Kinera Imperial Loki

kapsontong

New Head-Fier
Kinera Loki Review – Deceptive Bass
Pros: - Massive box with tons of third-party accessories!
- Hand painted masterpiece. An audible art.
- Distinctive vocals. Very natural with a bit of warmth.
- Thick and rumbly bass.
- Controlled but sparkly treble
- Decent separation with accurate imaging.
Cons: - Big nozzle. Tip rolling is needed.
- People with small ears will find it harder to fit.
- Need amplification to sound the best.
- Soundstage does not feel spacious.
Overall rating: 4.5/5
✨


Aesthetic:
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Design: 4.5/5
Accessories: 5/5

Sound Rating:
Timbre: 5/5
Bass: 4.5/5
Midrange: 4/5
Treble: 4/5
Technicalities: 4.5/5

DISCLAIMER
🗣️

- This is a loan unit sent by Kinera Official from China, in exchange for an honest in-depth review. Regardless, all opinions remain original ideas, thus there is zero influence from any 3rd party or external opinions.
- No EQ or filter presets were used during the entire review period.
- Sound evaluations are kept neutral and does not include 3rd party accessories (ie; eartips, cable, reversible mods).
- Burn-in was done for 120 hours prior to review.

Introduction:
🌟

Loki, the trickster god, known for being chaotic in the Norse mythology, has descend to the audiophile world. It happened when Kinera named their latest flagship, a multi-drivers IEM “Loki” to accentuate their mythical series. I am very lucky to review the Kinera Loki, and I am very glad that I have been given a chance. This may be someone’s endgame, including me. I do find difficult to listen my personal audio gears again.

Unboxing:
📦

If you happened to purchase the Kinera Loki, you deserved a flagship tier unboxing experience. Everything packed in the box is top notch, and it is like nothing else I have unboxed before. The Loki has a hexagonal box with a printed picture of lava flowing down. Inside the box you can find a brochure showing Kinera Loki graph in hexagonal cut-out. Underneath it hides the magnificent looking Loki, with the included 4-wire Effect Audio UP-OCC Copper cable in 4.4mm termination. The overall unveiling presentation is unmatched, which reminds me of opening a one-of-a-kind jewelry box.

Do you think it stops here? No. There is more below it! Remove the top part, you can see the massive bunch of third-party accessories including:
- 5 pairs of Final E Eartips
- 3 pairs of AZLA SednaEarfit Crystal Eartips
- 3 pairs of Spinfit CP145 Eartips
- 2 pairs of Symbio F Foam Tips

These are the ear tips that Kinera thinks it synergies well with the Loki. One can try to do some tip-rolling to get the best seal and use case. Other than the massive tons of tips, you will get a Kinera customized jet black with gold accent cable in 4.4 termination, a few paper works, a cleaning brush and an opaque paper as separator.

Build Quality & Design:
🧱

The Kinera Loki I got here is international version, and it is purely hand-painted in Emerald colorway with the mixture of glittery teal, royal blue, and violet blue. It feels nice to hold on hand, as it celebrates the top tier build quality and design approach, which is a priority to set foot on the high-end audio gears ground. My eyes are obsessed to look at it every day.

The IEM shell is made up of resin, which is lightweight to hold and wear for long period. The fit is okay with my small ears, except the nozzle is a bit wide, and it bothers my ears. The Loki has a proprietary bone-conductor module built in, so it is crucial to get the IEM in contact with your concha, and feel the vibration. Bigger nozzles also limit the selections of ear tips.

The cable that I have used is the Kinera’s customized 4.4mm termination cable, which has a fabric like sheathing. The reason I will use this as my reference equipment is that this cable provides audibly better soundstage and micro dynamics than the preinstalled Effect Audio cable, which has a rather intimate staging and a bit bass boosted to my ears. I will also choose the Azla SednaEarfit Crystal as reference ear tips too.

Specification:
- 1x 6mm liquid silicone Dynamic Driver for bass frequency.
- 6x Knowles Balanced Armature drivers, 4 BAs for midrange and 2 BAs for treble frequency.
- 4x Sonion Electrostatic Drivers for ultra-high frequency and additional air.
- 1x Kinera custom-build contact type bone conduction driver for deeper pitch on ultra-low frequency.

Drivability:
🔋

Loki is much needed to be amplified. It is understandable as this little beast has 12 drivers inside its shell. Therefore, the extra power is needed for it to sound correct. In case you are using a DAP, I do recommend clean and resolving sources to truly embraces its ability to make the extraordinary bass and vocals shine.

