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HomeCameraThe Kinki Studio EX-M1 Built-in Amplifier Evaluation 2022.

The Kinki Studio EX-M1 Built-in Amplifier Evaluation 2022.



The Kinki Studio EX-M1 Built-in Amplifier Evaluation.

By Steve Huff

Spoiler. 

This built-in totally exceeded…no…totally SHATTERED my expectations (for the $2400 USD this prices) in such a dramatic and profound approach that I really feel this can be a problem to jot down about and describe. Whereas I get a couple of merchandise in occasionally that don’t reside as much as the hype (I don’t evaluation or speak of those merchandise) typically there’s something that comes alongside that blows me away when it actually shouldn’t.

The EX-M1 is a real excessive finish built-in amp that delivers 215 class A/B watts into 8 ohms and the primary few in Class A. When you’ve got audio system which can be 4 ohm, the EXM1 can pump 400 watts per channel.

My Video Evaluation with a comparability towards a Nagra Basic System!

The Kinki Studios EX-M1 shouldn’t be pretty much as good as it’s for what it prices. 

A minimum of that’s what we must always assume if we go by todays absurd excessive finish audio pricing the place we should spend $10k or extra on an built-in t0 get true excessive finish high quality, refinement and magic. Gone are the times (or so I assumed) the place we are able to purchase a $3000 built-in amp and get that magical refined 3 dimensional sound we search.

There are $40,000 built-in amps one can purchase as we speak so the $2400 value of this man appears..properly…”low-cost” with regards to excessive finish audio.

This will lead some to imagine that this piece will not be actually a excessive finish piece or that the amp itself is certainly “low-cost”. I can state with confidence that the will not be the case in any respect.

Evidently in HiFi we choose merchandise on value quite than substance and efficiency, and that ought to by no means be the case. I used to be pleased to present the EX-M1 a attempt, and I didn’t actually anticipate a lot as I did simply what I talked about above. I Pre-Judged it on the Value alone.

I’m jaded. I’ve heard techniques ranging in value from $500 as much as 1 million {dollars} and I assumed a made in China strong state built-in for $2400 would by no means get near delivering excessive finish magic.

The factor is, when you hear a appropriately arrange refined excessive finish system, you’ll always remember it. It touches your coronary heart and soul and is nearly drug like. Going again to decrease value items nonetheless brings that musical enjoyment in fact.

We are able to certainly take pleasure in music for decrease value however the magic is what many people attempt for in HiFi and we often cannot get that magic in low value items. We are able to get gratifying music, however not all out “swim contained in the efficiency” magic.

This piece from Kinki breaks from that norm as this amplifier can deliver an enormous heaping serving of that magic for a lot a lot lower than the massive time integrates from massive identify manufacturers. As a bonus, it’s a really beautiful wanting and properly constructed piece with stunning consideration to element in a hefty 60 lb package deal. I’ll say that the amp is not any lesser in appears, sound and construct than a few of these $6-$10k built-in amps. If this sounds good to you, learn on my associates.

The New Model for 2021/2022

This Kinki Studio EX-M1 Built-in Amplifier is the newest and biggest 2021/2022 improved model with the gold heatsinks seen on the highest of the unit and enhancements to the quantity management and capacitance. It’s a surprising sight to behold within the flesh and I can be blunt right here…

It is a piece of HiFi that has the construct and magnificence of a European $10,000 built-in with the appears of a effective Swiss instrument. It does one job and it does this job simply in addition to among the massive weapons I’ve heard in my house that value rather more, although with it’s personal daring, dynamic and arduous hitting sound signature.

With its 215 WPC this amplifier can inject some severe life into most audio system with ease.

Maintaining It Easy. 

There’s No DAC, No Streamer and No Phono Stage housed inside this fundamental but stunning built-in so if you’re in search of all of that in a single field, this isn’t for you. This built-in has one job to do and that’s to amplify your supply and ship that to your audio system.

