Kinera Seed (first version) vs Kinera H3:
 A Kinera shootout, is the Seed really better than the H3?
-By Face

UPDATE:
The SEED used in this comparison was NOT the final version. An updated comparison is to come soon with the finalized retail version..

I saw some people commenting/asking about this comparison because the Kinera Seed is touted to be an improvement over the Kinera H3 and since I have both I thought I'd contribute.

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.






Fit:
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.


Build:
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.



Sound:
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.

Bass:
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.

Mids: 
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.

Treble: 
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.

Soundstage/Separation/The rest:
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.


Conclusion:
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? )


UPDATE:
The SEED used in this comparison was NOT the final version. An updated comparison is to come soon.







 Shanling M3s with Campfire Audio Vega and Astral Acoustics Taurus cable.













































Audirect `Whistle` DAC/Amp review
A. 'Reddog' Jones



I recently had the pleasure to review AudioDirect’s Whistle, an amazing dac/ amp. 

The Whistle, is small, about one to one and a half inches or the size of my right pinky. 
The Whistle is made of aluminum and comes in a nice red color. One end of the Whistle has a micro USB port and the other end has a 3.5 mm port for ones headphones and car speakers. 
I really like the Whistle because it is so small and takes up little space in my headphone bag. 


This plucky little dac/ amp is fantastic, it allows my tablets and cell phone to play high definition PCM and DSD music files. There are times when I like to pace back and forth like a mad man and it is very nice to hook up the diminutive whistle to my tablet or cell phone and listen to great music. 

I do love My Questyle QP1R Dap and Chord Hugo 2 DAC/ Amp but sometimes its a drag to hook them up. I must turn the DAP on then hook it up to the Hugo 2 and then tuck them away into my bag. Sometimes its just too much hassle for a quick jaunt down the street. But with the whistle I simply hook it up to my iPad or cell phone, and get lost into the moment of musical bliss all the faster.


And the the best thing about AudioDirects - Whistle, is how bloody nice it sounds, especially compared to the DAC chip that comes with the iPad or cell phone. 
The sound is detailed and natural with good resolution. The bass is pretty balanced and does not muddy up the mids. And the mids are detailed, smooth, with a touch of edge. The treble is pretty good, with just a touch of sibilance, and only when I was listening to classical music. The sound stage is average. I was pleasantly surprised at how much better my iPad sounded, with just the Whistle. Furthermore the Whistle has a nice amp that compliments the DAP being used. I did not need to turn up the volume on my tablet/ cell phone as high to make my various IEM’s and cans sing.


I used the following IEM’s with the Whistle, the Audeze iSine 20 and Audeze LCD i4. Both of these IEM’s sounded nice driven by the Whistle, although I felt the iSine 20 sounded better. 
One must use a good amp to get the best performance out of the i4’s. 

I used following headphones with the Whistle: 1) Meze 99 Classic, 2) Oppo pm-3, 3) MrSpeakers Aeon closed back, 4) Audio-technica ath-m50x . 
And out of all these headphones, driven by the Whistle, I felt the Meze 99 Classics sounded the best. However MrSpeakers Aeon closed back came in real close. I feel the Aeon’s performance improves with a stronger amp. 
But all of these headphones sounded quite nice driven by the Whistle.

AudioDirect has created a great piece of audio equipment. The plucky Whistle is a very nice sounding DAC /AMP, that allows ones Ipad and Cell phone to play high resolution files. The small, unitarian design, makes it easy for anyone to turn their cell phone/ tables into a high resolution player. I loved how portable the Whistle is and how I could get caught up into the moment, easier, at times with the sweet Whistle, in my bag.

The Audio D