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Kali Audio IN-8v2 (Second Wave) 3-Way Studio Monitor Review

MZKM

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Note: Rating meant for far-field listening.

Preference Rating
SCORE: 5.3
SCORE w/ sub: 7.1


Frequency response: +/- 6.1dB 45Hz-20kHz


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More Dynamics Please

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@hardisj, perhaps you missed my questions for you in post #5 of this thread so I'll repeat myself. Your review erroneously states that Kali markets the IN-8 v2 as only a near-field monitor when in fact Kali clearly states in the user's manual that it's ideal for mid-field monitor use (85 dB continuous with 20 dB headroom for 105 dB peaks at up to 3.5 meters). Your review is being interpreted by others as evidence that the IN-8 v2 is not capable of the performance that Kali claims for it. Could you please clarify this for the benefit of those considering the IN-8 v2 based on Kali's specifications vs. your testing.
 
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hardisj

hardisj

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Your review erroneously states that Kali markets the IN-8 v2 as only a near-field monitor when in fact Kali clearly states in the user's manual that it's ideal for mid-field monitor use

I corrected the bit about the nearfield. That was my bad; a copy/paste from the IN-5 review (which Kali saw and agreed with).




Your review is being interpreted by others as evidence that the IN-8 v2 is not capable of the performance that Kali claims for it. Could you please clarify this for the benefit of those considering the IN-8 v2 based on Kali's specifications vs. your testing.

Not sure why or where people would "interpret" that from my review because I actually state in my review:
As for SPL levels, these are marketed as a near/mid-field 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 high volume listening more than 3 meters but for most volume levels and/or closer distances, a pair of these should be more than enough to satisfy your needs.

I don't see anything ambiguous about that statement. :)
 
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hardisj

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To add a bit to it...

It looks like 96dB @ 1m is really the limit (no pun intended) when it comes to neutral response before the limiter kicks in. Or somewhere around there.

So, 96dB + 6dB for a second powered speaker + 3dB for room gain = 105dB @ 1m for a pair in a room.
At 4m that comes down to 93dB.

That's where I come up with the "guesstimate" for output level needs wrt recommendation. Obviously, YMMV. If you listen closer to the speaker, no issue. Thus my comment about them being adequate for most anyone in the 2-3 meter range. But for people who want to use these as home theater speakers at further listening distances (the majority listen at 12 feet based on an AVS poll I created last year) then the limiter will result in lower output.

Again, YMMV. One who wants to argue semantics and if/then statements certainly can. But my suggestions are based on measured numbers and ones I feel confident with.

:)
 

More Dynamics Please

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@hardisj, thanks for the quick response. I hadn't re-read your review and wasn't aware that it had been updated. I had wondered if that near-field part was a simple copy and past from the IN-5 review. The way it's worded now seems to verify Kali's claims of 85 dB continuous with 20 dB headroom for 105 dB peaks at up to 3.5 meters. As I understand it you are saying the IN-8 v2 can achieve that spec without the limiter resulting in lower output but anyone who wants to go louder than that will run into limiter issues.
 
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hardisj

hardisj

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As I understand it you are saying the IN-8 v2 can achieve that spec without the limiter resulting in lower output but anyone who wants to go louder than that will run into limiter issues.

Pretty much.

I don't know how Kali came up with their spec so I can't really comment on that. My testing isn't meant to replicate theirs, per se. It might just happen to be similar to what they do but I don't know.
 

More Dynamics Please

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Kali's spec seems to align with THX which defines studio reference level as 85 dB SPL with 20 dB of headroom. Kali merely adds that the IN-8 v2 will achieve this at up to 3.5 meters (11.5 feet). This should satisfy average home theater users. I get now that your warning about the IN-8 v2 limiter kicking in is aimed at those who want to listen above THX studio reference level or beyond 11.5 feet.

https://www.thx.com/questions/what-is-the-reference-level/
 

Slyman

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Thanks for the review! The score suggesting 5.3 seems quit low compared to Erin results? How would these fare against the Neumann kh80 + a cheap subwoofer for example in an untreated room using only eq behind the speakers?
 