Inside this field lies a twin mono amp that pumps out 215 Watts per channel in to eight Ohms and 400 WPC into 4 ohms.

“The EX-M1 is totally modular, a twin mono design in a single chassis. Wealthy in tonal high quality, particulars, dynamic, and excessive decision. Silky easy quantity management due to the MUSES quantity management, of which identified for its exact and correct quantity adjustment with precision matched resistors.”

It is a piece that I’ve had in my reference system for some time now and I’ve been evaluating it to a Move Labs reference set of XP-12 preamp and XA60.8 monoblock amplifiers that prices round $19,000 greater than the Kinki. Not truthful, I do know…however I all the time marvel simply how shut decrease value items can get to the primo stuff. So I’ll discuss this.

I additionally hooked it up in my workplace system, which run Klipsch Heresy IV audio system together with a Bluesound Node for streaming duties. The DAC within the workplace system on the time was a Denafrips Terminator II I had in for evaluation. Sounds incredible on this system as properly.

I’m in fact operating my very a lot beloved Fleetwood Sound Deville’s with a Chord DAVE DAC together with a Lumin U1 Mini Streamer in my predominant reference system.

Let me simply get to the purpose.

That is most likely the Finest Purchase in excessive finish audio that I’ve come throughout in all of 2021/2022. The truth is, if I used to be scripting this evaluation one month in the past this piece most probably would have been my HiFi Product of the 12 months for 2021.

Whereas the $22k+ Move Labs separates actually does edge out the EX-M1 in heat, gentleness. 3D and layering  (because it very properly ought to), the large 60lb Kinki EX-M1 delivers one thing else to my system that thrills me after I hear.

The EXM1 has extra dynamics, slam and oomph than the Move Labs gear and this may be exhilarating with some music. With the EXM1 we commerce a few of that sweetness and depth from the Move for influence and dynamics within the Kinki.

The Construct 

Earlier than I get into the main points of the sound, let me speak concerning the construct, design and among the particulars.

As I said up entrance, the construct high quality of that is pure class. It’s a heavy beast and has a pleasant giant show that exhibits us the enter and quantity. My growing older eyes haven’t any hassle in any respect seeing it, and it can be turned off with the push of a button on the total steel distant.

“Most amplifiers use a potentiometer for quantity management. EX-M1 makes use of a complicated microprocessor-controlled, JRC MUSES72320 2-channel digital quantity, which is optimized for high-end audio {and professional} audio purposes with superior circuitry and structure. The MUSES72320 performs low noise and low distortion traits and with resistance ladder circuit.”

The enter and quantity dials are among the smoothest and most luxurious I’ve ever felt in an built-in. This exhibits the eye to element right here, and this can be a good factor. I’m observing my silver unit now and am in awe of how attractive it appears within the flesh. The black is extra muted but additionally very good.

There’s one “Blanaced” enter and three RCA inputs. The XLR enter will not be actually balanced however a “Quasi” balanced model, that means you’ll not have any enchancment in efficiency over the RCA inputs. They’re there although, for many who have XLR cables. There isn’t a actual profit with regards to sound.

Did I point out that is made in China and sells for just below $2400 USD? 

Sure it’s, nevertheless it’s a kind of Made in China manufacturers that takes large satisfaction of their work. Very similar to Line Magnetic and Denafrips, Kinki Studios gives up a product that competes with some a lot larger identify manufacturers.

This amp was constructed utilizing premium components and supplies. Whereas I’ve seen heftier and nicer speaker binding posts on built-in amps within the $10k and up vary, the within of this amplifier is totally attractive with an impeccable consideration to element.

I even have to say two issues. This ships with no energy wire. The handbook states they don’t provide the “El Cheapo” energy wire that the majority amplifiers ship with. Being such a high quality piece it does certainly react to cable modifications. I attempted it out with a Nordost Blue Heaven, A Cardas Clear and Raven energy wire. This one from RAVEN, which was additionally the bottom value, sounded one of the best in my system. It’s a tremendous energy wire for the cash (a lot lower than most).

