Kinera Hodur Review – God of Darkness

Kinera is a name that isn’t bound for any introduction among audio enthusiasts. Over the years, Kinera has established itself as a manufacturer of premium in-ear monitors that fall into different price categories. They are usually recognized for their outstanding craftsmanship, Norse mythology references, and professional tuning capabilities. With its latest model, Kinera adds a new triple-driver tribrid set of in-ear monitors to its ever-growing catalog, the brand-new Kinera Hodur.

  • 1 DD & 1 BA & 1 EST hybrid driver configuratin
  • Kinera high sensitivity & low power electrostatic driver
  • 3-way-acoustic conduit
  • Customized K10012 BA driver
  • 10mm coaxial dual-magnetic tesla composite diaphragm dynamic driver
  • CNC 5-axis carved aviation aluminum alloy shell

“Hodur, his father is the god-king Odin of the Aesir and his mother is the god queen Frigg. He and Baldr, the god of light, are twin brothers. Baldr symbolizes light, but Hodr symbolizes darkness. People tend to pay attention to the radiant Baldr while ignoring the darkness that is close at hand. Hodur lives on the other side whim the light cannot reach. Under Loki’s conspiracy, Hodur killed his brother Baldr. The furious gods ordered Vali to kill Hodur and make him fall into the underworld.

Until after Ragnarok, the world was reborn. Hodur and Baldr returned from the underworld, which means light and darkness reappeared to the earth. The gods who learned the truth and accept Hodur. Hodur also had the courage to face the darkness since then.” Yes, you guessed it right, Kinera is targeting a dark sound signature with the Hodur.

The design adopts a streamlined cavity with simple ripples, combined with the desolate gun color or the dark blue, presenting dark and chaotic visuals. The edges are dotted with finely divided diamonds.

Kinera selected aviation aluminum alloy as Hodur’s shell, which is lightweight and corrosion-resistant. With CNC 5-axis fine carving technology, the air relief hole, nozzle, and 2pin female socket position are precise. It meets the higher requirements of consistency standards, which effectively reduces the vibration of the shell so that the acoustic performance can be fully exerted. In addition, it is colored by the aluminum alloy anodizing process, which makes Hodur durable and wear-resistant.

The nozzle is equipped with a 120-mesh screen filter to block particles from entering the earbuds and maintain the acoustic characteristics for a long time. The shells of the Hodur are just 5g each.

The ergonomy and fit of Hodur is amazing

Kinera innovated the internal structure of the earphone and adopts a 3-way  acoustic conduit solution. The EST unit with high sensitivity and low power consumption is used for the ultra-high frequency. The 10mm coaxial dual-magnetic Tesla composite diaphragm dynamic driver is responsible for the lows and mid-range. Kinera’s custom K10012 BA driver is used for high-frequency connection, which combines the sound of the high, medium, and low frequencies.

Specs

  • Impedance: 8ohm
  • Sensitivity: 106db
  • Rated power: 3mW
  • Frequency Response: Range 5-40kHz
  • Cable Length: 1.2m (detachable)
  • Plug: 3.5mm, 4.4mm
  • Driver: 1DD+1BA+1EST
  • Earphone Connector: 0.78 2-pin

Price: $299

Cable’s Specs

  • Material: OCC with silver plated
  • Diameter:  1.1mm/core
  • Strands: 25 strands of 0.05mm 4- 25 strands of 0.08mm OCC with silver plated
  • Protective Cover: High transparent soft PVC
  • Interface: 0.78 2pin
  • Plug: 4pin detachable plugs, 4.4mm balanced plug / 3.5mm plug
  • External metal part: Aluminum alloy anode
  • Cable length: 120cm
  • Wire structure: Twisted cross braided

What’s in the box

  • Hodur In-Ear Monitors
  • Modular 0.78 2pin Cable
  • Modular Adapters 4.4mm+ 3.5mm
  • Final Type Ear tips 5 sets
  • Silicon Rubber Ear tips 7 sets
  • Cleaning Brush
  • Storage Case
  • User Manual

I would like to thank Kinera Audio for providing me with the review sample of  Kinera Hodur (non-affiliate link).

