FinkTeam KIM Monitor and HiDiamond Speaker Cable by Greg Voth
At $12,800US, the KIM is the third and most affordable loudspeaker in the FinkTeam stable. – the $76,800 WM4 and $28,000 Borg preceded it. I was fortunate to experience the Borg in the Blink Hi-End room during one of the last shows I attended pre-pandemic. The couple from the Matterhorn Audio Group / Blink High End, the FinkTeam distributor, had a long day in traffic but still managed to arrive with smiles, delivering and setting up the FinkTeam KIM loudspeakers in our space. The KIM’s flat response at low volume seemed a bit dull and underwhelming in our large room, with us all standing and conversing.
I’ve been recently using my modified Conrad Johnson PV-5 tube preamplifier as my reverence preamp, after a significant upgrade by Music Technology, Inc. a couple of years back. Bill Thalman, MTI’s high-end audio expert, gave the PV-5 new life and vigor with all sorts of interior upgrades, including a solid silver audio buss. With the KIM’s set up 12.5 feet apart (tweeter to tweeter) and the sweet spot at the apex of the equilateral triangle, I went about connecting things up. Using the Denafrips Pontus II DAC (under review) as my digital source and the SBS Designs S2 Pro for power, I connected everything with Dynamique Audio Tempest 2 IC’s and cables my reference.
A Few Days later
Okay, color me confused, no, impassioned, no, suspicious, no, exhilarated! The next few days, on my own with the KIM’s, a vastly different impression formed. I did not expect these speakers to do this. I’ve sat before the FinkTeam KIM stand mounters, wary and suspect, waiting for them to let me down, waiting for them to fail, falling on their handsome faces. Still, they persisted, steadfast in their resolve to reveal, resolve, excite – and mystify me.
Honestly, I thought they were fooling me. I listened, weary, waiting for the FinkTeam KIM’s to show some, any sign of weakness. I raised the volume to challenge the KIM’s, and they taunted me with what my heart craved. Finally, I allowed myself just to relax and be willing to hear things differently.
FinkTeam KIM loudspeakers are unique, quite extraordinary. Thankfully, they take up little space to do what they do so very well. Standing no taller than your average room furniture, these unassuming loudspeakers, mounted on their included, integrated, and minimal metal stands, angle ever so gently back, hellbent on making your foot tap and fingers snap.
The FinkTeam KIM
Karl-Heinz Fink and his team designed the FinkTeam KIM to stand low in your listening space. Each cabinet contains a single high-power 8 “paper cone woofer with rubber surround, 38 mm voice coil diameter, and over-sized magnet, along with a single AMT “Air Motion Transformer” tweeter supplied by OEM supplier Mundorf. The KIM’s crossover comprises high-quality parts, and all wiring is done with the same pure copper, high-current wiring. From the website: “The crossover is at a low 2200Hz, the AMT is also connected via a passive delay to adjust the phase in relation with the woofer – something that worked very well in Borg. Components are high-quality Mundorf, or custom-built as needed.”
The front section of each KIM under review is covered with a matte, rubberized coating, available in either white or black, and its rear cabinet is offered in several standard finishes. The pair I received was in a gorgeous, dark wood veneer with a stunning light grain. The cabinet of the KIM is bass-reflex design, with multiple Strunk absorbers, damped double-layer sandwich panels, one-dimensional bracing, and a CleanPort resonator. The port utilizes the same principles developed with Borg, but on the KIM, it’s integrated into the rear panel. To quote the maker, “The cabinet has been designed “with everything needed to avoid unwanted radiation from the box and also includes a crossover with high-quality parts… The bracing is all carefully optimized and resonators added to avoid standing wave modes without killing the fun out of the box with excessive damping material.”
The rear of each KIM offers two sets of option switches, each with three positions, for tweeter level and woofer damping. In my case, the + setting for the tweeter and the #3 setting for woofer damping seemed to be the best sounding. The terminal is described as “high current single wiring pure copper.” Frequency response is rated as 35Hz-25kHz -10dB, 45Hz-23kHz -10dB, with an average impedance of > 8 Ohm, a minimum impedance of 5,9 Ohm @ 160 Hz and a sensitivity of 86 dB @ 2.83 V / 1 m. They measured 33.62″ h x 11.81″ w x 12.25″ d by my hand, add 1.25″ to that depth for their easy-to-use binding posts. Each speaker with stand weighs 55.33 pounds (25.1kg).
With a few long listening sessions at higher volume with the wife away, the KIM’s teased me, tempted me, and indeed played with my heart. Lee Pardini’s “Main Title” from 2021’s “Homebodies” (GroundUp Music) has been on near-daily repeat since I discovered it on Tidal earlier this summer. What a record – so passionate, soothing, and hopeful… after this past year-plus, I’ve longed for some hope. This album injects hope and smiles into me every day.
The KIM’s presented Pardini’s musical vision and passion masterfully. His keyboard strengths are strong, arrangements interesting, and his songs offer space for improvisation, and his bandmates responded with adept musicianship and tight grooves. The KIM’s present the event with a solid bass foundation and instrumental anchor – and deliver the often lyrical melodic content with depth, drive, and smiles. My foot tapped even when sitting far off-axis at my desk, away from the sweet spot. Blues For Nelson Mandela, from Brandi Disterheft’s “Gratitude” release (Universal Music 2012), was full-bodied and full-throated as it sprang into our ample loft space. The bass and low dynamics flowed effortlessly, and brushes sounded wonderfully tactile and dimensional through the KIM stand-mounters. What a great track from this talented upright player – an impressive presentation by the KIM’s – dynamic, full-bodied, forceful, yet graceful.
