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 just $29 but had a build and sound that could match Sennheiser In-Momentum In-ear. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|KINERA FREYA – CHARACTERISTICS|
Sensitivity: 110 dB ±2 dB