08 August 2017

Kinera H3 IEM Earphone Review

Kinera established in 2010, fairly new company. Kinera is known for its dual drivers earphone: Kinera BD005. I'm pretty excited when I saw that Kinera is launching its triple driver Kinera H3.
With asking price of $99, you'll get Kinera H3 triple drivers (one dynamic + two balanced armature drivers), a custom looking IEM and replaceable copper cable with silver platting.
I always appreciate when a company put effort in designing the box, the Kinera H3 in earphone comes in a black box with a magnetic clasp, the gold logo against the black color background is simply elegant.

Once you open the box, you'll see 1/4 inch gold platted and airplane adapter. The black traveling case is a nice addition, especially to protect your Kinera H3 and it's far better than pouch.
Inside the Kinera H3 travel case, you'll find the earphone with a cable tie and 3 pairs of silicon tips (S,M and L). The cable jack is protected well with plastic cap.

Design.

I'm happy that Kinera H3 provided a detachable cable which bring more value to the whole package. Kinera H3 is using 2 pin connector cable, it has a blue and red dot to identify the right and the left as well. the cable is soft and light, the 3.5mm connector is a little bit heavy. Strain relief is minimal but I don't see any problem with that because the cable is flexible. The ear hook made from transparent plastic and it's not flexible but it fit nicely into my ear.

The cable itself is made from 6n Silver platted copper. Cable is a pretty important component, the sound quality is also affected by the cable. 6n is guaranteed to be at least (99.9999%) pure silver. it's offering both the advantage of cheaper price from the copper and brightness of the Silver (Silver is known to have the best electrical conductivity and sound transparency).

While MMCX cable seems more popular(Westone and Shure are using this type of connection) but I think 2 pin is a better option. I always had this problem where the MMCX cable connection spins whenever I want to wear it, it's kind of frustrating at time and I heard that 2 pin has better connection reliability compared to MMCX.
When I look at Kinera H3 casing, my first impression: what a big casing and how it's going to fit my ear. My ear is pretty small so sometimes I've difficulties to find a sweet spot. Surprisingly enough once I wear it, my impression was totally changed. It's very comfortable and fit right into my ear, it's fit better than Westone UM Pro 10, Shure 235 or 1More, seriously it's very comfortable. 

The casing reminds me of a custom IEM, it does look like one. The black plate with gold Kinera logo on it and transparent blue color for the rest of the casing is pretty nice. It's seamless design and the whole body is smooth without any edge. You can see the DD (Dynamic Driver) and the BA (Balanced Amateur) through the transparent body. 

My only concern is that on the right side of the earphone, I can see some kind of oil layer (maybe it's leaked lube) and pieces of dried glue. Could be because of the shipping and left under a hot sun so  can't conclude whether this is a QC issue or because of the shipping. The good thing, it does not effect the sound quality and it's not really visible anyway. 
Not only once but couple of times when I took off the H3 earphone, there was a pop sound and the tip was left out in my ear. this is because the H3 nozzle doesn't have any additional edge / ring to hold the ear tips like 1more as an example.

The comfortable housing looks like a custom made, with 2 pin silver platted copper is also another added value. 

Sound stage

I would say the soundstage and separation is good. In a song that utilized both right and left channel like take five - the Dave Brubeck quartet it's quite enjoyable. you can hear the placement of instrument from left to right, pretty good width. The depth is also good, the drum at the left back and slightly forward saxophone is pretty clear. As a comparison with higher priced IEM like 1More Quad, it has a better separation and wider space but considering the price, I'm pretty happy with Kinera H3 soundstage.

Mids.

the Kinera H3 sound signature is bright, focusing on the mids and highs. the result of this is a clear and detailed mid. I feel that it has forward mids (closer sound of the vocal towards the listener). Listening to Angel - Sarah Mclachlan, the piano and her voice rendered nicely with H3.

sometimes in quiet songs, I could hear hiss but most of the time I don't hear them. perhaps it's a side effect of having a detailed mid.

Sibilance is present, especially in a high pitch female voice. On My Own - Samantha Barks, you can hear the Sibilance quite a lot like when she sang e.g Beside (0:14) arms around me (0:31), and he has found me (0:39), shine (0:49), etc . it doesn't bother me a lot and as the time pass looks like my tolerance towards it increased.

Highs

As mentioned before that Kinera H3 tonal is towards bright, it's producing a good and sharp highs. I would say that Kinera H3 is a little bit aggressive: at the beginning it caused fatigue on my ears but after some time, apparently it's getting better.

I can hear the detailed and clear highs in Midnight City - M83. it lack smoothness in some degree because of the sharpness.

Lows

When i heart Kinera H3 for the first time, I was wondering why there's no bass despite there's a dedicated dynamic driver on the each side. I was wrong, Kinera H3 does provide a good bass response, maybe because it's only started to open up after couple of song being played.

I've got enough bass response from Love lockdown - Kenya West and Beverly Hills Cop - Axel F but I feel that the bass is lacking something, which I don't know how to describe it maybe the bass sounds too thin. In some song it lack of details and quantity because it's overshadow by the mids and highs. Even though I feel that the lows are lacking but generally I feel that it's still good enough for IEM that cost $100.

Overall

Kinera did a great job with the custom IEM looks and excellent fit and ergonomic. replaceable silver platted copper cable is nice addition. Kinera H3 is a great value earphone for $99.

You'll be happy with this earphone if you prefer a bright sound signature, a clear and detailed vocal. If you like bass, especially basshead you may find Kinera H3 is too bright. If you have sensitive ear, you may find that the high is too sharp and sibilance could be quite annoying. I heard that since H3 rated at 48 ohm, playing it with AMP / DAP will solve the sibilance issue and provide a better bass response. With the some of the drawback mentioned, I would still pick Kinera H3 over Westone UM Pro 10.

Pros
Detailed and good clarity in the Mids and Highs
Excellent Ergonomic
2.5mm replaceable silver platted copper cable.
Cons
Bass is not as good as the mids and highs
Sibilance may present
Quality control

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