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Unpacking the Kingsounds wasn't something I was prepared to wait until morning. Once I'd figured out how to gain access to the contents it was a question of whether my cordless screwdriver had enough charge in the battery to remove the 22 Phillips screws holding one of the crate's sides in place. With the 6mm strip of plywood cast aside it was possible to slowly tease out first one speaker from its polystyrene nest, then the other though they had to be leant against the wall as the stands/supports had yet to be attached. The lightness and manageability of the speakers sans supports was most definitely welcome. First impressions before assembly were favorable. The wooden side cheeks had a low-gloss almost satin finish and the black front grill was—or so I assumed—interchangeable with the rear grey grill to suit preferences, being a press fit of plastic pins on the covers into plastic inserts on the panel edges.

My own habit is to always remove acoustically transparent grills without suffering the enquiring fingers of youngsters or wagging canine tails. I did keep the rear grill cloths on as the sound radiating from the rear of the speaker would primarily be reflected off the front wall. The temptation to remove both front and rear in order to shoe a corny 'the King has no cloths' into the review was admittedly hard to ignore. It was upon removing the front covers that the positive first impressions took a slight hit. Set within ten cut-outs of the main black painted plywood frame were the ten conductive film diaphragms protected front and rear by black plastic frames. I'd concede that the multitude of drivers and their technology doesn't leave much scope for making the defrocked Kings an aesthetically pleasing speaker yet considering that many, possibly most buyers of high-end speakers do routinely remove the covers, I'd have thought that at $12.000 the use of plywood with even just one veneered face wouldn't have been too much to ask. A finger-nail sized chip above one of the plastic grill fastening inserts was structurally insignificant yet would never be tolerated on any object I can think of at a similar price.

Two bolts secure one foot to one side of the panel. Ensuring that the holes in the sides of the panel were of equal spacing to the holes in the feet wouldn't be rocket science. Nonetheless on one speaker it was impossible to insert both bolts into both feet which again wasn't structurally significant given how tightly one bolt held a foot and how light the panels were - yet these were $12,000 speakers! Also the holes in the feet are countersunk which means that the head of the bottom bolt is concealed when tightened as the foot is thicker lower down. By contrast the top bolt stays proud when tightened though there's enough material to allow further countersinking or the hole could be moved further down the foot. Basically having one silver bolt head showing (why not use black to match the feet?) and the other concealed looks poor in my opinion. The fact that one speaker had no bolt heads showing whatsoever because the top bolts couldn't be inserted exacerbated the effect.

Ironically build quality of the external crossovers which will most likely be hidden from sight was exemplary, with all bolt heads neatly countersunk in the aluminium chassis. The smaller wooden cases containing the power supplies were neat enough, both having an IEC male connection to accept third-party power cords. Dual terminals make bi-wiring or bi-amping an option if the obligatory brass jumpers are removed. I'd suggest this is a must even if the brass plates are replaced by better cable jumpers.

Being a dipole, the King IIIs were positioned some 30 inches from the wall and toed in by around 8°, the gap between the inside edges of the frames being 42 inches. On the end of half a metre of cord protruding from the base of each speaker sits a Harting Industrial multi-pin connector which is inserted and secured into the crossover socket using twin metal clamps (this short length pretty much necessitates the crossovers being placed on the floor). Kimber Classic power cords joined the wooden power supplies to the PS Audio P600 and the head-phone like jack from the power supply was inserted into the crossover. Finally Kimber KS-3035 loudspeaker cables were carefully routed to the crossovers. With no on/off switch to power the speakers up, it was just a case of checking that the blue LED on the rear of the crossover was illuminated before bringing my AMR CD-77 out of standby.