SoundKaos Vox 3a + Bakoon Amp 13R + Merging NADAC Impressions

Dream Setup finally complete along with dedicated listening space & a bit of room treatment.
Intel i7 13700K + 32GB DDR5 RAM on Windows 10 (SSD + TIDAL) -> Roon -> HQplayer (Upsampling everything to DSD 256) -> Merging NADAC (connected directly via ethernet cat 8 cable + Pink Faun LAN isolator) -> Bakoon Amp 13R -> Soundkaos Vox 3afw (on Soundkaos stands + ISO Acoustics Gaia III feet).
Sound Impressions of the entire system :-
I can use all the adjectives which are used by reviewers to describe the sound, but I will restrict to songs and its aspects that are highlight of it.
1. Tenet Movie - Rainy night in Tallinn
:- this track is filled with crazy amount of dynamics & the system is able to convey them with ease. Besides there is a lot going on throughout the track & I can pick out individual sounds/instruments with ease while locating the sound easily with precision wthin soundstage.
2. Fink - Wheels Turn Beneath my feet - Trouble what you're in - this is a live recording containing lot of reverb, especially to the voice of Fink. System is beautifully recreating those reverbs giving me the feeling of being there at the concert feeling.
3. Allan Taylor - Hotels & Dreamers - The Beat Hotel - This is fantastic track to ases male vocals with Allan having a lot of weight to his voice. System is able to reproduce his voice with weight at the same time making his voice sound very intimate.
4. Holly Cole - Temptation - Take Me Home - This is a fantastic track to test detail retrieval, imaging accuracy, intimacy & of course female vocals. The system is able to fabulously recreate everything. sounds just outstanding.
5. Haelos - Full Circle - Full Circle - This is am electronic track with lot of things going on & full of sub-bass which is very very deep. While system is able to resolve everything very well, it falls short on producing that sub-bass. I think its a bit too much to expect this level of deep bass from such a tiny speakers, but none the less whatever bass is there, its very tight & surprisingly extended in its reach given its size.
 6. Sophie Zelmani - Soul - All about you - this track is a good test for strings and female vocals, system is able to recreate strings with unbelievable clarity & sophie's voice is also mesmerizing.
7. Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun - Flugufrelsarinn - This track is a test for tweeters, if the tweeter is not extended or harsh then treble on the track especially at some passage can sound grating and sometimes can sound disorted, but not on the system. That top mounted Raal Ribbon is very special...treble is unbelievable..need to listen to understan what I am trying to convey
8. Mark nauseef - With Space In Mind - Entire album is filled with insane levels on reverbs, drums & percussions...I have never heard this album sound like it does on he system..crazy.
9. Kiyoshi Yoshida - Warriors - Warriors - This is a fantastic track to test dynamics and bass as it has lots of Japnese drums, though it has good amount of sub bass and mid bass, it's not abyssal electronic bass of Haelos Full circle. Here the system is surprisingly able to re-create the bass to satisfactory levels with bass being very fast and tight.
In short these are mindboggling tiny speakers with very unique construction which seems to be working really well. If you have small space then these can very well be the only speakers you will need. No wonder Lukas Fikus of Lampizator was mighty impressed with these little monsters & publicly praised these while having no affiliation with soundkaos.
Just amazing.

I have had numerous conversations with Martin who is the owner and designer. I will try to state the exact words as he had said.

The design principle followed by SoundKaos (henceforth I will refer to it as SK) is there should be no crossover in the most sensitive part of human hearing, hence all SK speakers utilise full range drivers along with Tweeters and or woofers having crossover frequencies outside the most sensitive part which is 300/400 Hz to 7-8 Khz. In Vox since the side mounted base drivers are smaller the crossover is at around 250 Hz and at the top the roll off is very gentle which starts at around 10KHz which goes all the way up to 15Khz. RAAL ribbon is situated at the top which acts as an ambient driver as well makes use of reflection from the ceiling. Coupled with side firing woofers it creates a halo kind of effect making the sound stage wider yet retaining pinpoint imaging at the same time. The earlier model of the Vox has ribbon tweeter on the front, but moving the tweeter on the top retained the same effect at the same time making speakers look even more aesthetically beautiful.

