Review: Kanto iPair 5 Monitor
Purchased these from A'goner a week ago and am truly impressed. This is a small amplified monitor knock-off of the Audioengine A 5. 5" Kevlar cones and 1" natural silk tweeters. I've heard a lot of Chinese plastic crap over the years. Some okay, most of it crap. This is the exception.
My listening environment is nearfield in a condominium at moderate listening levels.
Started by placing and adhering the monitors to 24" Sound Organization massed stands using my iPod Nano as source. Slightly toed in. They sounded boomy and very closed in. Left them powered for a day and they began to come around. Found the default treble rolled off and bass boosted, corrected with the small remote. After two days everything became listenable.
After three days it all started to gel and became decent enough for critical listening to better recordings (XRCD, Analogue, MoFi, Linn) of jazz, blues and celtic recordings loaded on the iPod (compressed). At times it was startling just how very good these can be within their limits. The vocals were very decent, bass was quick enough if not rumbling and some imaging took place. No microdynamics to speak of but hey it all works. I then replaced the stock cable with an LAT International AC2 and again improvement.
After a week I took everything through my Sugden transport and Decware DAC. Now it's just stupid how good they really are. There is a soundstage, not tall and not very far outside the boxes, but it is established. Very decent center fill. Vocals and acoustic piano are very true if not large. Microdynamics started to appear. I would love to do a blind test with some friends and have them pick out source and speaker costs.
I almost hate it when the Chinese get it right. I run Sugden transport/power and Merlin monitors. Of course it all crushes the Kantos, but for the money these are a no brainer. Enjoy.
iPod, Sugden transport, Decware DAC, MAC and Ridgestreet cabling.
Swan 200 amplified speakers