My music (don’t judge me xD) :
- Yoasobi - idol (24bit/96khz)
- Joji Nectar Album (24bit/96 kHz)
- Kamado Tanjiro no Uta (16bit/44.1 kHz)
- ReoNa - Human, Alive, Seimeisen, till the end (24/96 khz)
- Taylor Swift - We are never ever getting back together (DSD 5644kbps/ 2.8MHz)
- Radwimps - Suzume (24bit/96 kHz)
- And whole album of Kessoku Band
- G.E.M – GLORIA (24bit/96 kHz)
- Martin Garrix – In the Name of Love (24bit/44.1kHz)
- Jacky Cheung – Kiss goodbye (24bit/96kHz)
- Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra - "Kimetsu no Yaiba" Orchestra concert -Kimetsu no Kanade- (24bit/96 kHz)
- Taylor Swift “1989” album (24bit/48 kHZ)

Source used:
- Fiio K11 plugged into PC
- Aune Yuki plugged into iPad Air
- Aune S9C Pro plugged into PC
- Fiio KA13 (D.mode) plugged into PC
- Fiio KB3 plugged into PC
- Astell & Kern SR25 Dap

Sonic Impression:
🎧

Kinera Loki makes me fall in love instantly with the bass and the forward midrange presentation, with the addition of exceptional dynamics and resolution. Everything sounds engaging and natural, while keeping the sound spectrum in control without overwhelming in my ears.

Bass:
The bass quantity is not overdone but made to the level that does not sound lean. The sub-bass is more prominent here and the lower end extension is deep, making it to sound rumbly. The bass kick is detailed, and it sounded immersive even in fast tracks, despite it has a bit of bass bleed into the mids.

The Bone-Conductor module is doing its job flawlessly by giving the bass some extra textures and reverbs, which enhance the overall listening experience. Bass head may not be satisfied, but most will be happy with the quality of the rumbly sub-bass it offered.

Midrange:
The mids are enhanced by its bass presence, which lifted the midrange presentation. The vocals especially, has body and excellent tonality. The warm and lush midrange enhanced the lower mids so male vocals can sound more transparent and natural. None of the metallic or weird timbre can be heard, let alone the tendency of being sibilant. With the Effect Audio cable, the vocals will be elevated more thus less warm.

Female vocals sound as natural and transparent as the male counterpart, and to my ears there is no sibilant can be heard. Transients are in optimum range to gives more weight. Kinera has done an amazing job in their quality control, starting from the selections of batches of BA, to the final modification to make all the BA sound coherent.

Treble:
The treble is smooth and velvety. It does not sound too sparkly, but it has adequate upper extension to make the cymbals sound shimmering. Overall, can be referred as mature, as it existed when the tracks come calling. High hats sounded natural, and the extra airiness able to make female vocals sounded more open.

Soundstage & technicalities:
The soundstage of Kinera Loki is a bit short on the width but excels in the height and depth range. Kinera Loki does not lack in the technical department either, boasting with the holographic staging and well executed macro-dynamic.

The detail retrieval is commendable as it can capture most nuances, even some other surprising little notes that I did not realize in my test tracks. Layering is no doubt above average due to the large sense of depth.

Contender:
🤼

Kinera Loki (China Exclusive Edition)
Surprise, surprise. I have the Chinese release edition just right for this comparison. How is the Kinera Loki compared to its Chinese doppelganger? The China exclusive edition featured all the same offerings as the international version, but the faceplate will be different.

Design:
The China version I got here is uniquely different, with a very intricate style of hand painted pattern. The overall pattern looks like a hot lava flowing down the rocks, with the rocks in imperial blue colour and the lava being bright red. The pattern underneath the resin coating looks like its floating on top of the faceplate.

Sound comparison:
Sound wise, this is an interesting take. The China Version has more prominent midrange than the bass and treble, allowing the vocals to stand out more. With the aid of 4.4mm Kinera customized cable, sub-bass is slightly lifted up to enhance the liveliness of the tracks.

Bass:
The bass region is lean towards sub-bass, but the quantity is slightly lesser than the international version. This is because to allow the bass to sound refined and impactful. The Bone conductor as well, making its way to render sub-bass texture and weight. The mid-bass take a toll to sound dark and relaxed, making the overall bass sounds less engaging than the International Version.

