pretty accurately to where everything is using only the SEED. A well-paid compliment to the overall tuning, and one in which I look forward to the next iteration (the Yang, one would assume…).

    [​IMG]


    Source-comparison:

    Running the iPhone X/xDSD combo with the Apple camera adapter “dongle” the SEED sounds pretty darn harmonious with and without XBass and 3D+ on. Adding the necessary bass with XBass on, the SEED happily comes along for the streaming ride on Tidal and Twenty-One Pilots Screen. A solid foundation is laid down aided by the XBass, and 3D when put into play. Without either, the SEED is still quite acceptable, and one, which could be construed as very acceptable for the daily commute/walk/lawn work. I am pleased by this combination.

    Switching to BT under the same set up, the sound is still good, with the added versatility of keeping the xDSD in one’s pocket. This allows full access to one’s Smartphone and all functions associated with that appendage, which seems to be constantly attached to our face. But for further assessment of the xDSD, one will have to wait. Suffice to say, that this trio is quite acceptable to me.

    Of all critters used in testing with the SEED, I probably don’t need to mention that the Opus#2 was my favorite…especially when linked to either the iBasso PB3 or borrowed Ray Samuel’s Intruder. Reviews of each amp are forthcoming, but verbiage here will suffice to lay the foundation of each. I did run each amp through the Shanling M3s/M5 too. Focusing on the Opus, the SEED laid bare all fallacies of tuning as well as prophecy of good. The hot upper mids shone through with higher volume, but that bit of sparkle, which I like also shone through; bettering the hot-house-mids…Detailed representation was best here (as one would expect) as well as the overall sound. But with that detail, came less of an impact in the lower reaches. I have come to appreciate the tonality of the Opus, but also realize that when compared to the Shanling’s, there is less bass presence. A worthy sacrifice due to the overall signature. So, while the Opus presented the best of the SEED, it did lay out the shortcomings, but those could be overlooked, due to the pleasant nature in which sound is presented.

    Add in either amp, and that “lack of sub bass” is near forgotten. Presenting a fuller sound, albeit not as detailed, I am reminded of a warm sound overall, with better punch down low. Here, the Intruder shines, and is completely superfluous to the needs of the SEED. But, it is worth it because that superfluous sound. Overkill? Yes. Fabulous and the SEED at its peak? You bet!

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    As a go to portable unit, the M3s is the one in which I reach, along with the FLC8S, as mentioned above. But, when I throw on the SEED, I admit freely, that the sound between the two is close enough, that I could hppily substitute the SEED for the FLC8S on my walk/runs and be satisfied. With better reach in the bass department, I gladly accept that at the loss of detail when out and about with the SEED, as described from its overall presentation. And that loss of detail really isn’t that much when compared to the Opus, but it is there. Generally, this set up is too bright in the mids for me. On a VERY windy walk yesterday though, I appreciate that extra push. Again, using the foam tips isolation was well above average, and only on the quieter aspects of whatever song was playing could I hear the push of wind against the SEED. As a result, I am very happy with the isolation wrought by switching to the foams.

    Pulling the M5 in to listen, I am reminded why I purchased one in the first place. Warming the SEED nicely to almost meet the signature, there is a bit of lusciousness to the overall quality, while still having slightly less impact, but warming nicely. I am reminded again, that the SEED is an affordable alternative to the enclosed “earbuds” of Smartphone’s. And, as a step up from the enclosed “earbuds,” the SEED is well on above those included in our Smartphone purchase.

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    IEM comparo:

    TinAudio T2 ($49.95): Compared to the Kinera there is more bass, and a reach further down. For the same price, this is a really good competitor. The mids have a bit more sparkle but are less prevalent if that makes sense. And, I sense a bit of untamed in those mids of the T2. Under Joe Satriani’s In My Pocket, initially that untamed mid sound can be off-putting. But once Joe starts, I quickly ignore and forget that. I sit back to a raucous good time. Both IEM’s have a fun sound, but the SEED is a bit more refined. Adaptability of the T2 wins hands down. With the ability to wear them up as an IEM (quite well, too), or switch sides on the cable and wear them down like an earbud, the T2 does double duty. Both have MMCX cables, so there is potential for fine tuning. I really like the fit and look of the T2, as I called it Industrial, and a good one.


