I’ve been asked several times to look for an integrated amplifier that is elegant, has a credible audiophile feel, is affordable, and has an opulent sonic pedigree. When KINKI STUDIO asked for the opportunity to review their latest versions of an integrated amplifier, it took me a little time to find the right qualities that made sense to evaluate, such as a meticulously crafted enclosure, a quasi-monoblock amplifier stage, Exicon Lateral Mosfets, a Muse volume control, advanced microprocessor control, and more.

Founded in 2008, KINKI STUDIO is dedicated to the design and manufacture of high-quality audio equipment to restore the purest source of music reproduction and avoid the distortion caused by excessive rendering.

To achieve the best results, KINKI STUDIO insists on using the most advanced technology available in the industry and improvises it with excellent craftsmanship based on high-standard technology, and constantly updates and improves to form KINKI STUDIO’s unique sound performance.


The pursuit of a good manufacturing process, cutting-edge technology, and sound quality has become the core values of KINKI STUDIO.

Through years of experience in product design and development, KINKI STUDIO’s products, ranging from digital-to-analog converters, preamplifiers, Power Amp, Integrated Amp, and Headphone Amp, have gained wide recognition in the local and Hong Kong markets. 

All products are fully tested with Audio Precision ATS-2 before shipment.

EX -M1+

The Kinki Studio EX -M1+ integrated amplifier is the newest member of the EX series. The EX -M1+ is positioned above the award-winning EX -M1. It is the new flagship model in KINKI STUDIO’s integrated amplifier series and has the most requested features such as dimmable display, preamp output, home theater bypass, etc. 

The EX -M1+ was developed based on the award-winning EX -M1 with all of the EX -M1’s virtues retained. 

The EX -M1+  incorporates advanced microprocessor control, MUSE volume control, two 400VA encapsulated transformers, quasi-monoblock amplifier stage with EXICON MOSFET lateral, known for its ultra-fast and dynamic sonic response, from which the EX -M1+ benefits.

Here are some of the EX -M1+ highlights that explain what makes this integrated unique and different.


The power amplifier circuits are mounted directly on a large custom fabricated gold anodized heat sink. The power amplifier is equipped with two pairs of power EXICON MOSFETs operating in AB Class.


Two identical power amp modules are located on the left and right sides of the chassis and deliver impeccable power to the two channels: 215 watts into 4-8 ohms.


The high damping factor unleashes the full potential of the speakers’ sonic performance. EX-M1+ uses high-power rail power supplies that deliver fast, high recovery DC to the power amplifier. The ultra-high slew rate and DC -coupled (no capacitors in the signal path), results in exceptionally acoustically-excellent – neutral, transparent, detailed, dynamic, and ultra-fast transient response.

The display can be dimmed and turned off completely.

The internal wiring with pure OCC copper was improved as well as over-finished, gold-plated high-current connectors for the line stage input signal and the transformer primary stage


The EX-M1+ is equipped with the most awaited features – Preamp Output and HT Bypass. However, the KINKI STUDIO team has done it differently. The preamp output can be activated/deactivated by the completely redesigned Remote Control Unit. 

This allows the EX -M1+ to be used as a pure preamp or as an integrated amp, where the preamp output can be connected to the subwoofer or Kinki Studio monoblocks EX -B7 to amplify the speakers. 

The same applies to HT Bypass Input. Pressing the Remote Control Unit button activates HT Bypass Input. The preamp stage is bypassed and EX -M1+ acts as the power amp.

All in all, there are the full audiophile-grade products under one chassis. A budget-oriented, but experienced aficionado would mark them with a three in one sticker.


KINKI STUDIO EX -M1+ is activated with the press of the power button located below the front panel. The input signal source (CH1-4) and the volume indicator will appear as soon as the amplifier is inaugurated in the operating state.

Pressing the same button for two seconds switches the amplifier to standby mode.

It normally takes 30 minutes for EX -M1+ to warm up. If it has not been used for a while, it may take 45+ minutes to reach the optimum operating point. The circuit must be warmed up to about 40 degrees Celsius to show the full potency of EX -M1+. 

