-very high resolution
-extremely snappy and fast magnetostat treble
-energic, analytical yet fun tuning
-micro details retreival is insane
-fowards female vocal
-very bright yet not too shouty, splashy or trebly
-impressive technical performance
-affordable tribrid (2times cheaper than URD)
-easy to drive
-excellent packaging and accessories
-good quality modular cable
-not the most cohesive or balanced tonality
-bright timbre that lack body
-boomy resonant bass
-bad fit for my ears
-sensitive, so source capricious
-average soundstage size
-treble can be distracting
-thin male vocal
-borderline shouty-splashy in busy track (not in a invasive way as noted in Pros)
SOUND VALUE: 8.2/10
Kinera is now a well known chinese earphones company with lot of IEM in its catalogue. They are know for launching a wide range of soundsignature and drivers implementation from classic 1DD+2BA IEM like their best seller the Kinera Golden 2.0 or more exotic tribrid like the 2DD+1BA+2EST URD.
I do love both these IEM and when I discover that Kinera launch a tribrid that is priced more than 2 times cheaper than the URD, my curiosity was intensely trigerred.
Priced 300$, the Hodur is a tribrid with a 10mm coaxial dual magnetic tesla dynamic driver, a customized Kinera balanced armature and high sensitivity-lower power electrostatic driver (magnetostatic to be more precise).
These earphones promise ”high resolution performance”, but how does it translate into musicality?
Let see in this review if this tribrid worth its title of ”God of War”.
- Kinera High Sensitivity & Low Power Electrostatic Driver + Kinera Customized K10012 BA Driver + 10mm Coaxial Dual-magnetic Tesla Composite Diaphragm Dynamic Driver.
- Impedance: 8 ohm.
- Sensitivity: 106+/- 1 dB.
- Frequency Response: 5Hz-40kHz.
- Modular 4 Cores OCC with Silver Plated Cable.
- Plug with 3.5mm , 4.4mm.
The Hodur construction isn’t bad in term of material, its all metal and feel very sturdy. Its quite compact too. Yet i was expecting more pristine craftmanship from Kinera, since they made incredibly good looking IEM and here i’m just not sure. 2pin connector see a bit cheap, the use of…euh, stars dust? Anyway, little sparkly piece of glass in engraved curve is a bit questionable since it collect not just dusts from stars. But my biggest qualms might be Subjective too, since it’s about the fit. Their few IEM that i struggle with fit, and the long angled nozzle with a plate non very organic shapre make it very unsecure for me, it tend to pop out or dont get appropriate seal for proper sound pressure…to some extend, sotck cable ear hook worsen this issue so with looser earhook of URD cable, I can have good enough fit.
There another example of similar angled nozzle that dont work for me, so if Tinhifi P1(plus) was bad fit for you, Hodur will be too.
You gotta love the Kinera packaging, its always a feast for the eyes and fully packed with generous accessories. I was surpise how scary was Hodur god of norse mythology too, in fact,it scare my 5y old son so be cautious!
Just look at all the stuffs you get. You got 5 pairs of Final Audio eartips, which is excellent and quite costy. As well as 7 pairs of nice quality Kinera silicone eartips. You got a unique leather carrying case, exclusive to Hodur. You got clean brush too and an excellent modular cable.
The cables is a 4 cores OCC cuper silver plated modular cable and come with 3.5mm se and 4.4mm bal plugs. Apart the ear hook that i find too tight for my big ears, it’s a wonderfull cable.
(this review use SMSL SU9+SMSL SH9 low impedance DAC-AMP mostly, but Tri TK2, Tempotec V6, Xduoo Link2 Bal too)
Ok, for those expecting something similar to the URD, be ready for a surprise….that wake up! This is a vivid W shape crisp tonality that we get here, energic and near analytical with pround ”EST” bravado.
Balanced sharpness with gently bright timbre and magnify sens of air and sparkle, open presentation that beg for wow effect, which work and fascinate for more than 5 min for sure.
