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KL-Kanon

 
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kl-kanon
受付可

音場の広さと高域の繊細な質感にこだわって音響設計したモデル。
低域の量とバランスをとりつつも中高域の表現に注力した作りになっています。

・スイッチオプション

スイッチ切り替え機構を搭載し、スイッチ非搭載モデルと同じ4ドライバ、低域を増強した6ドライバ、低域を減らした6ドライバの3種類の音に切り替えが可能です。

Normal Switch Option
Ultra High
1 Driver 1 Driver
High-Mid 1 Driver 3 Driver
Low 2 Driver 2 Driver

・「試聴機プレデリバリー」サービスについて

カスタムIEMはオーダメイドという性格上、ご注文頂いてから完成品のお届けまで一定期間お待ち頂く必要がございますが、
この間にも製品の音をお楽しみ頂く為、製作期間中に試聴機を貸出致します。

本サービスは弊社サイトでのカスタムIEMのご注文全てに適用されますが、 試聴機の数には限りがある為、各機種在庫制での受注となります。
何卒ご了承下さい。

Please allow me 30 minutes of your life to share my experiences.

How did I arrive here?  First, some background.  Initially, I considered myself a "bass head".  I now consider myself an audio gear connoisseur, and deliberately shy from using the word "audiophile".  I listen to a wide variety of music and appreciate good quality.  I also love beer, but we'll get back to that.

In my younger years I judged many audio components solely on crude excursion tests and, like everyone, consumed gear on a budget.  I've learned many things along the way and now share my experiences for folks who are considering taking the "next step" with their level of audio gear.

Rough phases I've gone through and quick comments:
Late 1990s. Walkman / Discman / Minidisc era with my old MDR-V600.
This is what got me into bass on the go. I loved these headphones. Specs on paper looked amazing, and they were (for a kid).  I used them so much that the hinges broke.  I immediately bought a new pair, but the new pair sounded nothing like my old, heavily used pair.  This is how I discovered that "break in", at least, for voice coil speakers, is not bullshit.

Hiatus on portable gear:
2000 - 2010: Driving a car and growing up, you don't spend nearly as much time with headphones on.  Most of my 20's I did not have any good portable audio setup.  I was too busy being out and having a good time.

Settling down:
2011 - Present:  At this point in my life, I'm now older.  Family, good job, good money, etc.  Working in an office environment with occasional travel required, I started to get back into personal audio.  I stuck with closed back over the ear.  Tried SH HD-280Pro, dabbled a bit with portable amps, etc.  I started to see a noticeable quality improvement with the more money I was willing to wager on a new piece of gear.  I decided that $400 was an acceptable amount of money to spend on a new pair of headphones and purchased my MDR-Z1000s after much reading.  A huge portion of this decision was as homage to the MDR-V600s I had as a kid.  I hoped these would bring back the glory days of my youth.  I had very high expectations.  The headphones fit all of my requirements.  Huge power handing.  Sealed.  Removable cable.  Magnesium cups.

They were great, and still are.  I still have them and keep them around.

The search for the MDR-Z1000s led me to "head-fi" forums.  I spent some time with the MDR-Z1000s and life was good.  Tried a few different amps, etc.

Suddenly my job started to require a bit more travel.  The Z1000s are not very easy to drive, so I was lugging along a portable amp and a fairly large case in my carry on to accommodate them.  Looking to improve this situation, I considered folding over the ear headphones, as well as In Ear Monitors, for the first time.  Head to the store to demo.

The Audio Technica ATH-IM70.  This is the IEM that sold me on IEMs.  This $70 little red guy had better bass than my $400 Z1000.  I was blown away that these things were so small, yet packed such a huge punch.  Game changer.  Purchased on the spot, before even reading anything about them.

After purchasing, I did some searches for reviews of the IM70 and came across the "Bass Head IEMs" thread on head-fi.  This thread was where I first really started reading about custom IEMs.  I had seen them before, but didn't think much of them and also didn't realize how crazy expensive they were. 

