Usually, I avoid very low priced earphones for review nowadays and please don’t ask me the reason. Now when HiFiGo willfully asked me if I would like to do a review of Kinera TYR I agreed, as I have never tried any product from Kinera. I know they have some good models in the market, but I never tried to do any review on their products. After receiving the TYR unit I left it for 100 hours of burn-in and started listening to it. Now I have some mixed feelings on it and let me describe why.
- Type – In-Ear Straight,
- Color – Black and silver,
- Driver – One 6mm Micro Dynamic Driver,
- Sensitivity – 105dB / mW,
- Frequency Response – 20-20kHz,
- Impedance – 16Ω,
- Material – Anodized Aluminum + plastic,
- Cable Type – Fixed,
- Cable Length – 120cm,
- Mic – Yes (1 Button),
- Plug – 3.5mm Gold plated Straight,
- Weight – 25g.
Product Link – Here
What’s inside the Box?
- Kinera TYR earphone,
- 3 pairs of wide bore silicone ear tips (S/M/L),
- 3 Pair of Final E narrow bore silicone ear tips (S/M/L),
- Carry pouch.
- User Guide & warranty card.
Kinera TYR comes inside a very attractive hexagonal black box. Good to see such a presentation for an affordable item. Branding has been done on the top of the box and specifications with brand contact information present back of the box. Inside the box, an unusual carry pouch, some user manuals, and the actual IEM have been kept very securely using foam. Now it is clear that packaging is very good but, one good thing I liked the most, is that with normal pair of tips Kinera has also supplied some Final Audio E tips with the box. So overall the presentation and accessories are more than enough which you can expect from a 30$ product.
Most of the IEM available in the market, nowadays following the over-the-ear style design but Kinera TYR is not an over-the-ear type IEM. The design is though not new and maybe inspired by Final Audio E2000 or E3000. The shell of the IEM looks like nozzles or silver bullet. The combination of silver and black on the shell is attractive and an integrated nozzle mesh instead of cloth is also a great design aspect. Though the cable is very simple and nothing special in it.
Build quality is mixed. The lightweight IEM shells have been made out of aluminum and well build too. No weak point or imperfection is there but when comes to cables, it’s disappointing. As the cable is not removable Kinera could have gone for a better strong one. The soft rubbery cable used here is not only very weak also microphonic. At least the cable is not ready to tangle easily still a braided cable could be a better option. Another disappointing thing is it has a single button in-line control which only supports play/pause; next track (double press) and calls accept and reject.
Kinera TYR is very easy to drive IEM, as its Impedance is only 16Ω. It can be driven to its full potential from any source available like smartphones, affordable music players, etc. In this review, I have used my phone and TempoTec V1-A to drive TRY but be careful not to choose any bright sounding DAC/DAP with Kinera TYR because the synergy is not pleasing.
Comfort, Noise Isolation & Tip Selection
In terms of comfort, TYR’s lightweight shell is nice and very comfortable to wear. You can wear them for hours without any pain or discomfort but noise isolation is depending on your tips selection. I have used the Final audio tips for better isolation and comfort. The bore size of the tips changes the sound a bit too, which I have discussed the sound part.
Tracks used to evaluate Kinera TYR
- Sweet Child – Simply Red (Blue-Eyed Soul),
- Shanghai Blues – Robbie Robertson (Sinematic),
- 2 Just Strong Enough – Michael McDonald (Wide Open),
- Instant Crush – Daft Punk (Random Access Memories),
- Beat It – Michael Jackson (Thriller),
- Six Blade Knife – Dire Straits (Dire Straits),
- I Don’t Want To Know – Fleetwood Mac (Rumours),
- Chunky – Bruno Mars (24K Magic),
- You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse (Back To Black),
- Set Fire To The Rain – Adele (21)
Kinera in their user guide booklet has printed their TYR’s frequency response graph which is almost identical to what I have measured. The measurement graph also shows an excellent channel matching in my unit. Sonically Kinera TYR’s sound signature is ‘U’ shaped.
This is my first experience with micro-dynamic drivers so practically I don’t know what is the behavior of a ‘micro dynamic driver’? Usually, dynamic drivers are good with bass, especially sub-bass. In a hybrid driver combination, a dedicated dynamic driver is always allocated to handle the bass region but when a single dynamic driver has to do the entire job, sometimes it fails to fulfill everything. Maybe the same issue here. In Kinera TYR the mid-bass section has been more focused that sub-bass. Though the sub-bass section is not that weak, still some roll-off can be seen. With wide bore tips, the sub-bass region is weaker than with the Final Audio narrow bore tips. The same thing applies with the speed, with Final Audio narrow tips the speed is much better and faster than wide bore tips. The texture of the bass is not well defined, but it is not too poor to be disappointed. With that Final audio E tips, songs like Chunky by Bruno Mars is much more punchy and enjoyable.
The mid-range has been recessed without any doubt. Lower mids have been placed behind the upper mids, as a result, female vocals and some instruments sound sharper and sometimes fatiguing. Though the warmth in the lower mids helps to bring out the timbre of the male vocals. I listen to lots of songs with male vocals and frankly speaking TYR managed to bring the natural yet rich experience in songs like Six Blade Knife by Dire Straits. Sadly changing tips didn’t change anything in the midrange. I could have tried a few third party tips but due to the fat nozzle of the TRY, I left the idea.
Kinera TYR’s higher frequency area is where you might get confused. The treble region is not properly extended but the sudden peak in the 7KHz and 10kHz region creating a false sense of rich higher frequency response. The sudden peaks not only create a less airy metallic sound it also makes TYR not suitable for long listening sessions too. Still, I can say Kinera TYR’s higher frequency part is way better than some earphones in this price range. TYR is neither treble shy nor too spicy, so overall a decent performer. With wide bore tips, the treble is more aggressive.
Soundstage & Imaging
The soundstage is not super wide. Depth is there but both width and height are lacking. With moderate soundstage and depth, TRY sounds better than many earphones in this price range. On the other hand, imaging is very good. With well-mastered tracks, the placement of the instruments can be identified easily. With busy tracks, TYR also performed well.
BGVP SGZ-DN1S vs Kinera TYR
The build quality of DN1S is not so good but it comes with removable MMCX cable which is a benefit. The overall build is better in TYR as it’s made out of aluminum. Fit is better in DN1S but TRY is much more comfortable due to its lightweight. Sound-wise DN1S’s lower frequency is more prominent than TRY. The midrange has more warmth in DN1S and the treble area is airy and sparkling where TRY is metallic. Soundstage and imaging are better in Kinera TYR though.
It was a time when, the common question was, ‘what is the best earphone under 100$’ but things have changed so much now that a 30$ earphone is nowadays performing so well that some higher-priced earphones could feel ashamed. Now is Kinera TYR something like that? The answer is no. Kinera TYR sounds good for its price but some issues stop it to a champion in the price range; like poor cable, single-button mic, and metallic treble. But if you love a lightweight, non-over-the-ear earphone and want to spend only 30$ then Kinera TYR could be an option for you.