Kali Audio LP-8v2 (Second Wave) 2-Way Studio Monitor Review

  • Sunday, Nov 14, 2021

Foreword / YouTube Video Review

The review on this website is a brief overview and summary of the objective performance of this speaker. It is not intended to be a deep dive. Moreso, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler.

For a primer on what the data means, please watch my series of videos where I provide in-depth discussion and examples of how to read the graphics presented hereon.

Information and Photos

These speakers were loaned to me by Kali Audio for review purposes. They were not given early access to my review and will see it the same time the public does. I also reviewed the LP-6v2 ([link here](https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kali_lp-6v2/)) if you would like to compare the results.

The Kali LP-8v2 is the second generation powered 2-way Studio Monitor featuring a 6.5-inch midwoofer mated to 1-inch dome tweeter in an elliptical waveguide. The back features a bank of dip switches for boundary settings (discussed later) and basic level adjustments. There is a volume knob and (3) input options: XLR, TRS and RCA phono.

MSRP for a single speaker is $250 making it $500 USD for a pair.

Closeup of the back showing DSP settings and input options: specs

LP-8v2 (right) compared in size to the LP-6v2 (left): specs

CTA-2034 (SPINORAMA) and Accompanying Data

All data collected using Klippel’s Near-Field Scanner. The Near-Field-Scanner 3D (NFS) offers a fully automated acoustic measurement of direct sound radiated from the source under test. The radiated sound is determined in any desired distance and angle in the 3D space outside the scanning surface. Directivity, sound power, SPL response and many more key figures are obtained for any kind of loudspeaker and audio system in near field applications (e.g. studio monitors, mobile devices) as well as far field applications (e.g. professional audio systems). Utilizing a minimum of measurement points, a comprehensive data set is generated containing the loudspeaker’s high resolution, free field sound radiation in the near and far field. For a detailed explanation of how the NFS works and the science behind it, please watch the below discussion with designer Christian Bellmann:

The reference plane in this test is at the tweeter. Volume set to ‘0’ with XLR input. The dip switches were all set to ‘0’ for the free field setting.

Measurements are provided in a format in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020). For more information, please see this link.

Note: The roll off rate of this speaker is sharp and therefore some noise was unavoidable at 25Hz which causes a spike in the response here. Ignore the response below 25Hz.


The On-axis Frequency Response (0°) is the universal starting point and in many situations it is a fair representation of the first sound to arrive at a listener’s ears.

The Listening Window is a spatial average of the nine amplitude responses in the ±10º vertical and ±30º horizontal angular range. This encompasses those listeners who sit within a typical home theater audience, as well as those who disregard the normal rules when listening alone.

The Early Reflections curve is an estimate of all single-bounce, first-reflections, in a typical listening room.

Sound Power represents all the sounds arriving at the listening position after any number of reflections from any direction. It is the weighted rms average of all 70 measurements, with individual measurements weighted according to the portion of the spherical surface that they represent.

Sound Power Directivity Index (SPDI): In this standard the SPDI is defined as the difference between the listening window curve and the sound power curve.

Early Reflections Directivity Index (EPDI): is defined as the difference between the listening window curve and the early reflections curve. In small rooms, early reflections figure prominently in what is measured and heard in the room so this curve may provide insights into potential sound quality.


Early Reflections Breakout:

Floor bounce: average of 20º, 30º, 40º down

Ceiling bounce: average of 40º, 50º, 60º up

Front wall bounce: average of 0º, ± 10º, ± 20º, ± 30º horizontal

Side wall bounces: average of ± 40º, ± 50º, ± 60º, ± 70º, ± 80º horizontal

Rear wall bounces: average of 180º, ± 90º horizontal


Estimated In-Room Response:

In theory, with complete 360-degree anechoic data on a loudspeaker and sufficient acoustical and geometrical data on the listening room and its layout it would be possible to estimate with good precision what would be measured by an omnidirectional microphone located in the listening area of that room. By making some simplifying assumptions about the listening space, the data set described above permits a usefully accurate preview of how a given loudspeaker might perform in a typical domestic listening room. Obviously, there are no guarantees because individual rooms can be acoustically aberrant. Sometimes rooms are excessively reflective (“live”) as happens in certain hot, humid climates, with certain styles of interior décor and in under-furnished rooms. Sometimes rooms are excessively “dead” as in other styles of décor and in some custom home theaters where acoustical treatment has been used excessively. This form of post processing is offered only as an estimate of what might happen in a domestic living space with carpet on the floor and a “normal” amount of seating, drapes, and cabinetry.

For these limited circumstances it has been found that a usefully accurate Predicted In-Room (PIR) amplitude response, also known as a “room curve” is obtained by a weighted average consisting of 12 % listening window, 44 % early reflections and 44 % sound power. At very high frequencies errors can creep in because of excessive absorption, microphone directivity, and room geometry. These discrepancies are not considered to be of great importance.


