Kinera Imperial Mount Nanna 2.0: the Cadillac of IEM flagships!
Hi Everyone! Welcome back to the Neighborhood. Today we’re taking a look at a very special IEM from Kinera, the Nanna 2.0. The Nanna is Kinera’s Flagship, so it should be the best that Kinera has to offer. With regard to the original, some people loved the it, while others thought it was a bit too warm, fuzzy, and unrefined. But, this is the retune, and both Zeos and DMS gave this one their stamp of approval to this update, but will it get mine? Let’s get InToit!
First of all, I wanted to say thank you to David Giler, from the Neighborhood, who sent in his own personal Nanna 2.0 into the channel for review. Without viewers and supporters like David, reviews like this one would not be possible, so I really appreciate it! And, I know the audiophile community appreciates it too. So, thanks again David!
Let’s start out with the build. The Nanna 2.0 is smaller than I expected, and compared to other flagships like the Clairvoyance, Monarch, and EJ07, the Nanna is most assuredly more diminutive and lighter weight in its build. This is, more than likely, made possible by the fact that the Nanna 2.20 houses less drivers than these other flagships, consisting of 1, 7 mm dynamic, 1 full-ranged Sonion balanced armature, and 2 Sonion electrostatic drivers. The nozzle inserts pretty deep, and extends into one’s ear canal more than a lot of other sets. There is no lip at the end of the nozzle to secure the tip, but I did not have major issues with tips falling off this set either. The set comes with some foams, and an assortment of Final Type E tips, but I did not like the sound of any of these tips with the Nanna, as the bass was a bit smushy. Instead, I preferred AZLA Sedna Earfit XELASTEC tips, this smoothed out the bass, and give it a richer texture, and a more detailed tone and rumble.
As this is a flagship, it comes with a nice, flapped-style, leather, carrying case, a brush for cleaning, and a 3.5 to quarter-inch adapter in the box. The 3.5mm copper cable these come with is also fairly nice, soft to the touch, and sounds really good too. It was prone to mild kinking, but nothing that I would say makes it a bad cable in use. One thing that bothers me about the cable is that the chin-slider is just a piece of cheap plastic. On a flagship IEM, I would have expected Kinera to have put a little more effort into this juncture of the design given the price of this thing.
The connection at the base of the IEM is a slightly recessed 2-pin, and the face, or outermost portion of the shell is emblazoned with “Kinera” on the left and “Nanna” the write in silver, cursive writing. Underneath this writing is a three-way sparkled colorway in burnt orange, blue, and green. The sparkle and colorway remind me of the top of a King Cake during Mardi Gras time. Overall, I dig the Nanna’s stylings, and find them absurdly comfortable to wear for hours upon end due to their light weight, ergonomic design, and relaxed, yet detailed, never fatiguing, sound signature.
So, let’s talk about that sound signature. It’s pretty unique, and, at the same time, this is a pretty great IEM. But, unlike other flagships, its not going to beat you over the head with forced resolution and detail. Instead, the detail and resolution here are delicate and almost effortless. The presentation is soft, and almost “stepped-backed” in comparison to other sets. Tonality is slightly dim and warm, but never fuzzy. The earphone, has a very subtle airy quality to it. I’d almost say that the presentation is ever-so slightly veiled, but this might imply a negative quality that I don’t want people assume about this set, as its clarity is relaxed, but top-notched. Overall, I’d say its presentation is tranquil, but mostly accurate, and my brain mostly just accepts its articulation as “what is.”
Like other characteristics of this earphone, tonality could be amplifier dependent. Surprisingly, I did not like the presentation of the Nanna off the some of my favorite sources. Off the Centrance DACport HD, the Nanna was less refined, and unworthy of the designation of a flagship. And on the Gold Note DS-10 Plus, the Nanna did not scale well, and just sounded off. Testing on the Gold Note did display that the Nanna was not particularly sensitive, as I detected limited to no hiss, even without an iFi IEMatch that I usually must employ with IEMs on the headphone out of the DS-10. So, I began to test other sources, including some that are usually too noisy to use with most IEMs.