Treble head will love these, but it’s a bassy W shape too, and mids aren’t recessed or blurry….so this might please wider range of listeners.
I’ll say with the Hodur, we are into analytical guilty pleasure since it’s an agressive W shape signature with tremendously vivid and revealing highs, thunderous bass and bright mid range. Overall balance is spiky but coherent and do not suffer from wonky or artificial tone, yet, it’s not for timbre nor smooth tonality lover.
Bass hit hard with good resonance, Hodur is a bassy IEM with a sens of muscular urgency yet the bass is hint warmed on edge, not the tightest or fastest. It deliver good warm boom but flexibility is average. Extension doesn’t dig deep in a linear way and is more about impact than well define presence. Depending of music style it’s hit or miss, for electronic result can be spectacular due to excellent treble sharpness and overall dynamic energy, yet for complex instruments harmonic it can sound off tone wise, acoustic bass and cello for ex are a bit artificial since mid bass is less boosted than sub bass which make the result disembodied and dry in definition and timbre. This is a bass that love to slam, but it’s excited and boomy (ok I admit it). About cello, it sound vibrantly bright, overly boosted in texture and not bodied and thick enough. Hodur will select the instrument he wanna keep timbral and tone balance right, you don’t choose and sometime this imprevisibility can be annoying, in the sens youll up or down the volume. Bass too is imprevisible due to tamed mid bass edge compared to sub resonance, it feel a bit detached and out of place in term of timbre even if warmed surely to keep us unaware of this. Let say it will be hard to differentiate the proper note of a sub bass line, for ex, Moonlight track from IAMDDB have dark blunty sub bass line that seem all on same pitch, which they aren’t.
Mid range is more about bright presence than full bodied presentation. Crisp and energic in details, it favor upper range texture and lack note weight in low and mid mids. Piano don’t sound right here and male vocal are more recessed than female vocal. Transparency and resolution is good, but definition edge suffer from balanced armature shoutyness. Timbre is thin but bright. Upper mids are just borderline sibilant. While treble deliver real clarity, mids seem to offer fake clarity, in the sens instrument are not fully restitute and their tone is often off. Its very centered and excited presentation, some isntruments will sound strangely dry and distant while other super lively and resolved. Violin have a hint of metallic timbre to it. Let say the Hodur are not for warm lush and natural mid range lover, but those that like kit crisp and bright.
Any treble heads in this place? Please lift your hands! Yes, you! Your the lucky winner of a very rewarding listening sessions that will take you in next level analytical territory. The Hodur isn’t call God of War for nothing, he know how to fight with its sharp axe, he tear apart darkness and reveal micro details and high range percussions with brutal athletism. These aren’t for faith of hearth, yet it’s not berserk primitive chaos either. It’s not a Obravo Cupid nor a Tripowin TP10, the spike keep an overall passable balance within it’s energic and assumed W shape balance.
But it’s there, Everywhere. It stole the show of everything in the sens treble dominate whole macro resolution and is responsible for micro definition details too, so we are into boosted resolution without mercy here.
Lower treble have lot of balanced armature crunch while the star of the show is the magnetostatic drivers (”EST”) which really wow me intensely for days and days until it begin to annoy me due to listening fatigue it can iduce at high volume, but if i listen at low volume, bass and mids become leaner while the treble still is very energic and upfront.
Nonetheless, i like it due to how much details it can extract, ive rarely listen to an IEM with has much sound info and it’s deliver in a super snappy way, with hint of appealing brilliance when needed. I would have expect a more sparkly presentation with longer resonance like with the URD (understated way), but its more bright, full and textured than sonion EST, it’s a mix of planar-BA timbre we can say, boosted in texture. It can be too revealing for bad recording too and extract background noise. Clavichord sound quite decent as well as acoustic guitar, the attack is so fast it permit a very well articulated presentation that will not skip any note. Pierre Hantai ”Scarlatti’ piece are so crisp with the Hodur….near overwhelming number of note I can hear with a sharp attack timing.