Midrange:
The midrange is something worth to compare to. The upper midrange on the Loki China version is much more forward than the Loki international due to the slight recessed mid-bass. The lower mids on the other hand, are similar on both sides. Male vocals are so nice to hear as the tonality are flawless, especially with acoustic tracks and male vocal focused tracks. Instruments has very good note weight on both sides.

Treble:
Very safe treble in fact, and it does not have much airiness. The international version is slightly bright in the upper treble, so it is not for the treble sensitive audiophile. This may be the deciding factor if I am the customer.

Soundstage and technicalities:
Both have the same soundstage and technicalities. This is where you can find both Lokis are similar.

Conclusion:
🌟

Kinera Loki, a very interesting bassy set with tons of details. There is always new discovery on my test tracks whenever I listened to it. Honestly, this is not my first TOTL experience, but this will be my first highly rated TOTL IEM in my audio journey. If you have the big money to spend, this is it chief. Kinera Loki deserved the praise, and its price destined how it should sound.

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fabio19
fabio19
Excuse my question......between the 2 versions (international and Chinese) which one has the drier and much more controlled low range ?
kapsontong
kapsontong
Hi Fabio, the Chinese version will have a much controlled low range and very prominent midrange to elevate the vocals.
fabio19
fabio19
Thank you

btwine

100+ Head-Fier
Kinera Loki vs. Annihilator 23 and Fei Wan
Pros: Excellent treble
Powerful bass
Terrific technicals
Great with energetic, fast, loud, and/or dramatic music
Compares well with Annihilator 23 and Fei Wan
Cons: A specialist, if that is a con
Fit is not perfect for all ear anatomies
Energetic upper mids, at times too much
BCS too strong at many points, overshadowing mids
This review - really a set of impressions and comparisons - is cross-posted from The Watercooler.

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Thanks to a lucky opportunity, at the end of last week I obtained another TOTL-vicinity IEM with a profile very close to Annihilator 23 and Fei Wan: Kinera Loki. These three IEMs could really all be siblings from the same family of top-down focus with fantastic high end, strong bass, and superb technicals. Since I have already been in the comparison mindset with Anni and FW (see impressions I shared on those review threads and on the Watercooler), I decided to add Loki to make it an A/B/C of sorts. I spent the last two days doing that.

For starters, I tried four cables I have on hand with Loki. First Times Shielding brought too much upper mids energy. Cleo II Octa brought mids forward a bit but muted the bass. Loki's stock EA Ares S cable was a better match but its mids were slightly recessed, relative to Marco’s Custom silver copper hybrid cable, which struck the right balance across the FR. As a bonus, it looks unique with Loki’s color palette. I just watched the Barbie movie and Loki with this pink cable would have fit right in! (And, props to @Sajid Amit for the tip on Marco’s cables. I order two customs from Marco and have been very pleased with them, punching above their weight, comparable to more expensive brand names.)

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During this three-way comparison, my source with Loki was N30LE/Hyper off, Classic Tube, P power mode, Class AB amp.

Loki is much easier to drive than Anni, close to FW though it needs a bit more juice.

Loki has a fairly premium build. With its long-ish nozzle, and not too large body, I found Loki to be medium comfortable, better than Anni though not as comfy as Fei Wan. I found Moondrop Spring Tips to provide the right combination of seal and comfort, and with it Loki sounded as balanced as with other tips I rolled. I used Loki for four hours and never needed to tear it from my ears, which can't be said for many other IEMs I have moved on from.

Loki Impressions and Comparisons:
Loki is a very enjoyable IEM in many ways, superior to many I have owned, well suited to a good portion of my library, and the faults that I find are not deal breakers.

What strikes me immediately on listening is speed and energy: Loki is very fast, as much so as Anni and Fei Wan if not more.
Loki’s energy often feels like a horse ready to burst out of the gate, similar to Fei Wan, though not quite as intense.
Loki is better with more energetic, faster, dynamic songs. It is generally not a relaxing listen, and it doesn’t scale as well as Anni.

Loki’s sound profile to me is V shaped, which is tempered by its BCS.
Not as balanced as FW or Anni.
Warmer than Anni and closer to FW.

Loki's bass is not as precise as FW's, more similar to Anni, though its sub bass precision is obscured somewhat by its BCS.
Bass has rumble but not thwack, so more mid bass than sub bass prominence.
Not as much bass decay as FW, though on par with Anni. More diffuse thunderous bass than the other two thanks to BCS I am guessing.
Mid bass overpowers mids more than a few times.
BCS warms up lower mids but I'm not crazy about the BCS pillow effect, particularly being a bit too much for slower music.
I'm realizing I don’t like bone conductors. There is just too much undefined warm fuzz, and mids detail gets lost. I found this to be the case with two other BCS sets I have owned, EVO and Mentor (which didn't lose much mids detail but had too much warm fuzz sound generally).
Anni and FW do not have BCS and I like their mid bass and lower mids much better.

