This review will be a bit more spicy than you are used to because today we are testing the Kinki Studio EX-M1+. Kinki Studio is a relatively young company from China that has been working since 2008. The EX-M1+ is an integrated amplifier with a seductive appearance. And yes… we feel that. Admit it, we’re all a little hi-fi fetishists. We get excited at the sight of super high end headphones, we’re drooling over an amplifier with VU meters and caressing a graceful speaker as if it were a living organism. Anyway, back to business.
Kinki Studio – Boelz Audio – has received a lot of positive reviews in recent years and that made us very curious. Owner Tao Liu has a clear vision: a pure reproduction with as little distortion as possible. A noble goal that he tries to achieve on the one hand by using high quality components and on the other hand by constantly improving his products. Given the broad international attention, it seems that Liu has now reached quite a high level with his products. Time to investigate if the hype is justified.
Construction and appearance
The Kinki Studio EX-M1+ is a beast of an amplifier and we soon notice that when we take it out of the box. This integrated amplifier weighs 25kg. Most of this weight comes from the metal cooling fins inside and the large power supplies. The sturdy, aluminium front adds a few kilos to the whole as well.
The silver front with its two giant rotary knobs looks sleek and the horizontal lines on the front give the amplifier an exclusive look. In the middle we see a large screen, with white LEDs, that shows the selected input and volume. Even the neighbours can still read the volume level. Fortunately, the screen can be dimmed halfway or fully, which is especially pleasant in the evening. All functions can also be performed by the beautiful remote control. It is made of one block of aluminium and has a handy mute button in addition to input, volume and mode.
At the back again a very clean lay-out. The speaker terminals are located on the outside of the amplifier and are of high quality, just like any part on this amplifier. Because the amplifier is built in dual mono, the left and right inputs are each on one side of the amplifier. We see four inputs one of which in XLR. Whether this is sufficient is up to the buyer, but we would have liked to have seen one more. This is, as already mentioned, a puristic amplifier so there are no digital inputs. A small switch lets us choose between low and high gain. A handy feature.