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Kimber KS-1116, Part 4

162.205.183.92

Posted on September 11, 2023 at 22:07:33
Luminator
Audiophile

Posts: 7089
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000



After decades in San Francisco's Japantown, the Mifune restaurant no longer exists. But it far outlived Japantown Bowl, which closed in 2000.

In summer 1993, my ex-girlfriend KJ and I were doubles bowling partners at Japantown Bowl. But then she had to return to UC Berkeley for her junior year. Meanwhile, I was at home, working part-time. I bowled 2, sometimes 3, leagues per week.

Because the Kimber PBJ line-level interconnect was $62 at the time, (a) I could afford it, and (b) it did not hamstring me.



Since I was now a full-season league bowler, I went with others to practice at nearby Brentwood Bowl (South San Francisco), Classic Bowl (Daly City), Park Bowl (SF Haight, now Amoeba Records), Sea Bowl (Pacifica), and Serra Bowl (Daly City).

Later, I was invited and encouraged to participate in bowling tournaments and travel league, taking place at alleys outside of the Bay Area. Instead of piling into the van(s), I'd go with my personal friends, who were still in college, and turned these into weekend getaways.



In those days, we had 35mm cameras. We had to use up film, get it developed. Many of the night photos turned out like this.



We loved winding down at night, by the pool(s). My friends would ask what I was thinking about. After getting over my crummy bowling, my mind could not shake high-end audio. I kept wondering what my system would sound like, if I replaced one of the PBJs with a KCAG (then around $390).



When we went back to the pool in the morning, I had made up my mind. When I got back home, I wanted to check out Kimber KCAG. I tried several pairs. The first I actually bought was a balanced (XLR) pair.

A 1-meter KCAG now costs a whopping $1,356. The current-production Kimber Select KS-1116 is $1,180 for a 1-meter pair. So yeah, the KS-1116 actually costs less than the KCAG! And many of you have asked how the two compare.



Assuming you have a decent system, the KCAG and KS-1116 sound different from each other. The KCAG is fast and sniffy. Images are smaller than they should be, and not as firmly anchored. There are losses in body. A glistening glare takes the place of what should be the instruments' textures.

The KCAG is like my friends, back in the early-to-mid 1990s, still in college, well before motherhood. It's like taking a deep breath, diving into the pool, swimming to the shallow end, and sloshing around. It's like climbing out of the pool, and sitting on the edge. Your body still has beads of water, which glisten in the rising morning sun.

The KS-1116 is slower and smoother, but not sniffy. Images are more realistically 3D, and are more physically grounded and stable. They are not bloated, and in some areas, such as mid-treble, they shrink. Yet, they are not distanced as widely and far apart, as they should be. Thus, ultimate soundstage dimensions are truncated. With the more stable imaging, resolution of textures is a small notch better than KCAG. And perhaps the biggest flaw is a "sucking out" or "tamping down" of a loose range from upper midrange to lower treble.

The KS-1116's sonic personality is the equivalent of your friends in the present. They are all middle-aged moms. They are dry, sunbathing by the pool. The "buffing" of the upper mids and lower treble means the moms are secure, in the knowledge that the kids are safe, and don't need to be supervised in the pool. It's like tuning out, and mentally blanking out.

We don't think that one is "better" than the other. Which you prefer depends on your system and tastes.

For me, the KCAG is like the younger Lummy, enthusiastically attacking the lanes, but being a bit erratic and unfocused. OTOH, the KS-1116 is like the older Lummy, not as dynamic, but better able to concentrate on consistently rolling the ball over the second arrow. Yet, my average is the same!

-Lummy The Loch Monster

 

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RE: Kimber KS-1116, Part 4, posted on October 7, 2023 at 04:17:47
fantja
Audiophile

Posts: 15362
Location: Alabama
Joined: September 11, 2010
Lummy- did you ever have a Lector Audio or Theta Compli player route through your System?

 

Theta DACs, posted on October 7, 2023 at 12:33:46
Luminator
Audiophile

Posts: 7089
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000



During the 1991-92 school year, my friends April and Vanessa lived on the ground floor unit of Building 6. Their bedroom was behind the small tree, to your left-hand of the photo. During the Fall 1991 quarter, they had a visiting student, Sabrina, as a housemate.



During that Fall 1991 quarter, on Tuesday/Thursday, I had class in the 10:00-11:45 slot. On the way back to the apartment complex, I'd pass by Building 6. At this time, I'd tap on Sabrina's bedroom window. She was the only one home at that time, so she and I would eat lunch together.

