Kinera Celest Gumiho English Review


The Tamed Fox




Construction and Design




  • Product design and iconography.
  • Development of a new driver, the SPD, Square Planar Driver.
  • Warm and inoffensive sound.
  • Good ergonomics.
  • Innovation for the price.




  • For my taste, the sound lacks sparkle and first treble, it’s a bit dark and soft.
  • It is not a very detailed set, nor with a lot of separation.
  • The bass suffers and can become distorted at high volumes and bad recordings.
  • Difference between channels.


Purchase Link


Link to the WEB




Believe it or not, the Kinera Celest Gumiho are going to be my first IEMS from this Chinese brand to review. First of all, I was pleased to see that Kinera has its website translated into Spanish and in it you can see all the information about the current models. There is a lot of information about this model in question and I will only write a brief summary, excluding all the driver controversy and the collaboration with Celest. The most important thing is that they use a driver with exclusive technology, it is a square planar driver (SPD, Square Planar Driver) patented by the brand itself. Although it is not a planar like the rest of IEMS, Kinera boasts of its own creation, something that allows it to be priced much lower than the rest. But the Celest Gumiho is a hybrid and also has its own customised BA unit, which is responsible for reproducing the high frequencies. The central design idea is based on the nine-tailed fox in the «Classic of Mountains and Seas». The capsule has been 3D printed and its embossing and engraving has been made possible by this technology. The design goes beyond the capsule itself and the packaging also has the same idea in its representation. Let’s take a look at the rest of its features and its musical performance.





  • Driver Type: 1 SPD 10x10mm driver + 1 BA driver both customised by the brand.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 106dB±1dB.
  • Impedance: 9Ω.
  • Jack Connector: SE 3.5mm gold plated.
  • Capsule Connection Type: 2Pin 0.78mm.
  • Weight (IEMS + cable): 8.6g + 19.4g.
  • Cable Length: 1.25m.





The Kinera Celest Gumiho come in an eye-catching rectangular box, the outside of which is a transparent plastic sleeve, decorated with silver tree motifs. Completely well designed so that the inside can be seen, the presentation of the capsules and the idea of the motif – the nine-tailed fox – are enhanced. This is depicted on a kind of metal key ring that comes as an accessory. The packaging measures 141x100x35mm. When you remove the outer sleeve, you can see in detail how both the IEMS and the metallic reproduction of the nine-tailed fox are inserted in a foam mould with a decorated cardboard attached to its surface. Underneath it are the rest of the accessories, in brief:


  • The 2 capsules.
  • Fox with 9 tails.
  • Light-coloured imitation leather bag with engraving of the 9-tailed fox.
  • Instruction manual.
  • Pure copper alloy + silver plated copper cable with 3.5mm SE gold plated plug.
  • Cleaning brush.
  • 6 Celest 221 Vocal Eartips (White), sizes SxMxL.
  • 6 Celest 822 tips (black), sizes SxMxL.


For the price of the product, the content is quite good. For Westerners, the idea of an image being taken to such an extreme is perhaps a bit exaggerated and superfluous. In this case, the iconography of the 9-tailed fox is very prominent. But it should be respected as such and I am not one to criticise this fact. Apart from this conceptual design, I would have preferred a zipped case. On the positive side, both the cable and the tips have a signature of exclusivity. The cleaning brush is appreciated.



Construction and Design


I can’t deny that the design of the capsule is even controversial. There is a choice of 4 finishes: all black, all white, black with the 9-tailed fox embossed motif and white with the same motif. There is also a choice of SE 3.5mm or BAL 4.4mm cable, or both. Other modular cables of higher quality are also available. Although these options increase the price, even the balanced option is more expensive.
The capsule has been 3D printed with a glossy, polished resin, with many rounded areas. The shape of the capsule, it has that crazy point, it’s not the 9-tailed fox, can anyone say what it looks like, shamelessly? In Kinera’s defence, the shape is not symmetrical, but has a rounded side and a straight side, divided in two, a long side and a shorter side. Yes, fans can criticise this design all they want, but I can tell you that the ergonomics of the whole is superior to other models. And the design is by no means trivial. It could be said that there are two distinct parts, although there is no division between them: the base with the external face and the 2Pin 0.78mm connector and the platform from where the mouthpiece is born. On the edge of the base, on the long flat side, is written «Celest» in a handwritten font and white ink. On the opposite curved edge there are three holes. As if it were a continuous disc, the platform from which the nozzle is tilted is born. It is like a wide, oblique funnel, which dares to emulate the negative ergonomics of our ear canals. The mouthpiece is short and has three levels. From the first step, it only grows a little more than 4mm. The smallest diameter is about 5.5mm. The outermost rim is 6.7mm. It is therefore a short and thick mouthpiece. Even the design of the grille is different: it is a metal plate with petal-shaped holes, slightly spiral-shaped, starting from the centre, in which there is another hole, this time round and much smaller.
The cable is of the Cruella de Vil type, with two white wires and two black wires. It consists of 4 strands, 2 of pure copper alloy and 2 of silver-plated copper. They are protected with soft PVC. Each strand is 1.3mm thick and has 124 strands of 0.05mm. The length is 1.25m, with a 2Pin 0.78mm interface. The plug is 3.5mm SE gold-plated pure copper. All other parts of the cable are aluminium alloy. The plug sleeve is cylindrical and black and reads «Celest» longitudinally, in white letters. The splitter piece is another black cylinder, in the shape of a barrel. The pin is a black, holed sphere made of resin. The connector sleeves are also black cylinders and the plate from which the 2Pins are born has a red colour for the right side and a transparent colour for the left side. Both channels are shaped over the ear. There is a velcro strap to collect the cable.
I insist, the design is neither simple, nor discreet. On the contrary, it is eye-catching and decorated. The shape is also eye-catching and has a «dangerous» external resemblance. But I think the whole should be applauded, both for the effort, for the iconography and for the daring to give a different and striking model.



