Review : Kanto SYD Wins Best Apartment Speaker Award

Updated date: 
2018-10-24
Review of SYD Bluetooth Speaker System From Kanto
Our Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Kanto: The Company

If you’re shopping for a single-unit Bluetooth speaker system for your apartment you’ll find a very crowded field of brands and products to choose from. This review should help you decide that the new SYD is the best choice for your loft, dorm-room, crash-pad or apartment.

For those of you who have might not have heard of Kanto, Since 2007 they have strived to create smaller speakers that the market was demanding and create great audio products embodied with sonic goodness, thoughtful design with interesting features and benefits for audio enthusiasts.

Kanto was founded in 2007, by folks who have a background in manufacturing OEM products. That means that they made products for other big companies to sell under their own name; so you’ve probably been seeing their products for years and just never knew it.

Kanto's Audio division makes a variety of products but the most interesting are there desktop speakers, both powered and non-powered, powered subwoofers, and speaker stands.

They care about beautiful sound, create products that are easy to use wanting to build products that compete well in the market. You can choose your color here.

This image courtesy of Kanto givea good idea of the unit's size and how it might fit into a living space.

Perfect For Apartment Living The Kanto SYD And Stand

Best Speaker For Apartments

Recently we’ve had a chance to have some listening and hands-on time with a spanking new powered wireless speaker from Kanto. They’ve named it “SYD” and it is a very full featured all-in-one stereo music system which promises to go anywhere, has and easy wireless setup, and high quality sound.

The Kanto SYD unit we reviewed was to be our next giveaway contest prize, so we took extra care to carefully unbox it, and then put the SYD through its paces before sending it off to the winner.

Kanto SYD Giveaway Winner Craig Lykes July 2018

We had to rate the SYD the best speaker system for apartment living and here's why: The Kanto SYD has the easiest wireless bluetooth setup and full-featured remote control system that we’ve ever encountered. Read on for the full review...

All About The Kanto SYD Bluetooth Speaker

Kanto describes the SYD as a powered loudspeaker, but it’s really more like a complete high quality compact desktop stereo system.

The Kanto SYD has its own speakers and amplifiers, and all the standard inputs like Bluetooth and Optical digital audio, but it also includes something you only usually see on real stereo systems – a phono input where you can connect a turntable.

The SYD unit we reviewed had a very nice clean sound, especially when played at typical listening levels. It isn’t designed for rocking the entire house, or for serious heavy metal fans. It excels at providing great sounding music, at normal listening levels, in a typical office or small living room in an apartment block.

The Kanto SYD is compact, and nicely made, and it even comes in a variety of decorator colors, but it does look like a speaker… and not like some sort of modern art or a nondescript little white box.

If you care about how your music sounds, and want a small but complete music system that you can sit in front of you on a desk, or a bookshelf, you should seriously consider the SYD.

You might also think of the SYD as the logical modern answer to a table radio. It sounds really good, it’s simple to set up and use, and it doesn’t take up much space.

The SYD even comes with a heavy duty metal stand, which not only provides excellent isolation from vibrations, but keeps it safely out of the way of spills if you decide to use it on your kitchen counter. The SYD also has a real power cord that connects directly to the unit – with no messy wall wart.

The SYD Marketing Leaflet By Kanto

General Description

The Kanto SYD is a complete one-piece high quality sound system that includes speakers, amplifiers, several different types of audio inputs, and all the controls you need to get the job done.

The SYD is a compact, neat looking little unit, that will fit easily on any desk or bookcase.

It will play music from your phone or other Bluetooth source, any line level audio source, or even your turntable if you have one, but it is a stand-alone device.

Speaker Components and Electronics

The Kanto SYD is also a true stereo device, with separate amplifiers and speakers for the left and right channels.

Each channel has a 4” Kevlar cone midrange/woofer and a 1” silk dome tweeter, all of which are powered by an efficient Class D stereo amplifier that delivers 35 watts/channel RMS and 70 watts/channel peak.

Even though the SYD is relatively small, the left and right speakers are far enough apart to provide a sense of stereo separation, especially if it’s located on a desk in front of you, or directly in front of your computer monitor.

Rear View of Kanto SYD Showing All Connection Options

Inputs and Connectivity

The Kanto SYD has a good selection of inputs, including Bluetooth 4.0 (with AptX), an optical digital (Toslink) input, an 1/8” line level Aux input, and a set of RCA stereo audio inputs which can be configured to accept a line level input or a phono input.

