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Vladimir's picture
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Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review
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:clap: Hi everyone and happy holidays! :beer:  I hope you are all enjoying yourselves with great food and even more importantly - great music. 

 

I'll be most definitely enjoying with good tunes since 48 hours ago my new amp just came in, the Roksan Kandy K2 BT (Bluetooth).  :rockout:

 

THE SOUND

I won't wax poetic I'll just give my first impressions, which are all positive as the amp is playing and opening up every day bit more. The amp is smooth, detailed and has quite good PRaT to my liking. It is very forgiving for bad recordings and badly produced music. It doesn't shout and growl at me. Its soo smooth, like milk and honey. God I love MOSFET.  :pray:

At first it felt a bit too smooth and rounded, loosing some textures and timbre of live instruments that I got used to with brighter amps and midrange hyped speakers. But as more as I play music through it I hear improvements and everything is balancing out, of course I had to do some speaker repositioning as well. The dark character of my B&Ws is predominant here, regardless of amps. 

So the acoustics is to my nitpicking satisfaction. Dynamics? This is not a Roksan, this is Rocky Balboa, it punches some heat. Quite powerful, driving my inefficient (effectively 81db) B&W CM1 speakers without breaking a sweat, it doesn't even get mildly warm. I connected it to my vintage 4 ohm compression box Acoustic Research AR-11B's and it drove them just as easily as the B&Ws. 

I've been playing Otis Taylor's discography for two days very very loud and damn this amp likes to boogie.   Dance 4 Look up Otis Taylor - Ain't No Cowgirl on youtube.

 

THE MACHINE

Looks wise I was surprised that I liked the silver version more than the black since I had the opposite appeal comparing the amps online. It's not tacky and does not look like satellite dish receiver as I expected. It is quite elegant and pleasant to look at.

It's heavy at some 14kg, it is solidly built and all buttons, switches, jacks etc. feel excellent and robust. I'm used to vintage "built like a Sherman tank" vintage amps so this is important for me. 

Under the hood, I could only peak through the vents and I see a new motorized volume pot, which is better than the one in the original K2. It used to have a normal carbon track volume pot, which I dislike, now they have ALPS 325M 50KAX2. The Transformer is still a huge (now bigger) NORATEL with 550VA. All the 8 MOSFETs are still there and the amp now has upped to 5 regulated supply rails. Mmmm geek porn...  :shifty: Lots of quality relays and VRs, so my OCD was calmed down. I would prefer all of the caps to be Panasonic and UCC, no occasional Samwha, but I'm not complaining considering the price I paid for the unit was 840GBP with a 5 year waranty. 

 

There is a new remote, this time without the annoying touch display and beeping. It is a decent thin, elegant, push button Universal Learning Remote. You can actually plug a USB cable in the battery area and program your remote online for its functions. It comes preprogrammed with bunch of stuff. I noticed that when I click the Bluetooth on/off button it doesn't work, so I went ahead and reset it all and just kept the K2 functions and voila!

Using the BT is the easiest thing in the world, I was just confused that it worked out so simply. I just clicked BT on the remote, then looked for a device in my phone, mated it with the Roksan (2 seconds) and clicked play and it just played music. Sounds great even if it was mp3. If the phone or your PC bluetooth dongle supports Apt-X ( BT 4.0 ) you can play FLAC files at lossless CD quality of 16/44.1. Sound is as good as Audioquest Dragonfly to my ears.  :shhh:

 

Cheers from Macedonia.

Vlad

 

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Welcome Vladimir, and hope you're enjoying the festivities.

Yes, when I heard the K2 it's a powerful beast, nicely detailed and great with certain types. I just found over period of time, not as long as you, the Kandy just seemed to be missing something with my old Monitor Audio RS6s. TBH, I'm still not sure what that something is. All I can say is the Leema had that little wow factor by comparison, just a little more of most things, except output.

Nevertheless, the K2 is still a cracking amp for the money and it will only sound better over the next couple of weeks.

Enjoy the music. Smile

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Hi PP,

Thanks for the welcome mate.  :cheers:

No dealer for that Leema where I'm at, but love the looks of it in the magazines. 

I have more than one hifi setup and I wanted one that is fun and non fatiguing that I can listen to all day. I was spoiled with choice at this price range (up to 1000 GBP) and for me the Roksan has that special something as I'm sure your amp has for you. 

 

Cheers

 

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

I believe that the speakers were to blame for the Kandy sounding a bit too rounded. Also, when I heard the Kandy LIII with the same speakers it sounded a little boisterous, especially with some rock music.

Although the Leema sounded more alive than the Kandy, you have to bear in mind the Leema originally sold for £1200 GBP, whereas the K2 was £750 GBP (now it's around £800 (I think).

