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Preamplifier + power amplifier (monoblocks)

Kinki Studio
EX-P7 + EX-B7

Manufacturer: KINKI STUDIO
Price (in Poland): 1375 EUR + 2540 EUR/pair

Contact: Kinki Studio


Provided for test by: VISHINE AUDIO

uite recently, in my review of the excellent Line Magnetic tube integrated amplifier I wrote that it is high time to stop treating products from Chine as not worth the attention of the "true audiophiles". More and more often, they are well designed by talented engineers, and also perfectly made and finished, while, at least some of them, are still reasonably priced. Many of such brands are present on our market, especially in the segment of tube amplifiers, but there are some that we still can find in our favorite audio shops.

Among the latter, probably the brand called KINKI STUDIO made most fuss on the market within the last year. This is one of those exceptional manufacturers from behind the Great Wall. Their lineup is not particularly extensive. The rather modest portfolio includes: a DAC, headphone amplifier, two integrated amplifiers, preamplifier and monoblocks. But we audiophile, at least in theory, care more about quality than quantity, don’t we? Based on the opinions of other reviewers, as well as many satisfied users, one can say that people behind this brand really know what they are doing. For now, maybe they do not create a top high-end components, although they do offer really impressive performers, but they rather focus on products with excellent value for money. The reviewed set is a great example of this strategy.

Manufacturers can choose one of two ways to offer their products in highly competitive prices. They can save money using cheap components (which we obviously do not like) or they can choose to direct sales model of distribution. A variation of this last solution is cooperating with a single well-established distributor who will take care of a worldwide online sales on behalf of the brand. Kinky Studio chose the latter solution. One can purchase their products only from VISHINE AUDIO, a distributor from Singapore.

Replacing local distributors with a single global one on one side allows manufacturer to offer its products in highly competitive prices but there is also a downside of this strategy (each strategy has pros and cons, to be clear). The key one for many potential buyers is inability to try out such products in a local store. To encourage a sufficient number of people to buy audio products without listening to them prior to the purchase, manufacturer has to convince them not only with an attractive price but also by building a reputation by the word of mouth, or in other words by positive reception of his products but those who decided to buy them.

Because Polish audio forums are dominated by questions such as: "what should I buy having a budget of up to xxx PLN", using the reviewer's position and wanting to satisfy my own curiosity, I asked for a test set consisting of the EX-P7 preamplifier and two EX-B7 monoblocks. The latter offer very good specification on paper being able to deliver up to 250 W per channel for loads from 2 to 8 Ω. Such output suggests they are able to drive most loudspeakers available on the market.

And one more "small" detail - the whole set costs less than 4,000 EUR (the price may slightly vary since it depends on the exchange rate of the Singapore currency). In a word, for 17-18 thousand PLN one can purchase a preamplifier and two monoblocks capable of driving almost any loudspeakers. It's a lot less than the price of my Audia Flight preamplifier alone. The question is whether considering such an attractive pricing this set can actually offer a good performance? Let me try to answer this question for you.


Before I move to the performance assessment let me offer you some basic information about the company and its products. Kinki Studio is a relatively young company, because it was founded in 2008 (or 2007, depending on the source), and on the international market they have been present for even shorter period of time. The chief engineer is Mr. Liu the devices under review were developed by him. The first product of this brand that attracted my attention due to positive reviews and user testimonies was the EX-M1 integrated amplifier.

It's simple in terms of functionality, i.e. without a built-in D/A converter, streamer, phono preamplifier, etc., device. Its output stage features Exicon MOSFET transistors and outputs up to 250 W per channel. The amplifier was able to shock many people with its performance, and not only in the context of its price (1850 EUR). One of my friends has this integrated and claims that it sounds better with his not easy to drive Boenicke W8 speakers than many other, significantly more expensive amplifiers from a renown brands.