Loki's upper mids energy could get fatiguing, though not as much as with FW. Female vocals a bit shouty at times, moreso than FW.
Vocals: Female vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Jarosz sound very articulated but not very emotive, also not relaxed. Male vocals recede a bit. Humble Pie’s Greg Ridley on “Smoking the Sweet Vine”, sounds smooth though not quite as emotive as on Anni and FW. Jose James “Just The Way You Are” and Gregory Porter “Liquid Spirit” sound very good on Loki, very precise verbalizations, though they lose a bit of the thickness to their baritone, lose a touch of their romance.
Acoustic instruments sound mostly excellent, with very good transients. Piano sounds very precise and real, such as on Porter’s “Liquid Spirit”. Though even more so on Anni. Acoustic instruments have better timbre on FW, and also on Anni. Acoustic guitar on Neil Young “Heart of Gold” on Anni sounds incredibly realistic. Slightly more metallic and recessed on Loki, drowned out a bit by other instruments.
Slightly metallic timbre compared to FW in particular.

Treble is Loki's strongest feature. Superb. Only slightly behind Anni for my personal enjoyment. Crisp, tactile, with bite. Treble not as colored as with Anni or FW.
Very detailed, similar to Anni. Though FW on some songs has more detail, such as on Neil Young “Heart of Gold”, much more delineation of each instrument, with clear timbre on each.
Loki has zero sibilance. Common to all three of these IEMs.
Lots of treble extension, more than bass extension.

Loki sounds reasonably coherent, nothing feels off except for the BCS at times.
Excellent technicals.
Medium stage width, shallower depth. More headroom. Decent holography. BCS makes me feel a bit like I have pillows on either side of my head, narrowing the stage. FW stage much larger, holography more obvious.
Excellent transients, especially acoustic guitar and acoustic bass plucks
Excellent speed. Very good dynamics.
Not as good at lower volume as Anni, and similar to FW.

Which genres are best played on Loki? With heavier rock songs like Heart “Barracuda”, Van Halen “You Really Got Me”, Rival Sons “Back In The Woods”, Loki really comes into its own. As it does with fast pulsing dance pop like Katy B “Turn The Music Louder”. It would probably be great with metal (which I don’t listen to) faster electronic. Not sure about classical since I don’t listen to that genre often. Maybe more orchestral and complex compositions would work. Loki is good but not great with instrumental jazz, unless it is faster paced. On a song like Bill Evans’ “Let’s Go Back To The Waltz”, the U shape and latent verve doesn’t help the song at all until the pace picks up midway, and suddenly Loki sounds much more suited to jazz. Cuban Jazz like Buena Vista Social Club sounds better on Loki than John Coltrane for example, thanks to its songs that are filled with more drama and energy.

Loki is not as emotionally engaging as Anni or Fei Wan. I find Loki to be more matter of fact. Not as visceral as FW, but moreso than Anni, perhaps thanks to stronger bass and more energetic upper mids.

Bottom Line:
All of the distinctions I have called out are often splitting hairs. Loki is excellent in many ways. When I settle in to listening just to Loki for several hours, it is terrific with much of my library, and I feel I would be very happy to have it on my team. It is when I start A/B/Cing with it that I start to nit pick.

Overall Loki’s sound profile is somewhere between Anni and FW (which is not a super wide gap), with Loki slightly behind those for my enjoyment, but not far.

Ultimately, I find Loki to be a specialist, often at its best with harder, louder, more dramatic, and faster music. And it may be too similar to Anni and FW to merit having all three in the same roster.

With all this said, as it turns out I have a fourth IEM on the roster that is also more of a top-down focus with excellent bass: the NGAudio Erebus. I am now underway with an A/B/C/D of this cohort and will share impressions soon. Spoiler alert: Erebus is also at the summit, if not at the peak!

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Tonytex

Head-Fier
KINERA Excellence
Pros: Unreal Bass performance form DD/BC combo
Vocal and Instrument performance
Exquisitely mature treble
Insane accessories
Cons: Big Money , so few can experience it's Uniqueness
Soundstage not on Planar level....but almost
IMG20231215091355.jpg

I would like to start by thanking the trust Kinera deposited on me, by allowing this tour for the Loki to be organised an thus bring audio hobbyists the opportunity to listen, experience and better understand the uniqueness of Kinera products and it's physiolophy.

