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Kali Audio IN-8v1 3-Way Studio Monitor Review

hardisj

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Well, someone thought they ordered and were sending me the IN-8v2 last week but instead they shipped the v1. I tested the speaker without realizing it was the v1. "Pissed" was an understatement. But, since I already have the data and typed up the review, I might as well share it. Plus, if/when I test the v2 it'll be nice to have my own data from the v1 to directly compare against.

As always, full review on my website.
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kali_in-8v1/

Copy/paste below.

Kali Audio IN-8v1 3-Way Studio Monitor Review

DSC01993.JPG


Foreword / YouTube Video Review
The review on this website is a brief overview and summary of the objective performance of this speaker. It is not intended to be a deep dive. Rather, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler.

For a primer on what the data means, please watch my series of videos where I provide in-depth discussion and examples of how to read the graphics presented hereon.
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnIxFR_ey0b37Ex4KV2mBz-kYB7QLffR1



Information and Photos

The Kali IN-8v1 is the first generation powered 3-way Studio Monitor featuring a 4-inch coaxial midrange/tweeter and an 8-inch midbass driver.

MSRP for the single speaker is approximately $399 USD and $800 USD for a pair.
DSC01987.JPG


The back features a bank of dip switches for boundary settings and basic level adjustments. There is a volume knob and (3) input options: XLR, TRS and RCA phono.
DSC01995.png





CTA-2034 (SPINORAMA) and Accompanying Data
All data collected using Klippel’s Near-Field Scanner. The Near-Field-Scanner 3D (NFS) offers a fully automated acoustic measurement of direct sound radiated from the source under test. The radiated sound is determined in any desired distance and angle in the 3D space outside the scanning surface. Directivity, sound power, SPL response and many more key figures are obtained for any kind of loudspeaker and audio system in near field applications (e.g. studio monitors, mobile devices) as well as far field applications (e.g. professional audio systems). Utilizing a minimum of measurement points, a comprehensive data set is generated containing the loudspeaker’s high resolution, free field sound radiation in the near and far field. For a detailed explanation of how the NFS works and the science behind it, please watch the below discussion with designer Christian Bellmann:


A picture of the setup in my garage:
DSC01991.JPG

The reference plane in this test is at the tweeter. Volume set to ‘0’ with XLR input. The dip switches were all set to ‘0’ for the free field setting.
Measurements are provided in a format in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020). For more information, please see thislink.
Note: The roll off rate of this speaker is sharp and therefore some noise was unavoidable at 25Hz which causes a spike in the response here. Ignore the response below 25Hz.
CTA-2034 / SPINORAMA:
CEA2034%20--%20Kali%20Audio%20IN-8v1.png


Early Reflections Breakout:
Early%20Reflections.png


Estimated In-Room Response:
Estimated%20In-Room%20Response.png


Horizontal Frequency Response (0° to ±90°):
SPL%20Horizontal.png


Vertical Frequency Response (0° to ±40°):
SPL%20Vertical.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (not normalized):
Kali%20IN-8v1_Horizontal_Spectrogram_Full.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (normalized):
Kali%20IN-8v1%20Beamwidth_Horizontal.png


Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized):
Kali%20IN-8v1_Vertical_Spectrogram_Full.png


Vertical Contour Plot (normalized):
Kali%20IN-8v1%20Beamwidth_Vertical.png




Additional Measurements

On-Axis Response Linearity
Kali%20IN-8v1%20FR_Linearity.png

“Globe” Plots
These plots are generated from exporting the Klippel data to text files. I then process that data with my own MATLAB script to provide what you see. These are not part of any software packages and are unique to my tests.

Horizontal Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Kali%20IN-8v1_360_Horizontal_Polar.png




Vertical Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.

<<will add later>>

Harmonic Distortion
Harmonic Distortion at 86dB @ 1m:
Kali%20Audio%20IN-8v1%20--%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2886dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Harmonic Distortion at 96dB @ 1m:
Kali%20Audio%20IN-8v1%20--%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Dynamic Range (Instantaneous Compression Test)
The below graphic indicates just how much SPL is lost (compression) or gained (enhancement; usually due to distortion) when the speaker is played at higher output volumes instantly via a 2.7 second logarithmic sine sweep referenced to 76dB at 1 meter. The signals are played consecutively without any additional stimulus applied. Then normalized against the 76dB result.
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
  1. 76dB at 1 meter (baseline; black)
  2. 86dB at 1 meter (red)
  3. 96dB at 1 meter (blue)
  4. 102dB at 1 meter (purple)
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components) instantaneously.
Kali%20IN-8v1_Compression.png

Based on my results above, it is obvious the output is limited (via internal DSP) somewhere above the 96dB @ 1m output level.


Long Term Compression Tests
The below graphics indicate how much SPL is lost or gained in the long-term as a speaker plays at the same output level for 2 minutes, in intervals. Each graphic represents a different SPL: 86dB and 96dB both at 1 meter.
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components).
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
  1. “Cold” logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand)
  2. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  3. Interim logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Red in graphic)
  4. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  5. Final logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Blue in graphic)
The red and blue lines represent changes in the output compared to the initial “cold” test.
Kali%20IN-8v1_Long_Term_86_Compression.png

