Kali’s new three‑way system brings serious monitoring to your desktop.
Designed as part of Kali’s Project Independence series of loudspeakers, the IN‑UNF might at first appear to be a desktop ‘multimedia’ speaker system, but appearances can be deceptive. Yes, there are two small satellite speakers and a compact bass speaker, but those satellites uses the same four‑inch midrange driver and one‑inch soft‑dome tweeter as Kali’s respected IN‑5 and IN‑8 monitors, in this case passively crossing over at 2.8kHz (the bass/mid crossover, on the other hand, is active). The tweeter is arranged coaxially with the mid driver cone and is also phase‑aligned so as to produce a coherent point source. Note that the mid driver cone is also shaped to act as a waveguide for the tweeter. In order to make the satellites adjustable in both the horizontal and vertical planes, they have a spherical form factor, and sit in specially designed silicone ‘pucks’ or cradles. Developed specifically for desktop monitoring, the design takes into account desktop reflections and also incorporates adjustable EQ to compensate for the boundary effect of working close to walls.
The system can easily generate a monitoring reference level of 85dBA at just 0.8 metres (roughly arm’s length), and has a maximum SPL (peak) at 1m of 103dB. The Bass Unit measures 29.4 x 13.3 x 49.4cm and the satellite speakers are 15.8cm in diameter, so you don’t need a lot of desk real estate. With an overall system weight of 11.2kg, the IN‑UNF system is also portable. The amplifier ratings are 60 Watts (continuous) per channel for the mids and highs, and 100 Watts for the bass unit. A system frequency response of 47Hz‑21kHz is quoted at the ‑3dB points (‑10dB figures are 39Hz‑25kHz). EQ options allow for adjustment of the LF, mid and HF levels.
Kali describe the bass unit as the heart of the system. Frequencies below 280Hz are handled by a pair of horizontally opposed 4.5‑inch low‑frequency drivers located at either side of the case. The plastic parts of the case feel solid and well‑damped, while the drivers are protected by perforated steel grilles. An advantage of them being horizontally opposed is that vibrations that could be passed through to the desk below should largely cancel out. The low end is summed to mono, as the vast majority of stereo information is carried by the mid and HF drivers. A benefit of this is that if there are any mix issues caused by opposite‑panned low‑frequency sounds that might cancel out when heard in mono, these issues become immediately obvious. In addition to the drivers, the bass unit also houses the system electronics, including the amplifiers and the physical TRS jack input connections, as well as banana‑plug connections to the satellite speakers. These are arranged on the two end panels.
Other connections include a USB‑C input supporting 24‑bit audio at up to a 48kHz sample rates, as well as unbalanced 3.5mm jacks and optical inputs, extending the connectivity options to include gaming consoles and televisions. USB‑C allows direct connection to a laptop or an iOS device via a Lightning connector and Apple’s optional Camera Connection Kit. Power is delivered to the bass unit via a detachable mains cable, not an external adaptor.
Also sharing the panel space is a bank of DIP switches relating to the position and orientation of the bass unit. There’s a volume control with a centre detent position and a Sleep switch to put the system into standby manually if the digital input is in use. If the digital input is not in use, standby is entered automatically after a period of inactivity, whereupon the power light turns from blue to red. Once audio starts playing again the speakers come back on line within a second or two.
Note that the bass unit needs to be located on a desktop, as it is not designed to be floor‑standing and will most likely sound wrong if placed on the floor. It can, however, be set up either horizontally or vertically, so you can choose the arrangement that suits your desk layout.
For my tests I set up in my office, which also doubles as my ‘studio B’, positioning the bass unit vertically so that I could place it behind my laptop with a satellite speaker on either side. The way the satellites rest in their cradles makes it easy to aim the tweeters towards your ears, and there are detailed instructions on the Kali website if you need to adjust the DIP switches to account for room placement. At a comfortable playback level, there was very little in the way of unwanted vibration finding its way onto the surface of the desk.
Given the compact size of this system, I have to say that the IN‑UNF is pretty impressive.
While my appraisal of the sound quality is purely subjective, I have other speakers and headphones I regularly use for reference, and given the compact size of this system, I have to say that the IN‑UNF is pretty impressive. Those coaxial satellite speakers provide a solid stereo image with great clarity and smoothness, while the bass unit does an excellent job of handling low bass notes. In comparison with my main studio monitors, which produce an exceptionally dry and tight low end, the IN‑UNF does exhibit a degree of bass overhang, which is something we’ve come to expect from small ported monitors, but I’d still be happy to mix on these speakers in a small studio or desktop environment, given that you can always check how tight the bass really sounds using headphones.
Not having to worry about the placement of a floor‑standing sub takes a lot of guesswork out of setting up reliable monitoring, and because of the physical format of the system, which feels reassuringly solid, it is very easy to fit into a desktop setup. If you have to work in a tight space but don’t want to work exclusively on headphones, then I recommend you take a closer look at the Kali IN‑UNF package.
- Ideal for smaller desk‑based studios.
- Clean, well‑balanced sound, especially in the mids and highs.
- Solidly built.
- Some bass overhang, but nothing excessive given the size of the system and its bass response.
A compact yet surprisingly effective monitoring system that would be ideal for smaller desktop setups.