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.
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.