as a child of the eighties, i naturally associate the name "kim" with kim wilde, but as the namesake of this not-so-compact compact (price: 11.990 euro) served not the platinum blonde pop singer – but ensign kim from star trek voyager. well, the name of the big speaker brother – borg – could have been a hint to me, but in this life i will probably not become a trekkie anymore. anyway, it’s amusing how karl-heinz fink and his team (https://finkteam.Eu/) christen your speakers.
on the left the floor model finkteam borg, on the right our test candidate, the finkteam kim
sympathetic is also the right word, concerning the outer appearance of this two-way player. if i may continue to associate: the kim looks like a brit-monitor of the present time, doesn’t it??
It is so beautifully angular, the baffle makes a broad chest (30 cm), and then there is this filigree steel substructure, which has been sighted in such a way or similar with spendor, harbeth, graham and other representatives of the guild. at the same time, the kim has "modern" design features, so that vintage flair doesn’t really come up: the wide bevel on the left/right of the AMT, for example, which is supposed to improve the radiation behavior, the cool soft-touch surface of the 37 millimeter baffle, which forms a nice contrast to the rest of the body, and last but not least, the fact that the speaker stand is slightly tilted backwards. this should bring the sound stage to the right height, after all, the air motion transformer (another modern thing) bundles quite neatly in the vertical and the design specification – the box should not exceed "windowsill height" – would otherwise have provided a "flatter" sound image. speaking of the stand: it is screwed to the speaker and is part of the overall concept, the finkteam kim always comes with it.
Firmly screwed and always present: the speaker stand of the finkteam kim is part of the overall concept. It deliberately offers little surface area to prevent resonance from becoming an issue in the first place
The driver assembly of the finkteam kim
Instead of the much praised and considerably more expensive stand model finkteam borg (28.900 euro) the kim contains an eight, not a ten inch speaker – which is decent for a compact speaker; it works in a 29 liter volume. The bass-midrange driver is a completely proprietary design. karl-heinz fink uses coated paper as the diaphragm material, the basket is made of die-cast aluminum, and the copper coil is double-wound onto a carrier made of "TIL" – a glass fiber/epoxy mixture that is as stiff as aluminum, but shows no eddy current losses. The magnetic system has been optimized for minimal distortion and has an aluminum impedance control ring – lower distortion and intermodulation values would be the result.
low-midrange driver of the kim: the eight-incher has a membrane made of coated paper and a surround made of rubber
While the surround of the woofer in the borg is made of coated fabric, a rubber surround was chosen for the finkteam kim. The reason: in order to achieve the desired low resonant frequency, the fabric surround could only have been coated a little – but then there would inevitably have been unsightly distortions in the midrange. In this case, a rubber surround ensures that low coloration and the desired resonant frequency do not represent a trade-off.
fink gets the AMT for the kim from the cologne manufacturer mundorf
for the upper layers fink uses as mentioned an air motion transformer – from mundorf. of course you can’t buy the one in the kim, the model was made for the finkteam according to specifications. At eleven centimeters high, the AMT is quite large, but not as sensitive as the standard Mundorf Amts, for example, says karl-heinz fink. apropos: the total sound pressure level of the kim is given with 86 db at 2,83 V/1 m, a medium value. nominal impedance is 8 ohm, minimum is a friendly 5.9 ohm (at 160 hertz). this loudspeaker does not seem to be too demanding a load.
The separation of the paths takes place at 2200 hertz with a linkwitz-riley crossover 4. order; to enable accurate phasing in the transition region, an allpass filter is used. interesting things are happening at the connection terminal: not only can the tweeter level be adjusted a little (+/- 0.5 db), which is often seen, but also the damping can be adjusted. With the left knob you can switch between upstream resistors and thus adjust the damping factor in dependence of the driving amplifier (z. B. tube or transistor) respectively personal gusto tuning. Smart idea.
The three-part crossover of the finkteam kim
Another: since the optimization of the group delay quickly reaches its limits with passive loudspeakers, a free, DSP-based correction file can be looped in for the "digital listening path", which further trims the finkteam kim to time accuracy. The prerequisite is that you use roon. Then the fink dealer of your confidence can install the equalization in the DSP section there. More about the sonic effects later.
the rock-solid single-wire terminal of the finkteam also comes from mundorf. The terminal offers two rotary controls – the tweeter level and the damping can be adjusted
More than just a box
as nice and simple as the finkteam kim looks, the speaker cabinet is technically quite sophisticated. the construction of the speaker is done with two 18 millimeter thick MDF boards, which are connected by a special glue, which should provide thanks to defined elasticity for significantly reduced housing resonances. Stabilizing struts serve the same purpose.
inside the kim, helmholtz resonators are working against possible cabinet resonances, their working range is around 300-500 hertz
But the really special thing are the eight helmholtz resonators inside the box. Instead of calming the resonances exclusively with the help of damping material, fink thought it would be a better idea to "counteract" the pressure maxima prevailing at the cabinet walls with corresponding fast maxima by means of precisely tuned resonators. They are single-ended tubes of defined length and a certain amount of damping material at the aperture.
