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Kii Three - my impressions and pro reviews

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I am curious as to how placement tolerant the Kii’s really are. It is mentioned that they can be even placed in a corner and still perform well. Does anyone have the Kii’s actually in the corner of a room and if so, how far away from the two walls?

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Thanks for the feedback. I basically have two options for placement. 

1) To place the left speaker in a tight corner

2) To place the left speaker on a wall mounted side board somewhat away from the corner

Since I am really not happy with either, I wonder which would be the worse of the two evils?

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On 12/16/2017 at 9:24 AM, pippenainteasy said:

I wonder how this system would compare to the Dynaudio 200 XD, or even the venerable NHT XD.

 

I have been considering moving to an active setup for a few months now and had the opportunity to also listen to the 200 XD‘s. Given the circumstances (different locations, time span between listening session, etc.) the Kii‘s were clearly my preference.

 

I have also heard rumors that Santa‘s Sleigh might be langing on my roof this Weds with a pair of Kii‘s to place under the the tree. Really excited and looking forward to an excellent sounding xmas this year!

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Thanks everyone.

 

Yes, carrying them is a bit of a challenge since one is not sure where the best place is on the enclosure to grab onto without damaging something. The cloth suggestion is also a good one. Especially at the beginning when experimenting with placement and settings.

 

Will report back with impressions once I have them setup. Could take a bit as I am having some custom made mounts built which won‘t be finished before the holidays. Also curious as to how they will sound in a 2.1 setup.

 

Happy Holidays!

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5 hours ago, firedog said:

 

Interesting, especially with that sub. How are you going to do the hookup?

 

I am going to let my Trinnov (acting as a pre-amp/streamer) handle the bass management configuration. My thinking is to allow the SW to only handle the really deep end stuff. Will certainly take some experimentation to find the appropriate crossover and filter settings.

 

If in fact, it turns out to be too much of a good thing, I can always use the SW as an attractive coffee table .. ;) 

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2 hours ago, firedog said:

Okay, didn't see you have a Trinnov. Are you going to be doing DRC? Kal Rubinson reported that using DRC made little difference in his setup when evaluating the Kiis, so let us know what you find.

Yes, will definately setup a DRC profile. Also as Kal had mentioned earlier, I have always preferred to then equilize to taste (based upon style of music, etc.) after applying the digital room correction.

 

Really looking forward to „tinkering“ with this setup and see (or hear) what comes out. Will report back after first impressions.

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6 hours ago, atletico said:

After  8 moths with the Kii Three speakers this is my experience:

I think the Kii Control is a necessary component for getting the best result from these active speakers. My $10K preamp with a built-in full digital board,  connected analog  out directly to each speaker sounded very good. But my digital sources through the simple Kii Control sounded better !. Also all the settings  and a perfect intergation using it for TV and movie sound will be much easier with the Kii Control.

 

- Using better power cables with much better (Furutech) connectors also will have a positiv impact on the overall soundstage.

 

- My original Kii stands are nice but the top-plate with the gasket will have a full connection  to the speakers. This causes the speaker stand to vibrate and make unwanted resonnace to the floor.

Solution: Fill the stands with sand and I have also used four extra rubber dampers on the top-plates  to lift the speakers aprox. 2-3 mm over the gasket. This also have improved the low frequency  and made the overall sound more "airy" and even a more  3D soundstage.

IMG_3082a.jpeg

 

Nice looking setup. Curious as to which power cables you are using? Did the Furutech connectors fit without a problem? I seem to remember reading somewhere that not all connectors fit ...

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Question regarding the Cat. 5 cable connecting the two speakers.

 

Can it be replaced by any standard Cat. 5 cable or does it have a Kii specific pinout?

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I am building a set of power cables for my Kii’s and was wondering if anyone knows which terminal on the speaker power socket is phase? 

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6 hours ago, firedog said:

Can you update us about using them with the sub and Trinnov? I'm very curious.

 

 

Delays, delays, and more delays .... What can I say? My custom made mounts took 4 weeks longer than anticipated. An incorrect part was delivered which I need for the cabling solution and now I am in a dispute with the supplier in getting it replaced. The day after tomorrow marks the beginning of the annual three birthdays within two weeks festivities so very limited time to work on the project further ... :( My grandfather always said that "Patience was a Virtue" but my virtue is about to turn into a vice. Hope to be able to come back with some first impressions mid Feb. 

 

Which email address are you utilizing when contacting Kii Audio? I have written them twice via web interface and never received a reply. 

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3 minutes ago, phosphorein said:

 

 

 I've used the web interface for e-mailing Kii. Thomas has always been very responsive. You might check your Spam folder, as his first reply to me was directed to Spam.

 

Thanks, I mailed directly to [email protected] and the response was almost instantaneous. 

