Kairos – an exceptional speaker kit by Jeff Bagby
How it all began – The Tweeter
I returned from the Consumer Electronics show with a pair of sample tweeters from SB Acoustics – a preliminary version of the new, Satori tweeter. I knew Jeff was always interested in new technology so I sent them off for his analysis. After putting them through their paces, he remarked that they measured very similar to the other SB ring domes, but had much lower distortion. He considered several designs to use them in, but what woofer might be equal to this technology?
It would take at least another year, but the first of the Satori woofer line was released and what the SB engineers had done with this unit was quite remarkable. I suggested that Jeff try this woofer with the Satori tweeter. If you are familiar with any of Jeff’s previous designs, he usually builds with units that most would call affordable. He was a bit hesitant to work with drivers that weren’t normally on his go-to list. But, after a few measurements, he was convinced this combination could allow for a design type that was rarely possible and was now jumping at the chance. Please see Jeff’s, pdf write-up for the full design process. (end of the page when available)
The biggest test is the cabinet. As you can see from the photos, the angled front may cause some problems for beginner cabinet makers. Otherwise, if you’ve been looking for that “Best Speaker Kit on the Planet”, then this might be the one. Just add to the cart and start the journey!
How Do They Sound?
“I have designed a lot of speakers and listened to even more. To date, the Kairos is the most musically satisfying and natural-sounding two-way speaker that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to for an extended period of time. The crossover is so coherent that everything appears to come from one homogeneous source. Voices, pianos, guitars, have the most natural balance I have ever heard from a loudspeaker. Midrange reproduction does not get much better.
By themselves, these are obviously not the best speakers for loud rock music, but with smaller-scale music such as acoustic jazz and vocal ensembles these rival state-of-the-art systems. The bass extension is surprisingly clean and deep, and as long as the SPL’s are not pushed too high for the small cone to handle they sound amazingly full-range.
The high-frequency reproduction of the TW29R is pristine. Cymbals are resolved with almost life-like clarity that leaves most other speakers sounding lifeless and plastic. You do not hear the muddied splashiness associated with so many other tweeters due to their distortion. Triangles and hats both sound extremely clean and sharp, the sonic edges are very crisp, and when listening to jazz being carried by a ride cymbal I feel I am almost transported to the room the musicians are in. Imaging is excellent, as you would expect for a small monitor that is time and phase-coherent. Of course, this really depends on how the recording is mixed, but when I listen to minimally mic’ed jazz, like “Jazz at the Pawnshop”, and I place myself in the sweet spot between the speakers it takes on a three-dimensional soundstage. With the tinkling of the glasses, if I close my eyes I feel like I am in the middle of the room with the audience.”
When You Buy These, Here’s What You Get:
Included in this kit are the full build plans. You can purchase is in two forms, depending on your resources:
The Bare Bones Version:
- Satori, TW29R, Ring Dome Tweeter
- Satori, MW16P-8, 6″ Papyrus Cone Woofer
- Base price uses Clarity PX Capacitors. You may upgrade to any brand we have.
- Std Air Core Inductors – 18ga Laminate core for the woofer, 20ga AC on tweeter. Jeff suggested the 14ga air core woofer option for a kit of this stature.
- Sand cast resistors are standard with choice of upgrades
The Full Kit Package:
- Boards & terminals for mounting the crossover components
- A wide choice of Binding Post input Terminals
- 16ga stranded twisted pair, Copper Wire
- Driver mounting Hardware
- Damping material (not pictured)
- Port Tube (not pictured)
Have trouble soldering or reading a crossover diagram? We can assemble them for you at a nominal charge.