Such is the delta of change within the audio industry that products like the Kanto TUK weren’t so much a rarity as functionally non-existent just a few years ago. Then, there were a few difficult years when the products were best described as ‘floored’ (sometimes with the prefix ‘horribly...’). But recently – and it has been in the last year or so – things have changed. Instead of being a mediocre alternative to the real deal, suddenly active makes more sense. The Kanto TUK is one of the front runners in this revolution
Why the change, and what the TUK?
The change is more a confluence of small events that added up to a potentially big change. The move from ‘own’ to ‘loan’ in music, meant less focus on local sources and therefore less need for UPnP wrangling, Class D and Bluetooth both getting just a little bit better, and the need for a way for playing records that didn’t require the other parts of the ‘old school’ equation – amplifiers and larger loudspeakers, all made a market for a good, high-performance small active loudspeaker both a proposition and a reality.
Now on to the Kanto TUK. One of the great advantages the TUK has is its specifications force audio enthusiasts out of their comfort zones. When it comes to products in this category, traditionally there has been a full naval parade’s worth of dismissal from the audio community, but those days are coming to a close. A product with an AMT ribbon tweeter shuts down the whole ‘cheap drivers in a box’ argument pretty quickly. All the other components give audiophiles the same degree of pause, too.
The TUK (pronounced, paying very close attention to autocorrect, ‘tuck’) is an active Class D two-way, rear-ported loudspeaker, with an electronic crossover network that rolls off at 80Hz in that event of a subwoofer being connected (this doesn’t auto-detect, you need to tell the TUK about the sub from the remote handset). Otherwise, Kanto claims a 50Hz lower frequency point from the 133mm aluminium cone woofer, and in room – unless that room is a barn – that figure is achievable and surprisingly realistic.
The TUK system uses one active and one passive loudspeaker separated – perhaps unsurprisingly - by speaker connectors and cable. By default, the active speaker is the left channel, but you can swap over by pressing and holding the ‘Previous Track’ button on the remote for five seconds. You can also enable or disable the auto power up or power down from the remote. The TUK takes about six seconds to wake up or go to sleep.