Kinera is a brand that should be higher up on everyone’s radar. They’ve put out a few different IEMs this year and each one of them has been nothing short of high quality. I previously reviewed the Freya, and Baldr here on MajorHiFi, two pieces that related to each other in naming convention and contrasted in sound signature. Now comes the Nanna, who interestingly enough is often cited in myth as being the wife of Baldr. Kinera seems too be going down the whole family tree, with each new model having some correlation in timbre with who they represent. Knowing that Nanna was the goddess of joy, let’s see if I feel the same after listening to them.
What You Get
Kinera’s packaging is always very organized. The hexagonal shape of the box is something of a Kinera trademark by now. Inside the box are all the main accessories laid out neatly. The IEMs themselves come in a small leather case with the 0.78mm 2 pin cable attached. The Nanna comes with 5 pairs of silicone ear tips made by Final Audio, and two pairs of foam tips if you prefer those instead. Lastly, the Nanna includes a quarter-inch adapter and a cleaning tool.
Look and Feel
I mean, what more can I say about Kinera’s presentation that hasn’t already been said, it’s just impeccable how well crafted these guys are. The Nanna is notably smaller than both the Freya and Baldr, but the Nanna sports a more translucent shell, revealing some of the inner components. It’s a stark contrast compared to the solid, glossed wood architecture of the previous models, but it makes the Nanna stand out more in aesthetics. The shape resembles more of the Baldr’s design, but with a darker, acrylic finish. The nozzle is a bit longer than usual, but isn’t too intrusive, and fits with the ear tips nicely. With the angle just right, the Nanna can have a weightless feel, that I wouldn’t call comfy, but rather unnoticeable, like you forget that there’s anything in your ears at all.
Kinera’s IEM build quality is always sets a high standard for IEMs. The Nanna supports a four-driver hybrid setup that includes a 7mm dynamic driver, one balanced armature, and two electrostatics. The electrostatics have become a big staple for Kinera, as they’ve become known for including some considerable high range detail. Electrostatic has a very specific output quality that I really enjoy, and Kinera implements it well. There are a lot of IEMs out there that boast bigger drivers, and more armatures that output a grander range of frequency separation, but Kinera’s simplistic design, along with their electrostatics, give their IEMs a more naturalistic timbre rarely accomplished.
Kinera finds a good middle ground of impedance that makes the Nanna accessible to both smartphone and PC headphone jacks, as well as amps. With an impedance of 60 Ohms and a sensitivity of 100dB at 1mW, the Nanna is safe to drive from a variety of sources. I mentioned previously how some manufacturers boast about drivers and armatures producing more frequency potential, but the Nanna has a frequency response of 5Hz-50Hz which is a considerably wide field of detail. Maybe it’s some nordic magic interfering with the design.
More than previous models, the Nanna really benefits from a good DAP that can expand the stage further, but the vanilla image is still notably pure. In fact, compared to some of Kinera’s pricer models you might find that this stage is far more expansive. The image loosens up and expresses a lot more aural elements and stretches them without any noticeable loss in fidelity. The sounds come to your ears naturally, and panning information remains accurate. It doesn’t get very deep, but the spacing is still great, as no instruments ever have any trouble reaching through. While I was listening to the song “Interstellar Love” by Thundercat, it was easy to keep track of all the frantic instrumentations that start to dance around the mix. Each element was clear and present.
When keeping in mind the excellent separation, the lows exhibit a thick timbre that comes out as smooth as butter. The sub-bass is subtle and works to add some just noticeable depth to the lows, which produced some super creamy bass textures. The bass groove on “Waiting For My Ruca” by Sublime ended up very ideal to listen to in the Nanna, as the bass tones jump into your throat, giving you no choice but to feel the melody.
With a significant low-mid push, the Nanna boasts a wonderfully full, and naturalistic timbre that I found representative of Kinera’s standard quality. The low-mids have a playful tonality that interacts well with the rest of the mid-bands in the stage. The mids hold some ample weight, creating a warm timbre that proved fitting for the likes of artists such as Cat Stevens, whose vocal and acoustic performance in “The Wind” proved comes off as more ethereal in the Nanna. The strums were detailed and forward, and the vocals were clear and intimate.
There’s a lot to love about these highs. They’re present, consistent, and just sound very sweet. It’s never bright, or harsh, the Nanna never even comes close to reaching those textures. Crashes and high-hats appear with a nice ring and balance well with the rest of the tracks. Sibilances are noticeable, but are smoothed out and rolled off at some point, creating a pleasant glisten that makes female vocal performances very pretty, and high piano notes very luscious. The last note on the track “Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness” by the Smashing Pumpkins has a particularly poignant final note that rings and floats off, and you really feel the distance in the Nanna.
Kinera has unleashed another powerhouse of an IEM that has greeted my ears with natural excellence. With another beautiful design and an equality beautiful sound signature, the Nanna is an impressive effort by a brand that has yet to disappoint me. For the price of $899, you can get a flagship quality sound for less than a grand.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Sound quality, Design, Fit
Cons: Treble isn’t for everyone
Kinera Nanna is available at Audio 46
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