Ask Neal at Neal@soundsciencecat.com. I know he just picked up a pair this week and he says they are the most incredible speakers he's ever heard. I've heard they blow away Sound Labs at a fraction of the price. I heard them at RMAF 2009 and I was floored.
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Hi I have the King Sound, model King and they aretruly one of the best sounding electrostatic speakers I have heard and they are in a class with few others regardless of the type of Transducers used.
The have a natural tonal balance that I have seldom heard. In my listening room they offer wall to wall imaging with the inside edges of the panels about 6 feet apart and the sound stage has great depth as well. The Bass is both tight and deep, you would never guess you were listening to panels when you play music with deep bass. "These speakers clearly out perform their $8500 by a factor of 2,3 or 4.
Feel free to email if you have questions as I don't spend a lot of time checking out the forums here on Agon. email@example.com
Grannyring- I went over to Neal's (poster above)today and listened to the Kings at length today. All I can say is they are amazing. I used to own Aerial 20t's (among others) which were $28k new. Since they left I've never heard resolution like that in a speaker. The Kings have it all, but with more depth and texture, and a bigger fuller overall sound. It's not hyper detail, it's just everything perfectly natural and real. Completely tonally balanced. And a full orchestra? I got goose bumps. It's like you can reach out and touch the instruments.
The King has a built-in protection circuitry so that it will automatically cut output significantly if it's run too hard. Nice; you won't blow out a speaker. Mine have done that occasionally. However, you can run them moderately loud. I can run them about 88-90dB as measured from about 12 feet from the speakers, my listening position, without stress.
The bass is gratifying, extraordinary for a full range panel speaker. Driver coherence, texture of instruments and voices and tonality are all first class.
When set up well they are quite the experience! Many speakers are impressive, but not all that involving. The King is highly involving, as well as impressive. I don't care to reveal it publicly yet but I have running now an "alternative" rig which makes the King sound scintillating! It's an odd pairing but the results are astounding. I had two audiophile friends over this past weekend and they were as amazed as I have been.
Your room looks like it would be pretty well suited for the King, but check your amps to make sure they can handle low impedance, about 2 Ohms.
Grannyring, I should admit bias since I am a Sound Lab dealer, but given your room and associated equipment you might try to audition both. When considering such a product an audition is the only sensible way to decide. If cost is the primary concern the KS is less, but it is in your best interest to thoroughly investigate their representation and support in the US.
Is King Sound poor at customer service? Any reason to think so? I see lots of Soundlab speakers back and forth to the builder? Seems to be a lot of post purchase work being done on Soundlab's and that concerns me greatly.
I want to buy a speaker that will run for 10 years or longer without needing a new panel etc.....
I have heard Sound Labs on many occasions and am quite impressed with their sound. In addition, at CES this year I heard the King Sound Prince II speakers running with VAC gear. Overall very good sound for the money. I cannot comment on support or other issues from either company as I have no direct experience. However Bill, I will mention this. Since you are someone who appreciates great sound like that provided by your TRL amps, a similar sleeper in the electrostatic world are the Music Reference electrostatic speakers. I have been to Roger Modjeski's home on two occasions to listen to these and consider them in the same league as the Sound Labs. Few know this but Roger learned from one of the very best, Harold Beveridge, when it comes to electrostatic speaker design.
Grannyring-on the soundlabs have you considered a older pair of m1,m2 or m3's that can be upgraded saving you $$$ or are you looking for the newer panel style;if that is the case maybe give Duke a call at Audiokinesis or Brian from Essentialaudio they might be able work a deal for you,they are great guys as well.
Bill, it would be best to talk to Roger. Douglas Schroeder emailed me offline and I filled him in, and I will respond to you here as well, but my one concern is what Roger may have done to the speakers since I heard them. The cost has gone up significantly.
I listened to them twice. Imaging was very good, even sitting off center. Roger was using an RM-200, pot in the box, and a Sony CD player in his system. Zip cord for speaker cables, his own ICs, and RCA to XLR adapters on the amps. The sound stage was big, music very life like, vocals exceptional, bass a bit weak, but very acceptable. Second time around the bass issue was corrected and the speakers sounded very much like the Sound Labs I have heard. At this session Kavi Alexander of Water Lily Acoustics was also present and as a Beveridge owner himself was very impressed.
The foot print of these speakers was extremely small and would be easy to place. Roger was using what appeared to be an external bass amp, but I believe he was working on integrating the amp into the speaker base. Not sure how this ended design wise.
Clio09, you may have been listening to the King II, which uses an outboard power supply. To my knowledge there is no separate bass amp; all the drivers are powered together.
