Auditioning new speakers - Vivid Audio Kaya 25

I recently auditioned the NAP 250DR for a good week. My planning was that it would replace my 200 driving Sonus Faber Guarneri Mementos. This took a bit of an unexpected turn. While the 250 is without question a ‘better’ amp, both my wife and I preferred the more lively, quicker & lighter sounding 200.

This somewhat strange outcome triggered the question if I should re-evaluate my SF Guarneri’s. They are getting close to 14 years old. Over the years, I tried a number of other speakers at home. Mostly out of a combination of curiosity and opportunity. But none of them ever came close to consider buying. But the last time was a few years ago and triggered by the amp comparison, I wanted to hear where the Guarneri’s stand today against some of the current leading compact two-way speakers in the same 10K -ish price range.

Enter the first ‘contender’ - the Vivid Audio Kaya 25.
Their unique shape without any edge, corner, straight line or flat surface takes some getting used to. They look more like sculptures and don’t go unnoticed in a room, that’s for sure. I love the way they look. After 3 days, my wife is still observing them with a ‘I don’t know yet’ look.

How do they sound?
Well, I’m almost 40 years in this hobby and I’ve never heard a speaker like this before. The best and most honest answer would be - they don’t sound like anything. I’m still in process of getting my head around their sound, or lack of.

The first thing that strikes you is an almost holographic soundstage. Something Guarneri’s are already particularly good at but not like this. The sense of scale, palpable space and dimension is almost eerie at times. The sound is incredibly transparent and fast and seems to be completely free of grain and coloration. If anything, these Vivids sound more like panels than conventional speakers. But with the focus and impact that many panel speakers lack.

Voices and instruments have a tonal purity and richness I never heard before. The bass is the same. They go deep for a compact speaker with only 25 liters of volume and small-ish drivers. The drivers are in-house designed & build by Vivid and made from the same alloy. The Kaya 25s typical in-room response is well below 40Hz and it sounds like that in my room too. But again, the bass has such speed, detail and transparency, seemingly without any overhang or colouration, it appears almost light at first. Not after longer listening though. This may read strange but… going through the audiophile lingo, they are not warm, nor are they cold or clinical. They are not foward, nor laid-back. They are incredibly detailed and transparent, but not analytical. I can go on like this but I just don’t know how to capture their sound in words.

I guess the most telling after 3 days of listening is that I never had so much goosebumps and tears in my eyes from being impressed and moved by the music as with these Vivids. I don’t know what more I can say.

Slightly disturbing(?) is that my fairly modest Naim front end is this good too… apparently. Crazy really.

The next speakers I’m going to audition will be the Kudos Titan 505. But boy do they need to be good to beat this.

Hope this is of any interest and thanks for reading!

Richard

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Richard, that is very nice place and listening room. Awesome.

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A very nice write up of your experience with the Vivd speakers - their range does look very interesting indeed, especially their curved enclosures. And if that small cabinet volume can easily fill your large listening space with sound, that is impressive.

A lovely interior too, and nice to see a sense of humour with the selection and contrast of pieces.

Edit - just found pictures of the Vivid S12 in “Naim green” - superb!

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Seems like you may have found your musical nirvana with the Vivid speakers. If at all possible, from other comments previously made on here, it would be helpful for you if your dealer could lend you both the 505 and 606 models, the 606’s perhaps being the sweet spot in the titan range. Whatever alternatives you manage to line up, sounds like they’ll have their work cut out to compete with the Vivids in your room!

Peter

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Thanks Peter. I have good access to Kudos and Vivid (and Graham) as my dealer carries these brands.

I’ve always loved compact two-way stand mounts. Visually and sonically. The slender Kaya 25s are ‘almost’ that but the 606 is a real floor stander. Substantially bigger in volume and two grand more expensive. I sort of drew the line at 10K, plus my better half hates ‘coffins’ as she puts it. Speakers are pretty dominant objects in a room so we both want to agree on them. Me for sound and she has her say on looks and colour. She’s fine with 505s etc.

