Review: Kinera Sif

Firstly I would like to thank Kinera for sending me this sample to review.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings

Gear Used:
Audio Opus #2 / iFi Pro iDSD > Kinera Sif

Impendence:32 ohm
Frequency Range:20Hz -20kHZ
Driver:10 mm SPM Diaphragm
Plug Type:3.5mm
Cable Length:1.2m

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
The Sif come in a lovely, quite arty, box which is white and has swirls of brown and grey on it. The box is a hexagonal and has the model number and branding on the front, with specs on the back. Lift the top of the box off and you'll find the carry case which holds the IEM's and accessories, along with a user manual. I really like the look of the box and it stands out among the fairy plain packaging of many other brands/models.

Accessory wise you get a clamshell carry case with Kinera branding on it, along with eartips (single flange silicone in S, M and L). Overall everything that's needed and nothing missing for the price. On a side note the tips are of very good quality, and should fit most people with ease.

Build quality is great overall for the price, they use MMCX connectors so you can easily replace the cable and the included cable is braided with great strain relief. The housings are very light and the plastic does feel a little cheap, but they look good and are very comfortable. Overall I really like the included cable as it is comfy and well built, and the housings are small and lightweight but do feel a little cheap.

Comfort and Isolation:
The Sif are very light due to their plastic housings, couple that with an ergonomic cable and they are extremely comfortable. The housings are small and fit quite flush in your ears, and the cable uses pre-moulded earhooks over stiff memory, a great choice in my opinion.

Isolation is quite good on these, there is a vent due to these being dynamic drivers, but the vent doesn't really seem to affect the isolation too much. I think the thickness of the housings has more to do with it.

Split into the usual categories with a conclusion at the end.

Lows: The low end on the Sif is quite reserved and controlled, they are not a full sounding IEM favouring a more neutral and detailed approach. The lows are articulate and do reach down low when needed, they really come out when called for but I have found kicks to lack a little body during rock music. When fed well recorded acoustic/jazz/pop I found them to follow a bass line easily and without any bloat or bleed into the midrange. The lows are well defined and the mid-bass can easily keep up with complex bass lines with great agility.  Overall the lows are fairly neutral in quantity, have good quality and speed lacking a tiny bit of punch at times.

Mids: The midrange is crisp and clear with great detail retrieval but it does have a slight rise in the upper midrange that can bring out a little sibilance. The lows do not bleed into the lower midrange, ensuring male vocals cut through with detail and presence. Tonally wise I do find the midrange to be slightly cold, at times almost clinical. Those who favour detail over a more full bodied and romantic sound will enjoy this, and I do enjoy the midrange a lot on these. The midrange is also well separated and layered, not suffering from congestion in more complex mixes.

Highs: There is a bit of a peak which enhances the initial crash of cymbals and this brings out a bit of brilliance but could be a cause of fatigue for some. The upper treble however is quite smooth and extends well, gently rolling off. The tonality again is a little off, sounding ever so slightly metallic, but the performance is great for the price and configuration. All too often budget single dynamic designs roll off the top end early. The top end is not pushed forward or exaggerated and it's great to hear a budget IEM with this level of presence up top without sounding overly grainy or artificial, even if they are lacking a bit of micro-detail and refinement.

Soundstaging is fairly average for an IEM, they do not sound closed in and there is good separation however the sound doesn't stretch too far beyond your ears.

Conclusion: The Sif are great performers for a low price, I have recently been listening to the KZ AS10 and whilst they offer a bit more refinement and a smoother sound signature, I was missing the top end that the Sif deliver. Both are excellent for under $50, but the Sif comes across with a bit more bite and drive whereas the AS10 favour warmth and smoothness. Overall the Sif are a great choice for $37 with detachable MMCX cables and a well balanced and fairly neutral sound that handles most genres with ease.

Sound Perfection Rating: 8.5/10 (Controlled and overall quite neutral sound coupled with good build and design)