It additionally doesn’t ship with a battery for the distant so you have to one in all these. 

I’ve the black unit in for evaluation however I believe I want the Silver. Both approach, they’re each very engaging. The sooner model of this amp (they didn’t change the identify) was touted by not less than one extremely revered reviewer as one thing fairly particular. It was in comparison with summit-fi manufacturers reminiscent of Nagra and Goldmund. Whaaaaaaat?!?!?!

This Goldmund built-in can be 215 WPC and is available in at $30,000

A Dream Built-in for positive, the Nagra Basic INT is available in at $20,000. 

Nagra’s lowest finish built-in (the Basic) is a $20,000 piece. It additionally doesn’t have any extras like a DAC or phono preamp. To be clear the Nagra is $17,600 greater than the Kinki. That Goldmund which this Kinki is modeled after is $27,000 extra costly than the EX-M1. 

May the Goldmund presumably have $27,000 extra of sound or construct high quality? Hmmm. My ears say NO WAY however I suppose it relies on how a lot worth you placed on cash, and the way a lot of it you may have. For me, cash is a matter and if I can spend $2400 for $10k in efficiency in sound and appears, rely me in.

UPDATE: See the video on the high of the web page for a comparability towards a $37k Nagra Basic System.

I’ve by no means heard the Goldmund, so I cannot say for positive what the variations are. I can solely say that what I’m listening to from the Kinki far exceeds what I anticipated.

I’ve heard a Nagra system at a vendor as soon as and was loopy impressed with the appears and sound however there was no approach I may afford a full on Nagra system. What I heard was properly over $200,000 and that my associates is way out of my attain.

From reminiscence there’s a similarity to the sound character and tonality that emerges from the Kinki built-in in what I heard that day however the Kinki sounds a bit extra energetic and highly effective with just a little extra oomph and kick.

The Nagra system I heard was airier, sweeter, ore expansive, 3D and had extra depth in comparison with the Kinki nevertheless it was additionally into the six figures..as in over $200k for the system. Nothing that ever ought to be in comparison with a $2400 piece. So I have to maintain issues in perspective right here.

I’m not hoping the Kinki beats a $20k amp or a $200k system. If it will probably deliver an analogous taste to the Swiss items then it is going to be a tremendous purchase for these with out the desire or want to lay our a fortune on HiFi.

The Sound 

Bear in mind, this isn’t a decrease value Class D amp right here. It is a bonafide legit MOSFET Class A/B amplifier that may simply energy virtually ANY speaker. Not that Class D amps are dangerous, today they’re superb. However we’ll get extra juice, extra oomph, extra physique and heat from a great Class A/B vs Class D.

That has been my expertise although I do know that Class D has come a really good distance over the previous few years. I’ve not heard all of them so take from that what you’ll.

That is loopy. A 2000 DF?

The sound is daring, massive, deep, impactful and the bass is otherworldly deep and tight. With a damping issue of 2000, the bass is tightly managed and subterranean at instances. It’s tight, quick and if the music requires it, explosive.

The upper the damping issue the tighter the grip the amp can have in your speaker drivers. In idea, this implies your bass can be tighter, quicker and deeper with the next sampling issue.

The Kinki has a damping issue of 2000. To check, the Move Labs XA 60.8’s have a damping issue of 150. Sure, ONE HUNDRED FIFTY.

The midrange could be very clear and extra expansive than most. This doesn’t have an enormous, meaty, sweaty midrange however quite a clear, easy and candy one which feels a wee bit heat. The voices sit simply in entrance of the audio system however have a width and life to them that’s unparalleled at this value.

The treble is fairly candy and prolonged, virtually golden in hue. It has influence and chunk however by no means crosses over to the arduous, harsh or flat territory, even with a extremely detailed Chord DAVE performing DAC duties (the Chord could be very detailed). It’s spectacular, once more, one thing I’ve by no means seen a this value level.