Kali%20IN-8v1_Long_Term_96_Compression.png








Parting / Random Thoughts
If you want to see the music I use for evaluating speakers subjectively, see my Spotify playlist.
  • Subjective listening was primarily at 1.5 meters but varied from 1 to 3 meters. Subjective listening was conducted at 80-95dB at this distance. Higher volumes were done simply to test the output capability in case one wants to try to sit further away.
  • The front port means you have more ability to move these speakers in to the prime spot for your needs. And thanks to the dip switches you have more ability to place the speakers where you need; whether free standing, near a wall or on a console.
  • There is zero mechanical noise from these speakers (pops, over-excursion, vent noise) even at higher volumes. However, these are intended to be used as nearfield monitors in the 1-2 meter range. Going past this will naturally mean you’ll need more volume and if you are listening at absurd levels you will certainly run in to the built-in limiter throttling the output as I showed in my linearity test.
  • When listening, I noticed the HF tends to sound brighter the closer I was to the speaker. In the above in-room measurements you can see there is a gain of about 2dB when moving from 2.5 meters to 1.5 meters listening distance, so keep this in mind.
  • Goo Goo Dolls’ Name sounds a bit sibilant. Looking at the data, it is likely this is attributed to the peak around 4-5kHz as this stands out by about 2-3dB above the mean in this region.
  • Vocals sound a bit too chesty. Per my listening notes, I ballparked the area to be around 200-300Hz. The only evidence I can see of this in the data is that the response shows a trough on both sides of 250Hz. Maybe this is what I was hearing. Maybe not.
  • December by Collective Soul has a great drum line and, on these speakers, it sounded quite good. The bass/midbass is definitely a showcase element of these speakers.
  • Hiss: The noise is noticeable when within about one foot of the tweeter with the gain (on the speaker itself) at +6dB and also at 0dB. You need to be sitting about 1 meter away for the hiss to completely be gone. The IN-8v2 (which I haven't tested yet) is supposed to remedy this.
  • As for SPL levels, these are marketed as a nearfield speaker. My data shows the limiter kicking in somewhere above 96dB @ 1m. I had the output up to about 100dB at 1 meter to stress test with some Linkin Park and there were no mechanical issues that I could hear. I’d say that you could probably use these in the midfield in the lower 90’s pretty well but above that would be pushing it. Realistically, you shouldn’t be mixing music (or listening) above the 85dB range for long periods anyway. I do not know that I would recommend these for farfield movie-watching but for music at reasonable volumes, you should be fine.

Overall, I like these speakers, especially for the price. The bass is quite nice, the midrange and highs are very mostly neutral. But they have room to improve. The high frequency combing and large dip on-axis centered around 10kHz concerns me but turning the speaker slightly off-axis remedies this. Plus, in a typical room setting, I can’t say that listening on-axis is even ideal with these speakers. I recommend toeing them by about 5-10° either inward or outward, depending on how much sidewall interaction or width you want. The directivity is quite good until above about 4kHz where the pattern changes and gets a bit wider in radiation before the on-axis dip at 10kHz.

For reference, are these better than the JBL 708P I recently tested? No. But the 708p is 4.5x the cost per pair at MSRP (note, though, the 708p does come with a lot of useful features and EQ bands).


Support / Contribute
If you like what you see here and want to help me keep it going, please consider donating via the PayPal Contribute button located below. Donations help me pay for new items to test, hardware, miscellaneous items and costs of the site’s server space and bandwidth. All of which I otherwise pay out of pocket. So, if you can help chip in a few bucks, know that it is very much appreciated.
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/contribute



You can also join my Facebook and YouTube pages if you would like to follow along with updates.
 
Last edited:

LightninBoy

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Well, someone thought they ordered and were sending me the IN-8v2 last week but instead they shipped the v1. I tested the speaker without realizing it was the v1. "

Thanks for posting the data. I hope the buyer wasn't scammed.
 

JonathanB

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I'm glad the data and review was restored in the post. Thanks.
It is very useful imo and although it may have felt like a wasted effort...and even more useful as the v2 is itching trigger fingers.

I actually look more forward to the subjective part of the reviews, as the ears are the final judges despite how good the graphs and data look.
 

ernestcarl

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If this is the same data as the one you posted and deleted:

Note: Rating is for far-field listening.

Preference Rating
SCORE: 4.1
SCORE w/ sub: 5.9

Frequency response: +/- 6.5dB 45Hz-20kHz


I haven’t been keeping up with the preference score rating for speakers… but now that I’ve checked the score for Amir’s 2nd review sample of the IN-8 (5.1 and 6.8 w/ sub), I am curious to know why there is a substantial difference in comparison to Erin’s review sample. Was Amir (perhaps) using a lower resolution setting which might have improved the score back then?
 

MZKM

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I haven’t been keeping up with the preference score rating for speakers… but now that I’ve checked the score for Amir’s 2nd review sample of the IN-8 (5.1 and 6.8 w/ sub), I am curious to know why there is a substantial difference in comparison to Erin’s review sample. Was Amir (perhaps) using a lower resolution setting which might have improved the score back then?
It’s the peak and dip around 5kHz in Erin’s that brings the score down.

Amir’s data was of correct resolution. So, no way to know if Erin’s mic improvement allows us to see it or if just it is sample variance.
 

ernestcarl

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It’s the peak and dip around 5kHz in Erin’s that brings the score down.

Now that you mention it, I do see the difference. My guess is it could be just normal sample variation or maybe how the monitor was positioned during measurement.
 

More Dynamics Please

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Per the comment that "these are marketed as a nearfield speaker", Kali rates the IN-8 v1 at 85 dB sustained with 20 dB headroom for 105 dB peaks at a maximum listening distance of 2.8 meters or 9 feet (and the IN-8 v2 at 3.5 meters or 11.5 feet).

Is there an industry standard for near-, mid- and far-field studio monitors or is this a gray area where everyone gets to insert their own opinion? Based on my understanding of how most studio monitors are used in a studio I would consider 9 feet to be more mid-field than near-field and 11.5 feet to be even more firmly mid-field. I can only guess at what distance far-field might start in one of the larger studios.
 
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