Pros: Very impactful, articulated, textured bass with a physical punch
Great custom design
Easy to drive
Very strong in metal and electronic genres
3 year warranty
Lightweight and comfortable headband
Simple sound tuning
A bit cramped stock ear pads
Not very comfortable during long sessions
Kennerton Gjallarhorn (custom version) – your personal Ragnarok
Since I have a custom version (this is something between the LSA HP-2 and the original Kennerton Gjallarhorn), the description below probably and most likely will differ from what you hear in the stock version. Having the same driver, the differences between the custom and the original are primarily in the design of cups, because of this the sound has tangible differences. I did not see the internal structure of the cups of the original version, but there are two holes, and in my headphones there is one hole. This hole is actually a very important tuning tool, so everything matters here.
I didn’t listen to the original version for a very long time, but the most important difference is the space and a more balanced sound. In the original Gjallarhorn, the sound is pushed away from the head and sounds a little from afar, has more air, and the overall sound is more smooth, there the bass is also very strong and percussive, but not as brutal, sledgehammer as in the custom version. Also, the subbass of the custom version is much more noticeable and thicker.
This concludes the comparison of the two versions. Further I will describe only the custom version.
Initially, I wanted a specific sound, which was slightly different from the original Gjallarhorn in the bass/subbas area. I also had wishes in the design, I wanted a custom logo, fonts and inscriptions. So the Cannon Edition version was born.
The design feature of the model is the horn, which is superimposed on the driver and creates a massive, assertive sound signature. A primitive example is a gramophone that has a horn for amplifying sound, scales it. The same effect is created by the horn in these headphones.
Comfort and Fit
The headband can already be called a neoclassical Kennerton headphone. It has replaced a more aesthetic, but less comfortable previous headband with a patented regulatory mechanism. The current headband is very light, easily adapts to the size of the head and I like it much more.
According to my feelings, the pressure of the headband is slightly noticeable, the head is not squeezed by a vice, but some pressure is clearly felt. Moreover, this pressure is not even exerted by the headband, but by thick ear pads with cups. If you replace the ear pads with any velor, suede, and so on, then comfort will increase significantly. Even leather ear pads, but less thick ones, will also have a positive effect on wearing comfort. I am describing a stock kit.
The ear pads have a fairly small inner radius and keep this in mind if your ears are larger than average. My ears are quite average and they fit right into the inner space of the ear cushions, they feel quite cramped there. Naturally, this will be an additional challenge in the hot summer.
Long sessions will be contraindicated for me. Firstly, you get tired of such an assertive presentation, and secondly, you get tired of sitting in cramped ear pads for a long time. But to hear one or two albums is OK.
Reliability and noise isolation
Passive noise isolation is a trump card. Unwanted noises with great difficulty penetrate into the headphones. It will also be very difficult to hear your music from a distance of 50 centimeters, even if you listen to music at a volume higher than average.
The design of the headphones is strong, reliable, all parts are fitted flush. There is no feeling that if the headphones fall to the floor, they will be damaged. The cups are perfectly sanded; nothing hangs, no backlash, no creaks. In general, everything is created at a very high level. I would say – created with love and responsibility for their work.
Amping and Forgiving
Gjallarhorn is not very picky about amplification, and easily drives from a portable player. In comparison, the Fostex TH-900 is about 22% more demanding to gain, and Kennerton Thekk – 36%. I calculated this from the values of the volume level at which I listen to each pair of headphones.
But they do not forgive the poor quality of the recording. On bad recordings you can hear a very dirty and distorted sound. And on high-quality recordings – it’s just fantastic, you get a lot of emotions and buzz from the engaging sound.
If critical sound is important to you, then Gjallarhorn is probably not for you. This is pure fun and engage. Hearing this sound for the first time, it was love forever. But yes, sometimes you can hear a dirty sound, and distortion of tones, and there is not the best resolution. But this is, damn it, a HORN to alert the APOCALYPSE, and not a fetish gizmo for hardened audiophiles!
Although out of the box you will get a more gentle, detailed, clear sound. Yes, the bass will be with a good impact, electric guitars will sound very aggressive and spiteful, but if you do not tune anything further, then this is a quite moderate, without any distortions, dynamic closed back sound with muscular bass, juicy midrange and slightly shooting treble. But if you want to go a little further, then you can get a powerful cannon in your hands. That’s why Cannon Edition.
