November
2022

Country of Origin

Taiwan

AD36

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz, Tidal, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, Sonnet Pasithea DAC; Active filter: icOn 80Hz/4th-order hi/lo-pass; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 mono, Enleum AMP-23R; Headamp: Kinki Studio; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: sound|kaos Vox 3awf + sound|kaos DSUB15 on Carbide Audio footers, Audio Physic Codex, Cube Audio Nenuphar Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D300Ref SD transport clock-slaved to Denafrips Terminator +; Preamp/filter: icOn 4Pro SE; Amplifier: Goldmund Job 225; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; Headamp/DAC: iFi iDSD Pro Signature;  Headphones: Final D-8000; Active speakers: DMAX SC5
Upstairs headfi/speaker system: Source: smsl Dp5 transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a; Active DSP speakers: Fram Midi 120
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: TBA

"I'm Train from Tawain's Kenaz Audio. Stephen Gong of COS Engineering recommended you. After hearing him praise your reviews, I wonder whether you could be interested to write about my speakers. I used to be a pro-audio systems engineer and now make active speakers with a different design and high-quality parts for home playback."

After visiting a still basic website, I commented on the poor English likely due to a generic software translator, the basic stained Birch Ply finish and lack of how-to-buy intel. A global English review would need such info and more.

So I had questions. Were the photos outdated? Was a website refresh in the wings? I didn't think that Stephen would send me anyone whose product he didn't believe ready for global exposure. I just had to feel sure on my end. Avoid avoidable missteps which would serve no one.

Ingredients of Faital Pro drivers like this 1" compression polymer HF 102 tweeter with custom phase plug and neodym motor, 5" 5FE 100 mid/woofer, active FIR filter and Boenicke-reminiscent Powersoft class D modules were certainly different enough to arouse curiosity.

But I knew nothing on pricing, finish options, sales model, warranty support and other transactional data. The product I'd hold in my hand would be part of a bigger picture. I first had to grasp that bigger picture before I could make an informed presentation for Train's first non-domestic exposé.

For his AD36 three-way monitor, Train combines a visible 6" coaxial fiberglass driver with tweeter behind its dust cap with an inner 6" woofer, DSP by Germany's DFM then an active filter on the woofer, a passive on the dual-concentric. He also performs unconventional airflow management via secondary vents and a long port.created by internal bracing which is shared by all drivers. To my eye, some of it recalled Franck Tchang depressurization techniques. Then a quick Google session ascertained that Kenaz is a Nordic rune denoting flame or torch.

All of it had my ears perked. Potential buyers simply need more background. Google Translator had some from a prior Taiwanese review. Kenaz are a 2nd-gen enterprise whose Wang Youcheng aka Train builds upon principal Wang Xintang's work. The latter spent more than four decades in the pro-audio sector and was in charge of the Great Hall of the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial as well as handling sound for countless theaters, ceremonies, concerts and Golden Horse Awards. When Zubin Mehta brought the New York Philharmonic to Taiwan and the Cincinnati Symphony performed the 1812 Overture, it was Senior Wang behind the scenes. But he also oversaw sound for BB King, Michael Bolton, Chick Corea, Steve Vai and domestic vocalists Cai Qin, Huang Xiaohu, Fei Yupin and Feng Feifei. In addition he spent much time in recording studios. By 2017 he founded Kenaz to bridge home playback with the concert experience.

"I'm still working on a new website and the final AD36. The finish options on the AD15 are the stained Teak shown or clear Birch sanded and oiled. Because we're young, we still sell direct from Taiwan, with ship fees and VAT covered by the client. Our warranty is 2 years. Should any failure occur, I or a future distributor will repair the product." For the AD15, the basic specs are a very tight 55Hz to 18kHz ±1dB response, DSP which operates at 96kHz, this 600-watt Powersoft Minimod 4 module configured for 2 channels, XLR and AES/EBU inputs, deafening max SPL of 107dB/1m, dims of 18 x 24.8 x 26cm WxDxH and weight of 6.7kg. Pricing is €2'990/pr ex VAT/shipping. The digital input bypasses the ADC. Analog inputters encounter it for DSP, driver matching and the active filter. That's the name of the DSP speaker game.

"The AES/EBU input is primarily for recording studios. Most owners will use the XLR input. Our volume control is a mono pot for each speaker. We have no remote for this so recommend a standard preamp or variable analog source. I don't use Powersoft's various presets but fix the intended voicing inside my DSP chip so the product is plug 'n' play. With the AD15 out of stock when the August Taiwan show went better than expected, I prefer to submit the new AD36 for review in the near future."

Dual-concentric aka coaxial main driver | Powersoft power module | passive filter board

Prior to whatever changes the AD36 revision will undergo, that too exploited a Powersoft module then 4th-order passive filter following the DSP block. Kenaz's combination of DSP and passive filters is shared with Poland's Fram Audio who likewise prefer analog to DSP xovers. But it's not a solution one hears of a lot. Once DSP is on hand, most designers execute all necessary filter functions in the digital domain. Does that make the AD36 a hybrid?

This screen shot of an older YouTube video shows us the size relationship between AD15 and AD36. The latter is significantly larger. No wonder that for his first review with us, Train wanted to submit that. It'll be appropriate for bigger rooms than the AD15 especially when, as I favor, the speakers sit well clear of the front wall to stage deeper and minimize boundary gain. My Sonnet Pasithea DAC from Dutch auteur Cees Ruijtenberg runs remote-controlled variable reference voltage on its R2R resistor ladders and is a fully balanced design. That would become my variable source fronting the review pair once it arrived.

… to be continued when the new AD36 drops…