Kii Three for new condo space... [please pardon length of post]

Right - I’ve heard what you state in the second paragraph repeatedly. Hence my feeling that maybe they were just doing some Marketing, not alienating anyone who might think, “Oh - those are big, and need to be taking up a third of the room”, or anyone who wants to buy four or five of them for HT. “If you can’t, don’t worry; just use the subwoofer level control…”

I mean, realistically - it’d be interesting to know what percentage of ALL people who own stereos and HTs in the world have ever even thought about this stuff.

I owned the passive Triton 5 when they were first released and at that time it’s drivers were advanced versions of what was in the current powered series. Coupled with a pair of Rythmik subwoofers I actually had more flexibility and bass impact available than from the powered series speakers. I found that following the setup advice on overly wide placement and close to the walls did not provide optimal sound nor did the level of recommended toe-in. When placed following standard principals the sound was greatly improved.


Yup - “you can’t fight city hall”, so to speak. Or your hall ; )

Good topic here as I’m in EXACTLY the same position. I currently have a set of B&W 805S on stands about 3-4ft away from the wall but we’re re-decorating and after it’s done, can’t get away for more than 1-2ft! I also like to go floor standing if I could.

So far, the Kii III, looks like an option but I tend to stay away from closed systems, specially since DAC is fixed. One option I’m considering is the Sonus Faber Sonetto, they have a bottom firing port which theoretically could help with placement. I’m gonna do a listen and compare to B&W 804 and Focal and will ask dealer to place them close to the wall to see. If any other option is available, I’d be looking into those too.

One other method I would be using, is to use Dirac Live room correction software as well. It seems to be the top room correction at the moment and very customizable. Reason being the system is both HT and Stereo. So I’d be using an NAD HT receiver as pre-amp with my 2-ch feeding the main speakers. I assume Dirac live could fix some room issues but have to try it to know for sure.

I’ve played with rear ported monitors and found no discernible bass boost until they were placed within 10 inches of the wall, which makes sense to me as the free air around a monitor even at 10 inches is huge compared to the port size. But if it bothers you, consider front ported or sealed designs.

I’m a speaker/room guy, so would pull speakers out for listening first, treat the room second, and as a last resort try DSP. REW (Room Eq Wizzard) is free and more powerful than Dirac, but has a steeper learning curve. Both require a USB calibrated microphone, but be careful not to boost dips (that could overload amps and blow speakers).

@Schroedster: I thought Paul was very serious about addressing close to the wall positioning of PS Audio speakers in the AN3 and following PS Audio speaker designs based on the AN3 principle.

Reading your reaction “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.” for US$ 12.000 speakers of which the CEO said that it’s one of the primary goals? Is the PS Audio team really addressing this issue seriously, or is it just Paul?

As far as I can tell the AN3’s with closed cabinet, active servo sub and mid bass drivers and DSP control, rear directed tweeter are designed to address close to the wall positioning.

I asked 2 weeks ago on the " New PS Audio speakers" forum if PS Audio found time to adjust the DSP for close to the wall positioning and how that compared to in room placement. I can imagine that with the pressure of getting the prototypes out to Axpona here has been very little time to do that.

After the Axpona the the AN3’s are back in the listening room, I think a lot of viewers of Pauls Video’s and listeners to Ohm’s law are curious how the AN3’s really perform close to the wall.

I really like PS Audio’s approach for close to the wall positioning so far, Paul managed to keep at least my attention. But in case of doubt, there are quite a lot of speaker manufacturers, that address close to the wall positioning of speakers very serious and I have heard at least one speaker set, cheaper the the AN3’s that managed to do that very well as a full range speaker set, with sufficient low frequency bass for audiophile music reproduction.

Yes, the AN series as well as their lower priced Stellar brethren will be capable of playing close to the wall. There will be a Soundstage control on the rear of each speaker that will permit the user to adjust the soundstage depending on how close to the wall
they are. It should be quite seamless.

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The issue I have with fully active speakers in which a DSP performs the cross-over filtering for mid and high frequency digitally is that it defeats the purpose of having a really expensive DAC separately. Because DSP is only possible on PCM signals it iliminates all advantages of a direct stream DAC converted DSD signal.

High bit rate / high sample frequency DA / PCM DSP / AD might not have a negative impact on the low frequency bass signal, but if that technology is applied to the mid and high frequencies you really don’t need external DAC’s and pre-amps or DSD sources anymore and connect PCM resources directly to those speakers. The PCM based DSD algorithm in those speakers will determine your sound.

