Kinera produced their first iem in BD005 which is a 1 Balanced Armature + 1 Dynamic design. I get to know the existence of BD005 through E-earphone and I started to follow the brand as they look good. When Kinera started asking for reviewers to help them review their Kinera H3 which is their new product in a standard triple hybrid configuration – 2 Balanced Armature & 1 Dynamic, I decided to take up the opportunity. I would like to thank Kinera for this review unit and I will give my judgement on the H3. So far as of now, you can purchase the Kinera H3 through https://penonaudio.com/KINERA-H3 . The H3 will be available in 3 different colours – Blue, Black & Red.
- Driver： 2BA+1D
- Impedance： 48Ω
- Frequency Response： 20-20000HZ
- Sensitivity： 101DB
- L&R Channel Balance Sensitivity： <2DB
- Max Input Power： 10mW
- Cable Length: 1.2meter
- Wire Material： 6n single crystal silver plated copper
- Plug material： 3.5mm golden plated
- Earphone interface: 2-pin (0.78mm )
Unboxing & Accessories
The Kinera H3 comes in a black rectangular box sporting a golden Kinera logo on the surface. Inside the box, you get a 6.3mm to 3.5mm golden plated adapter, airplane adapter, user manual, appreciation card and a black storage case which contains a pack of eartips (S, M, L) & the Kinera H3.
The adapters are quite useful for different purposes – travelling and home usage. User manual gives a detailed explanation on how to use the Kinera H3. I like the concept of providing an appreciation card in the package is a nice gesture as it gives a premium feel to the user. The eartips provided are silicone and they reminded me of the Sony Hybrid Silicone eartips.
The black storage case has a black Kinera logo on it and it is rectangular. The exterior of the case is smooth and semi-hard. The case has a black colour zipper. Unzipping the case is quite smooth as the zipper does not get stuck in the process of unzipping. I have to point this out as I had bad experiences with some cases in which there is too much resistance in unzipping it. Inside the case, the interior is made of a fleece-like material. One side of the case has a cloth mesh which is used to function as a separate compartment to put accessories such as the adapters and eartips. In my case, I put either another iem or an upgrade cable. This type of case has been one of my favourites due to the size and the soft texture.
IEM Build & Design
The Kinera H3 that I am reviewing is in red colour. I expect the build quality to be the same for other colours too. The H3 has a glossy black faceplate with a gold Kinera logo on it. The combination of black and gold synergises with one another well and I am a big fan of the aesthetics. The shell is a dark translucent red and you can still see through to observe the drivers. The dynamic driver is pretty noticeable since it is the biggest in size. It utilises 2-pin 0.78mm flushed socket for the detachable cables. Moving on to the design, it is akin to a custom iem shell but in a universal form, just like the iBasso IT03. In my opinion, the shell is quite perfect for my ears but this can be subjective as we have different ears, thus we will have different fittings of it. The nozzle is straight and I am able to use SpinFit tips with it. I tried with other tips from Acoustune, JVC or Sony and it yields a good result as it can fit. The nozzle has a metal mesh too which is used to block earwax from going into the interior of the iem.
Cable Build & Design
The cable is not your usual stock cable. It seems to be an upgrade over the normal stock cable for detachable iems. As stated in the specifications, the material of the cable is made of 6N single crystal silver plated copper. Let start off from top to down. At the 2-pin connector, you will see a marking of different colours on each respectively. Red colour will indicate the right side while blue colour will indicate the left side. It is a nice touch so users can differentiate between left & right. There is a memory wire area whereby the cable is being enclosed in a transparent heat-shrink tube. It is very flexible and different from the usual stiff memory cable. The cable is braided with 4 wire conductors. There is a translucent y-splitter. The jack is 3.5mm gold plated and has a silver housing with grip.
The H3 has a sub-bass extension that goes rather deeply with a nice rumble. The mid-bass is not very authoritative. It is controlled and smooth. The bass has an above average decay and the bass note packs a punch to it. I find it very controlled for a dynamic driver. The bass does not hit hard at all and instead it helps to add some body to ease the transition into the midrange so the lower mids will not be lean. I was on low gain initially but after changing to high gain on my DAP, the bass becomes more tight and clean. It gives a kick to the bass as it is being expressed with more authority. Either low or high gain, I still find the bass rather pleasing and there is no shortage in the quality and quantity.
