The Kinki Studio EX-M7 is the first amplifier we tested in our remodeled room. The room is not essentially different, but it has become a lot quieter and some damping has been removed. In short, subtle things we are a bit different … we will soon measure everything and finalize it. Because of the newly acquired silence in the listening room we can better assess what is happening at the bottom of the noise floor. And that gives insight into low-level info. Something that is important with high-end.
And the Kinki does not disappoint. What speed and control we hear. What dynamics and micro-detail…. very impressive. This is clearly a product made for systems above this price range. If we look in the class of 2700 euros, we end up with for example Arcam, Hegel,….
Compared to the Bryston, we can be sure that the 4B SST3 is less nimble. The Kinki is just faster and more open in the midrange. The bass region of both amplifiers is powerful and fast. The Bryston is perhaps a little rounder, pointier and tighter. But not necessarily better with our Focal. In the high end, the Kinki is a little more polished. Overall the Bryston is a bit warmer and rounder. And the Kinki more light-footed and open.
We have only one word: 3D… Boy… what a great image this power amp produces! Now, a power amplifier is not directly responsible for imaging… that is more the speaker, room and pre-stage and source (ok… the whole chain… ), but a power amplifier does have influence. And we hear that immediately. The Kinki Studio EM-M7 knows perfectly how to place things next to and behind us. Trentemoller, Blof, Radiohead… wherever space plays a role, the Kinki puts down the full scale.
Note that in order to get the perfect stage, phase and ground lift are in the right position. We had a more blurry image with the ground lift on. It seemed less stable…
Here we hear that the (much more expensive) Bryston goes a step further: a bit more space and roundness in the imaging. But price-wise the Kinki is just a better deal: for almost 1/3 you get 80% of the Bryston. And you keep money for an insane good d/a converter and pre-amp. Think of a Sonnet Morpheus and a pair of speakers.