I was on a month-long vacation back home when a very familiar parcel arrived in my workplace, the Kinera Seed Yin or Kinera Seed black as most would call it which retails for $49 and is a hybrid single Dynamic with a Balanced Armature driver configuration. It was sent directly by the Kinera group for me to be reviewed. Note that this is my first attempt at reviewing an audiophile grade item so feel free to close the page already but it wouldn’t hurt if by chance you would see through this realview until the end, see what I did there with the “Realview”, a novice trying to sound cool. Before the review, a quick description from yours truly, I started having this audio hobby way back 2013 when a friend introduced me to a local audio group and found the glory there is in Hi-Res audio and the chain from the source file to your earphone ear tips will greatly impact how a gear would produce sound. I’ve had my fair share of research and experience and personally prefer neutral sounding gears leaning towards the brighter side but so much about me and let’s get back to business. Going back to the Seed Yin, the package was made of matte white cardboard box loaded with the necessary information one needs about the IEM (In Ear Monitor for those not familiar), take a good look on them before you proceed onward.
Packaging and Accessories
The Seed Yin package covers the basic needs, 3 sized S, M, L black silicon tips and a rubbery snap-on pouch with red trim and a pale “Kinera” logo. The 3 silicon tips provided decent sizing options, texture is great which isn’t slippery at all and not too rough as well, great for entry level personal use, no noticeable irritation was observed and for the rest of the realview, we would be using the M sized tips. The pouch was the one that got the most interest within the overall package, it is delightfully easy to use on to go and the snap-on feature is just too easy and fast to use and store the Yin Seed on, here’s to hoping they would continue providing this on the next entry level Kinera IEMs.
Staying true to its name, Seed Yin mimics your typical seed silhouette which rests easy on the ears, taken into consideration individual ear shapes, mine is of the rounder frame. Made out of 2-part plastic bound into a single earpiece, no noticeable glues are observed if ever glue was used in the first place. The backside of each is printed with a faint white Kinera Seed branding while the frontside is highlighted by gold trimmed Kinera lettering along with the L-R markings along with a vent. A gold-plated metal nozzle is used with no mesh included but instead utilizes the dual bore system so better keep those ears clean. The Seed Yin has removable cables and uses the .78mm 2-pin configuration which is widely used so cable rolling can be done if the idea is welcome with you. It is also a 6 core AWG SPC OFC cable with black plastic Kinera branded Y-split and 3.5mm gold-plated jacks.
Kinera is widely known by some either by their previous BD005 and H3 IEM’s, the BD005 showcasing the warm sound signature and the H3 showcasing the uber bright sound signature. You’d be guessing by now that the Seed Yin would be neutral? Well, the Seed Yin was marketed as such. Do take note that it was recommended to let it undergo a 50-hour “burn-in” process, for those who believe it, you’re the North, those who don’t, you’re the South which really is based on personal experience but for the benefit of the doubt, the recommended 50-hour burn-in process was done using my trusty old rockboxed Sansa Clip+. For the realview, I used the Opus 1, a known neutral sounding player, on a 110-step volume configuration and no EQ’s used. Listening to Incubus’s Megalomaniac in FLAC made me lean my head, the usual crash and ride cymbals that I wholly adore were noticeably tamed down yet the highs were easy to the ears and sparkle was barely there, the bass had the body of a supermodel, narrow but has a touch of impact to it. As the song progressed, vocals came in and there we go, it made me smirk, it was clear and crisp and had air that didn’t cloud the spectrum. I played the same song again to check if the supermodel was still there, present! I then moved mover to Pink Floyd’s Money because I needed some cash for the supermodel, right off the bat the coins falling down each side exhibited a semi-intimate soundstage the one you would feel on a private cinema or a pub, then the guitar plucks chimed in, crisp and clear but had me looking for pronounced plucks. The mid bass was there again, just showing up but not showing off and then came the vocals, David Gilmour sang definite and clear. He might be serenading the supermodel so I finished the song twice and moved over to Spandau Ballet’s True. I was again greeted by the crunchy guitar plucks but not the one similar to a roast pig’s skin, this might have been sitting on the table for a good 20 minutes losing some of the crunch. The bass was still narrow and had impact, sub-bass skinny. Succeeding songs such as Linkin Park’s Sharp Edges, DNCE’s Toothbrush, Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon, Shawn Mendes’s I don’t even know your name were then used and overall the Seed Yin exhibited the easy sounding nature of this IEM, mids and vocals detailed and airy, highs and treble toned down, bass narrow and had subtle impact, sub-bass echoes but doesn’t cloud. This might not have accurately represented the neutral sound signature it was targeted to achieve, it did however push the right buttons to be used on the go and for breaktime sessions that would last longer than you planned.
The Kinera Seed Yin, priced at $49 is definitely a recommended gear, sounds easy to the ears, comfortable design language which may be subjective and the inclusion of the snap on case just sealed the deal. It did however had a drawback when it was initially released as the 1st batch came with the problematic cables being tainted black in some areas, my realview unit had the stain but had no sound signature effects, I was ready to call it a bummer as who likes a brand new gear looking like it was dirtied and used but to my surprise, Kinera released a statement and updated all Seed Yin cables to a new one and sent non-tainted brand new cables and as a plus, you’d get to keep the older one. How’s that for after service. However, new purchases will come with the new cables and no replacements will be sent. See you next time and by the way, the Supermodel would still be around.