    Hypersense Hex02 ($29.95): The Hex02 was the first of a trio given to me for review purposes, and the one I liked the best at the time. For the price, this is an exceptional upgrade to one’s stock buds, and coming with inline controls, fits well with your Smartphone. Not as refined as the SEED, and of smaller soundstage the Hex really cannot compete on the same level. Except when you hit play, there is a bit of intoxicating sound emanating from them. Nothing spectacular mind you, but you seem to end up tapping your foot and raising the volume when Joe Satriani comes on…and I did, as well as to 10,000 Maniacs. Too bright up top for me, this would be the set I would reach for when I need a serious jump in attitude; and the bass of more, but not better would help, too. This is the proverbial “pump you up” pair. Using the SEED to tame the Hex would be a nice thing in which to worry. Keeping the Hex in the sweetspot in one’s ear does become an exercise in patience, though. At least with my average size ears.


    La sessione finale:


    I finish this listening to the SEED through the Shanling M3s and Ray Samuels Intruder…


    This review is overdue…but not without reason. Lately, I will pound out a good intro of verbiage quite quickly, and usually with initial thoughts, but also an underlying tone of finality to what I write. Sometimes I have formalized my final thoughts already…this would be a case where I have not done so. So it is, that Trouble Me puts the whole review into perspective…“Speak to me,” she says and that is what I ask of Kinera and the SEED.


    Through the course of writing this, I spent a long time listening (nie-on 120 hours). Most likely longer than I would with other IEM’s in order to form my thought, scribble and scribed libretti. It is not that I could not nail down what was wrought of these listens. No, it was that under most circumstances, the SEED performed markedly well. Not spectacular mind you, but of such competence that I was at somewhat a loss. This is the first review in a long while, where I conversed a good bit with others whom have the unit. I usually read existing reviews, but do not allow those reviews to filter or alter my verb. This time though, I wanted verification of what I heard. And what I heard was indeed a variety of signatures, dependent upon the source and song. More so than most of my recent reviews.

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    It is as if the SEED were trying to please all but did not want to offend any particular DAP or signature. I do believe this could be the SEED’s biggest strength and weakness all in one. While trying to experiment and please all they might, I say might have lost a chance to define the SEED of its own merits. Part of me wants to believe that this was deliberate in order to set the stage for the Yang version for what is coming down the road from Kinera. Part of me also thinks that this was a case where they tried to please all and fell just short. I say this respectfully, and mean no harm, please. This is a very good IEM, and I quite like the overall sound signature. But I also feel as if there is more coming (there is…) and Kinera did not want to reveal all in the SEED, lest all of their tricks be let out.


    That is what I am trying to say, and how I will finish. The SEED is the next logical (passionate?) step of iterations from Kinera, and I can see of where they are hoping to go. I would be very interested in hearing that next sound, based upon the jump from BD005, to H3, to SEED. I would certainly. Well done, Kinera. Well done, indeed.


    I want to thank Steve and Kinera for the continued honor of reviewing their products. I have immensely enjoyed all of them for a multitude of reasons/sounds, and to me the SEED is the next logical step in the maturation of their company. Give the SEED a listen, it is worthy of a look at the sub $50USD market. Well done, Kinera!

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      Kervsky, bjaardker, Brooko and 2 others like this.
    1. audiophilefan
      Nice review, man! And I LOVE that coffee picture at the end. Almost keeps you awake just by looking at it. lol. By the way, do you have an idea if the cable is prone to oxidation (turning greenish/brownish over time)? The V2 of the KZ ZST upgrade cable is prone to this chemical reaction. I have one and I don't really like how it's turning out. I hope it stays white (or at least white-ish) over time. Thanks!
      audiophilefan, May 21, 2018
    2. ngoshawk
      My cable has not turned green at all. I do know that Kinera is sending replacement cables to all of a certain serial number (I believe). I am due to receive one myself, but my cable is still good to go. I do still enjoy the SEED. Pretty decent IEM at $50usd...
      ngoshawk, May 22, 2018
      audiophilefan likes this.
  5. B9Scrambler
    Kinera SEED (Yin): Rock solid EDC
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Apr 21, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Attractive, comfortable design - Great cable - Sibilance free sound
    Cons - Sub-bass emphasis lacking - Micro-detail could be better
    Greetings,

    Today we're taking a look at the new Kinera SEED Yin, one of two models planned for the SEED lineup.

