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Old 03-30-2019, 01:30 PM
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Default Vivid Audio Kaya - Mola Mola - Auralic show at chattelin Audio, The Hague, March '19

It is not exactly next door at 2 hours drive, but I really wanted to hear the Vivid Audio Kaya.
I have extensively listened to the Giya range, and the Oval range in the past, driven by various electronics, and liked them enough to build a 5.0 system with G2s, C1 and V1ws.
But how would the cheaper Kaya line fare in comparison?
So when Chattelin Audio sent me the invitation, I didn't hesitate.
I also wanted to meet 'Dic', the creator, who installed the speakers himself in our house, and Ben, co-owner of the shop, and our speaker whisperer.

The shop is situated in a quiet neighbourhood, and there is always free parking space.
It is not so big, but it has terrific gear.
I trust Ben's ears.

We were here before for this event:

https://www.audioaficionado.org/showthread.php?t=43436

And Ben was at our house twice to finetune our living room:

https://www.audioaficionado.org/showthread.php?t=43693




The set-up:




The Kaya 25, a small two-way floorstander - 9900€/pair
Mola Mola: 2 Kaluga mono blocks (6K each) and the new DAC Tambaqui (10K) with pre amp function.
Source: Auralic Aries G2 streamer (Qobuz and NAS) - 4K
SACD player: Luxman D-08u - 15K


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AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers

Last edited by bart; 03-30-2019 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 03-30-2019, 02:03 PM
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The Kaya 25 is the smallest speaker of the Kaya line.




I recognised the sound.
I does have a lot of its bigger brothers.
The transparency, soundstage and imaging were terrific.
I'm sure that Ben invested time in placing them very well.




I'm also sure that the electronics did a lot to the fantastic sound.




I had heard the Kalugas before, driving the G1 Spirit, so I know what they're capable of.
For 6K, you get an amplifier that puts out 400/700/1200W into 8/4/2W.








It was the first time I heard the Mola Mola DAC as a standalone DAC and not as a module in the Makua pre amp.
If you only have digital sources, I think it is a great solution, with the built in pre amp function.

We didn't listen to the Luxman DAC, but we did play some CDs.






Their bits were sent to the Mola Mola DAC, via the Auralic, because it is quite a bit better than the Luxman DAC Ben said.
He was always an advocate of the (SA)CD, but today streaming has become better than music from the silver disc he declared.
Some attendants were quite shocked, they hadn't expected this from him.

To underline this, he played a couple of tracks from his own label, trptk.
I have posted albums from this label at numerous occasions.
They sell CDs, downloads and USB sticks.
Recordings are done in DXD.
DXD right from the NAS into the Tambaqui proved to be quite an experience!

For example this album:




A nonet playing some orchestral works, making the melodic lines very transparent.
We listened to it in DXD format.
It was as if the 9 musicians were in the room.
I know, this is a classic line in audio reviews, but try this album at home (via Qobuz 24/96), and you'll hear!

I listened afterwards at home to the same track.
My G2s gave more weight to the sound of course, but I think the 24/96 stream (and my Burmester DAC) didn't quite match the ultimate detail and the sensation of being there of the DXD stream (and Mola Mola DAC).
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Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers

Last edited by bart; 03-30-2019 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 03-30-2019, 02:08 PM
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Another example of the wonderfully clear trptk albums:




The percussion was breathtakingly real.

Ben can be a proud man!
His label propagates music in its highest quality!
It connects you in a way I haven't experienced a lot with other labels.

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AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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Old 03-30-2019, 02:57 PM
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A man in the public wanted to hear more bass.
He thought the speakers weren't very capable in the lower octaves.

Ben then played this:





The first track, 'Celestial Echo' will show you what your speakers are capable of in the lower bass region!
The Kaya 25 nicely pressurised the large room.
Ben explained that in a small to medium sized room, the Kaya 25 will do, but in a bigger room, the surplus woofer area of the Kaya 45 and the Kaya 90 might be desirable.

When I listened to that same track later at home, I heard that the G2s go indeed (quite) a bit deeper, and have more impact.
But let's not forget that the Kaya 25 sells for 9,9K, and the G2s for 45K.

What I liked a lot is that the bass was tight, not muddy like in a lot other speaker concepts.
Combine that with very agreeable mids and ultraclear but not in the least harsh treble, and you have a speaker that is had to beat in the sub 10K class!

@Laurence Dickie: congratulations Sir!

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Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers

Last edited by bart; 03-30-2019 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 03-30-2019, 03:19 PM
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Comparison of the Kaya 25 with the Giya series: same 'house sound' which isn't really a house sound, it is just an exact reproduction of the musical information sent to the drivers.
It goes less deep than its more expensive brothers - I didn't hear the Kaya 45 unfortunately, it was only on static display in another room.
But its bass is tight and accurate.

The enclosure is audible, but only just.
Mind you, I'm used to the dead silent enclosures of my G2Giyas, so I'm spoiled in that aspect.
It was the first thing that struck me when entering the room: "Ah, I do hear the 'box', well... the flower".
After a while, I got used to it.
I even forgot about it.
The effect was so little that it didn't really disturb me much.

Conclusion: the Vivid Audio Kaya 25 is probably the best speaker I've ever heard at this price point.
HifiCritic would say: a 'Best Buy', but might even place it in the category of 'Audio Excellence'.


Anecdote.
The recording engineer from the trptk label was in the room and asked for the price of the system.
Ben said: 36K.
Yes, that's what I thought, the enginneer said. And how much for the electronics?
Ben answered: No, 36K buys you the speakers, and the streamer and the electronics! Just add cables.
The engineer was surprised, in the best way possible!
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Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers

Last edited by bart; 03-30-2019 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 03-30-2019, 07:37 PM
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Thanks for sharing the experience!
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Old 03-31-2019, 05:07 AM
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Bart, another excellent report, thx for sharing.

Any thoughts on the Auralic ? (it is on my short list)
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Old 03-31-2019, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jem666 View Post
Bart, another excellent report, thx for sharing.

Any thoughts on the Auralic ? (it is on my short list)

Hi Jacques!
I loved the looks and the sound of the Auralic.
It's on my shortlist also.
I delved into my magazines and read a review in Hifi Critic from last year, where it made their Audio Excellence list.

I'm more and more convinced that an all-in-one solution (streamer/DAC) might not be the smartest thing after all.
It all evolves so fast in the digital world that after a couple of years, in such a device, at least part of it is obsolete.
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Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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Old 03-31-2019, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by For The Love of Music View Post
Thanks for sharing the experience!

Entirely my pleasure!
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Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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Old 03-31-2019, 07:44 AM
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Thanks Bart! Excellent photos and review/report as always.
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