The midrange is slightly recessed. The lower mids have a nice body to it that suits male vocals particularly well. The mids are slightly bright due to the detailed upper mids. Midrange is very transparent and crystal clear without sacrificing on any aspects of the midrange. The layering is superb due to the balanced armature drivers. It packs details and does not sound analytical at all. Instead, it is very lively and natural. There is a good balance between technicality and musicality.
The treble has great clarity to it and most important is that there is no sibilance even with SpinFit tips. It is extended well without any graininess. The crisp gives the treble a nice bite that adds a dynamic punch to your music. In my opinion, the treble can do well with more body so it will be a fuller performance. Other than that, I feel it has an appropriate amount of air, extension and clarity.
The H3 has a wide soundstage which is above average. It gives a 3D feel and encapsulates the listener in the process. The depth of it is decent enough to give some intimacy. With its width, it enhances the overall imaging and provides a fuller sound.
I use the iBasso DX200 for the comparisons.
Kinera H3 vs iBasso IT03 with Stock Cable
The H3 has less sub-bass quantity and extension than the IT03. The mid-bass on both iems are approximately the same with H3 slightly ahead due to its more dynamic punch. Overall, IT03 bass is much tighter with a faster decay. I would say H3 has a thicker bass note than IT03 so it makes IT03 seem very clinical and precise when comparing both of them. The lower mids on both are very similar. I would choose the H3 for the midrange as the upper mids is not as shouty as IT03. H3’s upper mids are much more smooth and crisp. IT03 has better extended treble and provides more sparkle than the H3. Soundstage on both has similar width but H3 has more depth, thus it is able to provide more intimacy for vocals.
Kinera H3 vs Fidue A83
The H3’s sub-bass does not extend as deep as A83 and has less quantity too. The mid-bass of A83 is more controlled and reserved than the H3. H3’s bass is more detailed and clinical than the A83. The decay of H3 is quicker due to the bass note on the A83 having more weight. This does not mean the A83 bass is sluggish, it just cannot keeps up with the H3. The lower mids on both are approximately the same. The upper mids on H3 is more forward than A83. There is a slight grain to A83 in comparison to the H3. H3 has slightly more airiness than A83. The sparkle on both are quite close. A83 has a deeper soundstage while H3 has a wider soundstage. Instruments positioning is better on the H3.
Kinera H3 vs FLC8S (Red-Grey-Gold)
The H3 sub-bass extension is not as deep as FLC8S but it has more quantity. The H3’s mid-bass has more slam to it and enhances the dynamics. Lower mids on the FLC8S are thinner than H3 and male vocals sound grainy. The upper mids of FLC8S is more articulate and smoother than the H3. There is more crisp to it as such. FLC8S treble is more extended and with the air and sparkle it boasts, the H3 is unable to keep up with it. FLC8S has a slightly wider soundstage and both shares similar depth.
Kinera H3 vs Oriolus Forsteni
The sub-bass extension on both are around the same but Forsteni has more crisp to it. The Forsteni has a much clearer bass definition. Mid-bass of Forsteni provides more thump to the music. The lower mids on both are on the thin side. The upper mids of H3 has more definition to it and there is less grain. It is more pleasing to hear the H3. The treble of Forsteni is extended better with more air but it is shouty in comparison to the H3 which gives one a more intimate feel. Both has similar width on soundstage and H3 has a more depth.
Kinera H3 vs Campfire Audio Dorado
The sub-bass of H3 is less extended than the Dorado. Dorado has better bass definition and there is more quantity. The mid-bass of H3 has a sweeter punch to it. Lower mids of Dorado is thicker than the H3. Upper mids of H3 is presented more clinically than the laidback Dorado. Dorado has more air and sparkle in its treble department which makes the mids more recessed than H3. Dorado has the advantage in soundstage for both width and depth.
I am pretty impressed by the H3 after being exposed to many top performing triple hybrids in the market already. The H3 has a very controlled bass and sweet upper mids. The bass quantity may not be for bassheads but I feel at its price point, the bass definition is excellent.
Whether you want to listen to male or female vocals, the H3 does them justice. I am delighted to be able to listen to the Kinera H3.