Certainly in the sub£1000 pound bracket the Kandy, along with Creek Evo2 remain my favourite amps. 

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

I see. Well usually speaker positioning solves a lot of problems but not many have enough elbow room (read WAF) in their living space so people resort to swapping gear, cables, carts etc. I was lucky enough to shop for an amp with no such compromise in mind. 

 

For 1200 GBP I would most definitely buy the Caspian. I liked it but its not what I was aiming at - finding a smooth partner for my CM1s. Would be an overkill for them IMO.

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

I did experiement with speaker position but didn't solve the very slight issue I had with both Kandys.

When I purchased the Pulse I did compare it to the Caspian and Naim XS, and to be honest, sound quality-wise there little to choose between the three amps. What swayed it for me was the Leema's built-in phono stage and in terms of SQ the fast accurate bass.

But within that price bracket it was a very togh call.

I'm genuinely happy you're pleased with the Kandy. It's always nice to hear of people happy with their purchases. Smile

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

congrats, you are the first whos describe sound of b&w as dark Smile in my book, they are typical example of bright sound...

 

congrats on kandy...i was listening plain version of k2 and i have to tell something is missing as well...but, are happy and that's the most important thing...

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Hi Tacty,

 

I refered to my CM1s as being darker due to the upper midrange dip. 

Those that found the K2 unexciting were possibly looking for more gain in the midrange. When I apply this EQ I get the Naim Nait 5si "vivid" bipolar transistor sound. 

http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/5701/zisr.png  

I much prefer MOSFETs for my CM1's, and the Kandy K2 is a bloody good one.

Thats how this hobby sucks you dry. Its an upgrade after upgrade chasing the "special something" and no bit of kit is definite. There is always something better out there for your ears, but rarely for your pocket. Considering the sweet bluetooth apt-x integrated DAC in the Kandy this amp is unmatched value for money IMO. 250 euros saved on buying a DAC alone!

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Vladimir wrote:

Thats how this hobby sucks you dry. Its an upgrade after upgrade chasing the "special something" and no bit of kit is definite. There is always something better out there for your ears, but rarely for your pocket. Considering the sweet bluetooth apt-x integrated DAC in the Kandy this amp is unmatched value for money IMO. 250 euros saved on buying a DAC alone!

Not sure about upgrade after upgrade. I can only speak personally, but you instantly know if a amp, CD, speakers etc sounds right. I've had my Leema since 2010, my old MAs for 6 years and previous Arcam amps for 14 years.

Think the trick (if a trick actually exists) is to dem until you find the right combo.

BTW, don't think the UK version of the K2 has BT capability.

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

You are one lucky penguin. I have the hedonistic urge to want more.  :doh:

 

BTW there is no UK version that I know of. :?  Looks like its the same amp I got.  http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/roksan-kandy-k2-bt-integrated-amplifier

This BT stuff is brilliant. I don't have to yank the PC or the CDP each time I want good tunes. The phone is usually always with me and even I don't have to haul the amp remote, I just adjust volume on the phone. Good lazy happy times.

 

Cheers.

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Vladimir wrote:

You are one lucky penguin. I have the hedonistic urge to want more.  :doh:

 

Cheers.

I've always said on here that the Leema is a genuine keeper. It's that good IMO. To replace it would have to be something very special (and expensive).

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Good for you PP.

 

I would go for the better Roksan Caspian M2 at that price range. I like powerfull and refined sound as its sonic performance competes above its class. Better than a Naim Supernait to my ears (through the Spendor A6). 

 

I'm not a fan of lightweight amps. Smile

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

The Leema isn't a lightweight. It doesn't have quite the bass depth of the Caspian, Naim XS... but it certainly makes up for it with bass reach and punch. It terms output the Leema is slightly more powerful than the Caspian (paper spec). TBH, any of those aforementioned amps would not be a disappointment.

Have given thought to Electrocompaniet EC1-3, but whether it would give me the upgrade I would need to splash the cash is another question.

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Just pulling your tail Mr. Penguin, a bit of tongue-in-cheek. :grin:

 

You're alright mate and I appreciate your comments. Enjoy the music.  :rockout:

 

Cheers

 

PS 

Easy to spot the new K2 Bluetooth is with the new hood ornamet. Here is a photo I made.  http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/2992/lxxd.png

 

Here is a cool advertizement three students from UK made about the Roksan Kandy K2.  :O  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meJ84YIRLU0

John is obviosly drunk, can't think straight.  Dance 4

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Try and post some pictures in 'Your System' section. Would be good to see your set-up in situ. :cheers:

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RE: Roksan Kandy K2 BT Initial Impressions Review

Will do, but should tidy up a bit first. Might take a while since I'm a bachelor.  Wink

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