When I reviewed the first Gjallarhorn headphones from Kennerton, I felt like I was truly listening to a tonally unique sound I have yet to hear. Their horn driver design is something to really look out for, and now Kennerton has released their follow-up to that design, the Gjallarhorn GH 40. This is a new horn-loaded dynamic headphone that goes for a lesser price of $932. Does it provide a similar experience to the GH 50 or is it a downgrade?
What You Get
- Gjallarhorn GH 40 headphones
- Detachable quarter-inch cable
- Leather carrying case
- Drawstring case
Look and Feel
What you can always expect from Kennerton is a fantastic wooden headphone build, and the GH 40 is no different. The cups of the GH 40 are actually quite bigger than the GH 50 this time around and give you a greater circumaural fit. You also get a traditional single-piece headband in place of the suspension one from the GH 50, which definitely gives you some added pressure but gives the headphones better support. The GH 50’s headband needed to be bent in order to not feel so loose, and the GH 40 fixes that. You also get these thicker lambskin cushions that add comfort and isolation to the experience.
This is a 40mm dynamic horn driver made from composite paper. Its membrane has a soft suspension, allowing elasticity of air volume to pass through its acoustic chamber with ease. Its detachable cable uses dual 3.5mm rhodium plated connectors for the headphone sockets, and a gold-plated quarter-inch TRS connector.
|115 dB / 1 V
|Maximum Input Power
The GH 40 has quite a lot to hold up to since it is following the GH 50, which I thought had one of the best soundstages on a closed-back headphone. Of course, there were some significant differences with that model, like their horn drivers which granted some enhancements to the spatial imaging of the GH 50. The GH 40 goes back to standard dynamic drivers, but does that hurt the soundstage in any way? Not really. I still think the GH 50 is more impressive in this range overall, but the 40 also features some great width and natural spatial positioning. It all plays in a more linear stereo field, so the imaging will come across more traditionally than the wrap-around sensation you get out of other headphones. However, the way all of the elements are presented gives off a sense of accuracy to the mix, with a respectable amount of height and separation to give its spatial properties what they deserve.
The bass has a pretty surface-level appearance at first, and it can take some time for the frequencies to really reach that deep end. In terms of their overall timbre, the bass of the GH 40 gives you a great amount of smoothness without softening the punchier elements of some tracks. A rumbling can be totally perceived in certain electronic tracks and scores that call for it, but their power can vary.
You get a good warmth in the mids that brings a soothing texture to many instruments. Low-mids definitely get emphasized, but the frequency response also clears the way for vocals as well. They are given their own roomy space in the midrange to properly showcase their detail without the resonance of other effects getting in the way. The mids give the GH 40 its most spacious characteristics, cleanly providing its timbre with articulation, balancing its detail and texture.
The treble gets interesting once the ultra-high frequencies start showing their revealing nature. In the mid-highs, the resolving tonality is played smoothly for everyone to enjoy. It never falls into harshness or overemphasis, instead, finding a proper middle-ground between brightness and balance. However, the upper highs really start to stand out and add some crisp details to the sound signature. It adds this tight accentuation to certain sound elements, with vocal sibilance being the greatest standout. The effect is expertly controlled and never outstays its welcome.
As long as they are both on the market at the same time, the Gjallarhorn GH 40 will always be compared to the GH 50, but on its own, it still has a lot to offer. Its sound still brings something competitive to other closed-headphones in this price range, giving you a textured response with great width of possible sound elements. The build quality I believe is more refined and won’t need as much modification as well. If you’re looking for a closed-back headphone for just under that thousand dollar price mark, the GH 40 makes itself known as a worthy contender.
|· Gorgeous wooden design
· Wide soundstage
· Warm timbre
· Colorful treble
|· Surface level bass
The Kennerton Gjallarhorn GH 40 is available at Audio46.