Horizontal Frequency Response (0° to ±90°): specs

Vertical Frequency Response (0° to ±40°): specs

Horizontal Contour Plot (not normalized): specs

Horizontal Contour Plot (normalized): specs

Vertical Contour Plot (not normalized): specs

Vertical Contour Plot (normalized): specs

Additional Measurements

On-Axis Response Linearity


“Globe” Plots

These plots are generated from exporting the Klippel data to text files. I then process that data with my own MATLAB script to provide what you see. These are not part of any software packages and are unique to my tests.

Horizontal Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left. specs

Vertical Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left. specs

Harmonic Distortion

Harmonic Distortion at 86dB @ 1m: specs

Harmonic Distortion at 96dB @ 1m: specs

Near-Field Response

Nearfield response of individual drive units: specs

Dynamic Range (Instantaneous Compression Test)

The below graphic indicates just how much SPL is lost (compression) or gained (enhancement; usually due to distortion) when the speaker is played at higher output volumes instantly via a 2.7 second logarithmic sine sweep referenced to 76dB at 1 meter. The signals are played consecutively without any additional stimulus applied. Then normalized against the 76dB result.

The tests are conducted in this fashion:

  1. 76dB at 1 meter (baseline; black)
  2. 86dB at 1 meter (red)
  3. 96dB at 1 meter (blue)
  4. 102dB at 1 meter (purple)

The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components) instantaneously.


Based on my results above, it is obvious the output is limited (via internal DSP) somewhere above the 96dB @ 1m output level.

Long Term Compression Tests

The below graphics indicate how much SPL is lost or gained in the long-term as a speaker plays at the same output level for 2 minutes, in intervals. Each graphic represents a different SPL: 86dB and 96dB both at 1 meter.

The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components).

The tests are conducted in this fashion:

  1. “Cold” logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand)
  2. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  3. Interim logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Red in graphic)
  4. Multitone stimulus played at desired SPL/distance for 2 minutes; intended to represent music signal
  5. Final logarithmic sine sweep (no stimulus applied beforehand) (Blue in graphic)

The red and blue lines represent changes in the output compared to the initial “cold” test.



Parting / Random Thoughts

If you want to see the music I use for evaluating speakers subjectively, see my Spotify playlist.

I think this may be best served to construct it as a comparison against the LP-6v2, since I know many will ask about this comparison.

Tonally, they are quite similar. There is more variation of the LP-8v2 in response and the data indicates some resonance in the midrange from about 500Hz to 1kHz. The on-axis dip draws your eye pretty quickly but… rather to have a dip than a peak, for sure. I’m not sure the cause of this and I could guess but I won’t as that leads to more confusion. The point is, it’s there in the data. How audible is it? Well, in some tracks I noted a bit of a chesty sound. Generally when I say “chesty” I think of the 100-300Hz region but upon applying some EQ to 600Hz with a graphic EQ by -1.5dB, it took the edge off and the issue was gone for me. This was the only thing that stood out to me in my listening when making a comparison between the LP-6v2. The bass extension is similar enough to not be a deal breaker as the -3dB point is only 3dB between the two speakers: 42Hz for the LP-6v2 and 39Hz for the LP-8v2. However, the difference that stood out to me was the output capability. Not just in overall level but also regarding the built-in limiter’s impact on the midbass and bass. If you look at the data of the LP-6v2 vs the LP-8v2, you can see the LP-8v2 has about 1-3dB more dynamic range below 100Hz. Specifically, at 50Hz and referenced to 96dB @ 1 meter, the LP-6v2 reduces the output by 1.5dB compared to the LP-8v2. If you go higher in level, the difference is even more so.

With the above said, I think the easiest comparison to make between the LP-6vs and the LP-8v2 is:

  • Similar (not the same, but similar) tonality, though I prefer the LP-6v2 at more reasonable volumes.
  • LP-8v2 can get louder with more dynamic range which is also helpful if you are sitting further away than a couple meters.
  • LP-6v2 might get the soundstage width lean by being maybe 5-10° wider in horizontal radiation in the treble. Whether or not you’ll notice this difference is not something I can reliably speak to. And, depending on your listening situation, you may or may not want one or the other.
  • LP-8v2 has better horizontal directivity control through the crossover region but only slightly so, I’d say. Though, the LP-6v2 has better directivity through the midrange. What this means in terms of what you’re going to hear in your room will likely be: the LP-8v2 will sound more neutral in the 1-3kHz region while the LP-6v2 will sound more neutral through the 500-1kHz region.

As were my thoughts on the Kali Audio LP-6v2, the LP-8v2 is a great product at a entry-level price and performs better than “hi-fi” passive speakers costing much more. The LP series from Kali opens the door for budget minded artists to mix their music on something which yields reliable results that translate well on all systems without spending a year’s salary to do so. And most importantly, without having to get the crappy monitors that have become accepted as the norm by the budget conscious who simply do not know better (see my review on the budget Mackie and PreSonus monitors). It’s not just my opinion; the data backs this up.

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