Kinera Sif

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Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Ergonomic, attractive design – Solid bass-focused tuning
Cons: Slightly sibilant – Midbass can be a bit too heavy

Today we're checking out the Kinera Sif, the Yang to Kinera's Yin (SEED).

Back in 2018 Kinera released the SEED (Yin), one of a two part iems series (Yin and Yang). It was a budget friendly hybrid earphone originally intended to be a replacement for the BD005, though they had completely different signatures and seemed to coexist for a while. I liked the SEED for it's detailed, midrange heavy sound and comfortable, attractive shell. It was fairly priced too coming in at a hair under 50 USD. The Sif (Yang) finally came to fruition midway through 2019 as the second half of this earphone duo, and takes on a very different approach to sound reproduction when compared to the SEED. I'd say it's probably the true spiritual successor to the BD005.

Is the Sif a quality addition to Kinera's modern lineup? Let's find out.


What I Hear Lower treble on the Sif seems to take on most of the focus giving it good detail and overall clarity, but also a somewhat dry tonality. Upper treble isn't particularly linear either. It feels like there is a small spike then rapid roll off. As a result, the presentation can be inconsistent. It's not always sparkly, and can sometimes be too sharp. Notes can also be somewhat loose and downright splashy on poor quality files. Decay and attack sound nice though, with instruments being fairly accurately represented. There is also a decent amount of air between notes giving the Sif a spacey feel. While I don't think the treble presentation is terrible, improvements could certainly be made. It gets the job done at least.

The midrange is notably more competent with vocals displaying a realistic amount of warmth and weight. Coherency is fantastic with details and words coming out clearly and with strong definition. The upper mid bump and warmth provided by the Sif's elevated midbass make for a presentation that does an equally good job with both male and female vocals. Female vocals sound especially lush and sweet with just the right amount intimacy, at least based on my preferences. Timbre is occasionally thrown off by that upper treble spike, but for the most part I'm quite pleased with it's accuracy.

I haven't heard a Kinera that does bass quite like the Sif. It is well extended and heavily emphasized giving listeners plenty of feedback on the lowest of notes. It is a little on the slow side though, giving notes a very grumbly, lumpy feel. Kinda cool, but also not ideal for rapid notes which just barely avoid blending together. There is plenty of texture on tap keeping the Sif from sounding one-note. Midbass is the main focus though, and it does have a habit of softening the midrange on particularly bassy tracks. At times it can be a little overwhelming, but then I also prefer a more tame bass response, or sub-bass skew, so this presentation isn't in my wheelhouse anyway. I'm sure most are going to love it.

Soundstage is another area in which the Sif excels. Default staging is just beside the head with effects easily breaking off into the distance. Imaging is nice and clean with smooth channel transitions, layering is fairly average, and instrument separation slightly above. It all comes together to provide a fairly dynamic and expressive soundscape that doesn't smother the track.

Overall I'm quite pleased with the Sif. While treble control could be better, feeding it higher quality tracks goes a long way to cleaning things up. The midrange is fairly natural and coherent but the occasional bites of sibilance will bother some. The bass presentation is quite bold for a Kinera and I think will be the selling point for many. It's not quite going to satisfy a diehard basshead, but everyone else that enjoys an elevated low end should find themselves readily bobbing along to their beats.

Compared to a Peer (volumes matched with Dayton Audio iMM-6)

VJJB N30 (29.59 USD): The N30's dual dynamic setup provides a very different listening experience. Treble is exceptionally mellow with not a lot of sparkle to speak of. In terms of energy, the Sif is much more lively. Still, the N30 manages to retain a sound stage that rivals the Sif in width and depth. I'd give it an edge in layering, say it falls behind in imaging, and separates about the same, if not slightly less effectively than the Sif. The N30's midrange is thicker and warmer with a more linear transition from lower to upper. It's not as detailed nor as clear, but doesn't stray into the Sif's occasional sibilance. Bass on the Sif is much more impressive. It digs deeper, hit harder, has more texture, and provides a more clear, crisp image of each note

In terms of build, the N30 certainly looks awesome with it's shiny blue, almost alien face plates. The ability to peer through the shell into the drivers and complicated looking crossover certainly adds to the appeal as well. The Sif is much nicer to actually wear though, with a more natural shape and ear guides that were formed correctly. While I like the N30's cable, the use of uncommon DC connector plugs limit 3rd party cable options.

The N30 is a solid earphone for the price, but the extra 10 USD you'd put towards the Sif is well worth it.