Yep, both impressive and overwhelming!
This is always a bit complex to write about technical performance of hybrid or tribrid since not all drivers act the same. For example, here the bass is slower and less controlled than both balanced and ”est” drivers, so i consider bass performance quite bad and overly excited in loudness boost.
The balanced armature is not as fast and controlled either, it seem to have higher harmonic distortion and fuzyness and inflict in busy complex track negatively as conclude with Skink track from Elephant9 where it go muddy and distort.
But the ”est” is excellent, the speed is crazy fast, snap is crunchy and have bit yet doesnt lack control and add air on the top.
SOUNDSTAGE is average wide and tall with hall like deepness, stock in a tunnel we can say, its a strange spatiality, not very realist.
IMAGING is quite decent unless in very busy and noisy track. High pitch instrument are easier to pinpoint, while bass lack proper definition and separation, mids separation lack space compared to treble separation too. So, a bit unrealistic again i would say. To be noted, eartips choice will greatly inflict on how open is the sound, Kbear KB07 are the ear tips i prefer, it feel less compressed in dynamic and spatiality.
VS TRI I3pro (1DD+1planar+1BA-190$)
Warmer, more laid back and U shape, yet with as good overall resolution but less agressive and analytical treble boost. Bass have less mid bass punch and boost but cleaner beefier slam with mroe controlled resonance. Mids are a bit more recessed as expected with U shape tuning but timbre is smoother and resolution is on par just not as loud as Hodur, yet it seem their more upper mids sibilance with the I3pro which is a shame cause everything else is smoother and more oragnic in timbre as well as more transparent in layering. These are planar mid range, very competent but not very dynamic. Treble is notably more sharp and boosted with the Hodur, more prompt to slight splashyness too, its more textured too and crunchy, more of everything we can say, very excited compared to i3pro that suddenly feel dark when they arent in fact, its more delicate and airy, better balanced as a whole apart lower treble region spike.
Soundstage is notably wider, taller and deeper with the I3pro, this is one of it’s highlight and it feel more open and 3D, way more out of your head.
This inflict on imaging, which have more space for proper separation yet darken mids and treble part make it less crisp in definition of instrument placement.
All in all, while balance feel more organic and drivers timbre more cohesive, the i3pro is less lively in dynamic and precise in attack, its more laid back U shape, very different tonal balance here while for technical performance the Hodur extract more details and sound info but feel a bit berserk and agressive too, so less controlled in sustain-decay than the i3pro.
VS AUNE JASPER (1DD-300$)
For those who think single DD cant compete against tribrid, think again, the Jasper is incredible in both performance and tonal balance. Here, it’s evident its more cohesive in timbral balance and tonality is more neutral than more vivid and bassy W shape of the Hodur. Its smoother, more transparent and mature yet site in between harman target and crisp W shape. Bass quantity is less while quality is notably better, Hodur have more mid bass boom and resonant hit, while Jasper is better separated, have higher resolution and definition, more nuanced texture and more extended response, sub bass is notably better controled and have longer rumble yet not as fuzzy-vibrant. Some will find Jasper bass to lack mid bass impact and dynamic compared to more thumpy Hodur. Mids while leaner in upper mids are again better resolve, cleaner and more transparent, timbre is more realist and no instrument sound out of pitch like Hodur. Presence is more textured and well define, female vocal sound wider. Treble Attack is more edgy and prompt to harshness-splashyness with Hodur. Depending of speed and complexity of music, Hodur will be more snappy and push foward micro details more but can get more messy in busy track like Skink from Elephant9, here, impressively, technical performance of the Jasper is superior with less harmonic and phase distortion, cleaner presentation and more articulate layering. YES, ive said it: technical performance of a single DD surpass a very capable tribrid. Cymbals spals doesnt mix in distorted way like with Hodur for ex. Bass line are easier to follow too, and synth line are better layered less compressed.
