WRITTEN BY DENOM

Kii Audio is a new-formed company with well known founders, including Bruno Putzeys, Bart van der Laan, Wim Weijers, Chris Reichardt and Thomas Jansen, that recently announced their first-ever product. A compact loudspeaker named Three. According to the press release, the Kii Three is an amazing active loudspeaker with a compact form factor that behaves like a large system, in terms of power as well as coupling with the room. Kii’s Active Wave Focusing technology brings those benefits previously only possible with very large or in-wall mounted speaker systems. What may look like a cute pair of speakers at first sight, is really an audiophile listening pleasure that outperforms other huge and way more expensive systems with ease, the company says. Kii’s mission for the Three was to break the sonic mold of compact loudspeakers. Powerful small loudspeakers with deep bass have been around for a while now but none so far sounded like a big loudspeaker. The Three is built to fix that. A loop hole in acoustics says that small directive loudspeakers are possible – if you have enough drivers and you feed them the exact right signal. The Three has a total of 6 ways, front, side and rear, working together to throw the sound in one direction only, without relying on a baffle. The Three’s ability to direct bass is comparable to, but much better controlled than, that of a traditional speaker several meters wide. Active Wave Focusing filters, a technology featured in the Three, 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 wave front that is only emitted forward and behaves as though all of it came from the midrange driver. Each Kii Three contains six channels of DSP, D/A conversion and power amplification. Each side panel of the loudspeaker 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 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 loudspeaker. 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. 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 or wireless inputs (compatible with WISA). All digital inputs are up-sampled and re-clocked using Kii’s own jitter rejection algorithm that guarantees actual “bits is bits” audio performance for any digital source.

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