Kinera X-Effect Audio Orlog
I was recently asked by Kinera to take part in a review tour of the Kinera X-Effect Audio Orlog cable and I happily obliged. In truth, it was my pleasure. Kinera has proven to be a solid and reputable company with great core values and exceptional products. I was not asked to skew my words in any way and I make no monetary gain whatsoever. It’s easy to have mad respect for any company willing to stand by their product and subject their product to the scrutiny of a subjective opinion. That says a lot my friends. You have to believe that what you have created will be universally praised, across the board. This cable happens to be a collaboration between Kinera and the reputable Effect Audio cable company. Here is my review of the Kinera X Effect Audio Orlog…
Like I stated, the Orlog is actually a collaboration between Kinera and Effect Audio. Now, Effect Audio has been around for quite some time, founded in 2009 they have been producing high end cables ever since. Truthfully, Effect Audio began at a time when high end cable manufacturers simply weren’t in great abundance. There were a few others, but Effect Audio certainly filled a gap in the market to a degree. From all accounts Effect Audio has master class engineering and artisans and it is easy to spot the lineage when looking at and listening with the Orlog.
I think it is a wonderful marriage between two companies (Effect Audio & Kinera) who specialize in R&D and who both produce high level gear and audio equipment. Kinera has proven time and time again to be at the forefront of the industry in creating unique iems that offer fantastic sound quality which nips at the heels of the best in the business. It’s no wonder that their cables seem to always be very well recieved too.
I adore the way Kinera imagines their products and the themes with which they always follow, which ultimately ties into the creation of their products. In this case we are looking at “Orlog”. Orlog happens to be a concept more than anything. A concept of fate if you will. Orlog or “or-lay” is translated to mean “primal layers”, but the actual meaning is more like “fate”. Orlog is the effects of our actions and deeds over the distance of time. However, it is the most important and significant deeds which will actually affect our future outcomes. The Orlog which is brought forth by you is a culmination of your life actions, thoughts and behaviors over time which will ultimately create a moral compass…if you will.
The Anglo-Norse actually believed that they could lay down their good deeds into the well of Wyrd and ultimately not only change the fortunes of their own lives but also of the entire cosmos. This was their Orlog. Which is basically fate. This all coincides into an actual ritual which was performed called the ritual of “Sumbel”. It’s said to have at least some speculative effect on European history and Western culture. This is a seriously condensed version of this understanding and for the sake of the length of this review I will keep it as concise as possible. We are talking about the naming scheme of an upgrade cable after all… and a really good one at that.
With all that said, Norse mythology takes things a giant leap further, as it normally does. Kinera lays it out in their promotional material and how they attributed this ancient myth into their naming scheme. I will do my best to relay the theme to you all. Basically, Norse mythology states that Orlog holds the workings of the entire system of the cosmos, it is the absolute truth. Orlog is the scale, or measuring stick so to speak. They state that Orlog condensed all of the truth of the world into one shining crystal and buried it deep into the Scandinavian Mountains. Yes, Norse mythology takes this concept and mythos a lot further. Kinera says that whoever finds this crystal will be able to understand the ultimate rules of how the world works and effectively obtain supreme glory.
Now, how does this relate to the Kinera Orlog? This is where you begin to see the creative artistry of the people who created and imagined this product. Most of the correlation is evident in the aesthetic and design principles but Kinera also believes the balanced sound of this cable is also a direct interconnection to the premise of “Orlog”. There is obviously quite a bit more to be learned here but the basic principle is pretty easy to understand as well as the Norse fable related to Orlog. With all that said, let’s take a look at the Kinera X-Effect Audio Orlog.
