Review - Aune Flamingo

Review - Kiwi Ears Cadenza

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 

TLDR Version on YouTube: TLDR - Kiwi Ears Cadenza

The Kiwi Ears Cadenza have been sent to me by Linsoul for me to test and to share my opinions in this review. As always with Linsoul, no specific requests have been made and I will do my best, as always, to be as unbiased and sincere as possible.

You can find the Kiwi Ears Cadenza via Linsoul here: https://www.linsoul.com/products/kiwi-ears-cadenza

This is a non affiliate link, as are all links that I share, meaning that I do not benefit in any way from clicks or purchases.


Intro…

I ended 2022 on a good note and with the aim of 2023 being a good year, I am going to start it on a good note also.

Over the last 6 months or so, the extreme budget range has seen some very good entries, each one raising the bar just a little bit more than the last. Some had tunings that I preferred more than others but there was no doubt that the ultra cheap IEM world has seen some fierce competition, which is great for those looking for good sound at an even better price.

The last set of IEMs that I reviewed were the Tangzu Wan’er and I said that they were a very good set that raised the, already high, extreme budget bar a little bit more, placing themselves in the top spot for ultra cheap sets together with the 7Hz Salnotes Zero. Well, I’m afraid that their time at the top didn’t last long as the first set I am going to review this year just placed itself firmly at the top, in my personal opinion of course.


Presentation…

The packaging and accessories are nothing special, including just the IEMs, cable and 9 sets of silicone tips (which is actually quite a generous number). The packaging is a simple black box, with the Kiwi Ears logo, that is packed inside a blue sleeve and not much more to really discuss.

If you are looking for an amazing unboxing experience, well, these are nothing special, but does that really matter when we are focusing on the contents and not the container?


Build and aesthetics…

The build is also simple, with plain black shells which I believe are 3D printed, yet the front plate sports a nice design on it. In my case they have a purple swirl with “Kiwi Ears” in gold text and I have to say that I have absolutely no issues with the aesthetics. Ok, I am not saying these are an amazing looking set of IEMs but they do have a nice touch to them and we really can’t ask for more at this price range.

The included cable is not exactly top of the line but it does do its job and the only real reason to swap it out would be for either a balanced connection or for aesthetic reasons. It is thin and comfortable, without me having to suffer it tangling too many times.

I would say that, in general, build quality and aesthetics are more than adequate for the price range and, due to the size and shape, I find them to be comfortable also.

My only real complaint would probably be with the included tips. They are by no means the worst tips I have encountered with IEMs (regardless of the price) but I did find that I preferred the comfort and performance when paired with Moondrop Spring tips. Obviously tips are a very personal thing but in this case, I feel that the swap benefitted the performance of the IEMs and not just the comfort.


Sound…

All tracks mentioned are clickable links that allow you to open the reference track in the streaming service of your choice (YouTube, Tidal, Spotify, etc.)

Now we get to the good part!

As usual, let’s start off with a look at the graph in comparison to my personal preference target.

In the low ranges we can see that they are elevated above my usual target, however, the clarity that these IEMs offer make that a non issue. There is no sensation of bloat nor loss of control, with every note being clean, clear and decisive. 

The subbass in my usual “Chameleon” test is a demonstration of how the lower notes can be very present without being intrusive. There is no lack of definition, nor does the rumble interfere with other frequencies. The Cadenza just present the subbass as it should be.

Midbass, which is always more of a worry for me when it is too elevated, is a continuation of the subbass performance. While we can see on the graph that the midbass is elevated, it is again well controlled and never seems to lose control or definition. There is enough warmth to enjoy the bass guitar in older rock recordings, such as “Whole Lotta Love”, yet at the same time, tracks like “Crazy” that can become boomy in these regions do not suffer from that issue.

From impressive bass response in “No Santuary Here” to just the right amount of body in things like “Tears in Heaven”, the Cadenza seem to adapt to the music and never seem to interfere with the timbre of natural instruments nor lack punch with electronic alternatives.

The mids are well balanced, without anything seeming to lack presence and as we move up to the higher part of the mids, the climb is smooth and is almost perfect for my preferences. I find that vocals such as Pentatonix in “Hallelujah” have just enough balance of warmth and presence, without either male or female vocals taking preference.

There is no real harshness, although recordings that are already harsh in their presentation are not tamed, showing no sign of anything being dampened in this regard.

In the higher regions, the extension is good although we do find a couple of little peaks in the treble regions. These are not really irritating but they can sometimes give a slight artificial “airyness” to certain tracks. This is really a minor thing but can be noticed in the higher regions of things like “The Next Episode”.

Sibilance is not exaggerated, with my usual “Code Cool” test placing the vocals just on the verge, noticing the sibilance but without it being uncomfortable. Based on the intro of “Hope is a Dangerous Thing”, I would say that the Cadenza even tame sibilance just slightly.

Details are impressive on the Cadenza, presented in a way that just blends in with the music. They didn’t strike me as detail monsters yet when actually paying attention, they do a very good job and things are just where they should be.

Soundstage is about the average for a set of IEMs but the image placement is good and they use the space to their advantage, seeming to leave space between layers in tracks like “Strange Fruit”.

Isolation is also decent, with most of the frequency ranges falling above average and not really lacking in comparison to other models in any specific range.


Conclusion…

Based on the performance we are seeing lately in the budget ranges, I really shouldn’t be surprised that the Cadenza offers the quality of sound that they do, but I still am. It really is crazy how much improvement there has been in the extreme budget section over the past 6 to 12 months.

I honestly feel a little guilty when I say that something is amazing for the price and then in the following review, I say that this is even more amazing, as it feels like I am following the “FOTM” trend. Yet, when the quality is there, it can’t be denied.

If you are looking for something in the ultra cheap bracket, there are some very good options, however, up to now, the Kiwi Ears Cadenza would be my first choice. Now let’s see who is next to take the crown!


All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link
 
All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation

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