Full Disclosure: I received the H3 from Kinera as part of a promotional giveaway and I
purchased the Kinera Seed at full price from Urban Audiophile.
*No current comment on SEED packaging as the early Seed units currently do not come with them.
The Kinera Seed and the Kinera H3 have very different styles of shells.
The H3 has the "custom universal" style shell which is very comfortable for my ear and can be usable while lying on your side in bed, or sleeping if you have medium to larger ears.
The Seed has a universal fit, low profile oval shape. The H3 provides greater isolation but the Seed provides a better fit to different ear shapes and sizes.
The Seed has a full plastic housing material with metal nozzles, the logo and L/R
markings are embossed with gold paint, and while you can see the seam where the shells are
glued together there are no gaps that would indicate shoddy build quality or bad quality control.
Do note the Seed has no metal or mesh filter, so waxy ear users beware and clean those ears.
The H3 has a tinted acrylic shell with a black plastic faceplate and an inlaid Kinera logo, there is a
metal non mesh filter to keep wax at bay.
Both have really good build quality and while the H3 has a slight edge it is to be expected at the price points.
The Seed comes with a 6 core SPC cable of very high quality, minimal micro phonics and good flexibility without being too tangle prone, miles better than the 4 core braided SPC cable that the H3 came with.
Little note: the pins of the Seed are tighter than usual and the first few times it will take some extra effort to pull them out.
Listening devices used - LG G6 & FiiO Q1 Mark II Seed burned in approx 48 Hours - H3
burned in > 150 hours.
The volume was matched between the two earphones.
Overall sound signature:
The H3 has a pronounced v-shaped sound signature.
The Seed has a U shaped signature that leans on the bright side.
The H3 has a boosted bass response but doesn't sound bloated. It is pretty tight and has
good control. In songs where bass is a main component this will keep all but the most booming
bass head satisfied, especially without coloring the rest of the frequencies too much.
Though in songs where bass is a secondary component it may be too forward for some people.
The Seed doesn't have the same bass head amounts of bass, but it's a moderate and adequate
amount, and it still is tight sounding with quick decay.
Not for bass heads at normal volumes but it's still good and has enough rumble and thump on songs calling for it.
Here is where one of the two Achilles heels of the H3 lies. The mids of the H3 is significantly
recessed. They're there, but once a song that gets busy with lows/mids/highs happening the vocals
often take too much of a backseat, leaving an unnatural sound, so people looking for a reference signature stay away.
This is where the Seed just outshines the H3, the mids are brought forward, but not enough to
be truly midcentric but, and especially in comparison with the H3 it's a more natural
representation of the mids. This benefits more vocal focused songs as well.
The treble of the H3 is conflicting it's well detailed and has good clarity, but also carries
a good amount of sibilance and somewhat uncomfortable spikes, without EQ or foam tips it can
be unpleasant for some.
The Seed leans on the bright side, and especially early on had a splashy quality and some
sibilance especially when turned up loud. This has been reigned in after burn in and while still bright the sibilance and harshness has been mostly eliminated at all but the loudest volumes, this means
that there is a sparkle in a lot of the highs.
The H3 has a good wide soundstage, though not particularly tall. Separation is good, but when you get to really busy songs the mids get drowned out so you won't get full benefit of that there.
The Seed has a more intimate soundstage and doesn't have the same level of clarity but it doesn't sound veiled and is still better than many of the competitors in it's price range in clarity but doesn't have the recess issues of the H3.
Yes the Seed is better than the H3 in my opinion.
While in things like overall bass amount the Seed can't compete, the tonality of the H3's tuning and sibilance issues just couldn't beat the more natural tuning of the Seed (in comparison).
The H3 will please more bass heads but will irritate those sensitive to peaks and sibilance.
The Seed proves more flexible in the kind of music it can handle, and it doesn't have the glaring weaknesses the H3 has. It's a good entry to the US$49 or 2000-3000 Pesos price range and can more than compete with the pack.
The Kinera Seed is a good comeback from the mixed reviews on the H3 and I am hoping to see what the new chapter in the future Kinera will bring for us.
(More on that soon, maybe a comparo even? )