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Kii Three - my impressions and pro reviews

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22 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. 

 

My Trinnov makes it even simpler. It measures, creates and applies the correction filters at more or less the press of a button. Still, I was wondering if some of you could possibly recommend some good reference literature as I find the topic incredibly interesting?

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On 2/2/2020 at 5:11 PM, 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. 

Similar approach but with Dirac Live and the MiniDSP DDRC22D with AES input to the Kii.

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Adding a bit to my previous question in regards to reference material, I stumbled across the following which is the first in series of articles published by @mitchco

 

 

 

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Last night I used REW to help me find the optimal speaker position in my room.  Moving them a bit further into the room and closer together gave me a flatter response and it did sound much better.  Boundary was left at -4 setting.  As you adjust the boundary setting and do a sweep in REW you can clearly see what each setting is doing to the bass response.  Still have much more tweaking to do, just getting started but encouraged by the positive results from being able to see a sweep response graph, make an adjustment, then listen to the result.


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

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Slightly change in topic but I am using a Roon Nucleus straight into the Kii Control via USB.  This is giving me very good sound.  I tried various devices - EtherRegen, Sonore optical signature Rendu, SoTM trio, Auralic Aries G2, and a few other USB clean up devices but in each case the plain old Nucleus to Kii gave me comparable results.  I think it has to do with the Roon software/protocol RAAT communication effectively (bit-perfect) with the Kii Control ALSA.

 

I opened the Kii Control to check the XMOS chip but could not determine which model it was - U132A0C40 and some other numbers.  I believe the latest FW update also updated the XMOS.  Does anyone have any info on the XMOS used in the Kii Control?  Perhaps it is cleaning up the USB signal/power/clocking so that additional devices are not needed?


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

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23 minutes ago, fpalm69 said:

 

Slightly change in topic but I am using a Roon Nucleus straight into the Kii Control via USB.  This is giving me very good sound.  I tried various devices - EtherRegen, Sonore optical signature Rendu, SoTM trio, Auralic Aries G2, and a few other USB clean up devices but in each case the plain old Nucleus to Kii gave me comparable results.  I think it has to do with the Roon software/protocol RAAT communication effectively (bit-perfect) with the Kii Control ALSA.

 

 

I've found similar results. I'd say it has more to do with the Kii Control having a very good quality USB input and probably very good processing by the DAC in 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 9(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 was anticipating the XMOS to say XU208 somewhere but it did not. Whatever model chip, it is doing a great job handling the USB signal. 


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

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7 hours ago, fpalm69 said:

Slightly change in topic but I am using a Roon Nucleus straight into the Kii Control via USB.  This is giving me very good sound.  I tried various devices - EtherRegen, Sonore optical signature Rendu, SoTM trio, Auralic Aries G2, and a few other USB clean up devices but in each case the plain old Nucleus to Kii gave me comparable results.  I think it has to do with the Roon software/protocol RAAT communication effectively (bit-perfect) with the Kii Control ALSA.

 

 Interesting, I’m in the market for another music server. My current one feeds with SPDIF and I can hear distinct differences using the coax connection. I dont use Roon yet but am tempted. Hence the need for another server. I’ve heard Antipodes on the Kii over USB and it sounded great. One would expect so for the price tag. But I havent heard any other comparison over usb other than a laptop. But based on your conclusions I could just settle for a Roon Nucleus(+) over say, an Innuos Zenith which the media raves about and save some cash.

 

Anyone else share the same experience?

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I´ve had the chance to test Innuos Zenith MK3 via USB, Hifiakademie Netplayer via Spdif and Auralic Aries Mini via Optical input.

I did play the same Music on all three units parallel. The stream came from my NAS. Innuos had the tracks directly on it´s ssd.

 

They were sounding slightly different, if you listen very! carefully. (Maybe a highend afficionado would call this Milestones, I won´t) Regarding the money and the benefit in sound quality there could only be one hero in this setup. I think you can guess right 🙂

 

I did this comparison by switching through the sources via Kii Control remote, and managed to get the right track time allignement . So there were no time breaks by switching between the sources. This should eliminate psycho acoustics.

 

My friend with the Aries took part in this session. We had the same opinion according to the sound quality.

 

But give it a try in your surrounding. I think, it´s easy to compare.

 

 

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@Yellowspider 

 

Hi yellowspider, that's interesting.

 

I did a similar exercise when I was considering moving away from my Auralic Aries FEMA. I fed the Aurender W20 and Auralic from my NAS and connected both to the Kii Control. Both sources have spdif and usb output and swapping them around made no perceivable difference; but in both cases I much preferred the Aurender, especially with female voices and choral pieces. I had a friend who helped with the 'blind' A/B'ing.

 

I ended-up purchasing the Aurender and parting ways with the Auralic. Common sense says that the digital source shouldn't make any difference and there are plenty of threads on that, but anyway, for me there was a difference for whatever reason. It looks like your findings supports the common sense position.  I don't use the NAS to feed the Aurender, that was just to enable the A/B, That definitely does make a difference. 

 

It shows again some of the benefits of the Kii remote. It's a good little digital 'preamp' and for me an essential part for the setting up of the Kii's..... next steps are to get going with REW and the new PEQ filters!


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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On 2/4/2020 at 8:03 AM, baconbrain said:

Adding a bit to my previous question in regards to reference material, I stumbled across the following which is the first in series of articles published by @mitchco

 

 

@baconbrain thank you for posting the link. A great series of articles, with some real gems.


