Updated: Feb 13, 2022
The Kinki Studio EX-P7 circuit uses fully discrete input and output stages that are Class-AB biased and yield 16dB gain while employing a precision 127 step switched-resistor ladder volume control for attenuation. The EX-P7 is a single-ended circuit design, so the XLR inputs and outputs found on the unit are more of an interface convenience than an indication of the internal circuitry.
The circuitry is enclosed in a very substantial 28lb chassis that uses an 8-10mm thick CNC machined anodized aluminum case, offered in silver or black. This design reduces the impact of EMI from surrounding equipment. Kinki Studio then takes that one step further by individually encasing the two power transformers to lessen any effect on the internal circuitry. Using one each for the Left and Right channel power supplies to improve the separation makes the EX-P7 essentially a dual mono design.
Construction is modular with an eye on upgrades and serviceability. The EX-P7 has 0.2µm gold-plated circuit board traces with an increased soldered area at each solder joint. The above pictures show the individually mounted discrete gain stages with the two rectangular red Wima capacitors and the volume control module with the eight white relays. Should there be an upgrade or failure with the gain modules or volume control, the customer can simply unplug the module and replace it.
With an input/output impedance of 50K ohms and 75ohms, respectively, the EX-P7 should play well with other components attached to it.
The two large knobs dominate the front panel for input selection and volume control. The center window for the sizeable dot-matrix display shows the selected input and the volume level. Both knobs have a silky-smooth feel with just the right amount of resistance that gives it a high-end sense. The display illumination is adjustable with three settings via the remote. High, low, and off. If you select “off,” only a single dot in the display will be left on in place of a power indicator. The display will come on when you change volume, input, mute, etc., to see what setting you have chosen. Then, after about 5 seconds, it turns back off. “Off” is unquestionably my favorite configuration of a display, and I wish more manufacturers offered it.
Speaking of remotes, if you have followed my reviews, you know I am pretty picky about remotes and have given several manufacturers poor marks for theirs. If any manufacturers need some help designing a better remote, they need to look no further than Kinki Studio. The included remote is one of the best designs I have used.
Made of anodized aluminum, the remote is the perfect size for the hand. The feel of it exudes quality. Logically grouped buttons and the three most used buttons being more prominent than the rest make the remote very easy to use in a dark room.
The icing on the cake is the magnetically attached rear door. To change the battery, you can simply pop open the door with your fingernail to access the battery. Brilliant!
Moving to the rear of the unit we see the three mirrored inputs and outputs (RCA inputs x2, XLR x 1) along with the IEC power connector and fuse holder. And the master power switch. One final feature offered on the rear of the unit is a Hi or Lo gain switch that allows you to match the gain range to your amplifier.
The Kinki Studio EX P7 replaced the Denafrips Athena preamp that I have had in the house for a few months. The other components with my digital front-end remained the same, the PS Audio SACD transport, Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC, and ROON Nucleus. My analog front-end consisted of an AMG Viella V12JT turntable using the DS Audio Master One cartridge.
Amplifiers used with the EX P7 were the PS Audio M1200 monoblocks, Kinki Studio EX M7, and my Quicksilver MS190 tube amplifier.
These combinations were run with SE cables from the preamp to the amplifier.
Rest assured that in the EX P7, you are getting a beautifully executed preamp at a very competitive price point.
With its attributes of speed, low noise, vanishing grain, and purity, the EX P7 offers what most would describe as a “truthful” conveyor of the signal it is fed. I can find no genuine fault technically, and in the end, I found that the EX P7, when paired with sympathetic components, could be your friend. Examples would be Transparent Audio or Cardas cables and Sonus Faber or Harbeth speakers.
On the other hand, the Athena will pair up nicely with cables from the likes of Analysis Plus or WyWires and speakers like Magico or Focal. In the end, both preamps are well-executed products that come at the music from slightly different angles.
Is one better than the other? It will depend on your “on buttons.” Two listeners I invited over for a listening session preferred the EX P7. My preference is for a sound that focuses on density and a deeper color in the midrange, and I am willing to give up a bit of speed to have it, so the Athena was my pick. And that, my friends, is what makes this hobby so fascinating.
What I can tell you is that if your preference is for something that excels in technical correctness, you will be hard-pressed to find a product that offers the combination of build quality and sonic performance that the EX P7 offers at its price point.
Technical data of
Kinki Studio EX-P7
Frequency Response: 0 -150kHz ( ±1dB)
THDN: 0.003% ( -80dB)
S/N Ratio: >90dB
Channel Separation: >90dB
Input Sensitivity: 2.25Vrms - 3.6Vrms
Input Impedance: 50k Ω
Input Connector: RCA x 2, XLR x 1
Output Voltage: 2.25Vrms - 3.6Vrms
Output Impedance: 75 Ω
Output Connector: RCA x 2, XLR x 1
Dimension: 430W x 125H x 370D
Full review ： https://theaudiobeatnik.com/kinki-studio-ex-p7-preamp/
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Reviewed By: Ken Redmond (The Audio Beatnik)