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Kali IN-5 Studio Monitor Review

q3cpma

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Finally saw it. Looks like we finally got a good and "cheap" monitor. H2 is a bit high, but who cares, H3 stays under 0.5% at 96 dB and under 0.2~0.3% after 500 Hz; not even changing with SPL! And as already said, the diffraction is moved in a much more benign area and with a lower level.
Will definitely recommend them for people who don't have enough money for Neumann/Genelec.

Again, thanks for the review, Erin.
 
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hardisj

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Again, thanks for the review, Erin

giphy.gif
 

aarons915

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Great review as always.

What killed this speaker for me was Erin saying it was only for desktop/nearfield use.

I wouldn't expect a speaker with a 5" woofer to really be suitable for farfield listening, if I'm honest.

I wouldn't agree with that, it really all depends on your listening distance and SPL levels, these have respectable distortion levels at 96 db @ 1 meter which is plenty loud for the vast majority of us and don't forget when you add in a sub you reduce the distortion in the bass even more.
 

daftcombo

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Very nice review, super complete.

Apart from the very high H2 around 140 Hz, it seems a nice pair of speakers.
 

stevenswall

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I wouldn't expect a speaker with a 5" woofer to really be suitable for farfield listening, if I'm honest.

Many people have soundbars that can't go as loud, and get along fine with them.

My living rooms are typicaly 1970's split level size, about 14*16 feet. With the IN-8 or IN-5 on one wall, and the couch on the other, they are still quite loud. They'll have issues in some movies, sure, but that's mostly because you have to turn them up a ton for dialogue and then when there's a battle scene in the Lord of the Rings they reach their limits... But I'm usually turning the speakers down at that point anyhow because the action is too loud.

Maybe I'm just a wimp though, because in a larger room with the couches about 12 feet away from the speakers, I think Adam T5 speakers go too loud. (Same thing: The people watching the movie turned it down when it started clipping, I'd turn it down too, even if it wasn't clipping, because it is too loud.)
 

dfuller

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Many people have soundbars that can't go as loud, and get along fine with them.

My living rooms are typicaly 1970's split level size, about 14*16 feet. With the IN-8 or IN-5 on one wall, and the couch on the other, they are still quite loud. They'll have issues in some movies, sure, but that's mostly because you have to turn them up a ton for dialogue and then when there's a battle scene in the Lord of the Rings they reach their limits... But I'm usually turning the speakers down at that point anyhow because the action is too loud.

Maybe I'm just a wimp though, because in a larger room with the couches about 12 feet away from the speakers, I think Adam T5 speakers go too loud. (Same thing: The people watching the movie turned it down when it started clipping, I'd turn it down too, even if it wasn't clipping, because it is too loud.)
I wouldn't agree with that, it really all depends on your listening distance and SPL levels, these have respectable distortion levels at 96 db @ 1 meter which is plenty loud for the vast majority of us and don't forget when you add in a sub you reduce the distortion in the bass even more.
I suppose I should clarify. Don't expect the impact of a larger bass driver from these at anything other than nearfield. They just don't displace as much air as a larger driver would. For their design purpose, they are excellent - but they have a pretty well defined design purpose and midfield or further is not it.
 

Maiky76

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Copied from my website so some of the formatting may not transfer very well. You're welcome to read the review there, in that case:
https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kali_in-5/



Kali Audio IN-5 3-Way Studio Monitor Review
  • Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021
DSC01227.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. Moreso, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler.

However, for those who want more - a detailed explanation of the objective performance, and my subjective evaluation (what I heard, what I liked, etc.) - please watch the below video where I go more in-depth.






Information and Photos

Note: Kali Audio loaned me this speaker to test. I was not paid for this review nor has Kali seen this review before publication.