CCA C10 (41.00 USD): Bass presentation between the two is similar with the five driver, hybrid C10 showing slightly better extension, and the Sif being more linear. The Sif provides more texture while the C10 has a bit more kick behind notes. Due to the Sif's upper mid emphasis, it's presentation is perceived as slightly more forward with increased clarity and detail and a more natural, thicker tone. Timbre is a step behind on the C10 having a more metallic, raspy tinge to it. Treble on the C10 is better extended. Neither has a linear presentation with the C10 showing bias towards lower treble while the Sif's upper treble spike takes precedence. The Sif's upper range presentation is tighter, with notes sounding more controlled. The C10 sounds less wide and more in the head than the Sif with less space between notes. The C10's staging has more depth though, giving it an edge in terms of layering and separation. Imaging is similarly good with notes transitioning between channels with decent accuracy.

In terms of build, the Sif is better looking to my eyes, while the C10 feels much more premium thanks to it;s use of dense acrylics and a heavy metal alloy face plate. Their cables are quite similar with the Sif's being slightly thicker and less tangle prone. The C10 has much better strain relief, however, so I expect it would last longer.

While I enjoy both earphones, the C10 never really won me over. It quickly gets boring, an issue I don't have with the Sif. Plus, the Sif's smaller, lighter shells sit better in the ear during long listening sessions and when I'm out being active.

Kinera SEED (49.99 USD): The SEED gets a lot of hate, and I just don't get it. It has the sort of neutral-bright signature that gets wide acclaim elsewhere. Detail is there, timbre is more accurate than a lot of other budget hybrids, and it looks great. Bass compared to the Sif lacks depth and sub-bass emphasis, but has more punch and a hint more texture. Mids on the Sif are similarly tuned with an upper mid bias. Perception is thicker and warmer due to the extra mid-bass on tap, but falls behind the SEED when it comes to clarity and detail. Treble on the SEED rolls of earlier and is notably less prominent in the brilliance region giving it a more relaxed sound. Lower treble is similarly presentation between the two. It's give the SEED the edge in terms of detail and clarity, but it falls behind in terms of sound stage having a more confined, intimate presentation. Imaging is better on the SEED though with channel-to-channel transition being more crisp and accurate.

In terms of build the two are basically the same, though the Sif gets the edge. The Sif's housings are slightly more refined with neater paint. The MMCX ports are better integrated into the design compared to the SEED's 2-pin setup. The cable on the Sif is thinner and less luxurious (most notably the y-split and plug materials), but it wasn't recalled due to a discolouring issue. I miss the SEED's bead-like chin cinch though. That thing was useful.

While I really enjoy both earphones and will continue to think the SEED is underappreciated, I can't help but surrender to the Sif's superior tuning. It has vastly improved sub-bass performance combined with better upper treble and a thicker more natural, if less textured and detailed, sound.


In The Ear You cannot be blamed for thinking the Sif looks familiar. It's the Yang to the Kinera Seed's Yin after all. The plastic housings have seen some modifications from their time with the Seed, such as the move from piano black to a lovely gloss white. Since the Sif uses a single driver and there is no need for a dual output nozzle, it has been replaced with a more traditional silver nozzle with metal grill. The 2-pin system, for better or worse, has been replaced with MMCX. The plug snap in tightly and while they rotate, there is enough pressure to prevent that from happening freely. Build quality is similar to the Seed with small improvements in the overall finish. The silver paint coating the raised Kinera branding and L/R markings is notably neater on the Sif, a good thing because in white this housing looks even more classy.

The cable has been mostly improved too. It is lighter, more flexible, and has more compact metal hardware. It's all unbranded though, and loses some of the premium air of the SEED's cable. The aggressively shaped preformed ear guides are a little stiffer than I prefer, but they do the job just fine and do not cause any discomfort. The lack of a chin cinch is the only thing missing, and I suppose better strain relief couldn't hurt.

When it comes to comfort the Sif is excellent. The traditional-at-this-point, bean-shaped, low profile design has been tested by time. It conforms wonderfully to the out ear, there are no sharp edges to cause discomfort, and it simply works. The light weight of the mostly plastic design certainly helps as well. Isolation is pretty average, or slightly below. Treating them as ear plugs with the stock tips in place, sound bleeds through pretty easily. There is a small vent on the outside by the Kinera logo, so it makes sense. Compensation for the noise with extra volume when using the Sif in noisy places is something most people will have to do. That or find some third party foam tips which also helps.


In The Box Kinera is no stranger to style. In the past, their products have almost always featured amazing physical designs or unique, eye-catching packaging. The Sif is no exception. Straight up, the hexagonal shape of the box it arrives in is unlike anything I have seen from another brand. Neither is the intriguing smeary wood-grain, oil paint-like texturing that adorns it. Flip the package over and you find a more standard black panel marked with specifications, an image of the earpieces, a content list, and some social media links.

