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Kii Three - my impressions and pro reviews

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8 hours ago, Bernstein said:

 

The internal reflection is managed by the DSP programming. The distortion is linked to the size of the enclosure - the drivers need to work „hard“ meaning the travel of the driver is increased which lead to higher distortion. This is nothing special to the KII, it is the very nature of loudspeaker design, especially if you force very low frequencies. Bigger enclosure would support generating lower frequencies without forcing long travel of the drivers. But having a bigger enclosure leads also to other difficulties. Limiting the KII to 30-35Hz is one very simple measure. More can be done by EQ etc.

Question is: Is it really audible for you under normal conditions?

 

 

People often talk about speakers "having to work hard" as being the cause of subjectively significant problems in the sound - but my experience is otherwise, :). I have been amazed over the years, at how even "cheap and nasty' drivers do a remarkably good job of delivering the musical message - given half a chance.

 

Yes, forcing high excursions to get bass is bound to test the limits of the engineering of the driver - but provided one doesn't go silly on this, then, subjectively, quite superb sound can be realised from very modest drivers.

 


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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26 minutes ago, TheStupidOne said:

I don't have a particularly big room and listen to my speakers from about 3,5 meter/10 feet, and are demonstrably able to exceed the comfortable working range of the Kii Threes. This information could be relevant for other people considering the Kiis or even the BXTs.

 

Hi! Just in case I misunderstand it (no native): do you think the KIIs are not suitable for your room? What do you mean with “able to exceed the working range”? 

 

Lost in translation 😂

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I like the quality of the conversation and thanks for the explanation. Sounds well! 

Did you try to cut off all frequencies below 35Hz? Maybe this could lead to higher headroom + less distortion in that lower frequencies. 

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I also looking forward to the distortion measurement of the BXT. I already asked KII about that, hopefully getting some measurements or someone here can manage to measure them. 

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I plan to setup measurements and software DRC (to defeat a room node and to install target curves that match my personal preferences) in the fall on my Kii setup.

It will be interesting to see if I measure the same type of distortion. I certainly don’t hear it at the volumes I use, which are around 75-80db at the listening point. 
Is this distortion still there if the signal is altered in software before it is sent to the Kiis, or just when using the frequency adjustments built into the Kiis?


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Apologies if these two queries have been discussed in this thread already (I haven't had chance to read the whole thread) - I can't seem to find thread search functionality on this forum. I'm in the process of moving my entire 2-channel system over to active cardiod speakers. I'm considering the Kii's (which I've already home auditioned) and the 8c's (which I haven't yet).

 

First query, have many folks in this thread directly compared the Kii's and 8c's?

 

Second query, I have a Trinnov Amethyst on order for digital pre-amp duties. How many folks here have the Amethyst in play? (I have a bunch of queries, perhaps better directed by PM so as not to be OT)

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10 minutes ago, Bernstein said:

Hi @Blade1001

 

I had the 8c for demo at home + listened to the KII for hours at my dealer. 

 

You can read my results here

https://community.roonlabs.com/t/dutch-dutch-8c-active-speakers/65330/107?u=ssk84

 

I ordered the KIIs :) 

 

Thanks, I have read that before, a nice summary.

 

I have tested the Kii's at home, and was massively impressed, and my thoughts much align with your descriptions. They bettered my resident Salon 2's in a number of area and matched them in several others.

 

What did you do to achieve the more "relaxed" sound which you mentioned as a preference in that post?

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1 hour ago, Blade1001 said:

Apologies if these two queries have been discussed in this thread already (I haven't had chance to read the whole thread) - I can't seem to find thread search functionality on this forum. I'm in the process of moving my entire 2-channel system over to active cardiod speakers. I'm considering the Kii's (which I've already home auditioned) and the 8c's (which I haven't yet).

 

First query, have many folks in this thread directly compared the Kii's and 8c's?

 

Second query, I have a Trinnov Amethyst on order for digital pre-amp duties. How many folks here have the Amethyst in play? (I have a bunch of queries, perhaps better directed by PM so as not to be OT)

 

I am using the Amethyst. Feel free to PM me.

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30 minutes ago, Blade1001 said:

 

Thanks, I have read that before, a nice summary.

 

I have tested the Kii's at home, and was massively impressed, and my thoughts much align with your descriptions. They bettered my resident Salon 2's in a number of area and matched them in several others.

 

What did you do to achieve the more "relaxed" sound which you mentioned as a preference in that post?

