DENVER (PTA) — It was exactly one year ago at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018 where we first encountered the Kanto Audio TUK self-powered loudspeaker system. The all-new TUK did impress widely with many of the press and attendees of the show. So much so, it made our Best-of-the-Show list.
Fast forward to
January 2019 … wait, make that the beginning of September 2019 when the TUK began shipping. The original timeline for the launch of the Kanto TUK was scheduled to be earlier in the year, but with such fanfare and praise coming to the new TUK speakers after RMAF 2018, the engineering team at Kanto Audio decided to tweak the TUK platform even more. Making a few subtle changes to enhance and refine the TUK experience, to make it even more of a value for the money.
The Kanto Audio TUK ($799 pr USD) is a wireless self-amplified speaker system, with all sorts of wireless, digital, and analog connectivity available through its long list of user friendly inputs. Starting with the wireless-digital input, Bluetooth 4.2 with Qualcomm aptX HD and AAC codec. Wired-digital inputs include one each USB and Optical Toslink that feed the on-board Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC). Maximum USB-bit-depth is rated at 24-bit/96kHz.
Analog inputs are line-level RCA and RCA with built-in Phono Preamp. Outputs are the speakers themselves, along with one analog dedicated sub-woofer out, a power-only USB Charging port (5V 2-Amp variant), and a single 3.5mm unbalanced headphone jack.
The Kanto Audio TUK speakers are an over-under two-way design, that incorporates subtle wave-guides into the baffles to improve focused dispersion for near-field listening, and better soundstage sharing when used in typical in-room stereo placement. The driver complement per speaker includes the following drivers: the tweeter is an undoubtedly high-end 28x35mm Air Motion Transformer (AMT) driver, and the mid-and-low frequencies are handled by an 5.25-inch Aluminum Concave Cone mid-bass driver.
Amplification for the Kanto Audio TUK is a super-efficient, cool-running, green-friendly Class-D topology that outputs at total 260-watts of dynamic power (130-watts RMS) with both channels driven. Standby power is a measly <0.5-watts. Other green-friendly features include the Auto Power Down/UP feature, which powers on/off the system when program material is (or is not) detected. The Power Down feature self-initiates after a preset length of time. This Auto Power Down/Up feature can be disabled in lieu of traditional user controlled on/off operation.
Included with the system are one of the best remotes on the powered speaker market, which includes a bevy of custom control features for the TUK system that can’t be found on the speakers themselves. Features like tone controls (bass/treble), balance (right/left), volume, mute, input selection, high/low pass filter (for subwoofer), and more. Along with the requisite power and speaker-umbilicus cables, there are additionally included (meaning this is a bonus) 6ft RCA to 3.5mm cable, and 6ft USB A to USB B cable. Rounding out the package of goodies, magnetically attached grilles for a seamless look when not in use, and rubber feet (peel-n-stick) for when used on hard surfaces (shelves) or speaker stands.
Also on display, everything else Kanto Audio makes, including a new Walnut finish version of the popular YU6 ($399 pr USD) model self-powered speaker.
When I first heard the Kanto Audio TUK, my first honest reaction was “Oh shit! The KEF LS50 Wireless have just met their match.” and I still am beholden to that opinion. The revised from first prototype TUK is smoother and more airy in the top-end frequencies, the bass is still just as strong, fast, and clean. The looks are still butter-on-toast good. The balance and integration of the AMT and Aluminum mid-bass drivers is coherent and snappy. What works most about the TUK package is that the speakers present music in a soulful manor, full of life and spirit. Many products in this category are missing the magic, especially at the lower-end of the price spectrum. The Kanto Audio TUK at $799 USD delivers more audiophile sound and soul to the powered speaker category than any other before it.