Lifting off the lid reveals a social media card inviting you to join the Kinera community, a user manual about the size and shape of a standard business card, and under those a Sif branded clam shell carrying case inside which you find the Sif and accessories. In all you get:
  • Kinera Sif earphones​
  • MMCX silver-plated cable​
  • Single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)​
  • Velcro cable tie​
Cool unboxing. Fairly standard but good quality accessories. I'm satisfied.

Final Thoughts Kinera has been playing catch up ever since the H3 was ripped apart by a few key reviewers, at least in the communities I frequent, though it certainly has it's fans (myself included). Despite my positive feelings about the SEED, others didn't quite feel the same way and it too added to the darkness hovering over the brand. While the IDUN started pushing feelings back in the right direction, more was needed.

Kinera's newest budget models like the Sif we reviewed today should go a long way towards quelling naysayers. Like the Tyr, the Sif is a well-tuned earphone that goes punch for punch with other quality examples in the price range. Add to that a comfortable and attractive design, a simple but unique unboxing experience, and a solid accessory kit and the Sif is absolutely worth checking out.

I'm really look forward to seeing what Kinera has in store for us next. Thanks for reading!

- B9

Disclaimer Thanks to Nappoler with HiFiGo for arranging a sample of the Sif for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on time spent listening with the Sif. They do not represent Kinera, HiFiGo, or any other entity. At the time of writing the Sif retailed for 39.99 USD:

  • Driver: 10mm SPM dynamic driver​
  • Impedance: 32ohm​
  • Sensitivity: 112dB +/- 1dB​
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz​
Devices Used For Testing LG Q70, Asus FX53V, TEAC HA-501, Periodic Audio Nickle, ifi hip dac, Shanling M0

Some Test Tunes
Supertramp – Crime of the Century
Slipknot – Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
King Crimson – Lark's Tongues in Aspic
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dreams
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Headphones and Coffee

Previously known as Wretched Stare
Pros: Looks , A great musical sounding IEM with smooth bass and comfort.
Cons: Case could be bigger , cable could be better nothing major at this price
First let me get out of the way My Sif came to me Via , this in no way ever influences my review because I make it a habit to not write on products I'm going to complain about and see no merit in reviewing.

Packaging is small but adequate and very stylish with its hexagon shape.

Accessories are minimal with a very nice little case that fits the Sif inside and will provide some protection on its travels.

Build quality is light wight and sturdy enough to not worry about it, the IEM consisting of a two part very elegant looking all white shell. the silver cable is above average in quality for this price range.

Comfort is very good IMO having worn these now nonstop for hours in the out side cold and the heat of my gym.
I don't notice them in my ear after the insertion and didn't find myself adjusting them like I have to do often with most pairs.


Treble is non aggressive and very pleasant without the need for EQ like some other brands that can be very sibilant with certain recordings. There is a nice amount of details up here but remember this is a dynamic driver only so in this respect its doing a great job with the highs that roll off perfectly before any annoying harshness.

Mids are very clear, the have a good presence and timbre The low-mid contains a lot of energy and was pleasant with a surprising clarity and smoothness.

Vocals are excellent with both male and female artist in the many recordings and types of music use for my assessment.
Instrument separation was above average and imaging was better than expected from a single DD IEM.
Soundstage was both accurate in its presentation and wider than average, here its performance was far better than expected with nice depth to it.

Bass the Kinera Sif has a great smoothness to its boom and definitely scales depending on the track being played. I found the Bass and Sub-Bass to have a great power to it without being overly muddy or encroaching upon the mids as a typical V shaped earphone would, this said the Bass has superb control and speed to it.

My conclusion is the Sif is a vast improvement over its predecessor the seed and is a sharp looking IEM that is a under $40 budget bargain, being comfortable. sounding fun and enjoyable with any type of music.
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Johnny Mac

New Head-Fier
Pros: Easy to love warm sound, great packaging and accessory set.
Cons: No design change from the former Kinera Seed.

A journey always begins with one step and while I have already made reviews more than I have ever imagined I would when I decided to engage in this hobby, it’s nice to come full circle once again with one of the brands that jump-started Audio Realviews.

Kinera was one of these brands. They started way back 2010 and have since released a collection of audiophile offerings topped by their flagship Odin IEM. What we have to realview now though is the Kinera Sif, the Kinera Seeds’ sibling and was designed to follow the Yin-Yang mantra, the Sif strictly comes in white while the Seed exclusively came in black. Shenzhen Audio and Kinera provided the Kinera Sif sample unit in exchange for an honest take on it and no monetary factors were involved. The Kinera Sif is currently priced at $37 and you can grab and check them off the official Shenzhen Audio website.
The Kinera Sif sports a single 10mm dynamic driver spec’d out with 20Hz to 20kHz Frequency Response, 32Ohm Impedance and 110 dB Sensitivity. The SIF’s sibling, the Kinera Seed was adored as it was despised when it came out and with a much more subdued white colorway, will the Kinera SIF diverge from this mentality altogether? Let’s get on with the realview to find out.