    Kinera was founded in 2012 and has released some popular products during this time, like the BD005, a budget-minded hybrid earphone that really took off in Japan. Last year they released the H3, a 2+1 hybrid that received mixed opinions. My opinion was that is was visually stunning, and while it sounded good it wasn't without a few issues. Still, at 100 USD it was and still is worth the cost of entry. Feel free to disagree, and I know many will.

    The SEED, a name generated via a Facebook competition, is another hybrid entry featuring one balanced armature and one dynamic driver and was intended to replace the BD005. At 49.00 USD, the SEED is still firmly entrenched in budget territory, though you might not have guessed so based on the clean design and quality of the included 2-pin removable cable.

    While Kinera has once again nailed the visual appeal of their product, how it sounds is going to be make or break for many. Let's take a closer look to see how the SEED fares.

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    Disclaimer:

    The SEED reviewed here is a complimentary sample provided for the purposes of review. All thoughts within are my own and based on my many hours spent with this earphone. My thoughts do not represent Kinera or anyone else, nor was there financial incentive provided to write this review.

    Kinera's site: http://www.kinera.cn/en/default.aspx

    Kinera's Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kinera2017/

    Source:

    For at home use the SEED was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp or straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, F.Audio S1, or Shanling M1, all of which brought it up to listening volume without much effort. I didn't find it particularly susceptible to hiss from any particular device, though through something like the F.Audio S1 which was designed mainly for running high impedance headphones, there was some hiss kickin' it in the background.

    Personal Preferences:

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

    Specifications:
    • Sensitivity: 108 dB/mW +/- 2 dB
    • Impedance: 17 ohm
    • Frequency response: 20-20 kHz
    • Cable: 1.2m silver-plated copper with 0.78mm 2-pin (detachable)
    • Driver Type: 8mm dynamic + balanced armature
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    Packaging and Accessories:

    The SEED arrives in some nicely designed packaging that stylistically is a step above what I'm used to seeing at this price range. The front contains the usual branding, feature highlights, and image of the earphone, all set within segmented spaces that give the design a mosaic feel to it. It's detailed, distinct, and attractive without coming across as over designed. Flip to the rear where you find a blown up image of the SEED's construction, the specifications, and a frequency response graph, along with a list of what's included;
    • SEED earphones
    • 6 core AWG wire, silver-plated OFC cable
    • Carrying pouch
    • Silicone tips (s/m/l)
    • Manual/Warranty information leaflet
    Note that the packaging states only two sets of tips are included when there are actually three. The tips themselves are of decent quality, if not a little papery feeling. Still, they seal well, are comfortable, and should be fine for most. The carrying pouch feels durable and snaps tightly shut which should helps protect the SEED from outside influences. Overall the presentation is fantastic and the included accessories useful, just not plentiful.

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    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The SEED's shells take on a familiar low profile, jellybean style shape that fills the outer ear. The outside is characterized by a small dip that neatly fits a fingertip, within which sits a raised Kinera logo in gold. Above near where the 2-pin cable plugs in are the L and R markings, also crafted through a raised mold and colored gold which really stands out against the black shell. The nozzles are a separate piece of metal, also colored gold, with two openings that highlight Kinera's use of tubes to guide the balanced armature's sound. Those who are sticklers for the use of sound tubing with balanced armatures, here you go. The shell itself is a glossy piano black plastic and is constructed quite well. All parts fit together tightly with no sharp edges or unsightly gaps. My only issue with the build more comes down to part selection on the cable.

    The ear piece connectors for the 2-pin cable were clearly designed for a recessed design which is obvious since they never look like they're plugged in all the way. When I let a fellow Head-fi'er try them out, he was surprised to know it was that way out of the box. Since the pins are the only thing supporting the cable, ala. TFZ Exclusive 1/3/5 it makes that a clear weak point. Don't sit on these with the cable plugged in, and be careful with them in your pocket.