The Loki is Kineras flagship hybrid driver IEM, placed above the Baldr and Imperial Baldr.
It features four types of drivers in the following configuration:

◆ Single 6mm liquid silicone Dynamic Driver for bass frequency.

◆ Six Knowles Balanced Armature drivers, 4 BAs for midrange and 2 BAs for treble frequency.

◆ Four Sonion Electrostatic Drivers for ultra-high frequency and additional air.

◆ One Kinera custom-build contact type bone conduction driver for deeper pitch on ultra-low frequency.

Included with the Loki is also the most complete accessories package I have ever seen.
It all starts with a 4-core, UP-OCC High Purity Copper Cable build by Effect Audio.
It's then followed with:

kinera-imperial-loki-1dd6ba4est1-bone-conduction-driver-iems-hifigo-626041_1000x1000.jpg


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■ 5 sets of Final Type E tips (XS,S,M,L,XL)
■ 3 sets of AZLA Sedna Ear tips Crystal (S,M,L)
■ 3 sets of Spinfit CP145 Ear tips (S,M,L)
■ 2 sets of Symbio F Foam Ear tips (S,M)
■ Authentic Leather IEM carrying case.

Moving onto what we all want to know ... Sound:
The Kinera Loki has an exciting and captivating signature.
The BC primarily affects the bass regions adding to the single DDs ability of giving one of most incredible immersive bass presentations I have experienced.

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It's a massive rumbling bass, surpassing anything you thought possible from such a small driver , but it's not basshead bass, it's a very high quality reproduction that marries almost flawlessly with the mids, allowing them to have this seductive timbre and tonality which renders me speachless.
It is an extremely satisfying bass with more rumble than slam, but still more than adequate punch when needed.
It's a textured, layered and articulate with only the slightest of bleed on very very few ocassions.

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Mids are crystal clean but still maintain that lushness and weight needed to make them organic and true.
Timbre and tonallity for me is exceptional , which help with making vocals exceptional, perhaps female voices edging out ever so slightly male voices.
Instruments sound perfect, real and tactile.....as if they where there with me, guitar plucks being the ones that Impressed the most, making music sound alive.

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Treble has a mature , crystal clean presentation, with loads of extension and adding to the excellent separation of the mids and bass.
Overall I was impressed by how clinical but equally organic the treble was.

Finally technical abilities of the Loki are what I was expecting after the way it reproduced the frequency spectrum.
The Loki has the correct amount of reverb from the BC which adds to the Loki's ability to be highly resolving.
The perfectly implemented ESTs adds to the high degree of detail retrieval , resolution and imaging.
As for Soundstage it's perhaps the one area where form the price I would have liked a little more, not quite matching the abilities of a Planar driver in this area.

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Overall i can full heartdely say that the Imperial Loki meets my personal requirements for a TOTL presentation and possible end game iem for me.

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hawgrider

New Head-Fier
Kinera Imperial Loki - Prepare to Engage.
Pros: -Dark expansive head stage.
-Well implemented BC driver.
-Macro and micro detail retrieval.
-Flagship appropriate packaging and accessories.
-Balanced sound signature with mids/vocals lift.
Cons: -Price
Kinera Imperial Loki

6 Knowles BA + 4 Sonion EST + 1 6mm DD + 1 Bone Conduction Driver
  • Impedance: 12 ohm
  • Sensitivity: 107 dB
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-50kHz
Preamble:
“Putting thoughts to paper for the Imperial Loki review has been fraught with good intentions, and numerous fruitless nights, as I am immersed in, and fully lost in the music”
  • Tuning:
It is my understanding the Loki release into North American and European markets was delayed to allow Kinera engineers to retune Loki slightly to better suit tuning preferences for these markets.

This Loki is “western” market tuned.
  • Packaging, Build, Fit, Cables, etc:
Packaging:
I’m making an effort to make my reviews shorter and this one will be plenty long enough, so I’m not going into an in depth “unboxing”, suffice it to say the Loki unboxing experience is easily worthy of a flagship IEM.

Visit Kinera’s website if interested in more detail.

There are two details of the unboxing experience I would like to share.

Loki arrived with a bonus Kinera branded, travel size case, that will hold a good bit of gear.

And, in addition to the Effect Audio Ares S cable, there was another Kinera branded cable included.

