Current testing methodology is v1.2
January 12, 2023
Kinera QOA Gimlet
5.91 x 5.91 x 1.97 in
The Gimlet is actually named after a gin drink comprised of gin, lime, and a little sugar.
The origins of the drink are a little unsure but somewhere around the 18th century, British sailors who needed to have more citrus to fight off scurvy were given lime with gin. It seemed to be an obvious choice for getting sailors to drink anything.
A refreshing drink that sits in the gin sour category, it’s a drink that I’ll be adding to my Friday night cocktail list.
This Kinera QoA Gimlet, which is named after the cocktail, isn’t really too far from its namesake. It’s refreshing and yet relaxed.
Kinera QOA Gimlet
A tasty little number that with a little more sparkle would really shine.
The QOA Gimlet is a great little pair of IEMs. They’re well-priced, have a nice sound stage and solid impact from the 10mm dynamic driver.
While the mids could be a little more sparkly they do a good job presenting vocals. Overall, they did well across most genres and would make a nice addition to anyone’s budget IEM collection.
- Impedance: 32ohms
- Sensitivity: 108db
- Driver: 10mm LCP Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
- Frequency: 20Hz-20kHz
What’s in the Box?
- QoA Gimlet in-ear monitors
- 1 x 4N 4-core OFC Silver Plated Cable
- 6 x pairs custom ear tips
- PU Case with inner velvet protection
- User manual
Stuff I like
- Good fit
- Nice representation across the frequency range
- Solid build
- Sound good with almost all genres
- Good price to value ratio
- Included case and silicon tips good
- A cable tensioner MASSIVE WIN! – this makes me happy
Stuff I like less
- Could be a little more musical and sparkly
My first impression of the Kinera QoA Gimlet in-ear monitors was that they looked quite nice in white.
I have the white ones with the silver external badge and my first impressions were pretty good.
It’s always nice to see brands playing with different colors and designs because the typical silver or black casings can become too common especially if you already own a lot of budget IEMs.
The packaging is really nice and also done in line with its cocktail namesake having a nice elegant feel to the boxing.
The internal boxing is pretty standard. You’ve got the IEMs, some extra tips, and the cable.
The final thing that stood out to me on the unboxing and probably the most significant was how heavy these things felt.
At first, I thought they might be made out of some sort of cast steel, but I believe it’s just a very well-put-together and quite heavy housing made from some sort of molded acrylic. You can get it in two sizes, two colors, both white and black.
The specs on the unit don’t stand out as being particularly special, so of course, you’ll realize this all comes down to the tuning.
It has a standard 10 mm dynamic driver which they say is a newly designed LCP diaphragm driver that allows a little more attack with a little less movement. The 10 mm driver space is quite crowded so I went into this expecting that these needed to be pretty good to impress me.
Impedance is 32 ohms with a sensitivity of 108 dB and the frequency response is 20Hz to 20kHz.
The cable is a nice four-core wrapped silver-plated OFC cable which certainly does feel like a step up to a lot of the normal cables you might get with brands like KZs, CCAs, and anything else from Knowledge Zenith or similar.
A nice touch to what’s in the box is an included case that fits the Gimlet IEMs really nicely. It’s a tasteful inclusion, which means that your in-ear monitors will be protected on the go.
When I said that these IEMs came out of the box feeling quite heavy, I was then, obviously, dubious that they weren’t going to be very comfortable over long listening periods.
However, I think they definitely have spent a little extra time making sure that this mold has a nice comfortable feel.
The OFC cable, which has a 3.5 mm plug, has well-built over-ear bins in the cable which they’ve done a great job of molding to a comfortable curve.
Some IEM companies don’t always nail this. They either have the cable coming too far out of the two-pin connector or too tight down the back of the ears, so I find the Gimlet sits nicely behind my ears, which is a nice touch.
The attached silicone tips fit my ear well enough but I had to dig them in a little bit to get a good seal. I felt like another 0.25 mm flange would give them the right width to be perfect for my ears.
I’ll try on the larger size but so far I’ve managed to screw them in so that they’re comfortable and can give me all the bass and impact that I’d expect from in-ear monitors.
I’ve worn these for extended periods in the office and went out and about. While they did occasionally unseal slightly when I was on the move, I think switching to larger tips would take care of that.
The frequency range feels good, the music feels tight and the soundstage is enjoyable enough.
Overall these IEMs are nice to listen to. They don’t attack too hard, but they’re punchy enough that you feel the impact of whatever you’re listening to.
For music that has too many multi-track instruments going on, it can feel a little bit cluttered if it’s too busy. But if you’re only running a few tracks across a rock band, a K-pop group, or even acoustics, it’s just really nice IEMs to listen to.
They’re really pleasant and they work well across all the genres that you might want to throw at them.
The bass response on the Gimlet IEMs is very nice, quite well-balanced, and does pick up some nice deep notes.
However, real bass heads will find these not quite deep enough.
The bass is musical in a way that it’s not inflated.
There’s no V shape here that pushes that bottom end out further than it needs to go, but it’s rich and warm enough that it fills out the bottom end of the soundstage nicely.
I wouldn’t feel fatigued with this kind of bass impact for longer listening periods, and overall it was tastefully tuned.
My initial reaction to the Gimlet IEMs was that the bottom end would be perfect for pop and K-pop listeners, but then when I started moving across different genres, including rock, rap, and hip-hop, I realized that the bottom end performed well across all those genres and provided a nice full feeling to an easy listening pair of IEMs.
The mids for me on these is where they shine.
They don’t stand out too far, but they always give vocals the right space in the mix while supporting them with guitars, keys, or any other mid-range instrumentation.
I never felt like I was struggling to hear vocals or lyrics, but I always felt that I could still enjoy guitar, synth, tracks, and other vocals including the mid-range of the drums like the high toms and the snare.
While the mids stood out to me as being my favorite part of these, the balance between the mids and the bass and next to treble was so well put together and so in sync as you work up through the frequency range.
I couldn’t help liking these IEMs because of that.
My typical go-to for an all-round 10-mm driver, even though they’re now very old, is the Shure SE215 and there’s no doubt that Gimlet’s LCP 10 mm dynamic driver offers a much more musical experience than some of the earlier 10-mm driver IEM models.
I found the treble on the Kinera QoA Gimlet as being less exciting than the bass and mid frequencies, but it’s neither too harsh nor absent. In general, it rounds off these IEMs nicely.
There aren’t any particularly harsh or sibilant elements to the treble, but sometimes I’d like it to sound just a little bit more alive and crisp. By that I don’t mean sharp and hard-edged, I just mean more musically tuned.
The soundstage isn’t particularly separated for most of what I did. It feels like quite a close sound.
It’s probably in the middle of some of the broad open-breathing IEMs you can get and those that are just hitting you straight in the face like the Shure SE215s, but I didn’t mind this.
I didn’t find myself seeking the placement of instruments, but I didn’t miss not feeling like I could.
Overall the sound signature on these things is just really balanced between all those frequencies and the soundstage itself.
The Kinera QoA Gimlet is a great pair of IEMs.
I think its price is bang on for the quality that you’re getting, with the included accessories and the quality of the cable, plus the included case is a real bonus.
My feeling on the overall sound quality is that it’s great for anybody that’s looking for a quick pick-up so they can take it anywhere and listen to good music wherever they go.
The sound is good but it may not be as musical as I’d like. I feel like it lacks a little bit of what I believe Pratt brings to an audio signature.
The Kinera QoA Gimlet could be a little more musical but I would easily give these IEMs a 4.5 out of 5 for the whole package — from accessories to packaging to sound signature to the enjoyment factor.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-09-12 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.