    The stock cable is the star of the show here, and something I would expect to be sold online by itself for well over half the cost of the entire SEED package. It is gorgeous with a shimmery silverly white color and looks mighty impressive. Above and below the y-split it is thick with a medium tightness twist/braid. The reasonably compact Kinera branded straight jack is metal and can be easily disassembled to reveal a very tidy solding job covered in clear heat shrink. Moving up the cable you arrive at the metal y-split which announces the model. It also shows off that the cable is unbroken in it's connection between the source and ear pieces. This should help with longer term durability despite the lack of strain relief. Directly above the y-split is a large bead that acts as a chin cinch, and it works well too. The last noteworthy item is the preformed ear guides instead of memory wire (THANK YOU KINERA!!). They are flexible, unintrusive, and work exceptionally well at keeping the cable in place behind your ear even during heavy movement. Like the jack, the 2-pin connectors are user serviceable (first I've seen). Should you be handy with a soldering iron and want to replace them or repair any damage, you should be able to with ease.

    The SEED's low profile shape hugs the ear wonderfully and while they never quite disappear, rarely do I feel the need to adjust them. The shells are well-rounded everwhere so they never create any hot spots either. The SEED is very comfortable, for me at least. Someone with tiny outer ears may run into issues with fit since this isn't a particularly small earphone. Still, I think those people will probably be in the minority.

    When it comes to isolation the SEED is quite effective, even with the public-facing ventilation in place. I had no qualms using these in a busy coffee shop listening at only slightly above my normally low volumes, or walking downtown through traffic. These should be just fine for use on transit as well.

    DSC03039.JPG DSC03040.JPG DSC03042.JPG

    Sound:

    Tips: The SEED's stock tips are comfortable and pair well with the earphone. If you want to bump up mid-range clarity toss on some wide bore tips. It makes a surprisingly large difference and is worth checking out. Using a medium to wide bore tip with a stiff core also helps with the mid-bass hump and evens out the mid-/sub-bass balance. I avoided foam tips since they sucked all the treble energy out of the SEED. Not a good match in my opinion.

    The SEED has a fairly easygoing signature with emphasis aimed squarely at providing a quality vocal experience. Treble rolls off calmly, upper mids are emphasized, and there is a mid-bass focus with roll off in the deepest reaches. This tune is distinctly different than the H3 before it, which should put a smile across the face of those who were not pleased with that particular model.

    Lower treble has a nice little bump that helps give female vocals some additional presence. Upper ranges roll off and as a result the treble profile of the SEED is reasonably relaxed. There is a decent bit of shimmer and sparkle on cymbals and other effects as shown when listening to Gramatik's “Bluestep” and throughout Metallica's “Don't Tread on Me”, but not so much as to make them fatiguing or uncomfortable.

    The upper mid bump gives female vocals additional presence without being shouty or sibilant. Male vocals are slightly more recessed, but rarely did I ever find they were overshadowed by female vocals. Guitars and other instruments have good presence and texture but I found micro-details to be masked and smoothed over. Timbre is much more accurate and natural than the H3 ever was.

    Bass on the SEED has a clear mid-bass focus with a distinct lack of sub-bass presence. Extension is actually pretty decent, as heard in the opening moments of Kavinski's “Solli”, but the mid-bass hump takes over more often than not so the sub-bass rarely gets a chance to shine. Speed is decent, as is impact, but neither are particularly memorable. To help the SEED out with mid- and sub-bass balance I tend to apply some EQ; -2db @62hz, -3dB @125hz, -2 dB @250hz. Seems to work quite well.

    Sound stage is a plus with the SEED which comes across decently large and open with reasonable width and depth. Channel to channel panning is accurate and well layered with good separation between instruments and effects. On King Crimson's “Starless and Bible Black” during which the final few minutes is more or less a crazy jazz improv session, the SEED shows off it's competent separation qualities. Better than many, less so than others. Overall quite decent.

