Disclaimer: I received the Kinera IDUN directly from Kinera in exchange for my honest opinion. IDUN will have a 139$ price tag when it’s widely available. This version with the wooden face plate won’t be for sale as it’s only for promotional use. I thank Steve from Kinera for providing the sample unit.
Kinera is in some progress lately, like some other manufacturers that make various good products for personal audio. With IEMs making their way to be more and more popular everyday, it’s anything but surprising to see so many brands and models already settled in the market. It’s good business after all, and it’s also good for the audiophiles. You have several options at any level of price and it still gets more and more diversified.
This is the first product we review from Kinera, so it’s fair to say that you might need some information about the brand. It’s one of the companies who represent “Chi-Fi” as we name them. Kinera operates in China under Yutai Electronics, which was established in 2010. This electronics company has the determination to develop new generation of high – tech products for the consumer market.
One thing was surprising to me though; they also make BA drivers themselves as far as I can tell from their website. This makes things interesting, since they can produce BA drivers exactly like they want them to perform. Of course this may not automatically mean that Kinera earphones should sound amazing, but it’s something to keep in mind. You all know that it’s almost all about the acoustic design and tuning of course.
Kinera lately is focused on making hybrid in-ears and their first effort was the H3. It is was maybe their first hit to the market, making a name for itself in social media especially. The configuration was a 1D + 2BA design and it overall got a nice reception among the crowd, although having some problems in its sound in terms of control. Then came the “Seed” model, which was even more affordable and it was also a hybrid (1D+1BA).
Idun (Old Norse “Iðunn”) is a beautiful Goddess with long golden hair, she is the Goddess of spring and eternal youth, she guards the apples of youth in Norse mythology.
So here we are with their latest and yet to be released model, the IDUN. This one uses the same configuration as the H3, but the company asserts that they’ve addressed the problems they faced with the H3. I never listened to it though, so I can’t make comments from my perspective, but you can also search for information about the previous H3 like I did. You can see those comments and sound impressions.
Steve have sent me a comparison graph of FRs of both models, and I can clearly say they’ve drastically improved the overall balance, but let me keep that screenshot until the sound part eh? Let’s go now.
DESIGN & BUILD
I’ve received nothing but the IEMs themselves in their carrying case with some silicone tips, so I can’t comment about the consumer package at this stage. Please do also note that standard production versions might have different solutions in terms of build quality, audio jacks and connectors etc.
I’ve already stopped thinking in a way that a lot of people think about the build quality of Chinese products. Maybe in the past they were quite questionable, but now after I’ve seen many IEMs and other tech stuff from Chinese brands (my smartphone belongs to such brand), I can say they’ve substantially improved their products.
The Kinera IDUN first of all looks very very nice in terms of overall design. I asked this wood version especially from Steve and I think it’s a shame that this will not be released as a limited version. Only a handful of people received this version with the pre orders but I’ve seen the standard editions and they also look very cool as well. The face plates of this one is from burgundy wood and the shell is from a standard acrylic material by the looks of it. The transition from the shell trough the face plate is seamless, the overall design is smooth and there are no sharp spots on the shell. It’s like one of those semi-CIEMs that we now see with many different brands.
The shell is semi transparent and the inside is visible. It’s tightly packed, good craftsmanship overall as I didn’t find any flaws about the glue or cable & driver placements. Everything’s smooth. The IDUN utilizes 2-pin sockets, which are slightly recessed to provide a sturdy connection with the cables. The connectors sit very tight and they’re quite stiff, and cables are not easy to remove at first. This of course usually gets easier with removing and fitting them a couple of times.
The Kinera IDUN arrived with a silver-copper hybrid 8-core upgrade cable. It feels great in the hand and the overall quality is nice. The straight 3.5mm plug is sturdy and quite small / compact for easy mobile usage. The wraparound is somewhat loose though. I’m not sure if this is done intentionally or not, but a tighter cable could’ve been better. Of course we audiophiles keep our IEMs in good shape and baby them in their protective cases and all, but if you use your IEMs harshly in your commute and etc., this could be a spot to be careful.
This is one of the best parts of this IEM. This CIEM-ish designs are available with various brands in the market as I remarked, and I definitely appreciate these efforts. The Kinera IDUN fits great with it’s shape and convenient nozzle angle. You only need to choose the best tips for your ear canals, after that it’s very very comfortable and easy to insert / remove.
Let me say like this; I received the sample when I was listening to music with one of my CIEMs. When it arrived, my curiosity came into play of course and I opened the package and inserted the IEMs to my ears. Despite the fact that I inserted them right after wearing my CIEMs for some time, I didn’t feel any discomfort in any way. I lost some amount of isolation level of course which only CIEMs can provide, but other than that it’s been all good. Congrats to Kinera.
Isolation-wise it’s very good as well, but being a hybrid means that there’s a small port for the dynamic driver. So don’t expect an amazing isolation performance, but expect a very good one like those semi-custom designs. It’s just the dynamic driver port that takes things a little backwards. To be honest it doesn’t affect the isolation too much anyway, and I’m totally happy with it overall.
The review continues on PAGE 2 with sound impressions.