Finkteam kim: listening test& compare
after some time of playing in, i first try out the knobs on the terminal of the finkteam kim. As expected, there is little change in the tweeter, after all it’s only about half a decibel. Depending on the recording, a touch more or less is quite nice, but it is not decisive for the performance. This is also the case with the damping control. positions "2" and "3" sound a tad tighter/slimmer than "1" – with emphasis on "tick. I have left it in the further then with neutral and/or "1". It’s practical that these controls are available, but I could live without them.
And it’s damn good – the kim is really something special, where do i start now ..? Maybe for a change not with the tonal discussion, but with the two central strengths of the small finkteam: the fantastic room imaging and the excellent resolution.
the way the stage is presented reminds me a little of the paradigm persona 3F, which is the same price but conceptually very different. like the canadian stand speaker the finkteam kim knows how to place the musicians in the room in an almost conspicuously free way. Basically the impression is that what you hear has nothing at all to do with the angular boxes in front of you. They just stand there by chance. On the other hand, with centrally positioned voices, one wonders that no centerspeaker can be made out, if you know what i mean. the detachment of the imaging is really excellent, the crucial threshold – good reproduction or "hey, there’s someone there"!" – takes the finkteam just by the way. Probably the elaborate cabinet technology and the clean phase response pay off here.
What looks like a carrying handle on the top right is the bass reflex channel of the finkteam. The BR resonance frequency is 37-38 hertz
As far as the spatial dimensions are concerned, finkteam kim is faithful to the original: quite a monitor, she doesn’t stage anything, but lets it pass, she masters the small-small as well as the lush orchestral panorama. and where the virtual stage starts is also left to the recording, the kim can march forward or play relaxed from the baseline, just as it happens.
With these talents it is not surprising that live recordings are also convincing. The room atmosphere of the recordings is brought across great, like on "clear (live)" from the album further standards by howe yellow& lonna kelley (listen on amazon), or one of my standards, live in reykjavik by lhasa de sela, where the integration of the audience seems especially realistic (and not like annoying "noise").
Of course, the second great strength of the finkteam kim pays off here, her striking resolution. With live recordings you often have this cocoon of ambient noise, this shimmering in the room, this atmosphere that you can’t really grasp in acoustic terms, at least not for me. There is also much happening in the high tone. Often one is inclined to put said atmosphere right into the tape noise and put it aurally ad acta, because it just doesn’t differentiate itself enough from it (although with today’s recording technology this is rather unlikely, I know). This is different with the Kim, its AMT allows even the most filigree high-frequency spinning to pass quite naturally and brings seemingly incomprehensible atmospheric shimmering in the room clearly and casually across. This is by far not common even with good loudspeakers of this league in the quality offered.
the finkteam kim in white/walnut, black/amarra and steelgrey/white
The fabulous level of detail is not limited to the upper layers, the entire midrange, starting with the fundamental sound, is also super-explicit, and since we are talking about real resolution here, not tonal tricks, it seems quite natural, never intentional or forced. Well captured voices are really a show: you are very close and get everything, but just en passant, completely free of artifacts, pure. Maybe the already mentioned paradigm persona 3F with its beryllium midrange driver is able to get a bit more out of the signal, but that’s not much. I find it great.
And what about the resolution in the bass?? contour, dryness – is there. In balanced measure. Acoustic instruments (double bass) do not sound too dry, too rigid-controlled, electronic low-frequency capades do not sound soft or diffuse. the whole thing can be called "semi-dry" and represents a pretty ideal compromise. For the concept it’s very good, but for the price range it’s nothing really striking, you get that more often. And yes, there are representatives of the guild that offer even more detail and tightness.
These are then often (larger) stand and / or active models, but we are dealing here with a passive compact speaker, in view of which one must be very satisfied. And as far as tastes and depth in the basement are concerned, the kim really astonishes. this is quite comparable to normal floorstanding speakers – yes, if i remember correctly, the paradigm even played slimmer – and if i had to name a compact with more bass power, it’s not so easy to do so. Okay, the spendor SP100R² would be such a case. But is the compact? Not really – and the finkteam plays snappier, drier, more contoured.
