In the Pro Tools Expert 10th Anniversary Competition we offered the chance of winning a pair of Kii Three Studio Monitors and a Kii Control together worth $14,000, as one of 18 great prizes on offer worth over $28,000 in total. We can announce that Avril Mackintosh is the lucky winner.
What Is Special About Kii Three Speakers?
They invented the Active Wave Focusing technology, which is designed to control the sound dispersion and direct the sound pressure, where it needs it to go - the sweetspot. They have used DSP processing to provide Kii Three speakers with a cardioid sound dispersion pattern down to the low-mid and bass frequencies, which until now could only be achieved using wide baffles, big cabinets or soffit mounting speakers (infinite baffle design). Kii claim no other speaker manufacturer has approached a solution to this common problem.
We designed the Kii THREE with the acoustical challenges of today's studio setups in mind. It fits everywhere and can be the one and only monitor solution you need for every task. It really is the first "Mini Main monitor system“ available. We also think it looks rather beautiful.
We offer a linear frequency response, a perfect impulse response and phase coherence, but we also pack 1500 watts per speaker divided across six drivers into a compact and lightweight enclosure and the Kii THREE is able to move some serious air too.
The Active Wave Focusing Solution
According to Kii there is a loophole in acoustics, which says that small directive speakers are possible - if you have enough drivers and you feed them the exact right signal. The THREE has a total of 6 (six) speakers, front, side and rear, working together to throw the sound in one direction that doesn't rely on a baffle. Kii claim that the THREE’s ability to direct bass is comparable to, but much better controlled than that of a traditional speaker several meters wide.
What Do Active Wave Focusing Filters Do?
Active Wave Focusing filters mark a complete departure from the classical crossover filter. Instead of just splitting the spectrum into bands, it forces the specially positioned drive units to create a completely coherent wavefront that is only radiated forward and behaves as though all of it came from the midrange driver.
With classical crossover filters, loudspeakers can only have a time aligned impulse response on the main axis. The animations on the right show the wavefront as it’s built up by a typical modern three-way speaker with side-firing woofers. This example has a crossover set at 250Hz, time aligned and phase equalised and the wave travelling towards the listener is coherent. However, towards the sides and the rear the picture breaks down and the impulse is completely smeared. Also, low frequencies are radiated in all directions. In a real room (bottom animation) the sound that radiates toward the back strikes the wall behind the speaker and is reflected back towards the listener, who actually hears the speaker twice: once from the front and a bit later from the rear. Moving the speaker out into the room doesn't help. The overall bass balance looks better but the impulse response gets worse as the reflection now comes even later.
The animations on the right show how the Active Wave Focusing method retains alignment all the way around the speaker and how the presence of the rear wall has no impact. Sonically, the effect is a very even, unusually detailed bass. Even in problematic rooms, a drum kick has that visceral thud that previously only very big or in-wall speakers could achieve.
The Inventor Bruno Putzeys Talks About Kii Three Speakers
Back in July 2017 Kii invited professional sound engineers and producers to Red Bull Studios in London to listen to the Kii THREE professional studio monitors.
For those of you who weren't able to make the event in London, we have this interview recorded at this event in which inventor Bruno Putzeys, chatted to Russ Hughes about speaker design, how they interact with the room, the challenges of designing good speakers and why he ended up designed the Kii THREE Active Monitors, the technology behind them and how these concepts are implemented.
Kii Three Electronics Technology
To help make all this work is a hybrid of acoustics and electronics with a bunch of DSP thrown in for good measure. Each Kii speaker 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. Kii claim that what is unique to the design used in the Kii THREE is a combined voltage/current control loop that 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.
Naturally, 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 claim that a complete pass through the AD/DA circuitry of the THREE’s signal processing board is entirely inaudible, a feat, they say, not duplicated by the most expensive audiophile standalone units.
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 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 and digital inputs. All digital inputs are up-sampled and reclocked using Kii’s own jitter rejection algorithm.
The Kii CONTROL offers three additional digital inputs for the Kii THREE:
Coax SPDIF, Optical TOSLINK and USB (up to PCM 24/384kHz and DSD64/DSD128 on USB).
All inputs are located on the rear connector panel and can be activated with the touch buttons located around the volume knob. A dedicated input button (labelled XLR) will switch to the existing hardware input on the speaker itself, which you can continue to use as an analog or digital input. The Kii Control connects to the speakers with a single included CAT6 cable and is also powered through this connection. No additional power supply is necessary.
Kii Audio claims that the Kii CONTROL enables lossless volume control inside the DSP of the Kii THREEs, keeping the signal path of the system as transparent as possible.
The big volume knob also offers mute or dim functions and manual power on/off (standby) and a dedicated touch button provides direct access to up to six user-definable presets.
The menu navigation and OLED display expand the options of the Boundary and Contour settings, while also providing access to more advanced system settings, including amongst others - manual power on/standby, LED brightness, DIM function and limiter indication.
The main functions like volume, source and mute can also be remotely controlled via a IR Remote (RC5 type or Apple Remote).
Kii Three Technical Specification
- Compact DSP controlled monitor speaker
- 4x 6.5" woofer, 1x5" midrange, 1" waveguided tweeter, all individually driven
- Amplification: 6x250W full-custom Ncore
- Active Wave Focusing crossover filter
- Frequency response: +/- 0,5dB - 25 kHz, 20Hz -6dB
- Phase response: minimum (best possible time coherence).
- Long term SPL: 105dB
- Short term SPL: 110dB
- Peak SPL: 115dB
- Controlled Directivity: 4.8dB (80Hz - 1kHz, slowly rising thereafter)
- Size: 20x40x40cm, 8"x16"x16" (WxHxD)
- Weight: 15kg (33lbs)
- Inputs: Analogue, AES/EBU
- Selectable correction for free-standing, near wall or in corner
Connector panel from left to right:
- XLR Input - this can provide either analog or digital Input depending how the select switch is set
- Select switch (3 positions) - chooses between AES left channel / Analog / AES right channel Input
- KiiLink Digital Input on CAT5 - used to connect the two speakers & future Kii products
- KiiLink Digital Thru on CAT5 - used to connect the two speakers when using a single AES Input
- Boundary switch - can be set to 16 positions between free / wall / corner to optimize setup
- Contour switch - provides flat setting + 14 different preset EQ curves to match the listeners taste
- Mains Power Connector - plug in your power cable and go, the Kii Three has no power switch
Avril Mackintosh Wins A Pair Of Kii Three Studio Monitors And A Kii Control - Worth $14,000
In the Pro Tools Expert 10th Anniversary Competition we offered the chance to win one of 18 great prizes worth over $28,000 in total. Avril Mackintosh is the winner of a pair of Kii Three Studio Monitors and a Kii Control - Worth $14,000.
I am a London based Producer and ProTools Programmer. Alongside my work as a Producer, I have specialised for nearly 20 years in all things VOCAL. recording, comping, sorting etc.Everything to get that perfect vocal!
Having the Kii Audio Monitors as part of my working setup will enable me to record with incredible accuracy and hear any flaws that may come up as part of the recording process. It will enable me to hear the overall production in much finer detail to help me make the best decisions and pull the whole production together in the final mix.
If you would like to win a prize like a pair of Kii Three Studio Monitors and a Kii Control - Worth $14,000 then go over to our Win Page and see what prizes we have on offer.