Country of Origin



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, Denafrips Terminator+ clock-synced to Soundaware D300Ref SD transport/USB reclocker; Preamp: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B; Power amps: LinnenberG Liszt monos; Headamps: Questyle CMA-800r monos; Phones: HifiMan Susvara; Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, LessLoss C-MARC Entropic cords 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: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room so no wall behind the listening chairs
2nd system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport; DAC/pre: Denafrips Terminator or COS Engineering D1; Amplifier: Bakoon AMP-13R or Crayon CFA-1.2; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model 1 w. Franck Tchang magnesium super tweeters, sound|kaos Vox 3awf, Zu Submission subwoofer; 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: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headamp: Kinki Studio Vision THR-1; Phones: Audeze LCD-XC on Forza Audio Lab cable; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 120
Upstairs headfi system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; Integrated amplifiers: Schiit Jotunheim R or Bakoon AMP-13R; Phones: Raal-Requisite SR1a, Audeze LCD-2, Final Sonorous X & D8000, HifiMan HE-1000
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: Pass Labs XA-30.8; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: $3'498/pr

Beauty and the beast? Natassja was the looker, Klaus the beast; at least in Aguirre the wrath of God and Nosferatu. I'm talking of the actors Kinski, father and daughter. If the recently reviewed and awarded Kinki Studio EX-M7 stereo amp was the daughter, today's EX-B7 monos would be her daddy. Or so I reasoned when asking myself not who's your daddy but who could be mine. Our LinnenberG Liszt monos had become unobtainium. At least for our main system I prefer things readers can still buy. Already the Kinki stereo had sonically matched them as virtual stand-in. I harbored no doubts. Though less than half their original price, Mr. Ivan Liu's monos would comfortably eclipse them. The Liszt could now serenade our neighboring video system. In one fell swoop, the sound in casa luna would upgrade twice. Our kind of math. Reviewing things one bought could be a self-congratulatory backhander but readers know that writing about hifi is simply what I do. Audio hardware is my tool kit and office equipment. How could I welcome new amps into our digs and not review them? Don Lope de Aguirre said "that man is a head taller than me. That may change." I had no intentions of losing my head just yet.

The Klaussian madness of the Kinki monos is this dense block which used to house twinned 300VA toroids sat upright cheek to cheek beneath the top circuit board with gold-plated traces. In the most current version the dual transformer scheme has been upgraded to a single but beefier 750VA rating. It's all power supply. It drives 4 complimentary pairs of lateral Exicon Mosfets in a very conservatively rated 250w/8Ω output stage which mounts directly against the back plate.

Like our Liszt monos, this is an ultra-bandwidth DC-coupled design with a quoted ±3dB response of 0-2.5MHz. Speedy Gonzales on triple espresso? It means 200V/us slew rate or rise time better than 300 nanoseconds. Instantaneous power is rated at 400Wrms into 8Ω. Power doubles into 4Ω. It's why despite being a class AB design, max power consumption is 600 watts (30w idle). Input sensitivity is a reasonable 1.45Vrms. Preamps won't get too loud too quick.

Twin toroid precursor version

Designed to be as three-dimensionally compact as possible, it all fits into 33x23x19cm DxWxH and weighs a manageable 17kg/ea. It mirrors our Liszt parameters; except that now the Liszt would be stand-ins, the EX-B7 the not yet famous but gifted headline actors. I confess to subversive satisfaction that half of our main system would soon be Asian, with a Soundaware D300Ref, Denafrips Terminator and Kinki Studio headfi amp and monos. Other Western reviewers might prefer to drive domestic but Ireland is simply barren for hifi manufacture. And my motivators aren't patriotism or name recognition. I want the best performance for our euro; as I imagine you might, too. Looking east so away from the euro is a very good direction. It's where the sun rises.