I Tried the KEFINE Klanar and Was Impressed by an Affordable Planar Generalist

KEFINE made its mark on every piece. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
KEFINE made its mark on every piece. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

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Pursuing perfect planar punch in a pleasingly petite package.

KEFINE Klanar

(80%)
Our Review Guidelines ⧉
Evaluated over: 4 weeks
Bottom Line

The Klanar IEMs offer accessible planar driver technology without breaking the bank. With impressive detail and comfort, they're perfect for extended listening sessions. KEFINE's debut showcases a well-executed planar driver at an attractive price. Their sound quality belies their affordability, making them a standout choice. As KEFINE ventures further, I'm eager to see future innovations. The Klanar sets a promising precedent for what's to come from this emerging brand.

80%
General Usage
76%
Audiophile Usage
  • Design
    good 80
  • Build Quality
    good 80
  • Comfort
    outstanding 100
  • Pairing
    outstanding 100
  • Value
    good 80
  • Bass
    good 80
  • Mids
    good 80
  • Treble
    good 80
  • Sound Quality
    good 80
Form
IEM
Driver
Planar Magnetic
Impedance
16 ohms
Sensitivity
105 db/mW
IP Rating
-
Weight
7 g
What We Like 😍
  • Planar speed and high performance without much “planar timbre”
  • Well-tuned, smooth, and balanced sound signature
  • Excellent flexible generalists for any genre
  • Very small and comfortable
  • Great value
What We Don't Like 🤢
  • The dark and non-flashy design may be considered boring
  • While highly competent across all frequencies, there is no unique strength
Thank you to KEFINE for providing the Klanar IEMs for review. As is my standard, I did not read any reviews of the Klanar before my evaluation.

KEFINE is a new Sivga/Sendy Audio brand, with two products under the new name so far. After more than one year of research and development, the 14.5mm planar magnetic driver Klanar IEMs launched in October 2023. A bold opening act.

After a lengthy burn-in period (72-100 hours), I always begin evaluations with the same protocol: experiment with all the ear tips to find the best fit and seal. In addition, I do not use secondary EQ adjustments while testing unless noted.
The Kefine Klanar Planar IEMs. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
The Kefine Klanar Planar IEMs. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

One Minute Video Review

Watch: Kefine Klanar short review #shorts

Design and Build

The Klanar are highly compact, streamlined, and ergonomic. KEFINE has managed the smallest housing design I’ve seen compared to others using a ~14mm driver.

Each earphone shell is 5-axis CNC machined out of a single piece of aluminum alloy. The 0.2mm thin housing wall ensures a small, light shell with a high-precision chamber for accurate sound.

The shells have a rich matte finish. The faceplate is a glossy black finish engraved with the white KEFINE logo. The Klanar has a raised 2-pin connection and mates snugly with the cable terminations.

KEFINE went with straightforward branding for the Klanar. Pictured with the FiiO M15S DAP. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
KEFINE went with straightforward branding for the Klanar. Pictured with the FiiO M15S DAP. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Two portholes are on the inside face of the shell, presumably to relieve pressure and sculpt the sound. The collared nozzle is average length and holds ear tips securely. The sculpted metal filter at the end of the nozzle looks like a tiny work of industrial art.

Seeing the beautiful pattern, it would have been interesting to see this repeated on the faceplate design. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
Seeing the beautiful pattern, it would have been interesting to see this repeated on the faceplate design. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Cable

The Klanar are bundled with a 1.2m hybrid cable made of high-quality silver-plated copper litz (black) and OFC copper litz (brown) wire braided together. To ensure high-quality sound transmission, the cable has four wires (0.05mm) consisting of 54 cores of conductors, for a total of 216 (54×4) cores.

The handsome brown and black twisted cable perfectly complements the design of the IEMs. It is flexible, light-medium weight, and relatively memory-free, except for the sleeved ear hooks.

The cable is rubbery and feels good in my hand. There are no microphonics (huzzah!), nor is the cable prone to tangling. The cable terminates in a 3.5mm or 4.4mm balanced gold-plated straight plug, securing to the IEM bodies with reinforced gold-plated 0.78mm 2-pin connectors.

The premium feeling cable is attractive and flexible. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.). (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
The premium feeling cable is attractive and flexible. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.). (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

The right and left side designations on the 2-pin housing are clear enough to read despite being black on black. Every manufacturer should make it this simple and easy to identify, with no excuses.

