Kinera, the brand which needs no introduction in the first place since they are one of the well established brands in the ChiFi. The models that they have launched received a great amount of response from the audience. The Norn is the in ear monitor which I personally liked a lot and that striking design language of the Norn continues here too! Kinera are specialists in making the earphones very eye-catching and the Skuld is another example for it. As the design looks gorgeous does the sound too? Lets see that in this review.
This unit has been provided to me as a part of a review circle organised by HiFiGo and I’m very thankful to the team for considering me in this review tour. This review is completely based on my experience with this product and no one has influenced me to manipulate the review by any means. The views may differ from person to person and this completely depends on the gear and the source you use to test them out.
>Three Knowles premium BA drivers per side.
>Two Kinera’s customized BA drivers.
>Beautiful Hand-Painted ear cavities.
>Ergonomic cavity design.
>0.78mm 2-pin Silver-Plated Copper balanced 4.4mm cable.
>Premium set of accessories including Final Audio Type E ear tips and 4.4mm-3.5mm, 4.4mm-2.5mm connectors.
>Smooth & Natural sound tuning.
>Impedance: 23 ohms.
>Rated Power: 3mW.
>Frequency Response Range: 5Hz-50kHz
PACKAGE AND CONTENTS:
Since this is a unit which is sent to me as a part of a review circle I haven’t received the full package hence for all those details please refer to the official retail website.
The things that i received along with the earpieces are the cable, 2.5mm and the 3.5mm termination adapter and the final audio eartips.
DESIGN AND FIT:
The design of the Skuld is just Magnificent! The whole look is just eye catchy and it’s a love at first sight. The whole body is made out of resin but the faceplate is handcrafted thus giving this a nice premium look. The faceplate looks absolutely gorgeous and I can stare at it for as long as possible but the time will not permit it! The crushed gold foils on the edges of the earpiece and the sparkling colourful glitters which change the colour based on the lightning is just mesmerizing to look at.
The whole shell appears to be a semi custom shaped shell hence the fit is perfect for me. The isolation is pretty great and if not the best where the outside noise is 90 percent blocked out. The tips that came with the earphones are pretty great, giving a nice seal in the ear canal and the nozzle is pretty good in length to aid the isolation. The 2 pin connector area is nicely tucked inside the body and no protrusion is observed. There is a single pressure vent and is situated in the back of the earpiece.
The shells are completely lightweight thus providing nice long time listening sessions. Even though they are lightweight they don’t feel cheap at all since the body is nice and glossy providing smooth and soft touch.
The included cable is very nice and supple in nature thus giving a nice feel in the hands and the microphonics are null in this. The braiding is done very well and feels soft to touch, the 2 pin connector area and the wire splitter are metal enclosed. A nice chin slider is given which looks very premium. The ear guides are very soft and nothing intrusive is noticed, they nicely get adapted to the ear shape. The termination area has a nice strain relief which prevents the damage to the cable in the long run. The additionally given 4.4mm and 2.5mm connectors are really useful hence no need to change the cable frequently to match the source.
The provided tips are the usual Final Audio eartips which provide nice isolation and quite sturdy enough.
The sound signature of the SKULD is pretty flat in nature. Initially when i listened i was not surprised by it since the track i used is a bass heavy track which is not justifiable at all for an all BA driver earphone hence after switching to a midrange focused track i was just amazed how good the Skuld is. The flat nature of the earphone helped a lot in bringing out all the details and nuances in the tracks. In this review let’s dive into each frequency and how they are performing.
Source: iPhone + Zorloo Ztella MQA + FiiO Q3
The low end in the skuld is pretty fast and it’s the usual BA bass. The bass is tight and controlled with slight sub bass presence and lean mid bass body. The bass is pretty flat, not punchy or attacking but its very nice for an all BA iem. The sub bass is very subtle giving ncie rumble in the low end only when the track calls for it. In the tracks like “WHY DO WE FALL” by Hans Zimmer the sub bass is felt very light but that lightness also brought out the essential details in the background which i liked it a lot. Even though the sub bass is not that prominent I liked the way it compensated just by bringing out the details. In the tracks like the “BAD GUY” by Billie Eilish the sub bass is brought out well and hence this is very good in the sub bass too but only when the track call for it.
The mid bass is lean in nature thus lacking the mid bass body but as i mentioned in the above that is leanness also helped in bringing out the clarity in the midrange without any bass bleed. The lean mid bass made the Skuld a clean sounding pair by bringing out the clarity and the details. The bass overall is well resolved and tight. The bleed is mostly null and the clarity it brings out in the midrange due to that subt;le bass response is magical and excellent.
Overall the bass may not be a strong aspect of the Skuld but considering all BA the bass is really nice and even i loved it quite a bit considering myself a bass head. The bass here is less in quantity but excellent in quality. It’s well resolved, tight, faster, flat and separated. The separation of the instruments in the low end region is very impressive and nice. They have plenty of air in between the instruments hence they sound very spacious and deeper providing nice depth in the track. The bass gets even improved a lot by using the Bass Boost mode in the FiiO Q3 or the XBASS mode in the Zen Dac. Overall im just admired by the flatness of the Skuld thus the bass can be versatile and made to be sound to your liking.