I recalled the experience I had when jumping from the HD-280 to the MDR-Z1000 and that roughly 4x the money sounded roughly 4x better.  Using that rough logic,  I decided to try it again.  I was willing to wager the same $400 that I had spent on the Z1000s, but this time on an IEM.  Enter the ASG 2.5.  I purchased them brand new for under $400.   Holy. Shit.

The reviews of the ASG 2.5 headphones that you'll read online are all correct.  The bass is, hands down, the most ridiculous thing that you'll ever hear.  To date, I have never heard such a mass quantity of bass.  These headphones will punch you in the face, and give you a bloody nose.  They hit harder and louder than I can physically stand.  I've never been able to deal with the stress of these and get them to their clipping point.  It's more than I can take.  Physical pain.

The ASG 2.5s are what made me respect the fact that in ear monitors can truly damage your hearing.  This is no joke.  Watch your volume levels and durations folks.  My takeaways from the ASG 2.5s were that the "4x the money = 4x better" equation was roughly true again, and also that this interesting technology of Balanced Armature drivers makes for excellent sounding treble that is not affected by the bass drivers at all.  Nice!  The BA drivers in the 2.5 made me appreciate good quality treble for the first time.  Vocals and guitar suddenly sounded AMAZING.

Up the wager. How much better can this get than the ASG 2.5?  Back to the head-fi "bass head IEM" thead.  This was where I first head of Kumitate Lab.  Countless people in this thread have the KL-REF listed as one of the best bass IEMs that they've ever heard, but it's very difficult to obtain unless you live in Japan.  I live in Japan.  I shot an email to Kumitate Lab and scheduled a visit to their Tokyo office for demonstration, and arrived with impressions prepared ready to purchase the KL-REF.

Prior to the actual visit to Kumitate Labs, I had custom acrylic ear-plugs created.  I occasionally spend time in a very loud data center, so had a actual use for them.  The main purpose of this was to ensure I do not have any unforeseen comfort issues with acrylic in my ears.  Some folks have mentioned rashes, etc, so before spending over $1000, I'd recommend getting plugs made.

Demo day. I arrived at the Kumitate Lab office with my laptop, a few DACs, my IM70s, 2.5s and a wide variety of music.  Bass torture tests. Guitar. Vocals. Classical.  EDM or whatever the kids call it these days, etc..    Play time. 

It's funny how things don't work out how we expect.  I thought the KL-REF sounded terrible.  It totally fell over and died on my bass tests.  I was shocked. I had the cash in my pocket to purchase too, and had made the trek all the way to their office.   Hmmm... Okay.  I'll try some of the other models.

All BA drivers.   The last time I listened to pure BA driven IEMs, I was not impressed.  I had only listened to the ATH-IM01/2/4, etc. All of them fell over on bass tests.  I was handed the KL-Kanon. 

G-Easy "I Mean It"
Koan Sound "Wide Open"
Kendrick Lamar "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe"
Drake "Started From the Bottom"
The Prodigy *anything*

All of the above, at louder volumes than I'd recommend spending any time at.

XMMS FLAC audio --> ALSA volume 75/100 --> FiiO E17K DAC at med gain, flat treble, 4/10 and 6/10 bass, volume 40. 

It passed. 

The KL-Kanon is basically an all Balanced Armature version of the ASG 2.5, and available as a custom.  Shut up and take my money!

Then I waited a few months.

Upon completion, I visited the Tokyo office again for the fit and pickup.  When I arrived, I was shown my KL-Kanons, but I was shocked that they had a very roughly sanded finish to them and were not finished.   I test fit them.  This was my first time inserting an IEM, but I had experience with the custom plugs that I had made a few months back, so was familiar with the twisting action required to insert them.  Wow!  These things are tight!  Not uncomfortable, but just... snug. Snug all around.  Fit perfectly.  The difference was like properly fit snowboard boots, vs. old velcro sneakers.  The isolation! What?