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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3 minutes ago, Mazza said:

@Yellowspider 

 

...for me there was a difference for whatever reason. ....

 

 

Yes Mazza, there were differences you could hear. Innuos was most refined unit, the Hifiakademie was on the warmer side and the Aries Mini had smooth highs but it lacked some substance and pressure. But these differences are on a high level. If the Innuos had those silky highs, it would have been the best sounding unit overall. If you want a highly refined sound, the Innuos is really good. And it would get even better in comparison when you compare the handling and operation. Thats really great.

 

I ended up with an Aries Femto with Sbooster PSU. Great sound quality for the money.

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@Yellowspider .... totally agree, the Aries FEMTO offers amazing 'bang-for-buck' SQ. 


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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1 hour ago, Yellowspider said:

I´ve had the chance to test Innuos Zenith MK3 via USB, Hifiakademie Netplayer via Spdif and Auralic Aries Mini via Optical input.

I did play the same Music on all three units parallel. The stream came from my NAS. Innuos had the tracks directly on it´s ssd.

 

They were sounding slightly different, if you listen very! carefully. (Maybe a highend afficionado would call this Milestones, I won´t) Regarding the money and the benefit in sound quality there could only be one hero in this setup. I think you can guess right 🙂

 

I did this comparison by switching through the sources via Kii Control remote, and managed to get the right track time allignement . So there were no time breaks by switching between the sources. This should eliminate psycho acoustics.

 

My friend with the Aries took part in this session. We had the same opinion according to the sound quality.

 

But give it a try in your surrounding. I think, it´s easy to compare.

 

 

 

Interesting results. My personal experiences have been somewhat different over time. For me, the connection type (USB, Coax, or Optical), their respective interconnects, and source have influenced SQ. I tend to believe that it is the right mix of each that really makes a difference in the end. Make sense?  

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Thanks for the insights.

 

I know from own experience that interconnects on the coax connection can make a substantial difference in SQ.

 

To me it makes no sense opting for a “budget” server/streamer option if you invest 15k in a set of speakers that you know can reveal even subtlest differences. Unless of course the differences with more expensive players is negligeable. Judging from the reactions there’s no clear verdict on the subject. Guess I’ll have to plan a few demo’s.

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18 minutes ago, H665 said:

Guess I’ll have to plan a few demo’s.


first rule of the hobby: then, the second rule is the law of diminishing returns!

 


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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1 hour ago, Mazza said:


first rule of the hobby: then, the second rule is the law of diminishing returns!

 

 I already entered that domain😂

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New firmware update is just out. From the website:

This download of the update tool contains the most current firmware versions:
Kii Control: 2.4
K3 PIC: 3.9
K3 DSP: 4.9
BXT: 0.6

 

Fixes (from inofficial changelog):

- Fixed bug in analogue input level detection
- Bluetooth device now presents itself as a hifi device instead of a headset
- Slave settings will be copied in KC menu from master for linked settings like boundary

 

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35 minutes ago, Rubysea said:

New firmware update is just out. From the website:

This download of the update tool contains the most current firmware versions:
Kii Control: 2.4
K3 PIC: 3.9
K3 DSP: 4.9
BXT: 0.6

 

Fixes (from inofficial changelog):

- Fixed bug in analogue input level detection
- Bluetooth device now presents itself as a hifi device instead of a headset
- Slave settings will be copied in KC menu from master for linked settings like boundary

 

You have to download the update tool to get the update? Makes no sense. The update tool should get you already have should download the update.


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 9(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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As far as the previously discussed issue of the Kii not going into power saving when connected via AES analog, I can now confirm that that issue was fixed in the update.


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 9(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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2 hours ago, fpalm69 said:

Here's a good article from TAS about integrated Systems as the future of audio.  It mentions the Kii Three.

 

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/the-future-of-audio-integrated-systems/

 

Very nice read. This part is so true:

 

"I think we often can be enticed down the path of seeking an amazing sonic experience, only to find that this outstanding result comes at the price of many recordings sounding just okay or worse. Reviewers are tempted to write this off as “the system was very revealing of flaws in the recordings I played.” Yes, perhaps, but perhaps the system has distortions that work well on occasion but not very often."


Roon server (Mac Mini/i7/SSD/16GB/Uptone DC mod/external SDD via firewire/Uptone Audio JS-2 LPS) Streamer dCS Network Bridge DAC Chord DAVE Amplifier / DRC Lyngdorf TDAI-3400 Speakers Lindemann BL-10 | JL audio E-sub e110 Cables CAT6 UTP ethernet, Transparent premium AES/EBU, Nordost Leif Red Dawn analog RCA, Kimber 8TC speaker cables, custom star-quad power cables with Oyaide termination Head-fi and reference Bakoon HPA-21 | Audeze LCD-3 (f) | Audio-technica ATH-M50 Software High Sierra | Roon | Tidal | Qobuz Power and isolation Dedicated power line | Xentek extreme isolation transformer (1KVA, 0.0001pf, balanced) | Vibex one 6R power distributor | Uptone EtherREGEN | Emo Systems EN-70HD network isolator | Jensen CI-1RR isolator

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Based on the views here, I started experimenting on the remote's usb input as opposed to the XLR digital. Sounds promising. Anyone experienced burn-in on the remote USB? Should I expect change in sound in the times to come?

 

Feeding directly from the USB output of Nucleus.

 


Kii Three + BXT, dCS Network Bridge, Stromtank 2500, Roon Nucleus, Echole Power Cables, Mogami + Bocchino AES, SOTM Switch + CAT7

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