I’ll touch on the cables more later, but, it is my understanding that these two extras will be included only with a limited number of the first sets sold.

Build and Fit:
Build and attention to detail is excellent. The shells are made from blue resin with metal flake, and this pair has custom hand painted faceplates. All art work is done in house by a very talented young lady.

The seams are invisible, and all surfaces are smooth with no sharp angles or edges.

The nozzles are also resin, with metal end caps.

Fit is very good overall with one caveat;

My hard to fit ears.

Those who have read my reviews before know I often mention my struggles with fitment, this is 100% a me thing, and does not reflect on the design of the IEM.

I’m focusing on fit here because the Loki features a contact style Bone Conduction driver. To fully appreciate the BC driver it is desirable to obtain a good fit, that goes deep enough to allow as much physical shell contact as possible with the ear.

Loki ships with a really good selection of high quality ear tips, so I believe the majority of users will find proper fitment quite easily.

For me, I tip rolled a lot, and in the end chose Sedna Xelastec for best fit, seal, anchor, and comfort.

Considering the driver count the shells are quite reasonable in size, I would say mid range, and are lightweight.

Cables:
Loki came with two high quality cables.

(I will note again, it is my understanding the extra cable is a limited time offering)

Affect Audio Ares S, 4 strand pure copper composition with 4.4 mm termination and 2 pin flush style connectors.

It is a nice cable, just a bit stiff.

Kinera branded mystery cable.
This cable isn’t available on Kinera website and I wasn’t able to source a lot of information on it.

I was told it is a pure copper/silver plated copper/gold plated copper hybrid composition.

* That is not officially confirmed.

It is fabric wrapped so no way to visually confirm.

4.4 mm termination and 2 pin recessed style connectors.

Also a nice cable, more supple than the Ares S, but, more prone to micro-phonics.

The Ares S leans more toward a reference/detail presentation.

Bass is tighter, more mid bass focused, sub bass is still strong, but less boomy, and doesn’t permeate across the head stage to any great degree.

Mids and vocals are forward and highly detailed and clear.

Treble and ultra highs have very good micro detail retrieval. Crisp, clear with good air and extension.

With the Ares S cable, on certain tracks that are recorded brighter and more forward I find the mids and vocals can become a bit too forward, and I pick up occasional hints of sibilance on cymbals and vocals, primarily female.

The Kinera cable has a warmer presentation.

More sub bass focus that carry’s deeper into the head stage. Sub/Mid separation is less defined, and some mid bass impact is lost.

Mids and vocals are still forward, but less so than with Ares S, and with some added warmth. Detail retrieval and clarity still very prominent.

Treble and ultra highs maintain micro detail retrieval, and are crisp clear and airy. But any hint of sibilance is gone.

Both cables synergize very well with Loki. Individual preference will vary between listeners.

I hope Kinera will chose to continue including both cables with Kinera.

Perhaps because I’m somewhat treble sensitive, my personal preference leans toward the Kinera cable offering.

The following sound impressions will be done with the Kinera cable.

Sources:
I tried Loki with various DAPs.

A&K SP2000T and Kann Max.
FiiO M11 Plus ESS.
Hiby RS6 and R6Pro 2.
Shanling M9.

Loki responds to the nuances of each source, but was not fussy on any that I tried.

In the end, for my personal preference, I liked Loki with the warmer sounding sources over the higher resolving sources.

I chose the Shanling M9 for the sound evaluation.

Equipment:
Kinera Imperial Loki aged 125+ hours.
Shanling M9 DAP, 4.4 balanced out, Low gain.
Kinera hybrid mystery cable.
Xelastec wide bore ear tips.

Bass:
The Bone Conduction driver is very well implemented. Stringed bass instruments have a realistic sense of resonance. Kick and tom drum strikes have a perceived sense of “air movement” within the head space.

Loki won’t necessarily satisfy diehard “bass focused” bass heads.

The bass is quality bass, delivered in the quantity called upon. Bass lovers rejoice.

Sub bass can bottom really low and deep, and when it does it also fills the head stage with lush, well managed, bass rumble, its presence further enhanced by the BCD.

Bass and upper bass is clean clear and fully detailed.

Individual string plucks and finger slides stand out, while resonance lingers.

Drum strikes have an airy resonance with a natural, boomy and full, tonality.

Wind instruments are full and throaty.

Bass as a whole follows the recorded source. It can sit lean and low, or rumble and thump with authority.

