It’s always exciting to get something new from Kinera. Their IEMs have a consistent quality to them, both in sound and structure. The new Loki is their biggest release yet, aiming for the ultra-high-end crowd thanks to its $3,099 price point. It’s a big ask, especially with a lot of their output being on the more budget side of things. However, I’m excited to hear what Kinera can do at their fullest potential. Let’s see if the Loki really is their best.
What You Get
- One pair of Kinera Imperial Loki In-ear monitors.
- One Effect Audio UP-OCC Cable, EA 4.4mm.
- Final Type E Eartips x 5 sets (SS/S/M/L/LL)
- AZLA SednaEarfit Crystal Eartips x 3 sets (SS/MS/ML)
- Spinfit CP145 Eartips x 3 sets (S/M/L)
- Symbio F Foam Tips x 2sets (S/M)
- Genuine Leather Carry Case.
- Cleaning Brush.
- User Manual.
- Thank You Card.
- Design Background Intro Card.
Look & Feel
Kinera makes some of the most striking IEM designs in my opinion, and the Loki is just another example of that. With that said, the artwork isn’t as flashy as past efforts from the brand. Like most of their catalog though, the aesthetic of the Loki has awesome inspiration. The norse themes are prominent, but Kinera really gets the details right. For example, the blue surface and red streaks are meant to symbolize Loki’s lineage. It gives you more of an appreciation for the design, and showcases the level of though Kinera puts into their IEMs. As for the fit, the Loki is very comfortable, and offers great support. However, there is one issue, and that’s the driver flex. It almost never gets on my nerves, but with the Loki it’s never been more apparent. This did not hamper my experience with the overall fit, but it’s something to consider.
The Loki comes packed with different drivers, and even features bone conduction. With that, plus one dynamic driver, six balanced armatures, and four electrostatic drivers, that would make the Loki a quad-driver configuration. There’s only a handful of IEMs like this design. I was surprised to see the dynamic unit was only 6mm, since most IEMs in this range use 10mm and above. The dynamic driver has a liquid-crystal diaphragm, and is tasked with delivering the low-end frequencies. These balanced armatures are made by Knowles, and help relegate the mids mostly, with two additional drivers being used for treble. The Sonion electrostatic drivers control the ultra-high frequencies.
I tend to be impressed by Kinera’s soundstage delivery, so the prospect of what they can do with a three thousand-dollar IEM excites me. After listening to the Loki, my expectations were exceeded. Very few IEMs are able to achieve the level of space that headphones bring, but the Loki firmly joins that exclusive club. The way that the Loki encapsulates your headspace is more reminiscent of what over-ear headphones are capable of rather than IEMs. I wouldn’t call it completely open, but the Loki gives the sound elements room to occupy. A high-end closed-back headphone with a great soundstage would accurately describe the Loki’s abilities better.
The way it communicates its layers brings all the sounds out to the front of your head. Distancing is highlighted, but the performances don’t have that airy quality. Instead, the Loki keeps everything focused. Spatial positioning is front and center, but wide enough to form a large sphere. All of the instruments and vocals have a floaty feel, bringing out their dimension for greater immersion. Separation is great and gives each performance a clear identity. The stereo field is expansive, with the Loki using its imaging to paint a lush, but realistic, live environment.
In the bottom end of the Loki, the sound signature leans in an accentuated, but controlled direction. There is a ton of meat to this bass, from the pool of vibrating sub-bass frequencies to the solidified, tight mid-bass punch. The Loki has such a buttery-smooth surface that is wholly transparent. It dives super deep and emanates with a significant rumble that is addictively gripping. Most of the tone resonates at the bottom-end, like it’s physical origin comes from your chest and crawls its way up your throat. Everything is separated beautifully, while still getting the frequency content to fill in the space with feel hyper detail. Bass drones and individual notes have a timbre that’s totally intoxicating, while also not feeling bloated or cloudy.
For the most part, the Loki does an excellent job keeping up its energy through the midrange. While not as theatrical as the bass, the frequencies have a finesse to them that offers more depth to instruments. It paints the performances in a finer detail. giving individual notes a clear strike in the upper-mids. This isn’t as apparent in the low-mids, which are softer in comparison, and display an overall warmer timbre. When it comes to the top end of the spectrum though, the impact makes a greater impression. Complex arrangements have a ton of room to weave through each other with grace, and it all comes together naturally.
Everything about the high frequencies on the Loki is exceptionally refined. There’s an explicit glisten to the top of each note, but its resonance never overstays its welcome. You can sense brightness here, but it’s so well detailed and plays exceptionally well with the tuning that it comes off elegantly. Some areas of the frequency response here have slightly more emphasis over other, mainly on the bottom-end of the treble, but it just helps to make instruments and vocals appear crisper. With great height and texture, the highs on the Loki are a joy to listen to.
Almost everything about the Loki is simply impeccable. I always knew Kinera was capable of releasing an IEM of this caliber, and now we finally have it. The Loki does everything a prestige IEM needs to do, and that is just to blow you away with its sound performance. It’s almost like having one of the best pairs of closed-back headphones on the market, as the Loki can really compete in that space with its ability. If you have the money to spend on a real endgame pair of IEMs, Kinera’s Loki is a new heavyweight that you should consider.
The Kinera Loki is available at Audio46.