Kii Control vs. DAC/pre-amp

My actual setup: Auralic Aries Mini (my only source) -> USB -> Chord Qutest DAC -> Pro-Ject pre box RS -> Dynavox VR80E power amps -> Teufel Ultima 800 loudspeakers.

I plan to replace my power amps and my Teufel loudspeakers by a pair of active Kii Three loudspeakers. Now I have to decide if I should keep the Qutest/pre-amp combination, thus feeding an analogue signal into the Kii Three or to connect my Aries Mini (via USB -> Kii Control) directly to the Kii thus feeding the digital signal into the Kii. Of course I would then have to buy the Kii Control separately, but at first glance it would make sense because inside Kii any analogue signal will immediately be re-digitized in order to feed it into the DSP. But will sound quality be equal in both cases? Anyone who has already made (or heard of or read about) a comparison?
Thanks in advance,
Robin

Hi Robin,

This may be of interest, it’s a What HiFi review that discusses the speakers various merits.

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/kii-audio-three

All I would advise is you “actually” compare the sound via your current Dac/Amps going into the Kii’s versus direct from Mini going via Contoller into Kii’s, and at £12.5K I would expect/demand that any dealer does a HOME demo.

But I would draw your attention to the reviewers conclusion in that they are technically brilliant but not quite at the level you could love, which to me means they miss that special something that makes you want to continue listening (something again you really need to check via auditioning).

The other consideration is £12.5k on Kii (ie. Amp/Dac/Speakers) and £450 on Streamer (Mini) could be viewed as a little unbalanced, again we know that the Mini punches above it’s weight but you may need something a little better on the front end to release the Kii’s potential.

Lastly the Kii’s appear to be a beefy speaker that can go very loud, do you have the space/room for them to work correctly, we all appreciate having small speakers in a large room just doesn’t cut it, equally too much speaker in a small environment can be just as bad!

Really can’t comment on there sound personally but from various online reviews they do appear very good, but remember speakers more than anything else are very “personal” and “room dependent”, although the Kii’s should make that less troublesome due to there adjustability.

Hope some of the above helps and happily listening.

PS. This review by Jason Kennedy has no such doubt (ie. no missing love factor), just goes to show how differently things can be perceived.

http://www.hifiplus.com/articles/kii-three-active-loudspeaker-system/?fbclid=IwAR2G-EeSglBvgSD8QR3xrRtcraqMgwkFMYlUnrc6fvzmO9H3XDt2ppNQQok

Simon,
thank you very much for your thoughts as well as for the links. Whathifi state:

There’s potentially a performance gain in using the Controller too, as it avoids the extra digital-analogue-digital conversion required when an analogue feed is sent directly to the speakers.

What implies that they don’t seem to have tested the hub. Anyway, my mind is already made up. I have made an appointment with the Kii dealer in Düsseldorf for next tuesday. If I find the Kii convincing I’ll buy it on the spot. Otherwise I’ll test alternative gear. (My smart wife imposed the condition that we will go on a holiday at the same price level :smiley:). Obviously I’m a man of immediate decisions (possibly one of my greatest virtues and a bad habit at the same time); and most of all, I’m sick and tired of doing all this A/B comparing. Therefore I’ve already offered my speakers, my preamp and my power-amps on eBay an hour ago (and they’re already bid for). Now I can hardly wait for my new gear - and I have hardly any doubt that I will love it.

Hihi, I’m afraid, a Aries G1 will be the next strike. (And another holiday might fall due).

I’ll give a shout when Kii will be on duty.

BTW, My cute Qutest sits now between my second Mini and my headphone amp. Head-Fi sounds SO MUCH better now - I must keep Qutest there. A retrograde step would depress me…

Yours
Robin

Hi Robin,

Thought I was impulsive, but I just couldn’t buy audio gear that expensive without a home demo first, even though the DSP should enable it to be tailored to any environment, still, each to their own.

Not wanting to “add” more financial burden to an already under stressed bank account, but you may be looking more towards a G2 to balance things up, your dealer should be able to give some advice on that aspect though.

It’s hard to know how the cost is split between electricians and speaker in the Kii, but if you assume 50/50 split then that put’s just over £6k for each, the Aries G2 being £4k would not then seem out of place.

Sounds like that second holiday should definately be factored in as well!

Enjoy the antisipation.

PS. Darko has done a video review of the Kii that might be worth a watch, after all he was spot on about the Altair. His comment about digital sources not needing to cost the earth is interesting (end of text section), that may just give your Mini a reprieve.

https://darko.audio/2018/08/a-short-film-about-the-kii-three-loudspeaker-system/

Simon,

yes, especially Darko‘s multiple short films and reviews may have nudged me towards Kii. However, of course I agree, I do have to test them first, if necessary also in their to-be habitat, before I pay. While Darko‘s a fan of electronic music, I‘m addicted to classic music and handmade jazz; but I expect that Kii will do this job either. BTW, in an interview Bruno Putzey said that these speakers are especially made for nearfield and semi-nearfield listening, so they should fit perfectly into my 6m x 3m room. sometimes I felt that my mighty Ultima 800 were somewhat oversized.
As to the Aries G2, I‘m not really keen to spend whole of my retirement provisions for HiFi-gear and insane travels (only if I must) :joy:
So, first of all I‘ll give my beloved Aries Mini a fair chance. Kii even suggest to plug a Mac via USB directly into the Kii master-box and to make use of Audirvana’s software-based volume control. Brr, no, I wouldn‘t do that…
Looking forward now to my listening experience in D‘dorf. Have already loaded a USB stick with lots of music to play…

Robin

Enjoy the moment, purchasing new kit is all about the experience and I believe needs to be enjoyed. I took “Doug the Pug” with me to audition the G1 and we loved the day out (he especially enjoyed the food stops).