I'm sorry, I didn't hear what you said.  I didn't hear anything except my own breathing, jaw movements and teeth grinding.  Insanity level silence.  I've never heard such quiet in my 30+ years on this earth, prior to this.

All of the above bass tests again, but this time with my customs.  Just as great, but this time now 100% isolated.  Amazing.  Truly amazing.

Accepted.

About 30 minutes of tweezer holding, some sort of epoxy spray / air brushing and a quick polish, and the things looked amazing.  I can't express how satisfied I was.  I should also mention the physical build quality and "feel" of this hand crafted work of art.  This is no mere "product".  This is a work of art.  Truly artisan crafted magical transport device.  It transports you from being a listener of music, to being *inside* the music. 

I left the office, went back to my tiny Tokyo business hotel and spend more time with the Kanons.

Fast forward a few weeks after really spending some time with them.

Touching on the silence again.  I'll equate the isolation and importance of having complete silence as a starting point for music listening with the black levels of display technology.  Listening to the Kanons, I feel like I'm watching 8K HDR video for he first time, when I've been watching 320x240 my entire past life.  The "black level" of the Kanon is that of an AMOLED or OLED display, vs. watching an entry level projector during day light hours with no curtains drawn. 

I hear things and genuinely think they are real.  I've pulled them out, thinking a baby was crying or there was thunder outside.

Perhaps the word is "sound stage"? Maybe I'm understanding that incorrectly?  When I close my eyes and listen to Led Zeppelin, which I've heard 1000+ times before, it's now new.

I hear vocals forward and slight left.  Guitar left.  Another right.  A third that I didn't even know was there stage center/right.  I hear every drum, in the drum set, and can picture it.  I can picture the drum stick and how hard the wood is as it hits the snare.  I can see the snares on the bottom side of the drum vibrate.  I can see the texture of the fabric on the bass pedal.  The oil in the links on the chain.  The wood grain in the floor on the stage.  Get the point? Detail.   Unveiled.  This is just a 320 MP3 that I've had since the 1990s too...  No special high res needle drop madness.

Beer.

I mentioned beer somewhere up there.  Where was I going with that?  Oh yeah.  Ages 16-18 I looked at alcohol % of beer and thought "Oh wow, a 9% beer, let me try this!".  I thought I liked "Strong Beers".  Anything from 8-13+% ABV.  I focused on the ABV% instead of the flavors and details.  I'll equate this to bass.  A necessary component, but not the only thing to pay attention to.  There's a wide balance and appreciation to many types of flavors / brews.  Beer, also like hearing, is also highly dynamic and 100% personal.  Try the same beer at different temperatures, you have widely different flavors.  Drink too much of the same type of beer, you'll wear yourself out and your tastes will change.  There are many parallels between beer and music listening.

Both are more satisfying when there are 2-3 days of abstinence per week.

In photography, we have optical tests.  100% crop tests for resolution, contrast, chromatic aberrations, etc.  There is nothing like this for audio.

There is a lot of elitist bullshit involved in "audiophile" gear. $3500 high-res music players. $1000 cables.  Case. In. Point --> the $100 USB cable.  It's. Effing. Digital.

Come on folks, let's get real.  Some things matter, and some things don't, but there is a TON of bullshit in the high end audio gear arena.

We are a relatively small group of people, who are willing to, or are seriously considering spending into 4 digits on a pair of headphones that take months to make, before even hearing them.  It's not normal, I'll admit. 

I put this effort into telling my story as an attestation of the legitimacy of Kumitate Labs and give them my highest recommendation.

Kumitate Labs truly live up to the hype surrounding them, but it is not due to the exclusivity or obscurity.  Their works are amazing and represent the "end of the line".  I believe these may be the best in the world.

I wish the best to Kumitate Labs as a small company and in the future, but I have concerns as to how this can scale.  Get yours while you can.  They are well worth the money and wait.  Visit in person.  Demo.

