Kennerton Vali Measurements and impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by sorrodje, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Specifications :

    Driver Unit 50 mm
    Frequency Response 10-28000 Hz
    Sensitivity 100 dB
    Impedance 32 Ohm
    Maximum Input Power 500 mW
    Cord length 2 m detachable 4-pin mini XLR OFC cable (3.5 mm)

    990$

    The Driver included in this headphone is made by Tymphany ( guidelines and basic specs provided by @Drakkard from Kennerton ) . Ref HPD-50N25PR00-32 : spec sheets here : http://www.tymphany.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Headphone-Spec-Sheets.zip


    Brief Listening Impressions ( Updated 20161212)

    I Like this headphone so I could be maybe biased.

    Very nice Overall Balance , Open punchy lively sound with a good open soundstage . Somewhat forgiving for bad recordings but it does not fall into the limp dick laid back territory. Not as refined and resolving as best offers but very enjoyable for a wide range of music, including so so recordings. Maybe some weirdness in the mids but not offensive to my ears. The 1 khz emphasis shown in measurements does not bug me as much as it usually does. Mids are a bit too forward/shouty that I'd like though but not a dealbreaker to my ears. Definitely punchier and deeper bass than the HD6X0. Great headphone for Electronic music in my opinion. I honestly prefer the Vali to the Elear despite the fact the Focal is probably a "better" headphone. This headphones reminded me a bit my ZMF Vibro X but without the "T50RPish sound" ... That kind of punchy easy going sound signature. Headstage is kinda large and airy but still a bit forward. I still thinkg the Vali offers decent Layering and Imaging capabilties. Overally a very decent sounding headphone.

    I'd say it sits more into the "sit back and enjoy the music" kind of headphone but on the Lively/Punchy side.

    I think the sound itself does not justify the price tag but the whole package and overall quality worth it. One of the rare headphones I didn't immediately find massively overpriced.

    Comfort is so so due to the weight/clamp and design. it can be a dealbreaker for some. it's not for me and I could wear it for hours without pain or even discomfort. Need some time to find the right adjustement though.


    Loaner opened for friends in EU and US. Check the dedicated section. :) I highly encourage people to give it a listen. We have this pair to allow friends to discover it in good conditions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
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  2. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    Measurements :

    FR (average)

    Kennerton Vali FR.jpg

    FR Left & Right

    Kennerton Vali FR Left & Right.jpg

    Distorsion Left

    Kennerton Vali Disto L.jpg

    Distorsion Right

    Kennerton Vali Disto R.jpg

    CSD left

    Kennerton Vali CSD L.jpg

    CSD Right

    Kennerton Vali CSD R.jpg

    Spectro Left

    Kennerton Vali Spectro L.jpg

    Spectro Right

    Kennerton Vali Spectro R.jpg

    IR Left

    Kennerton Vali IR L.jpg

    IR Right

    Kennerton Vali IR R.jpg
     
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  3. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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  4. FallingObjects

    FallingObjects Pay It Forward

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    Okay but, if you run these out of the Vali amp, is it the Vali²?
    (sorry I'll go)

    Definitely appreciate the aesthetics behind these though.
     
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  5. gbeast

    gbeast Mighty Moral Power Ranger

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    Overall I ended up liking these more than the Elear.
    good to see some more measurements on these.

    These also have the best percussion I have heard from any dynamic headphone to date.

    After a while they became a bit closed in sounding to me though and the upper mids a bit withdrawn.
     
  6. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    Forgot to add that @Drakkard is super open to work with sbaf community and take our feedbacks to improve this headphone. He's still working on the Vali and we could see some new things appear in the future.

    I completely agree with the "percussion" thing... There's something "ortho-ish" in that impact. Very enjoyable.
     
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  7. Vanheim

    Vanheim Facebook Friend

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    If the comfort was improved substantially on this and some of the minor fr issues were resolved I would heavily consider these. But at their weight and clamp they're going to put a lot of people off.
     
  8. Drakkard

    Drakkard Acquaintance

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    @sorrodje thanks a lot for your comments and measurements, I appreciate it. Yes, I still see several places which I want and have an ideas how to improve. I'm watching all the responses closely.
    @Vanheim clamping force can be adjusted by unclenching headband arks. Firstly you need to unscrew lower headband, then it can be done by hands. But weight is not that simple to correct, yeh
     
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  9. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    @Drakkard :I'll try to swap the pads as soon as possible to see if the slight imbalance is related to those pads.

