“Work hard, play harder” could be a fitting slogan for the Totem Kin Play, the protagonist of this story. This playful loudspeaker’s mission is to let you have as much fun as possible. And having fun, of course, means listening to music. This time mainly in the form of CD’s but we also got our vinyl out. And we didn’t mind at all. On the contrary! The Totem Kin Play brought our love of the black gold all the way back. Thank you for that.
The Totem Kin Play is the first ‘active’ speaker of the Canadian company. In fact, we need to talk about a powered speaker because there is only one amplifier that controls the whole thing. Inside the Kin Play is a Class D amplifier of 2×120 watts that does its job before the crossover kicks in. Active loudspeakers have a separate amplifier for each unit, with the crossover handling the frequency seperation before amplification. A small nuance but an important one.
The Kin Play is a so-called master and slave combination where the amplifier is in the powered speaker. It is then connected to the other passive loudspeaker. In the case of the Totem Kin Play, this is done via a single speaker cable. On the master speaker we also see a volume knob and a light at the front that colors the different inputs. The whole looks very sleek and stylish, partly due to the magnetic attachment of the grille.
A 1-inch (2.54cm) metal dome tweeter and a 5-inch (12.7cm) hybrid woofer, the materials of which are not further specified, are specially designed for this speaker.
As for the built-in amplifier: several years of development preceded this Class D amplifier, especially to avoid an overly analytical sound. So Totem put a lot of time and effort into the Kin Play to fine-tune the sound to their liking.
We asked for some extra explanation about the materials used and got the following answer from designer Vince Bruzzese:
The tweeter has been made up specifically for this unit as well as the woofer. They are both totally unique and specifically fabricated for the Kin Play. They are not a specific brand but a Totem composition
The same applies to the amplifier. Yes it has an advanced class D power supply but one that minimally alters high frequency phase shift. Hence we get a sound more like a class AB amplifier. This was composed by us after 4-5 years of evolution. It actually has a 150 Watt peak output, but we put it at 120 Watts into 4 ohm All parts on it are proprietary to Totem.
We’ll find a series of connections in the back. First a line input that can be switched between rca and phono! We don’t see that very often. In addition, an optical input (up to 192kHz) for your digital source or television and a 3.5mm input for portable devices. It’s also possible to connect a subwoofer and that’s smart because the small woofer has to work hard and sometimes we miss some foundation in certain music.
Last but not least, there is Bluetooth that supports the latest 4.1 aptX Hd version. No DSP magic is used here and no app is needed. Nice ‘Old Skool’ so. We see a lot of possibilities but we would have liked to have seen a second digital (coax) input.
In addition to all connections, we also see a number of tone controls. Although we always leave it at neutral for testing purposes, we do understand why it is possible.