Kinki Studio EX-M1 200wpc Integrated Amplifier


Winner of the ’Blue Moon Award’ from 6Moons / Srajan Ebaen

Here is the ’summary’ last page from 6Moons:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/kinki/6.html

And the first page for those interested in the full review:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/kinki/1.html

215W (8 Ohms)  Inputs: 3 RCA  1 XLR  

Offered via Vinshine Audio in Singapore.

Currently SGD 2898 which equals ~ USD 2135.
Ag insider logo xs@2xdavid_ten
Nice! Superb fit-and-finish. And at $2898 delivered a super value! The only thing missing is a sticker at 10X the price! Lookout Dan D.!
Correction: $2135! Those Orientals can sure build some great stuff at affordable prices! American Hi End mfgrs. take heed!
You guys beat me to it. I'm putting in my order for it later today.
Alvin is an absolute pleasure to deal with. 

Check out the page on the 6moons review with the specs. It looks to be flat from 8Hz-26Khz. That's a straight wire with gain if there ever was one. The amp designer, Liu, seems to really like the Swiss approach to sound. If it had a Swiss nameplate on it, it would go for 10X the price.

What Srajan had to put together to approximate the sound of the Kinki was with a Nagra pre amp and a pair of LinnenberG mono amps. 

By the way, it's S$2898 delivered to your door. That's Singapore dollars.
It works out to about $2135.751 at the current exchange rate.

All the best,
Nonoise
@roberjerman, are you kidding me man? Are we living in the 1920's, who uses the term "Orientals"?  Use the term Asians, please. 
I just ordered the Kinki EX-M1 through PayPal and the exchange rate works out to $2,200.51. Even at that price, I think it's going to be a steal if it performs as good as the reviews say. 

Terry London of hometheaterhifi.com should be out with his review soon and from what he wrote Srajan on his take (in Srajan's review) speaks very highly of the Kinki as well.

All the best,
Nonoise
Do you have to pay duty on that import?
Nice. Thanks for the heads up! Anyone know how their dac sounds? 
So far as I can tell and from what Alvin told me, there should be no duty pending, stateside. Srajan noted in his review that in Ireland and most parts of the EU, it could be as much as 20%. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I'm also a bit intrigued by their DAC as well. Liu prefers to have density in his sound to achieve realism and he's using the AKM 4495 with it's "velvet sound" to get there. Liu believes in an artistic approach to interior design along with keeping circuits as short as possible and having all circuit traces gold plated (2 microns). 

He's not so much into numbers or the latest craze but what sounds good to his ears. His asking price for the DAC is very reasonable, like his integrated. Alvin is very responsive to emails and would gladly answer any questions. Right now it's 4:39 AM in China but when he's up, he answers quickly.

All the best,
Nonoise


David, thanks for calling this amp and this manufacturer to our attention. I read the review, and it certainly sounds like a remarkable value at its price point.

The only thing that strikes me as being a possible concern is the combination of its extremely high specified damping factor of 2000 (which is unheard of as far as I am aware for an amp that is described, per the reviewer, as not being class D), and (to a lesser extent) the low THDN spec of <0.006%. Those numbers suggest the likelihood that the amp uses substantial amounts of feedback, which might mean that the subjective perception of speed and detail that is reported may be significantly contributed to by TIM (transient intermodulation distortion).

We shall see. Nonoise, best of luck with your purchase.

Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks, Al. I just hope that he's found a workaround to what you described and that it won't be of any concern. 😀

I'l report back as things progress.

All the best,
Nonoise
@almarg  I also noticed the high damping factor but did not make the connection to the low THD spec. 

Thank you for bringing this to my (and our) attention. 

Perhaps @alvin1118 (Alvin / Vinshine Audio) can comment?
@nonoise  Congratulations!!! You move fast. : )  Looking forward to reading your impressions once you have it.
@david_ten , Thanks David. I'm normally not this impulsive.
The wait is going to be difficult. 😣

All the best,
Nonoise
@nonoise  You were smart to jump on it, immediately. I imagine there will be a strong response to the 6Moons review which will likely impact lead times.
My only concern would be how to get it fixed if it breaks down?  Does it have to go back  to China ?  Is this an established manufacturer that will still be around in a few years?  That would be my other concern.
roberjerman,

No dis-respect to you, and I'm sure you weren't aware. You referred to the people as Orientals.  Just remember, vases and rugs, etc.... are oriental, people are Asian. Many years ago I made that mistake once.....Once! :-)
@stereo5 ,
Here's a link to the warranty aspect of Vinshine Audio:
https://www.vinshineaudio.com/warranty
Note that at the end of the description, there is now a stateside audio repair facility. It may be Mike Powell Audio who does the repair work for Denafrips DACs which Alvin of Vinshine Audio also imports. 