The 2-pin connection is secure. R & L are designated on the inside of the sleeve to preserve the aesthetic. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
The 2-pin connection is secure. R & L are designated on the inside of the sleeve to preserve the aesthetic. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Comfort

They are small and lightweight, eschewing the often large shells and wild shapes made from resin. The Klanar tuck in well and will look streamlined with most wearers. They are easy to forget and great for long sessions. I don’t experience any hotspots or pressure.

Though the shell doesn't appear ergonomic, they are small and comfortable. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
Though the shell doesn’t appear “ergonomic,” they are small and comfortable. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

The cable ear hooks are ergonomically shaped, and the cable lays at an angle that keeps the IEMs from pulling or unseating.

The Klanar are bundled with two types of silicone ear tips. One type has a special UV painting over the silicone, resulting in a better skin feel. The Klanar tips worked well enough, and there is a large enough selection for most buyers to find a proper and comfortable fit.

The Klanar are extremely ear tip and seal picky.

This pickiness is common for planar IEMs and is not exclusive to the Klanar. The sound varies drastically with the tip type, bore size, and seal integrity. I prefer the outstanding HiFiGo Divinus Velvet ear tips.

As with all IEMs, the right ear tips and seal are crucial to realize the best sound and isolation. It is always worth experimenting until you find what’s best for you. Please reference our Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Perfect IEM Ear Tips.
For a metal body, the Klanar are light and compact. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
For a metal body, the Klanar are light and compact. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Under the Hood

Recent-generation small planar magnetic drivers for IEMs have become very popular. Many planars used for IEMs in the market are 14.2mm, presumably produced by only a few manufacturers. The Klanar houses one customized 14.5mm planar magnetic driver with a PET composite diaphragm and N55 magnet.

How Do the Klanar IEMs Sound?

For evaluation, I listen to a great variety of music through numerous sources, including DAPs (FiiO M15S), phones (LG V20, LG V60), portable DAC/amps (HELM Audio Bolt, DB12 AAAMP, TempoTec Sonata E44, Khadas Tea, Qudelix-5K) and desktop DAC/amps (xDuoo TA-22, HIFIMAN EF400).

I use and listen to review gear for at least 15 hours to thoroughly assess performance.

For this review, I visited a fascinating collection of artists with diverse ethnic origins, musical styles, and explorations in audio.

The quality of the music links posted can vary drastically and are provided for quick reference. I primarily listen and evaluate from original CDs or high-quality lossless files.

The Klanar have all the planar magnetic driver strengths, such as speed and resolution, and a few of their weaknesses. Specifically, the phenomenon that some refer to as “planar timbre,” a metallic-sounding sheen to music that is most notable with treble frequencies, such as cymbal strikes and splashes.

This is a minor nit, not a major issue, and I don’t find it offputting or bothersome with the Klanar.

The Klanar’s sound is surprisingly smooth and natural for a planar driver. It is tuned for balance rather than neutrality. Neutral can be boring, and spiked can be fatiguing – the Klanar are neither. The Klanar sound coherent, dynamic, and poised, even with the most complex sound patterns.

The KEFINE Klanar have been tuned professionally to provide a natural and smooth sound response with a balanced three-frequency response.” – KEFINE
Klanar's frequency response graph. If you're used to reading graphs, make sure you adjust your eyes to the interval spacing before jumping to conclusions. (From: Kefine)
Klanar’s frequency response graph. If you’re used to reading graphs, make sure you adjust your eyes to the interval spacing before jumping to conclusions. (From: Kefine)

The Klanar’s strengths and tuning are well-suited for most genres and are excellent everyday-carry generalists.

Depth and details are delivered clearly. The soundstage is larger than average and not especially intimate, especially with highly distinct channel separation. Imaging is above average. Transitions are snappy and clean, even with complex sound passages.

With an impedance of 16 ohms and a high sensitivity of 105 dB/mW, the Klanar are easy to drive from any source.

The Klanar perform well across genres. Pictured with the FiiO M15S DAP. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
The Klanar perform well across genres. Pictured with the FiiO M15S DAP. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Bass

The bass is the Klanar’s most surprising attribute.

Most planar drivers can be punchy and quick, not necessarily deep, as they do not move air physically like a dynamic driver. Planars are often so fast that they can sound sterile. The Klanar delivers bass texture, impact, and rumble, super clean and distortion-free.

Bass is enough for most listeners who understand balanced sound profiles and like their low end. The Klanar are not quite in basshead territory, nor will they flex there.

Due to the super-low distortion of planar drivers, the Klanar will adapt well to significant EQ adjustments, potentially at the expense of their balance.

