Review Kinki Studio EX-M1+

Pros

  • Build quality
  • Power and refinement
  • Price

Cons

  • Limited number of inputs
  • Analog inputs only
  • Prijs: € 2895

    Buid quality
    usability
    Sound
    Price
    Kinky Studio EX-M1

    Listening

    Contents

    We play more and more hi-res and MQA files on the new set because we notice that a lot of normal streams sound a little bit compressed. This is also the case with the Kinki Studio EX-M1+. Compact discs still sound excellent by the way, and we use them a lot in our reviews.

    Time for some music. Billie Eilish is well known by now but her brother Finneas not so much. However, his album “Blood Harmony” is not inferior to his sister’s. He makes top notch pop music with very strong lyrics. The power of the EX-M1+ ensures that the music is released nicely and we don’t notice any sharpness on any speaker. The ATCs play controlled, voices sound flawless and the tight low-end seems to go on forever.

    Despite its significant power, the EX-M1+ is not a bulky powerhouse. Yes, there is plenty of power and grip but there is also finesse and speed. We clearly hear that on “Driving Music”, the third EP by Australian band Mallrat. On the song ‘Stay’ it’s striking how rhythmic this amp is and also how fast it takes off.

    “By way of deception” by the eclectic band Angles 8 is a live recording. This fantastic jazz ensemble, this time as an octet, has reached a very high level for years. The first song, as well as the title song, takes a good 16 minutes and is a feast for the ear. The timing of the EX-M1+ is excellent, so this intense song never becomes a cacophony. Each instrument sounds natural and can be distinguished separately. Lovely!

    We’ve chased every genre through this amp and nowhere did we feel like we were missing anything. The EX-M1+ simply lets the various speakers speak for themselves and gets the most out of it. Our humble Audiovectors, which we thought were at their limit, took it to the next level. Bizarre.

    Compare

    The Bryston B60r is the absolute counterpart of the Kinki Studio EX-M1+. Rather plain in looks, only 60 watts under the hood and therefore sometimes looked over. But the Bryston has more features such as a great headphone amplifier, excellent phonostage and a handy balance control. Soundwise, the Bryston plays equally tight and punchy but with less insight, 3D and resolution. It also has an iron grip on each speaker but gets out of breath faster. It’s a great amplifier with very nice features, but the Kinki Studio EX-M1+ goes further and beyond in several areas.

    Our Benchmark AHB2 can cope with the punch, speed and transparency of the Kinki. The 100 watts of the Benchmark are very stable and have as much grunt as the Kinki but the Benchmark is only a power amplifier while the Kinki Studio EX-M1+ also has a very fine preamplifier under the hood. Furthermore, the combination Ps Audio / Benchmark is not ‘better’ than the Kinki Studio EX-M1 +. The very versatile Ps Audio is good but does not have the finesse and resolution of the Kinki.

    9 Comments

    1. Greetings,

      I have a Kinki Ex-M1 and i want to upgrade, i see in this review that is compared with the Hegel H390 which was the unit i was aiming for to upgrade over the Kinki, but i m reading that they are contenders, so my question is regardless of the versatility of the H390 having a DAC & Streamer, how do they stack sound wise ONLY, is it worth to upgrade to the Hegel H390 for the sound over the EX-M1 ?

      Thank you and hoping you guys are doing fine ih this contingency

      Warm Regards
      Miguel

        1. Hello Jaap,

          Thanks for your feedback !

          Some have claimed the Hegel is smoother, do you agree ?

          The only think i would like a little a bit more on my Kinki is to be more meatier and a bitty smoother, my PMC Twenty5 26 could benefit on that i guess, any suggestions ?

          Kinki has evolved both Kinki EX-M1 & EX-M1+:

          —-“The new EX-M1 sounds calmer due to the quieter background. Also has more drive due to the higher power encapsulated transformers and 50% more of the capacitors reservoir. There is also improvement to the amp circuitry, preamp and input selector boards”—-

          Regards

          Miguel

        2. I wouldn’t say Hegel is the smoothest sounding amp I know. The Yamaha 3000-series for example is a lot smoother than the H390. I don’t know how that matches on the PMC, but that one is magical on the Focal Sopra. But I guess you need a bit more control in the bass. In terms of control Hegel is very good. But another brand that is well known for control is MOON. You could check that out. It’s a bit smoother than Hegel ánd has the bass-control you need with PMC.

        1. Hi Jaap Veenstra,

          It is me here again, sorry to bother you with my questions:

          It is that just sold my Kinki M1 and first wanted to ask you how do you compare the sound signature of the Kinki vs the H390 ?
          The NEW Kinki has 400VA per channel vs 300VA of the one i just sold, Kinki claims is “calmer” and with a bit more drive, and dont get me wrong i loved my Kinki but wanted a bit more specially that fuller sound, my PMC Twenty5 26 are super fast and transparent and sometimes i felt the combination needed a bit more of air specially in the High frequencies where it can get a bit incisive sometimes, you told me the H390 is not the smoother one, but to clarify, is it smoother than the Kinki, would help me describing the difference sound wise between the two ?

          In the other hand i am also considering (for better possible SQ ) the Kinki M7 with Denafrips Athena Preamp…but if it is possible i want to keep it simple with the Integrated path

          Thank you very much

          Miguel

        2. Questions are always welcome!

          Hegel has a lot of drive. But it’s not the smoothest or most refined. But it’s fun and dynamic. If you want fast and smooth, go for a Yamaha 3000-series. But that one doesn’t have a dac… Don’t know if you need one?

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