Russian headphone company Kennerton has found their niche in the luxury headphone world with their patented designs and intensely involved building process. The boutique seller should definitely be on the radar of any collectors or avid audiophiles, as some hidden gems of the headphone world sit within their growing collection. Kennerton’s Gjallarhorn GH50 JM Edition was one of the first headphones I heard from the company, and I was wow’d immediately. Today I’ll be getting a chance to dive back in and do an in depth review of these $1,299 closed back dynamic headphones.
What’s in the Box
- Gjallarhorn GH50 JM Edition
- Eco-Leather carrying case with shoulder strap
- 2 meter cable with a gold-plated 6.3 TRS connector
Look and Feel
These follow a similar look and feel to all of Kennerton’s headphones, with a fairly large body that sports tons of built in comfort. The wood finish on the ear cups (today we have it in Limited Stabilized Maple Blue) gives the GH50 a more vintage feel, but they’re given some modern attributes with the metal frame and automatically adjusting headband. The ear pads are large and extremely plush, comfortably encapsulating the ear without creating uncomfortably heat or friction.
Both the original and JM edition of the GH50 use a 50mm dynamic driver. Despite being dynamic, the addition of Graphene, a unique material created by Kennerton, is meant to create many planar magnetic qualities. When it comes to the GH50 JM edition, it’s a slight, but effective, altercation on the original Gjallarhorn GH50. This change to the build was pioneered by John Massaria, who owned one of the first pairs of GH50s. Massaria DIY’d the headphones by adhering small furniture dots around the Graphene Mylar membrane. He claimed this improved precision and separation.
These have an impedance of 55 Ohms and a frequency response of 10Hz-50kHz
If you want an open back soundstage from a closed back headphone, that’s a kind of ridiculous request, isn't it? Well, somehow, Kennerton manages to pull it off. The GH50 may have one of the widest soundstages on a closed back model, and other Kennerton closed backs share a similar width. The GH50 is extremely airy, allowing for a much more surround sound feel than a closed back is typically thought to be capable of. The sound never feels to be pushing up against the headphone’s walls, it always has extra room to breathe. The same goes for the depth, which never seems to lack the space to accommodate and bring to life even the most atypical and extreme compositions.
The GH50’s bass is the best of both worlds with its beefy, boosted response but expert handling. These are probably the most bass heavy of Kennerton’s headphones, which tend to err on the side of subtlety with their low end. The tuning of the 30Hz and 50-60Hz range is extremely well deviated and balanced, giving just the right amount of sub presence to create a pleasant vibration while leaving room for the 125Hz range to give a satisfying “pop” to percussion and pluck to baselines. These are great for a very stereo-filling low end that isn't confined to the middle of the field. If you want to hear a bassy response through a grade-A high-fidelity lens, plug in the GH50.
The mids on the GH50 do a good job of sounding natural despite the fact they definitely take some liberal cuts in the high mid. This recessed high mid makes for an increased smoothness to sound, and is great for sensitive ears. If you like a more intense, cutting vocal these may not be your cup of tea (perhaps check out Kennerton’s Wodan or Vali for more pronounced, saturated high mids). While the GH50 don’t subdue vocals, they leave their presence more neutral. Their low mid is slightly boosted, which sounds more intense than it is in contrast to the high mid. There’s some slight coloring to the low mid that helps warm up the sound and add a unique touch to your listening experience.
The GH50’s high end is its most neutral area in comparison to its more modulated lows and mids. These are bright enough to really open up the mix and create a sense of airiness. They have a slight shine to them that brings out the more twinkling textures but remains conservative enough to avoid any hiss. The highs on the GH50 have a lot of transparency to them, which makes for a very organic, dry sound. These would not be the headphones for someone who wants darkness, perhaps check out Kennerton’s Thror if a damper high end is more your style.
I’m a big fan of the Gjallarhorn GH50 JM edition. It was one of the first Kennerton headphones I ever listened to, and getting to revisit it has been as pleasant of an experience as was expected. The various sound signatures offered by Kennerton’s headphones vary widely, and the GH50 seems to be the most neutral, even-keeled of them. I’d definitely call the GH50 the crowd pleaser headphone of their collection, and a great one at that.
You can purchase the Gjallarhorn GH50 JM edition Here.