My main sources were the FiiO KA1 / ddHiFi TC44C / iFi Go Blu. Trusted sources from trusted brands that I used extensively for the past months.
As usual, files were played from either Apple Music (in Hi-Res) / Spotify or my own music library. Some tracks will be highlighted so that you can try them at home too!
So, what can you expect from the $49 Kinera Celest Gumiho, sonically speaking? Some nice things quite actually!
First and foremost, despite its rather modest price tag, the IEM proved to be a powerful contender with striking lows, even with low-powered source like the FiiO KA1, even surpassing models such as the FiiO FH3 and the JD3. Whether you’re listening to contemporary pop artists, jazz crooners, or classical sopranos, the Gumiho was particularly proficient at delivering a warm and engaging mid-range, making it the perfect companion for tracks with rich vocals and complex instrumentation.
Definitely, the Planar Driver is the pièce de resistance here. It avoids any conspicuous flaws in this frequency range, creating an audio experience that seamlessly blends punchy mid-tones with robust lows. Add a surprisingly expansive soundstage and an excellent respect for sound timbres to the mix, and you have an IEM that truly delivers a potent auditory performance.
Voices were a bit behind though and I had to tweak the 6-8kHz on my EQ to heighten the highs, but apart from that, the Celest didn’t exhibit any obvious flaw in this frequency range, and the punchy low-mid blended well with the powerful lows. Add to that a wide soundstage, great overall cohesion, and excellent respect for sound timbres and you get a very potent IEM. When it comes to resolution and refinement, the Gumiho astounds. When paired with a modest audio source, like the FiiO or the ddHiFi TC44A, it already provides an impressive output. But once connected to a higher-grade source like the iFi Go Blu or TC44C, it truly comes alive, offering an engaging and detailed sound that rivals many pricier alternatives.
Paired with a good source, I think that you’d be impressed by how full the Kinera sounds, pushing an outstanding level of sound pressure, without any harshness or audible distortion. The Gumiho’s sonic capabilities manage to deliver an exceptional level of subtlety and detail without ever becoming harsh or displaying noticeable distortion. Of course, it isn’t flawless, and the high-mids could use some tightening up, especially with classical tracks. However, the dryness of the lows ensures that this shortcoming rarely becomes a noticeable issue.
The IEM displays nicely controlled bass response and impact, magnified by an excellent level of layering. For a two-driver, the result is compelling, and techno/jazz lovers, like me, with a limited budget will be hard-pressed to find an IEM as dynamic as this one – under 50 bucks. I tried Mo Ergaste Forn from John Murphy, Venezia from AKKI (DE), and Moonshine from Young Gun Silver, and each time the IEM pushed the same smile on my face. It’s not perfect, far from it, but the lively signature, impressive instrument separation, and massive kicks became deeply addictive. It might not boast the sheer performance of higher-end models, but it brings a fun factor that’s hard to beat.
Paired with a powerful source, such as the iBasso DC04 Pro, the Gumiho’s mids become more defined and the lows gain more substance without overshadowing the vocals. Get balanced and it gets even better: the transition between low, mids, gets even more seamless and distortion lowers even more.
Finally, I also plugged into my MacBook Air headphone port, and found the matching impressive, even if the result was not as good as with the DAC – which was to be expected – but the fun factor remained: for a quick trip, or a long break at work this is the perfect pair.
A very nice surprise, that I’d definitely recommend for any newcomers.
Highs: clean and inoffensive. High-frequency extension is good, and the brand made some good choices regarding the tuning of their BA driver. There’s a slight fall around 6-8kHz, but that’s not a deal-breaker, making the Gumiho’s inoffensive, even at high volume. An okay trade!
Good test-track: The Look Of love – Dusty Springfield
Mediums: wide and quick. Mids are good, with a balanced presentation that never overlaps on the other frequencies. Voices, especially jazz singers, really benefit from the brand’s field expertise and even seasoned audiophiles might be surprised by what the Celest achieved here. Try the linked track and give me your opinion!
Good test-track: Ex Factor – Jamie Cullum
Bass: solid bass and clean rumble. Clearly, bass is the main feat here: sharp, well-defined, impactful, and the more you push, the more you’re rewarded. It goes deep and the powerful low-mid seems to make them perfect for long listening sessions. Lovely
Good test-track : Tell Me – Rohey
Sensitivity / Hiss
Impedance is excessively low (9ohm), and sensitivity is good (106dB/mW), so you should have no problem driving those IEMs with your usual DAP, your phone, or anything quite honestly.
On my EarMen Sparrow, the IEM behaves exceptionally well. Same with my ddHiFi TC35C or even plugged into my computer, all were able to drive the IEM with ease, even in noisy environments.
Last but not least, those ears are sensitive to hiss, so be wary.
For $49 USD, the Kinera Celest Gumiho is a pleasant surprise.
Build quality is good, design is funny and, If I didn’t expect much from those ears at first, I became immediately hooked the moment I put them in my ears. Solid lows, wide soundstage, and low distortion, those sound and feels like a mid-tier IEM for a quarter of the price. Okay, the design is a bit janky, the fit won’t please every ear and the original cable isn’t the best, but sound-wise, this Planar Driver shall please all and every bassheads, or anyone seeking a low-priced IEM with solid performance.
If you’re a newcomer to the audiophile world, just seeking a good IEM to follow you on the go, or just on a tight budget, the Kinera Celest Gumiho should definitely be on your list. It’s as good as it’s cheap, and that says it all.
- Nice design (IMO)
- Good low-end performances
- Great layering
- Low price
- Subdued highs
- Isolation not great