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Kii Three - my impressions and pro reviews

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On 8/25/2017 at 2:43 PM, input username here said:

Found this new-ish thread and thought I'd put in my two cents; I've owned my THREEs for a little under a year.  

 

...

2. I don't get quite the great soundstage to which others have alluded.  But I listen in the extreme nearfield (the speakers on on my desktop--try finding any other legitimately full-range speaker with which you can do that!) with the speakers only about 3 feet from my head and 6 inches from the wall behind them.  Given this setup, the soundstanging is much better than expected, but I would not call it "vast."  Also, to my surprise, the soundstange has improved with each step up in my front-end (I'm now using a ultraRendu w/ LPS-1), so maybe the constrained soundstage is not all due to the speaker placement.  I have experimented with the boundary controls and, while they are great at managing bass bloat, I cannot say it has had a big impact on (perceived) soundstage.
...

 

Man, you have these things on your desk? These are pretty huge desktop speakers. Are they just sitting on your desk or do you have some kind of stand or isolation device? I am about to move mine from a Target stand to the top of a console and have been looking for a solution. (Maybe Isoacoustics iso-pucks?)

 

 

On 8/25/2017 at 2:43 PM, input username here said:

 

6. More often than ideal, my DSP goes haywire and everything sounds like it's coming from under water--does this happen to anyone else?  (This only happens when they wake from sleep, not while music is playing.)  It's not too big a deal, I can just cycle the speakers from the CONTROL and everything is 100% fine on reboot but, still, it's annoying. 

 

 

Did it do this from the start? I have only had mine a month or so but it hasn't ever done that. 

 

You said somewhere else that you used a Yellowtec puc2. How does that sound running out of the computer compare to your ultraRendu? Not in the same league? I still have one that I am not using and was just contemplating trying to sell it again. It was a very good device for what it was. When powered with a decent supply it held up pretty well against some of the the much pricier competitors.


Roon ->allo Sparky-USBridge w/ SBooster 5V LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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4 hours ago, Kelly said:

Man, you have these things on your desk? These are pretty huge desktop speakers. Are they just sitting on your desk or do you have some kind of stand or isolation device? I am about to move mine from a Target stand to the top of a console and have been looking for a solution. (Maybe Isoacoustics iso-pucks?)

 

Yes, they are pretty huge desktop speakers... fortunately, I've got a pretty huge desk!  I'm using the stands from Ardan Audio (http://www.ardanaudio.com/).  They are pretty neat stands but, honestly, they are too small for the Kii's and it makes using them a bit awkward.   Still, they work okay.  

 

I am thinking of moving "up" to a more aggressive isolation solution.  The Minus K stands look pretty good and still would put them at the right height, relative to my head.  Some people on another thread have been raving about the Stacores (http://stacore.pl/en/stacore-advanced/), but those are significantly more expensive.  Getting to demo either one before laying out the l-o-n-g green is an issue, however....

 

4 hours ago, Kelly said:

Did it do this from the start? I have only had mine a month or so but it hasn't ever done that. 

 

No, it wasn't from the beginning.  I'd say it started a few months ago, and I've owned the speakers a little under a year.  It's pretty infrequent, so it's not a huge deal, but it'd be better if it wasn't something I had to deal with at all.

 

4 hours ago, Kelly said:

You said somewhere else that you used a Yellowtec puc2. How does that sound running out of the computer compare to your ultraRendu? Not in the same league? I still have one that I am not using and was just contemplating trying to sell it again. It was a very good device for what it was. When powered with a decent supply it held up pretty well against some of the the much pricier competitors.

 

Since I knew that the YellowTec only be a temporary solution (until the Kii CONTROL dropped) I didn't do anything to help it out.  It runs off USB bus power with only a crap USB printer cable.  So, I am fairly certain that I could improve it's performance significantly.  All that said, it sounded/sounds pretty damn good.  No, not as good as the micro- or the ultraRendu into the Kii CONTROL (they are both connected now so I can A/B easily), but it's still quite musically satisfying--again, with no favors done for it.  

