The Kinboofi Y1 was sent to me as a review sample by Kinboofi via their Amazon Store. I received no compensation for this review, nor was their any influence from the vendor.
Unboxing / Packaging:
The Y1 comes in a black pressboard box with gold Kinboofi Name and logo printed on the front and the specs printed on the tags on the sides of the box. Lifting the lid reveals a soft case protected by foam. The warranty card is hiding under the soft case. Inside the case are the earphones themselves and 6 sets of tips (two different types of silicone tips in SML sizes) .
The Y1 is available in two versions (Rose Gold and Black). The Rose gold model has a copper colored cable and outer shell, a brass nozzle, and white strain reliefs and tips. The Black, which to my eye is more of a dark gray chrome, has black reliefs and tips, a gray cable, black chrome jack, splitter, and outer shell, and brass inner shell/nozzles. Both models share the same cable internals despite the difference in color and I am told the cable is solid copper and oxygen free. The earpieces themselves have a brass front with a straight forward nozzle that takes a T400 sized tip. Nozzles exit the center of the earpiece with no forward rake and have a lip for retaining the tips. A single vent exists at the back of the bullet shaped rear shells. Right and left are marked on the underside of the shell immediately in front of the cable insertion point. Fit and polish are very good and the junction between chrome and brass is felt with a fingernail but not simply by running a finger over the joint.
The Y1 uses a single 9mm dynamic driver that is sourced in Japan. The drivers lists a 16Ω resistance with a 93dB sensitivity which makes it fairly easy to drive. I did find the driver scaled well and even with its relatively low impedance and high sensitivity it does benefit from a high powered source or an amp.
The cable is not removable but is well made and not particularly tangle prone. My sample does not have the microphone so starts with a straight TRS jack that matches the color of the earbuds and splitter with a reasonable strain relief. The splitter is positioned well leaving enough room for use without making it overly tangle prone like the current crop of KZ cables. The cable does not have a chin slider and strain reliefs at the earpieces are fairly short. The cable does not have pre-formed earhooks as it is designed to be worn tip down. I found they could be worn tip up as the splitter is low enough to allow it if so desired.
All sound notes were done using the supplied large sized tips.
Sub-Bass on the Y1 is slightly behind the mid-bass with rolloff noticable below the 50Hz point. Mid bass is mildly emphasized but well controlled with better attack and decay than expected at this price point. There is some minor bleed into the lower mids that brings a bit of warmth into the overall but not enough to hide details in the mids. Extension is only average, but control helps make the Y1 a more pleasant listen than a lot of more boomy offerings at this price point.
The Control and attack speed are continued into the mids which give the Y1 very clear and clean mids. Lower register vocals are particularly good and natural sounding while the boost in the upper mids and lower treble brings out a bit more energy in upper register vocals and makes them a bit more lively. (At times a good thing, at others a little unnatural). Guitar shares some of these same characteristics as it sounds natural with a sharp edge to it but can get a bit overly energetic toward the top of the range.
As previously mentioned, the upper mids climb forward and the lower treble continues that climb with a peak at around 6kHz that makes the Y1 sometimes prone to be a bit strident. Overall these are a very bright sounding in ear and the extra treble energy comes through as very metallic and artificail sounding cymbal hits on Lenny (SRV). Due to the forward treble, some EQ is needed to prevent fatigue and help bring that artificial quality back into line a bit.
Soundstage / Imaging:
This is an odd one. The control of the mids make instrument seperation better than most at this price point but the stage lacks width which can make it seem a bit congested at times. Quite in the opposite of most budget in-ears, the stage is deeper than it is wide which takes a little getting used to and sometimes messes with imaging due to the lack of width.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
The Y1 has a very energetic signature that some may find appealing and others overly bright. It has good control in the mids and bass and can be an enjoyable listen if EQd a bit to bring that treble back into proportion with the rest of the signature. That overly aggressive treble really hurts an otherwise excellent product. The Build is better than expected as is the cable and the fit and comfort are spot on. With a bit of tuning of the signature, Kinboofi will have a great product. Hopefully we will see that in the next generation of the Y1.