Kennerton has been turning a lot of audiophile heads, especially with respect to its GH 40 and GH 50 models, which has become huge sellers. The M12s is a little different, focusing on a more analytical and neutral sound that is geared towards mixing and other studio applications. But can it also satiate the ears of casual audio enthusiasts looking for a good time? Let’s take a look at what you can expect from the M12s in terms of skill and character.
In the Box
– Kennerton M12s Headphones
– 2 Meter Detachable OFC Cable (1/4 inch termination)
– Soft Carrying Case
Look and Feel
In terms of comfort, the M12s is ideal for long mixing sessions. The clamping force is gentle, if not loose on some, and the suspension headband keeps the headphones light and unobtrusive.The hybrid metal/wood ear cups are universally appealing in their aesthetic. And the plush leather ear pads add a comfortable and luxurious touch to the overall feel of the headphone.
Like the GH40, the M12s employs a 40mm composite paper driver, which give the sound signature a distinctively clean character. At 33 Ohms and 114dB, these cans are super easy to drive. The detachable 2 meter, material covered OFC cable has a nice, gold plated 1/4 inch termination, but I would have appreciated a 3.5mm adapter, which was unfortunately missing from the box.
The soundstage is one of the most impressive and enjoyable aspects of this headphone. It delivers a thoroughly 3 dimensional feel, not only offering ample distance from all angles, but also revealing a definite sense of precision. gradations in instrument placement are clearly delineated to the smallest degree, making for a truly colorful and reliably analytical listening experience.
The M12s is notably light on the bass, even for a headphone marketed as neutral. And it becomes immediately clear that this sound profile is best suited for those with a particular aversion to warm and thick low-ends. Even for a studio headphone, you might have to adjust for the balance, as it reveals less low end than any Beyerdynamic or Sennheiser meant for mixing or recording applications. For casual listening, the character of the bass leans itself best to classical and jazz music. Double basses sound natural and nuanced even if less than distinguished or majestic in personality. And the skillful level of detail is certainly there to warrant the price tag. But probably, this headphone won’t pack enough of a punch to satiate those who mainly listen to pop or rock.
The midrange is ever-present and evenly balanced; the low-mids really come through in the mix, which the listener is grateful for, considering the low-end feels so thin. So yes, the M12s feels entirely neutral in this range. It should be noted that the separation is absolutely superb on these cans, and it is, therefore, unsurprising that the profile is rather thin. And the distinctive paper membrane sound really comes through, entirely clear, tight and yet delicate in its presentation.
You won’t miss out on any treble here, but at the same time, the highest frequencies are smooth and relatively easy on the ears, making the M12s perfectly suitable for long studio sessions. Although it snaps, this isn’t a particularly sparkly headphone. The transparency is of course solid, but it perhaps falls slightly shorter on detail than some of the more well-known mixing and recording headphones, such as the Beyerdyanmic DT 1990.
Although the M12s is designed for studio/mixing use, it still offers pleasurable listen simply because of its sheer precision, separation and spacious soundstage. Those who require even a mildly substantial bass will likely be unsatisfied with the tuning. But casual listeners who are fans of folk and classical will undoubtedly be taken by the highly accurate and natural presentation of these cans.
You can find the Kennerton M12s at Audio 46.