As with many high-end audio products, KINKI STUDIO EX -M1+ requires about 300+ hours to fully burn-in. My listening notes revealed a no-nonsense but gradual sonic increase that stabilized somewhere around the recommended time. 

The EX-M1+ is easy to use, and operation is a breeze. Input sources are selected by turning the left knob and the right knob is responsible for volume control. Each step is logarithmically incremented, with 100 steps in total.

1) Loudspeaker Output

2) Input Signals Channel 1-4

3) AC Filter Toggle Switch

4) HT Bypass Signal Input

5) Fused AC Power Inlet

6) Preamp Output

7) EARTH / GND (Float)

8) Earth Toggle Switch

The preamp output can be activated/deactivated via the remote control as well as via the power switch. 

The EX-M1+ has these operating modes:

  • OUT1: EX -M1+ as an integrated amplifier
  • OUT2: EX -M1+ power amplifier switched off, it works as a preamplifier, output via the preamp

Output RCA socket

  • OUT1+2: EX -M1+ as an integrated amplifier, and, preamp output activated.

This is a useful feature that connects the subwoofer or external amplifier output to biamp a pair of speakers with the EX -M1+ amplifier output.

With the HT bypass amplifier input, EX -M1+ acts as a power amplifier. Like most other features, this function can be activated via the remote control.


One of the ways for me to quickly assess an amplifier’s ability to handle a simple but challenging drive is to listen to the album Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) by Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny. What seems like simple, easy to listen to music requires some genuine potency to fully develop. 

Sonically, this is not the perfect recording. Charlie Haden always loved his bass on the bloomy side and recorded with tube mic/preamp. This encapsulates the magical spirit of his mastery playing, which is always inviting but clangs a bit in the lower registers. 

Throughout the whole album, it’s also too easy for the double bass and Metheny’s guitar to fall apart and distort during the dynamic peaks of the notes with a non-potent amplifier. I’m addressing the potency and not sheer power. Those two could be too easily mixed up and put out of the context. 

It was interesting to observe the extent to which KINKI STUDIO EX -M1+ could maintain tempo under demanding loads. Logically, it could not drive the Raidho TD4.8 speakers all the way. There is no escaping the physics. With the rest of the easier-to-drive speakers, Beyond the Missouri Sky’s closure and the load was impressive for what EX -M1+ can deliver and its given price. The Haden bass could breathe with the necessary dynamism and the Metheny guitar had the right “potion” and airiness. Notes could float easily, decays and delays were prolonged for the needed time and even when the overlays become more cluttered, EX -M1+ retains its mojo without enunciating artificialness.

EX-M1+ was able to unfold Beyond the Missouri Sky in a good-natured benevolence yet kept the much-needed expansiveness and essence of the music essence carried at all times. This is a rare treat that even some of the much more expensive amps can’t get right. 

Pat Metheny Group – The Way Up can sound notably glib if the music is not formulated properly. But not with EX -M1+. Kinki Studio flagship integrated contrived to extract complex musical stories far better than expected, handling the emerging sonic entanglement and interplay of Pat Metheny Group master musicians with a surprisingly firm grip and load. 

The Way Up is distinguished by an ever-changing and spacious expansiveness. EX -M1+ was firmly rooted in the perpetual accelerations/decelerations through deft sorting of organic polyrhythms.

Converting the sheer energy of the music into mass is another characteristic or quality that is too often taken lightly, no matter the price. Jim Hall – Concierto “Concierto de Aranjuez” is one of the few pieces where this is readily put to the test. 

KINKI STUDIO EX -M1+ integrated comes with an essential classification of clarity that allows the harmonic whole to be traced back to its origin. Again, a nucleus of far greater than expected quality, way out of the price range. 

Concha Buika, Buika – Niña De Fuego (Standard Version) was nominated for Album of the Year in 2008 Latin Grammy Award. “Volver, Volver” from the album offers a complete embodiment of Buika’s soulful “femme fatale”. This track requires a particular amount of inner vigor to blend all the right virtues into a whole that “speaks to” rather than address the listener with the unwanted hiatus.

