VIVID AUDIO Kaya

PW03.12.2018

Floorstanding loudspeakers

Oyster black is impressive on the new Vivid Audio’s speakers. A pair of the floorstanders looked like big smooth tipped pebbles in the room – no edge, no flat surface, no design disturbance whatsoever. “Kaya” stands for home in Zulu and for rich in Filipino. I think it beautifully captures the essence of the Kaya 90s: pure happiness.

100% reference

Function and form

96%
Ease of use
82%
Sound
98%
Appearance

The driver complement mounted in each curvaceous cabinet comprises of four 12.5cm reaction-cancelling woofers firing to sides and playing into tapered tube reflex enclosure, a 10cm midrange unit and a 2.6cm dome tweeter. All made of aluminum and all having fixed metal grilles rather than fabric ones. The drivers are crossed pretty high at 300Hz and 3KHz respectively. The sensitivity of the speaker (90dB) and load friendliness (4 ohms minimum) make the Kaya quite easy pair with any amplifier, the dispersion pattern of the tweeter is sculpted by a shallow waveguide to eliminate reflections from sides. The cabinets are molded from low weight Soric composite (polyester) and reinforced by glass fiber, so the speakers are surprisingly lightweight for their size (35kg each). The Vivid Audio’s house style prevents anyone from making choices about wood veneers – metallic or flat paints are available for extra cost to match your house style.

Bass management

Weight
78
Slam
92
Articulation
92

The Kayas have been built to accommodate requests of ordinary room dwellers for whom the scale up Giyas were just too big. This also applies to their bass output though it employs the very same tapered tube venting like the Giyas. Unlike the bigger siblings the Kayas do not have the spiral shell top – the tube is an internal part of the tear-drop cabinet´s bracing. Sufficiently far from room boundaries the Kaya starts to play from around 42Hz which is deep enough for most music including symphonic. The Kaya’s bass is punchy and contoured without any overhang and it is beautifully blended to midrange. I did not expect anything different from Vivid Audio. The closer the Kayas got to the walls the stringer the bass was becoming, with a bit of boominess as a trade-off for weight. I prefer the cleaner bass to any sort of deeper bass that may only introduce some modal room problems on top. If you find the bass of the Kayas insufficient (for a home theater for instance) then you can always pair them with a good DSP-controlled sub or two.

Clarity & delicacy

Detail
89
Air
91
Transparency
90

The Vivid Audio Kaya is a brilliant sounding pair of loudspeakers. I mean transparent, clean and extended on top rather than thin and forward sounding. Their highs are silvery, shimmery and controlled – I have never had a feeling of metallic or any other tint to them. Saxophones in Harry James & His Big Band, Still Harry After All These Years (Sheffield Labs LP) were cutting with fiery precision without sound ever losing palpability and harmonic richness.

Tonal accuracy

Timbre
77
Dynamics
88
Temporal resolution
92

Vivid Audio knows how to decompress the drivers so fully dynamic program material is a real treat through the Kaya. These speakers are capable of huge dynamic swings and are lightning fast. The drumsticks on drum skins are like gun shots, resonant and forceful. There are no delays or phase shifts between the drivers, neither any energy conservation by the cabinets – in result Elvis Presley’s vocal (Promised Land, RCA Victor LP) became so alive in the listening room. Also period recordings like Ansermet’s Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky, L'Orchestre De La Suisse Romande) on Decca from 1959 became thrilling and fresh through the Kayas. I forgot to wiggle in my chair completely captivated by the performance. Unlike my Sasha W/Ps the Kayas exhibited more floating sound field, they were not pushy at all.

Spatial resolution

Holography
94
Soundstage width
94
Soundstage depth
95

It’s useless to write about the Kaya’s three-dimensionality and how they can effectively disappear in the room. They do throw a 3D soundstage and they do disappear. What I want to mention is that the integration of the Vivid Audio Kaya in the room needs special attention. Too close to the room boundaries means too much bass and results into boomy sound, incompatibility with room modes can suck out the life from 50-60Hz and the speaker can become too thin. This is true about most speakers but I found the Kaya to be more susceptible to small placement variations. For example, the overdone 90’s mix of The Hunter (Jennifer Warnes, BMG/Private Music) required some shuffling with speaker cabinets to get the right balance between the voice and the electronic sounds.

The mission of the Vivid Audio has been clearly accomplished – the new Kaya 90 comes with all the trademarks that made the Giya so great plus it arrives with friendlier price. If the cost is still too prohibitive for you then the Kaya 90 comes as Kaya 45 or Kaya 25, the number indicating the internal volume of the cabinet.

Price as reviewed:619 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

RP Audio, Ostrava, +420 737 366 831

Associated components

  • Sources: AudioSilente Blackstone Experience, BlackSilent tonearm, Lyra Etna cartridge, Linn Unidisk 1.1, TW-Acustic Raven One with Graham Phantom tonearm and Transfiguration Orpheus cartridge, MoFi Ultradeck with UltraTracker tonearm
  • Amplifiers: Jeff Rowland Daemon 1500W Super Integrated, phono Gruensch Reference Phonostage MCS, Spectral DMA-150
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Furutech Lineflux, Furutech Powerflux, MIT MA, MIT MA-X XLR, MIT V2.1 Oracle, Stealth Audio Hyperphono
  • Power conditioning: Furutech Daytona 303E, Shunyata Research Python Zi-Tron

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