I'm not entirely sure but it's nice to know it can be done stateside.

All the best,
Nonoise
@nycjlee @mr_m @perkri

+1
Hello Guys, Stereo 5 puts out a good concern. I am Mike Powell the founder of Verastarr here in ATL, GA and I am the authorized repair center and rep for any of Alvin/Vinshines products. You can buy the products on USA soil for the same price as overseas and enjoy a high level of customer service. One example is if there is a warranty issue, you simply box the piece, tape it up and we pick it up from your house. Fedex will have a label in hand so you dont even have to fill a shipping label out. I'm well networked in the industry and am passionate about music playback with high integrity. No salesman fluff from me just cut and dry honesty. I like walks in the park and romantic dinners...lol sorry couldnt help it.. Ive got the Terminators in stock most of the time as well as Jays audio. My God you guys should see this transport. I'll have the Kinki Integrated in a few days, and I post demonstrations and comparisons on YouTube under "OCD Hi-Fi Guy" where I play into the character we all know, our own inner OCD HiFi nut. You can actually hear the differences in DACS on the videos for instance. So its a good place for resource on Vinshine product as well as room setup, which should never be ignored, or if you do, just dont expect world class results from your rig.    

My personal cel is available for existing or potential clients. 404-764-6233
All the best !
Mike
nycjlee,
It's an old fashioned moniker, but not meant as an insult I'm sure. Let's not be so sensitive.
Occidentalis, Orientalis, Borealis, Australis  Latin (unfortunately) not in vogue. 
Hey everybody,

I won't repeat all the details of what I stated when I wrote to tell Srajan that he was in for a real treat regarding the Kinki EX-M1.  He was kind enough to share my thoughts in his review.

Forget for a moment what this piece sells for, it's performance level will compete with any integrated amplifier I have heard up to the present time.  I have auditioned it with three different sets of speakers for my review for hometheaterreview.com and it's superb music maker.  

David, you will be very interested in one final audition that will happen this Monday, I'll be comparing the EX-M1 to latest generation/reference T+A integrated.  I have a strong hunch that this $2,100 piece will come very close to the performance of the almost 20K German amplifier.  When I first got the Kinki in for review, after a short time, it kept reminding me of the T+A integrated that I have heard before and have great respect for.  So, by hearing them both in the same system I'll come to a conclusion regarding this matter.
@roxy54, I'm actually not that sensitive, as an Asian American who grew up in the US, I've seen and heard it all.  Honestly, it's not a big deal to me, but someone has to call him out.------------------------------------On a different note, [email protected] sure seems to know how to pick them.  I'm very interested in this amp.  I'm wondering how it would compare to my Ayre AX5/20.  Maybe, it's time to purchase the Kinki and see if I can downgrade to upgrade.  I could use the extra funds.  :)
@teajay   Terrific to hear how highly you regard this integrated amp. 

Will you be doing a head to head comparison with the T+A in Allen's or Ezra's system?
mikepowellaudio,

It is good news to hear that these fine pieces of gear have a US repair facility. For me, in the rare instance of having to send the product overseas for repair is a deal breaker. From what you have said, it looks like you have superb customer service for these products. Well done!!!
Tim
Another question I’m curious about regarding this amp concerns gain. Sensitivity is specified as follows:

Input Sensitivity: 2.25Vrms - 3.6Vrms
I’m guessing that 2.25 volts is for the unbalanced inputs, and 3.6 volts is for the balanced input, as I don’t see any means of varying the sensitivity in the internal or external photos. Given the 215 watt 8 ohm power rating those sensitivities can be calculated to correspond to gains of approximately 25 db and 21 db respectively. Which seem like very low numbers for an integrated amp, and perhaps too low to be optimal with some combinations of vinyl sources and low efficiency speakers.