Srajan Ebaen from the spoke about it in a similar tone, when we met in Munich. He also tested other products of the Chinese brand and even if not all of them were as remarkably impressive as the integrated, based on his reviews, one can conclude that Mr. Liu really knows what he is doing. When, due to the courtesy of the aforementioned global distributor, Alvin Chee from Vinshine Audio, an opportunity to listen and evaluate a set consisting of a preamplifier and two monoblocks arose, I gladly accepted.

| EX-P7 + EX-M7

The devices arrived in three solid, simple, but effectively protecting the devices inside boxes. The EX-P7 preamplifier uses an almost identical chassis as the aforementioned EX-M7 - a clever solution to reduce production costs without compromising quality. Simply, a larger number can be produced cheaper (of course I am talking about the unit price - this is the so-called scale effect).

The chassis of standard size evokes trust from the very first look/touch. It is made of thick, aluminum panels, the front is nicely finished giving it a specific texture due to horizontal grooves running through the entire width. In the middle of the front there is a large display presenting really large, white signs that I could easily read from a distance of several meters. On its sides, there are two large, metal knobs. One allows user to select active input, the other adjust volume. The latter operates in 256 steps of 0.25 dB. Such a precise volume control is possible due to precise resistor ladder.

There is also a neat, metal remote control that supports all available functions. The rear panel of the device features quality input and output connectors. There are three of the former, including two RCAs and one XLR, and the same number of the latter in an identical arrangement. On the back panel the manufacturer proudly placed "We come from China", confirming in a way that the origin of these devices should be considered an advantage and not a reason to hesitate whether one should buy them or not.

The power amps feature equally robust, similarly made and finished housings. Only that their width is (more or less) a half of that of a standard component and they are about twice as high as the preamplifier’s. On the front there is a switch and three control LEDs. In the back, in addition to the power inlet, one finds a single RCA and XLR inputs as well as high quality WBT loudspeaker terminals. Nothing fancy about the external design, but build and workmanship quality is high many renown companies could learn a thing or two from the Kinki Studio. Assessing these devices from outside it is hard to point out any cheap solutions that could allow manufacturer to cut production costs - European or American products offering this level of make and finish cost a lot more. Let us add that both devices look - based on the layout of elements and dimensions - as if their designers were inspired by the Swiss company Goldmund.


During the test, the Kinki Studio preamplifier and power amplifiers worked primarily as a set combined with one of my two loudspeaker pairs - Ubiq Audio Model One Duelund Edition and GrandiNote MACH4. However, I took advantage of an opportunity that arose and combined them also with very interesting monitors of SYZYGY stand-mounted loudspeakers of the Hungarian company Raffai Audio.

As an analog source I used my J.Sikora Standard MAX turntable with the fantastic Kevlar tonearm prepared also by Mr. Janusz Sikora, or the J.Sikora KV12, with my trusted Air Tight PC-3 cartridge and the latest version of the ESE Lab Nibiru phono preamplifier. On the digital front I used a dedicated music server with a JCat Femto card feeding signal to reclocker / regenerator of USB signal made by Ideon Audio,the 3R Master Time, and then to my LampizatOr Golden Atlantic D/A converter.

Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

  • Chopin Recital, wyk. Maurizio Pollini, Toshiba-EMI EAC-55137, LP
  • TREME, soundtrack, Season 1, HBO 0602527508450, CD/FLAC
  • AC/DC, Back in black, SONY B000089RV6, CD/FLAC
  • Aerosmith, Pump, Geffen Records, FLAC
  • Cannonball Adderley, Somethin' else, Classic Records BST 1595-45, LP
  • Dead Can Dance, Spiritchaser, 4AD/Mobile Fidelity MOFI 2-002, 180 g LP
  • Dire Straits, Love over gold, Vertigo 25PP-60, LP
  • Eva Cassidy, The Best of, Blix Street Records G8-10206, LP
  • Georges Bizet, Carmen, RCA Red Seal SPA 25 064-R/1-3, LP
  • Guns N' Roses, Use your illusion 2, Geffen Records B000000OSG, CD/FLAC
  • Kermit Ruffins, Livin' a Treme life, Basin Street B001T46TVU, CD/FLAC
  • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Atlantic 8122796438, LP
  • Lee Ritenour, Rhythm sessions, Concord Records CRE 33709-02, CD/FLAC
  • Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain, Columbia PC8271, LP
  • Mozart, Cosi Fan Tutte, dyr. Teodor Currentzis, wyk. MusicAeterna Orchestra, Sony Classical B00O1AZGD6, LP
  • Wycliff Gordon, Dreams of New Orleans, Chesky B0090PX4U4, CD/FLAC

