Review: Kanto Yaro2 2 channel amplifier

Budget Esoterica Review Magazine
October 2017 Issue

Kanto Yaro2 2 channel amplifier

If you are an audiophile who is impressed with big and heavy audio amplifiers, you might find the little Kanto Yaro2 amp to be a little disconcerting. Maybe you are an audiophile who would simply dismiss it based on its weight and size. After all it is only 6.4 inches wide by 7 inches deep and 2.2 inches high and weighs a measly 1.5 pounds. However, once we look at the specifications we see that it is a fairly powerful amp. Rated at 35 watts per channel with double peak ratings, the Kanto is capable of fairly loud output. This is definitely the most powerful class D amp i have tried. There is a built in DAC that allows USB or optical connection and Kanto includes all the necessary cables. I like the remote control because you can adjust the bass, treble and balance and set it back to flat with a push of a button. As well as being the most powerful class D amp i have tried it is also the most natural sounding. I had a hard time distinguishing it from my favorite Marantz home theater receiver. The retail price is $249, but i have seen it online for as little as $100.

Reference Discs

1. Tony Bennett, Yesterday I Heard The Rain, track 1, "Yesterday I Heard The Rain".
2. Future Islands, Singles, Track 5 and track 9, "Back In The Tall Grass", "Fall From Grace".
3. Herbie Hancock, Inventions And Dimensions, track 4, "Mimosa".

If you are new to the music of Tony Bennett, you might want to check out his 1968 recording, "Yesterday I Heard The Rain". This is a good quality recording that sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. The sound is fresh and so is the music. Listening to the vocals i noticed a slight touch of warmth. The percussion sounds coming from the right speaker were colorful and slightly tube-like. I noticed a slightly sweet sound to the percussion and also the violins. 

While watching PBS i discovered a band called Future Islands. I bought their "Singles" cd and i have been hooked ever since. Listening to track 5 i noticed a hard-hitting and slightly snappy drums. Clarity and transparency were pretty good. I noticed a slight sense of depth on this song. To check the performance of the upper frequencies i switched to track 9. I thought that maybe i could use a little more sheen on top, or perhaps my musical fidelity DAC was making the sound more linear. Keep in mind that i was using the stock power cord with the included power supply. On track 9 i also noticed a slight sense of atmosphere, air and depth. 

When i was listening to the song, "Mimosa", by Herbie Hancock i noticed a slight anomaly. At the very beginning of the song i noticed a little bit of distortion coming from the left channel that i didn't notice on my comparator system. Was the distortion coming from my equipment or was the system so revealing as to show the flaws in the recording?
I am not sure. Nonetheless, the piano was strong with a slight richness. The percussion at the beginning had a nice tube-like sound. Congas and bongos had a nice organic sound. 

I really like the form and function of the Kanto amp. The remote control makes it a joy to use. If you need a small and lightweight amp with good power output i would recommend it. I think the retail price is high, but currently has this amp on sale for $100. At that price i like it. 

Reference Equipment

NHT SB-1 speakers
Energy speaker stands
Virtue Audio Nirvana speaker cables
Sony DVP-NS3100ES dvd player
Musical Fidelity V90 DAC
Tributaries 5 stereo interconnect
Tara Labs coaxial interconnect
Audioquest interconnect adaptor
Hi honda6,

     Welcome to the exciting world of good class D amplifiers.  I used the qualifier "good" class D since, unfortunately, not all class D amps perform as well as  described in the review.  There are now a lot of reasonably priced class D amps available and, if the 1st class D amp one auditions is one of the few 'clunkers' on the market,  it can lead to the false assumption that all class D amps perform as poorly.  Just like the more traditional solid state and tube amps that have ever been made, the performance level varies from poor to excellent.

     I'm glad to learn there's yet another good class D amp on the market that seems to share very similar performance characteristics to the many others already available:   low distortion, dead quiet background noise level, high levels of detail, a wide and accurate frequency response and powerful dynamics.  They also share the same physical and operational characteristics: small size, low weight, low heat and high efficiency. 
    I currently own 3 different brands of good class D amps, 2 stereo units and a pair of mono-blocks.  They all perform just like the Absolute Sound magazine has described the ideal amp: like a 'straight wire with gain'. 

     I think the best word to describe the overall sound of good class D amps is neutral.  Nothing is added or subtracted from the inputted signal.     In your posted review, however, he described the sound variously  as "slightly rich". "organic" and "a nice tube-like sound".  I have absolutely no doubt he really heard these qualities because I hear the exact same qualities when listening to my good quality class D amps.
     How can I continue to claim the predominate overall sound quality of good class D amps is neutrality when I and thousands of other users are hearing things like warmth, richness and a tube-like sound?  Because what we're all hearing and describing are not the qualities of the amp, we're actually hearing and describing the qualities of the music being faithfully reproduced.  Good class D amps just faithfully amplify the inputted signal and enable one to easily discern the qualities of the music, the recording  and even changes of ancillary equipment, power chords and cabling.

    The Kanto Yaro2 looks like a great little product.

  Thanks for sharing the review,