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Kii Three - my impressions and pro reviews

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I haven’t had a chance to sit down and have a lengthy listen as yet.   What is the general gist regarding what owners are experiencing with the update.

 

On a short listen I thought the gain/vol was up.   Perhaps abit more open sounding.

 

Any perceptions?

 

Regards Cazzesman

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Cazzesman said:

On a short listen I thought the gain/vol was up.   Perhaps abit more open sounding.

Any perceptions?

 

 

Definitely more gain, I have had to reduce the volume. Other than that? Probably impossible to tell! No longer able to A-B !!


Aurender W20 Music Server, Kii Three Active Speakers, Kii Digital Controller

Audioquest Diamond USB, Audioquest Niagara 7000 conditioner, Audioquest NRG-1000 HC mains leads

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10 minutes ago, Mazza said:

 

Definitely more gain, I have had to reduce the volume. Other than that? Probably impossible to tell! No longer able to A-B !!

I’ve only installed the previous update, so no experience with the 2.3 version. But gain seemed to be increased about 12 dB and I noticed that the Control display seemed to be slow in activating after a lengthy period of sleep and a couple of times the slave speaker did not come out of stand by. I have the impression (just a subjective feeling :-)) that there was some change in the dsp, but I haven’t remeasured the frequency response.

 

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Update went smooth here, using windows 10 on a lenevo ThinkPad. I like the new main menu layout. Bluetooth connectivity is very convenient, my daughters can now connect from their iPhone or iPad and play their Apple Music, which sounds pretty good actually. I haven’t noticed any change or improvement in sound quality or increase in gain as others have reported. Nice update from Kii Audio. 


Kii Three, Kii Stands, Kii Control. Aurender N100, 1TB SSD. VPI Prime TT, Benz Micro Glider SL Cartridge, RCM Sensor 2 Phono Stage. PS Audio AC5 Power Regenerator. Audioquest Cat5 Ethernet, Diamond USB & Yukon XLR.

Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia.

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4 hours ago, Craig1512 said:

or increase in gain as others have reported

The increase in gain is from those who had early versions of the speakers. At some point they changed the software to have more gain. If your pair came with the gain already added in, you won't notice a difference.


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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I can't hear any difference between the two firmware versions. 

Has anyone asked Kii if there has been any sonic changes? 

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1 minute ago, firedog said:

I think if there was one, they would have promoted it as an improvement - which they didn't. Unless you call the addition of the PEQ a "sonic change". 
 

Audiophiles seem to always think every firmware change results in audible changes, even in an update  where  the manufacturer says the changes had nothing to do with audio quality or audio output. 

Well put, I totally agree. 

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completely agree with @firedog
Besides, what should these sonic changes be, for a speaker that is designed to be a neutral monitor and whose overall characteristic (eg. time alignment, cardioid radiation pattern, etc.) is fully matched for the individual drivers used and so stored as inherent DSP setting(s).
Why should they be changed by Kii? We as users/ listeners can do this now with the new EQ settings, if we haven't done so already with other software/hardware.

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Worst they could do is introduce sonic changes as most of us have bought these speakers for their sonic performance. I heard that Innuos updated their streamer firmware recently and not everyone was happy about the sonic “improvements”.

 

I really welcome the addition of notch filters to take care of a troublesome roommode the Kii’s weren’t able to alleviate before.

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6 hours ago, ragwo said:

I can't hear any difference between the two firmware versions. 

Has anyone asked Kii if there has been any sonic changes? 

I just updated to 2.3 and also can’t hear any difference between the two versions. My comments earlier were in reference to the pre 1.0 early release. My impression is that the later versions have reduced distortion in the sub 50 Hz region, but I haven’t verified this. Regardless there has been no decrease in SQ, as the previous posts have noted. Indeed the addition of advanced filters is appreciated.

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14 hours ago, firedog said:

The increase in gain is from those who had early versions of the speakers. At some point they changed the software to have more gain. If your pair came with the gain already added in, you won't notice a difference.

 

 

I purchased my Kii 3's 12 months back and they were 2nd hand.   I presume they retained the original firmware.   This latest firmware upgrade is the first they have had hence why I believe there is some SQ change.    Based on your thoughts that makes sense.

