>>I am brazilian and I speak portuguese, so forgive my english, I’ll use translator tools to help<<
Kiwi Ears is a new company in the earphones market, it appeared suddenly and is already having the greatest success with its products. The first earphone from them that I have the opportunity to review is the Kiwi Ears Cadenza. The Cadenza is an entry level IEM from Kiwi Ears, but they currently have other earphones in other price ranges.
The Kiwi Ears Cadenza was sent by Linsoul, one of the main distributors of Kiwi Ears products, as well as several other brands and audio products. So, I’ll put the product links and those who are interested in know more about the Kiwi Ears Cadenza, just check the links below (they are not affiliates).
PS: For those who don’t know, Linsoul is the same DD-Audio Store on AliExpress, so I’ll also put the links to make easier for those who prefer AliExpress.
Official price: $34.99 USD
Colors: Green (Solo), Red (Chorus), Blue (Verse), Purple (Perlude)
Cable: No Mic
– (1) 10mm Dynamic Driver Beryllium coated per side
– Frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz
– Sensitivity: 110dB SPL/mW
– Impedance: 32Ω
– THD: 0.3%
– Termination Plug: 3.5mm (L design)
– Cable size: 120cm (detachable)
– Cable: 4-core Braided Copper Cable
– Connectors: 2-pin 0.78mm
– Shell: Medical Grade Resin
Eartips. 3 types of eartips came, all in silicone and all in sizes S/M/L. Here, even though they are “different” eartips, they are basically the same, that is, they have the same hole pattern and size in all, what changes is just the color and the texture between one and the other, even if the difference of texture is also small (very small actually). These eartips are OK, simple but effective, I believe there’s no need to purchase other eartips besides the stock ones to get the ideal sound from the IEM. Usually, when companies use these white eartips, I give them more priority, because I feel that they are a little softer and more flexible than the others (this is very subjective).
-The evaluation was made with the white eartips in size M.
A warning: from time to time you need to be aware of the sealing that the eartip is giving to you, otherwise you may think that the sound of the IEM is “wrong”. Therefore, attention when inserting the IEM into the ear canal. If you realize that the sound isn’t OK, I recommend to you take out the IEM, wait a few seconds, and put it back in. This is normal, because sometimes you are used to the eartip of another IEM and when you put a new one on, it ends up being strange. Testing a larger size is also interesting.
Cable. Cadenza’s cable I thought was great. This cable was very well chosen, even though it’s a simpler cable, it managed to impress me both in the aesthetic part and in the practical part (usability), it reminded me of the Tin T3+ cable. It’s a very light cable, very easy to roll up for storage, it doesn’t have ‘memories’ (wavy), it doesn’t tangle easily, and it also didn’t present microphonics. To beat this cable here, I think just the Celest Pandamon cable, and perhaps, because the Pandamon cable is a little thicker, and also the product as a whole is more expensive ($59), so the Cadenza’s cable can be a good accessory in terms of cost-benefit. I didn’t find much to criticize here, a very positive point about the product (subjective), but I’ll make an observation about the earhooks & connectors. The cable comes with a chin slider, and the piece really works for what it was intended to do.
Earhooks & Connectors. The earhooks have a good curvature, are flexible, and didn’t create any pressure points or heaviness in my ears. I always say that the best types of earhooks are the ones that come in a tubular format (without ripples), in the case of the Cadenza they have ripples, but they didn’t cause any discomfort, the cable is thin and light, so that detail didn’t appear here. The connectors are 0.78mm 2-pin style (my preference). They come with the letters L & R (left and right) to indicate the correct side to insert. However, the body of the earphones doesn’t have any indication for the person make the correct insertion, so I see that this information was missing… for those who already have a little more experience in this hobby, this will be Ok, but for those who are starting, it maybe can invert the sides without noticing. Another observation I can point is that when inserting the pins into the body of the earphones, it took a bit of effort, I had to force to fit… and to remove it was even more laborious.