So if you came to the Cannon tuning, then the drums become sledgehammers. The most dense, textured, articulated bass with a powerful beat. It resembles the bass of large speakers.
Subbass out of the box, although noticeable, but it can be made truly subwoofer with Cannon tuning.
Mids are always noticeable, not hiding anywhere. Sometimes it seems that they are even moved forward.
The stringed instruments sound great, the body feels good, everything is delicious.
Trebles can be made (with tuning) very bright or can be moderate. But I like it when they are noticeable. When you are not annoyed by a sharp trebles, and when the sound becomes biting, savory.
Soundstage is also tuned by various tools. In my tuning, it is not too spacious. Average width, average depth, everything is quite compact, chamber. But if you want, you can get a pretty decent size, it will not reach the open back headphones soundstage, but there will be no claustrophobia either.
Gjallarhorn sounds great in metal, modern rock, electronic genres. The blues, country, jazz will also sound good. Instrumental compositions with strings, organ, drums – all this will be just as good.
Let’s explain right away that nobody asks you to change or tune anything. Do this only if you want and are interested. Just when you buy Gjallarhorn, you keep in mind that using improvised methods you can get a very different sound without buying new cables for this, not using an equalizer etc.
As I said above, in my version of the headphones in the cups there is one hole for air, and in the original version there are two holes. By default, they are covered by acoustic carpet. Actually, the amount of bass, sub-bass and treble depends on how tightly closed these holes are. If you cover up the holes with adhesive tape, then the bass will go away, the treble will be most noticeable. If you remove any carpet from the holes, you get a bass sound with a maximum amount of sub bass. That is, the density of the carpet affects the amount of fat in the sound.
Ear pads. The larger the inner diameter -> the more space in the sound. The thicker the ear pads -> the deeper the sound stage. The denser leather -> the clearer the sound, the drier the bass, but here also the treble can be sharper. Soft leather will give more bass, a thicker sound.
Here is, for example, a large inner diameter on the ear pads from the Fostex TH-900
All kinds of fabric, suede, velor ear pads reduce bass and raise trebles. But they are more comfortable in a hot climate. They will also help if you went too far with the bass in your tuning. They will make the sound smoother, airly, drier bass.
I personally found the perfect to me – Dekoni Elite AKG K Series – Sheepskin
I will not make a detailed in-depth comparison, but will talk about the main differences.
vs. Fostex TH-900
Fostex is lighter and more comfortable, I can spend a lot of hours in them. They are a little more demanding to amping, have a very fragile design and more fragile cups. Fostex has a more comfortable sound in overall. There is no such attack, pressure, aggression, like in Gjallarhorn. An interesting fact is that when tuning the Gjallarhorn you can achieve very close sound with the TH-900 – both in space and in sound signature. In my version of tuning, Gjallarhorn has a much stronger, more powerful, punch bass, thicker sub bass, this sound has more meat, drive, and attack. At the same time, the soundstage, of course, is smaller than that of Fostex. Also Fostex has a more balanced and all-around sound.
vs. Kennerton Thekk
These are just two different philosophies. This is not even about dynamic and isodynamic drivers, but in general about the nature of the sound. No tuning will add such a lively, emotional sound to Gjallarhorn, will not expand the soundstage to the same size, will not saturate with such rich tones, and so on. But at the same time, no equalizer, cable, device will add to Thekk the same fury and power that Gjallarhorn has. These are just two different worlds, in each of which you feel good in your own way.
vs. Campfire Audio Cascade
I remembered Cascades because they have a lot of bass. But the difference is that Gjallarhorn has a higher SQ level, their bass is clear, detailed, it does not climb to other frequencies. While in Cascade, the sound is simply saturated with primitive bubbling bass. If you are a basshead, then Gjallarhorn challenges you.
I wanted these headphones to listen to heavy aggressive genres in which Gjallarhorn just shines and sounds fantastic. In these headphones I found thundering power, frantic pressure, uncompromisingness.
If you do not need such a subwoofer sound, then from the box you will be pleased with a very engaging sound, a juicy midrange and a beautiful impact in the lower range.
P.S Sorry but English is not my native language