YG Acoustics will soon be releasing a new, passive version of its well-established Kipod II Signature speaker—a partially-active design. The official release of the passive version will be at CES in January, 2013, so TAS readers are getting a scoop here.
The new version is called Kipod II Signature Passive—sensibly enough. It has the same drivers and the same enclosures as the current production Kipod. The only difference is the new version's bass module does not have its own, on-board, powered amplifier. Both the partially-active and fully-passive versions of the Kipod II Signature will be offered to consumers concurrently, and at the same price: $38,800. I wondered about the manufacturing cost difference between the two versions until I got a good look at the new cross-over. The parts- and build quality of the new cross-over—which fits onto the same sized rear cabinet plate as the active bass amp does—appear to fully justify the same pricing for both the active and passive models. (For all I know, the Passive costs more to build.)
The existing Kipod II Signature offers users the ability to relieve the main power amplifier of having to power the bass module and also to tailor the bass response—via a fully adjustable, dedicated, on-board bass amp—to suit the applicable room and user's taste. According to YG, the new Kipod II Signature Passive offers slightly better phase coherence among all the drivers and will work well in most medium to small rooms.
I had the privilege of visiting the YG factory shortly after RMAF concluded in mid October and got a brief preview of the yet-to-be-released Kipod II Signature Passive. What can I say about the Passive right now? Well...a lot of research and testing went into its development. The cross-over weighs considerably more than the dedicated amp in the partially active version does, the cross-over has top shelf parts (Mundorf MCap Supreme S/G capacitors, and YG's own custom-made toroidal coils, for example), and the same perfectionist machining that goes into YG's flagship Anat III Signature goes into the Kipod II Sig. and Passive. The sound of the Kipod II Signature Passive was fantastic: ample—but unforced—details, very good rendering of complex, overlapping elements, and excellent dynamic qualities (macro impact as well as subtle micro shadings). I will be reviewing the new Passive soon, so please stay tuned for my full review on this promising new release from Yoav Geva—the Y and G in YG Acoustics.
The YG factory is a fascinating place. The variety of high-precision metal CNC machines, and their apparent efficiency, are impressive. Most of the machines were shipped from Germany. Yoav Geva is a certified machinist, himself (at a fairly high level, too.). The tolerances YG is able to achieve with its CNC machines and skilled staff are within an impressive 0.0008" (20 microns) over an entire finished piece—in some cases. (Some surfaces can be machined to an even smaller tolerance.) YG uses tempered aircraft-grade aluminum (T-6061, I believe) for its cabinets, driver cones (except in the Carmel model), internal braces, custom fasteners, spikes and feet.
Please look for the full review of the Kipod II Signature Passive in a future issue of TAS.