Kumitate Labs are not a company about headphones, they are people about music.  People I would like to call my friends.

- Mike





I was asked by Kumitate Labs to write a review of my KL-Kanons, but it has instead turned into a love letter for the entire experience.

When I asked the engineers about the naming of the KL-Kanon model, I was told that it was after Pachelbel's Canon, and that, "It's just a beautiful song".




My review is short:

5/5 Stars
Equipment used:
sources: XMMS/FLAC/ALSA
DAC/DAP:  M1 / E17K /  AK70 / DPX1A
Cables: Blau / Licht
Genres:  Rap / Rock / EDM / Classical
Decided on Purchase:  In person Demo at Kudanshita office.
Appearance:  Beautiful craftsmanship.  Flawless.
Sound: KL-Kanon IEMs are a beautiful song, which can not be explained with words.
Other:  I also own 3 pairs of other brand customs, The KL-Kanon are the best headphones I own and I use them for an average of 20+ hours per week.  I'd highly recommend purchasing these.  If I ever lost or damaged these, I would have to immediately re-order them.
・一緒に使用する機材:AK100ⅱ、FIIO X3 2nd gen、X5 3rd gen
・聴く曲のジャンル:(日本の)jazz 、j-pop、ロック他
・購入の決めて:購入する以前にSHURE425,Carot one TiTTAを所有。次のステップアップを考える中、解像度が高く低音の良く出る多ドラのCIEMで(当時の)販売価格が10万円くらいのものを、と探すとkanonが第一候補に。ヘッドホン祭で視聴したところ正に自分の好みにぴったり合っていることが確認出来たこと、見た目も非常にきれいで購入に至りました。
・外観について:くみたてLABに頼むならと思い、ホームページのギャラリーを参考に螺鈿をお願いしました。くみたてLABならではの特色がよく出ていると思いますし、個人的にも非常に気に入っています。
・音について:ヘッドホン祭で視聴していましたが、正に思った通りの音でした。解像度が高く、硬めの音、低音寄りの音ですが低音がぼわついた感じは無く、高音もよく出ていると感じます。
・その他:通勤で利用していますが、地下鉄の中でも遮音性は完璧です。電車の音だけでなくアナウンスも全く聞こえないのが難点ですが。
最初はAK100ⅱで使っていましたが、現在はFiio X5 3rdgenで利用しています。Fiio X5 3rd genの方がジャンルや曲を選ばずイヤホンの性能を引き出せている気がします。できるだけ大事に長いこと利用できればと思います。
・一緒に使用する機材:AK240SS、AK70、Diamond Dust type “Parhelion”
・聴く曲のジャンル:アニソン、ゲームミュージック
・購入の決めて:2016年のポタフェス名古屋で初試聴。低域重視の機種ばかり持っていたので高域が出る機種を探していた当時の自分の好みにピッタリ合いました。
・外観について:くもりがなくとてもキレイなつくり。シェル内の配線の引き回しの美しさも見事。緑系の種類が豊富なメーカーは珍しいのではないでしょうか。
・音について:中高域がいい感じに広がり聴き疲れしない。低域も適度に出るので物足りないということはない。絶妙なバランス。
人によってはシンバル音が刺さったりするかもしれないです。
・その他:バランス接続で音量は40程度。音量はそこそこ取りやすいかと。試聴箇所が限られており遠方の方はなかなか難しいかとは思いますが、ぜひ一度は聞いてもらいたい機種だと思います。
・一緒に使用する機材 : AK300
・聴く曲のジャンル : j-popのみ
・購入の決めて : イベントなどで色々視聴させていただき、ボーカル重視で楽しみたくてカノンSWにしました。
・外観について : 気泡が一つもなく綺麗で満足です。フェイスプレートはワザと左右違う色にしました。
・音について : 上手く言えませんが、高域の伸びが良く、女性ボーカルが美しく聞こえます。そして、音場が広いと思います。
・はじめてのカスタムiemで気に入りました。
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