Sancus

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Kali's spec seems to align with THX which defines studio reference level as 85 dB SPL with 20 dB of headroom. Kali merely adds that the IN-8 v2 will achieve this at up to 3.5 meters (11.5 feet). This should satisfy average home theater users. I get now that your warning about the IN-8 v2 limiter kicking in is aimed at those who want to listen above THX studio reference level or beyond 11.5 feet.

Kali's spec doesn't contain enough information to determine how they tested so I'd argue it's impossible to compare it to other tests like the one in this review. For an SPL spec to have meaning, it needs to specify spl/distance, the frequency range, the nature of the signal, and whether or not nearby boundaries are assumed. And in addition, it's helpful to have a distortion threshold attached to that as well.

I really doubt 1 Kali IN-8 can do 105dB @ 3.5m without compression or severe distortion based on these tests. Kali is almost certainly including half or quarter space boundary, and reinforcement from 2 speakers to do that, barely. But THX/Atmos specs expect each speaker to be capable of those levels.

All that said, a little compression at those levels is no big deal at this price point and size IMO. Because...


To play reference levels, your subwoofers need to be capable of 123dB at the listening position. So you're going to need at least 4 corner-placed 12-15" large ported subs to have any hope of this even in a moderately sized room. If you plan to use any headroom with EQ to smooth out room modes, then best look at 18"+ only. And then you need bass management...which is starting to cost quite a lot compared to Kali IN-8s.
 

More Dynamics Please

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@Sancus, I agree with all of your points. Trying to interpolate all the various specs and test results to date what I would expect in the real world is that the IN-8 v2 could play sustained 85 dB cleanly with minimal distortion and compression at ~3.5 meters and that there would be some distortion and compression in 105 dB peaks but less than other active monitors at this price point under the same conditions, i.e. a superior combination of maximum SPL and accuracy beyond near field.

It would be interesting if @Charles Sprinkle could find time to drop by and add some more technical information to this thread such as how Kali's 85/105 dB specs compare to how THX would measure the IN-8 v2 for reference level.
 

abdo123

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To play reference levels, your subwoofers need to be capable of 123dB at the listening position. So you're going to need at least 4 corner-placed 12-15" large ported subs to have any hope of this even in a moderately sized room. If you plan to use any headroom with EQ to smooth out room modes, then best look at 18"+ only. And then you need bass management...which is starting to cost quite a lot compared to Kali IN-8s.

It says 115 dB on THX website, it's not easy but not very hard to get 115 dB peaks on subwoofers. even the lowest tiered SVS ported subs (pro 1000) can do 115 dB at 1 meter anechoicly.

it's not as difficult as you make it to be.
 

Sancus

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It says 115 dB on THX website, it's not easy but not very hard to get 115 dB peaks on subwoofers. even the lowest tiered SVS ported subs (pro 1000) can do 115 dB at 1 meter anechoicly.

115dB is the maximum for the LFE channel by itself -- but you also need to be able to play all the bass content that could be in every other channel. And no, a PB1000 cannot do 115 dB @1m anechoic. First of all, people measure subs in half-space. Second of all, the PB-1000 Pro was measured at only about 110dB @ 20hz converted to 1M peak half-space.
 

abdo123

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115dB is the maximum for the LFE channel by itself -- but you also need to be able to play all the bass content that could be in every other channel.

there is sub-bass content in other channels :oops: ?

First of all, people measure subs in half-space.

thank you for sharing that, I didn't know.

Second of all, the PB-1000 Pro was measured at only about 110dB @ 20hz converted to 1M peak half-space.

and it gets to 116 @ 25 Hz, my point is that it's not SUPER DIFFICULT to get 115 dB peaks, we already get pretty close for 600$.
 

Sancus

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and it gets to 116 @ 25 Hz, my point is that it's not SUPER DIFFICULT to get 115 dB peaks, we already get pretty close for 600$.

I mean yes if you change the target and also assume very short distances then it all looks easier :p I was describing a true reference-level system, ie, one that could handle ANY content and ALWAYS consistently play without audible compression or distortion at minimum 4m. With an additional, reasonable amount of headroom to allow for EQ and varying room issues.

