While the Kipod seemed to require more power than usual, it did not come across as difficult to control (stated impedance is 8 ohms, nominal; 5 ohms, minimum), and its macro-dynamic range and transients were better than any other speaker of its size I have heard. At no time did I ever detect any strain from the speaker itself, even during the most demanding musical passages. Both the Gamut M250i and Pass Labs X350.5 (review forthcoming) were well suited to powering the Kipod II Passive. I would think twice, though, about pairing it with a tube amp, unless it’s a reasonably powerful one.
The potential for the Kipod to sound astonishingly good or merely good depends, to some extent, on its placement—at least this proved to be the case with the passive version. YG’s Dick Diamond came out to my house and assembled the speaker by bolting the rectangular main module on top of the larger trapezoidal bass module. The main module is, essentially, a 40 pound mini-monitor (which can be purchased separately as a stand-mounted speaker) with a 6" YG aluminum-cone midrange driver and a YG waveguide-mounted soft-dome tweeter. (The waveguide aids in matching the dispersion pattern of the tweeter to that of the midrange unit.) The bass module is, essentially, a passive, 82-pound subwoofer with a 9" YG aluminum-cone woofer. After assembly, Diamond spent about two hours adjusting its placement in my room—a service all new Kipod purchasers receive from their YG dealers. Naturally, like any audio-obsessed person would, I later moved the Kipods around just to see if I could better Mr. Diamond’s setup. I couldn’t. I returned them to where Diamond had left them and later adjusted toe-in just a hair. The lesson: Let the professional do the setup.
Break-in time also played a larger role than I anticipated. The Kipod sounded fantastically detailed and dynamically alive when first set up in my system, but the sound tended to be localized around the cabinets themselves if too much toe-in was applied—and it didn’t take much—which, in turn, gave me the impression that some loss of center image focus was sacrificed when only a little toe-in was applied. Also, before sufficient break-in occurred, there was a bit of upper-midrange hardness; the bass seemed overdamped and constricted; and there just wasn’t the sort of “musical flow” I expected. Then, right around the 400-hour mark, everything improved, and not subtly, either.
Fully broken-in, the Kipod’s overall performance is like that of a first-rate mini-monitor with great bass and expanded dynamics added to the package: an expansive soundscape (very deep, very wide, and with an apparent increase of height), a peer-into-the-recording resolution and transparency to upstream gear, well fleshed-out images (without etched image boundaries), and a corporeal solidity coupled with bass weight underpinning the entire presentation. The Kipod recreated a soundscape that, recording permitting, extended beyond the listening room walls. On the LP Gershwin [Slatkin, St. Louis, Reference Recordings], I could close my eyes, point to the outer edges of the soundscape, open my eyes again, and find I was pointing to positions about one foot beyond the room’s sidewalls. On the studio-created soundscape of “Di Se Re” from the Bollywood soundtrack Di Se [A. R. Rahman, Venus], the soundstage was even wider. The same sort of performance applied to depth as well. This means the Kipod’s effective soundstage extends considerably beyond the speakers’ outer edges and as deep or deeper than the distance from the speaker to the backwall.