Kinera Idun Golden – Goddess of Musical Elegance
Also known as Idun 2.0
- This unit was sent to me by HiFiGo for review purposes
- At the time of this article, I have spent over 300 hours on my Idun Golden with regular daily usage
- I don’t do measurements, my impressions are purely subjective from a user perspective
Kinera Idun Golden is a beauty. Majestically elegant from the packaging to the IEMs unit itself. Hand painted resin shells will not fail to impress with strong accent of Norse motifs, a reference to Goddess of Youth, Iduna. What impresses me even more is how ergonomically comfortable this Idun Golden is to my ears. So very lightweight and wearing it all day long does not impart any hint of fatigue to my ear cavities. It is beautiful as it is practical. Holding the IEMs in my hands I can clearly see the amount of details done to make this possible. It would not be too extreme for me to declare that Idun Golden is the most comfortable IEM that I have ever worn, alongside my personal longtime favorite of Shure KSE1500.
Technically, Idun Golden is a Triple Hybrid. Two Balanced Armatures and a single Titanium Plated Dome PU dynamic driver. The BA being Knowles RAF-32873 for Mids, and Kinera own custom BTC-30095 for the Highs. Tuned with an impedance of 32 Ohm, 112db of sensitivity, it suggests that the Idun Gold is fairly easy to drive (but is it?).
Equally beautiful, the inclusion of Kinera ACE cable. Fully modular with all three sizes of 2.5mm BAL, 4.4mm BAL and 3.5mm SE included. Kinera even included a separate 6.3mm adapter for use with bigger devices, that’s very thoughtful on their side. Kinera ACE is an OFC+OFC with silver plating, constructed in Litz formation of 8 cores 3-dimensional braid. It is as exquisitely elegant to match the overall theme of Idun Golden. Sonically tuned to complement the intended sound appreciation as well. The cable itself is quite robust as it is flexible.
Icing on the cake, inclusion of tips selection for varied preferences and usage. I am especially happy with the stock foam tips. Made things easier for me to not fumbling out for aftermarket tips, as I can’t seem to be able to wear silicone tips these days. They just don’t sound right to my ears. Foam tips that came with Idun Golden, they are slow rebound and gloss skinned, which means they seal really good and does not impart any discomfort to sensitive skins (mine being a bit on the dry). Paired with foam tips, I get great isolation and mileage for extensive usage. I even fell asleep numerous times with Idun Golden still pumping music to my ears. That’s how comfortable it is to me.
Last but not least, a simple box to keep them all stored properly. Useful for travels and outdoors.
The entirety of my impressions done with the following audio gears:
- CEntrance DACport HD (4.1 Vrms, 775mW Single Ended 3.5mm)
- Cayin RU6 (2 Vrms, 4.4mm BAL)
- Lotoo PAW S2 (2 Vrms, 4.4mm BAL)
- HiBy FC5 (2 Vrms, 4.4mm BAL)
- iFi ZEN DAC V2 + ZEN Can (15.1 Vrms, 4.4mm BAL)
- Avani (1 Vrms, 3.5mm SE)
- Abigail (1 Vrms, 3.5mm SE)
- Sony Xperia X Compact (USB 2.0 host)
- LG V50 ThinQ (USB 2.0 host & 3.5mm SE direct)
- FLAC Files & Tidal Masters
- Windows 10 Foobar 2000, YouTube Music for Lo-Fi
- UAPP with USB Bitperfect mode
Timbre, Tonality & Dynamics
Kinera Idun Golden is tuned with appreciation for natural and organic timbral presentation. No matter which partners I paired it with, natural organic theme is evident and audible. What this means, Idun Golden does not sound unnaturally bright, nor does it sounded sluggishly bassy. Idun Golden is audibly tuned to be closer to neutral sound curve with welcoming presence to Mids, of which I have found to be one of the strongest appeal for Idun Golden overall sound signature. Dynamics handling decidedly, non-euphonic and non-offensive. It is amply vibrant as it is matured sounding, analogue-ish bias with preferences for subtle fluidity on technical aspects.
In lay man’s term, Kinera Idun Golden is a very musical IEM, supposedly designed for musicians and people that actually make and play music. I can tell from the get-go that Idun Golden is not for analytical listening. Those preferring something highly resolving, bright or outright analytical will likely find Idun Golden not their cup of tea. But for those who just want to enjoy music, less analysis, then Idun Golden has that element in spades.
Despite primarily being musical, I have found that the handling of dynamics transients of Idun Golden to be quite impressive. The flow of which frequency ranges being traversed and presented, there’s harmony and cohesion. It does not offer pronounced edge or aggressive attack; the demeanor is subtle and polished – smooth.
Being well versed to BA timbre, being a lifetime user of Etymotic ER4S since 2006, I know how edgy BA setups are natively. Some people just can’t tolerate Balanced Armatures timbre altogether. Idun Golden, despite predominantly being BA equipped, does not sound like a typical BA to my ears. I like it a lot.
The strength of Idun Golden is the Mids. With the current trend of tuning towards Harman Curve, I have found many IEMs to struggle a bit with Mids presentation. Idun Golden evidently does not seem to follow that trajectory. I am hearing Mids that is richly textured and detailed. The density of note weight feels right and believable. It is not unnaturally warm or edgy. It has natural bias that keep things organic sounding. Especially true for stringed instruments. Be it guitars, banjos, violins or even cello, I am hearing realistic tone and pronounced roundedness to the imaging, the flow of notes harmonic as it is natural. But does this mean, Idun Golden is Mids intimate? Not really, the placement of Mids is sensibly positioned to not splash everything upfront. What it certain it is not recessed as how would be observed from many V sounding unit. Percussions and electronics being equally realistic, with attack and vibrancy not being overcooked.