Purchase Link at Kinera Audio: Kinera X-Effect Audio Orlog
-Exceptional in build
-Great carrying case
-Creativity in the design is unmatched
-EAs ConX system of detachable connections is great
-Ability to switch between MMCX and 2-Pin
-Nicely beefy cable without adding much in weight
-Overall sound changes have a nice effect
-Switching out the terminations takes getting used to
-I could barely see the “L” & “R” markings (not really a con)
-The look and aesthetic may not be to everyone’s taste and may be difficult to color match with different earphones
Packaging & Accessories
Upon receiving the Orlog I was first met with a stark realization. That is, “So this is the packaging you get with a $699 cable”. The thought that went into the “packaging display” is actually quite awesome. In fact, I have a hard time posting pictures because I’d much rather you all see it first, for yourself, in person. However, there are enough reviews out now all slathered in pics and I’m not withholding anything from you all. The packaging is very nice.
First off, there is a short sleeve which wraps around the bottom of the black box which the Orlog comes in. The sleeve is shaped in a mountainous landscape which I presume is supposed to mimic the Scandinavian Mountains. In the middle of the box you’ll notice a slightly raised square which holds the logo as well as the name of the cable itself and is penned very nicely. The entire unboxing is artistically done and ornately laid out with an absolute premium vibe.
One of the coolest things that I’ve seen in an unboxing is the pull-out drawer style opening mechanism. Pulling on the handle at the front of the box you’ll notice the center begin to rise. What a cool touch. As you open this “drawer” you’ll notice the classy looking circular carrying case as well as an envelope with a wax seal. Another nice touch! It’s the little things, I suppose if I’m paying $700 and up for a cable then I should expect these nice additions. The envelope is seated under some tightly fitted foam tabs and once you do remove it you will finally see the cable which is tightly wrapped around a nice little “holder”… if you will. You will straight away notice the 4.4 jack which is situated and nestled into a little cut-out portion of the holder.
The case is dope! It is a round case which is covered in black leather and also has a nice gold colored zipper which contrasts the black perfectly. I’m a sucker for things which look premium, and you can very easily tell that Kinera and Effect Audio are very well aware of this. The zipper function works smooth and easy and doesn’t get caught up and doesn’t stop on you. It simply works. Please trust me that I wouldn’t bring this up if it wasn’t an oddity in the carrying case world. I also like the look of the stitching which surrounds the top of the carrying case and is also a nice touch. It looks sweet and works. What more could you ask for? Actually, don’t answer that.
As you open the carrying case, you’ll find another little plastic case. Inside of that case you will find either the additional MMCX or 2-Pin interchangeable connectors. I don’t know which comes attached in the actual unboxing as this is a tour unit. The connectors can be removed and applied by simply starting the screw with your fingers and then wrenching them on with the included tool. The ConX connectors are proprietary creations of Effect Audio
The one gripe I have is one which I don’t think you can really get around and that is the size of these connectors are quite small and can easily be lost in a moment. I’m sure some will have to concentrate a bit more while screwing them on for the first few times. Anyways, you will also notice a little tool. This tool is used to help in the process of applying and removing. You’ll notice two notches on both the tool as well as the connectors which fit perfectly to give the tool a bite for wrenching.
A couple things to mention
I honestly can’t think of a more beneficial attribute to a cable attachment then something like interchangeable connectors. I can go from MMCX to 2-Pin in about a minute (or two) without issue. That said, please make sure that the connectors are nicely tightened using the included tool. I found my music began to cut out on me because I was being very ginger with this cable as it isn’t mine and I didn’t want to break it or something horrible like that. In particular the MMCX connectors, as there is a lot of movement with this style of connection to begin with. 2-Pin connectors are fitted and stationary so it isn’t as crucial.
Secondly, I just want to comment on how well made this cable system is when using the 2-Pin connections as when I tightened them up, they always ended up perfectly aligned with where they should be. I know it may not seem like a big deal but tapping these female threads to perfectly align with the male threads relative to the 2-Pin on a set of earphones can easily go awry. Beyond those couple things there really isn’t anything else to mention. Everything works as intended, which is exactly as it should be.