The level ratios in the bass are balanced, I can’t detect any notable deviations from the ideal line. The deeper it goes down, the more one wonders why it comes out of this nevertheless clearly large cabinet at all – example: the bass run on "love at first sight" on spain/sargent place (listen to the album on amazon). Madness, you almost think you have an active in front of you. And even when not very audiophile, noisy stuff with party levels is fired (like fugazi/waiting room, lushes/low hanging fruit), the kim remains steadfast, just blows it out without tipping over into bright screechiness. Not bad. So: if you always thought you had to set up a floorstanding loudspeaker to be able to let it bang properly – don’t cross the finkteam kim off your shortlist too hastily, it can do that as well.
At the other frequency extreme, the high frequency, the ratios are also balanced, almost textbook linear, even towards the super high frequency is not emphasized or rounded one iota. The wider bandwidth is a difference to the wilson audio tunetot, which colleague dames had on his hands just now. The tunetot is more integrative and organic on top, while the kim is more airy – and since it’s about three times the size of the wilson, the bottom end is more powerful and has more depth. Which one is more convincing will be decided in the listener’s room: the wilson is a real compact and runs little risk of triggering all room modes – the finkteam is optically still halfway compact, but acoustically, as mentioned, rather a medium-sized floorstanding speaker.
Last but not least: also in the midband the finkteam is a neutral monitor, it is remarkable how coloration-free, differentiated and transparent it comes across, also because there are no tonal tendencies. The finkteam kim is linear in the midrange – the wilson tunetot is comparatively smoother, which is one of its special strengths.
the finkteam kim has height-adjustable spikes
What we have so far? The small finkteam plays tonally neutral and surprises with official potency and depth in the bass, you would not believe it at first glance so. In addition, it is – also in view of the higher price – a real benchmark in terms of resolution and transparent stage imaging.
"benchmark" is not on my lips, as far as the dynamics are concerned, but it’s good for the money. There are more comfortable speakers and those that are even more on the gas – I count the somewhat cheaper blumenhofer genuin FS3 or the more expensive genuin FS2 among them. Both horn-supported, both equipped with larger "caps", both with minor sacrifices in other areas. If the slogan "dynamic first!", then you will tend to such concepts. Admittedly, horns are not everyone’s cup of tea.
As far as fine dynamics and transient reproduction are concerned, I can’t let the "only" good stand – both are above average. Guitar picks, piano strokes, that little scratch when painting a cello or violin, the "start phase" of brass instruments – all this comes across strikingly real with the fink, which not only makes for good timing, but also contributes to the naturalness of the sound coloration. After all, the transient phase of a sound is also decisive for how we perceive the timbre of the respective instrument.
The chamfers on the left and right of the AMT should positively influence the radiation behavior in the high frequency range
equalization via roon
for this test, Karl-heinz fink of course also sent me the correction files mentioned at the beginning, which can (exclusively) be integrated into roon. Interesting story. If they use roon, they probably won’t want to listen without correction, even if it doesn’t do an insane amount right away. a little bit, and it’s going in the right direction: the timing is even more to the point, the bass at the lower corner is a little more contoured and the imaging precision – already excellent with the kim – increases minimally. Once you get used to it, you don’t want to miss it anymore.
Via roon you can loop in DSP correction filters for the finkteam kim
But if you don’t use a roon, you probably won’t miss much either. at least that’s the case in my setup with the innuos-zenith-MK3-musicserver. Roon with correction filter ultimately sounds very, very similar to the proprietary innuos-sense solution without filter. In this respect, I shrug my shoulders a little, which I think is better. But for normal roon users this doesn’t matter and is a no-brainer, not least because the correction filters are a free service offer.
test conclusion: finkteam kim
the finkteam kim is a real highlight – even on the outside: it looks cool and edgy at the same time, and as a large monitor it is still compact enough not to visually dominate normal living rooms. acoustically you get more the volume of a medium sized floor standing model. So you shouldn’t lock them up in too small a space.
The sound strengths of the currently smallest finkteam are its resolving power and the completely free and precise representation of the room. Tonally it is very balanced, with amazing deep bass and straight through highs. The amplifier driving them should be able to do one thing above all: clean play. because of the high resolution and neutral diction the kim passes on "errors" without comment. If you want to do sounding, you have to do it elsewhere, kim does not interfere here. Good so.