The fit. This is always a very subjective topic, it serves more to report something different (when there’s one). Here, for me, the Cadenza had a very good fit, 100% stability in my ears, I don’t need to keep adjusting it, just put it on and that’s it. It’s a very discreet earphone, there are no protruding parts out of the ear. I would say it’s a good IEM for all types of ears, I consider my ears to be medium sized and the IEM fits well, neither tight nor baggy. I thought the insertion was medium, I didn’t feel any sensation of pressure in my ear canal. The isolation I thought was good.
Comfort. Comfort with the Cadenza is great. The IEM is very light, those who have had experience with resin IEMs know what I’m talking about, and those who haven’t, can rest assured that the IEM is very light. The cable is also very light, so it helps not to create weight in the ear. The resin used has good quality, the earphone is very smooth and doesn’t have any strange parts, it’s also very ergonomic, good for long sessions. The Cadenza reminded me a lot of the Tin C3 in terms of comfort (and even the fit too).
Unfortunately the Cadenza doesn’t come with any extra accessories, it’s just the eartips and the cable. There’s no way to be too critical about this because the price range of the IEM doesn’t demand that much, however, in my opinion, every earphone has to come with a hard case or at least a semi-hard case, that’s something of $1-3 dollars in the price of the product, so I think it could be included a case.
I understood the sound of the Kiwi Ears Cadenza as one more earphone influenced by the Harman Target (Harman International compensation curve). It’s true that each company makes its own modification of this curve, but in the general context, the curve serves as a parameter to describe that the sound of the earphones is something like this: emphasized bass, recessed mids, slightly more enhanced upper-mids, and more relaxed treble.
The sound of the Cadenza is well balanced, the sound is very pleasant. I’m impressed by the level that audio companies have managed to reach, offering good products at very affordable prices, as is the case with Cadenza here. This IEM partly reminded me of the FiiO JD7, although the JD7 I think is a step above, because in technical terms – for me – is superior. But then, the JD7 costs twice the price, so this association is only in terms of tonality, even though the JD7 has a full bodied sound than the Cadenza. It’s also necessary to take into consideration other details such as the physical aspects and accessories of each product.
Let’s go to the Cadenza’s bass in quantitative terms. I would say that this IEM has bass at a moderate level. It has presence in the bass but it’s certainly not the most prominent region on this earphone. It’s far from being an IEM for bassheads, although the amount that has here doesn’t make the IEM boring or weak. It’s a bass that can adapt to different music styles. Even myself that like IEMs with more bass could hear a lot of things and I didn’t feel disadvantaged, although for my taste I agree that could be just a little more for be perfect (in quantity). The Cadenza has sub-bass and mid-bass, now, I thought that the sub-bass were a little more present in the presentation, so, it’s like there was a sensation that the mid-bass were less intense (a very small difference in fact). I didn’t feel roll-off, the extension is good.
Cadenza’s bass in qualitative terms. In the paragraph above I mentioned that the subs had a little more presence, so here in the qualitative aspects, the Cadenza’s bass will deliver more mass and weight, a certain “meat” to the sound… but it’s also necessary to remember that in quantity they sound as moderate, so don’t expect a dominant bass in the presentation, here are basses that accompany the recordings, and in my opinion they are not the highlight of this IEM. The definition is good/Ok, but I found the bass to lack more physicality and texture. As I said in the previous paragraph, the IEM have less presence in the mid-bass region, so the impact ends up with a looser characteristic, and without that punch and outlined form. This in fact doesn’t make the bass sound bad, but it gives a different perspective to the bass sound, even in micro situation. The Cadenza’s bass isn’t boomy, it’s not muddy, and it doesn’t bleed into the mids, however in some situations they can sound a little muffled, but of course that’s taking into consideration other IEMs I’ve heard that performed slightly better. (the recordings also influence this perception here).
Cadenza’s midrange. Here we arrive in the region that – for me – is the highlight of the IEM. In fact, it must be said that in terms of quantity, the mids are OK, the pinna gain is very coherent, there are no excesses. There’s a slight leaning towards being “forward”, but it’s something well done, it’s far from harsh sounding. What impressed me in this region (mainly in the upper-mids) was in fact the qualitative part, because the level of transparency that Cadenza delivers is something very interesting for an IEM in this price range. It presented good clarity and resolution with everything I could hear here. Wind instruments gain more life and become more palpable, guitar riffs are more “dry”, this is because the Cadenza’s bass isn’t so high, and this influences here in this region, the sound ends up not being full-bodied or warm.
