Kanto YU 6 & SUB 8 Review

kanto yu6 with marley turntableWe recently had the opportunity to review the Kanto YU6 Bookshelf Speakers, with the SUB8 subwoofer. I’ve been looking forward to listening to these speakers since we reviewed the smaller YU4 model late last year.

For this review we wanted to change it up, so we enlisted a diverse group of musicians to come listen to the YU6 speakers along with our AVU staff to get a broader perspective on the sound. Joining us was Daniel Hersog, Vancouver Jazz musician and leader of the Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra, Joshua Capri, a Professional Saxophonist, Educator, and founder of the Capri School of Music, and Cary Pratt, an professional drummer, and leader of his own band “Prairie Cat“. We would also like to thank Haney Sound in Maple Ridge for lending us a Marley Stir it up Turntable to help with this review.

Style
The glossy black speakers with matching sub have a very sleek, professional look. They are so reflective that it was difficult to get a picture of them that didn’t reflect the rest of the room. The Subwoofer matched the glossy finish perfectly. If the highly reflective surface isn’t your thing, (or if you have young ones with grubby fingers running around), matte black, and several other colour/finish variations are available.
Kanto YU6 Colour Variations
Setup
Identical to the Yu4 speakers, out of the box all you have to do is attach the left & right speakers with the supplied speaker cable, attach the subwoofer with the provided cable, plug them both in and you are good to go. Connection options range from Bluetooth, Optical in, Aux 3.5mm Line-in, and an RCA input. The Kanto YU6 features a phono preamp, allowing you to connect a turntable directly to the speakers, without the need for separate amplification.

Listening Test
First, we started off listening to some Jazz on Vinyl, making use of the YU6’s phono preamp. We spun up the Miles Davis classic, “Someday My Prince Will Come”. As with the YU4’s, the first thing that stuck out was the extremely bright and present high-end tone of the system. The drummers ride cymbal and brushwork on the record were quite overpowering. Thankfully the YU6 has the ability to adjust the Bass & Treble EQ with the remote, and after reducing the treble by a few clicks the sound was greatly improved and the high end was in balance with the rest of the track. Mr. Capri, while impressed with the power to sculpt the sound with a bass & treble control, suggested that adding a boost/cut in the midrange would give the listener even more ability to adjust the EQ to their desired level. Even with the subwoofer turned off, the YU6’s gave a good amount of bass response, easily filling the room with sound. While everyone in the listening group was impressed with the sound, Mr. Pratt suggested that Jazz may not be the best style of music to truly judge the speakers. “In Jazz, the instruments naturally occupy different frequency ranges, and then the instruments are panned hard left or hard right, so the stereo separation is more pronounced”.

We moved on to Hip Hop with Hypnotize by The Notorious BIG streamed through Bluetooth. “Wow, these sound great” exclaimed Mr. Hersog. We spent a bit of time dialing in the subwoofer, made easy by separate level & frequency controls on the back of the sub. In our YU4 review, we found the speakers a bit lacking when listening to Hip Hop without an attached subwoofer, the YU6’s, however, had a much fuller sound & bass response, likely due to the larger drivers and wider frequency response detailed in the specifications. If you primarily listen to electronic music like Hip Hop, or Dance music, the subwoofer will be a welcome addition to the overall sound, but it’s not as much of a necessity as it is with the YU4’s.

The speakers really came alive when we went back to vinyl and spun up some classic Stevie Wonder. The bass & kick drum was tight & punchy, and the rest of the instruments visualized very well throughout the stereo field.

We compared the YU6’s without the sub to a similarly priced Soundbar/Subwoofer combo we had available. The detail and quality were not even comparable. While the soundbar had more bass response due to the subwoofer, the quality of tone throughout the frequency range of the YU6 was far superior. When listening to Miles Davis for example, with the soundbar you can hear the notes he’s playing, but with the YU6’s you can hear far more detail, from the musicians position in the room relative to the Mic, and even when he stops playing to breathe and the beginning of a note starting with the buzz from the mouthpiece.

Kanto yu6 closeupOverall Value

“You get quite a lot for a $500 pair of speakers” exclaims Mr. Pratt. “When I think of other speakers in that price range of comparable quality, mainly music reference speakers like the Yamaha’s or KRKs, they aren’t very consumer friendly. They only connect to mixers with XLR cables, there’s no Bluetooth, no connecting to turntables or to TV’s, no remote control. You get quite a bit [with the YU6’s] for that price.”

Overall the YU6 powered bookshelf speakers are very impressive, and combined with the Sub8 would be a great feature in a dedicated listening room.

Do you have any questions about the Kanto YU6 Speakers or the SUB8? Let us know in the comments below!


Full Specifications From Manufacturer

GENERAL

Tweeters: 1 inch Silk Dome
Woofers: 5.25 inch Kevlar®
Remote: Included

AUDIO

Amplifier Type: Class D
Nominal Impedance:
 6 Ohm
Frequency Response: 50 Hz – 20 kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion: < 0.3%
Crossover System: 2-way
Crossover Frequency: 2.0 kHz

INPUTS AND OUTPUTS

Inputs: 1 x 3.5mm mini-jack AUX | 1 x RCA with Phono Switch | 2 x Optical (TOSLINK) | 1 x Bluetooth™ with Qualcomm® aptX™
Outputs: 1 x Subwoofer | 1 x USB Charge 5V 1A
Speaker Terminals: Left and Right Binding Posts
Input Voltage / Frequency: 100V 60 Hz /240V 50 Hz (auto switching)
Input Sensitivity: 560 mV

POWER

Power Output: 200W Peak Power (100 Watts Total RMS)
Standby Power Consumption: < 0.5 W

WEIGHTS AND MEASUREMENTS

Dimensions (each speaker): 6.9” W x 8.1” D x 10.7” H (17.5 x 20.5 x 27.2 cm)
Net Weight (active): 9.4 lb (4.3 kg)
Net Weight (passive): 7.8 lb (3.5 kg)
Gross Weight: 22.5 lb (10.2 kg) (boxed pair)
Shipping Box Dimensions: 19.3″ x 14″ x 12.1″ (49 x 35.5 x 30.8 cm)

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Remote with batteries
Power cord
Speaker Wire
3.5mm Auxiliary Cable
Rubber feet
Manual

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