- BigFoot – MALFNKTION
- Why Do We Fall – Hans Zimmer
- Jet Lag Corporation – Aes Dana
- Kashmir – Marcin
The Midrange is the star show here. The vocals and the instruments are brought out really very well. The flatness in the midrange helped the skuld in reproducing the nice details. There is an excellent amount of air in between the instruments and hence they sound very spacious and wide. The vocals are three dimensional hence the intimate presentation is absent here which is pretty nice. The piano notes and the kick drums sound very natural and percussion instruments sound crisp and clear. The tinality is pretty neutral and no colouration is done here. They just produce the sound as it is when it’s recorded.
The timbre is neutral and I’m very surprised by this since most of the BA iem’s that I have tried have the weird timbre issue that might be metallic but this one sounds absolutely neutral and with no colouration.
Both the male and the female vocals sounds very nice and crystal clear with enough amount of air moving in between. Even the breath of the singer and the acoustic strings switching are heard very clearly without the need of raising the volume. The Vocal placement is adequate in distance thus providing the listener a good sense of separation along with the instruments. They are neither too forward nor laid back but are positioned at a sweet spot. The amount of detail this just retrieves is just amazing and I’m very much impressed by it. The all 5BA does a very good job in producing this amazing sound. In the track like “ THE BLOWERS DAUGHTER “ they sound very detailed where the string switching are clearly heard and the DAMIEN RICE breath in between the lines are heard very clearly.
The lower and the upper midrange are equally balanced hence no harshness or unwanted peaks that might cause fatigue in the longer listening sessions.
Overall the midrange is very wide and spacious with neutral tonality and timbre also with excellent detail retrieval. The linear response in the midrange is appreciated very well thus making the listening experience very smooth yet very detailed. The amount of air it has in the midrange is enormous thus providing that nice depth and width in the soundstage.
- The Blowers Daughter – Damien Rice
- Sirens Of The Sea – Above And Beyond
- Makin My Move – Easy Wanderlings
The treble is pretty inoffensive and sweet here. The treble energy is very subtle hence the brightness is slightly tamed out which is pretty nice for longer fatigue free listening. The treble is pretty spacious and wide enough bringing the instruments presenting very nice. Sibilance is literally nonexistent here and even while testing out extreme treble energy tracks like the “MOVE YOUR BODY” by Sia the Skuld exhibited no sibilance.
The detail retrieval is above average and very good for the price it quotes. The extension is however pretty average but it just brings out all the enough details out of the extended frequency. The airiness in the treble is very good and the electric guitars sound very natural and not congested.
The cymbal crashes are pretty natural and organic. The cymbal ends adequately and sounds precise. The uncoloured signature of the Skuld is the key part in providing the organic and natural sound.
Overall the treble is very smooth and inoffensive yet brings out a lot of details with a wide sense of stage and the instrument separation. The extension is average though but as a whole sound the treble is nice and smooth.
- Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
- The First Time – Treble Charger
- Suffer – The Smashing Pumpkins
SOUNDSTAGE: The soundstage is also another star show of the Skuld providing a nice sense of depth and width. The tallness is average though but the depth is the main show here. The drum impacts are very depper thus creating that nice sense of theatrical experience. The depth is very immersive thus giving a nice sense of stage sensation. Especially after listening to the tracks like the “SIRENS OF THE SEA ” the depth of the soundstage can be felt evidently.The sub bass just digs deeper and gives that nice sense of deepness.
IMAGING: The imaging is pretty neat and precise here. Since the bass is not that heavy and since it’s being very fast the imaging is not fuzzy or hazy at all rather it’s very precise and accurate. The instruments nicely sweep from one channel to the other without any stutter. The three point imaging is absent thus providing that smooth transient response.
The detail retrieval and the instrument separation are above average and nice. The good amount of air in between the instruments makes the percussion instruments sound very natural and airier.
- Global Gear – Punya Srinivas
- Themyscira – WW84
- Crossing – Yosi Horikawa
Skuld, the latest offering from Kinera is an excellent choice for the people who like a flat frequency response to use it for a wide variety of genres. Previously I used the Kinera Norn which is pretty polar opposite where it sounded very energetic and bassy. Personally I liked it a lot. The skuld however is a no slouch hence the Norn and the Skuld compliment each other well. The Skuld is a versatile one thus it can be eq’d to your liking to match the genres you are listening to. The midrange is very sweet here by providing excellent details and the forward positioning made the whole experience engaging and energetic. The treble is well done here with a nice amount of air and the separation through the frequency is pretty nice. The low end here may not be the star show here but it’s done well for an all BA iem, it’s fast, tight, controlled but not the most punchiest, weighty or attacking one. The bass here is tuned in terms of technicalities hence the fun cant be expected here.
Overall the Skuld is an excellent choice for people who need some flatness and neutrality and thus retains the name AN UNCOLOURED CHAMPION.
This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C
I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.