The voices. In my opinion, female/high voices won the battle here, but by a very slim margin. In fact, the Cadenza isn’t the best earphone I’ve ever heard for this type of voice, but in comparison between the high and low voices, it was a little better for the higher/colder voices. In my opinion, male/low voices need a little more texture, so you can feel the vibrations of the vocal cords, make the sound more guttural, deeper, warmer, and this I think was missing here in Cadenza. Note that this doesn’t mean that male/low voices were bad, it’s just that lack a little more performance for this type of voice/timbre (in my opinion).
Cadenza’s treble in quantitative terms. I consider the treble to be at a moderate level. I think this is a good IEM for those who don’t like very high trebles, the earphones always play the treble in a single note, that is, always with a constant linearity, nothing exceeds nothing lack. The Tin C2, for example, is an IEM that I think has a little more treble than the Cadenza, so much so that on the C2 I had to use a CP100 to reduce the question (see the respective review). Here’s also a tip for those who prefer more elevated treble that maybe the Cadenza doesn’t deliver the expected. I didn’t feel roll-off in the treble region, the extension is good.
Cadenza’s treble in quality terms. The treble are smooth, linear, calm, relaxed, without peaks or coloration. The sparkle is very coherent with the real thing, it sounds very natural, without being too bright or dark, it’s just right. The definition is good, and the details too, but it doesn’t reach the level of micro details. The aery I found Ok. The Cadenza’s treble aren’t shrill, aren’t harsh, aren’t sharp, aren’t fatiguing, and they don’t have sibilance. I think it is a good IEM for genres that have a more intense activity with high frequency instruments, Metal music for example, the hi-hats always have more intensity, so the Cadenza’s treble end up giving a more comfortable sound for this type of music, it doesn’t generate hearing fatigue. As for Samba/Chorinho songs always have a lot of mandolin, and the Cadenza’s treble conveys a sense of coherence with the instrument, there’s no artificial timbre.
Soundstage. The soundstage feel I found Ok/average. Here in this regard, I really thought that in width, height and depth, the Cadenza is somewhere in the middle, the earphone doesn’t create a great feeling of spatiality, but it’s also not something that transforms the presentation into a compressed form. Here, as I said in the second paragraph of the sound aspects, the JD7 manages to perform better both on stage and in separation, but again, remember that they are IEMs of different categories.
Imaging. The instrumental separation I found Ok/average. The stereo image is good, and the separation is OK, it’s possible to hear the instruments with definition, but it’s not too far from each other, just the enough for the sound not to sound congested. As I always say, hybrid IEMs manage to have a better separation (in my opinion and it’s not a rule), of course there are single DD IEMs that have good separation, but from what I’ve heard, the hybrids most of the time got the better performance (remembering that this can also vary according to recordings and other processes during music production).
Driver flex test. The Cadenza is a single DD IEM, that is, only one dynamic driver per side, and when this is the case, it’s necessary to test whether it presents the sound of the driver flex. So, during all the time I was using the Cadenza, it didn’t show any driver flex noise, so I can say that the IEM is free of this problem.
Amplification. I used the Questyle M15 dongle connected to my computer to do this evaluation. The output used was the 3.5mm SE and the device with the selector in “Low Gain” mode, that is, without gain. The volume used was the 45% level of the 100% available by the Windows volume scale. The Cadenza is an easy to play IEM, and in my opinion it doesn’t need extra amplification, the earphone can play well in simpler sources. I did a quick test with the iFi GO link dongle on my smartphone and the Cadenza played perfectly (this is even a good recommendation that I make for an entry level kit).
Music is subjective, so below is the list of some musical genres that I personally think that was better with this IEM. Remember that were only few genres and few artists tested. If I describe that one genre was better and the other don’t, it doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to your favorite music genre with this IEM and love it. So, here goes:
*Brazilian musical genres.
Not so much:
Graphs by Super*Review:
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