Vocals, now this is where the real deal is. For one, Idun Golden striking great with Alison Krauss, my all-time favorite Soprano artist. Her piercing, boyish and peaky vocals can be quite annoying if the listening devices are anything than less competent. What I am hearing, Alison’s vocals being sweetly lush and smooth, addictive. Even at the crescendos, when she gave it all, Idun Golden was able to handle the super peaky passages without any hint of upper Mids sibilance. Just give a listen to “A Living Prayer” by Alison Krauss with Idun Golden and you will understand what I am rambling about.
Diana Krall and Sinne Eeg, Idun Golden equally amazing with the presentation of Contralto type of vocals, of which it is deep, commanding, and intimate. The essence for enjoying Jazz, to me it needed a good balance of organic warmth and density, textured yet not overly done note weight. Idun Golden excels at this. Switching to the male side, the same can be said of Baritone type of vocals. In my case it is Morrissey and Nick Cave. Both with very chesty and commanding presence to the vocals. Idun Golden was able to present all these faithfully to the intended nature – imparting good sense of emotions amidst musicality.
Idun Golden is not for Trebleheads. Let’s just make it clear upfront. The presentation of Treble is well controlled that it will have zero chances to be sibilant or glaringly bright. For someone who appreciate exceedingly extended Treble, Idun Golden will be perceived as rolled-off and muted. However, to my ears, there’s ample extensions and details in the Treble region, perhaps the texture being a bit shy to what I normally prefer. The overall theme for Treble is subtle as it is smooth. Idun Golden does exhibit good sense of airy sparkle and shimmer. Most important to me, it does not sounded lean or outright metallic. One thing that is certain, Treble performances of Idun Golden largely depends on how competent the driving source is. With anything that is below 1 Vrms, I can say the projection of Treble is just about 70% of what Idun Golden truly capable of. A different story when driven well at the mark of 2 Vrms and over. Shines the best when paired with my iFi ZEN Stack (15.1 Vrms), DACport HD, RU6 and PAW S2. So, to get the best and more pronounced Treble performances of Idun Golden, best to pair it with something powerful.
All in all, Idun Golden is modest with Treble. This sort of tuning will be at home for extended listening sessions as it will not induce Treble fatigue.
Much similar to Treble. Idun Golden apparently not for Bassheads too. The tuning for Bass responses focuses on prompt attack and smooth decays. However, I must applaud Idun Golden for being very generous with great Bass textures and density. Bass note weight far from being heavy of commanding, it is as subtle as it can be without being withdrawn. Mid-Bass appeared to have just enough vibrancy to instill euphonic sense of excitement, it has solid body to it. Sub-Bass equally modest yet audible with smooth sensation and realistic decays. What is important to me, none of the Bass frequencies will attempt to overshadow anything. I have been so used to Diffused Field Neutral Bass responses and what I am hearing from Idun Golden is definitely richer than the likes of Etymotic ER4SR, not as flat or subdued. But Idun Golden will pale if compared against the prowess of Sony, Fostex or Beyerdynamic Bass performances. Again, very similar to Treble, Idun Golden Bass performances will just get better with upscaling of power. I mentioned great textures and depth, this is only audibly evident with 2 Vrms of power and above. The most engaging Bass responses I get from the pairing with Lotoo PAW S2, it actually shocked me to hear such refined textures, extension, and resolution of Bass of which wasn’t present when paired with my low powered devices.
Moderate is the best description I would label to Idun Golden when it comes to technicalities. The Soundstage however deserve commendation for being wide and spacious, not as tall but it has good depth to compensate. Due to overall theme of Idun Golden being musically smooth, imaging and resolution does not appear to be clinical or analytical. The imaging is clean as it is well defined, however the resolution does not have knife edged sharpness. What is great, Idun Golden remained highly transparent and neutral. It has the ability to project the strengths (and weaknesses) of paired sources. On the aspect of details, macro details not an issue. However micro details will only start to shine when paired with competent and powerful partners. I don’t get much micros details from Idun Golden when paired with Avani or Abigail, nor does LG V50 ThinQ. Different story with the rest of my gears, DACport HD and RU6 proved to be the most technically competent partner for Idun Golden.
Spatial staging and placement are as holographic as it can be expected of an IEM of this pedigree. Layers cleanly defined and non-intrusive to one another. There’s good speed and coherence in dynamic transients handling to keep pace even with the most complex of passages – again largely depending on the source’s competency as well.
I have mentioned this a few times. Idun Golden despite being just 32 Ohm and with 112db of sensitivity, seems to really shine when subjected to upscaled power. I like this. While already sounding great with the pair of Avani or Abigail, Idun Golden primarily sounds musical and entertaining, great for casual music indulgence. And things get really good when Idun Golden is subjected to more power. As noted above, the performances of Treble and Bass improved significantly with good 2 Vrms partners. What I am hearing, better definition of textures and dynamic crispness, while remaining smooth at the same time. Not forgetting better headroom too.
All has been said, it is clear Kinera Idun Golden is not a jack of all trade. Idun Golden is a device intended to convey musical experiences for music enjoyment, Idun Golden excels with tonal and timbre balance that is pleasurable as it is natural sounding. Not a device to be used to analyze sound. From this perspective, I have found that Idun Golden is an IEM that takes time to develop a connection to the user. It does not have that WOW element from the get-go. But with regular usage, the elegance of subtleties will then begin to present itself in spades. I appreciate Idun Golden for being highly organic and smooth, I appreciate the musical enjoyment that can be had for extended usage, I have spent over 6 hours in single sessions using Idun Golden regularly. Despite being not a highly analytical device, I think the time I spent with my Idun Golden proved that the charm of the Goddess of Rejuvenation, Iduna, has captured my heart.