Vivid Kaya S12 loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog sources: Linn Sondek LP12 Klimax turntable with Linn Ekos SE/2 tonearm, Linn Ekstatik moving coil cartridge, Linn Urika phono preamp, and Linn Radikal/2 power supply; Dr. Feickert Analogue Blackbird turntable with Schick 10.5" tonearm, Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum moving coil, Koetsu SUT, EAR Phono Classic MM/MC phono preamplifier.
Digital sources: Roon Nucleus+ music server, dCS Bartók DAC/streamer.
Integrated amplifiers: Pass Labs INT-25, Line Magnetic LM-518 IA.
Power amplifier: Parasound Halo A 21+.
Loudspeakers: Falcon Acoustics "Gold Badge" LS3/5a, KEF LS50, DeVore Fidelity O/93, EJ Jordan Marlow.
Cables: Interconnect: Cardas Clear Cygnus, AudioQuest Mackenzie, Black Cat Coppertone, Triode Wire Labs Spirit II. Speaker: Triode Wire Labs American Series. AC: AudioQuest Tornado, manufacturer's own.
Accessories: AudioQuest Niagara 1000 power conditioner; Harmonic Resolution Systems M3X-1719-AMG GR LF isolation platform (under Parasound A 21+); Kuzma Platis 65 turntable isolation platform (under Feickert Blackbird), Audiophile Systems turntable platform (under Linn LP-12).—Herb Reichert

Vivid Audio BV
Vivid Audio U.S.
201 West High St., Unit B10
East Hampton, CT 06424
(650) 996-2295

PeterG's picture

A great review, as always, and I would look forward to a listen.

But as a person who enjoys stand-mounts, it always puzzles me when they are reviewed without a sub and then evaluated on bass. OK, that's a very relevant issue for a person who will not have a subwoofer--maybe they live in an apartment building or love monitor-style sound? But for a person stepping up with $8K or so for speakers, I would expect they are typically committed enough to great sound that they "need" a sub.

MZKM's picture

Many audiophiles who can afford this speaker are also usually the ones who disdain subwoofers, they are 2ch purists.

Also, the price tag for a 4” woofer is very steep. Even if crossing to a sub, the speaker has to be able to go down to at least 80Hz not just at 1W but also at peak SPL, which a 4” woofer is unlikely to do. But yes, other than bass, the measured performance on & off axis is very good.

PeterG's picture

I am a 2 channel audiophile with stand mounts that are a bit higher in price than these, and a subwoofer is essential. (So I'm not complaining about the price and I'm skeptical of your "purists" point wrt stand mount buyers) Without the sub, the stand mounts may sound beautiful, but they do not sound complete--it's kind of like you're listening to only a portion of the song.

Jack L's picture


Bingo !

How can a 4" mid-bass driver (3KHz X-over) reproduce decent bass, let alone cathedral pipe organ music & synethetic rock bass notes !!! This is physics.

Listening is believing

Jack L

Jack L's picture


Really ???

So yours truly might be one-of-a-kind "2-ch purist" as I hate multi-channel surround sound since day one. Yet I've installed 3 active subs to my pure stereo system (L,R, L+R channels).

I demand music performances covering FULL frequency spectrum from my stereo system. NOTHING less ! Why compromise music enjoyment because of the main loudspeaskers not doing their job right ?

Listening is believing

Jack L

Anton's picture

She took one look at the pic of the back of that speaker and asked, "What in the hell is that supposed to look like?"



That stand/speaker difference is interesting.

Thank you for the fine review, the speakers are reminiscent of the new Genelec line. Were those reviewed here, or was it The Audiophiliac?

MontyM's picture

I thought they looked like lima beans. My partner thought they looked like a character from the Barbapapas, a somewhat obscure cartoon from the early 70's. Either way, not a conventional shape or color.

I do like designs with a point of view, both acoustically and aesthetically, though. Thanks for the review HR.

Jack L's picture


Personally, I don't worry too much about the look of any audio components as long as they combinedly sound good.

The look does not tell you how good or bad it may sound, right ? The music is for our ears. Not a fine dine which should look, smell & taste good.

Listening is believing'

Jack L

RH's picture

Nice review!

