What I Was Waiting For
- It’s obvious, but the incorporation of a BOOM microphone in a cable for IEMS is totally differential.
- Remote control in Celeste Ruyi. Possibility to disable the microphone. Versatility of use.
- Superior microphone quality in Gramr, better clarity. Detachable 3.5mm and 4.4mm connectors.
- Multiple connection options (2Pin, MMCX, USB, Lightning).
- Fully mouldable microphone boom with good rigidity.
- Remarkable voice quality on the Celeste Ruyi. Excellent voice quality on the Gramr.
- Perhaps, the selected colours (grey and dark brown) make the product less attractive.
- I would have preferred a different connector for the microphone.
- The final quality of the microphone may depend on the distance to the mouth and the recording level.
Link to the Store
Mostly, I use IEMS because of their comfort and adaptability. I even use them at work to talk on the phone or for video conferencing. That’s why I use cables with microphones for these specific occasions. It is true, though, that I have been getting a lot of complaints from those on the other end of the phone. I have a large number of support calls and meetings during the day. That’s why I’ve been looking very hard for an alternative that would suit my needs. And, lo and behold, Kinera, together with Celest, has created a model that meets my expectations. This is the Kinera Celest Ruyi, a high-purity OFC copper cable that incorporates a multi-function remote control and, most importantly, adds an MMCX-like connector that allows a high-fidelity Boom M49-MUTE microphone with high sensitivity and wide frequency response to be attached. But Kinera wanted to go further in this direction and has created an even better cable, with a modular connector, called Kinera Gramr. For this occasion, it has used a 2-stranded copper cable with silver-plated silver enhancement. It has two interchangeable 3.5mm and 4.4mm connectors. Its detachable boom microphone connects in a similar way to the Celest Ruyi, but with an improved anchorage. It has a high sensitivity and low noise level. Let’s take a look at all its features and virtues in this review.
- Material: OFC.
- Braid form: 2 hand-braided cores.
- Diameter: 2.0mm/core.
- Strands: 16 strands of 6*0.08mm.
- Cable jacket material: PVC.
- Interface: 0.78 2Pin/MMCX.
- Plug: 3.5mm CTIA plug.
- Plug material: Pure copper.
- Outer metal part: Aluminium alloy with sandblast oxidation.
- Cable length: 150cm±2cm
- Cable weight: 24.9 g.
- Microphone pattern: Omnidirectional.
- Sensitivity: -42±3dB.
- Resistance: 2.2 kΩ.
- Signal to noise ratio: 60 dB.
- Frequency response: 50Hz-10kHz.
- Boom microphone length: 13 cm.
- Boom microphone weight: 3.6g.
- Supports microphone mute.
- Material: OFC silver plated.
- Braid shape: 2 braided cores.
- Diameter: 2.0 mm/core.
- Strands : 95 strands of 0.05 mm silver plated OFC + 250D nylon.
- Cable jacket material: PVC.
- Interface: 0.78 2Pin/MMCX.
- Plug: 4.4mm detachable balanced plug / 3.5mm detachable 5-pin CTIA plug.
- Plug material: Gold plated copper.
- External metal part: Aluminium alloy anode.
- Cable length: 150cm±2cm.
- Boom Mic Length: 12.0cm.
- Microphone pattern: Omnidirectional.
The Celest Ruyi comes in an elegant black box, ready to hang, whose dimensions are 144x79x23mm. Its surface has a dotted texture. At the top is the Celest logo in white letters. In the centre is Ruyi in gold letters, as well as the product description in small white letters below, also in Chinese. On the back side you can see which option you have chosen, between 3.5mm jack, USB, Type C and Lightning. It also shows the brand’s branding and the different social networks. Inside the box are two smaller ones, one is elongated and contains the microphone. The other is rectangular and contains the cable, inside a white plastic pouch. There is also a manual and a protective foam for the microphone. The gold-plated 3.5mm plug is protected by a plastic sleeve.
The instruction manual explains the mythological history of Ruyi. Cable and microphone specifications as well as remote control instructions are also included.
