Hey there PAR fam. Kinera is a Chinese IEM manufacturer with a goal to bring value earphones to the market. In this review, I’m taking a look at the Kinera Tyr, a tiny budget IEM with a single 6mm Micro Dynamic Driver Unit. Will it leave an impression as diminutive as its size or will it make a big impact? Let’s take a look.
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.
Kinera Tyr Review
Tiny form factor
Oozing with style
In-line remote and microphone
Comes with Final Type E eartips
Value for money
Upper treble is a little subdued
Package and Accessories
A deceptively small hexagonal box marks the beginning of the Kinera TYR unboxing. Opening up the box, I was surprised to find a super simple but really nice leather storage pouch with the Kinera branding embossed into the top. The pouch is
More surprises lay in store as I discovered a nice selection of the excellent Final Type E silicone eartips inside. Already this was beginning to look like a great value bundle. Also in the box were the earphones, of course, plus a user guide and a hexagonal card with links to Kinera’s social media community.
Build Quality and Design
For TYR’s physical build Kinera opted to go with the tried and true classic bullet-shaped housing. In true Kinera fashion, they’ve even managed to make these miniature in-ear monitors look debonaire.
The shells are black metal with a silver-coloured section on both ends. Kinera branding is printed on one side in white. There is a protective mesh covering the nozzle openings and those nozzles have a proper ridge that holds eartips securely in place. A single tiny pinhole vent can be found just in front of where the cable is attached.
The cable is fixed, which is something I usually am not fond of but in this case, I don’t mind at all because the stock cable is quite nice. It has black, rubberized insulation that is smooth and handles very nicely. There are no kinks or wire memory but there is significant microphonics; thankfully TYR can be worn over-ear which greatly reduces any cable noise.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
Thanks to its simplistic design and lightweight build, TYR is an extremely comfortable earphone. The included Final Type E eartips are also very soft and comfortable to use.
I found the noise isolation to be about average for a dynamic driver IEM. These are perfectly suitable for commuting on public transport or walking around in a busy shopping mall.
TYR surprised me with its generous bundle, its stylish minimalistic design and again with its quality tuning. It has a light V-shaped signature that has good detail retrieval, tonality and engagement. My sample unit has a slight channel imbalance, so I gotta take a point off for that.
Little TYR took no time in reminding me that micro drivers can pack some serious bass punch. Bass attack speed is on the slower side which gives it some thickness but the tidy decay prevents it from getting bogged down.
Sub-bass reach is done really well here and TYR is a great IEM for tracks like Solar Fields’ “In Motion (Good Morning Edit)“. You can literally feel the little housings humming in your ears as TYR reproduces the long synth bass notes.
The lower midrange is warm with a little colouration carried over from the upper bass. This lends some richness to vocals and instruments but there’s still plenty of texture to be heard. The core mids sit slightly behind the bass, hence the light V-shaped signature but a lift in the upper midrange adds presence and maintains clarity.
Resolution in the mids is pretty nice but overall this region is fairly smooth with rounded notes. It’s a midrange that works well for mainstream rock, pop and hip-hop genres in particular.
TYR’s treble is fairly relaxed and easygoing so it should be suitable for the treble-sensitive out there. There’s a significant bump at around 6kHz but fortunately, it doesn’t cause any real sibilance or stridency. The upper treble rolls off steadily but there’s enough lower and core treble to keep the sound fairly lively and crisp.
The soundstage is more on the intimate side of things and is fairly narrow but has good depth. Instrument separation is pretty good and TYR doesn’t suffer from congestion but at the same time, don’t expect this little budget IEM to be a master of layers. Although the stage size is a bit small the slightly recessed mids help to prevent it from feeling crowded.
RevoNext QT5 ($22 USD)
The QT5 (review here) is a dual-driver hybrid (1DD+1BA) IEM with great build and sound. It has been on my Best IEMs List since the time I reviewed it. Sadly, the brand was caught in the crossfire and became an innocent victim in the Head-Fi banned stores debacle so it never got the popularity it truly deserves.
Compared to TYR, the QT5’s vocals are more prominent and have increased clarity. The bass has better definition and speed, although the QT5’s sub-bass doesn’t quite deliver with the same level of authority as TYR.
Treble is more energetic and forward on the QT5 but those who are sensitive to the 8kHz region might find this earphone fatiguing. It does affect the accuracy of the tone a little so the TYR comes out in front when it comes to natural tonality.
In terms of build quality, both are great and each has metal housings. The QT5 also has a detachable 2-pin cable but the stock one provided doesn’t have a mic like TYR.
BLON BL-03 ($29 USD)
The BL-03 (review here) is a single carbon nanotube (CNT) dynamic driver IEM that had the enthusiast community in a spin in 2019. Known for its tonality, timbre and musicality, it quickly became a hot item.
Compared to TYR, the BL-03 has a more prominent bass and a more linear transition from mid to sub-bass. The BL-03’s bass has better definition with a cleaner leading edge from its faster attack speed.
The midrange has more prominence on the BLON, making vocals more intimate with greater engagement. With less emphasis on the lower treble, the BL-03 isn’t as edgy and is less prone to sibilance than TYR.
Moving into the core and upper treble, the BL-03 is more lifted, giving it extra airiness and a slightly wider soundstage. The BLON doesn’t have a microphone like TYR but it does have a detachable 2-pin cable. It should also be noted that a good number of people (including myself) felt the need to upgrade the BL-03’s stock cable for optimal performance so the base price may be misleading. TYR, on the other hand, is optimally configured right out of the box which is probably preferred by more inexperienced or first-time consumers.
The Kinera TYR is a really interesting little earphone with a good sound and loads of style. When you consider the package as a whole, it’s really compelling at this price. It’s very rare to see a budget IEM come with stock high-quality third-party eartips too. I think if you’re looking for a discreet, classy daily carry with quality sound and a microphone, this would be a fine choice.