 

Regards Cazzesman

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I used the new PEQ to knock down a nasty peak I had at 39Hz.  Sounds much better now.

I wonder what the difference is in PEQ constant Q and prog Q?

Good job Kii.


Netgear modem > Synology router > Roon Nucleus / HDPlex LPS > Kii Control > Kii Three > w/Supra cables

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2 hours ago, fpalm69 said:

I wonder what the difference is in PEQ constant Q and prog Q?

 

With the prog Q, the width of the equalized band changes somewhat with the gain - this is the "standard" PEQ behaviour.

The constant Q mode has been introduced to ensure that the width of the band remains unchanged irrespective of the gain.

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3 minutes ago, PleasantSounds said:

 

 

With the prog Q, the width of the equalized band changes somewhat with the gain - this is the "standard" PEQ behaviour.

The constant Q mode has been introduced to ensure that the width of the band remains unchanged irrespective of the gain.

 

Interesting. So was prog Q or constant Q used previously for boundary adjustments? Or are neither involved in that?

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It would be nice if Kii would elaborate a bit more on the advanced settings for the less initiated should they choose to try them out. The possibilities really allow you to fine tune the Kii’s and eliminate more of the room than they already do. In that regard you have to hand it to Linn with their sound optimization. Linn really goes into easy understandable detail on the application of  notch filters to tackle room modes so you can fine tune their calculated modes and corresponding filters even further.

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When the EQ filters were first introduced during beta FW end of September last year I also didn't know too much about them. But at the time I was already interested in room correction methods (via other HW/SW) and was very glad to find the possibility to tackle that topic then without any further "big" initial investment.
What each filter does is fairly easy to research on the web. To try them out of course you would need to "see" and hear what they can do. So here I took a rather small investment for a MiniDSP UMIK-1 microphone and a mic stand and downloaded the REW software to start measuring the Kiis in my room.
The REW manual is a really good starting point for initial steps of room correction.
In sum it says: "The best we can do is deal with the broad, shallow dips and work on the peaks" and " We can use the equaliser to help tame the peaks, and the lower down they occur, the better the results we are likely to get".
If you stick to these statements for the beginning, you already can make huge steps.
Like fpalm69 stated above, I also had a similar strong room mode around 40db (>20db!) that I did tame initially, which was already a big step forward.
Now I use a combination for a boundary setting for one speaker, and individual EQ settings for each speaker (Advanced Filters >> Link all with master: No).
So you need to take a lot of measurements and a lot of experimenting (when you are new to this topic like me), but this can yield rewarding results and you will enjoy the music even more 🙂
And the topic of a house/target curve I haven't even touched because for that I would like to consider some other room treatments first like absorbers/ diffusors (which is on my agenda)

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@Rubysea I couldn’t agree more that a UMIK-1 is a good investment. Highly recommended if you are serious about your room acoustics. My living/listening room has a few issues the Kii’s can’t fix. I’m having an acoustic ceiling placed to deal with the high reverb time. The Kii’s already do a great job of keeping the lows in check so you don’t need massive bass traps. This  played an important part in the WAF😉

 

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7 hours ago, Rubysea said:

... To try them out of course you would need to "see" and hear what they can do. So here I took a rather small investment for a MiniDSP UMIK-1 microphone and a mic stand and downloaded the REW software to start measuring the Kiis in my room.
The REW manual is a really good starting point for initial steps of room correction. ...  So you need to take a lot of measurements and a lot of experimenting (when you are new to this topic like me), but this can yield rewarding results and you will enjoy the music even more 🙂

 

Hey @Rubysea, @H665, and everyone else who's contributed to this topic, thanks for the info.  I (think) I would like to do the same thing all of you are doing, more or less.  But I have no experience in this sort of EQ, so I just want to be sure I have this straight:

 

1. Obviously, the need for the UMIK-1 is self-explanatory, but...

 

2. ... I'm less clear about what REW does.  As I read their documentation, REW reads the output from the UMIK-1 and then compares it to a flat (or house-curve) response and then calculates notch-filters to match the actual output to the desired output.  You can read said output and see where problems are in your system.

 

3. Then, according to MiniDSP, you're supposed to save these filters into a .txt file and load them into MiniDSP software, but you guys're saying: write these filters down and then program them into the Kii CONTROL by hand?

