The Kennerton Odin is like the big brother of the Kennerton Vali. As the flagship model, its manufacturing is more refined with more attention to details. Deservedly so, when the Odin is priced over 2 times more. I appreciate Fischer Audio Singapore for sending this premium headphones for me to experience the best of Kennerton.
The overall design style is similar to Vali, but Odin uses more premium materials. For instance, the headband is made of lambskin leather from remote highland region in Northern Caucasus, the wooden ear cups are made from Sapele and Walnut, the metal parts are from aerospace grade aluminium and steel. The wooden box is also designed to allow the headphones to be proudly displayed.
But the most expensive component must be the speaker drivers. Kennerton built the drivers from scratch, using planar magnetic technology which encompasses the best of electrostatic – airy and detailed – and dynamic transducer – powerful and impactful. The new 80mm planar-magnetic driver aims to eliminate the flaws of this old audio technology. Some of the improvements include developing semi-circular bar magnets to give more uniform magnetic field and reduces internal resonances, increasing the sensitivity of the driver with powerful magnets and low-mass diaphragm to allow the Odin to be played even on portable devices.
The weight and size of the headphones may be too much to carry around, so only those passionate about audio would sacrifice their head comfort to wear these. I find the Vali more comfortable, while the Odin feels a little tight and rigid as the ear cushions are meant to contain the sound more than offering comfort. Fortunately, they do not leak sound as excessively as the Vali, but neither do they isolate sound.
Every unit of the Kennerton Odin is hand-made, assembled, and inspected by an engineer, complete with signed certificate. Based on Head-Fi.org forum comments from Kennerton representatives, they take the liberty to refine the manufacturing process and materials over time, so newer batches may offer improvements against earlier batches.
Planar Magnetic vs. Dynamic Drivers
For readers who have no idea, planar magnetic drivers are basically placing many magnets on a plane to move the diaphragm and produce sound. This is in contrast to dynamic drivers that consist of only one large circular magnet to drive the entire diaphragm. Scientifically-speaking, having more magnets placed on a large surface moves the diaphragm more uniformly and hence achieves lower distortion, ability to use larger diaphragm resulting in better bass and overall better audio response.
True to planar magnetic characteristics, the Odin delivers highly articulated and transparent treble, allowing me to experience the subtle acoustic reverb of an orchestral recording on location. The heightened detail are inherrent to the hardware and cannot be achieved just by mere EQ, because it is not just simply loud. It is precise. Compressed audio and mastering flaws are easily revealed on the Odin. The bass sounds tight and clinically boomy without the modern EDM qualities. The mids are also articulated and does not bloat, which what Vali does.
The sound staging of the Odin is more wide than frontal, with multiple instruments are clearly dimensionalised which impressed me. For instance, when listening to “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, the sibilance would sound harsh on most headphones. Yet on the Odin, it sounded perfect, as if the engineer has re-mastered the track. The layers of back vocals, instruments and percussion are also more clearly delivered. I could never analysed this track so critically, until I heard it with the Odin.
Like most audiophile headphones, the Odin should be enjoyed with instrumental genres (like Classical, Jazz), and well-mixed pop tracks that are not over-compressed. The Odin is unforgiving and reveals any recording flaws easily. I uncovered several albums that are actually poorly mastered!
The Odin is a completely different headphone from Vali. Its treble sparkles without sounding too metallic, the bass response is balanced against the formidable treble. It does not leak sound as excessively, allowing me to listen at high volumes without disturbing others. At a price of S$3,599, you are paying for an uncommon audio technology that delivers better precision and highly-detailed audio. These premium headphones work on all consumer devices, but make sure the track is extremely well-mastered. Experience yourself at the Zeppelin & Co. music cafe at Sim Lim Square.
- Driver diameter: 80mm
- Sensitivity: 104 dB
- Frequency range: 15 – 50,000 Hz
- Impedance: 35 ohm
Product website: http://kennerton.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=59