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Kanto YU6 Measurements (Powered Monitor)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Kanto YU6 powered speaker. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US $499 on Amazon including Prime shipping.

The YU6 comes in different finishes, all of which look pretty attractive. The sample I have is black:

Kanto YU6 Review Powered Speaker Monitor.jpg


As you see, you have a front volume control which is great for a desktop monitor. A remote control is also provided which is even more convenient to use as it also lets you select many other options including different inputs:

Kanto YU6 Review back panel Powered Speaker Monitor.jpg


I don't think I had seen a powered monitor with phono input before! Very nicely done as far as inputs and feature set.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of roughly 1%.

Reference axis for measurements was the center of the tweeter. Grill was not used in either measurements or listening tests.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Kanto YU6 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Kanto YU6 Measurements Frequency Response Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Response above 1 kHz is pretty good. Below that we have a peak that is most likely a resonance and a wide dip. Looking at the near-field measurements of the drivers we instantly see the reason for that peak:

Kanto YU6 Measurements Driver Frequency Response Powered Speaker Monitor.png


We see the same indications in the CSD/waterfall display:

Kanto YU6 Measurements CSD Waterfall Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Due to decent directivity off-axis response looks similar to on axis:

Kanto YU6 Measurements Early Window Frequency Response Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Combined, we can predict the far-field response of the speaker in a room:

Kanto YU6 Measurements Predicted In-room Frequency Response Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Same story as the on-axis response.

Horizontal beam width is decent but narrows at higher frequencies so you would want to point the speaker at your ear:

Kanto YU6 Measurements Horizontal Beam width Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Or not if the highs bother you too much.

Same measurement in contour style shows decent results:

Kanto YU6 Measurements Horizontal Directivity Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Vertically story is typical of 2-way speakers. Stay close to the tweeter axis (tilt the speaker up if you have to):

Kanto YU6 Measurements Vertical Directivity Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Distortion story is very good at 86 dBSPL and even at 96 if you ignore the very low frequencies:

Kanto YU6 Measurements THD Distortion Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Kanto YU6 Measurements Distortion Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Kanto YU6 Listening Tests
First impression was reasonable with the highs stand out a bit. So I brought out the EQ and went after both the resonance and bass dip:

Kanto YU6 Equalization Parametric EQ Powered Speaker Monitor.png


Compensating for low frequency shortfalls with EQ based on anechoic measurements is tricky as the room interferes. Here, the deficiency was enough that I managed to make some correction but any more adherence to the measurements didn't translate as well across different types of music. So at the end, I stayed with the above simple one filter. Once there, music was more balanced and bass that now could be heard properly.

I was extremely impressed with the dynamic ability of this speaker. You could crank it up with seemingly no limit! Vast majority of powered speakers are underamplified. Not the YU6. I could detect no limiting kicking and the sound would get as loud as I possibly wanted it in near-field listening. There was plenty of bass to boot. I have learned to detest amplifier limit in powered speakers more than frequency response errors. I can fix the response with EQ. I can't do anything about the amplifier running out of the juice and creating all kinds of noises.

Conclusions
The YU6 has two simple issues that are easily fixed using EQ. Once there, you have a powerful little speaker that plays well with incredible functionality. On the latter front, it goes way past what professional monitors provide with such niceties as remote control.

I am going to recommend the Kanto YU6.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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GimeDsp

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Thanks Amir, glad to see the EQ makes a decent difference. There is a lot of good stuff that lives in the 100-1000 range and vocals, guitars, and other things just won't sound right if that area isn't dialed in.

Winter's coming and these will be great in the garage.
 

GWolfman

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Is there a sub out for each channel? I've read that simple summing is not the correct way to do a sub out...
 

Victoria

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Even a sub out and phono are aboard.

Damn, the one thing that has always bugged me about my Yamaha NX-N500 is the absence of a subwoofer output. These speakers do lack a USB DAC input however (which the Yamaha has) but they do have a higher end model -- the Kanto TUK -- which has both a USB DAC input and a subwoofer output as well. The TUK's are beginning to look awfully tempting as a replacement to my ageing NX-N500's:


I do like a minimalist desk so I typically prioritize active speakers with built-in DAC's which allow me to connect the speakers directly to my PC which greatly reduces clutter. Does anyone here have any experience with the Kanto TUK?

It would be hilariously awesome to have these hooked up to an SVS 3000 Micro Subwoofer or something.
 

MZKM

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This has been one of my go-to recommendations for years for a living room powered speaker. $400-$500 that has optical, Bluetooth, remote control, sub out, tone controls, etc. The remote control is very important for a living room as many modern televisions no longer have analog out and the optical output from a television means the tv volume is fixed.
I own the smaller YU5, and even that little thing I am impressed by how loud it gets.

Here’s the remote BTW to show the functionality:
1217kanto.rem.jpg
 

maty

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1M ON AXIS TUBE TRAPS.jpg
kanto yu6 close.jpg
 

holbob

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Definitely one of the more interesting reviews for the most low cost alternative. Just add a pi with a hat.
 

Matias

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@amirm Does it hiss? If I may suggest this should be part of standard active monitor testing procedure as it can be a deal breaker for many customers.
 
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hmt

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*sigh* they should abandon the ported design in such small speakers.
 

Matias

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*sigh* they should abandon the ported design in such small speakers.
This would sacrifice bass extension, so I think it was weighted pros and cons.
 
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MZKM

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@amirm Does it hiss? If I may suggest this should be part of standard active monitor testing procedure as it can be a deal breaker for many customers.
I own the YU5, for a desktop application, I can hear it hiss a decent amount (not super faint but not immediately obvious).
I recommend the YU6 for living room applications, where it wouldn’t be an issue.
 

GimeDsp

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It would be very interesting know why Kanto's end up with a minor lower bass boost and slouch from 100-1000hz, or so.
Here is the measurement of the YU with the much smaller woofer
Kanto YU frequency response measurements powered PC speaker.png


Seems like with a little work tracking down the resonances and fixing the missing energy around 100-100hz the Kanto yu6 would be much better.
However it is also possible the lacking response is intentional and that if they spent the money to fix the resonances they will price them out of their sweet spot to sell enough.

I wish the company would send Amir a Tuk but from what I have seen they have a tweeter boost/shelf like or bigger than the Adam t5v.

I for one would pay more money for a speaker without these issues. Looking at the other powered speaker under $1000 it seemed they all had issues. Especially if you want a silk dome tweeter and not metal/amt.
 

GimeDsp

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@amirm Does it hiss? If I may suggest this should be part of standard active monitor testing procedure as it can be a deal breaker for many customers.
When using it with built in toslink I heard no hiss at all.
I'll test for hiss with all input's when it gets back.

I had to send back a pair of swan 200mkii because they hissed like angry snakes.
 

respice finem

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Hiss audibility will depend on how quiet the listening environment's background is. City traffic will create constant background noise, as will PC fans.
 
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