Opening up Kinera’s new Skuld, the dazzling looks of these $550 IEMs are to be expected. However, these seems to go above and beyond. Still, of course, it’s the sound that counts, and many a beautiful IEM have done the bait and switch in terms of their quality. Let’s see if the Skuld is more than just a pretty face.
What’s in the Box
- Kinera Skuld IEMS
- Silver plated cable
- 3.5mm and 2.5mm Adapters
- 11 sets of rubber ear tips and 2 sets of foam
- Leather carrying case
- Cleaning Brush
Look and Feel
These may be the most beautiful pair of IEMs I’ve ever seen, and that’s in comparison to all the other Kinera IEMs, many of which have preciously taken the cake for best in show. Their fragmented, reflective pattern glistens as the light hits them, sparkling silver, gold, and black peaking out from beneath. They look like a lost treasure from space. In terms of comfort, these have a similar molded ear shape to the rest of Kinera’s IEMs, and ensure a snug fit with a minimal settle-in time.
The Skuld contain 3 balanced armature Knowles drivers and 2 custom Kinera balanced armature drivers. These hand painted IEMs come with an 8 core, 192 strand silver plated copper cable, which has the increasingly common 4.4mm termination.
These have an impedance of 23 Ohms and a frequency response of 5Hz-50kHz
The Skuld have a very acoustic, life-like room sound to them. Vocals are given a very realistic, up front presentation and instruments are separated enough to create a great sense of cinema and large-scale performance. The way these handle the sides of the stereo spectrum make each song satisfyingly encapsulated in a layer of warm ear candy and ambience. Vocal layers, string sections, and large bands all feel organized and uncrowded, solidifying the Skuld’s sophisticated imaging abilities.
The Skuld’s low end is present but far from aggressive, avoiding much boosting at all in the sub frequencies. While they will offer you a hefty punch and “thud,” these are not focused on creating a sense of extreme depth, physicality, or rumble. They have punchy, balanced bass with some containment of the booming portions of the low end and some considerable extenuation of the most percussive pieces. Listening to Alunageorge’s “You know You Like It,” the bass feels full, and the kick attack-heavy. It’s not the most intensely bass-heavy presentation I’ve heard of the song, but the clean, tight low end response of the Skuld ensures no satisfaction is lost.
These do a good job boosting small portions of the mid range to achieve increased presence, as apposed to a huge, overarching, resonance-inducing boost. Listening to Hiatus Kaiyote’s “By Fire,” the lead vocals high mids feel subtly increased, while other more metallic frequencies have been slightly cut and cleaned up. A bit of warmth and light saturation feels present too, smoothing out any other edges. The low mid has a more neutral sound, with the guitars and keyboards taking on a very organic, untouched sound.
These are on the darker side for sure, though feel like they stop the roll off right before it gets too dark. The more subdued high end feels to increase warmth instead of decrease detail or presence. Listening to Toro y Moi’s poppy tune “Say That,” the drums and crackly, modulated samples still have a nice snap under the vocals. The vocals themselves don't have an intense shine, but their clean, silky character remains overall, just with a more dampened timbre. Overall, these are not an IEM for high end lovers, but do seem to target the more balanced, understated high end many audiophiles crave.
The Skuld are another wonderful, impressive IEM from Kinera inside and out. They seem to have a clear mission for their sound signature, and make no compromises in achieving it. They have a fairly neutral sound that still has its own unique quirks and characteristics to give you a fresh take on your favorite songs.
You can purchase the Kinera Skuld here.