–Dual Material Hybrid Design:
*Golden Ratio Composite Cable Core：Multi-strand gold plated copper & silver plated copper core mixture
*Golden Ratio Composite Cable Core：Multi-strand pure copper core mixed with pure sterling silver core
-Braiding：4 core / 8 core three-dimensional braiding
–Cable Diameter：26AWG 4 core / 8 core
–Outer Layer：EA UltraFlexi ultra-soft insulation outer layer
–Interface：EA ConX 0.78 2pin, MMCX
–Plug：EA-P 4.4mm balanced
–Material of the Plug：Gold plated brass
–Plug Internal Connection：Threaded connection structure
–External Metal Parts：Aluminum alloy
Material of Construction
Kinera and Effect Audio actually made two different cable arrangements. The cable we are reviewing today is a 4-core cable which costs $699 but they also produce an 8-core cable which will put you back a cool $999. These are high-end cables folks. I realize this sounds like a crazy amount of cash for a cable, but in all truth, as far as luxury cables goes, the Orlog is not that expensive. I don’t even want to comment on some of the prices that are out there, it’s almost obscene. Anyways, I will not comment on the 8-core as I don’t have it with me and will concentrate on this beautiful 4-core master class of a cable.
As the specs above suggest, the 4-core Orlog has a dual material hybrid style design and is composed of multi-strand gold plated copper wires as well as silver-plated copper core mixtures. The 4-core is also outfitted with multi-strand pure copper core with pure sterling silver. It’s all in the materials my friends and the quality of those materials. In addition, the Orlog is a 26AWG cable with Effect Audio’s UltraFlexi super-soft insulation which makes it nice to wear. The Orlog comes equipped with a 4.4 connector and has very tasteful artistic aluminum alloy fittings used for the cable split as well as different little touches on the connections as well as the 4.4 plug.
The Orlog has a tight braid hosting a few different colors which appear to be almost a grayish color wire intertwined with a copper/white wire. Very unique in appearance which will couple well with many earphones aesthetically speaking. Kinera used CNC crafting to carve out each of the aluminum fittings into little mountainous scenes which obviously depict the Scandinavian Mountains to further the overarching theme of the Orlog. You’ll notice these little accents on the Y-split, the 4.4 connector and each of the cable connections (MMCX/2Pin).
Aesthetic & Design
Folks, this is a very nicely made cable. Beautiful in appearance from the 4.4 connector to the earphone connectors. Unique from end to end, the Orlog oozes quality and fine craftsmanship. The Orlog feels very nice in hand and is pretty chunky without being too thick or weighted. I find the weight to be lighter than it looks as you won’t have that hefty pulling-down on your earphones due to its mass. I’d say it’s pretty much perfect for me and is good for long listening sessions. The cable uses Effect Audio’s own “UltraFlexi” insulation is moderately soft so that it isn’t stiff and has no microphonic effects and it also isn’t so soft that it is limp and folds and flops around too easily, a nice middle ground.
As far as the actual design is concerned, I personally think that Kinera did a fine job in choosing a colorway which stands out and looks very high-end as there is an overarching sense of luxury with the Orlog. The look is striking, very different from the sea of cables which float around the audio world. Not often you see a cable with the type of design accents that Kinera/Effect Audio chose to use. Again, using the Norse mythology theme they took an idea and imagined that idea bottled up into a cable. The Orlog is the end result. Really it is beautifully crafted with fine materials and a colorway that is distinct in appearance. It is almost as if Kinera chose colors of the wire to help make the gold/black fittings “pop” more. Really a gorgeous looking cable.
That being said, I don’t think the look will be for everyone as the mountain accents and color arrangements simply may not fit all earphones perfectly. This cable may not couple well color wise with every set of earphones and that is something to take into account. I can surely see a hobbyist or two passing on this cable simply because of the colorway, which coincidentally is at least in-part a reason a person would purchase a cable to begin with. Perhaps using fewer contrasting colors would’ve been a better choice, possibly more earthy tones for the fittings. I’m not so sure that everyone will be a fan. Nothing is for everyone my friends. However, I also think that “most people” will adore the look of the Orlog.
Again, as for myself; I am more than pleased with the look as it really does add a luxurious vibe to most any earphone I attach it to and quite frankly I think its dope looking… but that’s me. Truly an attractive and exquisitely imagined cable from top to bottom.
