Kiso Acoustics HB-N1 Speaker, Metronome DSS Streamer and Le DAC, Thales Slim II Turntable, Karan Acoustics KAL MK3 Preamplifier, KAS 400 Stereo Amplifier, and PH1 Phonostage, EMT STX 5/10 Step-Up Transformer

Wynn Audio of Toronto presented a lovely demo with a couple of new products: the Swiss-made EMT STX 5/10 step-up transformer ($9280), which employs a toroidal transformer with pure silver wiring to provide output options for 14dB or 20dB of gain with a lower noise floor for higher resolution, and the Métronome DSS Streamer (DSS stands for Digital Sharing Streamer), which was released in January but seen for the first time here in the U.S. The French manufacturer’s DS (Digital Sharing) lineup was launched three years ago with a streamer/server; market demand led to the development of the DSS, which retails for $4300. The DSS is designed to be “plug-and-play” and handles PCM files up to 384kHz and single-rate DSD (DSD64), streaming via Ethernet or Wi-Fi with MQA and Roon compatibility and AirPlay 1 and 2 certifications. The look of its compact chassis was inspired by piano keys. It comes in silver or black and displays the marque’s characteristic blue LED and logo.

The system also included a Métronome Le DAC ($7000) and a Thales Slim II turntable fitted with Thales Simplicity II tonearm ($9450) and an EMT HSD 006 cartridge ($1760). Wynn Audio has recently taken over EMT distribution for the U.S. and Canada.

Amplification was from Karan Acoustics, including a PH1 phonostage ($14,000), KAL MK3 preamplifier ($10,800), and KAS 400 stereo amplifier ($16,900). All cabling was Crystal Cable Future Dream. An Entreq Olympus Infinity ground box ($3600) was also in the system.

And the speakers? The diminutive Kiso Acoustics HB-N1 ($9500) two-way minimonitors stood atop metal stands (sold separately). The mahogany cabinets are made in a guitar factory in Japan and share some characteristics of hollow-body string instruments, such as a thinner structure instead of a typical rigid speaker enclosure. Resonances from the cabinet and its small port are said to amplify and benefit the sound and its dispersion.

More than one show attendee who entered the room asked if those were the only speakers playing—a testament to the li’l Kiso’s room-filling sound A cut of a German LP of cello and guitar sounded lush, very three-dimensional, and true to life. An outstanding performance from these tiny transducers.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Another interesting bookshelf/stand-mount speaker for review by Stereophile :-) .........