The Kinera Tyr is an in-ear monitor utilizing a single 6 mm micro dynamic driver. I was informed they were designed in collaboration with Final Audio. The Tyr is available at HiFiGo for $29. HiFiGo provided me with the Tyr in exchange for a fair and objective review.
I have used the Kinera Tyr with the following sources:
- JDS Labs The Element
- Apple USB-C to 3.5mm dongle
- Meizu HiFi Pro dongle
I have tested these headphones with local FLAC and Spotify Premium. Visit my last.fm page to get an idea of what I listen to.
PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES:
The Kinera Tyr comes in a hexagon-shaped black box. The Kinera Tyr’s technical specifications are listed on the bottom of the box, along with the manufacturer’s contact information and a list of included accessories. The list is inaccurate because in addition to the user manual, carry pouch, user manual and 3 pairs of short, wide-bore grey silicone eartips (S, M, L) detailed on the back of the box, the Tyr also includes three pairs of Final Type E eartips (S, M, L). I have read that early batches of the Tyr did not include the Final Type E tips. There is also a hexagonal card listing Kinera’s various social media handles.
The included carry pouch is two flat circular slabs of synthetic leather stitched together with an opening at the top, secured with a snap button. The top of the carry case is embossed with the Kinera logo and the tag line “MAKE IT CLEAR * MAKE IT REAL.” I found the carry case cheap-looking and too small to use.
BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN:
The Kinera Tyr uses a cylindrical, bullet-type design. The housings are metal with black midsections and polished silver-colored nozzles and end caps. The Kinera logo is printed in white on the side of each housing along the midsection. The nozzles have horizontal metal bars across them rather than the mesh cover typically seen. There is a small circular vent just ahead of the cable entry on each housing, and an even smaller circular vent on the outermost rim of each nozzle. The nozzles have a substantial ring for securing eartips, and I never had an eartip come loose in my ear while using the Tyr. The cable exits the housing body towards the bottom rear of the midsection. The right side cable passes through a small metallic red circlet before entering the housing body, while the matching circlet on the left-hand side is black. The housings are lightly magnetized and will stick to each other at rest.
The Kinera Tyr has a fixed smooth rubbery cable with a straight 3.5mm termination. The 3.5mm jack housing is black metal with rubber strain relief. The cable has a mic unit with a single playback control button which can trigger “Play/Pause/Voice Assistant” functionality. I did not have the opportunity to test the Tyr’s mic quality before publishing this review. There is strain relief on either side of the mic unit. The cable is not tangle-prone, but is moderately microphonic and attracts static electricity.
COMFORT / FIT / ISOLATION:
The Kinera Tyr is intended to be worn cable-down. Despite their deep insertion depth, I found them to be surprisingly comfortable to wear for extended periods. Secureness of fit was excellent. Isolation was good. There was no driver flex at my preferred insertion depth.
My measurements were conducted with a Dayton iMM-6 microphone using a vinyl tubing coupler and a calibrated USB sound interface. The headphones are driven using my Element, which has an output impedance of no more than 1 ohm. The measurements use a compensation file derived from relating my raw measurements to published measurements from Crinacle and Antdroid. The measurements are presented with 1/24th smoothing. The magnitude of the valley around 7k is a coupler artifact. There is a resonant peak around 8k. Measurements above 10k are not reliable.
Note: My impressions are based on use with the included Final Type E tips.
The Kinera Tyr has a U-shaped sound signature.
The Kinera Tyr has a slight mid-bass hump and a fair amount of sub-bass roll-off. There is enough mid-bass to give drum hits impact and weight but not so much as to distract or overwhelm the listener. The attack of bass notes is relaxed and leisurely but their decay is quick enough to avoid muddying the presentation of intense musical passages. The bass is textured and surprisingly resolving given the price point.
There is a fair amount of mid-bass bleed into the lower midrange, which creates warmth and weight but not congestion. Male vocal intelligibility is excellent and is better than female vocal intelligibility. Male and female vocals are fairly even with each other. There is a healthy amount of grit and presence. I did not find the Tyr’s upper midrange sibilant. The Tyr has a slightly dry timbre.
The Tyr has a balanced lower treble presentation that is moderately detailed without being harsh. Upper treble extension is poor and air is limited. Treble transients are slightly diffuse. The soundstage has great depth and good width. Imaging is exceptional given the price point. Layering and instrument separation are very good.
AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS AND SOURCE PAIRING:
The Kinera Tyr can be driven to a comfortable listening volume with a smartphone or dongle. I did not notice hiss with the Meizu HiFi Pro dongle, but I did with the Apple dongle at its maximum hardware volume. Thankfully, the Tyr does not need anywhere close to that level of power.
Kinera Tyr vs Blon BL-03
The Blon BL-03 is an in-ear monitor with a single 10mm carbon nanotube dynamic driver. The Kinera Tyr and the BL-03 sound relatively similar, with the biggest difference being in the treble presentation. The BL-03 has more air in the upper treble than the Tyr but less energy in the lower treble, which makes it sound less immediately detailed. The BL-03 also has better sub-bass extension. The BL-03 has a slightly more natural timbre than the Tyr. The BL-03 has a slightly wider soundstage. The Tyr’s soundstage is deeper. Instrument separation is comparable between the two IEMs. I found the Tyr to have more precise imaging. The Tyr is much easier to get a good seal and a secure fit with. The BL-03 has removable cables. Neither IEM’s included carry pouch is good, but the BL-03’s is more usable.
The Kinera Tyr is a surprisingly competent budget IEM with no deal-breaking sonic flaws. The inclusion of Final Type E tips in the package is a great added value. The absence of a detachable cable is my biggest complaint but the price is low enough that this is tolerable. I imagine these would make a great commuting companion.