Kinera Seed Yin Review - Reap and Sow - FACE
Head Pie 10:33 AM
Kinera Seed Yin Review - Reap and Sow
-Face Audio reviews
The Seed Yin is Kinera’s spiritual successor to their very popular BD005, utilizing the same 1 Dynamic and 1 Balanced Armature driver hybrid configuration that proved successful in the BD005 whilst adding some refined touches in its design and build indicating the direction that Kinera is headed towards for their future releases. The Seed Yin is placed in the ever growing and competitive ~50 USD bracket clocking in at 49 USD SRP. Will the Seed sprout and allow Kinera to turn on a new leaf? We will find out. Disclaimer: The Seed unit I have is a unit given to me by a personal friend not affiliated with Kinera.
The Seed comes in a compact white cardboard box containing the basic product information and a photo of the IEM on the front and detailed specifications at the back. Opening the box reveals the IEMs themselves, the cable, and 3 pairs of silicone ear tips all tucked in foam. Lifting the foam carrier up reveals the user manual, a card with a brief background on the Seed, a card advertising Kinera social media channels and, a “special thanks” card. Finally, there is a small pouch with a self-closing clasp and red accent stitching. Overall the packaging is attractive and has a premium feel, though more eartips would be appreciated.
Kinera has utilized a 3-piece housing design on the Seed with the main housing being divided into 2 molded plastic pieces and the final piece being the gold metal sound tube that utilizes 2 different sound bores for each driver, the construction shows no gaps or air holes along the seam of the shell, which admittedly could be smoother in how they come together, but at this price point that is hard to criticize. The Kinera logo and left and right markers are debossed and painted with gold and there’s a bass vent just at the end of the Kinera text. On the reverse the Kinera Seed logo also appears painted in grey. The cable included with the Seed is a fantastic looking 6 conductor silver plated copper cable with plastic molded ear guides and is reasonably tangle resistant. The 2-pin terminations are housed in a black metallic cover with blue and red rings to indicate left and right. The “Y” split and neck cinch are plastic and finally the 3.5mm termination is finished is metal with both sporting printed logos. Overall, the cable is of a quality that isn’t common at this price point, though a better strain relief on the 3.5mm jack would have been appreciated.
The Seed has a light build and a rather compact shape, this provides very good fit for a wide variety of ear shapes and sizes. It’s quite easy to find your preferred fit and once inside your ears they are very secure and provide good isolation even with the vent, which was a pleasant surprise especially on windy days or light runs around the neighborhood. The form factor also made sleeping while wearing the Seed quite comfortable.
Sound impressions of the Seed were taken after 200 hours of playtime with the Hiby R6, LG G6, and FiiO Q1 Mk II connected to a laptop playing both extreme quality Spotify Tracks and a minimum of 16-bit 44.1KHz FLAC. All of them being volume matched appropriately for fair comparisons.
The Seed has a moderate bump of mid bass with relatively quick decay, enough to add some slam and note thickness without overpowering the mids. It is however light on the sub bass, meaning the low end visceral rumble is lacking. This is apparent songs like “Grand Theft Autumn” by Fall Out Boy where the fast rolling bass drums and guitar have good enough presence and definition but “Love” of Lana Del Rey with it’s booming, and deep bass hits felt incomplete. Installing Comply foam tips helped increase the sub bass level at the expense of also increasing the mid bass.
The Mids on the Seed are smooth, moderately detailed and have a slight vocal emphasis. Vocals don’t sound thin and instruments have a good weight to them. Lower mids are well presented but not necessarily boosted while upper mids being more present with good texture thus higher range vocals are expressive and defined. Generally vocal or instrument focused songs such as “Northern Downpour” perform well on the Seed as the composition is mostly mids focused.
The Seed’s treble can be simply described as polite and relaxed. There are minimal peaks so cymbal crashes don’t exhibit harshness and the Seed is not prone to sibilance in most music. Clarity and details are average however, and due to this conservative treble approach air and sparkle is minimal, so music genres that are focused on upper register instrumentation don’t
too well, “Mr. Sexy Saxy” by Jarez didn’t have the grating feeling of uncontrolled treble during energetic saxophone runs but also lacked the engagement that really lets the instrument shine.
The Seed has a more intimate presentation both in width and depth, however does not sound congested with positioning being accurate in the stage. Layering and resolution are good, though not exceptional, with busy multi-instrumented tracks not just losing all definition and good enough articulation within and between the instruments in those compositions.
The Seed has a coherent and easily listenable signature. Whilst not particularly engaging, it provides fatigue free listening that is overall pleasant with most pop, rock, and some electronic music. It’s a signature that while not very targeted, it’s also one that few would take issue with and at 49 USD that’s not a bad direction to take.
The Seed combines, premium build, (subjectively) attractive design, good fit, and smooth sounds well suited for easy listening. It is however not without its misgivings; the lack of sub bass and conservative tuning might turn off some looking for a specific sound or those aiming for critical listening sessions. But if you’re looking for something for casual and relaxed listening that’s a bit different from the usual sonic flavors then the Seed provides a good alternative to the options in the market segment.