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These desktop speakers upgraded my desk with a great look and impressive sound

  • April 24, 2023
Jack Wallen/ZDNET

I spend roughly eight hours at my desk writing. Most of those hours are filled with glorious sounds spilling from my Rega P8 turntable. For years, my speaker of choice was the Audioengine A5+. Sadly, those speakers began to show signs of failure and the company no longer makes that same version. Because of that, I had to begin the search for a replacement.

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When I undertake such a task, I take it very seriously. I spent a week or so reading comparisons of desktop speakers, knowing I had certain requirements:

  • They had to be active (which means they are powered) because I only use a pre-amp.
  • They had to have an output for a subwoofer.
  • They had to have a small footprint.
  • They had to sound great.

The more I read, the more the roads were leading to the Kanto YU6 speakers. Every review I read was filled with glowing praise about the sonic clarity and tremendous output for such a small sound system.

I was sold.


Kanto YU6MB Speakers

Remarkable-sounding speakers that support Bluetooth with Qualcomm aptX and remote control.

The specs

For those that need full specs, here they are:

  • Drivers: 1″ silk dome tweeters and 5.25″ kevlar drivers
  • Audio: Class D amplifier with 200W Peak Power (100W total RMS) and a frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz
  • Inputs: 3.5mm mini-jack AUX, RCA with Phono Switch, 1x Optical (TOSLINK), Bluetooth 4.0 with Qualcomm® aptX
  • Outputs – Subwoofer and USB Charge 5V 1A
  • Weight – 11.4 pounds (5.2 kg)

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The Kanto YU6 speakers come with a remote (with batteries), power cord, speaker wire, 3.5mm auxiliary cable, rubber feet, and a manual. I didn’t use the speaker wire or the rubber feet, though, as I already had a wire run from my Audioengine speakers and the Kanto YU6 would be mounted on rubber stands that tilt the speakers so they point directly at my head.

Once they were set up, I was ready for the first test.

First impressions matter

I’ve always used “Moving Pictures,” by Rush, as my test album. Not only is the album perfectly mastered, but the opening of Tom Sawyer makes for a great first impression.

The Kantos did not disappoint. Paired with my SVS SB-1000 Pro subwoofer, these speakers had me immediately forgetting the Audioengine set. The clarity (even at louder levels) was incredible. And, with the help of the remote, I could add a bit more bass or treble as needed (something the Audioengines could not do). 

There are inputs for a turntable and a line in from your computer, as well as outputs for a subwoofer.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

I fully understand that a set of bookshelf speakers will never match the soundscape delivered by a set of quality floor-standing speakers. But when space is tight and your room (and your cats) really doesn’t lend itself to floor-standing speakers, the bookshelf is the way to go. If that’s your situation, the Kanto YU6 speakers will not disappoint.

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Honestly, I was expecting to be disappointed. After all, the Audioengine A5+ speakers were not only gorgeous looking, but the sound was lush and very detailed. The Kanto, however, is far superior, and I have not regretted the purchase for one second.

If you work at home at your desk all day and have a need for new speakers, do yourself a favor and just buy these babies. I’ve enjoyed months of listening to rock, ambient, classical, pop, and other genres of music and have found them to be remarkable with every guitar, voice, violin, piano, drum, bass, and/or chorus.

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