    I found the SEED to be a competent performer. Mid-/sub-bass balanced could be improved upon, as could micro-detail top to bottom. Regardless, it's a pleasant sounding earphone without any glaring issues that ruin the experience and nothing that feels out of place given the price range they play in.

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    Select Comparisons:

    (Volumes matched as best as possible using the Dayton Audio IMM-6.)

    Massdrop x Nuforce EDC (59.00 USD): The EDC is great at what it's name implies, being an everyday carry. It's comfortable, well built from durable materials, isolates well, and sounds good, all qualities that can also be applied to the SEED. While the EDC comes with better and higher quality accessories, the SEED's cable is miles ahead of the two included with the NuForce.

    Sonically they perform similarly with the EDC having slightly better balance in the low end, and a more even, though also more distant, mid-range. Treble is slightly dull compared to the SEED. For me they're basically interchangeable in terms of use as an everyday carry, though should I want something with a slightly more exciting signature the SEED would be my pick due to that extra treble energy.

    TFZ Exclusive 3 (59.99 USD): The Exclusive 3 is the most balanced earphone in the Exclusive lineup from TFZ, though that doesn't mean they're actually balanced. Beside the SEED the Ex. 3 is brighter, bassier, more textured, and does a much better job of pulling micro-details. The extra bass emphasis, better mid-/sub-bass balance, and speed makes it a much more impactful and visceral listen than the SEED. The SEED's mid-range is slightly more forward and lush though it lacks the clarity of the Ex. 3. Treble on both is emphasized with the Ex. 3 being the brighter of the two. They're equally smooth.

    In terms of build the Ex. 3 feels a little more substantial with the use of plastic and steel. Like the SEED, it's cable is braided and silver-coated but much thinner and with unnecessarily large . The 2-pin connectors are also more of a weak point due to the way they receptacles protrude from the housing. Comfort is pretty much a wash since they both have low profile housings. The SEED does hug my ear a little more naturally though.

    Final Thoughts:

    With the SEED, Kinera has a solid product. They've got the looks down, have included a stellar cable, and in general seem to have developed a product that is competitive with others in the price range. The low profile shells are comfortable, isolation is good, and the mid-bass hump helps them out in noisy environments where I think it is most in it's element. For me, the SEED has been a fantastic daily driver and is an easy earphone to recommend for that purpose. When it comes to critical listening, the SEED needs more balance, especially in the low end where the sub-bass emphasis is overshadowed by the mid-bass. Micro-detail could also be improved upon.

    Overall I have been pleased with the SEED and think that it is a strong follow up to the divisive H3 with a sound signature that should offer wider appeal.

    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 (Album)
    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bone) (Album)
      DocHoliday, KipNix and Misson07 like this.
    1. DocHoliday
      Great review, as usual, B9.

