It was a pleasure to host this speaker evaluation with an extremely sociable and knowlegdeable couple.
Really interesting today, our potential customer wanted to hear 8Cs versus Kiis , they really are very similar , as he is a member of this very forum he might post his thoughts.
He bought along an extremely good recording of Stravinsky by Keith Johnson, which I am definite;y going to use to show the bass capabilities of the 8C.
I'm the prospective customer who heard the Kii 3 and Dutch & Dutch 8C side by side at Purité yesterday. Before discussing the comparison, I just want to thank Keith for hosting me and my wife in his carefully configured listening room, which made the A/B test a breeze.
The Kiis were connected to the rather pricey and optional Kii controller; the Dutch & Dutch 8Cs were connected to the RME ADI-2 Pro, which served as a digital volume control, replicating the main function of the Kii controller. (The RME also does a lot of other stuff, but I didn't test any of those functions.) Listening material was a few high-res files I brought on a thumb drive, including the Keith Johnson recording of the Minnesota Orchestra performing The Firebird. I'll explain the reason for my use of that recording in a moment. I didn't take a photo, but I trust Keith can provide one.
We listened to the two speakers for an hour, switching back and forth. As reviewers of the Kiis and the 8Cs have stated, both the 3s and the 8Cs sound like large loudspeakers. Moreover, neither have any hint of bloated bass at certain frequencies, the bane of passive speakers and an artifact that I am sadly accustomed to hearing. The cardioid dispersion pattern produced by both loudspeakers across most of the audible frequency range results in an extraordinarily clean and controlled sound, totally free of some qualities that I used to seek in loudspeakers. Were they especially airy? Nope. Warm? No. Detailed? Not in the conventional sense of that term. Both speakers revealed what was on the recordings and seemed totally balanced and composed.
On most recordings, it was exceedingly difficult to discern differences between the 3s and the 8Cs. The 3s threw a slightly wider soundstage, but that seemed to be a function of placement, as they were further apart and closer to the listening position than the 8Cs were. I seemed to perceive slightly more "extension" in the "air" register of the 8Cs (above 10 kHz), and the 8Cs seemed to have slightly fuller upper bass than the 3s. These differences were extraordinarily subtle and, as Keith pointed out, could perhaps be eliminated with equalization.
My wife, who is not an audiophool like me but nevertheless has sensitive ears, said she could detect very little difference between the two loudspeakers. She liked both, as did I. She pointed out that the Kiis look nicer than the Dutch & Dutch 8Cs and are smaller than the 8Cs. The 8Cs, however, can be positioned closer to the wall than the Kii 3s--which she and I both found to be a major advantage for domestic use.
After listening to the speakers and discussing the differences, I turned on The Firebird recording, which has unrealistically thunderous bass drum strikes that are useful for testing bass power. It was immediately obvious that these bass drum strikes were beyond the capabilities of the Kii 3; the Dutch & Dutch 8C, however, appropriately shook the room. Subwoofer integration with the Kii 3, particularly when using its optional controller, is far from straightforward, so the lack of loud deep bass from the Kii 3 is problematic. It should be noted, however, that with normal listening, the Kii 3 would not be pushed to its limits.
I do not mean to suggest unambiguously that the Kii 3 is not as good as the 8C. I could happily live with either pair of speakers. As an American living in the UK, we have tricky requirements with respect to voltage compatibility. In addition, I intend to use the loudspeakers with BACCH processing in the future. The Kii 3s work with BACCH, but it remains unknown whether the 8Cs do. (The heavy DSP in both loudspeakers is potentially problematic for calibration of BACCH, but the Kiis have been tested and reportedly work well with BACCH.) The choice thus will come down to my quirky requirements.
Thanks again to Keith at Purité, the most honest audio dealer I have yet encountered. I do not know who is selling the 8Cs in the States, but if I bought the Kiis there, someone would try to sell me a few thousand dollars' worth of Kubala Sosna cables to accompany them. I'll thus have to make my purchase from Keith while I'm here in the UK.
courtesy of Audio Science Review forum,