This is a review of the Kinera Freya. It is a hybrid 3 BA + 1 DD IEM that costs $250 from HiFiGo. Disclaimer: I received the Kinera Freya from HiFiGo in exchange for this honest review. I have not been or will be compensated in any other way. Kinera is one of the older, more established companies in the ChiFi space. Unlike KZ, they have a more conservative release schedule with a focus on a few IEMs rather than many. The Freya is their newest foray into the mid-fi space. Boasting hybrid quad drivers, handmade, hand-painted shells, and a fairly luxurious set of accessories, the Freya looks to market itself as a lifestyle product for audiophiles. The only question is: does it sound as good as it looks?
What's in the Box?
The Kinera Freya probably has the most over-the-top unboxing experience of all the IEMs I've reviewed. It comes in a large hexagonal box and no less than four little pamphlets with ChiFi marketing phrases. Beyond the marketing material lies the Freya, a set of S/M/L tips, a Lightning dongle, a cleaning brush, a 3.5 mm to 4.4 mm adapter, and a circular carrying case. Inside the carrying case is a 2-core copper 2-pin cable, a USB-C dongle, and a set of Final Audio tips. The fit of the Freya is on the bulky side as it has a fairly large nozzle diameter but otherwise the fit is comfortable. Isolation is decent. I preferred the included Final tips and used them throughout this review. The cable looks like a copper-colored Tin T4 cable but it feels nothing like it. This cable is a much stiffer and has a stronger cable memory. The cable noise isn't too bad though. The shells look nice but it definitely photographs much nicer than it looks in real life I think.
My first impressions of the Freya were lackluster. The tuning of the Freya is heavy emphasis on midbass and low mids that's balanced with upper mid presence. Treble is a little on the muted side and peaky. It's an asymmetrical V-shaped with more emphasis on the lows than highs. The coloration of the Freya's tuning initially caught me off-guard but as I spent more time with it over the course of this review, I started to enjoy it. I'm generally not a fan of this type of tuning but I can see why it appeals to certain folks. It's a non-fatiguing listen with a warm body. The Freya works best for pop and light rock but instrumental works or technical music are non-ideal.
The Freya is certainly bass boosted. There's a subbass roll off under 40 Hz but beyond that is lots of bass that bleeds into the mids. While you can certainly feel the note, it doesn't rumble or slam. Its boomy and thumpy. This is most clearly heard in the kick, where every note has a weighty, thumpy sort of sound. In certain recordings, this type of sound can be quite addictive, especially when coupled with great bass guitar playing. The Freya does a competent job with note separation in less busy tracks but starts to struggle with clarity when push comes to shove. Timbre is... fine. It's a tad too colored and lacking texture in the thumpiness for me to rate it higher but if you're looking for that engaging live concert sort of chest pounding sound, the Freya's bass tuning invokes a bit of that. As a whole, I'm mixed on the Freya's bass. The tuning is kinda like fast food: an enjoyable, addictive little reprieve every now and then but is ultimately shallow and leaves me wanting for more substantial and nuanced.
The treble is on the muted side for a less fatiguing sound. There is a notable lack of brilliance to brighten things up and forget about airiness. The drawn out, shimmering decay of the crash cymbal quickly loses energy while the sharp, crisp sound of the hats is clearly attenuated. There are occasional splashes of treble energy giving a sense of non-uniformity to the treble. I think this has to do with a large dip right around the lower treble starting at about 5 kHz, a peak around 7 kHz, and the subsequent roll-off of the upper treble. In the grand scheme of things, the Freya's treble is barely passable. The treble makes sense with the overall tuning of the Freya to complement the low mids emphasis but it doesn't always sound right thanks to the dip, peak, and roll-off. At the very least, I applaud the Freya for not overdampening the treble for an overly safe sound like that of the Moondrop Starfield.