The Kali IN-5 is powered 3-way Studio Monitor featuring a 4-inch coaxial midrange/tweeter and a 5-inch midwoofer. The below is from the manufacturer’s website:
The IN-Series monitors are unlike anything you’ve ever heard. The three-way design lets both the woofer and the tweeter do less work, resulting in better headroom and lower distortion across the frequency spectrum. At the same time, the coaxial architecture of the midrange and tweeter result in hyper-realistic imaging. This means that you’ll be able to hear subtle details in your mix with pinpoint precision. The design of the system comes together to allow the IN-Series monitors to act as acoustic point sources. They enjoy all the benefits of both traditional 3-way systems and traditional coaxial speakers, with none of the drawbacks traditionally associated with either. All of this make the IN-5 and IN-8 extremely accurate and easy to mix on. You’ll be able to work faster and with more confidence, and your mixes are going to translate to other systems with less work.​

MSRP for the single speaker is approximately $350 USD and $700 USD for a pair.

And here are some specs, again from the manufacturer’s website:
specs.png


DSC00617.JPG


With a coaxial (or concentric) drive unit such as the one used in this speaker, the tweeter should be terminated in a way that it meets the midrange cone very smoothly. The reason for this is because the midrange is the waveguide for the tweeter. Any discontinuity between the tweeter edge and the inner edge of the midrange creates diffraction. As you can see in the below photo, the voice coil (or so it appears) protrudes beyond the midrange cone and beyond the tweeter’s crossing point with the midrange center. I measured this to be about 1 mm. The audible detriment due to this is something I can’t speak on. I can just say it is not “ideal” to have such a discontinuity. It would take having the ideal profile/termination design measured and listening tests conducted. The distance from the center of the tweeter to this edge is about 20mm which puts the first reflection at around 8kHz, which also coincides with the on-axis response dip. This could be coincidence (no pun intended). I don’t want to harp on this too much but I do think this is worth noting.

DSC01235.JPG


The back features a bank of dip switches for boundary settings (discussed later) and basic level adjustments. There is a volume knob and (3) input options: XLR, TRS and RCA phono.
DSC01232.JPG


This is the inside of the speaker from the back. Note the port is a U-turn port and sits behind the midwoofer (left side). To the right is a plastic enclosure which houses the midrange. There is a copious amount of foam padding throughout the enclosure to dampen the enclosure and foam on the wires where they intersect to tame any noise from vibration against each other and the cabinet. The enclosure’s back is lined with thin damping material as well where the amplifier mounts.
DSC01211.JPG


The amplifier for those of you know who know more about this stuff than I do.
DSC01212.JPG







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:
DSC01008.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 freefield 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 this link.

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%20IN-5.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-5_Horizontal_Spectrogram_Full.png


Horizontal Contour Plot (normalized):
Kali%20IN-5%20Beamwidth_Horizontal.png


Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized):
Kali%20IN-5_Vertical_Spectrogram_Full.png


Vertical Contour Plot (normalized):
Kali%20IN-5%20Beamwidth_Vertical.png





Additional Measurements

On-Axis Response Linearity
Response linearity is -5.08/+3.64 dB (80Hz to 16kHz). This large deviation comes from the wide on-axis dip above ~7kHz and the steep rise in treble above 14kHz.
Kali%20IN-5%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-5_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.
Kali%20IN-5_360_Vertical_Polar.png



Harmonic Distortion
Harmonic Distortion at 86dB @ 1m:
Kali%20Audio%20IN-5%20--%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2886dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Harmonic Distortion at 96dB @ 1m:
Kali%20Audio%20IN-5%20--%20Harmonic%20Distortion%20%2896dB%20%40%201m%29.png


Near-Field Response
Nearfield response of individual drive units:
Nearfield%20%40%2015cm.png




Response Linearity (Compression and Enhancement)
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 referenced to 76dB at 1 meter.
Kali%20IN-5_Compression%20%28annotated%29.png


Based on my results above, it is obvious the output is limited (via internal DSP) somewhere above the 96dB @ 1m output level. Kali confirmed this measurement is accurate and a limiter is purposely used here to protect the speakers from being overdriven. I do find it interesting that the limiter does not restrict the 80Hz region as much as it does the other frequencies, though.