If you’re a vinyl fan, then you probably already know that high quality phono cartridges put out a low level signal that requires a special preamp to boost it and apply RIAA phono equalization. Some modern turntables have a preamp built in, but most high quality ones do not.

The Kanto SYD has something you will find on most high quality home stereo systems, but that is almost unique among desktop units: its own built-in phono preamp. With a simple flip of a switch, you can use the SYD with both types of turntables – those with or without a built-in preamp, and a grounding lug is included to minimize hum.

The Kanto SYD also includes a handy line level output for connecting your own separate powered subwoofer, and a USB charging port for your phone. (The USB port is not an audio input; but it is handy for maintaining the charge on your phone while you’re using it to supply music all day via Bluetooth.)

Some Of The Kanto SYD Colors Displayed At The Axpona Audiophile Show

Controls

The front panel controls on the Kanto SYD are simplicity itself. A single multi-function knob controls Volume, Input Selection, and Power. Turn the knob for Volume, press and turn the knob to select an Input, press and hold the knob to turn the SYD On or place it in Standby. A single LED illuminates in white, yellow, or blue, flashing or steady, to display status.

The Kanto SYD also includes a very complete full-function remote control. Unlike the remote controls provided with many other desktop systems, the one provided with the SYD offers a really convenient set of options, including direct access buttons for selecting inputs, separate Up, Down, and reset buttons for Bass and Treble, and even a balance control (which is quite rare these days).

The rear panel of the Kanto SYD has only two controls; a rocker switch controls the main AC power, and a small slide switch sets the phono input to accept either a line level input from a turntable with its own preamp, or to enable the SYD’s phono preamp for those that do not.

Kanto Audio TUK & SYD Speakers & Stands Interview

Cool Features (and just plain Cool Stuff)

The Kanto SYD is very simple to set up and operate, so that has to count as the first cool feature. Just plug it in and you’re ready to play music. However, we discovered a few other cool features that were worth listing, so here they are:

  • Simple yet intuitive controls – The SYD provides a lot of control with a single knob and LED, while still remaining simple and intuitive to actually use. Turn the knob for Volume; push and turn it for Input Select; and push and hold for power… what could be simpler?
  • A really full-function remote control – The SYD’s remote control really does include all the options most people will ever want.
  • Built-in phono preamp – Lots of people these days have a turntable. Having this built into the SYD allows you to use it with a turntable without a built-in preamp, which gives you a lot more options.
  • Subwoofer output – so you can connect a subwoofer if you like. (Note that the subwoofer output is full range, so you must use a subwoofer which includes its own crossover and level controls… which most do.) An option to mute the subwoofer when desired is included.
  • USB charging output – This is really handy to prevent your phone from running down the battery while you listen to music all day.
  • A really nice stand – The heavy metal stand tilts the Kanto SYD up at the perfect angle for placement on a desktop, provides isolation from vibration, and elevates the SYD safely away from spills if you use it in the kitchen. (Both the stand and the SYD itself have thick foam pads on the bottom; the SYD can be used with or without the stand.)
  • Bass Treble Memory – This feature is barely mentioned in the documentation, but we think it’s pretty cool. Normally the Bass and Treble settings you select are applied for all of the SYD’s inputs. By selecting this feature, you can configure the SYD to remember separate Bass and Treble settings for each input.
  • Bluetooth reset feature – Sometimes it can be tricky to connect a new Bluetooth device when one is already paired. This button manually disconnects the currently paired device so you can pair another one.

The Kanto SYD Speaker System In Black

Specifications

General Description: Self contained desktop stereo system.

Inputs:

  • Bluetooth with aptX for wireless connection
  • Toslink Optical digital audio input (up to 24/96k)
  • 3.5 mm (1/8") Aux analog input
  • Stereo (RCA) analog Phono input (line level or magnetic phono level)

Amplifier: Stereo Class D amplifier (35 watts/channel RMS; 70 watts/channel peak)

Frequency Response: 60Hz – 20kHz Hz

Subwoofer Output: Summed full range

Power Requirements: 110 - 240 VAC (universal).

Idle Power Consumption: < 0.5 watts

Size: 17-1/2"W x 5-3/4”H x 7”D

Colors: Matte Black, White, Pink, Matte Burgundy

Shipping Weight: 9.9 lbs.

What’s In The Box

  • Kanto SYD
  • Speaker Stand
  • Remote Control (including batteries)
  • 3.5mm Aux audio cable
  • Product Manuals

Kanto SYD New Model Bluetooth Speaker Unboxing

UpSide / DownSide

We think that the Kanto SYD under review is a unique product and will appeal to a certain type of user.