The bass performance is impressive, especially for a planar IEM. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
The bass performance is impressive, especially for a planar IEM. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Midrange

The midrange frequencies, especially vocals and natural instruments, are present and pleasing. Despite what the graphs may suggest, there is no midrange masking or retreating to the background. For this planar driver, this is better than over-emphasis and becoming too mid-forward and “in your face.”

Treble

I enjoy the Klanar’s treble clarity and detail. They sound more accurate than some other planar IEMs. Treble can sometimes be spicy and create borderline sibilance, though less so than the Letshuoer S12 (see below).

Even with the extended treble response, the highs do not become hot, overly incisive, or bothersome – unless I don’t have a proper and tight seal.

Comparisons

The Letshuoer S12 were released more than one year before the Klanar. Both employ ~14mm planar drivers. The frequency response graphs look quite similar, except for the Klanar’s more substantial bass rise below 100Hz. This increase in bass is much more significant in reality than on the graph, as the Klanar has more bass texture and tactility.

The also all-metal LETSHUOER S12, one of the first planar IEMs to be a huge hit. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
The also all-metal LETSHUOER S12, one of the first planar IEMs to be a huge hit. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

The Klanar has stronger bass and less sharpness in the upper frequencies, making them less fatiguing. The S12 Pro is a bit closer to the Klanar’s fuller signature. Rest assured, both are excellent. A decision will mostly come down to your sound signature and design preferences.

Frequency response comparison of LETSHUOER S12 and KEFINE Klanar. (From: Gizaudio, https://timmyv.squig.link/)
Frequency response comparison of LETSHUOER S12 and KEFINE Klanar. (From: Gizaudio, https://timmyv.squig.link/)

If you value mid and treble detail and precision, the S12 is more edgy. The Klanar is smoother with more body.

Where to Buy

. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Who Should Buy This?

IEMs with planar drivers are getting less expensive. If you’ve been curious about the implementation of this technology, the Klanar are an excellent choice for those who value high detail, resolution, and crispness. They are comfortable for hours, great for everyday enjoyment, and affordable with several value-adds, including the high-quality cable and carry case.

Final Thoughts

The Klanar are an ambitious undertaking from a young company, even if they have inherited experience from Sivga/Sendy. KEFINE’s implementation of a single planar driver at this quality and price point is well-executed, competitive, and impressive. The sound profile will satisfy most listeners and can handle some EQ adjustments without crashing the sound quality.

The Klanar sound more expensive than they are.

A cruise through the KEFINE website reveals sections for headphones and earphones. I am curious about what’s coming for this new venture. Design and technology adaptations or parts bin assembly from the mother company? Completely new builds? Time will tell, and based on the Klanar, I’m looking forward to it!

The Klanar are an excellent choice for everyday, all day listening! (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
The Klanar are an excellent choice for everyday, all day listening! (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Company Overview

Dongguan KEFINE Electronics Technology Co., Ltd was founded on November 15th, 2022, and is a sub-brand of Sivga (Dongguan Sivga Electronic Technology Co., Ltd.), established in 2016. The brand name KEFINE (Kəfaɪn) comes from the combination of the founder name Ke (Kə) and the word “refine.”

Packaging is simple functional. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.). (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
Packaging is simple functional. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.). (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

What’s in the Box?

  • KEFINE Klanar planar in-ear monitors
  • 1.2m silver-plated copper & OFC copper mixed hybrid cable
  • Four pairs of silicone ear tips and three pairs of UV ear tips (assorted S, M, L)
  • Carrying case
Accessories are good, with a large selection of differentiated ear tips and an attractive cable. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)
Accessories are good, with a large selection of differentiated ear tips and an attractive cable. (From: Eric D. Hieger, Psy.D.)

Technical Specifications

  • Form: IEM (In-ear monitor)
  • Driver: 14.5mm planar magnetic with a PET composite diaphragm
  • Shell Material: Aluminum alloy
  • Impedance (Ohm): 16 ohms ±15%
  • Sensitivity (dB): 105 dB/mW ±3dB
  • Frequency Response (Hz): 20 Hz – 40 KHz
  • Removable Cable: Y
  • Cable Type: 1.2m (4 ft) premium silver-plated copper & OFC Copper
  • Cup/Shell Jack: 0.78mm 2-pin
  • Source Jack: 3.5mm or 4.4mm balanced gold-plated straight plug
  • Weight (g): 7 grams/IEM (including ear tip)

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