After a month since my last review, I’m back with a new review!
The Kinera Celest Phoenixcall is a $129.99 IEM with 1 dynamic driver + 2 balanced armature drivers + 2 micro planar drivers. It looks gorgeous from its packaging down to its form factor. But can we say the same about its sound quality and technical capabilities? Read on to learn more about what to expect from this IEM.
As always, huge thanks to Neil from Practiphile and HiFiGo for lending me this tour unit.
Disclaimer: Reviewing audio gear is highly subjective. There are many factors that influence the sound characteristics of a product, such as ear tips, fit, music choice, prior experience, and more. What I experience may not reflect what you experience, and vice versa. So please take everything I say here with a grain of salt, and always cross-reference reviews. So now, let’s proceed.
- Beautiful packaging
- Gorgeous faceplate
- Well-built thick cables
- Well done tuning
- Controlled treble
- For its price and what it offers, I’d say none
- Technical capability could be better though
About the Kinera Celest PhoenixCall
Kinera is a Chinese brand based in Dongguan that has been around since 2016 when they released their first IEM, the BD005. They are one of the older brands in this space. Over the years they have released a handful of IEMs, but I never got the chance to try out their offerings, even though I have always admired their IEM designs.
- Acoustic Drivers: 1DD+2BA+2 Micro Planar drivers（FPD）
- Interface: 0.78 2pin
- Sensitivity: 103db
- Wearing Type: In-Ear
- Frequency Response Range: 20Hz-40kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Weight (earbuds+cable): 9.8g+30g ( ± 0.2g )
- Plug: 3.5mm / 4.4mm
- Cable length: 1.2m
What’s Inside the Box
- Celest PhoenixCall IEMs
- Celest 221 Vocal Eartips S/M/L
- Celest C-07 Eartips S/M/L
- 3.5mm 5N Copper Silver Plated Cable
- Storage Box
- Metal Bookmark
- User Manual
I have always admired the design of Kinera’s in-ear monitors including their sister brand Queen of Audio (QoA). This IEM comes in 2 color variants – transparent, which is what I have, and a two tone purple-blue.
In this review, I used my Cayin N6ii and Venture Electronics Abigail Pro amplifier with Spotify and Tidal as music sources.
Frequency response of Celest Phoenixcall courtesy of Practiphile.
For its looks, this is probably the most beautiful IEM I have had the pleasure of trying. From its box to its cable and IEM faceplate, it’s perfect and well-designed without being over the top, though this is what Kinera is known for – their faceplate designs are works of art.
The form factor makes the fit immaculate, and the included tips are the cherry on top. I can wear them all day working with no complaints – it’s almost like wearing custom IEMs. Comfort depends on your ear shape as the shells are on the chunky side.
One thing I want to point out is it’s pretty sensitive to improperly grounded electric circuits. You will hear buzzing or humming unless you put your feet on non-conductive materials like rubber.
After listening to the Celest PhoenixCall, I do not have many complaints. I may even consider it a budget Dunu Falcon Ultra due to its similar tuning. However, it lacks the technical capabilities of the Falcon Ultra. It somehow lacks control of the frequencies, especially on busy tracks and in chaotic games, which I will tackle more shortly.
It also lacks the 3D effect in tracks – it sounds like plain old stereo, just left and right. The PhoenixCall also lacks micro detail, which might be due to its well-controlled treble that lacks the sparkly frequencies to make micro details shine.
Enough of that comparison, let’s dive into how this IEM sounds. The Celest PhoenixCall doesn’t have any quirks or unevenness in its frequency range, at least based on my experience with headphones and IEMs.
The sub-bass and mid-bass quality is very good – full and impactful without bleeding into the mids/vocal region. This makes listening to rock or pop music make you want to tap your feet. Vocals, especially female voices, sound organic and are well-placed – not too forward but not behind the mix either. The treble is well-controlled, without piercing highs or sounding rolled off. It won’t sound lacking unless you love that sparkly Beyerdynamic-style treble.
Overall, I don’t have complaints about its tuning. It fits my preference well, which is why I loved the Falcon Ultra. It’s very versatile for any music genre, maybe a bit less on Classical which has strings.
When it comes to gaming, this is an area where the Celest Phoenixcall falls a bit short, at least on games with a lot going on like Overwatch. It sounded full but the imaging is below average. You would have a slightly hard time pinpointing the direction of enemies due to the frequencies being somewhat cramped – you will be overwhelmed by everything sounding all at once. However, I must say it performed exceptionally on less chaotic games like Counter Strike 2 or Valorant. You can hear footsteps very well and the directional sound is accurate and extends far.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for an under $150 all-rounder IEM, I’d recommend the PhoenixCall, weighing its technical capabilities, especially for gaming use. For $129.99, it’s a great package considering the build quality, appearance, and sound.