First of all, the Kanto SYD is quite obviously an audio system… and it looks like one. It is quite attractive, comes in a variety of colors, and has excellent construction quality, but it isn’t tiny, and the speakers aren’t hidden behind a grill. It’s clearly for people who don’t mind donating a little bit of space to a stereo system that’s meant to be seen.

However, the SYD combines the simplicity of operation of a table radio with the advanced features you need to play music from your smartphone – or your turntable. Therefore, we especially recommend it to anyone who’s owned or tried other modern desktop systems and found them overly complicated to set up and use.

It is nicely made, and the features are well thought out. You really should read the manual if you don’t want to miss any of the cool features, but you won’t have any trouble figuring out, or remembering, how it works. We think this is a winning combination.

About the only significant limitation we noticed was the output level. The SYD sounds really nice playing quietly, and it can play reasonably loudly if asked to do so, but there are better choices if you like playing your music really loud, or have a large room.

Kanto SYD Speaker Color Variations

Image Name Color Lowest price Buy now WiFi Battery Power Connections Available Bandwidth Bluetooth Dimensions Stereo Pairing Warranty Weight Remote Control Details
Review of Kanto Kanto SYD [model number] in comparison table
Kanto SYD Powered Speaker with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp (Matte Off-Black) Black

$329.99

buy this Kanto SYD Powered Bluetooth Speaker System in Black lowest prices available now No No 1x Optical (TOSLINK) Audio, Bluetooth® 4.0 with Qualcomm® aptX™, 3.5mm mini-jack AUX input and RCA input with Phono Switch 60 Hz - 20 kHz Frequency Response Yes 17.5" W x 6.9" D x 5.7" No 24 months from the date of shipment with proof of original invoice from an authorized reseller 9.9 lb Yes
Review of Kanto Kanto SYD [model number] in comparison table
Kanto SYD Powered Speaker with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp (Matte Off-White) White

$329.99

buy this Kanto SYD Powered Bluetooth Speaker System in White lowest prices available now No No 1x Optical (TOSLINK) Audio, Bluetooth® 4.0 with Qualcomm® aptX™, 3.5mm mini-jack AUX input and RCA input with Phono Switch 60 Hz - 20 kHz Frequency Response Yes 17.5" W x 6.9" D x 5.7" No 24 months from the date of shipment with proof of original invoice from an authorized reseller 9.9 lb Yes
Review of Kanto Kanto SYD [model number] in comparison table
Kanto SYD Powered Speaker with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp (Matte Burgundy) Matte Burgundy

$329.99

buy this Kanto SYD Powered Bluetooth Speaker System in Matte Burgundy lowest prices available now No No 1x Optical (TOSLINK) Audio, Bluetooth® 4.0 with Qualcomm® aptX™, 3.5mm mini-jack AUX input and RCA input with Phono Switch 60 Hz - 20 kHz Frequency Response Yes 17.5" W x 6.9" D x 5.7" No 24 months from the date of shipment with proof of original invoice from an authorized reseller 9.9 lb Yes
Review of Kanto Kanto SYD [model number] in comparison table
Kanto SYD Powered Speaker with Bluetooth and Phono Preamp (Matte Pink) Pink

$329.99

buy this Kanto SYD Powered Bluetooth Speaker System in Pink lowest prices available now No No 1x Optical (TOSLINK) Audio, Bluetooth® 4.0 with Qualcomm® aptX™, 3.5mm mini-jack AUX input and RCA input with Phono Switch 60 Hz - 20 kHz Frequency Response Yes 17.5" W x 6.9" D x 5.7" No 24 months from the date of shipment with proof of original invoice from an authorized reseller 9.9 lb Yes

The SYD really shines when placed on a desk, or on the dresser in your bedroom, playing high quality music at short range or playing high quality music at background levels in a larger room.

Thats why we rated in our winner in "Best Speaker For Apartments" Category. Buy one and see for yourself. You will not be disappointed!

Kanto SYD Bluetooth Speaker Demonstration & Product Tour 2018 [Video]

Kanto SYD Bluetooth Speaker Demonstration & Product Tour 2018

Comments

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We love how versatile the SYD speaker is with it's optical, phono and Bluetooth inputs. The built-in pre-amp makes it a breeze to hook up a turntable. Say goodbye to chunky separate audio units!

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