Today we share our full review of the $509 priced Kinera Norn Universal Hybrid IEM.
As technology becomes cheaper and more reachable each day, we see new hybrid IEMs with relatively more affordable price levels. These IEMs offer good performance for the money. Some companies are pushing all the time to offer great value with their hybrid offerings, and Kinera is one of them. I reviewed their more expensive option around some time ago which is the Nanna, and it earned a spot on our Best Universal IEMs page with its tremendous performance. Let’s see how this one performs.
Kinera operates in China under Yutai Electronics, which was established in 2010. This electronics company has the determination to develop a new generation of high–tech products for the consumer market.
Our goal is to bring the most valuable earphones to the market.
I have written four Kinera reviews before, and those were of the Idun, Odin, Nanna, and Freya respectively. Kinera loves to give the model names after mythology, and this one is no exception. Norn (or Nornir) is the goddess of destiny in Norse mythology.
About Kinera Norn
Norn is a hybrid IEM with one Dynamic Driver and 4 Balanced Armature Drivers. The setup is very common and well-known with many hybrid models beforehand, but it’s nice to see a somewhat cheaper hybrid around, compared to some other IEMs that cost twice or triple the price.
The dynamic driver is a 7mm one and it comes with an N52 magnetic flux ring, and a triple-layer PU composite design. This, as Kinera claims, a custom-made DD. Besides that, two of the Knowles drivers are also customized, which are RAF-32873 BA. It’s nice to see the transparency about the information of the drivers.
The design is finished with a hand-painted special color scheme (crimson red), and it represents the flowing lava from an Eastern mountain in mythology. It looks great just like Kinera’s late offerings.
The Kinera Norn again arrives with a hexagonal-shaped package as its other models before. I like this continuation and as always, the box looks like a fine Swiss chocolate package at first sight. To me, the box and its content are more than satisfying for an IEM with this price tag. A truly impressive unboxing experience. I simply loved the fact that they retain this experience for every iteration including the lower-priced models like the Freya.
You get 8 pairs of silicone tips including the special Final Audio tips which I like pretty much. Empire Ears also collaborates with them. Type E series of Final Audio tips are chosen for Final Audio’s “all-time best fit” solution includes an optimum shape to reduce the feeling of the force inside the ear canals. Silicon rigidity is also at the optimum level to provide a tight seal. There is also a pair of foam tips in case you love those.
You get 3.5mm and 4.4mm adapters too (the cable itself is terminated with a 2.5mm BAL jack). This time you don’t get smartphone USB-C adapters like in the Freya, but I guess it makes sense because this is a higher spec model. The customers of this one would probably use it with a dedicated source, not with a smartphone.
Carrying Case & Cable
The carrying case has a full black color with a wallet-like design. I’ve seen this case with many IEM models, including Kinera’s own Nanna. But to be honest, I liked the one that comes with the Freya more. However, the carrying case is just as aesthetic as the IEM itself, and it’s very practical to use. It nicely completes this premium package content for securely protecting your IEMs. Very elegant and aesthetically pleasing. I just liked the previous one more with a round shape.
The cable is a similar one that comes with the ODIN. Yet, the cables of Freya and Nanna were a bit better to me. They had that wonderful copper wires with a lower profile structure. They also look better than this cable. So I think the cable of the Norn could’ve been better. The ergonomy of it is still good with a soft and flexible core, and connectors sit in slightly recessed socket areas. So build-quality wise I don’t have any concerns here. But the cable doesn’t complement the design nicely as it’s a completely different color. So as you can clearly see, I didn’t like this cable choice.
Build, Design and Fit
Kinera Norn, minus the cable, is a gorgeous-looking IEM with a very impressive look. The shape is identical to Kinera Nanna and it has a small form factor. Once again, the color scheme is fantastic with the sparkling crimson red details on a full black shell. What an excellent design. And I like the fact that the crimson red ”lava” detail is going all the way down to the tip of the nozzle.
Kinera claims that these shells are hand-painted which to me is even more impressive. As I understand, these shells are 3D printed but technicians apply that marvelous paint and colors onto the shells. The result is simply great and especially the face-plate area is outstanding. The build quality is satisfying and quite impressive with a seamless transition and an integrated nozzle structure. There’s nothing to worry about here. Excellent work.
The IEM has a three-bore design just like the Nanna and the tips hold nicely on the nozzles. These tips are excellent for a rigid and secure fit. The Norn has a very nice shape for most ears. Despite the configuration, it is surprisingly small and that helps to get a very comfortable fit. The package provides a lot of tips to choose from and I’m sure you will find the best pair for your ears. I recommend the Final ones.
The review continues on PAGE 2 with the part on sound.