 

BTW, I think that the relevant comparison is the PUC2 to the Kii CONTROL since those are both USB to AES converters, whereas the Rendus are streamers (that is, one could run a uR into the PUC and, thence, into the Kii THREE's AES input).  I cannot easily compare the PUC2 to the Kii CONTROL (without a whole lot of re-wiring in a constrained space) and the CONTROL has a huge advantage, getting its data from the uR vs. my PC for the PUC.  But, based on convenience alone, the Kii CONTROL is almost a must have, regardless.  It probably also sounds better too, though, as I said, I cannot say that for sure.


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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57 minutes ago, c1f said:

So, what are your impressions when using the analog input?

Thanks.

Th analog input is excellent. Basically transparent to source for all intents and purposes.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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I've never used the analog input, I have absolutely no need.  I've heard it's not nearly as good as full-digital from a number of sources, but maybe firedog's first-hand experience is more compelling than my no-experience.


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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On 8/26/2017 at 0:08 AM, atletico said:

My impression "short"  summary:

 

-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 !...My preamp will be sold. Also all the settings 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  a more  3D soundstage.

 

The Kii Three speakers have now replaced my 3 times more expensive set up and I'm very impressed with the overall sound these speaker now present in my living room.

The Kii Control  get the best out of the Kii Three speakers. This is my experience.


Auralic Aries G2 - Kii Control -  Kii Three active speakers -  OPPO BDP 95 - Clearaudio Concept turtable / AT-33 PTG II pu /Clearaudio Maestro Wood pu - Rega Fono MC riaa / Musical Surrondings riaa

Head-fi:

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro - Shure SE846w/Silver Dragon - Chord Mojo

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8 hours ago, input username here said:

I've never used the analog input, I have absolutely no need.  I've heard it's not nearly as good as full-digital from a number of sources, but maybe firedog's first-hand experience is more compelling than my no-experience.

Oh, I agree the digital input sounds better. But the analog input sounds virtually identical to what the analog source sounds like.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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45 minutes ago, firedog said:

Oh, I agree the digital input sounds better. But the analog input sounds virtually identical to what the analog source sounds like.

You nailed it.  9_9


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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5 hours ago, firedog said:

Oh, I agree the digital input sounds better. But the analog input sounds virtually identical to what the analog source sounds like.

Agree,  and that's why I'm also using my turntable with the new Rega Fono MC RIAA into the analog XLR input on each speaker with excellent result together with the digital Inputs on Kii Control. All my 4 sources are nicely controlled from my listing position with an Apple remote sendt to the Kii Control.

 


Auralic Aries G2 - Kii Control -  Kii Three active speakers -  OPPO BDP 95 - Clearaudio Concept turtable / AT-33 PTG II pu /Clearaudio Maestro Wood pu - Rega Fono MC riaa / Musical Surrondings riaa

Head-fi:

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro - Shure SE846w/Silver Dragon - Chord Mojo

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23 hours ago, firedog said:

Th analog input is excellent. Basically transparent to source for all intents and purposes.

Well, that's encouraging!  Thank you. :cool:

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17 hours ago, input username here said:

I've never used the analog input, I have absolutely no need.

Acknowledged.  I have a tape or two or... :P

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7 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

You nailed it.  9_9

Would you be able to describe what happens to differentially-balanced signals over the Kii's XLR inputs?

Would any advantage(s) conferred by differentially-balanced signals via XLR be immaterial with the Kii Three? :confused:

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7 minutes ago, c1f said:

Would you be able to describe what happens to differentially-balanced signals over the Kii's XLR inputs?

Would any advantage(s) conferred by differentially-balanced signals via XLR be immaterial with the Kii Three? :confused:

Not sure what you are trying to ask. The XLR on the Kii can be defined as either digital or analog. If you set it up as analog and attach your XLR phono output (or any analog input)  to it, it digitizes the input and then processes it exactly as it does with any digital input.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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1 minute ago, c1f said:

Would you be able to describe what happens to differentially-balanced signals over the Kii's XLR inputs?

Would any advantage(s) conferred by differentially-balanced signals via XLR be immaterial with the Kii Three? :confused:

The analog input is digitized at 24/192 and processed as such.  The AES/EBU is accepted at up to 24/192, as well.  Since I have no analog sources, I could only feed the analog output of my DACs for comparison.........to their own inputs.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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So one thing I haven't heard too many people comment on is just how remarkable the Kiis are in home theater duty. My room is approx 20x35 and the listening area is situated at one end of it. We watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (which was actually quite good, if you're into that kind of movie) which has a lot of action scenes and a lot of good music in it. I simply ran the coax from my Samsung BluRay (~$130 from Costco a few years ago) into the Control. Wow they blew out of the room! I think in most of my music listening I hadn't really cranked the Kiis and tested them much in terms of volume and dynamics, they were truly awesome in this use.