      Sounds like a richer, deeper & wider HDS1 experience with detachable cables, no?
      DocHoliday, Jul 7, 2018
  6. faceestrella
    Kinera Seed Yin Review - Reap and Sow
    Written by faceestrella
    Published Apr 20, 2018
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Attractive design, Quality build and cable, Great fit, Easy to listen to sound.
    Cons - Lacks sub-bass, Too conservative treble tuning.
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    Overview: The Seed Yin is Kinera’s spiritual successor to their very popular BD005, utilizing the same 1 Dynamic and 1 Balanced Armature driver hybrid configuration that proved successful in the BD005 whilst adding some refined touches in its design and build indicating the direction that Kinera is headed towards for their future releases. The Seed Yin is placed in the ever growing and competitive ~50 USD bracket clocking in at 49 USD SRP. Will the Seed sprout and allow Kinera to turn on a new leaf? We will find out. Disclaimer: The Seed unit I have is a unit given to me by a personal friend not affiliated with Kinera.
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    Packaging: The Seed comes in a compact white cardboard box containing the basic product information and a photo of the IEM on the front and detailed specifications at the back. Opening the box reveals the IEMs themselves, the cable, and 3 pairs of silicone ear tips all tucked in foam. Lifting the foam carrier up reveals the user manual, a card with a brief background on the Seed, a card advertising Kinera social media channels and, a “special thanks” card. Finally, there is a small pouch with a self-closing clasp and red accent stitching. Overall the packaging is attractive and has a premium feel, though more eartips would be appreciated.
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    Build Quality: Kinera has utilized a 3-piece housing design on the Seed with the main housing being divided into 2 molded plastic pieces and the final piece being the gold metal sound tube that utilizes 2 different sound bores for each driver, the construction shows no gaps or air holes along the seam of the shell, which admittedly could be smoother in how they come together, but at this price point that is hard to criticize. The Kinera logo and left and right markers are debossed and painted with gold and there’s a bass vent just at the end of the Kinera text. On the reverse the Kinera Seed logo also appears painted in grey. The cable included with the Seed is a fantastic looking 6 conductor silver plated copper cable with plastic molded ear guides and is reasonably tangle resistant. The 2-pin terminations are housed in a black metallic cover with blue and red rings to indicate left and right. The “Y” split and neck cinch are plastic and finally the 3.5mm termination is finished is metal with both sporting printed logos. Overall, the cable is of a quality that isn’t common at this price point, though a better strain relief on the 3.5mm jack would have been appreciated.
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    Fit: The Seed has a light build and a rather compact shape, this provides very good fit for a wide variety of ear shapes and sizes. It’s quite easy to find your preferred fit and once inside your ears they are very secure and provide good isolation even with the vent, which was a pleasant surprise especially on windy days or light runs around the neighborhood. The form factor also made sleeping while wearing the Seed quite comfortable.
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    Sound: Sound impressions of the Seed were taken after 200 hours of playtime with the Hiby R6, LG G6, and FiiO Q1 Mk II connected to a laptop playing both extreme quality Spotify Tracks and a minimum of 16-bit 44.1KHz FLAC. All of them being volume matched appropriately for fair comparisons.
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    Bass: The Seed has a moderate bump of mid bass with relatively quick decay, enough to add some slam and note thickness without overpowering the mids. It is however light on the sub bass, meaning the low end visceral rumble is lacking. This is apparent songs like “Grand Theft Autumn” by Fall Out Boy where the fast rolling bass drums and guitar have good enough presence and definition but “Love” of Lana Del Rey with it’s booming, and deep bass hits felt incomplete. Installing Comply foam tips helped increase the sub bass level at the expense of also increasing the mid bass.
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    Mids: The Mids on the Seed are smooth, moderately detailed and have a slight vocal emphasis. Vocals don’t sound thin and instruments have a good weight to them. Lower mids are well presented but not necessarily boosted while upper mids being more present with good texture thus higher range vocals are expressive and defined. Generally vocal or instrument focused songs such as “Northern Downpour” perform well on the Seed as the composition is mostly mids focused.
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    Treble: The Seed’s treble can be simply described as polite and relaxed. There are minimal peaks so cymbal crashes don’t exhibit harshness and the Seed is not prone to sibilance in most music. Clarity and details are average however, and due to this conservative treble approach air and sparkle is minimal, so music genres that are focused on upper register instrumentation don’t synergize too well, “Mr. Sexy Saxy” by Jarez didn’t have the grating feeling of uncontrolled treble during energetic saxophone runs but also lacked the engagement that really lets the instrument shine.
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    Presentation: The Seed has a more intimate presentation both in width and depth, however does not sound congested with positioning being accurate in the stage. Layering and resolution are good, though not exceptional, with busy multi-instrumented tracks not just losing all definition and good enough articulation within and between the instruments in those compositions.
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    Overall: The Seed has a coherent and easily listenable signature. Whilst not particularly engaging, it provides fatigue free listening that is overall pleasant with most pop, rock, and some electronic music. It’s a signature that while not very targeted, it’s also one that few would take issue with and at 49 USD that’s not a bad direction to take.
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    Conclusion: The Seed combines, premium build, (subjectively) attractive design, good fit, and smooth sounds well suited for easy listening. It is however not without its misgivings; the lack of sub bass and conservative tuning might turn off some looking for a specific sound or those aiming for critical listening sessions. But if you’re looking for something for casual and relaxed listening that’s a bit different from the usual sonic flavors then the Seed provides a good alternative to the options in the market segment.


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      hqssui and tarhana like this.