Pandamon is also known as the Iron-eating beast, it was first recorded in Chinese fantasy literature “the Classic of Mountain and Seas (aka Shan Hai Jing)”, depicting its image to look alike a bear with black and white patterns, feasting itself with iron and copper- a fantasy beast with a ferocious image. According to legends, it is the personal mount of famous tribal leader Chi-You, with supernatural powers itself. It has contributed enormously to the tribe’s brilliant military records with extraordinary combat ability. Enemy weapons made with hardened metals can even be crushed easily when facing the Iron-eater’s brutal teeth. Even not on battlegrounds, it will often break into villagers’ homes to crush and feast on their metal cookware, thus earning the name of “Iron-eating Beast”.
Kinera’s new Pandamon earphone shell adopts a new design, using a circular hollow faceplate with a unique sense of mechanical aesthetics. The hollow cavity has a strong sense of three-dimensionality visually, which is a perfect integration with inner mechanical artistry. Pandamon will use resin as shell material, and the 3D cavity of pressed texture will be a blend of IEM design.
304 stainless steel is used on the IEM faceplate, each one going through multiple processes including precision engraving, nickel electroplating, and UV coloring to ensure a balanced & natural color tone and smooth and shining body with intricate and long-lasting metal features. Kinera has used the Pandamon logo on the IEM faceplate, presenting an artistic collision core design between mechanical rhythm and the ferocious Pandamon symbolized by its metal-crushing teeth and flaming eyes.
Kinera has used an enhanced Kinera SPD 2.0 (Square Planar Driver) driver on the Pandamon. Overall frequency sensitivity enhanced by 3dB to be an even mobile phone-friendlier IEM. Celest coupled a BA driver on the first iteration of Kinera SPD 1.0, the Celest Gumiho, to compliment treble delivery, but Kinera SPD 2.0 is capable to deliver a full frequency range.
Given 2 weeks of burn-in plus some casual listening, the Pandamon sounds like a fuller iteration of the Gumiho with a more balanced low end that impacts with better agility and more energetically, while the treble is a tad bit more controlled with better layering.
Pandamont is very easy to drive and even on my phone with plenty of dynamics and a very fast response.
There is ample energy in the thump and an agile attack speed. This allows the Pandamon to sound energetic while maintaining good resolution in the low end with fast percussions and bass-intensive hip-hop, and EDM tracks. You can feel the decay speed being quite fast while good air in the mix is captured.
When sufficiently powered you can hear the sub-bass being well present. The 100Hz region has a small bump to add extra texture and meat to the kicks, as well as a soothing weight to guitars that cut through the mixes quite well.
The 200-300Hz region has a nice presence, which adds more body to the lower register notes. A good balance between articulacy and clarity is maintained with just enough rumble to sound deep and expanded but not boomy.
Bass drum slams cleanly with good fullness and power. The same is also for the bass guitars and their overtones which can be clearly heard with a moderately fast attack.
When powered sufficiently by DAPs like TempoTec V6, the bass is rendered dense and airy leaving plenty of room to house the upper frequencies.
The mid-range frequencies on the Pandamon are what colors it differently from its predecessor Gumiho, which has the midrange more pressed down to achieve higher transparency and wider perceived frequency extension.
The low-mids on the Pandamon are slightly forwarded to give more meat to the vocal and acoustic instruments. Together with some boosts in the presence region, the vocal sounds are quite pronounced. While the more intimate low-mids may not match classical music or more complicated compositions, it is expressive with pops and is decently layered.
The midrange is smooth and nowhere dark or dull, with good energy in the 1-2kHz range that brings out more details in the vocal range, especially for lighter voices. The tuning takes away most sibilance thus tilting the signature to the warmer and sweeter side. Some sparkle is added to give more textures to the overtones and strengthen the resolution which makes it sound very smooth with pop music.
While the low-mids are quite powerful some frequencies in the treble are lifted to compensate and together it does sound quite balanced and opened up with very slight aggression.
The sibilance zone gets a well-rounded treatment and beyond that point, more energy is added to boost air and crispiness. Cymbals cuts through the mix clearly and the ultra-high frequencies at the top end are not overly boosted to preserve musicality.
With synthesized music, clarinets, horns, and strings it sounds very airy. The Pandamon is able to bring up the overtones that make resonating sounds sound dense and textured, such as bells.
Having the mid-range frequencies drawn up-front, the vocal experience is more intimate and the staging sounds fairly expanded with instrument positions well defined.
You could hear the bass being quite extended and the pronounced upper mids get more attention than the upper treble, thus limiting the perceived stage size yet helping it to sound more realistic.
As for the vocal imaging, the lead vocal is placed a few rows in front, spaced nicely while maintaining good thickness and density. Pop music and jazz sound livelier and more musical, without sounding overly thick or poorly imaged.
However, when more instruments come in the mix, the Pandamon still sounds more clustered than some other IEMs that has the mid-range pressed down for smoothness and clarity.
Pandoman has a rich & textured sound with a relaxed tonality. This kind of tuning makes it one of the best all-rounder budget IEMs in my book, fits so well with my library and that is rare. Just one complaint, a metal build IEM shell for the “Iron-eating Beast” Pandamon would have been much better, right?