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FinkTeam KIM stand-mount speakers Review

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As mentioned earlier I took it upon myself to put the KIMs through their paces on several systems here:

System 1:  Pass Labs INT-250 Integrated Amplifier, Cambridge Audio ALVA TT2 with supplied matching cartridge, SW1X LPU-1 phono stage, SW1X DAC II SPX, Lampizator Baltic 4 DAC, SW1X Digital Cables, AccuSound Speaker and Interconnect Cables, Cambridge Audio EVO 150 (hardwood floor)

System 2: Audio Note I-Zero, CD-Zero, DAC ONE, AX-2 speakers, Audio Note speaker and interconnect cables (hardwood floor)

System 3: Adcom GTP-500, Hafler DH-200, BelCanto Design s300 I/u, MYTEK Brooklyn II DAC, exaSound e22 DAC, SVS Soundbase Pro, AudioQuest speaker cables, Cardas interconnect cables (carpeted floor)

The KIMs are available in several finishes: walnut with either a black or white baffle, an all-black version, or a white matte cabinet with a grey baffle. My speakers for review were walnut with a white baffle and, after a while, their appearance grew on me. As a proud owner of the original Mission 727 with its inverted woofer and white baffle, it didn’t take long for me to take a shine to the KIMs.

At a stated 86 dB @ 2.83v /1m, which I believe is rather conservative, I must say that the 8-watt-per-channel Audio Note I-Zero was not appropriate and the KIMs and System 2 parted ways rather quickly. To be fair it was never going to work, but much like Sir Edmund and Everest, it was there.

The KIMs’ fine-tuning came into play as I shuffled the deck and transported the speakers from room to room and from system to system. Not everyone is so well endowed…with gear, but by making the most of what I have on hand I can now understand how helpful low and high-frequency tuning, along with dampingadjustments,can be. Experimenting with System 3 allowed me to swap out the rounded feet for the spikes and they secured and stabilized on a thick shag. I found that the speakers were at their best with at least 1.5 to 2 feet of space between them and the rear wall, and just a bit more distance from the side walls, 3 feet. Again, this in my home, my high ceilings, my house’s foundation and construction, none of this hard and fast.

The specs claim a frequency range of 38 Hz to 25 kHz @10dB, and they are not wrong. The KIMs go down low and they do so without noticeable distortion. The bass is clean and tight, so much so that I almost forgot they were stand-mounts. Hard to believe Virginia, but yes this design brings you full-range joy in a not-so-full-range body.

Readers know that each week I publish my NAR New Album Releases list:, and it spans a wide range of genres, including Classical, Opera, Jazz, Pop, Vocals, Folk, International, and Electronica; the KIMs did not shy away from any of the music. They took on all comers and had me wondering why more folks aren’t favoring stand-mount speaker designs. I was waiting for the speakers to falter — for them to distort, to break up, to let me down — and they simply did not.


Listening on my terms

Geek that I am, it was a blast fiddling with the speaker and all its controls. It’s nice to know that I could put myself in the driver’s seat, make all the necessary adjustments and then just let it flow with my own sense of reckless audiophile abandon.

Any thoughts I had about the speakers being picky about what I was about to play went out the window rather quickly.

Dave Grusin’s Mountain Dance and Discovered Again albums are two of my standbys when it comes to judging speakers. It’s not that they are taxing to the system, but rather in knowing them so well, I can listen out for anything untoward, something not quite right in their response, their action, the ability to pick up on even the most minute details. They did not drop a stitch from Mountain Dance to Captain Caribe and Thanksong. My favorite tracks on Discovered Again are “Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow” (Baretta’s Theme for those old enough to know) and “Captain Bacardi,” a gem from Antonio Jobim), and once again not only was this music deftly reproduced but I wasreminded of how some previous stand mounts I had here required a subwoofer to plumb the depths of the music. Not this time.

Zuill Bailey’s recent Octave Records recording of Bach’s Six Cello Suites made their way to the plate in both its analog and digital forms. This album makes you appreciate the works not solely for Zuill’s skills (I’m not taking liberties here; he is a Facebook friend of mine and a member my rather august menagerie of internationally renowned string players, “Bloomie’s String Section”) but for the recording and microphone prowess of Gus Skinas and his team at Mesa Arts Center in Arizona. The KIMs brought it all home, making me feel the music, the bow’s transitions up and down the fingerboard, in my sternum and not just my ears.

Steely Dan’s Aja and Gaucho are in just about everybody’s collection whether or not they care to admit. Again, these albums are ingrained deep in my … and I played them all the way through waiting for the speakers to falter and they refused to do so. Much like the band, the speakers maintained a crispness and attention to detail and just would not surrender. Musicians use the term “in the pocket”; all I can say is “Home at Last,” that’s where these speakers belong.

FinkTeam’s KIM speakers offer everything and more that an audiophile would want or conceive of in 21st-century speaker design. I hesitate to christen them as compact, but against many ones much larger they hold their own and punch way, way above their weight. They have nothing of which to be ashamed.

How often can it be said that an accurate and resolving speaker can deliver at every step in its frequency range and even make the late great Barry White flinch just a little?

I got to know Karl-Heinz before I got to personally know his speakers. For hours in the pub, he extolled the virtues of his design philosophy, and I knew the day would come. I just had to be patient and I’m so glad that it finally came to be. These speakers deserve more than a listen, more than one date, if you know what I mean.


Copy editor: Dan Rubin

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