    Looking forward to see what improvemens you're planning :)
     
  10. MrButchi

    MrButchi Gear Master Europe

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    Here is a big thank you to Kennerton and Sorrodje for making this loaner happen.
    Sorrodje will post his measurements at some points, and all participants will post theirs and/or their subjective impressions.

    Here are my Impressions from a Yggy / Black Widow 2 stack (at work), and QP1R on the go (and at home). Total # 35 hours of listening time over a week. So take this with a grain of salt (or two).

    Build quality: impeccable. My encounters with the Odin were less than comfortable, but I am starting to think it was due to poor work on my behalf. The Vali has similar tweaks in the form of two tightening screws which allow to really set it up perfectly on the head, and tight enough that it won't move. It's not too heavy (450g vs 670g for the Odin), but not light either. Overall felt the same weight as my Utopias. The cable was a 3.5mm jack which struck me as odd at first, but turned out to make sense. It was annoying as hell however, being too rigit. I really feel that the build quality is up to the money asked to fork.

    Sound: a nice allrounder. Basically, and money consideration apart, it sounds to me like a "Super HE-500". Can't say it's the best on anything, but it's good with everything. It betters the HE-500 in that it's a lot more precise and has better resolution, whereas the HE-500 would sound more "muddy/blurry" in terms of pure resolution and separation. We're still miles away from an HD800 or a Utopia however. But it's also clearly not a deal breaker. More of a "hey I knew there where two voices here, but it doesn't quite seem like it here".

    There is to me a clear bump in the bass, not in the subs. Hits a lot less hard than Utopia (but I've read this is a Utopia coloration). This appears to be liked by many, but annoyed me, as regularly the bass line became too present and distracting to my taste (in the sense of overwhelming as opposed to punchy).
    The mids and treble are really nicely done. No harshness spotted. No miracle either. I'm still trying to define the Black Widows 2 in the highs, so this might play a role too. Heard some people speak of a 1kHz bump, but that didn't strike particularly. But then the same is said of Utopia (even more so in fact), and that doesn't annoy me all that much either.
    The scene is not big, but appeared admirably coherent in its proportions. Think depth really matching width to give a very natural sense of dimensions, very immersing despite the relative small size. That was a great positive surprise.

    It was extremely easy to drive, and the QP1R pairing drove me through an 8 hours long work session from home in the bat of an eyelash. Smooth without ever being to the point of going unnoticed. This makes the 3,5mm jack make a lot of sense in fact, as I don't think you'll need a crazy source to extract enjoyment from these. If only the cable wasn't so annoying...

    Overall, a very pleasant time. Is it worth 1k? I dunno, I'm not so good with money valuation of HPs. But those are really nice and easy to live with.
     
  11. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    First I would like to thank @sorrodje and @MrButchi for getting the loaner program going in the EU and for all the work they do in the SBAF community in general. For some cheap bastards like me, this is the only way to experience some of the more expensive items in our hobby. Also thanks to Kennerton for allowing the Vali to go on tour in exchange for feedback.

    Build

    First impression is that this is a well built set of headphones. It's heavy but I never really minded weight when wearing home headphones. The cups are made of solid wood with a steel mesh on the outside. There are some decorative elements like the name and logo engraved in the metal parts. The headphone is adjustable by sliding and then locking with a hand tightened screw. However I discovered that I could not adjust them while they were on my head and I had to take them off while adjusting. Once it's set though it won't move.

    The cable is well built with a 6.35mm adapter, so it can be used with portable sources. It is also detachable with a sort of 4-pin mini-xlr on either side. It took a bit of work to connect, but once it's in there it is locked in place. The pads are leather and thick. The pad opening looked small and I was worried that my ears wouldn't fit, but they felt just fine. I would have no problem wearing these for an extended period of time. The Vali is open-backed which allows me to hear the kids complaining. Wife thought they looked nice which is really more important than anything else.

    Carrying case is fabric and functional. Much better then the sorts of wooden cases you see for other headphones. The padding was enough to keep things from moving, although I do wish there was a little more room for the cable. The way the case it setup you can't leave the cables plugged into the headphones while stored. Should not be a deal breaker for anyone.

    Sound

    Items used in this review:
    Amps: Schiit Magni 2 Uber
    Sources: Schiit Modi 1
    portable: iPhone 6
    Other headphones: HD600

    Upon first listen I didn't notice anything in particular. This is usually a good thing because if I notice something immediately, it's usually a negative trait. Into 32 ohms the Magni2U/Modi combo has a maximum output of 158mW. Considering that the Vali is rated for 500mW I thought it needed high gain in order to reach it's full potential. Listening with both gain settings seemed to confirm this.