“Midrange as a waveguide” High Frequency Effect

In the photos section I mentioned the purpose of the midrange cone is to act as a waveguide for the tweeter. I performed a test in early 2013 with Kef’s Q100 Uni-Q drive unit to see just what kind of (objective) impact the position of the midrange has on the high frequency response. To test this back then I used a 9v battery and connected it to the terminals of the midrange to “fix” the position in and out. I then measured the response of the tweeter and compared the three positions (in/rest/out). I have recreated that test here, shown below. Using a 9v battery again, I connected the leads of the midrange cone (after disassembling the speaker). The cone’s movement was approximately ±1 mm. I have provided a gif below showing the movement range.

midrange-excursion.gif




As you can see in the below graphic, the position of the cone does influence the high frequency response. Depending on frequency, the effect is as much as 2dB.

Kali%20IN-5%20Midrange%20as%20a%20Waveguide%20Testing.png




Is this effect audible? Well, two things in my personal opinion:
  1. Cone travel speed back and forth is incredibly fast. Are you really going to hear this “distortion” when you’re talking about frequencies above 4kHz? For point of reference, that’s 0.25 milliseconds.
  2. You’d have to really be pushing the driver to get it to move this much. Using calipers, I measured the effective diameter of the midrange to be about 100 mm (3.93 inches) and the area taken up by the tweeter assembly to be around 40 mm (1.57 inches). Taking the area of the former and subtracting the area of the latter nets me an area of about 10.20 inches² which results in a diameter of 3.60 inches. Using this website, I calculate the dBSPL @ 1m of a 3.60 inch cone diameter at 280Hz to be 1mm. So, assuming all my math and logic is correct, you would have to be playing this speaker at 100dB @ 1m to move the midrange cone 1mm at 280Hz (the crossover point; my target here). From my compression testing, I already know the output is reduced somewhere in between 96dB and 102dB due to the built-in limiter. Odds are, then, the midrange is not even moving that much because the output level is limited.

Now, to be fair, this is purely a “fun”, “FYI” test and I cannot attest to the audibility of this “high frequency modulation” as it has been termed. However, from a scientific standpoint, I think it illustrates the purpose of the midrange in such a design.


Boundary Settings

These speakers come with a set of pre-configured boundary settings that can be enabled easily via the dip switches on the back. Below is a close shot of the dip switches.
DSC01213.JPG




The dip switch combinations displayed above are labeled and plotted in the graphic below.

Kali%20IN-5%20DSP%20Boundary%20Settings.png



In-Room Measurements from the Listening Position

Below is the actual measured in-room response (with no DSP correction). This is a spatial average taken over approximately 1 cubic foot. The speakers were placed approximately 1.2m from the front wall (not the cabinets; but the actual wall). The listening position was primarily at 1.5m but for this test I measured the response at two different distances from the speakers.

Black = Predicted In-Room Response from SPIN data
Blue = Actual In-Room Measured Response from Main Listening Position at 1.5 meters
Red = Actual In-Room Measured Response from Main Listening Position at 3.5 meters

PIR%20vs%20MIR.png




While the prediction in this test is close to the actual measured response, the prediction does not do as good a job matching in-room measured response’s high frequency trend above 10kHz when in the nearfield. You can see in the above graphic that sitting closer to the speaker yields a higher level response in the high frequency region (blue, 1.5 meters) and when backing away (red, 3.5 meters) the HF response comes down a bit. This is expected because as you sit closer to the speaker there is less room effect and you are primarily matching the on-axis or listening window response curves more than the predicted far-field response.



