Published On: April 3, 2024

Kali Audio LP-UNF Review: More Power Than The Compact Design Would Suggest

Published On: April 3, 2024
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Kali Audio LP-UNF Review: More Power Than The Compact Design Would Suggest

If you are looking to add accurate sound to your desktop for audio editing and Video production without dropping big money, the LP-UNFs are the best I've reviewed at the $300 price point.

Kali Audio LP-UNF Review: More Power Than The Compact Design Would Suggest

By Author: Indiana Lang

Indiana Lang, owner of Emptor Audio and A/V Integration in Orlando, FL, brings extensive AV industry experience from inside sales to custom installations. Starting in the field at 17 and writing about Hifi since 2016, he boasts over 25 certifications from top brands and is the current Editor-In-Chief of HomeTheaterReview.com.

The Kali Audio LP-UNF is a compact yet powerful studio monitor designed specifically for desktop mixing and production setups, while also being an overall well-rounded pair of speakers for most desktop audio listening. At $299, it provides an affordable way to get impressive audio quality in a small form factor. Kali Audio has been making professional desktop speakers since 2018 with the aim of not just sounding good but also being affordable. The new LP-UNF are designed for full range sound for desktop recording - lets see if they live up to the hype.

Highs

● Amazing Bass levels

● Priced right at $300

● Volume control is very unique

● Perfect size for Desktop

● Simple setup

Lows

● Balanced precise audio, but not a in a fun way

● Volume control doesn’t go low enough for most listening situations

● No grilles

Design and Features

One of the standout features of the LP-UNF is its use of waveguide technology to create an expansive and precise stereo image. This allows you to clearly locate different elements of the mix in the stereo field, which is crucial for accurate mixing decisions. The waveguide is derived from Kali's larger and more expensive monitors, like the LP-6 and LP-8, packing pro-level imaging into this compact desktop setup without breaking the bank. Of course, the downside of more pro-level speakers is that they have less of a sweet and warm sound and a much more neutral tone to them. They are far more accurate, but as I like to say, less fun to listen to. Don't expect these to compete head-to-head to with brands like Audioengine or Edifier.

Kali Audio LP-UNF outside on the ground

Despite its small 6.5x7.4x10 inch cabinet size, the LP-UNF delivers full-range sound down to an impressive 39Hz., which I found surprisingly low and deep for the bass. This is thanks to its 4.5-inch long excursion woofer that provides a surprising amount of low-end punch and extension with less than 2% distortion. The front-firing port tube uses fluid dynamics modeling to eliminate port noise and compression when placing the monitors near walls. My desktop is in front of glass windows, which can be a tough challenge for most speakers to overcome, but the UNFs didn't miss a beat.

Hands On Performance

Powering the speakers is a beefy 40-watt per channel amplifier providing headroom of up to 103dB SPL. Inputs include USB-C, Bluetooth 5.1, RCA, and balanced TRS connections with 24-bit/48kHz digital conversion. Having both digital and analog input options provides flexibility.

Kali Audio LP-UNF closeup

The LP-UNF has a simple yet elegant design with a front volume touch control. One minor critique is that the volume floor is still quite loud at the minimum setting, making very low listening levels difficult to achieve. Something that I never do is adjust the volume in windows, but lo and behold, I had to with the UNFs at their lowest setting. I would have really liked to see 2 or 3 lower volume settings to be able to use these speakers at a quieter volume. However at the same time, this is by far the coolest volume control on a desktop speaker I have ever seen and tried for myself. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I thought it was really cool and it reminded me of the vintage Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.

Powered:Yes
Amp Class:D
Power Config:2-Channel, each bi-amped
HF Power Per Channel40 W
LF Power Per Channel:40 W
LF Driver:4.5-Inch Long-Excursion Woofer
HF Driver:1-Inch Textile Dome
Frequency Response (-10 dB):39 Hz - 25 kHz
Frequency Range (±3 dB):54 Hz - 21 kHz
Crossover:1950 Hz
SPL:85 dB Continuous at .8 Meters with 20 dB Headroom
Max SPL:103 dB
System THD (85dB SPL @.8m):<2% from 65 Hz to 1000 Hz<1% from 1000 Hz to 2000 Hz<0.5% above 2000 Hz
Stereo Inputs:USB-C (Digital)Bluetooth (Digital)RCA (Unbalanced, -10 dBV)TRS (Balanced, +4 dBU)
Bluetooth Version:5.1
Digital Input Conversion:24-bit/48 kHz
Trims:LF & HF +/-2d
In the box:Primary LP-UNF SpeakerSecondary LP-UNF SpeakerPower SupplyLocal Power CableInterconnect Cable
Speaker Height:10 Inches (25.4 cm)
Speaker Width:6.5 Inches (16.4 cm)
Speaker Depth:7.4 Inches (18.6 cm)
Speaker Weight (Primary/Secondary):3.2kg (7.1 lbs)/3kg (6.6 lbs)
Shipping Height:15 Inches (381mm)
Shipping Width:18 Inches (457 mm)
Shipping Depth:12 Inches (305 mm)
Shipping Weight:16 lbs (7.3kg)

Listening

It's time to stop and take a listen to these speakers. I run my own Youtube Channel and do a lot of video editing, and these speakers are great because they don't add or subtract anything from the sound, they just present the sound as it is. I can make precise pitch and tone adjustments without having to worry about how it sounds on other speakers or if my speakers are just warm sounding, something many other desktop speakers are guilty of.

Trying out some music, "Crossfade - Cold" is my first choice for laid back rock. You can hear the vocals as they are meant to be heard, clean and clear without any added color or tone. The bass on these speakers was something else, with the 4.5 inch woofer I never really expect much, but the bass stayed tight and dare I say punchy? Wow, I can't believe I said a 4.5 inch woofer can put out good bass.

Wanting to test these on a more bass heavy track I put on "Tokyo Drift - Teriyaki Boyz (PedroDJDaddy Remix)" and boy do these little speakers punch above their paygrade! The rev of engines over deep bass stayed clear without any distortion or breakup. I am quite amazed!

Wrapping Up

For the price, the Kali LP-UNF punches well above its weight, providing impactful and transparent sound, precise imaging, pro inputs/outputs, and impressive low-end capability - all in a compact desktop form factor. Honestly they are not too small or too big, something I can't say for all desktop speakers. Also be aware that there are no grilles with these speakers, they look how they come and come how they look.

Kali Audio LP-UNF rear view

A close competitor to Kali Audio would be M-Audio and Presonus, I have plenty of experience listening to a few old models and new models alike. While both brands offer many options, I found the Kali Audios to be a great size and have far better bass than any options I have heard in the price point. While M-Audio and Presonus do have simpler volume control and a very controlled mid-range, they also have better lower volume control for quiet listening.

If you need great affordable monitors for your home studio setup, the LP-UNFs are an excellent choice to consider. While not a "fun" sounding set of desktop speakers they are firmly aimed at the pro user crowd for serious use and they didn't disappoint. They were able to produce bass that I didn't think they could handle and stayed strong on heavy bass tracks. If you are looking to add accurate sound to your desktop for audio editing and Video production without dropping big money, the LP-UNFs are the best I've reviewed at the $300 price point.

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