Updated: Nov 8, 2018
Kinki Studio EX-M1 driving the power hungry Maggie 1.7. You ask - "How does the combo sounds like"?
We will find out in no time!
"I recently came upon postings related to the Kinki Studio EX-M1 integrated amp in a couple of popular online audiophile forums. I was not really in the market for a new amp, but the glowing descriptions of this component really piqued my interest. After doing a bit more research, I couldn't help but make an impulse purchase... I'm very happy to say that this impulse purchase has MORE than compensated for all of the mostly poor ones of my past!
My modest 2-channel system consists of a Rega RP6 turntable, Budgie Hybrid phono preamp, Simaudio Moon CD transport/DAC, Bluesound Vault 2 streamer, PS Audio AC regenerator, and some of the usual suspects for cabling & accessories (e.g. Transparent Audio, Clear Day, Shunyata, Synergistic Research).
My longtime preference for speakers has been Magnepans, and I'm currently running 1.7s in my system. Of course these speakers are notoriously a bit difficult to drive, requiring lots of current and headroom from an amp. To put it bluntly, the Kinki integrated is more than up to the task of driving my Maggies. It has substantial power and plenty of reserve. It appears to stay completely composed no matter what type of music I throw at it, and regardless of the volume level I demand of it.
However, for me, power is only the beginning. I need an amp that is musical. This is where the Kinki has really impressed me. I'll focus on just a few areas to share some of my observations....
First, its soundstaging is first rate. I'm used to amps “reproducing” a recording's soundstage for me. The Kinki seems to actually do more than that. It creates its own sound space! I feel much more immersed in the music that the Kinki presents to me. And this space is wide, deep and airy. My system is in a relatively small, but dedicated, listening room. I've always accepted that the soundstage created by my system would not be exceptionally deep due to the room size limitation. I was wrong.
Second, its imaging is eerie. Images are discrete, but not etched. They have body. They are holographic. There is flesh on the bone. I'm a fan of acoustic folk/blues/Americana, and I love to sense the fullness and “woodiness” of a good acoustic instrument. The Kinki provides that beautifully for me. I had a guitar player audiophile friend over the other day. As we sipped on a tasty imperial IPA and listened to Johnny Cash, he said incredulously, “Listen to that low E string!” Listen indeed.
Third, the resolving power of this amp is really incredible. I know that this kind of statement tends to be overly used, but I'm hearing things in the mix that I just never heard before. I'm seeing further into the recording venue and being presented with a much more distinct sense of all that is there. When there are several vocalists, they no longer appear as a “mass” of voices, but are now individuals in their own spaces. I now hear that percussive instrument that's coming from the back of the soundstage for what it is, rather than just a smeared addition to the mix. The Kinki provides all of this resolution without becoming too harsh or sterile sounding. Such a great balance.
I could go on, but hopefully I've provided a glimpse into why I feel this amp has taken my system to the next level. Highly recommended, to say the least. Happy listening!"
Credit: Michael from NY, USA