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. 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.
  • If you are looking for speakers for home theater or high-volume listening in a farfield situation like a living room or media room, these speakers are not recommended. These are designed for nearfield listening; the manual states the recommended listening range at 1 to 2 meters and most engineers mix in the 80-85dB range. As you can see in my frequency response linearity testing, the output is limited (via internal DSP) somewhere above the 96dB @ 1m output level. This is purposely designed to protect the speakers from being overdriven and thanks to this, they are indeed best served at moderate volumes and/or nearfield listening.
  • Generally speaking, most coaxial designs tend to fare better when angled slightly off-axis. A 10° toe-in or toe-out yields good results. In this case, however, the best listening axis appears to be directly on-axis, at 0° horizontal and vertical.
  • 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.
  • The on-axis linearity is ±1.5dB above 50Hz but once you enter the 7kHz region, things take a turn. The high-frequency droop above 7kHz is bothersome to see in the data, though, it wasn’t as problematic as I might have otherwise expected. The 6-8kHz region is responsible for sibilance and most people tend to cry foul when a speaker is sibilant. The IN-5 is not that. However, there was a feeling of spaciousness that was taken out of some tracks I listened to that I believe are due to this HF dip.
  • The bass of these speakers is downright flabbergasting. They don’t plumb the depths of 20Hz; you’ll still need a subwoofer for that. But they have absolutely no problem providing plenty of impact from a 50Hz kickdrum fundamental because the roll off doesn’t start until below this point. Aside from the sheer punch these possess is the detail. In The Police’s Wrapped Around Your Finger the bass line has vibrato. I mean, yea, a string is supposed to vibrate. But with these speakers, in the nearfield, you can almost see the waveform of the bass as it generates the tone. It’s like being in The Matrix. In fact, the bass of these speakers was my favorite thing. And there’s a lot to like about the IN-5.
  • In Norah Jones’ Tell Yer Mama, the left singer was very distinct; moreso than in most other speakers I have auditioned.
  • In Dire Straits’ Money For Nothin the opening guitar is panned around the stage and mixed out of phase, to the left of the soundstage. The IN-5s did a great job of providing a very distinct location of this out-of-phase effect while also providing clear separation between the same guitar that is located more closely to the center.
  • The soundstage of these speakers is awesome. Very deep when the recording calls for it. I felt the same way about the Kef R3 I reviewed. And, sure, I know some will say this is “expectation bias” but if you’ve met me you know that I forget things pretty quickly so you’ll believe me when I say it wasn’t until I was a few tracks in where I remembered testing the Kef R3 and noting the same thing about the soundstage depth. The Kef R3 and the Kali IN-5 are both coaxial (concentric in the case of Kef).
  • Soundstage width was outside the speakers but not immensely so. Listening to speakers in the nearfield, I have found, tends to have that effect because you no longer get the benefit of sidewall bounce (unless you are listening in a smaller room).
  • 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.
  • Hiss: When sitting in the nearfield, approximately 1 meter away, I didn’t experience any issues with noise floor in my living room. When I put my ear next to the speakers, I notice the noise floor. But, in my opinion, this is a non-issue.
  • Heat. I recently tested the Focal Twin6 Be and noticed that if the speaker was left on for a while - maybe an hour or so - the amplifier would get quite hot. Not scalding. But definitely warm to the touch. Leaving the IN-5 speakers on for hours at a time resulted in no heat at the amp. Not sure how important this is to you but I thought I’d mention it.
As stated in the Foreword, this written review is purposely a cliff’s notes version. For more details about the performance (objectively and subjectively) please watch the YouTube video.



Support / Contribute

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https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/contribute/


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Hi,

Here is my take on the EQ.

The raw data with corrected ER and PIR:

Score no EQ: 5.25
With Sub: 7.20

Spinorama with no EQ:
  • Flat within the important range (essentially LW within +/-1dB from 50Hz to 10000Hz!)
  • Port not perfect but in check
  • Good directivity
  • Critical to understand the limits of the design to get the most from it
  • Anechoic EQ is probably not necessary, I've still designed some but "Perfect is the enemy of good" might apply here.
  • If all the speakers in this price range measured this well we would be in a much better audio world.
  • Excellent engineering IMO, difficult to fault.
Kali IN-5 LW No EQ Spinorama.png

Kali IN-5 No EQ.png

Directivity:

Better than usual vertical directivity (coaxial)
A bit of toe-in (10deg?) may help with fine tuning.
Kali IN-5 2D surface Directivity Contour Only Data.png

Kali IN-5 LW better data.png

EQ design
Off course LF EQing will be needed to deal with the room but anechoic EQ is probably not necessary, I've still designed some but again "Perfect is the enemy of good" might apply here. Plus manufacturing tolerances may be in the same ball park so beware...

