Kinki Studio EX-B7 monoblocks
By Marc Philip •
The following is intended for the passionate audio hobbyist with several years of experience who still wants to learn and discover new things.
What such person has not asked themselves what difference it makes to use two separate monoblock amplifiers, rather than a standard stereo amp which shares its power transformer with the left and right channels?
If I look back over the last 30 years I have to acknowledge that dual mono amps have always given me the best hi-fi music listening experiences.
Since I am by nature curious, I started my discovery of the Kinki Studio brand with the Kinki Studio EX-M1 integrated, then the DAC1 and finally, the EX-B7 mono blocks.
This is over the top for the Sinophobe in me, but as the saying goes, only idiots don’t change their minds.
Let’s give the gear a quick going-over with the manufacturer.
You’ll say that 250 watts per channel at 8 Ohm. is relatively modest, but don’t rely on the numbers alone, prepare for a surprise.
Monoblocks can in principle provide more power than the manufacturer specifies.
Kinki Studio trusts the intelligent consumer, who does not rely on numbers alone, or on complicated measurement curves, even if a technician needs these measurements to design their project.
But between you and me, this is like looking under the hood of a car before a test drive…
Design, parts selection, fine tuning are keys to quality sound. Q. E. D.
Kinki Studio EX-B7 monoblocks
SONIC FEATURE : Neutrality and musicality were the goals to reach.
Rich tonal quality, 3D stereo image, detail, high resolution and dynamics.
Parts selection, overall design and tweaking made this result possible. (choice of internal electronic components, non-resonant chassis design, connector quality, first-class power supply.)
This is the sound signature of Kinki Studio components, respect for the integrity of the music, there is no modification of the input signal, what you hear is the downstream result of everything that comes in upstream.
There are three LEDs and a power button on the front panel.
In standby mode, the middle LED is lit up orange. To turn on the EX-B7, you press the power button once, the soft start circuit engages, after a short delay, the amplifier is ready to work when the two green LEDs light up. Let’s the music play.
The hi-fi system consists of:
B&K Reference 2.0 amplifier, Kinki Studio EX-B7 power amplifier, PureAudioProject Trio 15 Horn 1 open baffle speakers, Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ with HDPLEX 200W LPSU external regulated power supply, Junilabs Audio Player beta 122 & Juniwave 2, acoustics/tripod furniture/cables, cup-spikes/cables by inovaudio made in Canada and few acoustic panel from PYT Audio made in France.
Shelf: the EX-B7 has an extraordinary capacity for dynamics and sonic transparency, as we found out.
To fully unleash its potential, it needs to be placed on an adequately stiff shelf or an appropriate hi-fi rack.
Please avoid using any soft materials, such as carpets, under the amplifier.
Warmup time: if the amplifier has not been used for a while, it will need 20 to 45 minutes to get warm enough. To reach operating temperature, the circuitry has to get up to about 55 degrees Celsius.
Note: the EX-B7 amplifier needs a run-in time of about 300 hours.
Not to worry, the sound only gets better in operation.
The power cord supplied with the unit is only there so you can plug each monoblock in, and Kinki clearly indicates that it’s an “el cheapo” model and it’s a good idea to use something higher-end, which we did, so as to confirm yet again the factual basis of this recommendation.
Frequency response: 0–2.5MHz (±3dB)
THD: < 0.05% (-80dB)
S/N ratio: >110dB (0.01Hz–1MHz), >130dB (A weighted)
Output power: 250WRMS (2¬8 Ohms)
Max output: 84VAC, 20A
Slew rate: 200V/us (Rise time <300ns)
AC input: 110/240VAC, 50/60Hz (factory configured)
Power consumption: 30W standby, 600W max.
Input sensitivity: 1.45VRMS
Input impedance: 51KOhm (acceptable range 10¬52KOhm)
Input connectors: RCA x 1, XLR x 1
Output: channel loudspeaker connection 4mm L/R
Dimensions: 330mm D x 230mm W x 190mm H
Weight: 17kg each
A pair of Kinki EX-B7 monoblocks sells for CAD$4,470.00.
This is for a pair, not singly, which makes for a formidable bargain if we consider their phenomenal potential for music reproduction along with the obvious care taken in the build of the chassis and the various internal elements. I particularly like the double transformer design and the two cards which hold the stacked electronic components.
