KENNERTON ODIN REVIEW

  • TONAL BALANCE / NEUTRALITY 91%
  • PERFORMANCE FOR THE PRICE 83%
  • SOUND FIDELITY 94%
  • MUSICALITY 89%
  • BUILD QUALITY 92%
  • ERGONOMICS/COMFORT 81%

PROS

  • Very resolving
  • Full Midrange
  • Stellar bass quality
  • Great Texture

CONS

  • Can sound Nasally
  • Ergonomics are awkward

MSRP: $2489

INTRO

These headphones have been on my radar for a long time. Every single time I wanted to purchase one of these, I either didn’t have the funds, or they were not available for purchase when I did. I can seem to sit still and the nature of my appetite to try new things keep me from staying still long enough. I got to hear these at a meet where my friend brought his pair. After hearing it there, my desire for one increased because I liked what I heard. Well I asked to borrow some closed backs for a write up and he offered to loan me his pair of Odins.

I have been at odds with planar magnetic headphones lately. I find myself in a pickle with how they express dynamics but hearing the Odin kind of renewed my appreciation for them. Before I return these I wanted to post a little review of them with some more lasting impressions after having spent time with them at home and with different amps. 

 SPECS/FEATURES

Technica
Driver Type Planar Magnetic
Driver Unit 80 mm
Frequency Response 15-50000 Hz
Sensitivity 104 dB
Impedance 35 Ohm
Cord length 2 m detachable copper cable (3.5 mm)

BUILD/DESIGN

DESIGN

The Kennerton Odin is a full sized planar magnetic headphone that boasts of in house designed, huge, 80mm planar magnetic drivers. Apparently Kennerton is at odds with some of the shortcomings of orthos as well as they intentionally attempted to make the Odin produce powerful dynamics that traditional transducers produce while capturing the technicalities of planars as well. 

ERGONOMICS/COMFORT

With the steampunk design and ruggedized gimbals, the Odin is one solid and dense set of cans. The headband is  kind of stiff and but the leather strap covers the head evenly leaving no focused spots of discomfort. When I first put them on I find them a little less soft and pillowy than some of the other headphones around here but they fit securely and snug without too much clamping force. They are heavy and you do feel the weight so those sensitive to hefty cans should count the costs. The risers hold place by tightening down a knob on the side of the headband and once secure, the user should have no problems with fit.  

SOUND

  • BASS EXTENSION 84%
  • BASS BALANCE (ACCURACY) 98%
  • LOWER MIDRANGE BALANCE 95%
  • *MIDRANGE PROPER BALANCE 89%
  • UPPER MIDRANGE BALANCE 93%
  • TREBLE BALANCE 97%
  • TREBLE EXTENSION 93%
  • CLARITY 94%
  • BASS CONTROL 99%
  • TONE DENSITY (NOT FREQUENCY RELATED) 91%
  • MACRO DYNAMICS (SOFTS TO LOUDS) 88%
  • MICRO DYNAMICS (SMALL GRADATIONS OF VOLUME) 83%
  • SOUND STAGE WIDTH 85%
  • SOUND STAGE DEPTH 88%
  • BLACKNESS OF BACKGROUND 89%
  • TONE QUALITY (REFINEMENT) 89%
  • RESOLUTION/DETAILS 98%

*please note that in the above bar counters I use the word balance instead of presence which is a percentage of how unbiased, accurate, and neutral that aspect is. In this case the middle midrange is not 89% full as I find it more than full enough but it is 89% neutral to my ears. Also those aspects are totally subjective and from my point of view. Yours may differ.

The sound signature of the Odin is mid-centric with excellent technicalities. It sounds somewhat neutral but with an energetic frequency balance that is lively but not too bright. It sounds kind of like it looks: Clean sharp but hard edges, heavy tones, full bodied, coarse and resolved textures. 

BASS

Kennerton tuned the bass of the Odin to be as neutral and without bias as possible. That means more bass than the Ether Flow C but slightly less than my memory has the LCD-X yet sharper, faster, and more textured than both.  It is somewhat dry, tactile, fast, and extremely well controlled and decently punchy (depending on the amp). The Odins bass also has exceptional texture besting all of the Audezes in quality although I have yet to hear the LCD-4. Synths buzz with accuracy and texture and cellos sound excellent. The down side of the Odin bass is that it does not extend as deep as planars are known for. There is noticeable bass roll off that starts around 60hz or so and I found a lot of my EDM to suffer because of it. The dynamic open back from Kennerton, ‘Vali’, actually reaches lower and provides better foundation for such genres. Another thing is that the mid bass of the Odin had decent timbre but is not as visceral as it’s dynamic brother either but is much more tactile and focused with barely any boom. I did find the odin to take well to eq and sub bass was boosted with good results, yet rumble was something that seemed a little tough to bring out. However important that extension is to you is all a matter of personal choice but make no mistakes about it; the Odin is true high end quality in the lower octaves. For sheer quality I can’t really think of an equal.  

