I’ve been a fan of Kinera’s IEMs for a few years now. They’ve brought a consistent output of products no matter what their price tag is. Their latest effort is the Hodur, a new electrostatic IEM that costs $299. Is it another great product from the Kinera brand or does it fail to live up to their standards?
What You Get
- One pair of Kinera Hodur In-ear monitors.
- One Modular 4 Cores OCC with Silver Plated Cable.
- Modular Adapter 4.4mm & 3.5mm.
- Five pairs of Final Type E tips.
- Seven pairs ( K-07 & K-285-02 ) of Kinera Custom ear tips.
- Storage Case.
- Clean Brush.
- User Manual.
Look and Feel
The Hodur takes its design from one of Kinera’s older models, the Seed. It’s a style they haven’t gone back to for a while, and from the looks of it, the Hodur seems like a natural enhancement of its design. With the Hodur, you get an aviation-grade aluminum alloy shell, which makes its body durable and lightweight at the same time. It doesn’t have the appearance of anything Kinera has ever made, making it seem unique in the broader Kinera library. While it will fit well for most, for some reason the right earphone specifically had an issue sitting in my ear comfortably. For the most part, I didn’t find it that bothersome, but it was persistent no matter what ear tips I used.
While the Hodur is advertised as an electrostatic IEM, it’s not the only kind of driver unit within its housing. The Hodur is actually a tribrid system, containing a high sensitivity, low power electrostatic driver, a custom K10012 BA Driver, and a 10mm dynamic driver with a dual-magnetic tesla composite diaphragm. I had no problem getting enough drive out of the Hodur from just a simple 3.5mm headphone jack on a PC, but if you can, a good DAC with 4.4mm plugs is the ideal way to listen to these IEMs.
Kinera rarely lets you down in the soundstage department. It does an excellent job of making each element that passes through spatially distinct in the mix. However, the display of the soundstage is more linear this time around, appearing less dimensional than other Kinera IEMs but still spacious in its own way. There is some slight height to the sound, but it doesn’t get as tall as other IEMs in this range can. You can still hear the instruments move around the mix naturally though, as the Hodur keeps to a standard level of accuracy. While the soundstage can surprise you with its layering and scale, its ability isn’t very consistent. Most of the time, the Hodur is performing on a flat plain. It’s a well-organized response though, and one that will still sound invigorating to listen to.
At first, the Hodur’s bass might not jump out at your right away. It takes time to deliver its intended tone, not being the quickest response but it still provides you with full resonance. The tone here is big and full of energy. Its timbre is smooth but not the deepest response you’ll hear from Kinera. You get a good foundation of frequency content, with a mainly surface-level presentation. The bass on the Hodur showcases great presence and grip, even though the response doesn’t feel as expressive as it should.
The midrange on the Hodur mainly focuses on balance. You’ll hear some recession in the fundamental mid bands, but extended accents on the low and upper mids. It is your standard v-shaped response and compliments the musicality well enough. This textures the instruments and vocals in a way that is fun and colorful. It isn’t the purest timbre of course but still presents sound elements cleanly enough to easily point to specific parts of the mix. There isn’t as much fullness to the mids though, as they lack drive even in their more emphasized regions. With a bit more gain, the Hodur could really make the instruments pop, but for now, the sound signature settles for evenness.
With the treble, the Hodur easily manages a satisfying timbre that anyone can enjoy. They appear in the mix with soothing air and natural detail. There is a light sizzle to them that textures the region well and helps keep a colorful aura to the timbre. I think the frequency content makes the highs appear more delicate than strongly defined, but it still results in a blissful tone that never outstays its welcome.
When I first started listening to the Hodur, I knew it was going to be another winner for Kinera. In terms of sound, I would place the Hodur firmly alongside the Freya and Norn. The Hodur matches their level of fidelity while offering a different taste of an equally refined tone. You get a more linear soundstage, but the imaging still presents a spacious display of musicality. This is helped by an engaging bass and balanced midrange. It’s a colorful sound signature that will excite the ears of anyone listening.
The Kinera Hodur is available at Audio46.