The Kinera Gramr has a more refined presentation than its smaller brother. The box is larger, measuring 145x121x43mm, and is also black. At the top is the name of the brand, in the centre the name of the model and underneath a description, above a real photo of the cable. Behind it are the three options to choose from, with 4.4mm/3.5mm, Type C or Lightning connector. Finally, the brand and social media details are displayed. The box opens like a book, with a magnetic flap. Inside you can see the manual and a first layer with a foam mould that protects the microphone and the two 4.4mm and 3.5mm connectors. In the bottom layer there is a black leather pouch with a clip closure. Inside is the cable. On this occasion, there are two microphone protection foams in a whitish plastic pouch, with the brand logo printed on it.
If there is something curious about the presentation of the Gramr, it is that there are hardly any specifications in the manual. As in the Riyu, they are complete, both for the cable and the microphone. I don’t understand the reason for this omission, because it is understood that this microphone should be better than the Ruyi model.
Thus, the manual is no such thing, it is almost an excuse to explain the mythological history of Gramr.
Construction and Design
Ruyi is handwoven from 2 strands of high purity OFC copper cores. Each core is 2.0mm in diameter, combined by 16x6x0.08mm OFC wires.
A choice of 2Pin 0.78mm or MMCX connections is available. The jack connector can be 3.5mm, USB, Type C or Lightning.
The microphone is model M49-MUTE. It is a high-fidelity audio pick-up receiver with high sensitivity and wide frequency response.
The Ruyi cable includes a multi-function remote control with simple and straightforward control options for ease of use, compatible with IOS and Android operating systems.
It uses a grey PVC outer sleeve that is very soft and comfortable to wear, which also minimises the stethoscope effect. It is durable and non-rigid.
So much for the information taken from the website. Indeed, the cable consists of two strands coated with grey PVC. Perhaps not the most pleasing colour and, in my opinion, this colour seems to minimise the actual quality of the cable. The sleeve of the gold-plated 3.5mm connector is a thick metal cylinder, with the Celest logo written lengthwise in white letters. The splitter piece is another dark grey cylinder with a thick notch at the lower end. On the right cable is the multi-function remote control, which allows volume up/down, off/on hook, as well as other functions. It also has a switch to turn off the microphone. Although this remote control has a hole, it does not have a microphone itself.
Each 2Pin 0.78mm connector, in my case, has a slightly rigid black sleeve, which is shaped over the ear. The sleeve of the 2Pin connector is black plastic, slightly angled. The pins are completely external and gold-plated. The right 2Pin connector is a different, Y-shaped piece. On one side is the 2Pin connector, on the other side is a kind of MMCX connector with a guide to connect the Boom microphone.
The Boom microphone measures 13cm and weighs 3.6g. The boom has a slightly rigid, mouldable metal cover. The base of the microphone is an arrow-shaped, black plastic piece with two levels. At the highest level there is a hole. The MMCX connector is covered by a cylinder with a notch to fit the cable guide.
As I said, there are several surprises: the first one is the remote control, because it looks like it has a built-in microphone, which it does not. The second is the possibility of disconnecting the Boom microphone by means of the rear switch on the remote control. Finally, the grey colour is not conducive to the cable’s superior appearance and limits the visible quality of the cable, which is actually better than it appears at first glance.
Gramr consists of two strands protected by a high-grade, soft and wear-resistant PVC sheath, which prevents microphonics. The colour of the PVC could be chosen in blue or black. Currently, the blue option seems to be unavailable. And the black colour is not black at all, it is a dark coppery brown colour, which makes it inelegant. Each strand consists of 14 strands, imported 250D nylon yarn is added. Then 7 strands are braided on the same core to form 98 strands in total. The strands are silver plated and have a diameter of 0.05mm. The diameter of each strand is 2.0mm.
The Gramr connectors are interchangeable, one 3.5mm and one 4.4mm. They are 24-carat gold plated. There is also a choice of Type-C or Lightning connectors. The connection interface can be 2Pin 0.78mm or MMCX.
The omnidirectional boom microphone is detachable and flexible. It is similar in construction to the Celest Ruyi, although they are not interchangeable. The guide on each is not the same. The base of the microphone is also a piece of black plastic in the shape of an arrow. This time, however, it is flat and has 7 holes instead of just one. It is specified to be slightly shorter: 12.0cm.
