Han Sound Audio is a Taiwan-based company that manufactures high-quality upgrade cables for headphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs). In this review, I’m checking out the Hand Sound Audio Kimera, a 4-core hybrid upgrade cable with an exotic combination of gold, silver and copper wires.
Han Sound Audio website: http://www.hansoundaudio.com/
This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my experience with the product.
Han Sound Audio Kimera Review
- Visually stunning
- Fantastic handling and comfort
- Resistant to tangling
- Can be worn over-ear or down (no memory wire or pre-shaped hooks)
- Resolving, textured, powerful
- No strain relief on plug
Prior to testing, the Kimera cable used for this review was run-in for 72 hours using the Telos QBT machine, courtesy of BKK Audio.
Package and Accessories
The Kimera is presented in Han Sound Audio’s classic black cardboard box. On the top is a brand logo in silver and on one side of the box, there’s a white sticker displaying the model name, connector and plug type. Inside the box, the cable is nestled in a circular, black foam insert with a thin layer of foam on top of the cable itself for extra protection. Also included is a leather cable wrap, embossed with the brand name.
Build Quality and Design
Kimera’s gauge is the thicker 23 AWG for each wire, reducing resistance and increasing conductivity. Kimera uses a combination of gold plated silver-copper alloy, silver Litz and copper Litz.
The wires are braided in a unique arrangement that allows the different elements to meld together smoothly. These exotic materials are then sheathed in a soft, thin PVC that offers better handling and showcases the stunning colour mix of gold, silver and copper.
Like the Agni MK2, Kimera uses HanSound’s own plug, which is available in 2.5mm/3.5mm/4.4mm sizes. The 2.5mm balanced plug is made with phosphor bronze material and the 3.5mm and 4.4mm balanced plugs are tellurium copper material.
For the cable configuration, I chose a 2.5mm source termination along with 2-pin IEM/CIEM connectors. The 2.5mm termination comes with the gold-plated phosphor bronze 2.5mm plug with branding in white print on one side. The plug also has a lightly-textured honeycomb pattern that is smooth but adds a little bit of grip that comes in handy when plugging in or disconnecting. Like the Agni MK2, I was a little surprised to see there is no strain relief on the plug.
Once again we see the distinguishable Han Sound metal Y-split with the chiselled top end, tapered bottom end and black band with logo in the middle. There’s a matching metal chin slider that moves up and down the cable easily but stays firmly in the place where you left it.
There are no memory wires or pre-formed ear guides, so you can use the Kimera with any style of IEM, either over-ear or cable-down. The aluminium 2-pin connectors at the top have a white and red coloured ring on the left and right sides respectively for easy identification.
Handling and Aesthetics
The Kimera handles like a charm. It has a nice bit of weight to it that makes it feel premium without being heavy. Kimera is not quite as soft as the Agni MK2 as it is crafted with thicker 23 AWG wire but that means it’s even less prone to tangling.
There are no kinks or inherent memory in the Kimera and there is, of course, no microphonics either. As much as I love the way the Agni MK2 handles, the Kimera’s extra robustness and exotic character suit my preference even more.
The Kimera feels like a guilty pleasure to use. It sparkles and it shines like it is a piece of exotic but functional jewellery. Han Sound Audio has extensive experience in manufacturing cables and the Kimera is the perfect example of their masterful craftsmanship.
So what kind of sound does this triple-element mix concoct? This is the most interesting and visceral cable I’ve heard to date. There is a sense of fullness with the Kimera that makes everything feel bigger and more substantial. It delivers a rich, dynamic sound with powerful, authoritative bass and mids full of body and transparent clarity. Treble is remarkably well-defined, airy and pure.
The soundstage is incredibly organized and instrument separation is exquisite. By far, the thing I most love about the Kimera’s sound is its texture. It adds an extra dimension to notes and a physicality that you feel you can reach out and touch. It’s almost as if it could turn a smooth sphere into a bumpy pineapple. It’s especially noticeable in the bass and mids giving drums and lower register instruments extra layers of complexity.
For testing, I used the 2.5mm balanced output on both the Soundaware M2Pro and Shanling M5s. As noted at the top of this article, the cable was run-in for 72 hours using the Telos QBT machine prior to testing.
Empire Ears Bravado
The Bravado (review here) is a hybrid IEM with 1 balanced armature driver and 1 W9 dynamic bass driver. It has a beefy bass with a clear, articulate midrange and a sweet, laid back treble. Paired with the Kimera, the Bravado’s midrange and vocals come forward with more aggression and body.
Bass takes on extra texture and impact and leaps forth with powerful vividness. Instrument separation is enhanced too, making the background even blacker and improving separation of the bass and midrange. The treble takes on extra density and body as it shimmers with purity and detail.
The Pluto (review here) is a very warm and mid-bass centric 4BA IEM. In reality, the last thing the Pluto needs is even more power in its bass but it does sound nice with the extra grit granted by the Kimera. For my preferences though, I prefer the Agni MK2 for this monitor for its tighter bass and treble extension.
The M-Fidelity SA-50 (review here) is a hidden gem among CIEMs and every time I listen it leaves me in awe of its prowess. It has an expansive, airy stage with stunning separation and black background. SA-50’s tonal balance is exquisite, as is the vocal density, rich, detailed mids and crisp, extended treble.
Paired with Kimera, the SA-50 becomes an even better version of itself. The increased texture, the bass definition and midrange fullness make the effects of this combo something akin to numinous. It’s a mix of power and delicacy, speed and grace that I’m finding really hard to put down as I finish writing this section.
Custom Art FIBAE Black
The FIBAE Black (review here) is warm and buttery smooth in character. While the Han Sound Agni MK2 enhanced its treble extension, the effect of Kimera is even more impressive. It adds sublime texture to the Black’s bass and lower midrange, taking away some of that smoothness in exchange for a more aggressive and visceral impact. The Black already has an impressive soundstage for a warm IEM and the Kimera’s improved instrument separation is able to make the background even blacker.
So, there you have it. The Han Sound Audio Kimera is some special sauce, unlike any cable I’ve heard before. It’s powerful, it’s transparent and I’m still trying to figure out how it adds so much texture to bass and midrange notes. Just in case you didn’t notice, it’s beautiful too. Oh yes, Han Sound Audio has woven magic into the Kimera and I’ll be fighting the temptation to put it on every single IEM I listen to in the future. This is one outstanding cable.
- Conductor Material: Gold plated silver-copper alloy, OCC silver, and OCC copper Litz
- Jacket: UV-PVC
- Colour: Natural
- Gauge: 23 AWG each wire
- Softness: ★★★★☆
- Quantity of wire: 4-wire
- Standard Plug: HanSound’s 2.5mm/3.5mm/4.4mm
- Connectors available: 2P IEM, MMCX(incl. AKG), QDC, UE, Fitear, headphones, etc.