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18 hours ago, baconbrain said:

I am building a set of power cables for my Kii’s and was wondering if anyone knows which terminal on the speaker power socket is phase? 

 

Not really wanting to quote myself, but haven't figured out how to edit a post older than x hours / days.

 

For the record: The response I received from Kii Audio to the above was "the IEC connector of the PSU in the Kii THREE is fully symmetrical. It will be virtually impossible to perceive any difference."
 

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2 hours ago, atletico said:

This is perfect into the back of the Kii Three speakers FI-C15 NCF :  http://www.furutech.com/2016/11/07/13978/

I'm using this on my special made power cables for the Kii Three's.....A good PC I think can improve the overall performance...The phase issue, I'm not so sure..

 

Agree, I followed your recommendation in an earlier post and DIY’ed a set. I am using the FI-C15 NCF IEC Connector, Supra 40th Anniv. 2.5 LoRad Cables, and Rhodium Coated connectors. Here a pic:

 

769AC28A-AEBF-4D80-B066-ADA00082622F.jpeg

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So after a somewhat extended delay in getting my system setup, I would finally like to share my impressions of the Kii Three’s.

 

Given that I am looking at three phases of overall system integration, I thought it would be best to also break my findings out into three separate topics.  The first being initial setup, then implementing the Trinnov Room Correction, and finally Subwoofer Integration.

 

Initial Setup – I must admit that my listening room and the positioning of the speakers is probably anything but ideal. The reason for this being that I really did not want to turn my living room into what I would like to call an “audio equipment intrusive environment.” Do I have the space to place the speakers well away from the walls and utilize floor stands? Yes, with some furniture relocation, I probably do. Do I want to do something of that nature? No, I do not. Ideally, I want to mount them on the wall, somewhat elevated and out of the way. I also did not want the cabling to be visible or cluttered. Lastly, I still would like to enjoy a large and engaging sound stage without necessarily always being limited to a small “sweet spot” when listening if possible. All of these factors led me to the Kii Three’s. At least on paper, utilizing their active wave focusing technology, they seemed to have the potential to fit the bill.

 

My living room is 4 by 6,4 meters with a ceiling height of 2,45 meters. It has a hard wood floor with one large throw rug and an upholstered sofa. One of the smaller (4m) walls consists of 80 % glass with only small decorative curtain panels. The sofa is placed in the middle against one of the 6,40 meter walls with the speakers placed on the opposite wall near to each corner at a height of 1,9 meters. Total distance between speakers is 5,4 meters and approx. 3,4 meters from the listening position. Each speaker sits on a Walnut shelf, built by HiFi racks in the UK (excellent quality btw.) and rests on Auralex Mopad Monitor isolation pads with 8 degrees of downward tilt.  I am feeding the Kii Three’s with an AES Digital signal from my Trinnov Amethyst which is acting as a Roon Endpoint connected directly via bridged ethernet connection to my Roon Server PC (located in my office).  For initial impressions,  I turned all Trinnov room correction optimization processing off, so the digital signal is simply passed thru to the Kii’s. I set the boundary control on the speakers to one notch in front of the corner setting and left the contour settings on the default Flat (9 o’clock). All PCM music is up-sampled via Roon to 192/24. I am leaving HQPlayer out of the equation. These setting will act as my reference going forward.

 

I have a playlist of songs which I have used as a baseline for comparison over the last years for any system tweaks so I am familiar with the sound signature and image of each and those special passages where things like the distinct thump of a drum have been heard over and over again.

 

Impressions - So, how do they sound?

Compared with my old system, which consisted of a Devialet 250 Pro and Piega Coax speakers, the Kii’s have a substantially higher portion of impact  in the mid-range. This is really appreciated when listening to rock music. I prefer music which one can feel and here the Kii’s clearly deliver.

 

It is almost astounding how much low end a box of this size generates.  Listening to Camren Carpenter’s Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BMV 565 (almost) reminded me of listening to a live organ concert at the St. Michaelis Cathedral in Hamburg Germany. (serious goose bumps). Incredibly dynamic. It is so impressive that I really begin to wonder how much my Fathom Subwoofer will be able to add. (but more on that later)

 

The sound stage is spacious and engaging with diverse but defined vocals and instrument placement.

 

What could be better? 

 

1) The center of the spacious sound stage which I just mentioned is a tad bit elevated when sitting. Here I am hoping that more downwards tilt of the speakers will improve the situation but again, possibly not... Perhaps it is just a (poor) placement related limitation? Do any of you have a suggestion for monitor stands which are fairly low profile but still offer 10 - 15 degrees of tilt? They also need to be sturdy enough to hold 15 kgs of wieght and fit to the extended depth of the Kii Case. Although the Mopads work well from an isolation perspective, they are not the sexiest looking things. (Kind of like setting your speakers on a set of kitchen sponges) I am also curious as to your impressions regarding toe-in? What have you found to be the best amount? With the tweeters pointing directly at you or somewhat off to the left and right? 