Adjustment and Ergonomics


As I mentioned, the design of the capsule is by no means trivial. The rounded rim rests on the outer side of our pinna and the mouthpiece slopes towards the canal. You can tell that there is a lot of work behind it to make the fit good, at least for most people. It is true that the mouthpiece could be longer, but its diameter prevents any hint of insertion deeper than the shallow one. The choice of tips can be fun, especially to free the sound from some congestion. I have opted for foam-filled tips, but, on this occasion, I have chosen narrower ones with a larger inner diameter, so that the mouthpiece is as exposed as possible. This type of homemade tips I make are based on the idea of the Symbio Mandarine, but I take the plastic core out of the shaped tips and put it inside various silicone tips. The fit is much more durable, the bass is more pronounced and sensory, due to the greater contact of the tips with the ear canals. Clarity is gained with the diameter of the inner core, which is usually wide to get the best of both worlds, present bass and extra clarity. The result is also noticeable in comfort, in a more occlusive, durable fit and greater isolation. The coupling with the Gumiho is quite optimal, it doesn’t move and the fit is very good. I can only point out, as a negative note, that as the hours go by I feel a little discomfort, both with the capsule and the cable.







The profile has a rounded W-shape, where the highest peak is in the mid-treble. The bass is accentuated from the LFO’s and rides linearly up to almost 100Hz. Then there is a quiet descent towards the 500/600Hz valley. From 1kHz onwards the curve becomes livelier to excite from 2kHz to 4kHz. Then it enters the classic control drop of the first treble and gets a bit out of control between 7kHz and 10kHz, where the BA driver comes into play.
It’s a profile that combines a slightly dark and warm edge, with a later sparkle in the treble, which gives it a somewhat unwanted classic BA feel. The first part is dense and rounded, a little diffuse. The control drop in the treble is greater and does not help to bring more sparkle, clarity and luminosity to the whole, becoming subtly opaque and not very detailed.
For these reasons, I recommend pairing with wide-channel tips and cooler sources, unless you want to accentuate the warmer, darker personality of the Kinera Celest Gumiho.





The lower range of the Gumiho is relatively thick. Its curve is almost linear all the way down to 100Hz, which bodes well for its presence. It also has an appreciable punch, as well as a good sense of depth. But it is true that in terms of agility and decay it is not among the best. That’s something that gives it that warmer colour, that fuzzy, more opaque feel to the whole. There is good control and projection in the delivery, but it is focused on the outswing, while the downswing is longer and rounder on the return. The SPD driver is not well suited for pure tone performance, which is also true of the BA drivers. I have experienced sonic anomalies when playing very low frequency pure tones, such as unwelcome distortions, as well as an unnatural sound. It is clear that the Celest Gumiho failed this test, but this is not real music, just pure tone reproduction from 20Hz to 100Hz that I do to test the actual loudness of these frequencies and their response to the stress that this entails. It is also not very suitable for reproducing unfiltered bass, dirty or complex tones, especially if this is mixed with relatively high volume. The driver suffers under these conditions, even showing distortion.
Back to real music, LFOs can sound coloured, offering a higher tone than the real thing, as if the driver wants to escape from the sub-bass reproduction. This prevents the level of depth from being greater, diminishing the physical and sensory sensation of the bass. In this sense, the driver is responsible for overloading the mid-bass, hence this area feels denser, rounder and duller, also with more energy, although it does not give the sensation of much air movement. The result can be more overwhelming, concentrated and less realistic. The sonority is more even and the bass lines are tighter. Likewise, the layered representation is not very layered, due to this tendency to agglutination of tones. Despite all this, the overall bass presence is noticeable and its emphasis dominates the music when it is part of the song. But it is also true that I feel a slight bleed towards the mids, as well as a lack of agility, dynamism, resolution and detail compared to dynamic drivers in the same price range. Presence and punch are not synonymous with quality.