Roon ->allo Sparky-USBridge w/ SBooster 5V LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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Sorry I was unclear, it was not really HT use, but just watching movies with a stereo set of Kiis. They are very dynamic and their bass power-prowess is excellent for movies.


Roon ->allo Sparky-USBridge w/ SBooster 5V LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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On 9/5/2017 at 8:36 PM, Kal Rubinson said:

The analog input is digitized at 24/192 and processed as such.  The AES/EBU is accepted at up to 24/192, as well.  Since I have no analog sources, I could only feed the analog output of my DACs for comparison.........to their own inputs.

 

I was told that Kii uses a proprietary, asynchronous sampling rate--for the DACs, at least.  That is, they run the DACs at the same sampling rate, no matter whether the incoming single had a 44- or 48-base rate; everything (including DSD) gets re-sampled to the DACs' native rate.  I suppose that there is no reason that the ADCs would have to run at any particular rate as a result, that is, they could certainly run at 24/192, but I wonder if it wouldn't just be simpler to run the ADCs at the same rate as the DACs' native base-rate (whatever that is, I was never made clear on that point).  

 

Not that it matters much to me: I've never used the XLRs for analog, nor do I ever intend to.

 

7 hours ago, Kelly said:

Sorry I was unclear, it was not really HT use, but just watching movies with a stereo set of Kiis. They are very dynamic and their bass power-prowess is excellent for movies.

 

Mr. Rubinson and I have been back and forth a few times on this thread about how awesome these would be in a full surround setup; the only hangup being (... besides, that is, the cost of at least three more THREEs) how to get multichannel digital into the speakers.  I suggested a number of (very high-end & expensive) processors that will allow one to do just that (see, for example, Trinnov, Theta and DataSat--or, hell, why not even the old TacT surround processor, if you could find one used--and if you could live with only DD and DTS), though Mr. Rubinson opined that he would be unwilling to spend so much for a A/V processor when all he wants is a surround music processor.  A fair enough point, I suppose.


Roon --> ultraRendu/Uptone LPS-1 --> Kii CONTROL --> Kii THREE active speakers (everything on Black Ravioli bases and footers)

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On 9/5/2017 at 5:36 PM, Kal Rubinson said:

The analog input is digitized at 24/192 and processed as such.  The AES/EBU is accepted at up to 24/192, as well.  Since I have no analog sources, I could only feed the analog output of my DACs for comparison.........to their own inputs.

Thank you for this reply.  I'm wondering about the analog input circuitry prior to AD conversion.

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7 hours ago, c1f said:

Thank you for this reply.  I'm wondering about the analog input circuitry prior to AD conversion.

I am not sure if there is much.  Perhaps a buffer.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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On ‎25‎/‎08‎/‎2017 at 10:54 PM, Ralf11 said:

I enjoyed the comparison to horns -has anyone compared these to dipoles, either Quads, etc. or Maggies?

 

Is anyone in a position to answer this? I'd be very interested in the comments. I am still in love with my Quad ESL57s after 40 years and one refurbishment. Are the Kii Threes the first real challenger that might at last turn my head?

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6 hours ago, gcoupe said:

Are the Kii Threes the first real challenger that might at last turn my head?

I have not had Quads or Stax in my system in many years but I suspect the answer, theoretically, is yes.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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6 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

I have not had Quads or Stax in my system in many years but I suspect the answer, theoretically, is yes.

 

Kal - how's Kii's soundstage compared to your reference B&W's?

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I believe the Kii is superior in stereo but I listen to the B&Ws mostly in multichannel.  I'd love to have a quintet of Kii Threes.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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I agree, Kal. I replaced a set of Martin Logans with the Kii. They image beautifully, whereas the 'stats gave a more difuse soundstage. Much greater high frequency extension and bass down below 20 Hz. And similar to Kal, I found that Dirac live did not make a significant difference; quite different from my experience with the MLs.

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