Yet the review contains the following statement:

Who actually needs 200 watts with 26dB of voltage gain in just the line stage followed by another x 20 amplification factor in the power stage? Very few. Because the EX-M1 hits its torque already in first gear, that number is mainly for bragging rights, peace of mind and yes, the rare customer who really does own that boat-anchor load to tap such power and gain.
That would mean a total gain of 52 db, which in contrast to the calculated numbers would be very high for an integrated amp. And probably too high to be optimal with some combinations of digital sources and high efficiency speakers.

Just wondering how to reconcile this apparent discrepancy, while having some concern that all of these numbers may be a bit extreme in one direction or the other.

Regards,
-- Al


Hey David,

Yes, the comparison will be in Ezra's system because he has the current reference T+A model. 

Also, wanted to share that Mike Powell is a great gentlemen who is a true craftsman who builds beautiful audio gear.  I believe that Alvin made a wise choice to create a relationship with Mike to be the US repair station, in the case something needs to be fixed after purchasing the item.  This completely eliminates any anxiety about having to ship all the way back to Singapore, along with having someone with Mike's skill and level of excellence take care of any problem. Alvin has great taste in the brands he sells, both on quality/performance, and the ratio of performance to cost should have other companies concerned, if customers use their ears and not what something costs.   
Can this integrated amp be purchased domestically or only through Vinshine? Not sure .....I know Vinshine Audio has a great reputation, just wondering if a US option is available.  Most likely not as that is one reason the price is so attractive.  I must admit this looks to be a fine piece of audio gear. Most interested in it.  
Hi Grannyring , yes a very valid concern, so I am here as the USA counterpart to Alvin at Vinshine. I plan to keep at least one piece of the top sellers in stock here. This means a USA distro center for the Vinshine products. (I am known in the audio scene and am honest to a fault) If it happens to be a time when we are waiting for inventory, you could prepay a deposit with me here in USA, and then I would ship a few days later after it was received. Service issues are handled here in Atlanta and so far have been very few. only 2 to be exact. each of them were just sent a new unit and we kept the repair. Most likely that will not happen all the time, but lets say we fix yours and send back.. no more than 72 hours in my hands and it ships right back. I can also provide free professional consultation for my clients insofar as rig/room setup is concerned. Sometimes I feel really bad when I realize how long and how much money some of us have spent chasing the sound that we all know exists when honestly all it takes is a pro to spend a little time on the phone with you to spot issues immediately. Prime example feeding the biwire loudspeaker using full range cables and jumpers and feeding the bass posts and jumping to the highs. If you have them wired this way I’ll offer a free instant upgrade/ Go run the cables to the top/high binding posts and jump them down. There are so many little things. My purpose in life is to get the most Audiophiles I can into the "magic" zone. I can do this with a $3500 complete rig (used price) up to the six figures, world class level. I can provide your results over the phone. The fact that I’m working with Alvin and Vinshine simply expands my toolbox to create those magic rigs for more people. I am very picky about quality. In fact you can hear the Vinshine product being compared to others sometimes much more expensive on my Youtube channel called "OCD Hi-Fi Guy". I play into the charachter lots of us have in our head about this crazy hobby. subscribe there for updates on the latest demo and shootout videos. You can actually hear the difference in DACS , it was surprising to me that it was so clear. I’ll be doing the Kinki Studio amp Demo in about a weeks time.

Glad to be of service ! Happy Listening

Mike
404-764-6233

P.S. Thanks for the kind words Terry !
@teajay Should be a fun day at Ezra’s place! In addition to the integrated amp comparison, I’m looking forward to your take on how Ezra’s Tekton Ulfberth BEs are settling into his system. Can you share that side of the system 'experience' over on the DI thread?
Hey David,

Here's the "field report" comparing the Kinki EX-M1 to the latest generation T+A integrated amplifier.

My assumption that the EX-M1 would come very close to the performance of the vastly more expensive German built T+A piece was incorrect. The T+A reference was clearly superior in the following areas:

1) An even higher level of transparency that allowed more of the micro-details to be easily heard.

2) The size of the sound-stage was not that different, but the air between players and how 3D the images were was at a higher level.

3) There was a purity/finesse to the overall presentation that was more effortless with the T+A.

4) Ezra and Allen would disagree on this last point, but I did not hear that much of a difference in bottom end control or extension between the two integrated amplifiers.

So, this does not change my position regrading the excellence of the Kinki EX-M1 overall and to match its performance you would have to spend a lot more money.  However, in this comparison you could clearly hear what another $18000.00 gets you into a qualitative higher level of performance.
@ teajay,

How long has the Kinki EX-M1 been in the system? I imagine it will improve with more time but it sounds like it is a very nice sounding unit for the money for sure.

