KENNERTON VALI - Impressions, Discussion Thread
Jul 17, 2016 at 3:07 PM Post #106 of 270

grizzlybeast

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  I haven't even gotten tracking or a shipping update for my pair.  I may just jump in later on or something. 

 
Yea I think Kennerton takes their time, or maybe the Russian customs/post is at fault for it, but that's how it's been whenever I've ordered off of their site (bought pads on different occasions, their headphone stand and a power chord) - took like 2 weeks for the stuff to be processed and leave St. Petersburg each time and then another week or two for them to arrive. Not that this was a problem for me really and I assume they might expedite things when it comes to heftier purchases such as that of headphones but yea.
 
Maybe there's just a lack of courier flights to Portugal from Russia, no idea how they handle those things over there.

Not complaining though. I am willing to be patient. Just trying to plan around it thats all. 
 
If I don't get to compare the before and after it is fine, I just hope to offer a good description of their sound. 
 
Jul 21, 2016 at 3:15 PM Post #107 of 270

Soundsgoodtome

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In Mother Russia, you do not wear headphone. Headphone wears you!!
Sorry I had to do it.
 
Got the Kennerton Vali on a tour and had it for a week. Want to thank Kennerton/Fischer Audio and @grizzlybeast for making the tour happen, getting to listen to summit-fi headphones is a treat in your own home. I was able to listen to this $1K headphone for a week and was very impressed with what I heard. Kennerton is a top-tier brand of Fischer Audio, having owned one of their previous wood headphones I was interested in their TOTL open-back dynamic driver set. By the looking at the contents inside the wooden cup as well as the pads, you can tell numerous hours were spent on achieving this sound signature.

The bad:
The build. The headphones while sporting some mighty fine looking cups and some well thought out earpads, seemed to still be rough on the edges - particularly for a headphone in this price range. The gimbles look like they were manufactured from farming tools with no paint and the edges were also a little rough - when putting on the headphone you can feel particularly at the parts that goes into the headphone. It needs a little bid of smoothing in the edges and maybe some paint? The adjustment is also interesting with the screws working as sliders, you'll only need to fuss with this once if you're the only one using headphones but something about turning screws on a contraption on your head felt a little Frankensteinish -- cool in a way but also odd but if you're sharing this headphone with others then I can get old real quick. The weight of the phones tilts to a heavy side but the suspension headband really distributes the load well to keep me from complaining - a rarity when it comes to weight/headphones.

The Goods:
From someone that admires Grado off-shoot builds, this headphone caught my eye. They do look unique in their own way and once you get passed the gimbles, the head bolts, and stiff cable it's actually quite a nice headphone with good tuning. The wood and grill work looks fantastic, very classy and the size of the cup/driver reminds me of the higher end Grado phones in the $700+ range. The double entry with the locking headphone cable connectors are fantastic, securely fastening the cable to phones at an angle and away from the body. A shame the cables are stiff as they are but luckily that can be remedied with these common 3-pin mini-xlr on each cup.

These phones are also relatively easy to drive and don't require a behemoth of an amp to drive. I would say anything that produces slightly more current than what a cell phone or light DAP puts out is enough to drive these to great sound. Because I was doing all sorts of things with my main rig along with being busy, I listened to these mainly as bedside phones using a Lenovo Tablet outputing 44/48khz FLAC via Neutron music player to an ALO International+ DAC/AMP. I was able to try them briefly with my primary system and recognized that these phones did not need the massive amps to sound fantastic and continued I used them with my ALO DAC/AMP.


The sound:
I believe Kennerton got the tuning on the Vali almost perfect for long listens and it's borderline there but I do have some issues with the mids. The bass if fast for a dynamic driver, has good weight/slam (nothing overbearing), and extends deep enough. It doesn't do much wrong here and it also doesn't encroach into the mids. The mid-bass is tamed and there is no hint of mid-bass boost, a major killer of headphones enjoyment for me (I prefer a 30-75hz boost over a 100-125hz boost any day).

The mids is where I ran into some issues with certain albums. With dry recorded albums like Way Out West (OJC Remaster)
by Sonny Rollins, it was a perfect pairing. I highly suggest trying that album with this headphone and you'll understand why -- the certain dryness to the recording/mastering played well with the rich mids the Vali put out. Keep in mind this is through a solid state unit so it wasn't like a tube was pushing the mids forward. I would say the mids were forward with a decay that holds the note for added liquid/richness to the sound. Now this could be bothersome if you put on an album like If You Wait by London Grammar which is heavily processed in the mids to give a euphonic sound. Many albums won't be as mid-rich as this album but going through even more albums showed that the Vali did like to push the mids forward with a decent sized decay - although it isn't as liquid as say Sony or AudioTechnica house sounds puts out on their higher end gear. I wouldn't call the mids slow but it also isn't a start-stop planar magnetic dryness to it. If you're using a tube or hybrid amp, pick your fastest/dry tubes maybe even V-shaped tubes.