The bad, or good, thing about being a reviewer is that one has tried many IEMS models before and comparisons can be odious. My first impression with the Celest Gumiho was that it was a darker and warmer set, rounded in the presentation of details and with a less natural touch at both ends. On the one hand, because of what I have explained about the bass, on the other hand, because of the BA driver. But the midrange is more natural in this sense, although it is not free from the darkness, opacity and lack of transparency of the whole. It is not a luminous or ultra-clear midrange. But neither would I say muddy or nasal. Despite the mid-high boost, the sound is not polarised at that point and the overall bass weighs more heavily on the overall tone of the music. Turning to the details, I feel that these are clearly cohesive, and they are infected by the soft character that pervades the whole presentation. They fail to separate themselves and there is a lack of resolution and definition that prevents many of them from being executed with all the finesse and delicacy they need. As such, the level of detail is again coarse and blunt, with little projection. Again, I am back to that fuzzy sounding sensation I have already felt in the bass and although there is no colouring here, nor do the notes coalesce, the level of darkness takes over the background to present it as more opaque and diffuse. I don’t want to call this warmth, nor musicality, just that the technical competence of this driver is not the best. And yes, the Gumiho are warm and musical, but it’s more due to their smoothness, roundness and bass-heavy tone.
On the positive side, the density of the first part of the mids offers a fuller and more corporeal presence of the male voices than usual. Whereas the female voices suffer from a lack of sparkle and vivacity. In them, warmth and a more organic, smoother presentation prevail. In both cases, the representation is quite good and I only miss a greater projection in its details and nuances to gain in height and extension. In this aspect, the recreation remains at a lower level, with a good proximity, but without the texture being complete, due to a lack of delicacy and level of resolution. Even so, the result is quite enjoyable, although the instrumentation as a whole remains in the middle ground, as far as distance is concerned.





Initially, the first treble is sunken, which can be seen in the graph. Then, the second half climbs quite a bit, only to fall back into the air zone. I think this tuning detracts from the sound of the Celest Gumiho. I miss the initial spark for the more appropriate recreation of both the vocals and the instruments. There is a smoothing patina throughout the sound and the lack of presence of the first treble makes the sound incomplete and sparse, too soft and warm. Neither the timbre is the most correct, nor the development of the harmonics is progressive. Meanwhile, the highs feel uneven, something that the BA driver does not fix. Perhaps the frequency division has not been the most appropriate, or perhaps such a tuning has been sought, trying to be soft and inoffensive in the first instance, to then generate a flash that is not very coherent. In the end, whether intentional or not, I think the treble tuning contributes to a drier, darker sound.



Soundstage, Separation


The best part of the scene is its width, which I would say is decent. The depth could be better, but the existing tendency in the bass, to agglutinate layers and tones, shortens the projection in this sense. On the other hand, the dryness of the sound and the softness prevent the expansion of notes and a greater sense of height. There is a limited amount of air and the perception of the background is diffuse, generating an approximation between elements that offers that sensation of density, opacity and cohesion. For the same reason, the perception of separation feels limited and is not very visible. On the other hand, laterality is good and the stereo feeling prevails. But the image lacks any three-dimensionality and vaporous feeling. The positioning of the elements is merely good, with no discernible distance between elements sufficient to highlight them individually.