The extra I listened the extra I used to be actually having fun with the sound character of this amp and should I say…I don’t assume there’s a a lot of character right here in any respect. A minimum of no sort of coloration. Whereas many manufacturers have a fairly recognizable home sound, the Kinki Studio sound is one in all energy, management, influence, sweetness, and wow. It’s nearly as impartial as I’ve heard an built-in sound.

As for the standard audiophile tips, the soundstage and imaging is excellent nevertheless it took a couple of week earlier than it opened up totally. The handbook states it has a 300 hour burn in however after about 120 hours it actually began to open up and there was extra physique and heat coming by way of.

What the EX-M1 does is paint a musical image the place each side of the sound is completely balanced and tonally pleasing. It does imaging and soundstage however will not be fairly as holographic, candy or 3D because the Move gear in my room, however holy wow, it’s virtually there and with extra punch as well.

What the Kinki excels at is bringing influence and vitality together with a clear clear portray of the musical image. It’s high, center and backside is balanced appropriately. Nothing is exaggerated nor does something stick out. It  is clear, clear and musical with only a contact of physique and heat. I’ve to emphasize, it by no means will get arduous sounding, nor does it get compressed when the quantity goes excessive.

Listening to “Soiled Paws” from Of Monsters and Males was revelatory. I used to be listening to issues I’ve by no means heard from a HiFi piece at this value vary. It was daring, dynamic and detailed. It had energy, grunt and good transparency. The Bass was TIGHT, CLEAN and likewise had influence. It was thrilling and made me transfer.

By no means as soon as whereas listening did I say “That is solely a $2400 piece so it’s not so good as this or that”. No, that didn’t occur. Slightly I listened and loved each second of it because it stuffed my house with music in a approach I’m used to.

I’m used to rather more costly items. Catch my drift?

As the times and nights went on with the Kinki in my system I’d sit in my room late night time as I performed observe after observe into the wee hours of the morning. As I watched the solar rise in my listening room I used to be flabbergasted at what I used to be experiencing right here from a $2400 USD piece.

Listening to Low Roar’s “Fucked Up” from the Possibly Tomorrow Album had me sitting in disbelief. What I used to be listening to was energy, vitality, imaging that was up there with one of the best and an enormous extensive 3D soundstage that sucked me in a single night time. It was jaw dropping good.

In comparison with the Move Labs INT-25 that is available in at $8000 today the Kinki is extra forceful. The Move is sweeter…extra easy and open. The Kinki paints a bigger picture, the Move is extra intimate. I really like the INT-25, probably the greatest built-in amps round you probably have simpler to drive audio system.

The Move is made within the USA, with second to none service. It’s dependable because it will get and has magic for days. The Kinki is completely different because it has tighter extra forceful bass together with a tad extra higher midrange vitality. With the go one may sit in the dead of night with a glass of wine or heat flavored mint espresso and luxuriate in. With the Kinki chances are you’ll need to sit down with a shot of Vodka or an Espresso.

Lean, Vivid, Heat, Wealthy, Quiet, Loud…

I don’t really feel this Kinki amp is brilliant neither is it heat. It’s not lean, neither is it bloated. It’s useless silent, so no noise, even with my extremely environment friendly Klipsch Heresy IV audio system. It’s about as impartial as they arrive. No buzz, no hums.

Going again to among the built-in amps I’ve owned and examined from Luxman, Vinnie Rossi, Move Labs, Octave, Cary Audio and lots of others? I really feel the Kinki is not any lesser than any of them. Simply completely different as all manufacturers have a sound of their very own.

Luxman is detailed, layered and candy. Move is natural, 3D and full. Vinnie Rossi is clear, wealthy and exquisite. Octave is tube however dynamic, clear and thrilling. Cary Audio was my goto after I wished that heat tube bloom.

Kinki, once more, is massive, daring, dynamic, and highly effective. Virtually as if it has some adrenaline pumping by way of its chips (or op-amps which you’ll be able to swap out and alter the sound additional if you’re one who likes to tweak).

