With higher demand in entry-level models, Kinera Audio released the TYR to strengthen their series and ensure the lineup is always satisfying the needs of the community.
Over the years, Kinera Audio, a Chinese in-ear monitor (IEM) manufacturer has been slowly climbing up the stairs, releasing better and better models such as Idun, Odin and Nanna. With technology advancement and increase in demand for higher-end models, most IEM manufacturers are turning their wheels and focusing on developing improved and more expensive models.
Kinera took a step back and began catering to the needs of entry-level audiophiles – typically students with stricter budgets. TYR is the proposed solution for this particular group.
TYR is the third model from Kinera that I’ve reviewed, after SiF and YH623. Priced at USD$29, TYR has a very different approach. After checking with HiFiGo, I discovered that TYR is a collaboration between Kinera Audio and Final Audio. I am pleased to see such collaboration and hoping to experience more in the future.
Will TYR leverage expertises from Final Audio, slash the market and be crowned as the king of entry level? Let’s check it out in this review!
- Small form
- Comes with a microphone
- Warm sounding
- Final Audio Type E ear tips included
- Aluminum shell
- Overly prominent mid-bass
- Recessed mids
- Fatal microphonics
- Early roll-off highs
As mentioned, this is my third review for a Kinera model. Without any surprise, TYR comes in a hexagon-shaped packaging, just like SiF and YH623. The hexagon box is an identifiable feature for Kinera IEMs.
The technical specifications and contents are printed on the back of the box. All the useful information is listed accurately.
Opening the box, you can find a small brochure introducing the Kinera Community. You can join the community on different social media platforms to get the latest updates from Kinera. There’s a user manual for the TYR as well as a manual from Final Audio – describing the greatness of the Type-E silicone ear tips included in the box.
After the paperwork, you’ll find a small, flat, leather pouch in the box that’s stylish and pocket-friendly. It’s suitable for those who like to put IEMs in their pocket. For me, I prefer to store mine in my Pelican case, so this pouch isn’t as useful. Nevertheless, it’s a good accessory to be included.
You’ll get a total of 6 pairs of silicone ear tips in the box – three pairs of Type-E ear tips from Final Audio and three pairs of stock ear tips from Kinera Audio. Without delay, I installed Final Audio Type-E ear tips to my TYR because I have experience with them – they’re simply amazing in terms of sound and isolation.
- Driver configuration: Single 6mm micro dynamic driver unit
- Impedance: 16 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 105dB +/- 1dB
- Frequency response: 20Hz- 20kHz
- Plug type: 3.5mm unbalanced
The build of TYR is very “Final Audio” like – It has a small form factor and a “piston” like shape. You can refer to my review of the Final Audio E1000 to check the similarities. Despite having many similarities, there are some aspects where Kinera is better.
First of all, the shell of TYR is made of aluminum, which is an upgrade compared to my E1000 which uses a plastic shell. This makes the physical presentation to be more classy and durable.
The nozzle is made of aluminum, too. This is a good approach because the nozzle is one of the weak points that is usually the first thing to break in an IEM. A durable nozzle can definitely improve the overall durability. There’s a lip on the nozzle to securely hold the ear tips, preventing it from falling off.
The TYR is utilizing a non-detachable cable design. This could be a deal breaker because a lot of entry level IEMs nowadays are adopting the detachable design. The included cable is lightweight and features an attached microphone. This microphone comes in very handy, especially in this Covid-19 outbreak season. I made a conference call with the TYR and it served me well.
One of the aspects that disappointed me the most is the microphonics from the cable. When I’m moving around with my TYR on, the microphonics simply kill the overall experience, forcing me to change to a different IEM. To reduce the microphonics from the cable, I ordered a pair of silicone ear guides. It helped to reduce the noise significantly.
Fit and Isolation
With the help of Final Audio Type E ear tips, the isolation of TYR is above average. It can block out most noise from your surroundings, such as noisy commutes. This aspect makes it a great on-the-go option for me during traveling. However, the microphonics, as mentioned in the previous section, takes too much away from the experience. I really can’t stand the noise.
I am sorry, TYR. You have to stay at home, even after the Covid-19 outbreak is over. You have no chance to see the world with me.
To review the sonic quality of the TYR, I paired it with my Lotoo Paw 5000 mk ii, a legendary entry-level digital audio player (DAP). Rated at 16 ohms for impedance and 105dB +/- 1dB for sensitivity, the TYR can be easily driven by most smartphones on the market.
This further shows that Kinera designed TYR to cater to the entry-level audiophiles, who highly rely on smartphones as a main music source.
TYR has a warm “V-shaped” sound signature. The presentation is relaxing and comfortable, even for long periods of listening. I don’t feel any fatigue after listening with my TYR.
TYR’s presentation is warm and smooth; just imagine drinking a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day.
The soundstage of the TYR is average. The depth could be improved – it’s insufficient, making the presentation to be very “surface”. I will elaborate this more in the coming section. The width is acceptable – sufficient space for each note to flex their muscles without colliding into each other.
Boom boom pow! I think this three words describe the lows precisely – energetic!
The TYR has a full body in terms of low frequency response. The bass can definitely shock your eardrums. I can’t deny that it’s enjoyable to listen to pop songs because of the more prominent bass. However, the term “enjoyable” is only applicable in casual listening.
The TYR has a recessed sub-bass. This is why I called TYR’s soundstage “surface”. There is insufficient depth which is mostly contributed to by the sub-bass. The mid-bass is more prominent as compared to the sub-bass. To me, I would appreciate an opposite approach – having a striking sub-bass and a slightly recessed mid-bass.
The speed of the lows is average. Slowly decaying lows contribute to a more analogue or warm sound signature, which can be found in the TYR.
The mids of the TYR are recessed in my opinion. The mid-bass has taken up most of the space, pushing the mids slightly to the back of the stage. Listening to mandopop, it is a little unsuitable because vocals are always the stars of the tracks. The TYR makes vocals a support from the back which sounds a little weird to me.
For male vocals, the impact from the overly emphasised mid-bass is the most significant. They have very limited space to present themselves. The spotlight is always snatched by the huge mid-bass. On the other hand, female vocals are less impacted. The female vocals are sweet and energetic. They have better emphasis, too.
Is this, possibly, an IEM that’s designed for those who like female vocals?
Changing the genre to jazz, it’s very suitable; the overall presentation is very relaxing and natural, thanks to the analogue and warm sounding signature. Instruments are well layered and the positioning is accurate. Listening to So What by Miles David, the trumpet, alto sax and tenor sax are accurately positioned and they sound realistic!
The highs have an early-roll off, just like the recently reviewed YH623. It has better emphasis compared to the mids. The highs inject air and space to the overall presentation. However, the balance still skewed towards the lows which made the overall presentation warm.
The highs are rather polite and well-controlled. This is a very safe approach in tuning because overly sparkling highs might cause fatigue after long listening.
Listening to jazz, the cymbals sound realistic and natural. I would appreciate it more if the treble could have better extension, making the highs more airy to balance the warmth from the bass.
After considering the price, I could be too greedy and demanding. The TYR has actually outperformed other IEMs within the price range of USD$30.
The Kinera TYR is a great choice for entry-level audiophiles who are looking for affordable IEMs that come with a microphone. The TYR has very safe tuning which will be well-received by most people.
If you’re looking for a warm and “V-shaped” sounding IEM within USD$30, the TYR could be the one for you!.