A Pair of Speakers To Listen To
So much has been made of personal “listening” — people buying one kind or another earbuds with or without cables, with or without noise cancelation, with or without a plethora of special features — that the traditional speaker sitting on a shelf or standing on the floor has gone into the shadows. But it’s fair to say that no pair of headphones can match the frequency response or total sound stage that a hefty speaker can. Or look as good as part of a sound system in the home or office either. So while a nod can be given to technologies like Bluetooth, which obviously means streaming, that also means cutting back on the end-all resolution quality of the audio being driven. So having a pair of speakers that are connected to an amplifier isn’t the final solution because it’s also possible to have those speakers be “powered” themselves; meaning that no amplifier is needed as long as the audio signal is delivered as intact as possible. This allows for the construction and design of the speakers to play as important part in the sound reproduction as the drivers (i.e., speakers) that are inside these cabinets. And for sure a modern audio technology like Bluetooth can play an important part. So with some fanfare what bookshelf pair of speakers can hold up to this kind of scrutiny. The Kanto YU6 Powered Speakers is the answer, and the esthetics of it coming in black or white or walnut or bamboo allows for greater choice as to what is first seen by the eyes before the audio takes over for the ears.
Let’s start with embedded technology. Two features exist, one as modern as you can get and the other both sensible and attractive to the so-called “retro” record player users (now called “vinyl” because it sounds better but c’mon). Bluetooth 4.0 is embedded and does what you would expect — it allows for streaming audio to be sent to the speakers (stereo) from a comparable audio source, which mostly means a playlist from a smartphone but could be a tablet or laptop.. Pairing the audio source and the speakers requires following a few steps that once maybe were a bit difficult but are now fairly standard. What’s important here is the quality of the sound — going with the assumption that the audio being streamed is of at least decent resolution — and this is handled through Qualcomm’s aptX codec which has improved sound as compared to earlier technologies. And for those considering using the YU6 as desktop speakers for a desktop computer, the use of Bluetooth seems both appropriate and efficient. Not to mention heavily increasing the resulting audio quality that the person will be listening to. As to the other feature (vinyl), here this is being able to plug in a record player directly to the speakers — normally a pre-amp is needed which goes via an amplifier but not here. So the speakers function as the needed interface between the audio being outputted from the player and then on to the speakers themselves. While this does require a pair of cables (for stereo) going from the record player to the speaker inputs, which could mean speaker wire hanging syndrome should the speakers be on a bookshelf (as opposed to a table or desk, for example), it does bump up the name into more of a home entertainment system.
What Makes A Speaker
The physical construction of the speakers is important, because it will either enhance or hamper the sound that the drivers inside are generating. Obviously this is not plastic junk encasing the 1” silk dome tweeters and 4” Kevlar drivers, but MDF cabinets (true it is not natural wood but a medium-density fiberboard, being a created wood product formed and made dense and strong — easily altered due to the lack of knots or rings and resistant to moisture causing warping). The cabinets have been hand crafted and so not turned out blindly without human participation. So the balance between the upper and lower frequencies are well maintained as they exist, go into the air and then make their way towards the listener so as to avoid blurring one into the other — creating a realistic sound stage that more closely follows the audio engineer’s perception as to how the recorded audio is to sound. And the rear port is solid bamboo construction.
This Speaker Has Additions
Other more modern inclusions is signal detection — enabling the speakers to go into a “standby” mode so as to conserve power when not being used (obviating the need for flipping power switches all the time). A power up mode does the job for you when audio is detected. And for the extraordinarily lazy, there’s a remote control with the expected — volume and tone and balance and input selections. Plus playback options when Bluetooth is being employed.
The Kanto YU6 Powered Speakers even gives you a 3.5mm auxiliary inputplus two optical digital inputs, but even more because there’s a subwoofer out and a USB port for charging a mobile device. And 200 watts of peak power (50 Hz - 20 kHz) does more than the job requires in more situations than can be noted here (just know it’s inside happy because of needing an outlet and so outside use is curtailed where a plug doesn’t live). Retailing for under $600.00 U.S., more details can be found at