In my year overview I mentioned 2017 was almost exclusively about portable audio, there even was one comment saying that we should review more headphones being “Headfonia”. Fact is that most people nowadays spend money on qualitative portable gear and we can’t overlook that. As a result it has been seven months since I cover the last full sized headphone, the Technics EAH-T700. So it’s about time we look at a full sized headphone again.
The first things you notice when you put on the Kennerton Odin are the black background, the typical planar sound, the excellent voices and the quality bass.
Even though the Odin is an open design headphone, the sound stage width and depth of the Odin isn’t the very best when compared to the latest top end headphones. It’s more like the original Audeze LCD-2, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Odin’s balance is very nice and there’s excellent L/R separation. The Odin sounds rich, smooth and musical and it has a darker character overall all. I especially like listening to it on a tube amp, but more on that later in this review.
The sound is more clean than it is clear, and that’s why it sometimes gives the impression of sounding darker. From bass to treble the sound is rich in detail with great timbre and there’s good layering. As said , this isn’t the most extended headphone and the Odin has a slower presentation, but that does make it smooth and musical for certain musical genres. So these are area the Odin still can be improved in. Spoiler: the latest version of the Odin which I heard at shows already, has this extension and speed and it’s really nice! The level of separation in the Odin is good but it’s a more compact sounding headphone as it doesn’t have a very airy presentation. Again, I’d compare it to the LCD-2.1 in this area.
Bass is really nice in the Odin. You get a good level of detail with lovely layering. Bass has good body and a cool kick but it isn’t the tightest or fastest bass either. Kennerton has tuned the bass in a way that you have very enjoyable, musical but qualitative bass. There’s a nice rumble down low as well but it doesn’t reach down to the lowest sector, something you can also clearly spot in the FR chart.
The mids perfectly connect from the bass and they have the same feel and body as the bass does. Mids are very rich and they have such a lovely musical timbre. They have good layering and especially the vocals are really nice as they sound natural and a little more in front. The mids also have this musical and smooth presentation with that typical black background the Planar drivers are known for. To me the strongest point of the Odin are these lovely mids which are very addictive.
The treble section is nice but it isn’t the most extended or lively treble. The presentation is soft and musical but there is enough energy to keep treble engaging and qualitative. Especially cymbals sound really nice.
Sources / Amplification
The Kennerton Odin is supposed to be easy to drive from any kind of source, including portable gear. The specs kind of reflect that but in my opinion this TOTL headphone does scale up remarkably when used with a proper source, and especially amplification.
Before we get into the portable and desktop sized amplifiers, let’s first check how the Odin performs from two top level portable players: the award winning Astell&Kern SP1000 and the Sony NW-WM1Z. From the SP1000 you get a good speed but there clearly is a focus on the higher mids and treble part. Bass body and lower mid body is not as present as when used with a dedicated amp. You do get fairly tight bass with a good speed but the impact is a bit lacking. Voices are also a bit more to the front, but that’s mostly because of the lesser body presence in bass and mids. While some will certainly like this signature, the SP1000 for me doesn’t bring out the best of the Odin. It’s more or less the same story with the Sony Walkman, but with this DAP you do get a little more “presence” in the lower mids and bass section. The vocals and treble are presented a bit softer.
I really like the Odin when driven by Chord Electronic’s Hugo 2. Bass and mid body is more present compared to the DAP’s and you get bass that goes low, rich mids, great sexy vocals and really nice treble energy. With the desktop sized amps you will get more bass and mid body but the Hugo 2 is the perfect DAC/AMP combo for this headphone if you like a lighter, yet rich, precise and faster sound.
The Auris Audio Headonia is my latest desktop amplifier and it’s 2A3 tube driven beast. From this amplifier you get really good (deep) bass and mid body with the sweetest vocals. As described above the bass isn’t the tightest or fastest but it – like the mids – is rich, layered and smoothly musical. I personally dig this setup a lot as it throws in a detailed, lively treble, delivering a perfect total sound. From the AudioValve Solaris tube amp you get a focus on the upper mids and the treble section but with good body from bass and mids. The presentation is very musical and smooth and even though it’s a tube driven amp, you get good speed. Bass is the best of all the amps I matched the Odin with and you get the richest sound as well. So for me this is a difficult situation: the Solaris & Odin combo does a number of things really good, best even, but the upper mids and treble are a bit too forward sounding for me.
From the solid state Violectric V281 amplifier, the Odin sounds fasted. Bass is tight and both bass and mids have really good body. It’s a bit the same story as with the Solaris as the upper mids and treble are somewhat more forward sounding. The speed is excellent though, the mids very rich and the treble most lively and dynamic.
The review continues on Page 4, after the click here