After years of reviewing and hundred if not more than a thousand assessed audio devices, it is difficult not to have certain associations in mind, or expectations concerning performance of components coming for reviews based on information about their design, or, which is even worse, their prices. Usually I am able to ignore the price aspect completely - I have listened to too many very good, yet inexpensive devices, but also those that were far too expensive for sound quality they offered. It is much more difficult to get rid of expectations, or prejudices, towards specific technical solutions or technologies.

Just before listening to Kinki set I read that the amplifiers feature MOSFET output. Most devices with this type of transistors I know offer the kind of sound I like. It’s just less „solid-state-like” than ones utilizing bipolar transistors. They sound more like my favorite tube amps, because they offer a bit warmer, richer sound, which I simply prefer. On the other hand, Exicon’s MOSFETs, used by several companies, including Bakoon, are usually described a little differently, as extremely fast and clean sounding. So I couldn’t be really sure what to expect.

| Ubiq Audio Model One Duelund Edition

I started my listening sessions combining the reviewed set with Ubiq speakers, the 3-way, big design in a closed enclosure, delivering a weighted, dense, when needed even powerful sound. Somewhere at the back of my head, even if only subconsciously, I expected that Kinki would „invigorate” their performance, boost the attack speed and make the sound more snappy, more contoured than with, for example, the GrandiNote Shinai Class A integrated amplifier I usually use them with. However, the reality was somewhat different.

On the one hand, I couldn’t really say that in a system in which almost every other component (except for the phono preamplifier) is more expensive than the whole tested set, the latter was a bottleneck, the clearly weakest link. It seemed rather that the set felt right at home, working perfectly with other devices, without any distinct indication of a lesser performance.

On the other hand, though, the "invigoration" of the sound I for whatever reason expected did not occur at all. The sonic character of this set turned out to be rather similar to that of Ubiq loudspeakers. The sound was saturated, smooth, with a powerful, well-controlled, but not particularly fast or well-defined bass base, with an open, vibrant, but also slightly more golden (so richer) than the silver top.

I liked with this setup listening to nice jazz recordings, or vocal ones, where the rich, fluid, colorful and - as for the transistor - quite tangible sound set the mood properly. It is important that despite this rich and weighty presentation, that I keep mentioning, it was also open with a lot of air. The resolution or differentiation did not match the best amplifiers I know, but come on, you can expect it all from a set at this price level or even considering that with standard distribution model it would cost at least twice as much.

The reviewed set offered a coherent, smooth, involving performance, with a good drive and nice momentum. And it simply put sounded very natural, which for me is a must. I really like this type of presentation but ... well, but since I’ve also had the GrandiNote MACH 4 speakers that are quite different, fast, dynamic, I often switch from remarkable Ubiqs to different, yet equally fantastic Italian speakers. This happens not only when I test low power amps, because the Max Magri loudspeakers are quite easy to drive, but most often when I uses Max integrated amplifier, his speakers are also the best match.

The GrandiNote speakers and integrated perfectly complement each other by combining virtually all sonic qualities I particularly value and like - sound must be properly fast yet naturally soft, there should be a great timing and excellent decay phase. The amplifier’s richness fits right into the MACH4’s fast, dynamic character. Ubiqs are better suited for partnering with faster, more dynamic amplifiers that add high level of energy to their character and force the right pace of a performance. Since Kinki Studio turned out to be also on a slightly warmer, smoother side of the force, I thought that, at least theoretically, the MACH 4 would be better partners for them. I had to check, even though it meant moving one 100 kg pair (50 kg a piece!) aside and replace it with another (equally heavy). Yes, that’s right, the reviewer's duties sometimes makes our lives very heavy, I mean hard ... :)

| GrandiNote MACH 4

After this hard task of switching speakers I decided to play one of my favorite soundtracks from The Abyss with music composed by Alan Silvestri. I mentioned that probably many times before already - this soundtrack and another one, quite similar by the same author from the Predator, are a very good test of the dynamic capabilities of the tested devices. A fast pace, huge dynamics swings, twists and turns, some very low sounds, exceptional atmosphere - everything you need to challenge almost any component is there.