    Giving it some time I noticed the drums had a nice presence. Using M83 as a reference for electronic music confirmed that the bass was clear with these. While listening to flutes at the beginning of Moldau by Smetana, I usually find that I can pick out locations when listening to speakers. With the Vali, while not as wide an image as speakers, there was still a nice separation. The headphones reminded me of my HD600s. Switching back to the HD600, I definitely felt like there was something missing. Things just sounded a bit more "fun" with the Vali. Listening to these for an extended period of time wasn't fatiguing and I had no problem watching TV and movies with them.

    Trying it with the iPhone 6 showed that it could get plenty loud. However everything sounded a bit muffled compared to the Magni. Amping certainly makes a difference. Another issue is that the 3.5mm jack is quite bulky and I needed to take the case off in order to plug it into the iPhone. Should not be a problem though since I don't think too many people will use this without external amping.

    Conclusions

    Build quality is top notch and sound is certainly there. As the first headphone I've listened to in the $1000 price range for an extended period of time at home, I can see why people spend this much. While I do consider it an improvement to my own HD600, I'm not sure I would spend 3x the price based on sound alone. Then again nothing will scale the price/performance of the HD6x0 series. They are built like a tank and will last a very long time. Certainly one to consider when looking at +$1000 headphones.

    Thanks SBAF!
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
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  12. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    Yup Sorry. I asked someone to close this thread. @MrButchi already moved his content to the main one ;)
     
  13. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Threads merged.
     
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  14. Ony

    Ony Acquaintance

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    Hugh thanks for Kennerton and Sorrodje to allow us to try this Vali.

    A bit of background, I'm a ortho guy since the beginning of my headphone journey and I'm really sensitive to density and bass slam because mainly, I'm a drummer and more precisely a metal music lover.

    I will did it simple and really synthetic :

    • Build quality
    + Really nice craftmanship (nice woodcup finish, leather band, pads, metal grill)
    + Seems build like a tank & last more than you
    + Good balance between nice looking and functionnalities

    • Comfort
    + Many adjsutement options
    - Heavy
    - Not really easy to adjust well the headband/clamping to get the right comfort

    • Sound
    + Easy going/No brainer global signature
    + Excellente bass slam for an e-dynamic can
    + No Harshness
    + Good extension on both side of the spectrum
    - bump in the bass and medium area

    • Soundstage/Resolution
    - Soundstage bit too forward
    - Layering need more depth
    - Voice are placed right in the upper part of your nose
    - Not resolving as HD6x0 cans

    Vali is a really interesting product which are between 2 worlds : ortho and e-dynamic.

    I like the no brainer sound signature but expected a more technical soundstage/layering & resolution. This is an easy recommendation for electro & rock/metal listener. I will easily recommend it if the prics drop a bit !
     
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  15. Drakkard

    Drakkard Acquaintance

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    Thanks for the responce Ony! What price you think will be spot-on for the Vali?
     
  16. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    @Drakkard I'll let Ony answer you but it seems we all agree ( @Ony, @MrButchi and me) the price should be around 6/700€ . it would put the Vali in a kinda dead area in the Market where the HE500 was the king a few years ago . Nowadays, the 500/1000€ range is a dead area where a lot of headphones don't offer anything that could justify their price especially considering what a HD6X0 is capable of. At such a price the Vali would be a very easy advice for people who are after a good , punchy yet non aggressive or bright sound and a good finish.

    My 2 cents.

    Let's see what other guy will think :)
     
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  17. MrButchi

    MrButchi Gear Master Europe

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  18. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Added my review. Next time I won't reserve a slot. Makes things confusing
     
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  19. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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  20. stratocaster

    stratocaster Friend

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    Can't really relate to the - overall - quite positive feedback these got. Build quality aside, these are really very uncomfortable due to weight and clamping issues. Soundwise, bass slam is nice but that might be just about everything I like about them. There is definitely some shout and nasality, resolution- and tonality-wise they can't compete with HD6X0. $1000? You must be kidding. I mean, you get a used HD800 with an HD650 on top for that kind of money. These are definitely not for me.
    Equipment used for testing: Tidal Hifi>Mimby>Jot
    Measurements were taken after listening, they basically correspond with Sorrodje's - channel imbalance confirmed.
    Thanks to you, @sorrodje, for letting us have a listen!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
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