Fit is nice
I’ve spent quite a bit of time listening to the Shanling MG600, Fiio FH9, Yanyin Canon, Hidizs MS5 as well as a host of other mid-fi level iems with the Orlog and I have taken away a few more things from this experience. First, the Orlog is very well made and fits very nicely. Of course achieving a good fit is not some amazing feat for Kinera and Effect Audio. Even budget cables manage this… but it should be noted nonetheless. The static weight is well distributed for all the extra bling and aluminum eye candy which adorns the Orlog. Another noteworthy addition to this review is that the ConX connections become very easy to swap out with usage. Not that they are very difficult to begin with.
Pairings and Sound
I want to preface this section with a simple reply to the inevitable drama which surrounds cables and subsequent tonality or sound changes which “may” or “may not” occur due to cable swapping. First off, my experience is my experience. I’ve seen seasoned reviewers and audio personalities which swear that cables make a difference and others that swear that cables cannot make a difference. Both are stringent in their understanding and the “SCIENCE” behind their reasons. I don’t get into all that and frankly wouldn’t care about this subject or even mention it at any other time in my audio journey, but I do care about the reader, and I do want to give my honest opinion right now.
I was asked if this cable “actually” makes a difference tonally or otherwise? “It’s probably all in your head” is something that I hear often. I suppose I can’t deny that, it would be odd if I was hearing the difference anywhere else. People look at the cable debate and say that science backs the opinion that cables make no audible difference. Intelligent and well-meaning people who have been in the Audio game at a high level for years actually proclaim this. However, in my opinion and from my experience I have certainly heard enough of a change to report it. This is a touchy subject that I honestly don’t enjoy speaking my truth on. Cables can and do make perceivable differences in sound quality… To me. I realize I don’t speak for everyone else in that opinion.
This is my experience friends, and I feel a pretty large weight to report my exact findings as the Orlog is very expensive. I respect everyone’s opinion on the cable debate but honestly folks… There isn’t a soul on earth who could convince me that cables don’t make subtle to not-so-subtle changes when I hear them with my own ears…moving on…
The Orlog Difference
The Orlog seems to emphasize the low-end to a degree with some added weight and definition in the mid-bass. I also noticed a richer haptic drone to the sub-bass. Is it world changing? Probably not, but like I said, hobbyists will pay for the subtle changes that a good cable will provide.
Next, the Orlog seems to cut down on the glare that some iems can exhibit, as the treble region and the upper-midrange sounds less grating using this cable with a lusher & smoother inflection while remaining detailed and layered.
Along with that, I hear an audible forwardness of the midrange. However, calling it a “forward presentation” isn’t exactly correct. I’ve been working out in my mind how to say it because it isn’t easy to explain. It’s almost as though the midrange gets a resolution boost with better separation and note definition which almost sounds like added emphasis. I hope that makes sense because there aren’t a whole lot of ways to say it.
Next, I will make these quick. Most of the benefits of a cable will be focused on the aesthetic for the vast majority of people, I’m assuming. However, there is some sound news to share in my experience with the Orlog. Again… Moving on.
One subtle issue with the Shanling MG600 (MG600 Review here) is that it can very slightly get a bit too hot in the upper-midrange/lower-treble region in certain tracks. The pinna gain can be a bit much. Granted, Shanling did a masterful job tuning this set for the price. Take the track “Wasted” by Diplo (featuring Kodak Black and Koe Wetzel) on his newest album and collaboration effort with various Artists. This track can bite with sharp intonations and many sets can come across somewhat grating. When Kodak Black begins the song with his oddly piercing voice, you’ll hear what I’m talking about if you are listening with a more treble, upper-mid boosted iem. This is one track which doesn’t agree with the MG600. It is just a hint too sharp and processed sounding with the included cable.
I found that using the Orlog and the included MMCX ConX connectors that that sharpness has subsided to a degree which was neat to hear. Another thing I notice is that vocals “seem” pushed a bit closer as well with cleaner note definition. I hear an underlying richness or “presence” in the midrange which sounds cleaner and in better control. Better said, there is a dynamic accentuation of each element of the staging with what sounds like more air between those elements with better spacing and front to back layering.