I have generated two EQs. The APO config files are attached.
  • The first one, labelled, LW is targeted at making the LW flat
  • The second, labelled Score, starts with the first one and adds the score as an optimization variable.
  • The EQs are designed in the context of regular stereo use i.e. domestic environment (further listening location), no warranty is provided for a near field use in a studio environment although the LW might be better suited for this purpose.
  • The small improvements through extensive EQ are the testimony of the Designer skills.
  • There is quite a boost at HF so be careful with preamp gain setting to avoid damaging your speaker. You are warned.

Score EQ LW: 5.9
with sub: 7.9

Score EQ Score: 6.0
with sub: 8.0

Code:
Kali IN-5 APO EQ LW 96000Hz
May172021-112330

Preamp: -4.1 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 480 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 3.45
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1051 Hz Gain 1.32 dB Q 5.83
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1354 Hz Gain -1.08 dB Q 2.03
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1931 Hz Gain -1.02 dB Q 6.1
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2467 Hz Gain 1.33 dB Q 5.35
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3915 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 4.41
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 12781 Hz Gain 5.18 dB Q 3.85
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 17180 Hz Gain -5 dB Q 2.74

Kali IN-5 APO EQ Score 96000Hz
May172021-112052

Preamp: -4.3 dB

Filter 1: ON HPQ Fc 45.1 Hz Gain 0 dB Q 0.97
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 107 Hz Gain -1.69 dB Q 2.43
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 228.5 Hz Gain 0.9 dB Q 4.18
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 481 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 3.11
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1053 Hz Gain 1.29 dB Q 6.14
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 1367 Hz Gain -1.2 dB Q 2.02
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 1920 Hz Gain -1.13 dB Q 6.1
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 2426 Hz Gain 1.09 dB Q 5.16
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 4097 Hz Gain -1.32 dB Q 3.41
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 12935 Hz Gain 6 dB Q 4.46
Filter 11: ON PK Fc 17451 Hz Gain -4.68 dB Q 1.86

Kali IN-5 LW EQ Design.png


Spinorama EQ LW
Kali IN-5 LW LW EQ Spinorama.png


Spinorama EQ Score
Kali IN-5 LW Score EQ Spinorama.png


Zoom PIR-LW-ON
Kali IN-5 Zoom.png


Regression - Tonal (zoomed)
Kali IN-5 Regression Zoomed.png


Radar no EQ vs EQ score
Marginal improvements
Kali IN-5 Radar.png


The rest of the plots is attached.
 

Attachments

  • Kali IN-5 APO EQ LW 96000Hz.txt
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  • Kali IN-5 APO EQ Score 96000Hz.txt
    583 bytes · Views: 22
  • Kali IN-5 Vertical 3D Directivity data.png
    Kali IN-5 Vertical 3D Directivity data.png
    584.5 KB · Views: 24
  • Kali IN-5 Horizontal 3D Directivity data.png
    Kali IN-5 Horizontal 3D Directivity data.png
    583.2 KB · Views: 18
  • Kali IN-5 Raw Directivity data.png
    Kali IN-5 Raw Directivity data.png
    732.9 KB · Views: 19
  • Kali IN-5 Normalized Directivity data.png
    Kali IN-5 Normalized Directivity data.png
    459.1 KB · Views: 17
  • Kali IN-5 Reflexion data.png
    Kali IN-5 Reflexion data.png
    241.1 KB · Views: 16
  • Kali IN-5 LW data.png
    Kali IN-5 LW data.png
    249.8 KB · Views: 21
  • Kali IN-5 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    Kali IN-5 2D surface Directivity Contour Data.png
    249 KB · Views: 20
  • Kali IN-5 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    Kali IN-5 3D surface Vertical Directivity Data.png
    439.8 KB · Views: 21
  • Kali IN-5 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    Kali IN-5 3D surface Horizontal Directivity Data.png
    433.1 KB · Views: 17
Last edited:

jangpol

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Got a pair of IN-5 for a couple of weeks now. Very good indeed.
Though their volume is more than enough for me, got enough room, I think the power ratings given by the manufacturer are off.
So, curve is linearized and all corrections are done in digital domain - there's an STM32/ARM Cortex M-3 chip for that fed by PCM1863 ADC. Power supply stage has +- 19V rails for 2xTAS5805M PWM class D stereo amp chips with digital input - one in bridge for powering the woofer and the other driving MF and HF drivers. That chip can deliver ~20W-something per channel and ~40W-something in mono with this supply voltage, so that tri-amp scheme can continuously deliver about ~90-95W, not 160W that is in manufacturer specs.
 

