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KingRex T20U & PSU MKII System with John Blue JB3 Loudspeakers Review

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KingRex T20U & PSU MKII System with John Blue JB3 Loudspeakers

KingRex is a Taiwanese company specializing in compact computer-based home stereo systems using Class T amplification.  Like the Trends Audio System, KingRex seems ideally tailored to computer desktop systems and audiophiles who wish to have a system in a small space.  Indeed, such a system is also ideally tailored for those audiophiles who have wives who don’t want to see the stereo.

You Want a Small Speaker System?

JohnBlue JB3 Speakers

I shall start this review with the John Blue JB3 loudspeakers.  The JB3 speakers seem to me to fit a niche market but are better than you would expect given their size.  First, these speakers  are much better than those shipped with the Trends Audio package, although the JB3 speakers are about 60% more money.  The JB3 speakers have a gorgeous piano lacquer finish and very nice round speaker grills that fit solidly into place, and a solid single pair of rear connectors and a front port.  Four soft gel pads fit under the speakers and can be moved around as desired.  The speakers employ a single 3-inch paper woofer with a plastic bullet whizzer cap.  They are intended to be used as desktop speakers or in a near-field configuration in a small room.

KingRex T20U & PSU MKII and PREamp

Removing my Audio Note AX Two speakers  — which have considerable bass depth for speakers in their size class — I had to adjust to the JB3’s comparative lack of bass response.  After about 50 hours, bass improved rather well.  And no, it wasn’t about my ears getting used to the speakers because I often used my AX Two speakers to review the KingRex components.

Single-driver speakers require no crossover and typically, immediately have an advantage in the midrange.  The JB3 can typically cover the midrange more accurately and more smoothly than can two-ways.  Single-driver loudspeakers, however, do have problems with dynamics, bass and treble because one driver can’t do everything and they often sound a little shouty, suffering from early dynamic compression which thins out the sound, so that one is left with a flat wall of sound rather than a solid 3D space.  But hey all speaker designs have trade-offs; we each choose the trade-offs you can live with.

The JB3 is a smart trade-off because in all likelihood, owners will choose to purchase a subwoofer.  For long term satisfaction I would argue that you will definitely need to purchase a sub, though to be honest I would argue that you would want to add a subwoofer with virtually any small two-way speaker in this price class,  and few of them will have the cohesiveness in the midrange that the JB3 loudspeakers offer.  Most speakers will be considerably bigger and won’t be suitable on a computer desktop.

On Loreena McKennitt’s The Muse album – vocals were crisp clean and clear.  Imaging and sound staging were superb – an advantage of single drivers and their very small cabinets.  Bass was limited but gave the impression of more than was really there.

The JB3 played at comfortable levels without audible issues but when pushed loud, Loreena’s voice began to break and there was audible sibilance as the speakers compressed.  In a small room in the near-field, they played acceptably loud and they gave a rather good portrayal of female vocals.

2 Responses to KingRex T20U & PSU MKII System with John Blue JB3 Loudspeakers Review

  1. Second Mouse says:

    Thanks for the review of the Kingrex system and the John Blue JB3.

    Unfortunately, I must disagree a bit with the assessment of the TrendsAudio system. I currently use a very nice system which includes the Trends PA-10 (tube preamp), TA-10 (power amp), PW-10 (power supply), and a pair of John Blue JB3 speakers. A NOS tube in the PA-10, and the Trends power supply both add an extra bit of sparkle to my system similar to what was observed by the reviewer when he listened to the Kingrex system with the PSU.

    Further, the specifications of the TrendsAudio and Kingrex amplifiers differ very little if you look at the low distortion figures.

    And, the full power figures should hardly matter if the equipment from any of the three manufacturers in question is used on a desktop or in a small room as intended.

  2. Dear Second Mouse

    I would like to make it clear that I did not audition the Trends Audio amplifiers with the John Blue speakers. I auditioned both Trends Audio and KingRex on Audio Note AX Two speakers and I did allude to the fact that tube rolling the Trends may yield superior results.

    Comparing stock to stock without the King Rex power supply I would give the edge to Trends Audio. The KingRex power supply lifts the sound slightly ahead of the stock version of the Trends. But if you put in a very good NOS tube in the Trends Audio then it may leap ahead again. I like the Trends Audio personally a bit more because I like tubes and the ability to tube roll allows for changes and improvements and to be blunt that’s rather enjoyable. Plus it’s smaller and more portable. On the other hand the King Rex includes a DAC and has a nicer volume control and is a little more elegant (posh) and many people may not want to deal with tubes.

    As you point out the power issue with the JB3 won’t much matter but it could matter if a person buys a more traditional loudspeaker. Although neither is exactly a powerhouse.

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