Der Prinz…

The Kim’s crossover also allows a measure of customer control. The speaker’s back panel contains the expected (single-wired) binding posts, plus a couple of unexpected three-way rotary switches. One of these provides the option of a small amount of high frequency lift, or cut. The other provides three settings for different amplifier damping factors: the default is recommended for modern transistor designs; the second is for older designs and Class D amplifiers, with lower damping factor; the third is for valve designs with higher output impedance. FinkTeam are not prescriptive about these options. Select which ever gives you the best bass and away you go.

This isn’t a feature I’ve seen before, but it does broaden the Kim’s compatibility with a wider range of partnering amplification, while subtle control of HF output is rarely a bad thing. Combine that with the Kim’s compact dimensions and room friendly nature and it’s clear that FinkTeam are aiming to ensure their smaller model works in as many situations as possible. In my room, with my Accuphase E480 amplifier, I settled on the default modern solid-state damping factor and no treble cut or boost. Your needs or preferences might well differ and that’s precisely what these adjustable features are for. But my experience suggests that FinkTeam do have a pretty good handle on what they’re trying to do.

And lest you think this adjustability is there to make the Kims work with more modest electronics, that’s not the objective. It’s all about getting the best result from a given combination. When the CH Precision L1/A1.5 pre/power combination came to play earlier this year, the Kims were more than equal to the task, raising their game magnificently and telling me exactly what was going on with these quite extraordinary electronics. Yet despite the disparity in price, there was no point at which I ever felt the loudspeakers were a limiting factor.

The Kim’s enclosure is also somewhat unconventional, being both un-damped and un-stuffed. The risk with damping materials is that they store energy and slow-release it out of time with the music. Stuffing the cabinet with long-haired wool to control resonance in the enclosed air volume runs the same risk. So the Kim eschews damping in favour of strategically placed braces, and uses Helmholz resonators to control energy and standing waves in the internal air-mass – interestingly, an approach shared by the seriously impressive Göbels I mentioned earlier.

Section through the Kim’s ‘Clean Port’ design, the long slot incorporating a secondary Helmholz resonator to damp the port resonance.

The ported bass also seems to avoid the excesses of so many reflex loudspeakers. As with other aspects of the design, it’s more than just a simple tube pushed into a hole through the cabinet wall. This port vents through the upper rear of the cabinet, having traversed a carefully constructed pathway, machined out of the rear part of the cabinet’s internal structure. Having dealt with the internal resonances, the internal cabinet energy is less likely to manifest itself as chuffing, other port-related ‘noises off’ or mistimed output through the ports themselves. The speed, stiffness and lack of hysteresis I noted in the CH Precision A1.5 could all too easily be masked if the reflex port is allowed to misbehave, and in some respects, the speed and responsiveness of the Kims manages to combine the signal tracking of a sealed box design with a free-breathing reflex quality that is open and airy, without being loose.