Kiwi Ears recently launched the Cadenza in-ear monitors, featuring a 10mm Beryllium Diaphragm Dynamic Driver. Crafted with a 3D-printed shell and a custom-designed faceplate, each unit is meticulously handcrafted by a dedicated engineering team. This review delves into the Cadenza's sound profile, design, fit, providing an insightful comparison with peer in-ear monitors.
Design and Build Quality
The Cadenza boasts an aesthetically pleasing faceplate with a black base adorned with vibrant green patterns. Kiwi Ears' logo is elegantly placed on the left side, and the inner shell is constructed from black resin. The provided stock color complements the IEM's aesthetics, and overall, it is a well-designed and built device for its price. The faceplate's intricate details contribute to a premium feel, reflecting Kiwi Ears' commitment to craftsmanship.
Comfort and Fit
The Cadenza's small size ensures comfortable long listening sessions. Kiwi Ears provides three different sizes of silicone eartips (S/M/L), offering a total of nine pairs. After trying all three, they proved to be exceptionally comfortable, catering to varied ear shapes and preferences. The attention to detail in the selection of eartips enhances the overall listening experience.
In-Depth Sound Quality Analysis
Before delving into the sound impressions of the Kiwi Ears Cadenza, it's crucial to share my diverse testing experience. I explored its potential across various sources, including the Questyle M15, HiBy R3 Gen2, MacBook Air, and Sony NW-A306. Notably, the Cadenza exhibited different characteristics depending on the warmth of the source. While it shone brilliantly with warm sources, such as the Sony NW-A306, it leaned towards being splashy and metallic with sources like the DAC M15, MacBook Air, and R3 Gen2 DAP. For the purposes of this review, I've utilized the Sony NW-A306 DAP, maintaining a burn-in period of over 10 hours to optimize performance.
The Kiwi Ears Cadenza delivers a sound signature that can be described as warm, rich, and thick, featuring commendable separation and an expansive soundstage. Its bass, midrange, and treble each contribute to a cohesive and immersive audio experience.
The Cadenza's bass is a highlight, offering a powerful and balanced low end. Sub-bass takes a more prominent role than mid-bass, delivering impactful punches precisely when required. The bass maintains a clean background throughout, striking a delicate balance between proximity and distance. This thoughtful tuning ensures extended listening sessions without inducing fatigue, presenting an overall well-crafted bass profile.
Moving to the midrange, the Cadenza imparts a warm and cozy sonic experience. Vocals exhibit substantial body and weight, contributing to a natural tonality. The midrange presentation is not merely auditory but offers a head-filling sensation, creating an immersive quality that enriches the overall listening experience.
The treble performance of the Kiwi Ears Cadenza is characterized by smoothness and detail. Notably, its strength lies in layering and separation, allowing for clear distinction between individual notes. The treble edges are skillfully rounded, preventing any harshness and ensuring a pleasant listening experience. In essence, the Cadenza offers an impressive treble performance, especially considering its price point.
Soundstage & Imaging
The Cadenza boasts a spacious soundstage with notable height and depth, contributing to an immersive auditory experience. The precision in imaging adds a valuable dimension, providing an accurate sense of distance between sound elements.
Value and Comparative Analysis
The Kiwi Ears Cadenza, priced at ₹3,190.00 in India, enters a competitive arena with counterparts like the TRN V90S, Moondrop LAN, CCA DUO, and CCA Pianist. Let's dissect the distinctions among these in-ear monitors to better grasp the unique attributes of the Cadenza.
Kiwi Ears Cadenza vs. TRN V90S: The TRN V90S is characterized by a bright and energetic sound signature, which, over time, may induce fatigue due to its busyness and a lack of clarity and separation. In contrast, the Kiwi Ears Cadenza offers a more matured sonic profile, mitigating the fatigue factor. Additionally, the Cadenza boasts a superior build quality, elevating its premium feel over the V90S.
Kiwi Ears Cadenza vs. Moondrop LAN: A significant divergence lies in the bass performance between the Cadenza and Moondrop LAN. The Cadenza exhibits a more powerful and warm bass, creating a distinct advantage. While differences in midrange and treble are subtle, the Moondrop LAN leans towards a slightly more energetic tonality. Notably, the Kiwi Ears Cadenza triumphs in the realm of soundstage, providing a richer auditory experience.
Kiwi Ears Cadenza vs. CCA DUO: As of now, I am yet to experience the CCA DUO, and a detailed comparison will be provided after a thorough evaluation. Stay tuned for updates on this comparison.
Kiwi Ears Cadenza vs. CCA Pianist: Similar to the CCA DUO, my exploration of the CCA Pianist is pending, and an insightful comparison will be shared post-listening sessions. Keep an eye out for an in-depth analysis of how the Cadenza stacks up against the CCA Pianist.
Pros and Cons
|Handmade faceplate and small batch production.||Source dependency.|
|Warm, rich, and balanced sound.||Power-hungry for optimal performance.|
|Powerful and balanced bass.||Carry case not provided.|
|Warm and rich midrange.|
|Comes with a wide range of eartips.|
In summary, the Kiwi Ears Cadenza stands out for its artful design, comfort, and dynamic sound. With a 10mm Beryllium Diaphragm Dynamic Driver and 3D-printed shell, it delivers a warm, rich, and balanced audio experience. Despite slight drawbacks such as the lack of a carry case and some source dependency, the Cadenza excels against competitors like the TRN V90S and Moondrop LAN. It's an appealing choice for those seeking a blend of craftsmanship and top-tier sound quality at an affordable price. Thank you for reading our Cadenza review, and stay tuned for more. Happy listening!