Packaging and Build Quality
First impressions last, and the Kinera Sif’s packaging and box will delight any consumer that it will get a chance to unpack it off their mails or unbox it when they get home. The choice of going for a unique hexagon box in an almost delectable rocky road ice cream color with the Sif name and Kinera logo upfront was a welcome sight.
Removing the top cover will immediately show the separate hexagon box for the IEMs themselves which is secured in a black synthetic leather carrying case with the Sif manual on top. Inside this carrying case are a collection (S, M and L) of white translucent silicone ear tips with white wide bores.
The Kinera Sif is made of plastic all over except for the metal nozzle and grill that is now in silver as compared to the Seed which came in gold and while the Sif and Seed has the same design, the Sif now comes with gold-plated MMCX connections rather the .78mm 2pin connection that came with the Seed. It retains the Kinera logo on the faceplate as well as the single vent and the L and R markings which was the same with the Seed except this time, the logo and markers are in silver. The paint on the logo and the L and R markers on the Seed chipped away after sometime and I hope the Sif’s paint job lasts longer this time around and so far it has. The build doesn’t feel cheap although it is lightweight.
The Sif’s stock cable has no official specifications but at the looks of it, it’s possibly an SPC cable insulated in clear TPU. It uses round braids that has great tension to each braid but overall renders the cable as not the best for storage as it tangles easily, good thing though is that Kinera has added a velcro strap for cable management and eliminate the tangling issue when storing.


A cable cinch is also present which works great to tighten the cable for a more secure fit, the cinch comes in clear transparent plastic which the Y-split also employs the same material. The Sif’s stock cable also comes with an over-ear memory guide that ends with a metallic silver-finished housing for the male MMCX connection which is labeled with L and R, the other terminal ends with the same silver-finished housing that has great strain relief that also comes with the same clear transparent plastic and terminates with a gold-plated 3.5mm plug.

The Kinera Sif has been marketed to have been “tuned to a warm, smooth and bassy kind of sound” which was a supposed direct opposite over its Seed sibling. I have done the recommended 30-hour burn-in period(for those that believe it) and have honestly even exceeded it. The Kinera Sif overall gave out an overall warm tonality with emphasis on the sub bass and lower midrange frequencies and a soft approach towards the midrange and the higher frequencies. I was tempted to use full foams for the Sif as it gave the best isolation for my ears however I opted to go with the provided medium-sized white translucent silicone ear tips for the duration of the reaview as well as the Sony A46HN music player crunching out various 16/44 FLAC files which would be mentioned along the realview.

The lows of the Kinera Sif is where the magic happens. I called on Foo Fighter’s to belt out their My Hero track in 16/44 FLAC and right off the bat the Sif showed that it can give the low-end goodies that most bass heads love, the bass sounded deep but with not much power and a soft thump that lingers long. The sub bass performance isn’t weak in its delivery but not too powerful as well, just the right grip with a slow decay. Bass lovers that prefer a lingering feel on the low-end will enjoy the Sif.

Fleetwood Mac’s Sara in 16/44 FLAC graced the midrange test of the Kinera Sif and it rendered the vocals to sound full and clear, coming out at an easily distinguishable aspect. The lower midrange performance complimented the lingering bass feel to exude a more relaxing sound. Upper midrange performance sounded soft and with moderate attack on the various instrumental tones. The Sif can lull you to just chill and let go with its midrange sound.

Things starts to slow down for the Sif when it reached the higher frequency test. Ed Sheeran came to the after party and rocked his Galway Girl track in 16/44 FLAC. Guitar strums came out with great clarity and definition. Treble doesn’t peak at best and as a treble head myself, it made me long for more and maybe even just a tinge of sparkle would be lovely. All was cool though as harsh peaks didn’t rear its head on the Sif. The Sif would be getting more ear time with how the highs are tuned and its less fatiguing sound.

Soundstage and Imaging
The vent on the faceplate of the Sif works and it made the soundstage less intimate than I have expected it to be. Instrumental tones has more focus on width than depth, there is average detail retrieval and imaging were average as well as the left to right and right to left panning. Layering was mediocre at best too but taking into account how the instruments and spacing were still observable gave the Sif a single thumbs up if not two.

At its price point of $37 and based on how the overall relaxing warm sound of the Sif was delivered, it’s hard not to recommend it. It has a refreshing and clearly out of its price point packaging with a complete set of accessories (for an entry-level IEM). Its silhouette and design language might not be a new thing since we have seen this in the Seed, it still makes the Sif an aesthetically better looking IEM than most of its under $40 peers.


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