M12s, Magni, Vali: a comparative review of Kennerton headphones

I’ve got three pairs of Kennerton headphones delivered at once for a review: the M12s, the Magni and the Vali.

I’ve already reviewed the more expensive models, which are the Gjallarhorn and the Wodan, and now it’s time to take a look at the less pricey representatives of the line. These are two closed-back and one open-back dynamic model.

I’ll describe the features of each of them, show the measurements, and compare them with each other below. Along the way, I’ll try to explain what these headphones are best suited for and which types of listeners they primarily target.

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Kennerton Gjallarhorn JM Edition Headphones Review

The plague is spreading across the planet, and we’re safe and sound at home. Going out to cinema, concerts, exhibitions isn’t what matters anymore and is even quite unsafe for health. It’s all about ourselves that matters now and its importance only increases.

Therefore, today I’m going to review one of the rare types of good closed-back headphones: Kennerton Gjallarhorn JM Edition.

All images are clickable to enlarge.

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Focal Utopia review

I’d start this post with ‘Here I am — finally got those legendary headphones for the test!’, but no, let’s wait a bit.

Focal Utopia are not just legendary, they’re a subject of heated discussions in the world of audiophilia and melomania. Almost every Utopia review is usually posted under such titles as ‘Probably the best headphones in the world’, ‘Still the best in 2020?’, ‘Detailing benchmark headphones’, ‘Melomaniac’s dream’, etc. These headphones take pride of place in the Wall of Fame of the reputable innerfidelity website, and the first (01.2021 – second) place in the personal list of Crinacle — the well-known audio equipment reviewer.

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Pure Dope

The Dope Audio is a company Saint Petersburg, Russia, and was established in July 2019. Now the company manufactures and sells 3 models of in-ear headphones. I’ll introduce you to the balanced armature Heavy Dope headphones in one of the upcoming reviews. And in this one, I’m going to tell you about their flagship model.

Pure Dope are technologically unique, since they’re an in-channel isodynamic model. Along with this, they don’t have that weird jug-like shape as Audeze iSINE or Unique Melody ME1 do — in fact, they’re a particularly compact medium sized (for in-ear class models) headphones. I can remember exactly two models of such headphones: the RHA CL2 and the Tin HiFi P1. The manufacturer also hints at a technologically complex design inside using, for instance, horns. No details given, though.

All images are clickable to enlarge.

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Kennerton Audio. About headphones, manufacturing culture and future plans

Kennerton Wodan headphones impressed me oh so much, so I immediately got myself invited to the Kennerton office. And asked them about different things. About everything I wanted.

Q: Let’s start with the current line of headphones. Why does this line look exactly this way and not in any other? How are these headphones models different from each other, what is your vision?

K: There are 9 models making the basis of the current line. These are Thror, Thekk, Tridi, Wodan and Odin (2019) for planars, Vali, Gjallarhorn, Magni and M12s (2020) for dynamic ones.

All planar models are open-back.

Let’s start with Thror headphones. Thror are the flagship of the line. These are the most smooth, balanced headphones of the line, the most ‘right’ from the common audiophile point of view, and extremely close to the Harman Target Response Curve in what’s related to the settings matter. We’ve put a lot of effort and time (and a significant budget, too) into their development. They reflect our vision of the ‘right’ sound, our progress relative to the previous flagship model, which is Odin (2015). The original Odin were very popular, but not everyone liked them. So while developing Thror, we tried to improve every weak point.

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