Charles Sprinkle

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Got a pair of IN-5 for a couple of weeks now. Very good indeed.
Though their volume is more than enough for me, got enough room, I think the power ratings given by the manufacturer are off.
So, curve is linearized and all corrections are done in digital domain - there's an STM32/ARM Cortex M-3 chip for that fed by PCM1863 ADC. Power supply stage has +- 19V rails for 2xTAS5805M PWM class D stereo amp chips with digital input - one in bridge for powering the woofer and the other driving MF and HF drivers. That chip can deliver ~20W-something per channel and ~40W-something in mono with this supply voltage, so that tri-amp scheme can continuously deliver about ~90-95W, not 160W that is in manufacturer specs.

A few minor corrections... The power supply is single sided. Amplifier output voltage is 15.6VRMS for all channels. HF and MF (BTL configuration; 5A peak current capability) are 6 Ohm. LF (PBTL configuration; 10A peak current capability) has a 3 ohm minimum impedance. So this is where the power specifications come from.

That having been said, if you play a pure sine wave at exactly the frequency of the minimum impedance for an extended period of time, you should expect that the amplifier will thermally protect itself from this abuse. Music has a crest factor of between 12dB and 15dB or even more. Even when pushed all the way into limit, the amplifier is going to see more than 9dB of crest factor with music or other actual program material. Even with only 6dBCF, the amplifier would be within thermal power specs given by the amplifier manufacturer. (And this at minimum impedance.)

So which way is the right way to measure power? I have something to say about that. The traditional way of rating "power" as V^2/R with sine waves is in my opinion complete nonsense. Power amplifiers don't amplify power. They amplify voltage. People don't hear watts. They hear SPL. We provide output "power" ratings as a reference, and yes, they are honestly measured and specified as described above. But I hope we all understand that actual power produced into a reactive load with complex impedance using real music or program material is going to be substantially less than headline "power" ratings.
 

jangpol

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So which way is the right way to measure power? I have something to say about that. The traditional way of rating "power" as V^2/R with sine waves is in my opinion complete nonsense. Power amplifiers don't amplify power. They amplify voltage. People don't hear watts. They hear SPL. We provide output "power" ratings as a reference, and yes, they are honestly measured and specified as described above. But I hope we all understand that actual power produced into a reactive load with complex impedance using real music or program material is going to be substantially less than headline "power" ratings.
Thanks for corrections! I just looked at the PCB without measuring with power on and properly checking the drivers. Anyway, at 1 meter range In-5 can provide my ears with more than enough SPL. And I was impressed by the amount of bass a 12 cm woofer can reproduce.
Indeed, just specifying the raw power rating is somewhat lacking. It's just a habit - if you need to check the amp, you connect it to a simple dummy load (a bunch of 4, 6, 8 Ohm high power resistors), feed a sine to it, rotate the knob till you see it clips on the scope, check the voltage - and voila, you got your power rating.
Is there a proper metric that would characterise the power potential of the whole system taking into consideration the reactive nature of load, intended usage for music and program material, modern PWM chips and multi-amping, efficiency and directivity of driver units and etc?
 
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Charles Sprinkle

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Thanks for corrections! I just looked at the PCB without measuring with power on and properly checking the drivers. Anyway, at 1 meter range In-5 can provide my ears with more than enough SPL. And I was impressed by the amount of bass a 12 cm woofer can reproduce.
Indeed, just specifying the raw power rating is somewhat lacking. It's just a habit - if you need to check the amp, you connect it to a simple dummy load (a bunch of 4, 6, 8 Ohm high power resistors), feed a sine to it, rotate the knob till you see it clips on the scope, check the voltage - and voila, you got your power rating.
Is there a proper metric that would characterise the power potential of the whole system taking into consideration the reactive nature of load, intended usage for music and program material, modern PWM chips and multi-amping, efficiency and directivity of driver units and etc?