Sound

First off, this is a dark IEM, no question about it. It targets a certain audience, basically the guys like me who dig this signature. This is a very musical approach with relatively big bass and lush mids.

The Hodur is an emotional, organic, and lush monitor with a big sound, but it also has very good technicalities.

Bass

The lows of the Hodur are quite strong. For the lovers of warm & full bass, this is a very satisfying performance. At the same time, lows are pretty quick and decay is very nice. Recovery is very good for this type of response, which is surprising at times. The definition, slam, and layering are still better than many monitors, to be honest.

The bass quantity is just about the same as other mildly v-shaped IEMs. Lows show neutral depth and thickness in color. The ultra-low extension is quite decent considering its calm nature yet not too ponderous in emphasis. The bass in general keeps its presentation in the lowland, offering a stable foundation for the upper ends to build the headroom.

The general resolution of lows is also very good. Overall this is one of the best IEMs I’ve tried in terms of sheer bass response.

Mids

The Hodur has lush mids with a big note size. The general focus is on this area as well, so it’s easy to say it has a lifted mid-response. The mids are fuller than most monitors that I’ve listened to as well. That makes the Hodur somewhat unique.

The mids of the Hodur are quite dark and thick. What that gives you though is a very romantic and organic approach to the sound, which certainly pleases people like myself. Although you can hear the mids being at the center of the attention, the presentation is still not in your face.

Despite giving a darker tonality and bigger note size than most, the Hodur still separates the instruments very well. Both vocals and instruments are quite dense and meaty, but there isn’t any noticeable congestion with a good source. But of course, that very warm and full presentation may not be for you. It all depends on the taste.

The lower mids have a little bit more definition than the upper mids with the apparent midbass focus. Female vocals are still a joy to listen to, but you can notice a veil in the sound there. There’s no sharpness, sometimes you can’t necessarily point out an instrument with razor-sharp imaging, but it certainly is joyful. No need to focus on everything, just enjoy the music altogether and relax.

Treble

Highs are the least apparent area of the Hodur. They’re at the back of the stage and they’re not very airy as a result of the dark & warm sound. You can not possibly hear an aggressive cymbal or something like that. It’s very soft and smooth, but if you pay attention you can hear the details as well.

The lower treble is recessed to some degree, making the monitor sound very smooth and consistent with its overall presentation. That creates an unoffensive sound and it’s also one of the reasons for the mids to shine and take over the stage. But overall, the Hodur pays the price of being so warm and meaty: The treble area is not very airy and spacious.

But I guess that wasn’t the aim of Kinera in the first place. You simply can not have this kind of sound signature with a sharp treble with a great extension and shimmer. The treble is still articulate and it has a nice resolution, but just don’t expect that bright nature that some IEMs give.

Soundstage – Imaging

The soundstage is relatively large when compared to IEMs in general, especially in terms of depth. The width is also quite good and impressive. What the Hodur does in the stage department is even more impressive to me, because it produces elevated mids and that usually creates a close stage. With the mids being in the center of the attention, I would’ve expected a smaller stage but that’s not the case here.

Because of Hodur’s unique presentation and approach, the resolution and transparency are not that amazing, but I think both are very acceptable for this kind of sound. You can’t have everything at once after all. The tonality is mostly dark and warm, and the note size is very nice and big, which I particularly loved. Other than that, the timbre of the instruments is very soft and full at the same time.

The whole sound of the Hodur is so soft and round. After a while you don’t search for sharp imaging, all you do is just sit back and enjoy the music as a whole. Of course, it’s not a bad separation of any kind, it’s still very very good, but the approach of this IEM is simply different from many others.

Overall control and tonal balance are consistent and it’s certainly a coherent monitor from top to bottom. When you take its romantic and emotional response into account, this IEM certainly has a unique quality with its very good technical abilities despite the way it presents the sound.

Sum-Up

The Hodur is the IEM for lovers of warm and full sound with lushness and smoothness. The darkness, the beautiful veil over the sound, and that glamorous signature. It’s a silent guardian of a relaxed atmosphere and sound. It’s the God of darkness.