Disclaimer: I would like to formally thank Kinera for graciously providing us with the Gumiho for review. I am not affiliated with Kinera, and the views shared below reflect my honest thoughts surrounding the product.
- Ultra-light and comfortable design for everyday use
- Impressive detail retrieval at price-point
- Inviting but clear presentation of female and male vocals
- Satisfying “planar” midbass
- Good soundstage and imaging
- Glossy exterior prone to fingerprints
- Noticeable recession in the lower-mids
- Distortion and treble glare in upper mids on occasion
- The bass lacks textural detail
Kinera is no stranger to the chi-fi marketplace. The Guangdong-based company (formerly known as YuTai Electronic Acoustics) flung open its doors in 2011, first focused on the provision of micro-dynamic drivers for military use, developing a vast breadth of patents exclusive to their fledgling trademark.
In 2016, the promising business sunk its teeth into the recreational consumer space under the “Kinera” name. The BD005 was their prodigious first step into the resplendent world of IEMs. Today, the widely revered brand has attracted a chorus of praise, with a fiery fanbase honouring IEMs such as the Freya, Odin, and who could forget the cult classic, the Nanna.
However, their recent releases have been aptly priced to target the middle-to-upper ends of the budget spectrum. That’s where Celeste enters the big picture. Celeste, another sub-division of the parent brand that is Kinera, exists to deliver budget-friendly options to the masses. More notably, Celeste is committed to incorporating innovative driver technologies without exorbitant price tags. Instead of exclusivity, Celeste celebrates inclusivity!
Today, we’re reviewing one such IEM, the Gumiho. Inspired by the mythical nine-tailed fox, the Gumiho proudly utilises a 10mm highly efficient flat-panel (or planar magnetic) driver and custom-designed single-balanced armature. What’s remarkable about this product is the implementation of proprietary driver topologies, all for the reasonable price of $49 — a feat unprecedented years earlier within the circumference of our hobby.
Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the inner workings of the Gumiho and how it performs.
The Kinera Gumiho is available for purchase at Kinera’s official website.
The Celeste Gumiho’s package is housed in a transparent outer sleeve that provides a glimpse of what customers can expect to unearth from the package. There’s nothing left to the imagination, with the Gumiho shells sitting comfortably in a pre-formed piece of cardboard, teeming with visual embellishments (meandering swirls and gold mandarin characters printed onto its centre).
What immediately arrested my attention was the Nine-tailed fox keychain (or pendant) situated directly below the earphones themselves. Honestly, I still can’t decipher the actual use-case scenario for including it, but I conjecture that it was more of a stylistic choice, not a utilitarian one. Thankfully, the package integrates both style and substance together without opting for one over the other.
Underneath the front-facing cover, you’ll find a Celeste-branded pouch in beige, reminiscent of the protective bags used to put ornate jewellery out of harm’s way. While the included pouch does offer middling protection from hairline scratches, it does little to absorb shocks or mitigate sudden impacts. Inside the pouch, you’ll find a 4-braid cable (with black and white strands) with your standard 2-pin configuration, terminating in a 3.5mm unbalanced TRS end. The provided cables are fabricated from a mix of silver-plated copper and pure copper strands.
The Gumiho also comes packaged with white (vocal and treble-enhancing) and black ear-tips (balanced and clear), a convenient cleaning brush to wick away earwax from the nozzles of each channel, and a roadie wrap.
The Celeste Gumiho comes with a generous and attractive package, providing what is necessary for day-to-day use. However, I would’ve liked to see a more substantive case for extra protection (just in case, pun intended).
Design, Comfort, and Durability.
The Gumiho can be best described as pizza-slice-shaped (pardon the crude comparison), weighing in at an ultralight 3.5g per channel. The Gumiho is fashioned from glossy plastic with a smooth exterior, with the words “Celeste” printed at the tapered edge of each shell. Their nozzles share a 5mm circumference with an extended lip, each equipped with a turbine-shaped wax guard. Furthermore, there are 3 prominent vents to be found at the base of each shell.
Because of the Gumiho’s featherlight weight and conservative silhouette, the Gumihos is an exceptional IEM for prolonged listening sessions. The shells are well-finished, with no perceivable edges or blemishes. Each nozzle is of adequate length for a relatively-deep fit in my ear canals, offering excellent stability and preventing accidental displacements from taking place. Their extended lips also prevent your attached tip of choice from falling off, remaining snugly attached to each nozzle.
Unfortunately, their numerous vents circumvent the Gumiho’s ability to isolate sufficiently in outdoor environments. On the daily commute, wind noise and ambient noise pollution are exogenous distractions that require a 15-20% volume increase on your source device. Thankfully, the included cables are machine braided tightly, with no visual or physical signs of defraying. The cable-sheathing or jacket exhibits good malleability and flexibility, making stowing away IEMs a breeze.
To surmise, don’t let the Gumiho’s lack of weight fool you. For $49, the Gumiho does the job it was tasked to do and does it so with passing colours.
Onto the next page for details on sound…