I've always had(and still have) a soft spot for Infinity loudspeakers, that is to say for the "classic models". I auctioned the IRS Sigma, Renaissance 90 and bought the SM 152 and 155, Kappa 9a and IRS Omega. To create some budget for a home studio I had to (reluctantly) sell my Omega's and exchanged them with someone for de Kappa's in mint condition.
My first goal was to sell these too, because I thought that they wouldn't sound as wel as the Omega's, well needless to say I was very, very wrong !!! I agree with most of the other reviewers. They sound great and have swept me of my feet !!!
Normally I don't pay much attention to what other people say about a certain product, I trust on my own ears and therefore am not very sensitive to all the commercial chit-chat. The bottom-line is: how will these sound in my own living room. I've had my share of desillusions, buying a system that sounded great at a fair or a store, but not half as good at home.
That's why I've listened to many loudspeakersystems, from the 1000 euro until the 10000's euro range, even in my own collection I've systems that cost ten times more than what the Kappa's have cost me but the Kappa's can compete with them and it is making them very difficult.
The sound is very natural and lucid, no listening fatigue with this speaker. It produces a very wide and deep soundstage even on very soft listeninglevels.
I threw some audiophile test (SA)CD's at them: very high resolution and pin-point accuracy.
They have the ability to keep you involved in the music, keeping you swapping through your music collection to search for the tracks you love and it plays them with verve and musicality !!!
I have an eclectic taste of music so I only have speakers that are allround transducers; they need to be good at classical, jazz, world, pop, folk, new-age, dance/trance, rock, metal etc. no exception there for the Kappa's and everytime when I think: "This track is too difficult for them to play right" they transcent to a higher level than I expected.
And the better your partnering equipment is, the better they sound.
a powerfull and stable amplifier is what these speakers deserve, preferable with a good dampingfactor because of the four 12 inch drivers that need to be driven, especially when switched in extended mode.
I use a Crown K2 class H switching power amplifier and a Sony TAE-9000 es pre-amplifier(digitally connected to the source) and it is a match made in heaven. With 800 watts at 4 ohm(impedance indifferent), there's more than enough dynamic headroom to letting the music come alive !!!
I know that a lot of you people will think that Crown isn't a High End amplifiermanufacturer, but you have to LISTEN to the these audio gems.
A friend of mine who has his own audioshop was blown away by the sonic capabilities of this amp: absolutely neutral, very much controle in the low-end and very fast and powerfull. Depending on which pre-amplifier you'll use(tubes, class a. passive etc.) the sound wil come out differently. Once you've heard it's controlled bass-response you'll find it very hard to appreciate less controlled bass-response anymore.
For me, at this moment the Kappa's are one of my favourite loudspeakers. And I hope I can enjoy them for a very long time. I will keep them in my collection.
Cabasse Brigantin V
TAF Merlin I
TAF Rectangle Mk II
ACR Isostatik RP300
Thule Spirit (pre)
Quad 66 (pre)
NAD S300 (integrated)
Avance A-30 (integrated)
Vincent Spark II (integrated)
GrandHigh A-280 (integrated)
Crown K1 (power)
Crown K2 (power)
Krell KST-100 (power).
Strengths: sweet, detailled top-end, wide and deep soundstage, pint-point accuracy, allround and.... VERY MUSICAL because I for one listen to music not sound. Far less difficult to drive than the 9a's.
Weaknesses: they're huge, ver low Wife Acceptance Factor...; sonically however: none that I can think of.
Linn Ninka, Magnepan 2.5 se, Dali 850 red series, Dali Suite 3.5, Infinity Kappa 9a, SM 152, SM 155, IRS Omega, Sonus Faber Electa Amator 1 SE, TAF Pilotis, TAF Cadans 28 Twintower mk II, ELAC 250 4pi, Vifa Basis, Procus Fidibus,
This is just a supplement to my last review, with some corrections.
It is a couple of years ago since I wrote it, and a lot has happened. I have learned a great deal, and tried a lot of equipment.