 

3.5.  Just to be clear, what's the benefit of doing this into the Kii and not into MiniDSP software and/or, say, Roon?  How/why am I benefited by doing the EQ in the CONTROL and not some other place in the playback chain?

 

4. Could you guys please go into a little more detail about the process of EQ'ing with the notch filters and combining those with the "Boundry" EQ?  Would the idea be to get as close to flat and/or to "house/target curve"as possible with the "Boundry" EQ --and only then work in the notch filters to knock down remaining peaks?  Or is there some other, better way of thinking about using all of these new advanced EQ capabilities?

 

5. As always, a big THANKS in advance to the AS-Kii community.


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

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@input username here
ad 3/3,5: yes, this is what you basically need to do if you want to use the new advanced filters of the Kii (and not other SW/HW).
You measure in REW and then experiment with the Kii filters. For my bad room mode I tried a notch filter first but then opted for a PEQ prop. Q setting. This all involved a lot of measurements and filter re-adjustments.
Otherwise you bypass the Kii filters and let REW (or ohter measuring software) calculate the filter settings (via txt file) for eg. ohter MiniDSP Hardware/Software which then does the filtering and passes on a filtered/corrected audio input signal to the Kiis.

ad 4: What you can do here is also a matter of experimentation. The boundary setting I took for my right speaker I similarly could have achieved with a low shelf filter. I assume the boundary filter setting basicly is a low shelf filter.
OK, the way of measuring, manually adjusting the filters in Kii, re-measuring, readjusting filters, etc, etc. is tedious, but will lead to some results without further need to invest more money (but its fun and you can learn quite a bit).
If you already have other SW/HW in place, that can calculate the best stettings automatically or import such calculations, then there is no need to utilize the new filters of the Kii
 

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With the new filtering options in the Kii you don’t really need a miniDSP or dirac live. You just need to take measurements to determine the worst room modes. And manually create a notch filter with the Kii control for the most troublesome frequencies (usually around 20, 40 and 80hz depending on room size and acoustic treatment). The Kii frequency response curve should measure pretty straight from about 125Hz upwards because of the cardioid dispersion. But this is all icing on the cake. Squeezing the last bit of sonic performance out of the speakers.

 

Alternatively you could calculate your room modes(there are online tools for that) and experiment with those outcomes by ear. No measurement required but it’s the best way to see the effect of the changes.

 

For me the adjusting was easy because I could use the calculated room mode correction  I still had from my previous Linn system.. They also clearly showed up in the room measurement with REW. I just needed to convert octave bandwidth to Q value for the notch filters. I only had a big bump at 83Hz and a smaller one at 40 that stood out.

 

 

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I made it simpler. Used Audiolense to measure the room and create correction filters, then put the filters into Roon for playback. Eliminates all the playing around, and is probably more accurate. 


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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17 hours ago, firedog said:

I made it simpler. Used Audiolense to measure the room and create correction filters, then put the filters into Roon for playback. Eliminates all the playing around, and is probably more accurate. 

 

I guess the only downside here is that it wouldn't correct for my computer or TV playback (connected through XLR and Toslink, respectively); only my music player (connected through USB).  But it does seem like an easier solution for that use case... and only the last is really used for "critical listening"--the Kii's sound just fine already with, say, a Netflix movie streamed over my TV.

 

Thanks everyone for the info.  Gotta get started, one way or another.


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

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32 minutes ago, input username here said:

 

I guess the only downside here is that it wouldn't correct for my computer or TV playback (connected through XLR and Toslink, respectively); only my music player (connected through USB).  But it does seem like an easier solution for that use case... and only the last is really used for "critical listening"--the Kii's sound just fine already with, say, a Netflix movie streamed over my TV.

 

Thanks everyone for the info.  Gotta get started, one way or another.

Well, in that kind of setup, you could use Kii presets - one for music listening, the other  for other kinds of playback....


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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Yes, using presets is the best way when using different sources, especially as for TV you will need to set the preset to minimum latency for better lip-syn accuracy.

However, if one preset is fed by a EQ-corrected source (eg from Audiolense via Roon) only that preset will profit from the correction. The others won't.

And setting up any of the Kii advanced filter EQ settings in this scenario would then correct the Roon fed preset/ source twice, as the Kii advanced filters are universally applied to all presets

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