It’s no secret that most onboard television speakers are for the birds. This isn’t necessarily a problem for TVs comfortably incorporated into theater and two-channel systems, but what about other areas of the home where style and space requirements typically trump function? Sure, there are quite a few sound bar and bookshelf speaker options, but many of them are bulky, expensive, both bulky and expensive, or poor performers. What the market needs is a simple to install and simple to operate speaker system that blends-in with a room and delivers big on sound. That’s what makes new-to-the-market K.I.S.S. AV and its X4 and O6 speakers an interesting proposition.
Last week at CE Week, I had the good fortune of spending time with K.I.S.S. AV founder Jim Murray and his outstanding new speaker system. The company’s X4 powered speakers sport an incredibly slim depth profile of less than 3-inches and are light enough (2-pounds) to be be wall-hung by 3M Command Strips. Toss-in a small wireless subwoofer (which, much like the speakers, is fully paintable) and you have the makings of something special.
The X4 features a ¾-in aluminum tweeter and a 4-inch front venting Sonic Vortex driver.
Murray’s secret sauce is his patented Sonic Vortex speaker enclosure that allows the X4 and O6 drivers to sound significantly bigger than they appear. Using a series of internal front venting ports wound around the driver, Murray is able to coax serious mid-range and low-frequency sound from enclosures that look shallow and small.
An inside look at the internal channel system of the X4’s Sonic Vortex driver.
The X4 speakers connect to your television using Toslink, digital coax, and stereo line-level, feeding an internal 24-bit/96kHz DAC paired with a Class D 60 Watt amplifier. All you need to do is plug one X4 speaker into a wall outlet, connect the speaker to your TV, and use a single speaker wire to attach it to the other speaker channel. The entire system then lies in hibernation until an audio signal triggers its amp to turn on. Users can control volume with just about any brand of IR remote.
Did I mention the onboard Bluetooth 4.0 AptX functionality for music and audio streaming direct from a smart phone or tablet? It has that, too.
The O6 wireless subwoofer is equal to its speaker mates in terms of installation flexibility. It’s small and only requires access to a wall outlet. Aside from that, you can place it just about anywhere in your room.
The O6 wireless subwoofer is compact and placement friendly.
I was able to listen to the speakers in action and was impressed with their clarity, depth, and off-axis sound, especially considering their unassuming enclosures. The cavernous CE Week exhibit hall made it hard to judge the overall impact of the sub’s output, but I’m convinced the subs reliance on Murray’s Sonic Vortex technology would produce more than adequate bass for a television sound system in most in-home settings.
K.I.S.S. AV is currently running a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter to bring the speakers to mass-market. If you’re looking for a unique system for a bedroom or family room, then definitely give these speakers serious consideration (especially when considering the Kickstarter buy-in pricing). Click on the supplied link for more information about the speakers and how you can participate in the funding drive.
Image Credits: K.I.S.S AV, Todd Anderson / Home Theater Shack