I’ll soon be in the process of moving from a largish house with a semi-dedicated music and home theater room to a still pretty good size condo. I built the house, so I was able to define the space and get an ASC designed set of room treatment. New place? No.
It’s in a historic building erected in 1896, and the main living space is pretty wide, and oh so very long. It’s broken up by a half-wall quite a distance from the pretty much dictated speaker location as well as the listening position. The ceilings are probably 15 feet. Moving my current equipment isn’t practical so I’m looking for what’s next.
To give you an idea of what I’m used to and love, DSJr to Bryston SP3 to Bryston amps to Revel Ultima (1) surround system (Studio, Voice, Embrace, Sub30). I’m using a PP P10, which I intend to keep.
Given the limited (probably to zero) opportunity for room treatment and limited (minimal) ability to place speakers well away from the wall behind them, I’m considering the Kii Three, with nothing more than a quality streamer (as of yet unconsidered) and the P10.
Q: What other small and near-wall compatible speakers should I be considering? I like the Kii from a largely self-contained perspective (eliminates most other components and cables), and that from the reviews I’ve read, sacrifice little to larger systems and have advanced DSP to handle placement issues. The user manual indicates as little as 4 inches from the wall behind. Ultimate SPL and bass extension are not significant criteria; my neighbors might balk.
I’d consider the upcoming PS Audio AN3 if they are accommodating of near-wall placement, and use my existing B&W Nautilus 805 until they hit the market. Other considerations are that I primarily listen to acoustic jazz, and home theater duty are not in the picture.
Any others? (And THANK YOU for your consideration.)
I just added one to the list, the avantgarde acoustics zero. Anyone have/heard these?
For information on the AG’s you might want to consider joining the AudioSharks forum that has many owners as members as well as a dealer and the former US distributor, Jim Smith. Another speaker to consider also might be the Dutch & Dutch 8c.
Couple questions that might help with getting fitting recommendations.
- How far from the back wall can you get away with?
- How far away will the listening position be from the speakers?
- How loudly do you like to listen?
I’ve heard the Kii Threes at shows and I think they can do good things, but the demo I heard was far too loud to form any meaningful opinions.
It’s a little early to say how the AN3s will fare when placed close to the back wall. I think they’ll be okay, but not playing to their fullest.
GoldenEar tends to recommend near back wall/corner placement for the Triton series, so that might also work for your needs.
Thank you for your response. I don’t think I can get away with more than a few feet from the back wall, but have a lot of latitude for how far apart the speakers can be. Listening position is hard to know as it involves a furniture layout that has yet to be determined; a lot of it will only be known when we move in. Loud, as in concert hall level, is a rarity for me, and something I will likely have to sacrifice for the sake of neighborliness.
Glad you mentioned GoldenEar as I have a local dealer and I was unaware of Sandy recommending near wall placement. I have heard the Triton Reference there, but under conditions where evaluation was difficult.
That’s helpful info, a few feet is better than I was imagining.
You could always try out some Klipschorns… I haven’t heard them, but they’re designed around corner/wall placement, so perhaps they’re a perfect fit.
I watched this short film by Darko earlier today and it seems like it might be relevant to your thinking and planning. He likes the Innuos Zen Mk3 into Kii Threes. And the film is entertaining, too.
Thanks. I haven’t seen the whole video yet. The beginning made me thirsty.
I’m delighted with my Zen Mk3. I use the direct Ethernet connection into a Devialet Expert Pro, but could do the same with D&D or Kii3.
Just in case no one has seen Darko’s video on the Kii. Kind of made me a believer and I am currently running numbers to see if I can make a purchase work at some point.
The Kii 3 is a very advanced speaker, but 1.) isn’t cheap; and 2.) locks you into it’s DAC.
I’m kind of ready to be locked into “everything”. Getting a single product that removes all (okay, most) desire to tweak and upgrade appeals to me at this point. I no longer care (much) that Snowmass V1 sounds better or worse then V2. I have a DSpeaker AntiMode 8033 for bass equalization that’s been sitting on a shelf for months.
In addition to the Kii Three, I’d get something like the Roon Nucleus and be done with it. Then the ONLY possible thing I’d consider are IsoAcoustics Gaia for the speaker stands. Well, maybe do something about those crappy stock power cables. Oh, and…
Had a DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core that was a pleasant enough DAC, preamp, and DSP until I upgraded to the DSJ. The Kii 3 is impressive and agree that controlled directivity midrange and adjusting bass to the room is the future of audio, although this can be done more effectively by other means for for less investment. For instance JBL 705P active controlled directivity monitors with 3 - 4 subs carefully spread around the room and DAC/preamp.
For someone who wants to get out of the audiophile hunt and trophy displaying, this is a wonderful solution. An artful cross between lifestyle and audiophile wants.
And do wish the video had gotten into running them with a digital signal since apparently they’re doing an extra analog to digital conversion if fed analog.
+1 on the Dutch and Dutch speakers if you like the Kii Threes. These are a bigger, better version of that concept. A guy near here has been using them as monitors in his recording studio (one of the songs on “ONE” was recorded there) for a few months and is still shaking his head in awe. I heard them there, and they are very impressive and adaptable to the environment (he also did not have that much room to the back wall). So for your application you should give them a try. As with any speaker, audition to see if you like them - if possible, in your place. Not sure what their trial policy is, if any.
I don’t get the recommendation for placing GoldenEars near the wall, except for use in restricted space/home Theater applications. They likely just say that, as then they are not discouraging a large chunk of the market from buying them. They’re not small speakers. Have heard them a couple of times at an HT dealer, so they are nearly always shoved into the corners. We had a Chicago Audio Society meeting at this place, and asked if it was OK if we pulled them out from the wall into a more normal speaker position, as we weren’t using the big screen they were flanking. WAY better sounding away from the wall. But the D&D’s kick their ass, especially for the size.
The recommendation has to do with bass as far as I can tell, positioning them closer to the walls and corners helps out on that front, and they provide an adequate soundstage even when closer to the back walls.
I agree with you that soundstage width and depth does get a boost when you put them in a more normal speaker position.
At Axpona last year we found a good compromise between the two. They ended up closer to the back wall than my audiophile instincts would have put them, though they were performing quite well by the last day once they had broken in more fully.
Right - I get them being voiced for that, though I guess I come at it from the perspective of a dedicated Subs user. I don’t particularly want or like any more bass reinforcement from the room than necessary, and I would think a speaker that size (talking the Reference) should do fine without that sort of assistance. They of course are not expensive by Audiophile standards, however. Good bang for the buck, for sure.
Interesting - have heard that about them a lot, but that’s not how I read the “Balanced Bass” paragraph at all.
I appreciate the link, and you’re right that I did not capture the nuance that truly goes into speaker placement with my comment.
The recommendation I’ve heard for the Goldenear Triton series and seen in dealers is to have them farther apart and more toed in than I’m accustomed to, with positioning closer to the back wall than I would usually go for. As @badbeef pointed out, they still perform well (or better) when pulled further into the room.
They are not Klipschorns, that’s for sure. Sticking Goldenears deep in the corner would be no good. Certainly wouldn’t argue anyone on that.