Wig
I can't seem to find that extra $18K I had lying around so I guess I'll have to contend with the Kinki EX-M1 that I ordered. 👍

Thanks, @teajay for the update. I eagerly await your review when it comes out. Hopefully it will be out before my unit arrives. I'm pretty sure it will be a step up from my Marantz PM15S2b. 

All the best,
Nonoise
@teajay, that’s a relief :).  I would hope that  paying the big bucks would yield higher performance.  The EX-M1 still sounds very impressive for the price.  I’m thinking this amp could be perfect for someone building a affordable second or main system.  I wonder how it would perform against my Ayre AX5/20. 
@teajay Good stuff! Thanks for your honest take and feedback. I’ll be sleeping sounder tonight. : )
Now i’m intrigued...I wonder how this will compare with my Gold Note IS1000...
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I hope Mike can get enough inventory to stock them. When I ordered mine, the lead time was 5-10 days and now it's 4 weeks. 
@nonoise  Reaction to the 6Moons review and Blue Moon Award, is the likely reason. : )
Can anyone tell me the significance of the Blue Moon Award, does the really have merit... 
@mrdon It’s 6moons’ version for recognizing product excellence, from their perspective / in their opinion. No different than other audio review sites which use other terms/expressions for the same.

does the [Award] really have merit...

For you to decide!!!


"The 6moons Blue Moon Award is bestowed only on components or music releases of rare excellence. The following audio components were deemed outstanding for the specific reasons cited."

Additional information here:

http://www.6moons.com/archivelibrary/bluemoon.html
@david_ten, thank you for your straight forward and concise definition regarding the Blue Moon Award.. I have very little experience within the audiophile community and greatly appreciate the helping hand. I now assume the Blue Moon Award is an appropriate and distinguished award for quality products that excel in areas others don't. 
"I will now chew on this knowledge" and await the results of the "OCD HI FI Guy" utube review of the EX M1.. It will then be decision time..    
I have the Kinki Studio Telos 400 clone and it is awesome. I also have the ML #333 and the Symphonic Line RG1 mk5. Symphonic is the best of the 3 with the Kinki and the big ML just below. The Kinki has teflon circuit boards and is built to a superb standard.  It is a JOB circuit and is fast with great mid range pace and imaging.  They are a steal!!!
I am vexed and perplexed by the fake outrage going on these days.  Everything and anything can be construed as offensive.  Folks from east Asia are in fact Oriental, because they are from the orient and not the occident.  This is a geographical thing.  Asia is a huge continent and encompasses peoples from India and Pakistan, which are also Asian.  

I am often labeled caucasian, even though my heritage is a mixed bag of English, Italian and Spanish.  But I look pretty much caucasian.  I speak Spanish, Portuguese, and a little German.  Should I be offended?  Gimme a break man!  
@dht4me,
You've just whetted my appetite even more. That's rare company to be associated with.

5 days after ordering the EX M1, it shipped and the next day it's in L.A., in customs. I'll get it on Monday (god willing and the creek don't rise....).

And I have to mention the customer service even before I even get it. Alvin emailed me to make sure I knew it was stateside (with a link to DHL) and is eager to hear what I think about it. Who does that nowadays?

All the best,
Nonoise
Post removed 
Took delivery of the Kinki EX M1 an hour ago. 

It's staying put in my rack. Everything Sarjan said about it is true, and then some. If every exhibitor in every room in every audio show used this to demonstrate their speakers, cables, sources, whatever, it would all sound great, and all because of this integrated.

Best money I've ever spent. Alvin will probably increase lead times for delivery as demand should go up after more people hear this. 

I'm going to stop now and go back to listening (enjoying) and report back later next week. 👍👍👍

All the best,
Nonoise
Great news, Nonoise. Congratulations!

Regarding a question I posed earlier in the thread, does the gain seem to be either particularly high or particularly low, as judged by what part of the volume control’s range you find yourself using? As I mentioned in my post on 7-8-2018 there seems to be conflicting information regarding gain, none of which seems consistent with a moderate or typical value.

Also, in my post dated 7-7-2018 I had wondered about the possibility of transient intermodulation distortion resulting from what might be incorporation of a lot of feedback in the design. I think a good test for that would be well recorded solo piano music having lots of sharp transients.

Enjoy! Best regards,
-- Al