Build, Design and Fit
The new Margarita looks good. This has already become a brand that we don’t expect less of. The shape is identical to the other models in the Kinera Imperial range, but the design is different with a simpler design and QoA brand name.
The build quality is satisfying and quite impressive with a seamless transition and an integrated nozzle structure. There’s nothing to worry about here.
The IEM has a three-bore design the tips hold nicely on the nozzles. These tips are excellent for a rigid and secure fit. Margarita has a very nice shape for most ears. It is not too large and that helps to get a very comfortable fit. The package provides a lot of tips to choose from and I’m sure you will find the best pair for your ears.
Kinera sent me the new upgrade RUM cable as well. This one has 6N OCC with silver plated wires in a 4-wire design. It has wonderful flexibility, softness and build quality. The audio jacks are also modular like the stock cable, so you can use them with every type of connection. I’ll share short impressions at the end of the review about the sound effects.
The QoA Margarita provides a clean, crisp and slightly v-shaped fun sound. The sub-bass and the upper-treble range are lifted, whilst the midrange stays dry with good enough resolution. It has good qualities like soundstage, transparency, imaging and detail.
Overall it’s not the equivalent of the Nanna, but it’s simply a cheaper alternative that carries over the qualities of the bigger model. It has a very slight warmth in it, especially in the bass region. It has the qualities of the Nanna to some degree, but it’s not that assertive and defined.
The bass has good texture and impact and the tuning of the 7 mm driver is very nice. Lows have good resolution and rumble, leaning on the sub-bass area more than the mid-bass. I would’ve preferred less sub-bass overall, but I’m sure many people will like the kick. Besides, there’s a fair amount of mid-bass as well. However, it’s not that much compared to the sub-bass, so some instruments lack the foundation and overall timbre.
That also depends on the recording you’re listening to. Margarita doesn’t give an excessive bass, and it also doesn’t give an overly shy bass either. And yet, I think the sub-bass area is a bit lifted so I would categorize this IEM as more fun than neutral. There’s good texture in the bass with nice layering. It also manages to stay away from the midrange which is a good thing. The control and quickness are also remarkable feats of this IEM.
The mid-range has a good definition, good resolution and nice detail. Transparency is impressive for the price, The timbre is mostly realistic, but the lack of midbass creates a deficiency in terms of foundation and fullness in terms of instrument presentation. That is partly because of the stock cable, but I’ll touch upon that below. Otherwise, it has a good timbre and the tonality feels natural.
Mids are smooth, and very controlled in the upper section, despite being a bit elevated in that area. For sheer transparency and detail, there are more detailed and resolving IEMs of course. In Kinera’s lineup, you have the Odin, Nanna and Baldr models, but those are either flagship or co-flagship models.
The separation and detail in the midrange are very good for this price, and I think these two factors make the Margarita quite successful in this part. The only dent is the mid-bass and lower midrange presentation, which needs a bit more blood.
The treble is smooth but it lacks the Nanna energy and definition a bit. Treble is not too impressive in that regard. This is the biggest difference with Nanna. Though if you like your treble very smooth and inoffensive, this might suit you better.
The qualities of the Margarita in the treble are not bad at all if you don’t compare it to the brand’s flagship models. The treble resolution is good but there needs to be more extension and definition to make this a true Nanna alternative. But these two aspects are not hugely impressive. The delivery is not crispy enough.
Strangely, however, despite this approach, the treble has excellent micro details and resolution. It is also quite articulated, and transparent at the same time. But the openness and air are not on Nanna’s level in my opinion.