In contrast to my findings with the aforementioned sources, the THX AAA 789, Geshelli Archel Pro, iFi Zen Dac, iFi Zen Can Signature, and Bravo Ocean were all excellent pairings with the Nanna to varying degrees- with each resulting in their own unique sonic outcomes with the earphone in the end. In general, I would say that on most sources the Nanna does not have the largest stage, but its staging could be dramatically influence by source in order to enhance it. For example, the Nanna came across as rather boxed-in on the Archel Pro, but less so on the iFi Zen Can Signature with its Xspace effect turned on. Still, the best staging and presentation, surprisingly came from the Bravo Ocean with a Raytheon Tube, as from this combination of source, the stage of the Nanna seemed almost immeasurable to my ears. And as a side note, the Nanna isn’t very sensitive, in the least, as it could be driven directly off the Ocean, which has plus 30 dB of gain, and isn’t the lowest noise floor in the world; with the Nanna it was virtually silent.
As a rule, staging was mostly spherically shaped, but the size of this sphere expanded and contracted with varying amplification like a Hoberman’s Sphere. In the end, I enjoyed it off warm, and cool application alike, but did not enjoy it off every amplifier. In other words, with the Nanna, source will influence the sound, and synergy will matter greatly.
Although the staging of the Nanna was somewhat restricted, for the most part, peripheral detailing was ambient yet extremely clear, and thrown decently well in terms of depth and width on occasion as well- giving the illusion of larger staging on some tracks. Imaging was immaculate, and layering capabilities astonishing. Imaging placement, transitional accuracy, and instrumental distinctiveness was without ill repute, despite coming across as confined at times (depending on amplification source).
Transients and all of frequencies of decay appeared natural in their nature, but microdynamics and macrodynmics, while realistic in their overall presentation, were typically mildly flat and diminutive for the sake of listenability. Vocals, although well-centered and affably large in their scope, were not always the most forward. Vocals are pleasing and articulate, but may not satisfy a vocal first listener, as they had a tendency to be somewhat mixed in with the rest of the midrange on certain tracks.
With regard to its general sound profile more specifically. The treble here, like the rest of the presentation, is very relaxed. I don’t want to call it veiled, because there is a refined amount of air up top and the extension itself is pretty good, but on the wrong amp, it can definitely come across that way. So, although the high-end is mostly represented well, and softly detailed, both the treble and the general presentation, on the whole, are further away from the listener’s ear compared to many other sets being produced these days. As such, this won’t be a set that appeals to treble-heads that lust for intense, in your face, highs, as this is more of a relaxed, easy listening earphone instead.
The midrange is smooth and buttery. It blends well in coherence with the treble and the bass. Separation in the mid-range particularly was well-executed and articulated, and stood out to my ears- giving the Nanna a sense of spaciousness, even when its staging had a tendency to become confined by amplifier interaction effects on certain sourcing. Tonality of the Nanna is slightly warm leaning, and most of this warmth comes from its somewhat lush mid-range, but to return to vocals, they could come across as somewhat thin in its character on poorly matched sources.
The bass of the Nanna is probably its least present component and least distinctive characteristic of the Nanna’s sound profile, but I also think that it is well done overall too. One should know upfront that this is not a bass-head’s IEM, as it is somewhat soft in its delivery, but it is extended well enough into the sub-bass, and I do find it to be extremely satisfying and detailed with the right set of tips. Again, the tips that I preferred with this set (specifically because of the bass outcomes) were the AZLA Sedna Earfit XELASTEC Tips, as the stock, Final Type E Tips resulted in an unpleasant, under-detailed, and smushy bass. With the XELASTEC, the Nanna rumbled well with moderate impact, and decent dynamics, even though this won’t be the most impactful IEM of all time, as the Nanna errors towards listenability, enjoyment, and equivalent distribution, while never being fatiguing. When I say, I could listen to these for days, I really mean it!
Overall, the Nanna 2.0 is a great flagship offering by Kinera from this reviewer’s perspective, they look beautiful and can match their looks with their sound. While it might not be stuffed with all the drivers like some other flagships are these days, it offers the audiophile community a unique, relaxed, slightly warm, and detailed presentation that is a smooth ride and never fatiguing. These are the Cadillacs of flagship IEMs, soft in their sonics and light in their weight- making them extremely comfortable both to wear and listen too. From a sound perspective, less maybe more here, as they are implemented extremely well to boot. Off the right source, the Nanna truly come alive in front of the listener, and is an amazing experience to the ear. The downside here is that alternative tips are required and the sound can be unbefitting of the flagship designation when driven off the wrong source, so your mileage may vary; depending upon your specific chain.
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