Doing that does reach absurd levels, agreed. That was my point -- targeting those levels in general is silly unless you have a pretty high budget and are very very serious about playing loud.

It also probably shouldn't be done at all, because old THX references aside, 85dB is NOT recommended by most modern standards outside of large commercial theatres. For typical domestic rooms Dolby suggests 78-82dBC(pg 15 Atmos Installation Guidelines). ATSC is similar.

At that point, the IN-8 should have no troubles.

there is sub-bass content in other channels :oops: ?

There can be yes, that's why you need bass management. Otherwise(for multi-channel content at least) you would not need a crossover at all and could just play the LFE with your subs alone.
 

More Dynamics Please

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Realistic or not for average home use, THX certified home audio products are rated at 85 dB SPL with 20 dB headroom (for 105 dB peaks) with four tiers listed for certified home speakers:

THX Certified Compact products for smaller sized rooms, up to 1,000 cubic feet in size, with an 8-foot viewing distance from the screen.

THX Certified Select products are for medium-sized rooms, up to 2,000 cubic feet in size, with a 10-12 foot viewing distance from the screen. Previously known as Select2

THX Certified Ultra products bring the cinematic experience to larger home theaters, 3,000 cubic feet in size, with a viewing distance of 12 feet or greater from the screen. Previously known as Ultra2

THX Certified Dominus products are for expansive home theater spaces, 6,500 cubic feet in size, with a 20 foot viewing distance from the screen.

https://www.thx.com/questions/what-is-the-reference-level/

https://www.thx.com/product/thx-certified-loudspeakers/
 

abdo123

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There can be yes, that's why you need bass management. Otherwise(for multi-channel content at least) you would not need a crossover at all and could just play the LFE with your subs alone.

I always assumed the AVR crossovers are for stereo content or mono content with no LFE.

I mean yes if you change the target and also assume very short distances then it all looks easier :p I was describing a true reference-level system, ie, one that could handle ANY content and ALWAYS consistently play without audible compression or distortion at minimum 4m. With an additional, reasonable amount of headroom to allow for EQ and varying room issues.

Doing that does reach absurd levels, agreed. That was my point -- targeting those levels in general is silly unless you have a pretty high budget and are very very serious about playing loud.

It also probably shouldn't be done at all, because old THX references aside, 85dB is NOT recommended by most modern standards outside of large commercial theatres. For typical domestic rooms Dolby suggests 78-82dBC(pg 15 Atmos Installation Guidelines). ATSC is similar.

At that point, the IN-8 should have no troubles.



There can be yes, that's why you need bass management. Otherwise(for multi-channel content at least) you would not need a crossover at all and could just play the LFE with your subs alone.

I mean with 4 of these subwoofers for 2200$ you would get ~12 dB of headroom (for 4 meter distance) and the frequency response error rate would probably be around +/- 5dB.

2200$ is pretty cheap considering that sublime 105 dB peaks (at 4 meters) would require some high end Revels or Perlisten speakers starting at 2500$ a pop (e.g. Revel F208). and you need one of those speakers for each channel. Probably Purifi Eigentakt bridged to drive each of them as well so ~3500$ to 4000$ per speaker minimum.

It's a little odd to argue about whether subwoofers are the limiting factor or not (they're really not) when you can stack multiple affordable ones and call it a day.
 

Sancus

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It's a little odd to argue about whether subwoofers are the limiting factor or not (they're really not) when you can stack multiple affordable ones and call it a day.

We'll just have to agree to disagree then, this is getting way too off-topic and I've already posted my numbers and stand by my statements as correct. Going back and forth doesn't accomplish anything.

On-topic, the IN-8 is IMO not quite an appropriate speaker for an 85dBC reference level system, but it doesn't need to be. It's very competitive compared to other actives at its price point for sure.
 

Streamc

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Can I listen music on it from 1.5 or 2 meters? I mean not in common terms like "you can listen even on a smartphone".
 
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