The King II is at $10,500, which is not out of line with the original King and VAC power supplies at a total of $9,800.
They are quite different, with the King II having the same driver technology as the Prince II. It seems the integration of the King II's amp into the base of the speaker is not finalized yet.
Ha, should have revisited the posts. Jumping between too many conversations. I forgot that there was more than one Roger involved here in the situation. :) I thought that the setup mentioned was a bit too spartan for Roger Du Naier and the King, but in the past he has minimized demo setups somewhat.
The VAC/Kingsound/Cardas room at Axpona seems to have been one of the most well received. The King was in use, not the King II which was seen at CES. Use of a fine cable such as Cardas and the VAC Royal power supply would elevate the sound dramatically over past shows. People were finally beginning to hear what I have been hearing. However, if the speaker was not bi-wired and being used in a hotel room there still would be a very significant gap between what was heard and the speaker's full potential. The demo seems to have been more suited to the speaker's capabilities, and not surprisingly people noticed.
I am the King Dealer for the Rocky Mountain States, the pair at CES 2010 was the Prince II not the King II.
The King and Prince II sound great, a truly holistic sound and image that is equaled by few if any other speakers.
The King and Prince II are pure Electrostatic panels not hybrids. Plus they are true line sources which works much better for imagine than trying to make them point sources as the Quads do.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the King line or want to visit Denver for a Listen.
Neal Van Berg
720 308 4000
Being more technically correct, a working model of the King II was shown at CES; It is in development. The pic of the King II is in my Dagogo.com show report.
The original King is an extremely strong performer imo due to it being both ESL and line source. The bass performance is very commendable but improves nicely with the VAC power supply.
Well I listened to these speakers at a fellow Agon members home and was very impressed. They are very special speakers and easily the best speaker I have heard to date.
For a modest cost of $8500 they are a true find. Great bass, fast and powerful bass, deep bass and well - great bass.
World class stage size, imaging, transparancy, stage depth and involving live sound. They sound like music and instruments - not a stereo!
Yes they play as loud as you can take if you want that! They can rock or sound so beautiful on voice and instrument.
I had a great time listening to them.
Interesting viewing the above thoughts on this speaker. I had a pair in my living room for about six months. While the treble was sublime the bass didn't sound right to me. I also found some issues around engineering integrity and mechanical reliability which the manufacturer promises to get right with the King II. I've penned my observations on this speaker here
Greetings Readers of this thread, I am the King Dealer for Colorado and those mostly uninhabited parts of the US like Wyoming, New Mexico and the Dakotas. The Review by Mr. Ede (kiwi) is really interesting. No one can argue at least not successfully about another persons experiences.
Any talented knowledgeable reviewer knows with certainty that bass response is room dependent and while Dipoles are are far less room dependent than other designs they are still room dependent and placement in the room critically affects frequencies that add and cancel. There is lots of material about this on the web for any that care to learn more.
I can say that in the 3 Rooms at CES in which I heard the speakers, My listening room and my customer's room who is auditioning the Kings now, Bass response is delightful. Both my listening room which has 23 foot ceilings and my customers room which has more normal height ceilings open into the rest of the first floor and in my house second floor as well. We have no complaints about the bass response and we find the Kings frequency response to be very smooth and natural in our rooms. Regardless the speakers paint an extraordinary picture of scale and detail. Plus the image is very stable as you move your head around or move around the room but most importantly these speakers sound like real music being played by real musicians which is not the case for most speakers.
Performance Devices is the importer and in their 18 months of importing the King line they have only had one customer with a problem. They are replacing the damaged speaker for this customer. Performance Devices keeps a stock of tweeter and bass panels for warranty replacements.
I want to assure any potential owners that it is your Dealer and Performance Devices that will determine your level of satisfaction with the Kings in terms of customer care.
I know that Roger at Performance Devices and myself are dedicated to delighting customers.
It may be that in middle earth there are things that go on that won't happen here.
Kiwi's comments are welcome here and I am wanting to hear all experiences with this speaker. I can't tell Kiwi his experience is not accurate or "right". That is his experience.
I can say mine was different. They did sound very good and that was a plan fact for me and all in the room. It seems Kiwi's set of speakers had damage issues and I think that had great impact on the review.
Forums are about sharing experiences and i don't mind that others findings differ from my own and editorial improvement is equally welcome thanks Shakeydeal. Grannyring, I should clarify that the speakers i received were brand new and without visible defect at time of delivery. Six months later and after lots of moving around the room to find best positioning for bass and other considerations the lose screws were noticed and re-tightened. The 'mishandling' referenced by the manufacturer took place on the return shipment back to Hong Kong.