MIDRANGE

The midrange of the Odin again is dry, fast clear, and detailed with good body. Throw some tube wetness on the Odins and it sopps it up like a dry sponge. The timbre of the odin is kind of sharp and resolved sounding but with very good density of tone. It is not as pure and low distorted as the HE-6 to my ears but it sounds more textured and heavy. Balance is excellent in the lower mids with good tone and realism. The middle midrange up through the upper midrange though makes me back off on the dial a bit sometimes. It can sound a little too powerful for me but luckily the odin sounds good at lower volumes. This is in part a testament to its dynamic range but also due to its balance. These cans can make some voices, particularly males, sound nasally which is why I deducted some merit from its accuracy in the middle midrange. Also the upper midrange has a peak somewhere  that sounds like it needs just a tiny little bit of trimming. Narrow band cuts in those areas helped a bit for me but then it lost some of its addicting presence when messing with the 6khz area. ‘Hear through factor’ on the Odin is great though, and while I reiterate it’s just behind the HE-6 in purity, it sounds more melodic and rich. I don’t find the Odin to have as many problems in the midrange as the Audeze LCD-XC and believe it is in another league of performance overall. Putting on an open back planar with good body, full yet open mids, depth, and resolution is pretty rare nowadays (unless you pay 4k) so I will take what I am getting without complaining too much. 

TREBLE

Odin’s treble is present and airy. It is not bright per se has decent extension and is resolving. It is also not dark to my ears and overall, sans some peaks that show up here and there, it is very close to what I consider a target. So much so that I can not definitively say it has a bias. I have no problems with sibilance and while not as open and airy as the HD800 or HE-6, it has enough treble and doesn’t gloss over details. Fatigue usually comes from elswhere. Texture in the treble is great and the treble is tight with good solidity; always sounding crisp and clean cut. 

PERFORMANCE:

SOUNDSTAGE

The Odin soundstage is not vast and expansive. Think LCD-X or something of the like with good depth. It keeps from sounding cluttered with superior separation and decent imaging. 

OTHER PERFORMANCE ASPECTS

The Odin is very resolving. I mean it resolves with the best of them if not better. If hearing all of the details is important to you, Kennerton has got you covered. I sometimes wish for a somewhat cleaner and purer sound that I have come to hear from the HE-6 but not even pricier models from the same brand has yet to produce a more clear and pure sounding headphone.

Some have called it a Super HE-6 and I have to disagree. The bass of the Odin is tighter and more taught but a well amped HE-6 is just as musical as the Odin. I don’t think it is as textured and resolved as the Odin but they have their tradeoffs. Which would I choose: I have chosen the Odin because it is more controlled and less irritating in the treble. I can’t say a well amped and modded HE-6 is any less engaging though being better at sub bass rumble than the Odin if amped right. 

As far as Kennerton Team producing a headphone that is powerfully dynamic like dynamic drives goes…well… I mean they got closer than most manufacturers have but it is still a compromise in that regards. Take for instance it’s own Kennerton Vali that does better with percussion and is more punchy and engaging and it becomes evident that there are somethings planars just can’t due because of their nature. Planars push air over a larger surface area so the pressure into the ears is less focused than dynamic drivers can produce from a nodal diaphragm which will always keep them from being as musical and natural sounding to my ears. This also usually affects micro-dynamics as well and that is what I am hearing in this unit; a slight lack of both micro and macro. 

The exceptional quality of the Odin is in it’s transients; they are fast and spritely and land on the ears with precision and acuity. The decay of the Odin is quick which gives it a kind of dry sound but makes way for each attack to come in with speed and bite. I would imagine if the Odin were a bright headphone it would sound like piercing needles darting in your ears, but it is not so. The Odin marries that precision with the rich and slightly warm tonality mentioned above. Notes come in clear and full but do not linger and resonate with any bloat and it is here that the Kennerton team has capitalized on the intrinsic qualities of planars, yet even pushes some of the boundaries sounding even more precise and punchy than my memory holds HE1K and Ether Flow. 

Compared to my other favorite planar, the LFF Modified Code-X the Odin is not as clean (low in distortion) or open but is more precise, heavier in timbre, punchy, and rich sounding. The Code-X has deeper bass extension, is brighter by a little, and is more flat in the midrange. A choice between the two at the same price has me leaning towards the Odin but the cost differences make the Code-X a little more appealing.

Cost no object has my preferences for planars in this order: Abyss>Odin>HE-6(modified)/LFF Code-X

AMPING

The Kennerton Odin is quite efficient but as with most planars, it loves a lot of headroom and power to sound as dynamic as it was designed to. It also doesn’t mind some tube love. Overall, while the Odin is very scalable, it is not that picky and can get good results out of a lot of headphone amps. 

CONCLUSION

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All said and done, the Odin is impressive. 2.5K makes it deep out there and I personally find that overpriced. But compared to what is in the market, it seems that that price has some legitimacy; holding it’s own compared to things like the HE1K and others (which are even overpriced compared to the Odin). I’m a little upset at the trend but on this one I can’t call it. I still want one 【ツ】

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