From Paris With Love (Single Version), from Melody Gardot’s 2020 “Sunset In Blue” (Verve) was lovely, with full, emotive strings, substantial lass, bottom end, and bloom that left me breathless. Airy and detailed, the KIM’s excelled at rendering Gardot’s vocal with warmth and vitality as they energized the space. I’m pretty used to my much taller Double Impact floorstanders. As a taller person, I’ve grown accustomed to speakers of suitable height for their full-range sound, both seated and standing. With the comparatively diminutive KIM’s, operating at lower volume when I’m milling about the loft, the frequencies presented seem somewhat flat, but such flatness is a virtue. The low-slung stand mounters did a shockingly fine job of pressurizing our loft space, yielding resolution and dynamic drive far outside their modest size. Higher volume listening presented a memorable experience, where this speaker’s refinements revealed far more than expected. More than once, I found myself wondering if I needed my far larger floorstanders (don’t tell my wife). Skin/Kara from Andy Sheppard, Michel Benita, and Sebastian Rochford ECM release “Trio Libre” from 2012, was wonderfully delicate, filled with space and depth, and crafted with subtlety and nuance, as it slowly pondering melodic direction and space between instruments, every twist and turn voiced beautifully by the KIM’s. SulaMadiana by Mino Cinelu & Nils Petter Molvær, the title track from their 2020 release (Modern Recordings), jumped into the room next, with the KIM’s delivering dramatic acoustic rhythms and infusing the percussive presentation with drive and verve. Vocals were full-bodied, instrumentation resonant, and message compelling, insistent, and playful.
Then Came a Text
Clement texted his desire to hear the KIM’s, noting that they are receiving very positive reviews in the audiophile press. He arrived a few hours later, greeted by our ever-excitable pair of pups. I began by playing a tune that’s haunted me for weeks, Just Wrong, from Pino Palladino & Blake Mills’ 2021 release Notes With Attachments (New Deal Record). It sounded great, with deep, forceful bass and instrumental resolve, its compelling modern arrangement worthy of many revisits. The KIM’s delivered tonal accuracy, dynamics, resolution, and nuance surprisingly well. I handed him my iPad so that he might DJ playback, using the remote app and the Laufer Teknik Memory Player Mini as our source, connected optically to the Pontus II DAC from a reasonable distance away. He dug in for something familiar from his playlist – I keep it available in the JRiver Media Center on the Mini. A man on a mission, he sat quietly, selecting one tune after another as silence hung between us. He remained mum as impressions formed. The dogs tried to distract him, crawling over him for kisses and rubs; he would have none of it. After a handful of more songs, he set the iPad down and said, “I think these are among the finest monitors I’ve heard.” The FinkTeam KIM’s delivered a knock-out presentation, punching far above their weight.
The HiDiamond 8 cables
A break in his concentration allowed me to bring out the HiDiamond 8 speaker cables that our distributor friends had left with the KIM’s as a possible option. Made in Italy, these HiDiamond cables are decidedly bigger in weight and girth than my reference Dynamique Audio Tempest 2 reference – Dynamique approaches their cable designs with a minimalist approach. The HiDiamonds are directional, their outer sheath coated with a gem-like shimmer and each end featuring imposing black acrylic cylinders. I swopped them into the rig, replacing my Tempest 2’s, continuing the listening session. We both agreed that both brands had a similar sonic signature, with the HiDiamond 8’s cables subjectively offering a touch more bandwidth.
Paraphrasing from their website: The HiDiamond 8 cables are Italian made, with proprietary 4VRC© copper, cooked four times to reduce inductance, capacitance, and resistance values. The isolator used is 100 times better than normal Teflon, guaranteeing more outstanding linearity and low amplitude of the sine wave by lowering the threshold of escape of spike and removing the skin effect between individual leads. HiDiamond says this guarantees a low amplitude of the sine wave and delivers greater naturalness in the musical signal. The HiDiamond 8’s are terminated with high-quality Rhodium connectors, allowing better signal transmission without loss or oxidation. The maker states that the technology within the cable delivers a balanced sound across the frequency band, powerful bass extension, and greater resolve that emphasizes the details of the recording, focus, and transparency. The HiDiamonds retail for $2500 for a 3-meter banana terminated pair.
The FinkTeam KIM Loudspeakers deliver an obvious high value, even at their $12,000 price tag. Anyone restricted to monitors as their primary listening room companions and looking for refinement, resolution, and dynamic range need look no further. The FinkTeam KIM monitors possess essential characteristics found in larger, more expensive speakers – there are few so resolving and responsive as the TeamFink KIM.
Specifications: FinkTeam KIM Loudspeakers
Designed by Karl-Heinz Fink
$12,800US, introductory priced at $11, 995/pr
FINKTEAM | FINK AUDIO-CONSULTING
Company contact details:
45127 Essen | Germany
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Matterhorn Audio Group
129 Franklin St.
MA 02139 Cambridge
Tel: +1 617-494-1400
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Features and Specifications: See website
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