Mids:
Mids present forward, and somewhat elevated. (More so with Ares S cables)

Clean, clear, detailed, spacious, accurate.

The mids are nicely warmed by the bass overtones, but they rise above and present with excellent clarity, detail and energy.

Timbre is excellent, allowing for concise instrument individuality.

Vocals:
Vocals also present forward and elevated.

Clear, detailed, concise. Tonality is natural and accurate for both male and female.

On tracks with 2 or more vocalists/or backup vocalists, each singer enjoys individuality and space on stage.

Highs:
Highs are subdued slightly when using the Kinera cable.

They still have excellent clarity and micro detail retrieval, but upper highs and air are softened/warmed a bit. They are not harsh or sibilant.

There is no metallic BA timbre, and the EST drivers add just a bit of extra “zing” to cymbals, violins, harpsichord. etc.

Head Stage:
Loki Head Stage, or soundstage if you prefer, is expansive with excellent extension on all three axis.

I like good head stage, and for me, this is the heart of Loki’s strength.

Loki has one of the darkest, quietest backgrounds I have experienced, separation, layering and spaciousness is superb.

The holographic width, height, and depth in combination with a dark and spacious sound stage results in incredibly accurate imaging and instrument individuality and placement.

Summary:
My opening comment under preamble was really all that was needed as a review.

The Loki is an IEM that engages me and draws me into the music.

I literally had multiple 2-3 hour sessions where I never jotted a single notation for this review. I just got lost in the listen.

So, yes, for me the Loki is an excellent IEM choice, and fully worthy of flagship status IMHO.

Loki has no tuning nozzles, modules, or switches. Tailoring to personal preference is old school ear tips, sources, and cables.

Loki isn’t fussy with sources, it sounded good with all I tried, but source selection could/can/may be one aspect in finding “your sound”.

Kinera provides a wide variety of quality ear tips, and, for awhile at least, two cables in the box.

The Bone Conduction driver is very well implemented.

It adds a sense of vibration to sub bass, resonance to stringed instruments, and airy presence to thump and attack of percussion.

I’m not stuck on one certain sound signature.

Loki works very well for my personal listening enjoyment.

It’s an IEM that I can become immersed in. Fully enjoying listening to the music while “not intently listening” to the music. Just drifting along and hearing nuances I may have overlooked before.

I found Loki worked well with all genres I listened to. Rock, Blues, Jazz, Symphony, Country, Electronic, Rap.

Well recorded high resolution source files or streaming services reward the listener for the effort.

Loki is not hard to drive, but an extra notch or two toward mid point on the volume knob helps wake up all the drivers.

Comparisons:

FiR Audio XE6 CIEM:

1 kinetic hybrid Bone Conduction DD and 1 open BA bass.
2 open BA mids
1 open BA highs
1 EST ultra highs.
Gold ATOM module (most bass)

The XE6 is definitely more bass focused than Loki. You are immediately drawn to the impactful bass presentation.

XE6 kinetic sub bass is more “ambient” sounding, like it’s coming from outside the head space, as well as from within.

Mids and vocals are somewhat forward and elevated they are not as detailed as Loki.

Highs are also not as clear, bright or detailed as Loki.

Head stage is good but not as deep, nor as open, spacious, or holographic as Loki.

More smoky night club, than symphonic auditorium.

These are differently tuned IEMs.

XE6 is bass oriented and energetic. Like the kick in the behind from that first cup of coffee in the morning. Makes you want to get moving.

(Note: XE6 has two other modules that shift the signature away from bassy which allows the mids highs more breathing room)

Loki is more audiophile tuned, and more detailed, just relax and drift with the musical journey.
Empire Ears EVO UIEM:

2 W9+ Sub Woofers
5 proprietary BA
1 Weapon X 10.9mm Bone Conduction

EVO is also tuned toward more Bass focus. It is less Sub Bass focused than XE6 with the gold module installed. EVO has more mid bass presence.

The mids and vocals are clearer and have more detail than XE6, but less than Loki.

Highs have more micro detail than XE6. EVO is brighter and airier in the highs than both XE6 and Loki.

Soundstage is more open and holographic than XE6, but Loki prevails over both with best soundstage.

EVO slots in between the XE6 and Loki with respect to tuning characteristics.

