Canadian based Totem Acoustics or ‘Totem’ for short has been creating some of the best speakers since 1987. Their new Kin Play Mini speakers retailing at $850 are a testament to the fact.
In this Totem Kin Play Mini review, I am going to take you through all the features and give an account of the soundstage on offer.
The Kin Play Mini speakers consist of an active (left) and passive (right) unit that are suited for a wide range of uses from gaming, home cinema or for any audiophiles out there searching for a well rounded punchy sound signature. The speakers are also compatible with turntables thanks to the built-in phono stage.
The speakers themselves come securely packaged along with the box of accessories and power cable. The accessories consist of the manual, remote control, aux cable, Toslink (digital output) cable, speaker cable & adhesive feet for the base of the units.
There is nothing out of the ordinary here but it would have been nice to receive a longer aux cable as it is quite short.
The speakers are easy to set up thanks to the simple instructions in the manual. Firstly, you screw off the golden caps and then remove the black and red plastic plugs to expose the speaker plugs.
Then, screw the caps back on and then plug in the supplied speaker wire ensuring you plug the positive & negative sides into the relevant terminal.
From here you can connect the speakers through your desired output whether that is digital output, aux or Bluetooth.
The unit is powered on by pressing the button located in the bottom right of the left speaker. The same button is used to cycle through different source modes. Each standard source mode is coloured green and Bluetooth is blue to help identify each.
There are also optional magnetic grills that can be placed over the top of the tweeter and woofer to provide an alternative aesthetic.
The Kin Play Mini is packed with similar features compared to its larger brother the Kin Play but in a more compact form.
One of my favourite features of the speakers is its Bluetooth capabilities making this an excellent set of units for general ease of use. The Bluetooth uses the Qualcomm aptx HD codec which supports 24-bit music quality ensuring the highest quality music through wireless Bluetooth.
Bluetooth mode is selected by pressing the power button in the bottom right which cycles through the different sources or can be selected using the Totem remote. Once the blue light is showing & blinking, press the pair button on the remote.
On your device, you can then search for the ‘TOTEM KIN PLAY MINI’ to pair. Once successful the blue light on the speaker will turn solid blue.
The speakers can also be used along with your favourite turntable using the phono input on the rear.
The Totem remote that comes with the speakers is sturdy and heavy giving it a much more premium feel. A lot of remotes like these are usually plastic and feel cheap.
The remote supports all your typical media playback buttons, as well as the Bluetooth functionality controls I talked about previously. From here you can also adjust the tone of the speakers.
Due to how bright these speakers are you may want to tone down the treble which is easily done using the remote.
However, one issue I had was that there is no indication as to what level your bass or treble level is. There are 8 levels in total, 4 up or 4 down. But there is no way of knowing which level you are on unless you go all the way to the top and count down or all the way to bottom and count up.
It would be nice to have some kind of display on the active speaker to indicate what level you are on & for the volume level.
Lastly, the Kin Play Mini also supports the use of a subwoofer for those of you looking for that extra punch.
Acoustics & Soundstage
Totem recommends a minimum of 70-100 hours of break in to get the absolute best sound from the speakers. Within the manual, Totem also recommends they are positioned 12 inches or 30.5cm from the back wall or sidewall to improve energy flow and provide a cleaner bass response.
The further you move the system from the wall the less bass reinforcement. I have had them placed on my desk tilted at an angle inwards towards my primary monitor. The bass has felt very full and punchy. Ideally, I should have them further away but due to space constraints I can’t.
The sound stage overall is extremely wide, I have been pleasantly surprised by the fullness and clarity of the tones.
The treble can be quite high at times particularly with crash cymbals or higher vocals but you can tweak it to your liking using the remote as discussed previously. Personally, I like accentuated higher tones because it provides an extra zing to higher-pitched tracks.
The speakers particularly excel with rap, dance, house or vocally rich tracks. The bass is incredibly crisp which has made listening to some of my favourite tracks extra special.
If you are not an audiophile and haven’t experienced music like this, you will hear music how it is supposed to be heard. And, you will discover intricacies to songs you have never even noticed.
Baselines will feel smoother and richer. Mids will be wider and more rounded while the treble will provide the extra ping to finish off the sound.
It is difficult to describe how impressive these speakers are for the price through words alone. But for this price bracket, this is a gem and provides excellent value for money.
With the active unit coming in at 4.85kg & passive 3.85kg the speakers still pack a solid weight to them. The outer shell of the units is made from MDF which feels very strong and durable. The 1” tweeter is covered by a grill & the woofer has a shine to it both of which feel high quality.
The speaker wire that is supplied is thick & rigid and of good length however, the aux cable could be longer.
Overall the Kin Play Mini speakers are a great set of speakers offering a wide, crisp and full soundstage for gaming, listening to music or even a home cinema system. They look sleek and stylish and as bookshelf speakers would look great alongside your turntable. At around $850 these are the perfect start to creating a premium audio set up.
There are a few things that Totem could do to improve the speakers. Mainly, they should consider adding the ability to know what level the volume and tone of the bass and treble levels are at.
For the price of $850 I would expect a slightly longer aux cable too but this is nitpicking.
If you are interested in finding out more about them or picking these up check out the Totem website for retailers near you.