Kennerton GH 40 Gjallarhorn Review
Kennerton is a Fischer Audio brand known for their luxury grade audio products. The GH 40 Gjallarhorn is a wooden closed-back, over-ear headphone from Kennerton that has an “old school” driver design with a paper membrane, and a horn-type design that the company claims gives it added low-end fullness, wideness, and air pressure. I’ve never tried Kennerton headphones before, or horn-type headphones for that matter, so I am very curious to see what these have to reveal.
What’s In The Box?
-GH 40 Gjallarhorn closed-back headphones.
-Leather carrying case
-Soft drawstring pouch
-Headphone cable (detachable, quarter inch)
Look and Feel
The GH 40 Gjallarhorn is nothing short of beautiful. The wooden ear cups are textured and swirled and remind me of high quality living room or dining room furniture, giving the headphones a rustic, handcrafted and rather serious look. The headband is encased in a soft, natural leather, which is seamed along its top perimeter and adds an extra touch of cottage-core to the already-woodsy aesthetic. I found the leather earcups to be comfortable but perhaps just a touch too narrow.
Structurally, the GH 40 Gjallarhorn is fairly rigid and sturdy. Though the lack of inward fold on the ear cups don’t make them the most ergonomic phones, the cups can swivel on their X axis a full 180 degrees.
The included carrying case is made of a chic black leather. It’s fairly soft and rather large, and reminded me of a camera case (or, a really nice lunchbox) especially with the shoulder strap that comes included with it. While I do see the appeal in a case that serves a double function as a wearable accessory, I wish it were just a little firmer and offered a little more security for the gorgeous pair of headphones it’s meant to carry.
Design and Specs
The GH 40 Gjallarhorn is over-ear, true horn-loaded closed-back with an enclosure made of natural wood. It’s dynamic driver is made of biocellulose and utilizes a soft suspension membrane which is extra responsive to air volume in its acoustic chamber.
Frequency response: 10 Hz – 43Khz
Impedance: 30 ohm
Sensitivity: 115 dB
Driver: 40 mm, Biocellulose
The imaging on the GH 40 Gjallarhorn was one of the first features that stuck out to me, passing slow and fast pans alike with powerful control and articulation, while rendering mono tracks with a precision that made them feel like they were coming from the inside of my head. The tight imaging is well complimented by a wide stage: the earcup padding is sizable and positions the drivers to sit far from the ears, allowing a listener to really feel what’s left and right. As I’ll get into below, the natural EQ and balance of the GH 40 is really where this unit starts to shine and reveal its extra premium qualities.
Though I didn’t feel my head rumble from the subs like I would on some pairs of over-ear closed-backs, I found them present without being overbearing. At a time where all too many headphones have thick and woozy sub bass as the thesis behind their low end sound signature, I have a lot of respect for headphones that tone it back and redistribute energy back into the lower mids, which is precisely what Kennerton did with the GH 40. Masking and ear fatigue was avoided in favor of a clear and warm mid section with a low end that was made to be heard more than felt.
Though the mids were pretty balanced, there is undeniably added emphasis on the low mids. Guitars and pianos come through with some added warmth and low-end harmonic enhancements. Though this led to male vocals having some extra weight on their fundamental, it didn’t lead to any mud or loss of precision as the high mids were still reasonably present and kept the GH 40 sounding natural.
The clicks, squeaks and snaps the GH 40 Gjallarhorn was capable of producing was a pleasant surprise. With thick lower mids serving as the home base for the general timbre, it was very refreshing to hear how far up the frequency spectrum Kennerton was willing to push these. Vocals could be rendered with very gentle, lip-smacking sibilants, while hi-hats cut through with pointy clarity. Snare drums with heavy reverbs found extra air and decay, and ride cymbals were vaporized and and finely-sanded. Kick drums had their energy enhanced from the highs as well, as their clicky transients snapped with clarity.
Kennerton went for a careful and tasteful balance of color and clarity when engineering the GH 40 Gjallarhorn. Though certainly warm in their overall sound character, my general takeaway from these headphones was a very natural and balanced sound that represented mixes truthfully. For the genuinely high quality and comfortable listening experience these offer, along with their not-to-be-understated wooden beauty, the GH 40 should be seriously considered by the analytical music listener who is looking for a clear, balanced sound with the added warmth that wooden headphones have to offer.