I have listened to several Vivid speakers, and auditioned the Oval speakers, and listened to the Kaya45 speakers a number of times at a friend's place. "Vivid" is certainly an apt name; that's certainly the impression of that brand, no matter where I heard them! Just super open, airy, ridiculously detailed.

The thing is, to my ears, while the speakers conjured up super "vivid" sonic images of singers, they never really sounded human. More like a fabulous holograph of a recorded voice. The artifice of the recording process was made just as "vivid."

I was using Harbeth SuperHL5plus speakers at the time and after listening to the Vivid speakers, voices on the Harbeths just sounded more like real people - dense and soft in a palpable and recognizably "fleshy" manner. (Frankly, the same was also true to an extent with my Thiel speakers powered by my Conrad Johnson tube amps).

I find the Vivid speakers a neato experience, but they aren't for me. I get why others would love them, though. And I have a hunch which way Herb's tastes go on that...:-)

thethanimal's picture

You start off referencing Family Matters and then give the gems of Nik Bärsch’s Mobile and “Hirundo Maris - Chants du Sud et du Nord”, further cementing your status as my favorite audio writer/reviewer. Thanks.

remlab's picture 5.8 khz is most likely a breakup in the 4" metal cone raising it's ugly head. I have a feeling that the crossover uses relatively shallow slopes compared to other Vivid models. The vertical response family is also indicative of that.

Axiom05's picture

I was surprised to see such an obvious resonance peak in a Laurence Dickie design.

remlab's picture

I wonder if it's due to the cabinet being too small and crowded for a higher element crossover.

pbarach's picture

That is the ugliest finish I have ever seen on a speaker. I had to check the manufacturer's website to see if it came in other colors: Yes, but that website only shows the same gangrenous green.

Glotz's picture

Is 'grass-fed and tactile'. LOVE it.

Glotz's picture


tonykaz's picture

Audiophile Transducers typically make our music sound better, isn't that the goal we strive for ???

I like and appreciate the Active Genelec Monitors that look pretty much like this Vivid design but also offer matching Sub-Woofers and other Room Matching capability for significantly lower investment costs. ( and long lived re-sale -- residual values ) .

Maybe I'm prejudiced because the Vivid somehow reminds me of TellaTubies , hmm.

Still , if this transducer can live up to Mr.HR's discovery of 'shape-shifting', it just might be a neurotic / psychotic's ultimate satisfaction system. When a person changes interconnects, will this loudspeaker notice ?, care ?, throw a fit ???

These Vivid people certainly do a nice job of designing and building unique products, but will they ever disappear in any Room they're in, even if the lights are fully off : Vivids are loudest when they're silent.

Tony in Florida

Herb Reichert's picture

The Genelec G3s are up next


remlab's picture

Now we’re talkin’. That’ll be fun

remlab's picture

MontyM's picture

Hi Jack,

I agree that the top selection criterion has to be how well a component sounds in your room. But I think it also has to be something you enjoy looking at. Even then, while I might be willing to work a pair of very modern looking Kaya loudspeakers into our traditionally decorated home, it's not all up to me. Fortunately, there are lots of excellent sounding beautifully crafted components out there, so major sacrifices are rarely, if ever, necessary.

Best, Monty

Jack L's picture


Fully appreciated yr home situation now ! You are not alone, for sure.

That's one of the reasons why I installed my audio den down the basement of my house day one I moved in 30 years back.

My wife is very indifferent to HiFi music which is deemed 'noisy' to her. That said, she somehow pushed my elder son into learning piano while he was only 5. She wanted him to complete his classical piano training before entering university. Thanks goodnes, he did after graduated from our city's Royal Conservatory of Music on classical piano with honour.

So home sweet home upstairs & music sweet music downstairs in my basement. Everybody is happy now.

Jack L

Danny-s's picture

Definitely on my wish list for a bedroom speaker.
Still addicted to my other Vivid’s v1.5 (Powered by Audionet WATT) which are just Incredible! :-)

tnargs's picture

Does it look like an EBS alignment to you, John? I know it has this complex “tube loaded reflex” internal arrangement, but the net effect resembles EBS at first glance?