Timing, damping, bandwidth & dynamics. Which amp got the subjective nod depended on the program. Getting with it via Kalya Scintilla's remix of "Lotus Heart"…

…  the Kinki clearly had the edge on dynamics, imaging/layering specificity, top-end brilliance and control. The latter was a sense of unwavering tautness which, like a top-to-bottom stake, extended all the way down. This studio production is filled with panned trickery, effects and artificial image assignations. Hearing it this holographical wall to wall renewed my admiration for these DJ mixologists. Concerto Köln's Baroque period forces led by Martin Fröst's masterful clarinet on Sony Classical nodded the give at Bakoon for more elegant less rigid phrasing. Considering its high-ish 0.5Ω output impedance and lack of degeneration resistors suggested that what I heard were effects of lower damping. Subjectively, timing felt more elastic; less metronomic.

Having fun with a modern tsifeteli number from Bülent Ersoy whose voice and delivery hover androgynous between the usual polarities…

… the higher damping and more rigorous handling of the bass returned the advantage to Kinki's power play.

Likewise for Louis' glittering Mariachi-style but Balkan brasses embedded in an odd-metered Croatian tune from his Not to be forgotten album. With the EX-M7, the swaggering overall energy, the virile stomp of the oompah trumpets/tubas and the upper harmonics in the joyful voice had more glitter, more crunch, more vitality.

Meanwhile this classy take on Piazolla's most famous tango by two Russian virtuoso fronting a string orchestra favored the Bakoon again for its more relaxed 'generous' feel in the time/texture domain.

Simplifying the contrast from this first session, we might say that the Bakoon championed the micro domain of inflections and timbre variations, the Kinki the macro domain of voltage swings, control and bandwidth. We could thus conclude that the AMP-13 won this round on ultimate refinement, the EX-M7 on all the aspects where greater power resources and higher current hold the aces. In short, this hadn't been a clear-cut match but one in which personal preference was conditional upon the particular music being played. I already suspected that the EX-M7 had well eclipsed the standing of its older integrated mate and muscled up at least one rung on my 'Swiss' ladder. What that meant relative to our LinnenberG I'd find out later. With this first impression, I still had to dig deeper into the Bakoon vs. Kinki equation.