Natural bass comes from large volumes which the Kii Three’s don’t have. Kii realizes that and offers bass extension units (BXT) making the combination larger in size than the AN3s. The BXT add a whopping 8 pieces of 6.5" woofers to the 4 existing ones in the Kii Three.
I don’t know, but 12 woofers to a single mid range driver and single tweeter. Kii calls that set-up a line source. The ratio between the three driver types seems seriously out of balance. How can you call it a line source speaker if the midths and hights, especially known for their point source behavior are not arranged as a line source. I just can just imagine that a whole lot of DSP might be involved to correct that.

It’s a matter of taste, but the Kii plastic fantastic looks and the applied technology seem not natural.

There are quite some other full digital systems like Scottish Linn Exakt systems or even the above mentioned Dutch & Dutch 8c or German Backes & Müller who offer more naturally balanced PCM DSD controlled systems it seems.

I prefer the natural early DAC approach on DSD and PCM signals alike and the analog amplification with as little DSP as possible. It makes the system so versatile.


Rudolph - a couple of really good posts, with which I agree:+1:

I’ve been interested in these speakers, but have similar misgivings as Rudolf_Appel above. The overall design seems superior to conventional speakers, but the individual components don’t seem like they would be on par with a real component system. At least for me, I like fancy DACs, I liked DSD, I like Class A amplification, and occasionally tubes.

The Kii Threes get rave reviews, but I’m not sure if all these ravers are just people who like really dry, clean Class D amps and brickwalled chip-based PCM DACs, or if they can actually compete with a good system (esp a DSD or analogue system) in terms of texture, three dimensionality and fluidity. I get that the “performance” is good, especially in the bass, but do they actually have that richness and analogue quality as well?

Just curious if anyone here has compared these with say a Direcstream DAC/BHK Pre/250+conventional speaker system like I have. I’m stuck here in a “red county” and won’t be able to go anywhere any audition speakers soon.

I don’t have the Kiis. I have the Dutch & Dutch 8cs. I went from a DirectStreamDAC/StellarGCDpre/M700 monoblock system driving Ohm Walsh SSC 4900s. I expected the 8cs to outperform based on the Ohms. They are very good speakers but not full range. In my component system I went through the cable journey, AQ, BJC, Audio Sensibility… Every cable change made a difference in the sound. Some better, some not so much.

I really enjoy the 8cs. I haven’t done any room correction yet. I am waiting for the next release of software with native roon and REW support. They sound fantastic, not dry or clinical. They are revealing though and will show if a recording is not the best. I plan to add a turntable with Stellar Phono stage when I free up the inputs after roon over ethernet support is added. I will then use REW to add convolution filters to adjust for my room.

I know this doesn’t really answer your question. What I learned is tweakers gonna tweak. With my system change I have gone from component/cable changes to changes in the digital domain. It appears all my tweaking will now be to the DSP.


I ended up with 8c’s too. The K3 was past my budget and the 8c came with a 30 day money back in home guarantee. The 8c’s go lower cleaner than the K3 but I still ended up adding stereo subs to fill in the bottom end. ATC makes some really nice active offerings but they were too big to fit where I needed them to go. The 8c’s will work well almost touching the front wall if you need to. I have mine currently about 16" between the cabinet and wall.

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The problem is mix and matching in a passive system and the money you can waste. I had a DS Sr. which I considered the best buy of my hifi life. Combined with a T+A HV PA 3000 on Piega Master Ones it was the best system ever. I never stopped listening. Then I wanted more. I bought BHK pre and BHK 300s and Quad ESL 2905. What a mistake. The electronics were way too soft sounding on an electrostat. It was hugely disappointing. So much so that it sounded like broken mid-fi and I got rid of everything. Then I bought the 8Cs. Impressive headroom but again waaay to smooth sounding and lacking resolution, timbre and inner note detail. No transients. Now I have the Kii 3. Waaay better than the 8Cs in my opinion. Much more detail. Much more precise and clean bass, better soundstage deeper soundstage, cardioid works better etc. Can sound dry and artificial with a bad source e.g. raspberry pie. But if you just take a laptop with Audirvana, it’s already incredibly good. The source matters a lot. An active speaker with DS Sr. Grade DACs would be awesome. All these actives sound correct but sound like PCM.