Oh and this isn’t the + model of the amp as that model additionally has a pre-amp enter (this one doesn’t) and theater bypass however as for sound, they’re the identical.

The $wiss

I’d agree with different reviewers who’ve hinted or stated that this has the Swiss sound signature. Clear, easy, massive, daring, candy and musical and with simply the correct quantity of physique to the music.

You’ll by no means be tired of the sound of this amp, nor will it ever sound boring or missing intimately. If something it’s a extra ahead sounding amp (although not sharp or brilliant) however that is what brings that vitality and energy to the music. This built-in sounds as it’s actually driving my hotter leaning Deville’s in a brand new thrilling approach.

As a substitute of romantic, softer, candy and intimate the audio system are explosive and dynamic but with a a slight trace of heat with the Kinki. This to me is the key to what this amp is doing. If it didn’t add that little bit of humanity it will be sterile, however this isn’t a gray or sterile sounding amp. Bear in mind although that my audio system lean barely heat. 

BUT!

With leaner or brilliant audio system this amp might not be a great synergistic match because it may deliver an excessive amount of vitality and forwardness within the higher mids. It sounded massive and daring with the Kispch Heresy IV but when I needed to nitpick I’d say it was a contact sizzling with them. The Heresy IV treble will not be probably the most refined however that’s what makes these audio system sound so alive. With the EXM1 they sounded massive, forceful, dynamic they usually hit arduous, only a tad sharp.

The forefront of notes with the Kinki have that addicting snap and kick. Acoustics are highly effective and in the event you dare flip it up, they simply stay clear. I don’t hear distortions or compression, even after I flip it up as loud as I can naked.

The amount management goes from 0-100. With my 94DB audio system my regular listening stage is between 44-50. I often hear round 80-83db. At night time I can go right down to 35-36 and I nonetheless have a pleasant massive fluid sound that’s pleasing and remarkably detailed and highly effective. So it does properly at decrease volumes as properly, one other factor the extra pricey amps do properly. With the Klipsch I used to be listening at 28-35.

This amp with out query deserves each little bit of the reward it will get on-line and in evaluations. On the value level there may be not a lot that may contact it in order for you massive, daring, sharp, dynamic and highly effective sound together with stunning design and actual excessive finish construct.

In comparison with the Move Labs gear I’ve in my system, in a direct comparability, the Kinki was not fairly as easy, 3D or clear however I beloved the Kinki Studios for the vitality, oomph, drive and energy it dropped at my room. I like the Move gear for the humanity, heat, spaciousness and sweetness it brings. I additionally beloved the vitality from the Kinki.

This could and could possibly be in comparison with built-in amps within the $5k-$10k vary. Built-in amps from Hegel, Octave, Yamaha, Luxman, Mark Levinson, and the like. I don’t really feel this can be a competitor to Nagra however in order for you a style of that effective Swiss look and sound however have a leaner funds I like to recommend this with as a lot pleasure as I presumably can. It will provide you with that very same “taste” of sound for positive, which is exceptional.

If there ever was a definition for “punch above its weight” it’s proper right here.

At $2400 it sounds higher than it has a proper to sound. It could make a few of these massive cash rivals take discover as an amplifier like this has a capability to trigger a stir on this trade. It’s highly effective, stunning and brings greater than most want for $2400 USD.

It could certainly develop into a traditional itself.

I counsel studying evaluations of this amp from customers and reviewers. Most say the identical factor as I do about it.

Don’t neglect about synergy. I really feel I hit the synergy jackpot right here because it simply does issues to those Fleetwood Audio system that I haven’t heard but. This can be the right amp to put inside a heat leaning system to “juice it up”. It additionally deserves a pleasant supply in entrance of it!

Lastly this isn’t a euphoric amp. It’s not mushy or rounded or romantic. It delivers lightning in a field nevertheless it’s additionally easy on the similar time. I loved all music by way of the EXM1 and my favourite factor about it’s the energy, dynamics and kick it brings to music.

ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC

This amp is particular when listening to EDM, TECHNO, or music of that nature. It has the assault and dynamics to make the music come alive. It has the bass energy to ship room shakes and window rattles in the event you dare to show it up.

As I write this I’m listening to “Mandrill” from Martin Gore and I’ve it turned as much as 55 with the Deville’s. My sofa is vibrating, but the sound is massive, beefy, uber clear and easy but it has the treble and vitality to make me stand up and transfer. It has that little little bit of chunk that makes you get up and take discover.

The inspiration to this music is bass, and with that 2000 Damping issue this amp can actually benefit from EDM.

The Move combo additionally does justice to this observe and with much more 3D and unimaginable element nevertheless it doesn’t fairly have the “kick you within the chest” form of vitality that the Kinki has.

You should purchase this amp direct from Kinki Studios HERE. 

I’ve no affiliation with them, nor do I get kickbacks or fee in the event you purchase one. I make no cash from my audio evaluations as of Jan 2022, however I could at some point settle for sponsorships for my YouTube movies after they don’t have anything to do with what I evaluation. However nope, I’ve no enterprise affiliations with ANYONE within the audio world.

I do these evaluations for my love of HiFi and to characteristic actually excellent audio merchandise. In case your funds doesn’t enable for an enormous cash built-in or separates and also you need one thing with balls, vitality, drive, energy, slam and dynamics WITH attractive appears, the 60LB Kinki Studios EX-M1 could also be what you may have been trying to find.

The cons? Effectively, there isn’t any vendor community that I’m conscious of so if it wants restore it should take an extended journey again to China. Reliability? I cannot say as I’ve not had this for a 12 months or two, only some weeks to date. I’d hope this is able to final for a few years however I cannot say except I had one for years.

I’ve had no points throughout my time with it (one thing I cannot say for some manufacturers I’ve had in right here). It doesn’t run sizzling. It sounds greatest after 45 minutes of being on. It has a standby mode. The distant is high quality and it has tons of energy on faucet..and you may inform because it exudes energy and influence.

Oh and whereas it might not seem like there are any buttons on the unit, there’s a energy/standby button cleverly hidden beneath the entrance panel. Merely slip your finger beneath the entrance and you’ll really feel the push button. It may be turned on and off from the unit itself or the distant.

MORE LISTENING NOTES

LAKOTA LUKLAY by Robert Tree Cody. This observe will not be your typical music expertise. It’s an ethereal expertise in the precise system that’s extra of a mellow, chill out and soak it in sort of observe. The Kinki Studios EX-M1 delivers the vocals, devices and even house with accuracy and musicality. We hear the reverb within the recoding house, and the breaths into the flute. The soundstage is extensive and tall. The Move Gear brings a bit extra transparency and realism however the Kinki will not be very far behind in any respect. It’s fairly unimaginable simply how shut it will get.

Waking World by Youn Solar Nah is a vocal observe nevertheless it has a few of these magical ethereal qualities inside. The Kinki Studios EX-M1 introduced this observe to life with physique, heat, and a layered and detailed presentation. The soundstage was three dimensional, and imaging was incredible however not surgical. The physique and energy that comes from it’s astonishing. This tune is painted with a fragile brush and the Kinki proves it will probably do that as properly. The Move Labs set introduced a deeper layer of element and 3D however the Kinki was very convincing right here with a tune that requires a delicate stroke quite than brute power. Bravo.

Redemption by Christian Kiellvander is a stunner. Vey properly recorded with massive daring vocals that reside useless middle in a great system. When finished proper it sounds massive, extensive, tall and the vocals are to die for. Haunting.

The Kinki piece introduced this observe to life with that massive daring sound it’s identified for. However how did it do with regard to bringing forth particulars and soundstage? It did very properly. The vocals have been life like and three dimensional and the music had a scale that’s robust to get from something on this value level or fairly a bit above it. This tune was painted with a smoothness and pleasure that did remind me a little bit of after I heard that tremendous Nagra system.



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