I believe we are faced with a unique example, Mr. Liu keeps his word 100%, everything he says about his products is correct.
I am of one mind with Bernard Li, the North American distributor, Kinki Studio is the first company I am aware of in China to know what it’s talking about in high-end terms and which knows how to tweak its sound.
To answer the initial question, the contribution of the Kinki Studio EX-B7 monoblocks in my setup was extremely positive.
I literally adored the experience, which let me rediscover my music collection.
Swapping in monoblock amplifiers was like going from a 4-cylinder, 2-wheel drive car to an AWD with a V6 turbo.
What I noticed right off the bat was the ease of reproduction of all the bands, with fidelity, some would use the word “transparency”.
Headroom was the second standout quality of the EX-B7, the bass was splendid, sustained, taut, generous when called-for, fast, clear, impactful, on the best recordings this generosity produced the most immersive possible fullness.
The double transformers, the ultra-short signal paths and the quality of the electronic parts, along with a high-end chassis and connectors, are surely not unrelated to this musicality.
The dynamic range is extended, which means that through bass, mids and treble, nothing is missing, everything is there, fluid, natural, textured. There’s nothing whatsoever lost, emotion is guaranteed.
We are firmly confronted with a very high-end product to judge by all its sonic qualities which are normally only reserved for components costing in 5 figures.
If I go back to my notes, I consider that the Kinki Studio monoblocks are pretty much at the level of the Reimyo 777 (USD$30,000.00), which is my reference for such things.
What I liked:
The headroom, which easily gives the impression that twice the power is available.
The dynamic range, entirely without artifacts or colouration, 100% natural, the music which goes in comes out undistorted,
The exemplary finishing,
The three-point footing,
The XLR and RCA inputs,
The Furutech connectors,
The silent operation,
The price lower than the real value of the product.
Points needing improvement:
There aren’t any.
Oh well, yes, I can hear you trotting out the old song that this unit is made in China and you don’t like that, because already before you buy a piece of gear you are thinking of reselling it… oh dear me… well listen, folks who buy this kind of component will never resell it, simply because it completely fills their needs.
This also means that it won’t perform miracles. If your audio file is good, it will still be good at the output, and if it’s bad… well you know the rest.
You’ll also note that the monoblocks are low-key, no useless frippery, no flashing lights, nothing to degrade musicality.
Neutrality and musicality were the goals to reach.
We can unequivocally affirm that this objective was attained.
Rich tonal quality, 3D stereo image, high resolution and dynamic.
All this is totally true.
At CAD$4,740.00 I defy you to find something as good, let alone better. For myself, I’m not even looking, because it just doesn’t exist. You’d need to raise the budget to 5 figures to begin to meet such a challenge.
We are dealing with authentic high-end electronics… yet affordable ones, which in the jargon of the audio industry is at the extreme opposite of normal on the dial. A new race of components dedicated to music reproduction is emerging, for the greater benefit of its users, and to the detriment of the markups diluted in the food chain as we have known it for the last 30 years.
I don’t award the Reference label lightly, or to just anyone, nor for just anything, what the Kinki Studio EX-B7 monoblocks have received is amply deserved.
Things are changing for the better for the consumer, in the sense of respect for the music for one and all, the democratization of the high end has never been so real.
I’ve sent out invitations to come and discover these astonishing monoblocks in my setup.
The invitation will stay valid for a little longer, because at the time of writing the gear is still installed and is my reference, as long as the distributor will allow, for my new project, the subject of my next article in which I will reveal information about tweaking the likes of which you will never guess, because up to now I have been playing around in the amateur provincial leagues, and now I have decided to answer other questions, which has led me to enter the professional major leagues.
Contact North American distributor
Suite 86, Unit A14
4261, Highway 7
Canada L3R 9W6
Telephone: (905) 470-0825
Fax: (905) 470-7966
La pensée du moment
Lorsque tu fais quelque chose, saches que tu auras contre toi, ceux qui voudraient faire la même chose, ceux qui voulaient le contraire, et l’immense majorité de ceux qui ne voulaient rien faire. [Confucius].
Cet article a été rédigé par Marc PHILIP rédacteur indépendant, tous droits réservés, copyright 2020, les textes et photos sont la propriété de l’auteur et du magazine.