I can't answer for Bernstein, but on albums I think need to be "relaxed" (mostly non acoustic music), I boost the frequencies between 100-400 hz a bit, and reduce the high end a bit. 
I'm hoping in the fall to setup with Audiolense on my server and feed the Kiis with a target curve resembling the Harman down slope. I'm thinking that will probably solve the issue.  


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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30 minutes ago, Blade1001 said:

 

Thanks, I have read that before, a nice summary.

 

I have tested the Kii's at home, and was massively impressed, and my thoughts much align with your descriptions. They bettered my resident Salon 2's in a number of area and matched them in several others.

 

What did you do to achieve the more "relaxed" sound which you mentioned as a preference in that post?

 

The speaker haven’t arrived yet...

Optimization will be based on Floyd Toole (also called Harman curve), but measurements are needed to achieve it precisely. But @firedog has a workaround by ear. I have a good friend who will do this, but I have to wait some months...

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14 minutes ago, Bernstein said:

 

The speaker haven’t arrived yet...

Optimization will be based on Floyd Toole (also called Harman curve), but measurements are needed to achieve it precisely. But @firedog has a workaround by ear. I have a good friend who will do this, but I have to wait some months...

 

Thanks, I'm familiar with the Harman curve, I use it as a preset on the Trinnov Altitude in my HT system - I still find it a little bright at the top end, so you may need additional top end roll - but now I see how you are looking to achieve the relaxed sound. Thanks.

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21 minutes ago, firedog said:

I can't answer for Bernstein, but on albums I think need to be "relaxed" (mostly non acoustic music), I boost the frequencies between 100-400 hz a bit, and reduce the high end a bit. 
I'm hoping in the fall to setup with Audiolense on my server and feed the Kiis with a target curve resembling the Harman down slope. I'm thinking that will probably solve the issue.  

 

Thanks  - I see folks are using EQ for this then, thats fine and easy enough to do. I didn't know if people were using EQ or some other technique to achieve the "relaxed" sound, but thanks for confirming.

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2 hours ago, Blade1001 said:

They bettered my resident Salon 2's in a number of area and matched them in several others.

 

Revel Ultima Salon 2? 

They cost 28k€ a pair...ok wow!

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28 minutes ago, Blade1001 said:

 

Indeed, plus Audio Research/Levinson electronics, plus DAC, plus cabling etc etc. 

 

Don't get me wrong, the Salon 2's sound superb, one of the best speakers I've ever heard - even bested numerous electrostats I've heard. They probably had a touch more air and refinement over the Kii's - probably the result of higher quality drivers. The Kii's matched them for sound stage size and clarity/resolution though. Where the Kii's pulled clearly ahead was in the bass definition (punch and impact was superb), in room measured performance, and of course price (not to mention convenience and reduced box count).

 

Also bear in mind I'd set the Revel's up at length and in depth, over a number of years and the had the benefit of full EQ filters, where as the Kii were stuck quickly on a couple of stands and compared on largely default settings. I'd wager I could have got even more out of them with extend use and more comprehensive measurements and set-up, particularly when twinned with the Amethysts extensive EQ facilities.

 

I really do think these cardiod fully active, fully integrated speakers are the future of home audio. I don't think traditional hifi-will be able to compete in the long-run.

 

I still have to test the 8c's just to be sure - otherwise it'll be a itch never scratched - but the 48Khz internal sampling rate puts me off a bit (not to mention their 24bit lossy volume control - though I wouldn't use that with the Amethyst).

 

 

 

 

You speaking about a system which cost many times more than the KII...wow. The size of the Salon 2 is also much bigger...

 

Looking st EQ & Convolution: You can use your Roon Core to do this as well! More cost efficient. The KII Control then can be used for the inputs and volume control. Nice and small. 

 

PS: Darko calls this „Future-fi“ 😎 

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40 minutes ago, Bernstein said:

 

You speaking about a system which cost many times more than the KII...wow. The size of the Salon 2 is also much bigger...

 

Looking st EQ & Convolution: You can use your Roon Core to do this as well! More cost efficient. The KII Control then can be used for the inputs and volume control. Nice and small. 

