Kinera Freya - Reviews
In-ear done right
Pros: Rich and lush vocals
Rich timbre
Spacious soundstage
Easy listen
Cons: Chunky size might not suit everyone
NOTE: I read RikudouGoku's review just before making my own and was puzzled by his experience. He criticized the things I personally hate to hear myself and I do complain about that type of tuning every time I hear it. Not really sure what's going on here (some sort of QC issue maybe) but it feels like we are listening to a different model altogether. My unit also came from the HiFiGo (thanks for that guys). That said, I'll dig in into my own experience with Freya.
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Freya is the latest model released by Kinera. If you had asked me just a year ago, I wouldn’t have heard about the brand, but earlier this year I’ve encountered their budget-oriented model called Kinera Tyr. That one was a budget model costing just $29 but Freya is a different beast altogether, costing $250, and I was curious to find out what Kinera can do with a ten times bigger budget.

By the way, the name comes from a Norse mythology goddess Freyja (Old Norse for “(the) Lady”) that is associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seiðr.

So let’s find out if these are worth carrying the name of a goddess.

Package, Build, Fit
Earphones come in a big hexagonal package filled with goodies. You’ll find 7 different ear-tips, USB-C adapter, Lightning adapter, protective case, and a cleaning brush. You might not really need most of these but it’s nice having these small tokens of gratitude, especially at this price point.

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Moving to the earphones themselves, they’re quite chunky to start with and this might be a problem for some of you with smaller ears. On the other hand, they’re balancing it out by being quite lightweight. As far as my ears go, these were a perfect fit and once I’d put them in the right position they stayed there, with me basically forgetting about them.

The cable is detachable but the provided one is of a very decent quality. It’s quite thick, soft, and twisted lightly. What’s important is that it doesn’t tangle much and it’s not microphonic. Nice job.

Sound
The good news continues when we start talking about sound quality. Frequency response tuning is just right to my ears without any part being noticeably emphasized and trying to take the show. There’s plenty of low bass rumble, but luckily it’s met with good control and agility. This means bass notes are weighty but precise and easy to follow. If there’s anything to nitpick about the bassline it might be that it doesn’t have that much slam and attack.

Moving upwards to the midrange region, I was surprised by the full and lush sound. That lower midrange section, responsible for vocal fullness and instrument timbre is often sorely lacking with in-ear models. Not with Freya, there’s enough juice and boldness here for me to enjoy everything from the mighty male voice of Leonard Cohen to the beautiful and moody vocal of Lana Del Rey. All instruments sound full and present too, exhibiting great timbre and a touch of warmth. Higher midrange and highs are filled with details but voiced in a slightly safe and tame manner that made listening Freya for a longer period of time a pleasant experience.

The soundstage is surprisingly wide and there’s a respectable sense of space around your head. Instruments are well separated and there’s room for each one to breathe and position itself clearly.


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Pairing
Kinera Freya is not particularly demeaning to drive. I got them sound reasonably loud and lively even using a Hidizs Sonata HD DAC dongle. However, some soundstage congestion and a hint of upper-region harshness were noticeable. To get the real sense of their capabilities, great timbre, and that spacious soundstage, you’ll need to feed them with a serious source. EarMen TR-Amp did the job for me providing everything Freya needed to really bloom.

Conclusion
I’m not really the one to tell you if Kinera Freya punches above its price point since I’m not all that much into expensive IEMs. However, I can tell you that I liked Freya quite a lot, it’s an in-ear done right and tuned in a mature way that I can listen for hours without fatigue. Nothing I’ve already heard (including Moondrop Starfield that I really liked) can’t match these in terms of midrange fullness, tone timbre, and soundstage. That’s why I’ll be keeping these for myself and as a future reference.


I also made a video about it:
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Pros: beautiful aesthetic
Packaging
A lot of good accessories (including 3,5mm to usb-c/lightning adapters and Final Type E tips)
Sub-bass rumble, extension
Soundstage
Cons: Treble is horrible (extreme sibilance), its like if someone took a machine gun and filled it with needles then shot them all into my ears...
Female vocals are also quite horrifying, due to massive sibilance
Very unnatural male vocals
Obviously not worth the price due to these 3 reasons above...
Uncomfortable for me due to big shell size
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Disclaimer: I received this review unit for free from HifiGO, thank you very much.

Price: 250 usd.

Specifications:

Driver configuration: 1 dynamic driver (DD) + 3 BA drivers

Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz

Impedance: 22 Ohms

Sensitivity: 110 +/- 2db

Distortion: <5% @ 1kHz, 100db SPL

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Accessories:

3,5mm to USB C adapter

3,5mm to Lightning adapter

3,5mm to 6,35mm adapter

Cleaning brush

Silicone S/M/L narrow bore tips

Final Audio Type E SS/S/M/L/LL tips

Carry “box”

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Cable: metal divider and connectors, but non-working chin-slider. it is a decent 4-core copper cable.