 

2) As good as the bottom end is, it sounds a bit soft during some passages. I am missing that last bit of edge. Don’t get me wrong, the low end is extremely good for a compact, but if I had a wish open, it would be that last tiny bit of detail. Perhaps the boundry setting can help, but for the sake of a reference, I would like to leave the setting where they are at the moment.

 

3) Nuance of Zing - I have the impression that the magical zing on the high end is somewhat surpressed with the flat contour settings. This surprises me somewhat given that normally a truely flat response has more “zing” than I prefer. 

 

4) Placement of Setting Controls - Ouch. Tough to see and reach. I realize that the Kii Control allivates this problem but since I do not own one (yet), setting things like low latency mode become pretty daunting. I realize there is a lot of technology in this small case but could it not have been done better?

 

In Summary - I believe we have all read marketing material for speakers which can do magical things such as making a compact sound like a floor stander, etc., and to be honest in regards to Kii’s claims about the Three’s, I was a bit concerned if they could really deliver. Given my placement preferences, I think I have really put them up to the challenge, and from my perspective, they have delivered. They are like the “Swiss Army Knife” of the compacts and imo perform at levels where you need to make a considerable investment in equipment, positioning and accoustics to achieve. Are they a speaker for everyone? Probably not. I can hear the teeth of the audio purist grinding when they read this. These boxes have DSP written all over them, but that is also what makes them so versatile. A fantastic speaker for those of us who like to experiment and not necessarily want to redesign their listening space to meet the needs of one’s system / taste. 

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On 3/15/2018 at 2:47 AM, phosphorein said:

@baconbrain Given the dimensions of your room and the positioning of the Kiis, I would suggest that perhaps you need to increase the angle of tilt to ~15 degrees and aim the speakers so that the tweeters are directed towards a spot about 0.6 m behind your head. This should place you within the cone of optimum tweeter output and give you that "zing." My room is of similar dimensions and I have reasonably flat reaponse from 15 Hz to 20 kHz. Also, don't be hesitant to tweak contours if needed.

 

Thx, for the feedback. After doing initial measurements with the Trinnov, it looks like your estimated tilt of 15 degrees is almost spot on. It states that the difference in elevation is 15,8 degrees. Although I noticed that I had a typo in my initial impressions review,  as the correct distance from speaker to listening position is 4,3 meters and not 3,4 as stated above. Also appreciate the input regarding toe-in. Will give it a try once I have found replacement stands for my “kitchen sponges”. :)

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On 3/19/2018 at 9:26 PM, input username here said:

Thanks for your impressions baconbrain (great name, by the way--I often feel like "Bacon Brain" describes me to a tee!).  I have been listening to the THREEs for almost two years now and I have a few thoughts to add, based on my impressions, room, system and preferences.  But they are based on just and only that: my system, my impressions, etc.--so please read in that spirit and, as always, take everything with a grain of salt.

 

 

Poor Kii!  By introducing their "cardioid," wave focusing DSP technology, they seem to have challenged us to put their speakers into the worst of all possible positions and we seem to be more than willing to oblige!  Mine are both very near the rear wall (about 8" out), with the right one jammed into a corner, and I listen in the extreme near field; they're essentially set up like studio monitors on a console though, in this case, they're just on my desk.  Not an ideal setup at all though, as in your case, the Kii's have proven simply amazing at getting 'round the constraints I've placed on them.

 

 

While the Kii's work as promised at minimizing the effect of the front wall (behind the speakers), I'd be much more concerned with the rear wall (behind the listener), in your case.  I'd imagine that being so close to a room boundary would have the potential to really cause problems, and not of the sort that the Kii's are designed to counteract.  Maybe the Trinnov can assist in limiting problems from your close proximity to the rear wall....

 

 

I spoke at length with Kii and they strongly suggested that I play all music at its native sampling rate--their digital input utilizes a custom, asynchronous up-sampler and they feel (again, very strongly) that any 3rd party up-sampling can only make things worse.  I briefly fooled around with different sampling rates in JRiver, just long enough to verify (for myself) that JRiver's up-sampler didn't make a favorable impact and might have, in fact, been making things worse (depending on the track).  Given Kii's suggestions, I have since abandoned any 3rd party sample rate conversion; perhaps you might  similarly try leaving off the up-sampler for your baseline.  (OTOH, the Trinnov might have to up-convert in order to work its own algorithms on the signal, making the point moot; I'm not sufficiently familiar with Trinnov's technology to say.)