Listen, in audio we speak on subtle changes, and people PAY for subtle changes and sometimes they pay a lot for it. In this case I feel like it is exactly what the MG600 needed. Not every earphone I tried gave me this experience and this is the one of the few with an actual “technical” sound benefit that occurred while testing. Others simply had some tonality shifts.
The Fiio FH9 is a stud (FH9 Review Here). A great sounding set that is well balanced and musical. However, there is a very slight issue with toned down dynamics. I really shouldn’t call it an issue. It isn’t the most exuberant and vivacious. However, attaching the Orlog actually added a depth to the sound which I can’t really explain fully. Again, the midrange seemed to be accentuated with a bit better layering, spacing and increased airiness. Also, there is some added oomph to the low end. Very slight changes which help the overall sound of the FH9.
Aesthetically, the original cable which comes packaged with the FH9 does look a little better as it was literally made for it. Still, the Gold and black on the Orlog does look flat out sweet as it perfectly clashes with the FH9’s silver colorway. Add in the light gray of the cable and we have a match. However, it is the feel of the Orlog which is a much-needed improvement. The Orlog isn’t as heavy or dense as the FH9 cable. I’ve always disliked the weightiness of the FH9’s cable as I always feel this pulling or tugging down on my ears. Hence why Fiio added a magnetic cable clip to take some of the weight. I don’t have this issue with the Orlog. Just as beefy and thick in appearance but about half the weight.
Listening using the Yanyin Canon I honestly didn’t really hear much of a perceivable sound benefit. Nothing really jumped out at me anyways and trust me I listened for it intently. I would have thought the upper-mids would have been leveled off a bit based on my experience with the MG600, or that I would hear an increase in low-end punch but to no avail. If there was a difference at all then it is certainly too subtle for my ears to hear.
The Canon comes with a decent cable, and I do like it quite a lot, but the Orlog clashes a bit too much in appearance with the Canon. In my opinion. Something about that deep reddish maroon of the Canon, contrasted against the light-gray, copper & white of the Orlog with the gold and black of the fittings on the cable is a bit of an eye sore. It helps the Canon look ornate and lavish but doesn’t exactly fit in the color scheme. As far as the feel is concerned and how well the Orlog sits on the ear, I would call this a definite upgrade. The Orlog is simply more pliable and comfortable.
Not perfect with everything
There are quite a few other iems that I checked out with the Orlog, namely the Hidizs MS5, Mangird Tea, HiSenior Mega 5P, Raptgo Hook-X and the list goes on. I won’t go into the auditory benefits of pairing the Orlog with each set, but I did perceive further subtle shifts in tonality with each. There was one slightly negative difference which I noted when pairing the Orlog with the Hidizs MS5. I actually think that the Orlog had a worse effect on that set. The Orlog almost added this detached and hollow feeling to the midrange. To be perfectly honest, I think the Orlog is simply accentuating the midrange tuning already present with the MS5. Though I did notice the sound did come across cleaner with the MS5 attached to the Orlog. I suppose that nothing is for everything, but predominantly the Orlog benefits most sound pairings.
To conclude my review of the Kinera X-Effect Audio Orlog, I want to thank Kinera as well as the good people who have painstakingly put this tour together. Thank you for providing the Orlog for an honest review. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with this cable and hate to send it on its way to the next in line. It’s bittersweet I suppose. Both Kinera and Effect Audio should pat themselves on the back. The Orlog is a very well-conceived and well implemented cable with a great theme, build quality, look & feel, as well as a user-friendly Swiss army knife type experience that I think is simply awesome. Great job.
With that said I have to say this… Please check out other reviews of the Kinera X-Effect Audio Orlog. Do not just take my word for it either as we all hear differently, we have different gear, and we all haven’t been down the same audio journey. Please check out other perspectives and thoughts as it will most certainly help with your purchasing decision.
Lastly, I thank you for checking out my review. I feel like a kid in a toy store completing these reviews and greatly enjoy the process of laying down my thoughts as it is 100% therapeutic for me. So, thank you, I do hope it helps. Take care everyone.