Review: Fostex P800E DIY Kanspea 3 inch full range speaker kit

Budget Esoterica Review Magazine
January 2017 Bonus Issue

Kanspea Kanspeak

If you are interested in small full range speakers, Madisound has the Fostex P800E Kanspea 3 inch full range speaker kit currently on sale for  $129 a pair. The kit includes everything you need to build a pair of speakers, including the internal wire connection and the spring clip connectors on the back are already built into the cabinet. All you will need to do is drill short screw guide holes on the front of the cabinet, attach the internal speaker wire to the driver and install the driver. When drilling the guide holes for the screws, be sure not to go all the way through the cabinet wall or your screw will be stripped. Also, when you are screwing the screws in, be sure to guard the speaker driver with your other hand so you don't accidentally puncture the speaker.

You might have to be a true audiophile to appreciate what these speakers can do. After all, for the same price you can get a larger two way speaker that will have more bass and power handling. So the question is, why should you buy the Kanspea speakers? Personally, i found the speakers to be superior to all my speakers in a few aspects. For instance, i found them to be very, very good in the following areas:

Bass accuracy 
Tonal Colors 

Don't expect the Kanspea speakers to sound good right out of the box. It took me a couple of months of casual listening before i liked them. I would recommend that you use these speakers with a low powered tube amp or T-amp.
Quality speaker stands and placement are also important for getting the best sound. The fit and finish of the cabinets and the driver are very good. Although i feel the price is a little high for what they do, it is possible to just buy the speaker drivers, and if you have good wood working skills, build the cabinets by yourself. I think that would be the most feasible way to give you the best value. There is not much bass on tap here, but the accuracy seems to be excellent. Of the traits listed, the most important to me are the liquidity, accuracy and vivid tonal colors. 

Reference Discs

1. The Blue Note 7 Mosaic Special Edition, disc one, track 4, "Little B's Poem".   Track 5, "Criss Cross".
2. Jaws DVD, chapter 1, chapter 2 and chapter 6.
3. The Baby's Best Of, track 4, "Midnight Rendezvous", track 10, "Silver Dreams".

While listening to track 4, from the Blue Note Mosaic Special Edition i noticed a lively sounding guitar. The Kanspea speakers are open sounding and disappear well. The piano notes have a vivid tonal color with good high frequency extension. Freedom from coloration is one reason i like the Kanspeas so much. Moving on to track 5 on disc one, i really liked the reproduction of the saxophones. Bass was not very deep, but it was accurate and "snappy". The upright bass showed good detail. The drum solo actually had a bit of a "whack" to it. Cymbal work was fairly clean. The highs were pretty thick and strong. 

I noticed good detail and resolution when watching the movie "Jaws" on dvd. The opening song in chapter one had slight to moderate depth. The music had a nice vivid, colorful sound to it. In the beach party scene the transparency and sense of presence was very nice. The fire sounded like it was in the room with me. You can easily hear the party goers inhale their funny looking cigarettes. In chapter two, when Chrissy is chased into the ocean, i was impressed by the liquidity and presence of the water. The ocean buoy with the bell ringing sounded very  accurate with nice tonal qualities. In chapter six , when the boat captain takes his fingers to the chalkboard, the sound was just as screechy, annoying and realistic as i remember from school. 

On track 4, from the Baby's Best Of cd, i heard very good pace and timing. Again, the bass seemed to be very accurate and even slightly punchy. Track 10 had a nice violin reproduction. Vocal clarity was good, but the back up singers were a little edgy and raspy sounding. 

To wrap it up, i would say that the Kanspea speakers are somewhat of a specialist speaker that would interest an audiophile who would appreciate it's unique qualities. It does have limited power handling and very little bass, so you are going to have to use them with a subwoofer. If you like to play your music loud , i wouldn't recommend them. I believe most people would rather have a larger two way speaker at the same price. On the other hand , a seasoned audiophile will really appreciate what the Kanspeas can do. These are not speakers that will play with a variety of amps. You are probably going to need a low powered tube amp or T-amp to get the correct sound out of them. I think that if you just buy the speaker drivers by themselves and build your own cabinet for them, that would make them a much better value.

Reference Equipment

Target FS-50 speaker stands
Belden speaker cable
Sony DVP-NS3100ES DVD player
Fatman itube tube amp
Audiomagic xstream power cord
Virtue Audio Interconnect