With unexpected efficiency, everything has been brought into sonic balance and tonal equilibrium with EX -M1+,  igniting a special emotional, indelible connection. When “Volver, Volver” ensnares you, you know the amplifier’s chorus is spot on, and EX -M1+ has shown its brawniness at once.

Another great example of encapsulated harmonic virtue is “Mana, Teus Cabelos” by Miroslav Tadić. EX -M1+ proffered “Mana, Teus Cabelos” more like an authentic, pulsating unabridged entity than a dissected aural anomaly that too often cannot be more than the sum of its parts, failing to repaint the sonic canvas with the necessary density and palpable aural shadings. 

The EX-M1+ did not swarm with tones, as is too often the case. KINKI STUDIO integrated showed a greater ability to command overlays with a degree of union worth highlighting.

Across all of the evaluated music, how KINKI STUDIO EX -M1 was not a temporary miracle. From track to track, album to album, it has proven with mature continuity and with a stronger than usual recurring factor. That alone is the norm that should trigger the sensors of interested.


No one likes overused audiophile clichés. And yet… KINKI STUDIO EX -M1+ is a real achiever. It should not look, sound, and perform as it does at this price point. Period!

The EX -M1 encapsulates neutrality and musicality as well as proper timbre, tone, and color. Kinki Studio integrated marks sonic expansiveness that encompasses a detailed, transparent sound canvas with higher density. The front edges of the attacks are not smoothed or rounded, and there is always a healthy dose of dynamics to provide the right musical drive. 

The EX -M1+ is well-tuned. Its soulful insistence is lyrical, but not cloying. KINKI STUDIO integrated amplifier easily becomes a colorful, sonically animated kaleidoscope with an expansive tonal palette when needed. It has a natural ability to look directly at the core of the music carefully compiling the prevailing emotional attributes.  EX -M1+ allows the performer to project themselves into space and time at a far larger believability factor than it should at this price point.  Furthermore a hallmark I don’t put on every high-end audio component. 

Any audio product that carries a highly regarded high-end label must allow the music to reveal itself fundamentally and EX -M1+’s essential qualities allow music material to expand with enough anchor point to create a captivating listening affair. This is another unique attribute, not commonplace, that puts the KINKI STUDIO EX -M1 integrated amplifier on a highly regarded high-end audio roadmap. 

The KINKI STUDIO EX -M1+ has all the right ingredients to carry the brand’s flagship designation. It shows that many efforts have been made to ensure EX -M1+ wide universality while maintaining sonic balance. 

By looks and design alone, the EX -M1+ demands attention at the very first glance. If these were built and manufactured in Europe, the price sticker would explode to the usual heights. 

KINKI STUDIO EX -M1+ has a certain healthy amount of nobility, but it is not overshadowed by temporary bling-bling. 

The same goes for the sonic quality. In this price range, sonic parochialism is usually a mandatory proposition. But KINKI STUDIO roves that this need not always be the case, and that price is not always sonic merit. The EX-M1+ is a great sounding, great performing, great looking, and relatively affordable integrated amplifier. 

KINKI STUDIO might be new to the roaster, but based on EX -M1+’s quality trumps quantity this brand has a promising future.

For what it delivers, and to what extent, the KINKI STUDIO EX -M1+ integrated amplifier deserves the acclaim of Mono and Stereo 2021 Highly Recommended Product Award. 

Matej Isak 


  • EUR 2.898


  • Frequency Response: 10-150kHz (±3dB)
  • THDN: 0.0232%; 0.006% (A-Weighted)
  • S/N Ratio: >103dB
  • Output Power: 215W (4Ω-8Ω), Both channel driven
  • Damping Factor: 2000
  • Gain: Normal Gain 26 dB
  • Max Output Voltage: 55VAC
  • AC Power: 110/240VAC, 50/60Hz (Factory configure)
  • Input Sensitivity: 2.25Vrms – 3.6Vrms
  • Input Impedance: 50kΩ
  • Input Connector: RCA x 3, XLR x 1, HT BYPASS x 1
  • Output: Speaker Binding Post 4mm L/R Channel
  • Output: Preamp Output x 1
  • Dimension: 430W x 125H x 370D
  • Weight: 25KG


Kinki Studio