 

PS: Darko calls this „Future-fi“ 😎 

 

That's one the benefits of DSP I guess, you can push drivers a little further than with a passive system - though there are consequences, as can be seen from the distortion measurements seen further up this thread, in terms of raw output. The Salons had no issue going down flat well below 20Hz in my room without breaking much of a sweat, but ultimately a) I don't need to reach those kind of subterranean levels in my two channel system (only watching movies with the kids has made use of it), no music ever has, and b) if I really wanted to add that ability, its only a sub-woofer or two away.

 

The problem with having the EQ in Roon, is it doesn't work for other sources. Kii did miss a bit of a trick not providing PEQ or a convolution engine in the speaker. They have told me that they have something else in the works for the Kii's so I would wager it'll be a more advanced future controller perhaps. The Amethyst will do everything I need though for my own 'new' system. (with the exception of convolution filters if I wanted mess around with XTC for example).

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46 minutes ago, Blade1001 said:

 

That's one the benefits of DSP I guess, you can push drivers a little further than with a passive system - though there are consequences, as can be seen from the distortion measurements seen further up this thread, in terms of raw output. The Salons had no issue going down flat well below 20Hz in my room without breaking much of a sweat, but ultimately a) I don't need to reach those kind of subterranean levels in my two channel system (only watching movies with the kids has made use of it), no music ever has, and b) if I really wanted to add that ability, its only a sub-woofer or two away.

 

The problem with having the EQ in Roon, is it doesn't work for other sources. Kii did miss a bit of a trick not providing PEQ or a convolution engine in the speaker. They have told me that they have something else in the works for the Kii's so I would wager it'll be a more advanced future controller perhaps. The Amethyst will do everything I need though for my own 'new' system. (with the exception of convolution filters if I wanted mess around with XTC for example).

 

By this way you also don’t need to buy the Kii Control...although this control unit is really nice 👍🏿 

 

You can test the 8c, but considering the sample rate, volume control, SW development (or lack of) shows a strong preference. In addition the soundstage of the KII is really outstanding. 

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1 hour ago, Blade1001 said:

They have told me that they have something else in the works for the Kii's so I would wager it'll be a more advanced future controller perhaps.

They've been hinting for about 2 years that a bigger better version of the control is in the works....but it is no more than a rumor. Nothing even resembling hard info has ever been seen.


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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46 minutes ago, Blade1001 said:

 

That's one the benefits of DSP I guess, you can push drivers a little further than with a passive system - though there are consequences, as can be seen from the distortion measurements seen further up this thread, in terms of raw output. The Salons had no issue going down flat well below 20Hz in my room without breaking much of a sweat, but ultimately a) I don't need to reach those kind of subterranean levels in my two channel system (only watching movies with the kids has made use of it), no music ever has, and b) if I really wanted to add that ability, its only a sub-woofer or two away.

 

The problem with having the EQ in Roon, is it doesn't work for other sources. Kii did miss a bit of a trick not providing PEQ or a convolution engine in the speaker. They have told me that they have something else in the works for the Kii's so I would wager it'll be a more advanced future controller perhaps. The Amethyst will do everything I need though for my own 'new' system. (with the exception of convolution filters if I wanted mess around with XTC for example).

 

By this way you also don’t need to buy the Kii Control...although this control unit is really nice 👍🏿 

 

You can test the 8c, but considering the sample rate, volume control, SW development (or lack of) shows a strong preference. In addition the soundstage of the KII is really outstanding. 

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1 hour ago, firedog said:

They've been hinting for about 2 years that a bigger better version of the control is in the works....but it is no more than a rumor. Nothing even resembling hard info has ever been seen.

 

I think it won’t happen. I mean a control with options like convolution filters would be nice, but you can also use other pres for it. They also won’t add „real“ Ethernet to it, because they don’t want to connect the speakers to the internet (which is imho good choice and not needed). 

I think the concept with the KII Control is a very focused concept which I like a lot. They will add an update tool in the future, which will help to deploy updates much faster. 

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1 hour ago, firedog said:

They've been hinting for about 2 years that a bigger better version of the control is in the works....but it is no more than a rumor. Nothing even resembling hard info has ever been seen.

 

To be fair it’s a logical next step - my own search revealed that there are precious few digital preamp options out there with digital and analogue in, and AES out, throw in a decent 64bit volume control, Roon and multi-source EQ functionality, and the Amethyst is pretty much the only game in town.

 

The control unit is nice - one was supplied with the demo pair I borrowed - but it falls a little short on functionality and connectivity. I’d much rather they’d had a separate connection box with more inputs, and made the controller wirelessly attached to it.

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