Two others on my potential shopping list are the B&W 805 D4 and the Marten Oscar Duo. But somehow I doubt if that’s still worth the trouble after the Vivids and Kudos. I also had the Magico A1 on my list but they are more expensive and Magico doesn’t make dedicated stands for them. The best performing stands from Sound Anchors look very ugly imo. Fascinating speaker though.

Totally appreciate what you are saying re stand and floor mount speakers. I think it might still be informative/ interesting to give the 606 a listen even if only to act as a control / check on the other options. Quite possibly a complete no-go though so I’ll leave to your discretion as to what makes it across your threshold at home!

Peter

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I’ve heard Vivid Audio at my local Naim dealer. Superb synergy with Naim !!!

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Based on my experience with Marten Duke 2, the 282/250DR is not good enough. The combination sounded below average to my ears. Hence, I’m not so sure about the Oscar Duo…

Nice writeup and nice room by the way.

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It does sound like superb synergy indeed @Seacat77. The light drivers have big motors and the overall speed of the Vivids gives PRaT a whole new meaning.

With their dead composite enclosures, without any regular damping material, plus the alloy drivers, you could expect them to sound cold and clinical. But they don’t sound anything like that at all. Proper old jazz recordings have a richness and glow that even my classic SFs don’t match. At the same time, electronic synth-type instruments sound like they’re directly connected to the crossovers, hitting hard. I can’t pinpoint them. Breathtaking speakers.

That was my take on them as well. It was a mid range Vivid Audio Giya and I think nds/252/300.

Top to bottom synergy, soundstage, PRaT and punchy deep and satisfying bass.

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I think I know which dealer that is, but am I correct in thinking that your dealer doesn’t carry Naim then?

Correct. That is, not anymore. They have been a very successful Naim dealer for many years before they started to move over to Linn. They know Naim very well and still love the brand.

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Ah, interesting. I’ve only ever known them as Linn dealers, didn’t realise they used to have Naim.

Update:

Day 5 with the Vivids. It seems I finally found the correct position in my room. The familiar process; back’n forth, toe-in, toe-out… big steps, smaller steps and then the tiniest of changes till you reach that cool snap! position when everything falls into place. Amazing how even 5mm changes make a clear difference if you’re getting close to ‘perfect’ your room.

To me it always seems like if you’ve found that sweet spot, the speakers ‘see’ each other if that makes sense. Then, the image & tonal balance also varies less in different positions in the room. Very cool.

Now I find myself battling with my common sense. I’m not that keen to even bother to try the Kudos 505s anymore. These Vivids are that good. Gosh… :grimacing: :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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If you like them so much, why not just go for it. Who wants to own the same as everybody else?

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Thanks HH, that doesn’t help - but it does actually. :blush:

It is good to know that I’m not alone in this. When I had new speakers in the room, it’s the same process I went through every time. Tough work but rewarding results once speaker placement in the room is optimised.

It appears that you have already found your dream speakers which is a good thing. I would agree with HH, just follow your heart. Once it sounds so good, it may not be necessary to keep looking anymore.

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If you are going to audition other speakers, not wishing to prejudice the outcome, but you’d be as well to very accurately mark exactly where the Vivid spikes are now located on your floor!!

Brilliant that you have found your speaker nirvana - congratulations!

Peter

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@northpole - I did Peter, down to the millimetre… :slightly_smiling_face:

I just pulled the trigger and made the deal!
My dealer offered me a truly great deal, trading in my SF Guarneri’s. Delivery time will be some 2 months-ish and I can keep the demo’s during that time. Really, really awesome. The only thing left to do is decide on the colour. Besides the three standard colours, you can choose any RAL or automotive colour you can think of. That much choice doesn’t make it easier.

This is one of those moments… I feel humbled, lucky and privileged to be able to do this. I’m over the moon and happy as a schoolboy! :heart_eyes: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Thanks for bearing with me!

Richard

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Congratulations on finding the speakers that work for you and appears your wife came around to enjoying the sound and shape of the speakers!

Look forward to seeing a picture in the System Pictures thread in a couple of months once you have them delivered…

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