The November 1991 Stereophile reviewed what was then Theta Digital's lowest-priced offering, the $1250 DS Pro Prime DAC. I told Sabrina that, if I had the money, the DS Pro Prime would be at the top of my list.



Spring 1993 was my last quarter at UCSC. The April 1993 Stereophile reviewed Theta's $600 budget priced DAC, the Cobalt 307. Kim (above), Pauline, and I drove to Monterey. I told them, "After I graduate, I'm getting the Cobalt 307."

In September 1993, I did buy that Cobalt 307, which was my first Theta product.



In May 1995, many of my friends were graduating from UC Berkeley. We dared Judy not to shave her armpits. It turned out that, even after letting it grow out, she did not have much armpit hair.

Anyway, something about my friends graduating inspired me. So I took the monies I had saved, and bought a Theta DS Pro Prime IIa DAC (I think it was $1500).



In the late-90s, my home alley was San Francisco's Japantown Bowl. Because of that, I participated in lots of weekend bowling events, held at other alleys. Most of which were in Central California. My friends then used these as an excuse to have weekend getaways. Above, Judy had joined me at, I believe, a Rancho Cordova tournament.

So in 1998, I traded in the Theta DS Pro Prime IIa towards their Basic IIIa.

I used all of these Theta DACs with Kimber products, including the AGDL, D-60; PBJ, Silver Streak, KCAG, KCTG, KS-1130; and PowerKord.

 

RE: Theta DACs, posted on October 7, 2023 at 16:20:25
fantja
Audiophile

Posts: 15362
Location: Alabama
Joined: September 11, 2010
Excellent Lummy.

 

Theta CD transports, posted on October 7, 2023 at 23:40:40
Luminator
Audiophile

Posts: 7089
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000
In April 1987, I got my very first CD player, the one-box Sony CDP-520ESII.

In the early-90s, it seemed that, each month, a new review of a DAC would appear. But you'd have no use for a DAC, unless you had a CD player with a digital out, or a CD transport.



Towards the end of 1991, we had parties in the Community Room (above), of my college apartment complex. At these parties, I knew I had to, over winter break, get audio. I bought an NAD 5000 CD player, for my home (San Francisco) system. So when we returned for the Winter 1992 quarter, I brought my old Sony CDP-520ESII down to UCSC. Cha-Ching! Moreover, since the NAD 5000 did have a coaxial digital output, I could, at a later date, upgrade it, by getting an outboard DAC.

At the beginning of September 1993, I would get my first DAC, the Theta Cobalt 307.



At the end of 1993, we had a bowling tournament in Las Vegas. We had to fly there. Back then, Southwest Airlines did not fly out of SFO, so we took, I think, United. Sorry, we don't have any photos from that 1993 trip. But while soaking in the hotel room's tub, I knew that, when we got home, I had pony up for a Theta Data basic CD transport. I got it at its old price of $1500, juuuuuuuuust before it went up 20% to $1800.



In 1995-96, my girlfriend ACS was my bowling partner. We had weekly league at SF's Japantown Bowl. Having graduated from UC Berkeley in May 1995, ACS already had a high-paying job at Genentech lined up. She actually could afford to live by herself. But she had her family's Toyota Tercel economy subcompact car. She used it for her commute to work, as well as to take her to her martial arts events. She also used it for bowling. When we had bowling events outside of Japantown Bowl, ACS' Tercel was our mode of transportation. We turned those bowling events into weekend getaways.

While breathing in the air at Big Sur, I knew that, when getting home, I'd have to upgrade the Theta Data basic transport to Mk. II status.



In the late-90s, some of us were working in SF's Financial District. Regardless of where we lived, we took public transportation. We'd meet up for Starbucks. Here, "Phoebe" and "Deanna" were spelled correctly. They dropped the "e" from the end of Justine's name; close enough. But somehow, Pauline became "Panther." Roar!

Phillips was discontinuing the drive used in the Theta Data basic II. I was spooked, so I replaced it with Theta's Jade, nothing to do with Starbucks' green tea frap :-) No matter which powercords or digital cables we used, the Jade sounded terrible: airless, congested, warm, thick, and plodding. My girlfriend at the time, KJ, kept ragging on me, "You bought a lemon!" She thought it was a massive downgrade, from the Data basic II.

Even after allowing for burn-in, the Jade still sucked. We even borrowed the dealer's demo unit, to compare against mine. Nope, they both sounded the same.

 

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