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Build: A picture is worth more than a thousand words, no words will describe how good it looks IRL. Resin is covering the painted body under it and feels good. It has 3 bores for the nozzle and it is a bit thicker than average so some tips might be hard to fit. It is a very big iem but it doesn’t weight a lot and I would say it is quite light weight.

Fit: It fits and stays in place very good, even though it is too big for me.

Comfort: Being too big for me, it definitely doesn’t feel good at all. Fatigue starts appearing even after a few minutes and after a short session (1 hour) my ears become sore.

Isolation: Since it is a very large iem and it covers my entire ear, the isolation is very good. Not top-tier though because it has vents.

Setup: Ibasso DX160 (low gain, volume around 30), FAAEAL Litz Copper cable 4.4mm, Final Type E LL tips

Lows: Clearly a U-shaped sound, the mid-bass quantity is pretty low while the Sub-bass is quite high. The sub-bass is the impressive part, being both powerful and clean while the mid-bass average.

Mid-bass: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47) quantity is a bit low and it’s not very tight either. So, it doesn’t sound that natural here nor does it sound fun.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (02:55-03:01) chopper sound is very detailed and easy to hear. While the (01:11-01:52) has a clean bass (speed and tightness are good enough and the low quantity helps a lot) but the cymbals and even the male vocals are sharp.

Sub-bass: Djuro – drop the bass (01:15-01:30), extension is good and there is quite a bit of rumble.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), tightness and speed are very good along with quantity (clean and powerful) but the texture is below average for something in this price range.

Mids: Female vocals are more forward than male vocals, and they are also much more natural. Piano and violins sound natural although the violins don’t have much texture.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), this song and section should have a very beautiful and energetic female vocals, but it’s not. It is sharp and too bright (unnatural).

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), the piano sounds very natural and good but the female vocals are (again) too bright which makes it unnatural. it’s also a bit sharp here.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), Unbearable…might be the most sibilant iem I ever heard with this track.

Exostate – Cruel (01:30-01:58), energetic and not sharp, acceptable female vocals here.

Male-vocals: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), way too bright and thin vocals and they are somehow sharp too.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17) a bit too bright.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17) too bright and lack thickness.

Highs: Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), the first sentence in this section “Why can't you die!?” yeah, I agree, because this treble is killing me. Unbearable.

Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42) The electric guitars are like chainsaws trying to kill my ears…unbearable.

The treble is killing the sound of the Freya as much as it is killing my ears…

Soundstage: Average width but a bit above average depth.

Tonality: U-shaped with below average timbre but the overall sound is extremely bottlenecked by the horrible treble.

Details: Average details

Instrument Separation: Average



Comparisons:

Tanchjim Hana:
The treble quantity is lower in the Hana, but most importantly the treble peaks in the Hana might as well not exist when I heard it after the Freya. Hana also sounds much more natural too.

Female vocals in the Hana also doesn’t sound like it’s trying to kill me while being much more natural. Male vocals are less bright on the Hana so it sounds more natural, although warmth and thickness still need more.

Mid-bass quantity is a bit higher in the Hana but speed, tightness and texture are much better. Sub-bass extension is similar but there is more rumble in the Freya. Texture, speed and tightness are better in the Hana.

Timbre, details, instrument separation are better in the Hana. Soundstage is comparable.

Even the Hana that I can’t recommend performs better and sounds more natural than the Freya that costs more…The Hana is the so called “lesser of the two evils” in this comparison.

Shuoer Tape (NO EQ): The Freya has a much more sibilant than the even the Tape…. quantity is also much higher. If the treble in the Tape is the Death star, then the Freya is the Starkiller base.

Female vocals are more forward and also much peakier in the Freya, it sounds more natural though. Male vocals are brighter and much more unnatural than the Tape that actually has some warmth in comparison.

Sub-bass extension is better on the tape but rumbles a bit more on the Freya, speed and tightness are better on the tape as well as the texture. Mid-bass quantity is higher on the tape while speed, tightness and texture are better.

Soundstage isn’t as big on the tape but the Freya doesn’t have the holographic effect of the tape. Details and instrument separation are better on the tape. Timbre is a bit better on the Freya due to the more “exotic” driver in the tape (magnetostat).

I can’t even begin to recommend the Freya when even the stock tape performs better…




Conclusion:
Packaging, accessories, aesthetics = GOD TIER, but unfortunately the sound doesn’t come close to that. It’s like they took crap SQ and tried to make it up with everything else.
NOT RECOMMENDED. The Freya could have been a good iem if they could have tuned the treble better. But as it is, I wouldn’t even spend 30 usd on it…Thanks for reading and thank you for releasing my ears from this hell.
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RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@FcConstruct Well if you like it then I guess you are lucky. Hopefully it isnt a case of unit variantion because it sounds pretty different.
FcConstruct
FcConstruct
@RikudouGoku Yea I'm not sure. All the graphs I've seen have a significant amount of low-end on it. I hate to say this but perhaps you aren't getting a proper seal?
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@FcConstruct I am 100% getting a seal. Not an issue with cable either. Its just bad for me.
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