I will add my experience to his words. When I was searching for the speakers I noticed that some of the companies use ambience retrieval drivers in the form of ribbon and even midrange drivers in the design of the speakers costing in 6 digit (USD) classic examples would be Higher tier models of Von Schweikert Audio, Sonus Faber Aida etc.
In my search I did not find any single speaker which was designed in this way, still receiving very high praise from reviewers as well as the users.

Since I had posted my original review/impressions exactly 1 year ago, I feel it was time for me to post my long term ownership review, so here it goes. I have been listening to my speakers now for almost everyday (yes, I am addicted to them now) with play time easily crossing 1000 Hrs mark so I can be sure that drivers are now compltely broken in. Also over the year I made some tweaks wich has resulted in incremental improvements to the overall sonic signature. Those improvements are

1. Added EMI/RFI reducing treatment to LPS, DAC & amp internals which has resulted in noise floor dropping even lower and making details more audible.

2. Added DIY grounding box to DAC and Amp which has resulted in sound becoming more organic and nuances and micro details more easily audible.

3. Changing internal BNC and Lan cable of Merging NADAC to a better quality one. This has again resulted in improving details and nuances.

4. Applying room correction through convolution filters via Roon (after doing measurements using UMIK 1 and using REW). This has improved the mid bass/bass response, imaging and layering.

So after all these changes the system now sounds even more organic with very precise imaging. Bass is fast, deep and textured while mids & highs becoming even more captivating.

During this time several fellow audiophile friends & non-audiophile visited my house and had a listen to my system. Every one was mighty impressed with the system with one fellow audiophile friend complemented the system saying "it’s perfect the way it is & he can hear all the details which he is able to hear on his headphones like Sennheiser HD800 & ZMF Caldera".

The other seasoned audiophile who is regular visitor of live orchestras and classical music at concert hall came running out of the listening room to call me in the room and to show how delicte the treble was sounding; he was having the enthusiasm of my 5 years old son when he gets some new toy which he finds amusing. This is what he messaged me when I asked for the his impressions of my system "That beautiful tone! Lovely with voices and intelligibility. Silky treble. The way you follow the drummer is amazing. no over sibilance and no fatigue. Thanks heavens. Very different from my house sound. Quicker, less fleshier but no smear. If you want your pants to flap with bass it’s not for you or if Wagner is your thing. For all else; discovered a lot."

One of my non-audiophile friend had a very interesting reaction. When he had come I played regional devotional music (vocals centric) and he was listining to it calmly for good amount of time. Later he told me that he never sits this long to listen to music with full attention & for the very first time he was able to completely comprehend the lyrics and connect with it emotionally.

I did mention high praise from reveiewrs in my last comment, specifically Dawid of HiFi knights who gave Vox a Victor award and continues to own the speaker as he loves them a lot (go check his review on HiFiKnights & sub-sequent bookshelf reveiews which were compared against Vox as benchmark) very recently compared Vox 3a to Borresen’s TOTL bookshelf M1 which costs nearly 8 times the Vox. As per him It took him going 8 times dearer to find a speaker which beats Vox completely; their 01 which is almost 3 time dearer than vox was not able to do that in all areas.

So to summarise the strengths and areas which I feel improvement can be welcomed for my system and speakers is as below

Strengths :- Vocals are hauntingly real, treble is very extended, detailed, delicate and smooth something I have not heard in any bookshelf. Bass is very fast, tight deep and textured. Imaging is very precise with very good layering. Does not require a lot of room treatment to sound good (in correctly sized rooms).

Things where impreovements could have been made :- Bass & mid-bass weight and heft can be added provided it’s not going to take away speed and texture. It could have been little less finicky on the placement to make it sing.

Please note when I say things for improvement, it does not mean it is lacking a lot in these areas to the level that makes it unlistenable or an outright bad product. It just means it would be real icing on the cake if it had those attributes.

With all said and written its a real jackpot which I have hit as everything was a blind purchase. But boy it does sing like no other!

Besides Kudos to Martin of SoundKaos for creating such a fantastic masterpiece of a speaker and providing equally top notch service. Bravo! Regards, Audio_phool