It’s all to common for people to rush the process just to get it over with, a shame really because when spending a pot full of cash it’s about the only time you get treated like royalty.

I’ve done a little more reading on them and they really do appear very flexible, will be interesting to see what you think of the Mini when partnered up later on.

All the best.

This brings tears to my eyes because it was just lately that, after almost 15 happy years, we had to bury Maya, our smart Border Collie (who had many gifts - except musicality) :sleepy:

I’m now on my third Aries G2…This one has no problems so far for 6 months. (all finges crossed) The combination with the Kii Control and Kii Three’s are for me a perfect match and has replaced my twice the price setup…

Thanks maasi, that sounds nice. My wife and I spent this afternoon in the local Kii-representative’s D’dorf living room, sitting on his sofa, petting his friendly dogs and listening to a bunch of music, fed into the Kii by USB via Kii Control. Across the board, the sound was overwhelming. At my desire the session was crowned by the finale of Mahler’s 2nd symphony, fortissimo, imo the acid test for every speaker system. The Kii Three passed it brilliantly. I instantly ordered a pair in silver matt metallic, with stands, Kii Control and an Apple remote control. We’ll pick up our catch as soon as next Thursday :grinning: So the die is cast.

Robin

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Congratulations! But I would think about whether you really want to stay with your Aries Mini. The Mini is really very good for the price. But in my opinion the Kii Three deserve a better streamer (Aries G1 or better Aries G2 - possibly with Hoerwege PSU).

Best regards
maasi

Hussssh! My wife mustn’t know yet, she‘s my chief accountant. :no_mouth:

Robin,

Breaking news, all dealers in the D’dorf area have just ran out of Kii’s, but don’t worry, for a limited period only you can have an alternative “compact” setup at no extra cost :grin:

Just kidding, with the day getting closer, bet you can’t wait, and of course we will expect a few pics of the “babies” when they are finally in place :wink:

Not often have we opportunity to witness a more felicitous amalgamation of functionality and good taste than we find them espoused in the colorful treasure of craftsmanship shown in your beautiful image above.

Surely :smiley:
Robin

Well, I‘ve listened to my new set now for the last two days and I can clearly state that I’m adicted to it, it‘s simply amazing. I‘ll post a picture in the nearfield thread shortly. My DAC: gone (moved to my HeadFi), my pre amp: gone, my power amps: gone. All what‘s left, and all it takes: my Auralic Aries Mini (powered by an SBooster) that feeds the Fii Control - and my marvelous Fii Three speakers. Their sound is the best I‘ve ever heard when not sitting in a concert hall. They‘re worth every cent.

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Hi Robin,

You can now sit back and “rediscover” your old music all over again, when a system change as drastic as yours is made it’s like opening a window.

Now, shall we all guess what your next move will be…

Happy listening.

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Maybe the nearfield thread is not the right place, so I‘ll upload a pic right here below. The setup still looks a little messy because I’m still waiting for my new patch cables. Anyhow, these speakers are really able to „switch off“ the room, so I pivoted my stereo triangle from a long side into the dead-end of my room (what looks and feels much more comfortably). Kii Three claim as little as 8 (eight!) centmeters from the back wall and about 20 cm from the side (I allowed them 50 and 35). All I had to do was adjust the „Boundary“ settings al gusto. Now I‘ve listened to lovely music coming from my new speakers for the last to days and I‘m getting more and more addicted to them.
Are they „analytical“? Yes, they are! When I listened to Marianne Beate Kielland‘s „Terra Nova“ I heard a disturbing noise that was new to me: the sustain-pedal action of Jan Gunnar Hoff accompanying her on the piano! And what about „musicality“, doesn‘t the analytical reproduction decrease emotion? No, no and once more no. I can‘t think of so many goosebumps in only two days (I‘ve never been to Iceland though). My listening experience has been upgraded to a new level of quality and emotion. Did I already mention it? These speakers are worth every single cent they cost me.

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I do have to add this: I have owned Sara Gazarek‘s amazing album „Thirsty Ghost“ for some time now and I have ever since been impressed by the stunning arrangements, by Sara‘s virtuosity and her beautiful voice - but alas! I have never been able to listen to the whole album in one session because I found it somewhat… exhausting. Not so today, when for the first time it sounded out of the Kii speakers. I sat on the edge of my chair und couldn‘t get enough, so I had to repeat the whole album and now I have to drag myself away from the speakers for supper. It‘s a wonder to me.
Robin

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Hello komadori,

welcome to the club. :wink: Since I own the Kii Three (summer 2016), I haven’t thought about other speakers for a second.

Best regards
maasi

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May I suggest that’s not unique to the Kii’s, I’ve had my Spendor’s for 10 years now and in all that time I’ve never had a desire to look elsewhere.

When a Speaker complements the room you end up with something very special, of course ones that are not “adjustable” make that all the more difficult to attain.