I would advocate that powered loudspeakers be rated for peak SPL at 1m in 4Pi space. This is the most relevant metric to a user because it can be directly converted to continuous SPL at any point with a defined amount of headroom. Amplifier power specifications aren't of any direct relevance to end users.

With regards to how we size the amplifier for system design, the requirements are primarily based on transducer peak voltage and current requirements. Thermal dissipation of the output devices is verified with predictive analysis to ensure reliability, but in general, this is not the limiting factor given the crest factor of program material.

If you want a full deep dive into amplifier power requirements, you can determine the electrical analogous circuit of a transducer in the system and put a virtual signal into it using LTSPICE or other sim program. From there you can directly predict current as a function of time and calculate instantaneous and average power. This, in addition to the system model will provide voltage, current, and thermal requirements of the system with the program material used in the sim.

Now if I was selecting an amplifier to power a passive loudspeaker, here's how I would do it. I would test the loudspeaker to see at what voltage it reached 10% THD. I would select an amplifier to provide this much voltage by reverse calculation of "power" specification, and verify that the amplifier could provide the peak current requirements. For peak current capabilities of an amplifier (when not directly specified), reverse calculate the RMS voltage with the lowest rated impedance, then multiply that number by 1.4 to get peak voltage. Peak voltage across the lowest rated impedance yields peak current capability. Of course there are other factors to consider when selecting an amplifier, but this will ensure that the amplifier doesn't clip or shut down before full output is achieved.
 

jangpol

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I would advocate that powered loudspeakers be rated for peak SPL at 1m in 4Pi space.
Well, it would be nice to have something like this as an industry standard. Unfortunately, as of now some monitor makers don't even bother giving a proper amount of information about their products.
By the way, should phase response be part of the whole equation? Do you optimize group delay and "linearize" drivers' phases having enough DSP power and tri-amping? Did someone measure In-5/8s phase response curves?
 

Charles Sprinkle

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Well, it would be nice to have something like this as an industry standard. Unfortunately, as of now some monitor makers don't even bother giving a proper amount of information about their products.
By the way, should phase response be part of the whole equation? Do you optimize group delay and "linearize" drivers' phases having enough DSP power and tri-amping? Did someone measure In-5/8s phase response curves?
Phase linearization requires an acausal FIR filter which adds latency to the signal path. This may be acceptable for playback of program material, but could be jarring while working with live recording. In practice, this would limit us to 512 taps (at 48kHz) before latency became a problem. That would limit our ability to fully linearize phase. On current products, all of our DSP is minimum phase.
I should mention that I'm talking about system phase linearization through crossovers. If we're talking about phase linearization of transducers, then I would point out that assuming minimum phase behavior, correcting the amplitude response also flattens the phase response.
With regards to phase coherence in multi-channel audio, we recommend that the same loudspeaker be used for L, C, & R channels.
 
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daftcombo

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@hardisj : Erin, is it normal that I can't see the graphs in your recent reviews?

1625488538285.png
 

sweetchaos

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Wonder if they'll ever update the internals of the lp6 to have lower noise of the in5 and in8 v2
 

Bruce Morgen

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Wonder if they'll ever update the internals of the lp6 to have lower noise of the in5 and in8 v2

Something Kali's marketing guy mentioned in an interview seemed to imply that there would 2nd Wave Lone Pine models at some future date -- which makes sense, being as the better silicon that lowered the noise is now available and any transducer changes probably wouldn't amount to a total redesign.
 

Bruce Morgen

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Something Kali's marketing guy mentioned in an interview seemed to imply that there would 2nd Wave Lone Pine models at some future date -- which makes sense, being as the better silicon that lowered the noise is now available and any transducer changes probably wouldn't amount to a total redesign.

The latest from Lev at Kali Audio suggested I check back around the end of October for a firm release date of the "2nd Wave" LP-6 and LP-8 as well as a smaller, less expensive Kali subwoofer that's also in the works there. He mentioned that chip availability in the quantities necessary to begin manufacturing might be a factor in when these new products actually become available.
 
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