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RMAF 2018: Kanto TUK debut drops jaws







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Now for something different. A self-contained system. Cleverly implemented into a powered loudspeaker; the new bookshelf or stand mount monitor from Kanto Audio — named TUK (pictured in white, also available in black). The Kanto TUK ($799 pr USD) is destined to be one of the most talked about loudspeakers of 2019 (scheduled to go on sale in January of 2019). Gobs of power and bass force underpin one of the most engaging and exacting top ends I’ve encountered under $1K. Be assured, the new TUK monitors were steadily leaving jaws dropped from both show-goers young and not so young.

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The Story

Our industry buddy Frank Doris gave wind of the new stuff from Kanto Audio. He’s usually an upbeat guy to be around; but Frank is enthusiastic to say the least when it comes to something he’s heard that genuinely tickles his fancy. The new Kanto TUK was now on my list of must visit rooms, and after a just few minutes of listening (despite the crowd) was on my published Rocky Mountain Audiofest list; Must See Rooms of Saturday (read HERE).

It’s not often you see a crowd in steady rotation for chairs in front of a sub-$1K powered speaker exhibit like the Kanto TUK — which as a category — more closely resembles something you’ve find on either side of a computer monitor at the Apple Store, or found on the wall of a hip clothing store. I mean, get serious — we’re at a HIGH-END audio show.

The Kanto TUK portrays itself well as a high-performance machine in both sound and specs. Outward features are a newly-designed Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter, an aluminum concave-cone mid-woofer, and a built-in 65 wpc amplifier. Along with a gaggle of wireless and wired connection options, it is what an all-in-one speaker system should spec.

Designed with a high-quality Bluetooth Qualcomm® aptX™ HD module built-in, along with true analog and digital audio inputs. The Kanto TUK’s phono preamp for turntables is what gets me excited, as a portion of our demonstration was sourcing vinyl directly from a delicious looking Audio Technica AT-LP7 ($799 ea USD) . The Kanto TUK is also suitable for nearfield and desktop listening, with features like a built-in headphone amplifier, and a USB DAC. However in our listening session, it had the entire room at full control.

On static display were the Kanto YU6, and YU4 powered monitors, along with a few of the Kanto subwoofers; the Kanto Sub6, and Kanto Sub8.

The Sound

The Kanto TUK exhibit did one thing tremendously well, it fooled all show-goers and a few press people into thinking the subwoofers were on. The Kanto TUK speakers had no right to sound as full and large as they did at RMAF. With every exchange of listeners to the room, it was often asked if they could be heard without the subwoofers. To which the Kanto team would announce that they were indeed only a static display. I looked, no cables.

Top end sizzle and mid-range were acutely right. No overly harsh brilliance, and power in the general sonic picture never seemed lacking. Furthermore, this was Saturday, so many of us already had a good idea of how the high-end exhibits were sounding in these rooms. Making the price jump from one extreme to the other, didn’t exactly demand that one also jump to another extreme of performance.

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The Systems

Active (playing)

Audio Technica AT-LP7 Fully Manual Turntable – $799 ea USD

Kanto Audio TUK All-In-One System Monitors – $799 pr USD

Static (not playing)

Kanto Audio YU4 All-In-One System Monitors – $329 pr USD

Kanto Audio YU6 All-In-One System Monitors – $399 pr USD

Kanto Audio Sub6 Powered Subwoofer – $249 ea USD

Kanto Audio Sub8 Powered Subwoofer – $289 ea USD