Overall Kinera Loki is the best all rounder for me. But I like all three and daily choice between three would depend on my mood, at the time.
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jwilliamhurst

Headphoneus Supremus
Bass on Fire
Pros: Huge Bass Repsonse with Air
Sweet Upper mids reminscent of EE Odin
Two Stock Cables
Transient swings are nice
Transparent
Acoustic Guitar plucks, strums are tactile
Electric guitars growl with crunch and vibrancy
Treble is non sibilant and extends forever
Drums sound live
Cons: Mids are a teeny bit recessed
Not the widest soundstage
Bass Reverbs are a bit overdone due to the BCD
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Shout out to Audio 46 for picking me to review this exciting new iem. I was not paid and I did not get to keep the iem in review nor was I told what to write.

Edit: Revised Review 12/17/23 after purchasing my own unit and being able to test for longer with other sources.


Kinera Loki unboxing is nice and what I would expect at this level. Although I prefer a minimalist unboxing personally. I do like that this comes with a really nice carrying case to carry a Dap plus iems or just multiple iems, etc.

Build is very well done. I have found zero QC issues and a beautifully made iem.
Fit is on the larger side and did cause me a bit pain during long listening sessions, so watch out for this if you have smaller or even medium sized ears. This has changed with better tips and fit placement.

Comes with two Cables. An Effect Audio Ares 2 4-wire copper cable as well as a Kinera branded cloth sheathed 2 wire cable that has become my prefernce to use with Loki.

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Sound:
The Kinera Loki has a very exciting and intense signature. It is a Quadbrid monitor with bone conduction primarily affecting the bass regions however I can hear it across the entire FR.
From the moment I hit play, I was immersed with massive rumbling bass, reverberations all around my head and a fairly neutral mid range with well extended treble that never became sibilant. I noticed throughout my time with Loki that it plays well with just about any genre. During my initial listening sessions, it reminded me of Empire Ears Odin. When I compared the graphs, they are very similar but sound much different when A/B-ing. Loki is most similarly tuned to Elysian Annihilator 23.

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Bass:

Bass is pretty even sub to mid….does get a bit boomy on heavy mid bass tracks and will bleed into the lower mids on occasion
It is an extremely satisfying bass presence. It is felt. More rumble than slam although it slams hard when called upon.
Sub bass doesnt reach as far down as Odin but still very deep reaching sub bass. Still has a tactile tangible bass thanks to the BCD driver.
Bass takes precedence with great details, texture and reverb
Bass has tons of texture, full weighted, airy, wet, Layered and Articulate. A hifi colored sound.

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Mids:

Mids are more transparent than weighted. Not thin but not heavy. Timbre and tonallity are very accurate while still keeping the signature musical. Details are present but not overwhelming, hearing macro and micro elements to be very dynamic. Vocals have texture and resolution in a nice open mid range space that layers exceptionally well.
Somewhat recessed lower mids, female vocals have better extension, male are good, can be muffled in some tracks with mid bass bleed/bloat….drums are tactile. Width is average, good height and depth.
Atmosphere is intoxicating with guitar strums, plucks being a highlight. Electric guitar, rock music all sound crunchy and live.
Drums sound full and authentic while piano tone is skewed upwards but still extends nicely with a natural decay.

Treble:

Treble has good texture and weight, wet even. Upper air is extended and sparkles.
Upper Treble is nicely extended with cymbals resolving well. Air is present in the low end as well as the upper treble. Separation is great. Edm/electronic/rnb all excel with this set. Treble is non sibilant. Overall a very non abrasive treble response that feels open with details and seemingly extends forever. This treble rivals some of the best a la Annihilator..

Technicalities:

Transients are well directed with a tight grip. Has a nice amount of reverb/echo from the BCD, although at times can be a bit distracting. Rhodes piano echoes for example..tactile and intoxicating but can be overwhleming as they decay slowly.
Soundstage width is average while having better height and depth. Micro Dynamics are vivid and the Macro Swings are lively. The Dynamic contrast is impressive. Kinera has chosen the BCD driver to concentrate on the bass response and this is definitely heard and even felt.
Layering is top notch as well as imaging and is flagship levels.


Thank you to @Audio46 for this opportunity. Thank you to all who have read this. :v:

Review chain: Luxury and Precision LP6 Ti -> Aroma A100Tb & Cayin N30Le & Venture Electronics Megatron + Runabout Amp.

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KamilElos
KamilElos
Nice review! Which one is better in terms of technicalities and resolution Mest 3 or Loki? :)
jwilliamhurst
jwilliamhurst
@KamilElos Thank you, I just recently bought a Loki and I am having a better experience with it, and I will edit my review in the coming weeks. However, I would say Loki has the better tech and resolution over Mest 3. :)
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