The FinkTeam Kim loudspeaker
By Steve Dickinson
It wasn’t supposed to go like this.
I had a game plan. For some years I’d been running my system with a variety of £4-5000 loudspeakers: Focal 1028Be, Russell K RED150, Amphion Argon 7LS among them. All great loudspeakers, capable of giving much joy and delight, but in the final analysis, £4-5k only gets you so far. Lately, I’d heard a few speakers in the £6-7500 range that definitely showed the limitations in my speakers du jour. I’d also heard the FinkTeam Kims which, at around £9000 (at the time) were out of reach – or at least, beyond the boundaries of The Plan™. Instead I’d set my sights on a pair of £6k loudspeakers that I’d heard quite a few times, liked a lot, and had slated for a review. The Plan™ was that, assuming the review went as expected, these would be the next rung on my personal ladder to audio nirvana.
What happened? “Events, dear boy, events…” Mostly events like a global pandemic, but also a large ship getting itself wedged in the Suez Canal: stuff became unavailable, components hard to source, and the makers of said loudspeaker were struggling to keep up with demand. The promised review samples failed to materialize. So that review got shelved, and instead the Kims turned up, ahead of schedule (in every sense).
It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘puppy-dog sale’. The seller plonks a cute puppy in the mark’s, er customer’s, arms knowing the chances of said, er, customer handing it back having enjoyed physical contact are slimmer with every passing second. To be fair, when the distributor sent them in for review, they (probably) weren’t aiming to sell me anything, but that’s not how it panned out. Thing is, even the most designer puppy doesn’t tend to cost £9000, but here I was, reviewing what was quickly turning out to be easily the best loudspeaker I’d had in my room. I’ve had considerably more expensive loudspeakers in there, too, speakers that were excellent in their own terms, but the Kims turned out to be a bit special. The prospect of a return to £6K speakers was receding with each passing disc and each passing day.
Reader, I bought them.
Physically, the Kims are yet another 8-inch, 2-way, relatively compact loudspeaker. Historically, it’s been such a winning combination that it was almost standard at one time, although less so in these days of narrow floorstanders with multiple, small bass drivers. That success lay in the fact that the 8” two-way offers enough of everything, most of the time. It’s an everyman loudspeaker configuration and, with an internal volume of around 25 litres, the Kim echoes any number of classic BBC style, stand-mount studio monitors from yesteryear.
Just because it’s a tried and true configuration, that doesn’t make for an automatic winner. You still have to get all the various elements right. Thankfully, one decision is made for you: the Kim comes with its own integral stand, a lightweight, painted stainless steel frame secured to the underside of the cabinet, which angles the baffle backwards to help time alignment. It also helps the speaker to project into the room, reducing the impact of early bass reflections from the floor. Although it reminds me of a certain Star Wars droid, the name derives from another Sci-Fi series entirely, being named for Ensign Kim, a minor character in the Star Trek universe.