The highs are very well done. Extending properly but without sibilant ringing and peaks. It's got fantastic detail which is hardest to produce in the sound spectrum as far as headphones go while keeping the bass and mids in line in detail/clarity. With the highs these get my long-listening session approval, I'm talking 2-3 or more hours in a sitting. While this headphone puts out great treble, it doesn't however have that air that Beyer or AKG or certain Sennheisers can produce. This doesn't mean it isn't as good of a headphone but it's just that it's tuned differently.
 ​
The overall sound of this headphone is fantastic. When it all ties together, there is excellent totl clarity with just enough romance (in the mids) to make it have soul. It's a unique contender in the TOTL sound as this type of tuning is usually not found in this tier. This headphone will allow you to initially listen in critically and be amazed at the level of detail/clarity coming through but after awhile or when listening for pleasure (that's what we're here for right?) it submerges you in it's sound while offering those hi-fi characteristics. The soundstage/imaging is amazing on them and it literally feels like the music is coming from the room you're sitting in. The depth is above average as well, instrument separation is fantastic. That and the tuning of the phone really makes this headphone special - I would be willing to call it HD650 remastered -- has everything that the HD650 lacked.
I have a funny story the first time I put these on.

Is it for everyone? Probably not, some will find the mids too much to their liking and that's totally understandable. For those looking for a unique sound aside from the HD800, HE560, LCD 3/4, Oppo PM1/2, etc this is a fantastic offering by Kennerton and really should be in your try list. Even if it has it's shortcomings in the aesthetics, IMO the sound warrants the price tag. Now if they took care of the aesthetics then we're talking (I see that the gimbles on the Kennerton Odin are painted black, now that looks fantastic).

Anyways, get it while you can. These are hand-crafted and each individually tested/burned-in by Kennerton it seems. Small batches made make them tough to grab whenever you want but they're totally worth waiting for another batch or getting one in the classifieds.



 ​

 
Jul 21, 2016 at 3:49 PM Post #108 of 270

grizzlybeast

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GREAT FREAKIN WRITE UP!!

Dang, that's pretty much exactly how I see them with literally only one two exceptions

1. I found the resolution/ clarity to be only decent but probably because I had the hd800S next to them most of the time.

2. I don't know if they are TOTL headphones rather than just punching in at the high end tier.

Dude u pretty much nailed it though..Its rare to read impressions so much like your own. .the midrange can be a bit THICK and forward on some songs. The new revision pushes the vocals back just a tad and has the bass even cleaner. Thats why I want to compare mine to the tour unit so badd.

For me, like you, I was easily able to just sit and down right enjoy the music, so some may find that experience with these and some may not, but it is rather easy to do with a headphone like this.
 
Jul 21, 2016 at 7:17 PM Post #109 of 270

Soundsgoodtome

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It's definitely not on the same level as the HD800 but it's worthy of someone who only wants to hear in that price range. Although pricing is not the tell-all of quality sound but basically people who want top tier sound would be happy with this phone. I still much prefer my HE560 over the Vali but the Vali is highly enjoyable and easier to obtain high end sound from lesser gear.
 
Jul 21, 2016 at 7:54 PM Post #110 of 270

Vigrith

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  It's definitely not on the same level as the HD800 but it's worthy of someone who only wants to hear in that price range. Although pricing is not the tell-all of quality sound but basically people who want top tier sound would be happy with this phone. I still much prefer my HE560 over the Vali but the Vali is highly enjoyable and easier to obtain high end sound from lesser gear.

 
That's a good thing for me, both the 560 and the HD800 are a little too picky for me, relentless and unforgiving when it comes to just pleasure listening during long periods of time, they just don't really work for me.
 
The Vali however seems to be a little less micro detail oriented which is my cup of tea. 
smily_headphones1.gif
 Thank you for the impressions by the way!
 
Jul 22, 2016 at 12:49 AM Post #112 of 270

SomeGuyDude

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Just to give people a heads-up on where the touring unit is, I just dropped it off at the post office and it'll head to raybone0566 next. I'll write up some impressions shortly.

I feel confident I can trust you because only good souls play Mercy. 
 
Jul 22, 2016 at 4:32 AM Post #117 of 270

SomeGuyDude

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  meant to post @SomeGuyDude
 
I wonder how they compare.
 
It is pretty unanimous that the Nighthawk has  a lot of inner detail, low distortion but just odd balance.
 
Im a sucker for the former two.  


Man I'd have shot you my pair but I sold them just yesterday. Defo worth a trial at home, though. They need time for your ears to adjust to their presentation, then they're pretty damn seductive.
 
Jul 22, 2016 at 11:20 AM Post #119 of 270

Oregonian

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Jul 23, 2016 at 2:07 PM Post #120 of 270

grizzlybeast

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First impressions:
Sounds slightly less thick and more clear but I really can't make any call or comment without both in hand at the same time. A lot has changed in my system. I have a TOTL DAC now, different tubes in my Head2 and I am not using the the ideal solid state amp like the cayin iha6. 
 
The yolks are painted and less rough, I like my cups more. I recall more dynamics...again must wait...doesn't have the smell of the tour unit. 
 
Compared to the HE5LE i have here these have better tonality, less sibilance, just as much detail, less treble, slightly deeper soundstage, similar soundstage width, slightly more solid bass, only a minute fraction less transparency, better separation, better details it seems on some songs. 
 

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