 

 

I experimented quite a bit with the boundary controls when I got the Kii CONTROL (obviously not before then, when users were forced to use those inaccessible, terrible and just-plain-not-good controls on the back/bottom of the speakers) and I can say that, for sure, you are losing a lot of bass energy with the settings you describe.  I ended up with -9 cut on the right hand, corner-paced speaker and a -5 cut on the left (less than I had originally thought--as I said, I have the right speaker is jammed all the way into a corner, so I started with -12--also, the settings I describe are on the Kii CONTROL menu; as I recall, the dials on the backs of the speakers are less clear on their settings, but I don't want to go to the trouble of unplugging and un-mounting my speakers to check on that). 

 

Anyway, I think that there is a good chance that any "softness" you hear in the bottom end is due to an over-cut on the boundary setting.  Notwithstanding your desire to use your current setting settings as a reference, I think it will pay you big dividends to experiment a bit.  In my experience, these speakers hit very hard in the bass and cannot be reasonably characterized as soft in the bottom-end at all.

 

 

I do not have the benefit of the Trinnov, but I can use my ears and I found that the speakers are very sensitive to height/rake.  I started with them raked so that the tweet's were aimed more-or-less at my ears, as would be appropriate for most speakers.  I found this set-up too "hot" in the high frequencies.  I noted that the Kii literature says that they are EQ'ed such that the sound is supposed to sound like it's coming for a small distance in front of the mid-bass diver.  When I adjusted the rake back, so that the mid-bass drivers are "pointed" at my ear-level, the sound really cohered and the tonal balance really smoothed out--as one would expect, when reading the Kii lit., but somewhat unlike most other speakers.  That's all to say that, pending what your Trinnov and what your ears are telling you, I suggest that you try and get the mid-bass on the ear-plane, rather than the speaker.  Then, obviously, adjust to-ear from there....

 

BTW, my THREEs are toed in moderately, more-or-less as described by @phosphorein, though maybe with just a bit less toe-in than he describes.

 

 

I'm so pleased you are enjoying your Kii's!  And I wouldn't worry about the purist's think.  Literally nothing about reproduced sound-making is "natural" (unless your idea of nature is for all of the sound you hear coming of a handful of vibrating membranes trapped in boxes).  Yes, in some cases, a simple circuit might do less damage than a more complex one, but the reason for even the most simple of circuits is to overcome the fact that we are not present at the original event.  So I believe that anything that advances the illusion of that illusive goal is welcome--simplicity, complexity, DSP, whatever gets us closer to the music.  In fact, I'm considering the BACCH4Mac DSP package for my next system upgrade--DSP on top of DSP... but all with the purpose of removing the artifacts that are presented by the problem of recreating a musical event in our listening rooms (be these the speaker-room interaction or speaker cross-talk or whatever else).  

 

Good luck as your experiments with the Kii's continue!

 

 

@Input Username Here: Thanks for the great feedback!

 

My further testing has stagnated a bit as I am working on a solution for increasing the degree of downward tilt of the Kii’s and am also seriously considering picking up a Kii Control to make my life a bit easier when adjusting the settings of the speakers going forward. Feel that I might be giving the Trinnov a bit of an unfair advantage if I have not fully tested the Kii’s own abilities first. 

 

I do have a quick question to the group in regards to the Kii Control. Am I understanding it correctly that the only connection between the control and the Kii’s is an additional Cat 5 one? Also, has anyone heard any additional rumors that Kii may release a bigger and better version of the control in the near future?

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4 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

If you have multiple EQs, all, except possibly one, are wrong.

 

Ain’t that the truth. Well put! :)

 

Honestly my Kii’s continue to surprise me in the most positive sense. I have yet to find a genre that I don’t like.

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Everyone,

 

With all of the praise for the Kii Control, I have decided I don’t want to miss out and have placed an order with my Kii Dealer. 

 

Bit late for the Easter Basket I’m afraid but still looking forward to no longer having to fumble with those unreadable dials on the back of the speakers. :)

 

Thx for the comments / advice.

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So, the Kii Control arrived and I am struggling a bit to get a remote functioning.

 

The manual states that by selecting advanced settings -> IR remote settings -> imprint remote, the kii control will recognize the remote utilized by pressing any key on the RC handset. I have attempted to do so with 3 different RC’s and the kii control does not recognize any of them.

 

Any Ideas?

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1 hour ago, simonp said:

You have to push a button on your remote when you are in the pairing menu. First select te type rc5 or apple.

 

Tried to set to RC5 prior to pairing but the setting won’t stick. As soon as I press “esc” to save it, it reverts back to no setting ...?

 

 

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Also curious as to what this new product could be. The sub idea sounds interesting but I wonder how they would handle crossover, etc.? Another idea might be the XL Kii Control version.. ? I could get really excited about a Roon Ready Kii Control with App Support ... :)

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23 minutes ago, atletico said:

Kii "teaser" on FB today ..... Any guesses ? :)

Kii teaser.jpg

 

A Ferrari ...? 9_9

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