By way of last comment on the topic let me say that Kings Audio has put a lot of effort into R&D to improve the electrical and mechanical design of its ESL products. Kings more recent efforts like the Prince II (which is presently with me) is far superior in its mechanical design. With the King II the manufacturer claims that it has improved the reliability issues of its earlier design. My thoughts on King Audios more recent efforts will hopefully be completed soon.
I would like to hear from the manufacturer or importer of this line on these quality issues Kiwi brings up. I know they sound wonderful as I have heard them first hand. What I don't know is this;
-What is this King II - Does it exsist and is it a "fixed" version of the regular King?
- Does the regular King I have quality issues today or not? Kiwi suggests the King is still a work in process and much learning is talking place. He is more or less saying the King I is not a fully completed trouble free product, but rather a means to one - King II.
We need to hear from the company if the King I is ready for discontinuation due to quality issues and latest learnings or if it is a viable purchase today as is.
The King is a mature product; I do not know of any major revisions to it since I first saw it at RMAF 2008.
The King II is an actual speaker, an extension of the King concept, not a slight variation. It has never been presented to me as a fix, but as a further development of the technology. (The King does not have a sound which needs fixing, in my experience it is standard-setting for full range ESLs of that size/price, especially in the bass) It has the similar panel technology to the Prince II, and at the time of the show had an outboard power supply. The goal is that by Fall the power supply will be worked into the base of the speaker like the King. The King II also has an an optional/alternative traditional wooden latticework frame and wooden feet. I do not believe the King II is available yet.
I can see where if the speakers were moved about regularly a few bolts may loosen a bit. If I move the speakers I exert a lot of energy; I grasp them on their side trim and physically manhandle them, lifting them like a fork lift and walk with them erect until I place them down. Imagine holding a 100 pound weight out in front of you nearly at arm's length and walking twenty feet with it! It's tougher, but puts zero stress on the panel. I do not walk the speakers at all to move them. I can see how things might loosen if they were walked to and fro several times as it might place an ever so slight torque on the metal frame. This is just conjecture.
I wonder if the high humidity of Singapore contributed to Kiwi's troubles sonically with the King. My understanding is that ESLs have a tough time in high humidity environments. It is conceivable that the humidity would influence the bass response. If there was a microscopic amount of condensation on the drivers that would be a significant variable, I would think - especially given the ultra-light nature of the driver and it utilizing nanotechnology in their coating. Maybe the speaker was turned into a giant Ionizer? Kiwi, did you notice the air fresher in the room after listening sessions? ;)
It's much to the Kingsound design's credit that even driven to the point of the drivers making contact with the stator that they weren't damaged severely! That would have toasted many other manufacturer's designs!
Upon occasion I see a review which the experience of the writer is nearly an inversion of what I have experienced. There are still some mysteries in the world, not the least of which is, "How can two people hear things so differently?" :)
Hello All. I have owned the Kingsound Prince ll for about 6 months. I can't tell you how much enjoyment these speakers have added to my listening experience. I listen to many types of music, but mostly choral ensembles and a lot of ECM jazz and their "new music". Besides the gorgeous midrange and high end, I find the bass to be exceptional, especially for an esl. I am running all tube components. Aesthetix Calypso pre, VAC PA 90 amps, and a Consonance Droplet cdp. Sorry to say, no vinyl. It took me quite a while to get the sound just right, Including shifting my room around several times and re-tubing my amps. I have heard from my dealer and others that the new VAC power supplies bring these speakers and the Kings to another level. My dealer has ordered a pair of these and is willing to let me audition them in my system. I can hardly wait. I will be putting my Princes up for sale in the near future to move up to the Kings. I just hope my amps are up to the task of running the less efficient Kings. I'll keep you posted.
I haven't tried them with that much variety as yet.
I have heard them sound fabulous with a inexpensive Crown Power amp. Certainly they are great with the VAC gear and Musical Fidelity.
They are a little sweeter with Tubes but much easier to drive with solid state amps. I was thinking about giving car battery(s) a try for the DC voltage power supply. I might put an ammeter in series with it as well as a volt meter across the terminals to see what is really going on with the charging of the diaphragm. That will be a test for the near future.
Well I do make what I think are the worlds best sounding Music Servers, the Music Vault series, and I did design the worlds first columnar wave guide for a line source speaker that I built. Oh yeah in 1975 I converted the Jet Fighter coin operated video Game to work on the Big Screen Advent TV that was in my favorite Bar in Columbia Mo., They only used the Advent for Monday Night football so Tuesday through Saturday it became a profit center and lots of fun I think that was the first time a video game was played on big screen TV.:>)