BD Audio have announced that they have been appointed UK dealer for Kii Audio Three, a new stand mound loudspeaker which really impressed Hifi Pig at the Warsaw Audio Video Show back in November.

Kii say their mission for the Three was to “break the sonic mould of compact speakers. Powerful small speakers with deep bass have been around for a while now but none so far sounded like a big speaker. The Three is built to fix that”.

Basic acoustics tells us that a classic box speaker only directs sound towards the listeners from the midrange up while bass frequencies are radiated all around. The frequency where this change happens depends on the size of the box front (the “baffle”). The smaller the baffle, the higher the frequency at which bass is still radiated all around instead of directed towards the listener. In short that is why big speakers have so far delivered much more precise timing and detail in the bass and low mids than small speakers: the room gets less chance to interfere. And that is what Kii claim they have managed to make a compact speaker do.

Each Kii Three contains six channels of DSP, D/A conversion and power amplification. Each side panel of the Three holds a 3x250W power amplifier board, designed by Bruno Putzeys using the latest iteration of the Ncore class D technology which he invented for Hypex. Unique to the implementation used in the Kii Three is a combined voltage/current control loop that, say Kii, “goes beyond merely a better amp – it actively improves the distortion performance of the drive units which contributes significantly to the extreme resolution of the speaker”.

This means that the performance of the AD/DA conversion has to match that of the amps. This task fell to Bart van der Laan who has a long track record designing DSP and converter boards for high end professional audio equipment. Kii Audio’s implementation is a complete pass through the AD/DA circuitry of the Three’s signal processing boards which is entirely inaudiable. Alongside the Active Wave Focusing filters the DSP is responsible for keeping the drive units within their safe operating range by gently adapting the filters instead of brutally limiting the signal, allowing the Three to play significantly louder and cleaner than much bigger traditional designs. On the input side there is a choice of analogue, digital inputs. All digital inputs are up-sampled and reclocked using Kii’s own jitter rejection algorithm that they claim “guarantees actual “bits is bits” audio performance for any digital source”.

 

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