As the story goes, “Freya” was the goddess of love & beauty in Norse Mythology. I won’t into the complete legend here (it’s quite lengthy), but the gist of it is, she was both tough and beautiful, plus she wept tears of gold.
Hence the elaborate design of the $249 Kinera Freya earphones from Kinera Audio, which incorporates an alluring pattern accented with gold dust. According to the company, each one is handpainted.
It was hard for me to see the technique used, but there is no dispute the effect is striking. They look like mini pieces of art. The Freya comes in two color schemes, called Black and White. However, the actual blend of colors is anything but.
The “Black” version, which I received, has a blend of Black, Blue, White, and Gold on the earpieces. The “White” version displays a combination of White, Red, Purple, and Gold. A glossy finish further accentuates the color drip motif.
Disclaimer: The Freya was sent to us free of charge by HiFiGo in exchange for an honest review. That is what follows.
Each Freya comes with an extensive accessories package that includes two different headphone adapter cables (USB-C and Lightning), a tough, water-resistant storage box, a 1/4″ to 3.5mm adapter, a cool cleaning brush/tool, three pairs of clear silicone ear tips (S, M, L), plus another package of black silicone ear tips from Final Design.
If you’re not familiar, Final Design is another earphone manufacturer that I’ve written about here, along with their ear tips. They are favorites of mine, and I’ve used them on several other brands of earphones due to their fit and comfort. That’s a nice inclusion.
I also love that they threw in the USB-Type C to 3.5mm and Lightning to 3.5mm adapter cables so you can use the Freya on a phone without a headphone jack, like the iPhone or flagship Samsung models.
Inside each earpiece are a complement of three Knowles balanced armature drivers (seems like they are everywhere now) and a single 7mm dynamic driver. The BA drivers are crossed over to the high and midrange; the dynamic driver covers the low end.
The loosely braided high purity copper cable uses a standard two-pin connector at the earpiece and has a 3.5mm jack on the other end. It’s made to wear back over the ear using very loose plastic ear loops to guide them.
I wish the ear loops had some memory to them so you could form them to your ear, but instead, they just hang, so they tend to flop around annoyingly. Moving the crystal slider up towards my chin helped a bit. In any case, the cable is detachable, so you can replace it easily if you like.
While I wasn’t a fan of the cable fit, the lightweight earpieces fit my ear like a glove. They were super comfortable with no pressure points on the inside of my ears. Both sets of ear tips were comfortable as well, but I was partial to the Final tips because they seemed to stay put better and were more comfortable.
All in all, the Freya comes across as a very luxurious package. When you open the box, you feel like you’re getting what you paid for.
I started out listening to the Freya on the iFi ZEN Can/ZEN Dac combo fed by TIDAL on my HP Envy Laptop, then I moved over to my LG V60 Smartphone with the ESS Quad-DAC engaged. On the phone, I listened to a combination of hi-res FLAC files and TIDAL.
Overall, I found the Freya to have a slight V-shaped tuning, with a little boost on the ends of the audio spectrum. Regardless of that, the mids were still very present, but no matter what I listened to, I felt like the Bass and Treble were more forward in the mix.
The treble, although elevated, wasn’t what I would call bright or sibilant; it stayed relatively smooth for the most part. The high end on the Freya provided natural detail that added a lovely richness and tone to strings.
Bass, while a little bit slow, was pretty articulate, going down pretty deep when it needed to. It gave the percussion a nice weight, which got me moving when I listened to “Dale Tumba” by Cuban vocalist Aymee Nuviola.
Probably my favorite part of the Freya’s sound what the midrange. I love when an earphone gets the mids right, and these do, even if they are pushed back in the mix a bit.
Nuviola’s vocals, along with the male background singers on her song “Donde Estabas Anoche,” sounded so natural and warm that it just pulled me into the music.
If I had any gripes with the Freya, it would be the lack of air and space in the presentation. Every song sounds like you are in the very front row of a small club; the music comes hard and immediate. The soundstage goes out just beyond the ear.
Some actually may like that, but I like my perspective to be set back a little, so I can feel the music wash over me.
I compared the Freya to the Simgot EK3, a $359 earphone with a similar driver setup. The EK3 is tunable, meaning you can flip a switch on the back of the earpiece and add bass or treble to the mix. I used them on the balanced or flat setting.
I found the EK3 to have better detail and air with more space in between the performers. The soundstage was much more expansive.
But the Freya had a more natural, warm, dynamic sound than the EK3; they just rocked a little harder. The Simgot sounded a little synthetic in comparison. I think Freya is better for contemporary music. I prefer the EK3 for Jazz, Acoustic, etc. however.
The Freya is an excellent earphone worth every bit of it’s $249 price tag. They are probably not for everyone, but if you like an earphone with a warm, detailed, immediate sound that can get your head nodding, then these will fit the bill. They will also turn a lot of heads with their eye-popping design.
Buy Here: Kinera Freya 3BA+1DD Quad Driver Hybrid In-Ear Monitor $249 [Hifigo]