Soundstage wise, i would say they are near on par, Jasper is just a bit wider, taller and deeper.
Imaging is more accurate with jasper, layering is more transparent, Hodur tend to favorize high pitch instrument position making harder bass and mids instrument to pin point precisely unlike Japser.
All in all Hodur is more vivid in dynamic heft and offer a more entertaining wow effect performance that struggle to keep an as organic and cohesive balance as Jasper. Jasper is more refined and balanced, cleaner in presentation, more natural in timbre with superior bass performance and faster attack speed and control as a whole.
VS KINERA URD (2DD+1BA+2EST-650$)
The URD tonality is very different, its darker, smoother and more U shape in bass presentation. Timbre is more liquid and natural, with less bright grain to it. Hodur is intensely more W shape and brighter. Bass hit less hard and is better rounded, tough a bit warm it’s more chunky in slam and have notably more rumble extension, as well, it doesn’t have mid bass impact resonance and more sub bass boost. Mids are less agressively fowards, lusher and thicker in timbre, which offer more natural female vocal with less upper mids bite and sibilance, texture is darker, more polised and less prompt to timbral imbalance like lipsy vocal or fuzzy violin etc. Treble is notably darker and less analytical, smoother and innoffensive with more delicate highs from EST, it have more brilliance and less crunch and bite, snap is faster and less fuzzy in sustain, yet, since it’s not in your face like the Hodur the URD technical performance are understated while with Hodur they are overstated. Splash of cymbals are very soft with URD compared to Hodur.
Soundstage is notably wider and taller with the URD, while a bit deeper and more tunnel like with the Hodur.
Imaging is more realist with the URD but less crisp in positioning, it’s more the layering that feel superior yet since it’s not very edgy in delimitation it’s darken in proper separation. Let say Hodur is more precise but perhaps less accurate, yet high pitch instrument and percussions are notably easier to pin point.
All in all, these 2 are polar opposite, but in term of smooth natural balance, the URD is more cohesive since we dont feel it’s scream: i’m a Tribrid! Vocal are fuller, bass is more pleasant even if not very well define and the treble is more refined, delicate and clean, yet more recessed too that way more energic, bright and analytical Hodur.
There not doubt the Hodur is a pumped up technical beast and will create big WOW effect among alot of audio enthusiast. This isn’t a boring nor laid back ride here but a W shaped roller coaster that will make your hearth rate go higher.
So, not for the faith of hearth I would say, since the agressively sharp tonality might not trigger beautiful sens of musicality for some, especially those aware of tone correctness and timbre naturalness.
Yet, this explosive performance hit hard with bass, doesn’t suffer from too recessed mids due to upper mids presence and deliver a treble speed and performance that would make jealous alot of balanced armature companies. The magneto in there is shy to show it’s bravado and extract a whole lot of micro details that will make you rediscover your music.
In fact, the Hodur magnify sens of intensity and immediacy of all your music tracks and vivify it’s sens of dynamic attack too.
It’s not an IEM aimed for smooth organic balance lovers, nor for warm or mid centric listeners.
Think about a more W shape Kinera Golden 2.0 and your not far from what you will get.
While fatiguing for long time listening, i do enjoy alot the Hodur for what it offer in plentyness: boosted resolution, attack, bite and micro details of treble.
This is extremely entertaining sounding IEM with spectacular performance, a bit like an HD movie with lotta FX which is over packet with action, explosion, battles. Like transformers movie, it will not please everyone but sure impress alot of people.
Perfect IEM for treble and analytical head, vivid W soundsignature lovers and bright bass IEM lovers.
PS: I want to thanks Kinera for sending me this review sample even if they know i’m very critical. It’s a proof that its not about marketing but pure audiophile community passion. I’m not affiliated to this company and as always, these are my 100% independant audio impressions.
You can order the Hodur for 299$ directly from Kinera official store. Which is the best choice for proper consumers service when it come to warranty: https://www.kineraaudio.com/product/kinera-hodur