The Kinky Studio EX-M1+ replaces a Ps Audio Stellar Gain Cell Dac and Benchmark AHB2 in our referencesystem below:
- Atc scm19 V2 monitors
- Nad M50 streamer
- Metrum Acoustics Onyx Nos d/a converter
- IsoAcoustics Aperta 155 stands
- Wiring: Grimm, Audioquest, Qed
Besides the ATC’s we also played with our Audio Vector QR1’s and two other monitors that we had in house at that time. (JM Reynaud Bliss Jubilee and Vienna Acoustics Haydn Jubilee). We opted for the high gain on all these monitors because the volume then goes up a bit faster. Low gain is more for efficient horn loudspeakers or floorstanders. It is noticeable that the volume does not have to be high to achieve a nice listening level. We’ll soon find out why.
The EX-M1+ produces ink-black backgrounds with an exceptional amount of information coming through. Because of the ATC’s transparent character this is immediately noticeable. The EX-M1+ brings a reproduction that is downright holographic. And this, in combination with a refinement that we have not heard before. At least not in this price range. We even dare to say that the EX-M1+ purely in terms of amplification can go with the amplifiers from our recent multitest. A great achievement!
We try to further describe what is so special about this amplifier. Normally we immediately notice some differences in the low-end, midrange and high frequencies but it seems that the Kinki doesn’t emphasize anything. This can be a very boring and clinical listening experience, but it is by no means the case. As with the excellent Audiolab 6000A, this ensures a natural flow of music. But the EX-M1+ offers more on all fronts. Much more.
We would describe the sound as light and airy, feather light even with punch speed and resolution. We get a lot of insight into the recording but the totality of the music is not neglected. Our SCM19 V2 monitors are very hard to control but now the music comes effortlessly out of this speaker. The soundstage is wide with excellent imaging. The sweetspot is wider than we’re used to, even on our Audio Vectors which don’t radiate very wide by nature due to their AMT tweeter. All in all, we get a nice 3D picture and not a lot to complain about.