I could hear it from the very beginning that I was right - the EX-P7 with the EX-B7 and Italian speakers better complimented each other. The combination of their inherent features resulted in welcomed effects like my blood flowing faster in the veins, and goose bumps appearing on the back of the neck, or simply put, enjoying the music even more than with Ubiq Model One. The pace and rhythm were better, more energetic, the attack was harder, but not too hard, the bass was fast, tight, juicy, but a few times when it was necessary, MACH4 shook the walls in my room (by the way, I still don’t understand how THIS bass comes from MACH 4?!).

The Kinki set driving GrandiNotes did also a great job when it came to rock music. Whether it was Aerosmith, Guns'n'Roses or AC / DC I had a lot of real fun. It was not only about the ability to properly drive tempo and rhythm of this music, in an impressive slam and high energy of the presentation, or even in the ability to keep the performance in check even in the hottest, craziest moment, but also in the somewhat forgiving character of Chinese amplification. This is not a highly analytical set focused on finding and pointing out weaknesses of a given recording. It's all about music, fun, taking the listener into the world created by the performers, infecting him with their enthusiasm, inducing lot of positive emotions in him.

In a word - Kinki set offer a solid, very good performance, in which music and emotions are always the key element. That’s a sentence that might well be a part of some review of a good tube amplifier, right? And yet it fits the sonic character of Kinki Studio’s solid-state components. And that’s a good thing! At least from my point of view.

This "kinship" of the sonic signature of MOSFET transistors and tubes was also clear when I listened to recordings with leading vocals. Although I need to add that it depended on what track I was listening to. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith sounded better than on most tube amplifiers I know, because his voice was properly rough and charismatic, just insanely good and live-like. My impressions from listening to Janis Joplin and Marek Dyjak were equally satisfying. However, when it came to listening to Anna Maria Jopek or Luciano Pavarotti the reviewed set could not quite match the capabilities of the high end SET amplifiers in terms of accurately conveying timbre and texture of their vocals and the impression of the performers’ presence.

Having said that, let me add that, for example, I really enjoyed listening to my favorite version of Carmen with Leontyne Price. I may have preferred the vocals themselves played with a SET, but I definitely preferred the power and momentum of orchestra presented by the EX-P7 and EX-B7. As I mentioned earlier, these devices do not offer top resolution or differentiation, but they are at good enough, so they when focusing on music one doesn’t really pay much attention to it. The sound is so lively, so addictive, that you listen to it with a smile on your face, and with your palms and feet tapping the rhythm all the time.

| Audia Flight FLS1 + EX-M7

Although I was testing the set as a whole, as it was delivered, at the very end of the review I could not resist a temptation to check how these monoblocks would perform with my preamplifier. Experience teaches us that it is (relatively) easier to build an inexpensive amplifier than a preamplifier which suggested that with a much more expensive pre these amplifiers could offer even better performance.Don’t get me wrong - for the price, and even beyond it, the EX-P7 is a very good performer, but my experience and intuition told me that I could try to get even more quality from Kinki Studio monos. My Audia Flight FLS1 preamplifier costs more than the entire Chinese set and, as you may remember from my review, it is definitely a high end device.

As I suspected, the combination of the EX-B7 with FLS1 raised the bar and slightly changed the character of the sound. It gained in terms of resolution, clarity and transparency of sound, and a the treble got bit more crisp, as if it was getting a little more light without getting too bright. Some smaller changes appeared in terms of space - the soundstage got a bit deeper, and the gradation of the layers on the stage was clearer. The character of the sound changed in the sound, though still saturated, full, even dense, overall got a bit brighter, more immediate, more revealing allowing a better insight into the deeper layers of music.

