Kenwood KH-KR900 review | What Hi-Fi?

If you’ve ever spent cash on car audio, it’s most likely you’ll have come throughout Kenwood. The Japanese brand is widely recognized for kitting out automobiles with the whole thing from amplifiers and speakers to navigation techniques.

Go to Kenwood’s website and it has a random collection of chocolates below a house leisure banner too: hi-fi methods, receivers, a trio of in-ears and, for many who don’t get on with buds, the KH-KR900 on-ears.

MORE: Awards 2015: best on-ear headphones


You could also be more likely to bump into them on JVC’s e-shop – the two corporate’s merged back in 2008 to shape what is now JVCKenwood. It’s a excellent activity they’re below a separate ‘Kenwood Headphones’ banner, as a result of we doubt they’d catch your eye in a number of the copious amount of colorful JVC models.

In fact, we’d pass as far to mention the KH-KR900’s carbon grey/black exterior appears to be like a little plain – most likely what you’d imagine a headphone to appear to be prior to it enters the beautification level. Less may also be more, of course, despite the fact that in a competitive market where appearance counts for rather so much, we do feel they wish to make extra of a commentary.

Our Award-winning Philips M1MKII (£135) glance twice the fee with their premium-feel fusion of steel, leather and memory-foam.


The plastic-tastic frame feels slightly cheap too, however does have an advantage. The final thing you need are headphones weighing you down on the morning commute, and thankfully the Kenwoods are sympathetic to your purpose.

Although they aren’t the smallest on-ears we’ve seen – the cups are in regards to the measurement of an apple – they’re well lightweight, clasping to your head with just the correct quantity of drive.

The company pleather ear pads could do with slightly extra cushioning, even supposing we’d consider they'd melt up through the years, whilst the cups swivel to fold flat and are compatible extra simply into a bag. You too can shove them in a bag, secure in the wisdom that the flat-sided (1.2m) cable wont get itself in an excessive amount of of a tangle.

The in-line one-button faraway and mic that sits nicely shoulder-length is Apple- and Android-friendly too.

MORE: Best over-ear headphones 2016


Whether we plug them into a DAC or directly into a smartphone, the KH-KR900s throw out a reasonably weighty sound that’s clean to listen to and almost will get you your money’s value in readability and detail.

Play Rae Morris’s For You and so they select the sophisticated bells that pepper the soundstage. The accompanying piano has frame and solidity, and there’s clear differentiation between keys that are struck onerous and evenly pushed.

They keep composed in the explosive chorus, and be in contact changes in tempo neatly too.

The tune lives and breathes off Morris’s emotionally-drenched vocals, which can be transparent and centered through the Kenwoods, even though we do get extra of a style of them than the entire flavour.

However, the more clear Philips M1MKIIs deal with the track with wider eyes, conveying the delicate dynamic lifts in her vocals that the Kenwoods have a tendency to forget about.

The Philips are better-timed too, providing more in the way in which of rhythmic power and punch. End with the Ying Yang Twins’ Dangerous and, whilst the KH-KR900’s somewhat overstated lows will please bass junkies, they aren’t as tight or punchy, sounding a bit of sloppy in comparison.


By now, you’ll realise that your cash will also be better spent somewhere else, and that’s the Kenwood’s drawback. Their transparent, easy-listenable sound is just effective, however a ‘simply superb’ efficiency didn’t get Katherine Hepburn four Oscars, and it’s not getting the Kenwood KH-KR900s an Award nod either.

And certainly not when the competition at this value level is so difficult.

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