I now have my third pair of Kappa 9.2i, these ones are in beautiful black finish. (The other two pairs I have had was oak)Since my last review, I have purchased and tested both Infinity Renaissance 90LE, Infinity Kappa 9a,Dali Helicon 800 and the ultra large and expensive Usher Compass Dancer CP 8872.(11.000 USD)
Non of these speakers can can match the Kappa 9.2i. The closest ones were the old 9`s, but in my room the 9.2i was clearly better, deeper bass response, cleaner bass, more neutral and coherent top end. The Dali speakers was also good, but lack real deep bass. But with a good subwoofer or two they should be fine!
All the other speakers are now sold, and my third pair of 9.2i is the only ones left standing after this 2 year long "shootout" The only speaker I have heard that I like more is the Revel Salon Ultima, but I don`t want to spend that much. And I doubt they would make me more happy, only more poor...
In my last review I wrote the following: "It delivers 11 hz - 6 dB, 16 hz - 3 dB and 27 hz - 1 dB"
Now I have discovered the world of good subwoofers, and clearly these informations are wrong. The Kappas deliver 27 hz -2 dB, and in my room they play 25 hz linear. But thats it, they roll off quite steep and do not deliver anything worth mentioning below 25 hz.
But my SVS subwoofers does :-)
I have a PB2+ and a PC2531+, they are amazing and delivers powerful clean bass to down to 16, 20 or 25 hz depending on how you tune them. My choice is 20 hz, incredibly low and with great punch. ( I have heard and owned a lot of subs now, SVS is in a class of their own, highly recomended!)
I have a YBA Passion stereo power amp now(114 pounds net weight), it is a masterpiece and drives the Kappas to their limits effortless. But at the price of 10.000 USD it should :-)
The top-end with this amp is much better than with my previous amps, no fatigue.
Together with my SVS subs the Kappa 9.2i delivers world class performance. I have been at hifi shows the last week, listening to B&W 800 Signature, JBL K2 S 9800 and other expensive speakers driven by ultra expensive Mcintosh and Classe`amps. Non of these setups comes close to my own, not only according to me but also according to friends that have listened to my setup and the other setups mentioned.
I am also a great enemy of expensive cables, I use normal good cables and the result is great. But I guess I will buy some expensive stuff when I get more cash, just for fun :-)
Now I am going home to unpack my new JMLab Micro Utopia Be that will be used in my new room in a second setup :-)
Bought these beauties in 1996, the salesperson tried to make me buy the 8.2i because they were easier to drive. But I didnt like the sound of the Kappa 8.2i when compared them to the 9.2i, no match at all !The bottom octaves are reproduced so much more natural and effortless by the 9.2i than any other speaker I have heard, and this is what makes the whole soundstage so natural and beautiful. The mids and top is also very natural and much better than any other speaker I have brought home to test. I would gladly buy some better speakers if somebody made them, but so far I have only been disappointed, but of course happy too.Its a true full range speaker. It delivers 16 hz - 3 dB and 27 hz - 1 dB.The B&W Matrix 801 s2 also have a very deep sub bass reproduction, (20 hz - 2 dB)but can not play very loud compared to the Kappa 9.2i. My brother have a pair of 801, but even powered with his Chord 1200 C (6.000 USD/315 watts into 8 ohms)they can not produce the wanted SPL when he have a party.
I am so happy that I bought the 9.2i, it has been so much fun to use them every day and always trying to improve their performance by changing to a better amp. I started with a Kenwood 2X150 watt integrated amp, it was not at all suitable for the task, bass was not tight. Next was a NAD 218, and it worked very well for the price with good woofer control. From this amp on I have enjoyed the speakers 100 %.My first hi end amp was a Nakamichi PA-7 mk2.(225 watt 8 ohms/ 30 kg) This was really beautiful, the speakers were singing like never before, this amp opened up the speakers and both mail and female voices came out in the room with a presence I had never heard before. Only problem was that they could not control the woofers. Their powersupply is only 700 VA, so together with some more powerful amp to drive the woofers its the perfect amp to use in biamp mode. I also tried a ML 333 but it was a huge disappointment compared to the price. I also tried the Meridian 557, but it went into hardclipping when I turned up the volume, so it was really running out of power, very disappointing.