The connector sleeves are depressed in the middle, metallic and black. The brand logo is written in white letters lengthwise. Both connectors are detachable and are connected via several gold-plated pins and a guide. The 3.5mm connector has 5 connectors and the 4.4mm connector only 4.
The splitter piece follows the same pattern of a black metal part depressed in the centre, but is shorter. There is a black spherical pin.
The pattern of each 2Pin 0.78mm connector is the same as on the Ruyi, but this time the plastic parts are white, almost translucent. They also have semi-rigid sleeves for over-ear shaping.
The connectors feel of a higher quality than on the Ruyi. But again, the colour of the cable doesn’t do it any favours. The blue colour was much more striking and elegant.
The anchoring of the connectors is secure. However, the microphone connection does not seem to be something that should be disconnected regularly. As usual, the MMCX connectors do not seem to be very durable. This is also true for the Celest Ruyi model.
Otherwise, the arm has a light rigidity, enough to keep its shape continuously without any surprises.
I have no complaints about the ergonomics of the omnidirectional boom microphone. I would just like to comment that the adjustment of the IEMS must be firm so that the microphone does not sway or move. It is clear that the tightness of the microphone boom is conditional on the adjustment of the IEM on the right side. So it is advised that the IEMS used should have a good, firm, fixed and durable fit.
Tests and Comparison
The main virtue of a good cable is the improvement in sound. But the influence is always very relative. If you compare it with a basic cable, both the Celest Ruyi and the Gramr are superior. The nuance of each one of them has to be looked for and we always talk about what favours the copper (Celest Ruyi), as what favours the silver (Gramr). What is clear is that both models are not a simple cable with a microphone. If the Celest Ruyi is all about versatility, along with its remote control, the Gramr adds refinement. And this can be extrapolated to the voice tests. Using the same source, the Burson Audio Playmate II, which has a dedicated microphone input, together with Audacity software, I was able to test the virtues of each microphone. In a simple voice test, just talking, it feels that the audio clarity on the Gramr is superior, even subtly more sensitive. Meanwhile, the Celest Ruyi is more opaque and matte. I tested with and without foam on both mics to observe their influence, but not much has changed. The difference in clarity is not in the use or not of foam. Gramr is clearly more faithful, cleaner, clearer and brighter than the Celest Ruyi. The level of detail it can pick up is clearly superior, something that can certainly be seen in the voice comparison.
It is also true that the distance from the mic to the mouth is key to its level of sensitivity, but I have tried to be meticulous in this respect. But, there is no doubt that the distance influences the final volume of each sample.
Below are some simple voice tests and some more complex ones. Finally, I have put together a complex mixed voice sample, which allows a clear contrast between the quality of one microphone and the other.
Celest Ruyi vs Kinera Gramr
It is not easy to find an efficient and suitable microphone for IEMS. Especially not in cables that are sold as accessories. It is easier to buy IEMS with a cable that has a mic than it is to find a good cable with a good mic. But then Kinera has gone one step further, releasing two models that use a different microphone. It is a microphone mounted on an adjustable semi-rigid boom, a Boom microphone. This is something that is normal in a gaming headphones, but has never been seen in an IEMS before. Starting with a good cable base, the Kinera Celest Ruyi aims for copper quality, along with a Boom mic, plus a multi-function remote control. This model is great for gaming, for the office, for video conferencing, for calls and so on. And it has become my perfect ally for my day-to-day work. Indispensable. On the other hand, the Kinera Gramr takes cable quality a step further, adding an enhanced silver coating, interchangeable plugs and a superior Boom microphone. This cable is geared towards refinement, from the components used for its construction, as well as the detachable plugs, to the performance of its microphone. The Hi-Fi and audiophile level of the Kinera Gramr is clear.
In conclusion, it’s worth noting that Kinera has hit the nail on the head, bringing to the market a must-have microphone cable for the office, dedicated to those IEMS lovers who don’t want to sacrifice their favourite headphones because they don’t have a microphone. This is the versatile Kinera Celest Ruyi. And the next qualitative step up is the Kinera Gramr.
Sources and Headphones Used During Analysis
- Burson Audio Playmate II.
- Kinera Celest Pandamon.
- Kinera Celest Gumiho.