TinHiFi C3


I like to compare similar IEMS to give a realistic weighting of the reviewed set. I know I haven’t posted a review of the TinHiFi C3s yet, but I think they are the perfect touchstone for comparison with the Kinera Celest Gumiho. First, because they are the same price, as of today, both cost $49. Second, because their FR shares similarities. But if we start with the design, the differences are big. The capsule shape of the two models has nothing to do with each other. The Gumiho have a special, somewhat daring shape, while the C3 have opted for the classic semi-custom shape that never fails. Although the Gumiho have a more attractive design, the long-term performance, especially in terms of ergonomics and insulation, is superior in the C3. The Kinera fit me quite well, but the C3s are even better in this respect, I get a much more durable and occlusive level of fit and fit, without encountering discomfort as the hours go by.
In terms of packaging, Kinera have done more than their part by adding iconography associated with the model. There is none of that on the C3. The Kinera’s come with a leatherette pouch to store the IEMS, a single set of silicone tips and a cleaning brush. The TinHiFi only comes with two sets of silicone tips, nothing else. As for the cable, except for the connectors and the black colour, both are very similar. They are twisted in the same way and have a similar flexibility, although the Kinera is even less rigid. The C3 cable consists of 4 silver-plated strands, while the Kinera has two strands of pure copper and two strands of silver-plated copper. The metal parts of the cable are analogous, with a slightly different design between the two, thicker for the C3, in a dull gold colour. But there is no doubt that there is a common style in both.
In terms of profile, while the Gumiho has a W-curve, the C3s have joined the second V, avoiding the drop in the first treble and assuming a profile much more similar to the Harman Target. They are also slightly cleaner in the bass. But I think the big difference is in the performance of both drivers. Kinera offers a first with its first generation SPD driver, while TinHiFi tackles the umpteenth iteration of dynamic drivers, whose diaphragm uses an LCP composite. It’s clear that Kinera has invested in more creative R&D, but in terms of musical performance, the C3s are a cut above. Despite the C3’s 32Ω and the Gumiho’s 9Ω, the TinHiFi’s are more sensitive and sound a little louder at the same output level.
In terms of sound, the first thing that strikes you is the difference in brightness between the two. I have already mentioned that the Gumiho have a dark, muffled and rounded look. The C3s are more normal and natural, not that they are bright either, but they are much more neutral in this respect. The bass is tighter, dryer, more concise, agile, fast and compact in the C3s. In the Gumiho, there is a more rubbery representation and a slower decay, with a more visible and longer recovery. The bass is more dynamic in the C3, its movement is faster, the bass lines are more precise, without smearing. The Gumiho, on the other hand, presents the layers and lines in a more diffuse way, with less resolution.
In the mid-range it’s all about definition, level of resolution, timbre and darkness. The Gumiho are more opaque and duller, details are more hidden, everything is warmer and less vivid. Again, the C3s are not a prodigy of clarity or brightness, but everything is more natural. The brightness and sparkle is there and the detail accompanies the voices and instruments all the way through, whereas the Celests only express certain parts of the spectrum. This makes the music richer and more accurate with the C3s, as well as having a more descriptive, nuanced texture. They are also more dynamic, agile and transparent.
In the treble, the omission of the first part in the Gumiho weighs heavily on me, as well as the unevenness in their representation, there is something wrong with them. The exposure is higher in the C3, achieving a longer and more even extension, everything is more in tune and realistic. The execution is finer, more appropriate, sparkling and vivid. The life of the treble is more natural and more accordant, with a more realistic timbre. All of this greatly influences the timbre of the other strips and is a great complement to them. Meanwhile, for the Gumiho it’s a drag, adding to the reduced driver performance vs. the TinHiFi’s DD.
If we talk about details, the blunter sound of the Gumiho will affect them, being less visible. The amount of treble in the C3s may work in their favour, in part. But it can also be more overwhelming in other respects and may hide micro details of other frequencies. Overall, the C3s offer superior visibility, but this is aided by a driver that offers more resolution and a better profile in this respect. But without being a completely revealing set, but very much in keeping with their price range.
For the price, the scene recreation on the C3s is very good, not that it has stellar separation and a totally dark background, or a sharp and defined separation. But it is very coherent, realistic and natural. There is a good level of depth, a noticeable width, even good height. The notes expand well, with freedom and palpable extension, giving it a certain degree of three-dimensionality. There is good laterality, stereo feel, simple, but visible and flawless positioning.
In the Gumiho, everything is more compact and cohesive. Details do not escape, the presentation is more frontal, with less depth, the scene is narrower and less high. The separation is smaller and the sense of intimacy is more noticeable.





It is clear that Kinera has made a creative effort in the design of the Celest Gumiho. The new, unique SPD driver is a real eye-catcher for the budget-minded enthusiast. And Kinera has created a model that is equally attractive and very much in keeping with its price range.
It is also worth noting that the Gumiho is a hybrid set, consisting of a square planar driver and a BA driver customised by the brand itself. All this suggests that we are in front of a great product, if we evaluate the level of packaging, presentation and iconography used. But the final result depends on the sound. And this sound is peculiar. The presentation is warm, with a tendency towards darkness, rounded and smooth. It is not a very fast driver, nor is it very detailed. In addition to this, there is a somewhat uneven distribution in the treble, which conditions the timbre of the whole. On the other hand, these are IEMS with a good bass performance, musical and inoffensive, in general. Finally, I would also like to highlight the ergonomic design of the Celest Gumiho.
It’s true that we are dealing with the first version of the SPD driver and that a second «full range» version has already been released in the model called Pandamon. But the competition is very tough and if you compare it with some of the IEMS with DD drivers of the moment, the Celest Gumiho are a little bit behind in technical matters. But there will always be fans who like a profile like the one described.



Sources Used During the Analysis


  • Aune Flamingo.
  • Earmen Angel.
  • TempoTec Variations V6.
  • Hidizs AP80 PRO-X Red Copper Limited Edition.
  • ACMEE MF02s.
  • xDuoo XD05 BAL.
  • TempoTec Serenade X + iFi Zen Can.