After using the Nakamitchi for a year , I replaced it with Carver X-760 a. It was very strong (380 watts 8 ohms and more than 600 watts in 4 ohms) But it ran hot and shut off every time I had a party. The sound was very good, but the woofer control even much better than the Naka only at appr. 90 %. So I bought a Parasound HCA 3500. Almost as good as the Nakamitchi in the top, and with fantastic woofer control. This amp made the speakers perform very well, and never ran too hot, even if it is always very hot because it is biased into class A up to 15 watts. I would recomend this amp to anyone, its a 36 kg monster with 350 watts into 8 ohms and 500 watts into 4 ohms. Recently I sold it and bought a new one. First I tried Sunfire Signature, it is on paper the best amp for these speakers. 600 / 1200 / 2400 / 4000 watt into 8/4/2/1 ohms. But it did not deliver the slam in the mid bass and bass that I loved so much with the Parasound. It could play even louder, but without delivering the slam it is also a much easier job for the amp. I ended up with Vincent 991 monoamps, 30 kg pr piece,100 watt class A, 365 watts RMS into 8 ohms and 620 watts RMS into 4 ohms measured. Now the speakers perform as never before. After 100s of hours
of break in the sound is to good to be true. Playing Eva Cassidy or Norah Jones its just like they are standing in the middle of my living room, and all nuances of their voices can be heard so clearly its realy scary !! James Taylors new October Road and his two live DVDs are also awesome, really displaying the fantastic soundstage of these speakers. Play Pearl Harbor or Star Wars episode 2 and you can make the whole house shake like crazy !! And with a lot more slam than a subwoofer gives. Its a pity they were never sold in the US. I sold the Kappas and replaced them with a pair of Renaissance 90 LE. I miss them a lot! Never sell your 9.2i !
This was my "buy of the year 2002". Should you have the chance to purchase these monsters at a reasonable price, then do not hesitate...take'm! It took a while until I could really fully enjoy them. These speakers really are the best via bi-amping using good cables and it took a while and some testing until I settled for 2 pairs of Denon 4400A monoamps, also because I have them on the opposite side of the living room some 11 metres from the
preamp and other equipment. These honeys are earopeners indeed. I hear soundsstages now I could never imagine before and all still at affordable prices; preamp Denon 1500, 4 monos and kappas at a total of Euro 2700 is really a bargain for the quality I get day by day. Be aware though that these babies are "difficult": you need a rather large room, good floor, amp or amps with sufficient power and preferably no neighbours! The bass is truly unbelievable; when hearing Charlie Haden playing with Metheny on "missouri skies" it chills you to the bone and making your lungs tremble..! And the clearity...wow, as if your are standing inbetween them! Don't miss the chance to buy a pair of these Kappas!!!! True High End for the non rich!!!!!!!!!!!
eduardo abril de fontcuberta
Date Reviewed: January 12, 2000
This is apair of speakers I WILL NEVER SALE, I love them. Every time I move from house to house I have to find a room large enough for them.... if not I wont move in. I have tried to buy smaller HIGH END units but they did´t perform as well. This is a real five way speaker (ready for the DVDaudio or SSACD in 1990) with a super tweeter that will go to 44khz full power (measured) with two rear firing mids and tweeter oper pair . You will need 1000W amps or biamplify them to get them to sing. With a Carver M1.0t 225W@8ohms you will get 109db at amp clipping .... I run them with a Carver M4. Silver Seven 375W@8ohm for the four woofers and a Nakamichi PA/ Stasis 225W@8ohm for the highs....... Don´t ask me about SP level ask my neighbours..... It is the most dynamic spaker I have heard bar-none... HIGH end B&W, JMlabs etc... included. MY wife loves the beautiful crafted wookwork, specially on a speaker taller than her !!! It can be a designer furniture too !!! IT´s a shame that Infinity don´t make such spaekers any more ED