It was not a qualitative leap in the order of a few classes, but it was noticeable enough to recognize that within this very successful trio it is the power amps that are somewhat better. It may be an important information for some potential buyers of the EX-P7 and EX-B7 set, since when the audiophilia nervosa comes, and it will, it always does, they won’t have to sell the whole set in search of even more sonic quality. They will be able to start with a higher quality preamplifier. Although, to be honest, to achieve significantly more in terms of resolution, greater clarity of the sound they will have to spend much more money, because the EX-P7 is a really good performer.


The tested set of Kinki Studio, consisting of the EX-P7 line preamplifier and EX-B7 power amplifiers, despite the attractive, not to say low, pricing, surprises both with the build and sound quality. Audio manufacturers have accustomed us in the last several years that audio components that offer this level of performance must cost a lot more. Mr. Liu proves that it does not have to be like that at all.

For the price of 30% more than a price tag on my Hijiri Million Kiwami interconnect, one can buy a preamplifier and a pair of mono amplifiers capable of delivering an output of 250 W per channel and in AB Class and not in D. This is quite simple, or specialized as some purists would call it, set as the preamplifier does not feature any additional functions such as a DAC, streamer, phono preamplifier, Bluetooth receiver, so any of add-ons that many currently manufactured preamps are packed with. This set offers a specialized preamplifier with three analog inputs and outputs and monaural power amps.

As far as the performance goes, we get a dense, weighty, slightly warm sound combined with good dynamics and PRAT, and - if necessary - a really high energy. The sound is smooth, coherent, and users are, to a point, protected against surprises such as too rough or too bright treble often present in not so audiophile recordings. The ultimate character of the system will depend to a certain extent on the loudspeakers that we connect to the EX-B7. I suggest pairing them with fast, dynamic loudspeakers with an open top, but not too weighty or too smooth sounding, without an excessively extended bass base. The latter elements will be introduced by the Kinki Studio set and together with suggested type of speakers they will create a system that will allow you to enjoy any type of music.

You can expect an immersive experience, stimulating blood circulation, inspiring real emotions - in a word, one that most music lovers look for. Anyway, I listened to rock (even some heavy metal) as well as classical music (chamber, large orchestras and operas), female vocals and blues, and even a bit of pop and enjoyed every album. An even better (and much more expensive) preamplifier proved that it is possible to get a bit more resolution, improve differentiation and clarity from the Kinki Studio power amplifiers. The costs of such a set will increase significantly, but it's worth knowing that the EX-B7 has even more potential than what you will hear and appreciate with the EX-P7.

So should you buy this set, you may ask? I can’t give you a straight answer considering that you need to buy it without listening to it - you have to answer that question yourself. I can only suggest that it may be difficult to find any other set in a nearby store offering as good performance, as much power not only on this price level, but if you have twice as much to spend. People who only need an integrated amplifier can spend even less buying the EX-M1 integrated amp or its latest version, the EX-M1 +. If, however, what you are looking for is a purist, set of separates offering a high output, the Kinki Studio proposal is definitely one of the most interesting ones I know at this price point.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer):

| EX-P7
Frequency range: 0-150 kHz (±1 dB)
THD+N: 0,003% (-80 dB)
S/N: >90 dB
Chanel separation: >90 dB
Input impedance: 50 kΩ
Analogue inputs: RCA x 2, XLR x 1
Output signal: 2,25 V – 3,6 V
Output impedance: 75 Ω
Analogue outputs: RCA x 2, XLR x 1
Dimensions (W x H x D): 430 x 125 x 370 mm
Weight: 13 kg

| EX-B7
Class of operation: AB
Output: 250 W RMS/8 Ω
Peak output: 400 W/8 Ω
THD+N: <0,05% (-80 dB)
S/N: >110 dB (0,01 Hz- 1 MHz), >130 dB (a-weighted)
Frequency range: 0-2,5 MHz (±3 dB)
Slew rate: 200 V/μs
Power consumption: 30 W idle, 600 W @ max power
Input sensitivity: 1,45 V
Input impedance: 51 kΩ
Inputs: RCA x 1, XLR x 1
Dimensions (D x W x H): 330 x 230 x 190 mm
Weight: 17 kg/pc.

Reference system 2018

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC