Kinera Freya Review: Work of Art

  • Excellent set of accessories
  • Includes a full set of Final Type E eartips
  • Beautiful, hand painted shells
  • Great imaging

  • Details and airiness could be improved

Kinera is a seasoned brand from China that has produced many, and still producing, custom and universal fit in-ear monitors. They have been around for quite some time now and has a number of gears that made a mark in the audiophile community. The Freya is one of their most recent models, and shortly after its release, the Mini Freya was introduced as a limited edition, rocking a shell 20% smaller than the regular one. The Freya currently retails for 249 USD, and I got the Mini Freya by winning the recent giveaway held by Kinera.

Driver units: 7 mm dynamic + 3 balanced armature (2 Knowles and 1 custom BA by Kinera)
Impedance: 22 ohms
Sensitivity: 110 dB
Frequency response range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Poco X3 paired with Cayin RU6, FiiO KA3, Tempotec Sonata E35 and Zishan U1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The Freya comes in a rather large and unique looking hexagonal box. Lifting the lid up will reveal the instruction manual and cards with information for Kinera's social media accounts, the idea behind the name Freya and why they chose it, and a letter from Cynthia, Kinera's lead artist and designer of Freya. Everything else is underneath and resting on a thick piece of foam. The earphones, three sizes of silicone tips, a female 3.5 mm to male lightning adapter, a cleaning tool, a female 3.5 mm to male 6.35 mm adapter, and lastly, the round storage case that contains the cable, a female 3.5 mm to male USB C adapter, a silical gel packet, and a full set of Final Type E eartips in SS, S, M, L, and LL sizes.
The shells are made of resin with a glossy finish. The rear, bigger portion of the shell is coated in glittery paint. The right side is decorated with the "Freya" text in silver, while the left one has the Kinera logo. Both are adorned with a hand painted mountain with a starry night sky, which is unique and really a feast for the eyes. At the top portion of the shell, there is a single hole for ventilation. The nozzles are rather large in diameter, so even if it doesn't have that lip, eartips got no problem staying in place. It also doesn't have a mesh filter, but instead it has three individual holes to separate the dynamic driver, the Knowles balanced armature, and Kinera's custom balanced armature.
The cable is a 2-core twisted high purity copper. It is light but moderately stiff, and thankfully doesn't conduct a lot of microphonics. The male 0.78 mm 2 pin connectors, splitter, and 4.4 mm gold plated balanced cable are all made of metal, while the chin slider is made of plastic. The Freya normally comes in 3.5 mm single ended plug, but I requested to have it changed, and Kinera was kind enough to oblige.
Now let's get to the sound.

The lows are rich and solid in its attack. Subbass is slightly upfront and able to demonstrate great depth with a decay that is on the average side. Midbass takes a small step back and has hints of sounding a bit soft and somewhat loose but not to the point where it feels bloated.

Overall, that small difference in the midbass can be a little hard to notice during the first minutes of listening. But as the tracks progress, I find myself kind of searching for that thud behind the thump. That being said, I don't consider this to be something bad, it's just different.

The mids are forward with good clarity and sounds partially thin. Lower mids have sufficient weight while the upper mids have a very noticeable boost which makes the female vocals a lot more intimate. Instruments have some hints of being closed in, but otherwise have good definition.

Overall, the mids of the Freya sound the best with female singers and tracks where string instruments are the highlight due to that bump in the upper mids. 

The highs are reproduced in a bit of a laid back manner. Treble reach is slightly below average while the duration of decay is on the moderate side. Upper treble doesn't have much presence which renders cymbals and lead guitars to sound somewhat shallow and there can be occasions where they are overshadowed by the lows and mids.

Overall, the upper treble of the Freya can definitely use some lift. I tried to use an equalizer to partially boost this section, just enough to not cause any discomfort and it definitely gave more life and energy to the tracks.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The stage has a slightly below average expansion. The height expands a lot more than the width. Even though the stage is relatively small, the imaging is surprisingly great in terms of accuracy. The instrument separation and layering is just adequate. There is a very small amount of congestion especially in complex tracks.

Kinera Freya (1 DD + 3 BA, 249 USD) vs. Audiosense DT600 (6 BA, 248 USD)
The Freya has the bigger sounding lows. The rumble is louder and able to reach deeper, as expected since it has a dynamic driver. Midbass is tighter in the DT600 but sounds thicker on the Freya. In the mids, the DT600 has more substance but more forward and slightly thinner in the Freya. The DT600 has a very slight edge in the clarity. With the highs, the DT600 has better reach as well as longer decay, although not that much. Instruments sound more lively and spacious in the DT600. In the soundstage, the DT600 expands more on the width, while the height is just about the same. Clarity in the imaging is very, very close but the DT600 is better.

Kinera Freya (1 DD + 3 BA, 249 USD) vs. Hisenior FE3U (3 BA, 249 USD)
The Freya has more quantity in the lows. Louder rumble and longer decay. The Freya is able to reach deeper as well. Midbass is a lot tighter and less in weight in the FE3U. The mids sound more open and have better clarity and transparency in the FE3U. Although they both sound slightly thin in this section, the FE3U sounds more natural and energetic. In the highs, the FE3U has way better reach and much longer decay. However, it does tend to be aggressive or sibilant on some tracks which does not happen at all with the Freya. Soundstage is much more open in the FE3U, expanding more on both width and the height as opposed to the Freya. Imaging is also slightly more accurate in the FE3U.

There is no doubt, and it really shows, that Kinera put a lot of thought and effort in designing the Freya. From the packaging, accessories, and overall looks of the shells screams of premium and unique experience. The Freya's sound is a good choice for easygoing type of genres where you can listen for several hours without fatigue. That being said, some improvements in its technical performance is needed to make the Freya really stand out in its price bracket.

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