Kennerton Rognir Impressions

The Rognir is a closed-back planar magnetic headphone from Russian brand Kennerton, which itself is a luxury line of Fischer Audio. The Rognir is the latest in a line of planar magnetic headphones from Kennerton, and is the company's most expensive set yet, coming in at prices starting at approximately $3800+ USD. 

This rare and limited edition Stabilized Karalein Birch wood Rognir is simply stunning. It's glazed in a blue and sand look that reminds me the beach and ocean and is easily one of the best looking headphone cups I've seen. It may top many of the ZMF creations.

As this is a limited edition set, it's pretty hard to get. Kennerton offers a variety of other wood choices on their website including Bog Oak, Purpleheart, Teak, Walnut, Bubinga, Beech, and Silky Walnut to name a few. In addition, there has been some talk about both a Reference and a Bass tuning for the Rognir. In the case of this demo unit, it is the bass-tuned version.

Before I go further, I want to give a special thanks to Andy Kong and the Cayin team for allowing several of us the ability to do a private loaner tour of this Kennerton Rognir, and also thanks to Kennerton for allowing this thing to happen and making a very attractive headphone!

The Rognir's design is very well made and extremely comfortable. I am not the biggest fan of how wide the metal yokes look, but the headband and the exquisite cups are really great. For being a closed-back planar, something you'd expect to be a bit on the heavy-side, these are very lightweight feeling, and a lot of that has to do with a really soft touch pads, headband, and really nice suspension strap that distributes weight well.

The Rognir kit I received with this loaner included a couple sets of cables which are both nicely braided cloth-wrapped cables with very attractive and sturdy connectors. The Rognir uses mini-xlr connectors on the headphone itself and should be compatible with Audeze, ZMF and Meze Empyrean cable types. 

In addition to the cables, the Rognir comes inside a soft and comfortable leather zip-up bag that is lightweight and usable. It reminds me of a highly premium camera bag and has plenty of space for additional cables and small accessories.

Sound Impressions

The Rognir has an interesting tuning that does not really sound like how it measures to me at all. It comes across as having a kind of wonky low end where its bass is a elevated, but not deep, and its midrange is both missing, thick, and thin all at once. The treble area sounds a tad bright to me, though measurements, as shown below, may depict it as darker and recessed. 

Before I go too much further, I do want to point out that while I do think the Rognir is a decent-sounding headphone, I am going to be a bit more critical given its steep price tag. With great price, comes great expectations.

The bass range can vary quite a bit depending on if you wear glasses or not. With a perfect seal, the bass can have an elevation in quantity, but still lacks sub-bass extension. With glasses or a non-perfect seal, the bass levels drop quite a bit to a more neutral, almost too lean amount, and with even more bass roll-off. The major difference between seal and no seal though, is that dip in the mid-bass range around 250Hz, where it exists or it barely exists.

This weird dip here is perhaps inherent due to the closed-back nature, but also due to the port hole on the rear cup. Covering this up also reduces this dip and bass in general, much like how breaking the seal does the same. 

In any regard, the bass range comes off a tad dull and lacking some texture. It has a good amount of punch though, but does not slam hard with impact. It gives certain instruments good body, but also not to others. I found that instruments like a contra-bass have a good amount of quantity, but some kick drums just lack power. This isn't the best bass reproduction I've heard in a planar unfortunately, but its not bad either.

The mid-range has a little bit of un-evenness to it. I find both male and female vocals coming off a tad robotic and lean. It some cases there's enough body to not sound thin, but also has an strange veil as well. I never really enjoyed my time listening to any music with singing with the Rognir and that's a big criticism of it in general. It's totally uneven bass and mid-range make singing performances really lackluster and scattered.

Contrary to this, however, I do think that many instrumental tracks do benefit from the Rognir's tonal balance. I found that my normal blend of piano-jazz music from artists such as Bill Laurence/Snarky Puppy, Go Go Penguin, and Joey Alexander sound quite nice here. They may not have the total intimate warm sound in all aspects, but the tonal balance of the Rognir makes this music have an interesting mix of openness and depth. There's enough muscle down below, and enough air up to top that I over-look some of the glaring holes in the middle, and given that these play well together to provide decent imaging and instrumental separation -- it kinda of mixes together to become a solid presentation.

Some Comparisons

Now, I do most of my comparison alongside open-back flagships. I compared most of my time with the Rognir with the Hifiman Susvara, and the Sennheiser HD800 and HD800s. While neither of these are great matches for price points, nor is it totally fair to compare a closed-back to two elite open-backs, it's what I have on hand. And in this case, I prefer the other two over the Rognir for my style of listening and I can't help but wonder how much the simple closed-back nature of the Rognir affects my listening perception. 

The HD800s has a more smooth and natural sound, although it does have a slightly brighter upper mid-range and low treble peak than the Rognir. While I do think the Rognir is quite spacious for a closed-back headphone, the HD800s is more dispersed sounding and quite open and grand. The Rognir has significantly more body to it though, and although I do think the HD800s is a brighter headphone overall, I felt the Rognir had a little bit more unevenness in its tonal balance that caused some strange leanness to its mid-range and treble that can sometimes be a bit distracting, particularly in vocals. In general, I find that both of these do better in acoustical instrumental music, but the HD800s does a better job for vocal presentation than the Rognir does. 

The Susvara is my favorite headphone and also quite a bit more expensive than the Rognir. Again, it's also an open-back and does not have to deal with cup reflections and other resonance issues as much as something that is closed-back. That said, the tonal balance of the Susvara is much more smooth and balanced, but I do think the Rognir is a little warmer, richer, and in some ways has a punchier bass. The Susvara extends much better in the subbass region though, and has a more even sound throughout. In terms of detail, I don't think there's really a contest here as the Susvara hands down seems to extract more out of music than I think the Rognir does. That said, the Rognir is still quite capable for being a closed-back with limitations.

In terms of actual closed-back planar comparisons. I do have the Audeze Sine on hand, however they are on a completely different class of pricing. The Sine retailed at $500 and go for around $200-250 in the re-sale market now. It's quite a big gap between the nearly $4000 Rognir. That aside, I find the Rognir out performs the Sine in imaging and depth as well as openness. The Sine's tonal balance is more correct to me, and I appreciate how well it sounds especially for being an Audeze product and being closed back. It's still quite limited by perhaps it's driver size and its price limitations, and the Rognir is a better technical product, with only its frequency response falling behind.

Final Words

The Kennerton Rognir is a really stunning looking headphone. The wood finish is among the most attractive headphones I have ever seen. It is also a very comfortable and light-weight headphone for being a planar closed-back and I enjoyed the nice build quality, and cables and accessories.

The overall sound is not really my favorite thing on the market, but I do understand there's limitations in a closed-back headphone. I do find it a tad lean at times, and a wonky overall sound that does not sound as robust enough to me for all genres. I didn't like it for vocal music, but I find it works well with instrumental jazz and post-rock music. 

It's an above-average headphone that I think looks the part but may not totally sound the part in my opinion for the price point its at. This may appeal to some though, but for me, it's not a bad headphone but not one I'd reach for most of the time.


  1. I'm listening to a pair that my fellow head-fier has on your and usually my first test track is OD by Polyphia, this headphone is one of the few that change the way the bass sounds in the opening of the song. It sounds distant with no impact. I can hear the bass but when compared to my hd650 it seems not as full. The hd650 brings a little grit and weight to the bass notes however it doesn't seem to sustain the notes for a long. Maybe that is a planar vs dynamic driver issue


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