Kumitate (くみたて) Lab: A Triumph and Celebration of DIY - Impressions Thread
Mar 27, 2019 at 9:04 PM Post #346 of 360

OverlordRush

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It doesn’t have the new 16mm foster DD, but it has the 14mm DD, as this is the KL-Proto ver. 2.1

Any idea on the driver configuration? Will it be just one DD or a hybrid, from the looks of it, it kinda looks like a 1dd 1ba hybrid
 
Apr 15, 2019 at 7:58 AM Post #349 of 360

Deezel177

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Hey guys, I just published my CanJam SG 2019 coverage article on TheHeadphoneList.com. I was extremely happy to reunite with Ito-san at the show and hear his new prototype. Here's an excerpt from the full article:

Kumitate Lab

Throughout the many familiar faces I had the pleasure of seeing, very few brought joy to me more than reuniting with Kumitate Lab’s Ito-san. In an odd way, he was the co-progenitor of An Inner View – one of my proudest achievements throughout my THL authorship. And, it was a pleasure catching up with what he and Sasaki-san had been working on prior to his Singapore trip. On display were also his signature Raden designs, which I’m still kicking myself for not taking photos of. You can view those masterpieces close-up in the images he put up on social media here. But, I did get to demo his KL-Proto Ver. 2.0, utilising 3 armatures and a 14mm FOSTEX DD, as part of the FOSTER Alliance Program.

CJSG-SLT-10.jpg

Kumitate Lab KL-Proto Ver. 2.0: The KL-Proto possesses a likeable, mainstream signature with an even, versatile tonal balance. But, unlike their previous offerings, the Proto’s top-end is on the smoother side. Nevertheless, articulation and clarity both impress. Definition may not rival the Focus’, for example. But, I’m sure there are many who’d prefer this smoothness over raw clarity. Spatial performance is stellar as usual. The stage is clean, well-organised and possesses some of the best stereo separation I’ve ever heard. Though, stage height is rather average to my ears. Regardless, the refined top-end also allows those notes to musically cohere together to create a slightly euphonic, coherent response. The Proto’s laid-back upper-mids also tilts it towards a calmer, less boisterous and more spaciously-engaging signature.

CJSG-SLT-12-copy.jpg

The Proto’s 14mm dynamic driver provides a unique bass response. Rather than thumps that concentrate in the middle of the stage, the low-end seemingly occupies the outermost regions of the stage. It’s as if waves of bass surround the perimeter of the soundstage, and it’s mid-bass-biased too with a more reserved sub-bass. As a result, the low-end comes across airy and pillow-y, rather than thump-y or concentrated. So, pure bassheads may not find the visceral impact they’re looking for. But, this tuning greatly benefits stage cleanliness and instrument separation too. Regardless, the low-end is undoubtedly dynamic in nature. It’s physical, vast-sounding and realistic in terms of decay. The mid- and sub-bass split could’ve perhaps been more even for a more solid, guttural timbre, but that comes down to preference.

CJSG-SLT-11-copy.jpg

Ito-san incorporated Kumitate Lab’s Scene Control bass-tuning system into the Proto, and the impressions above were made with the low-end set to minimum. With the bass dial set to 50%, you definitely hear more low-end presence. But again, that presence is more peripheral than it is full or direct. Bass hits possess massive surface area, but the trade-off then is in density. This presence infuses an organic warmth which further coheres the stage and adds to the Proto’s euphony. And, the low-end is a hair darker in tone, but less effortlessly integrated into the overall frequency response. At full blast – a setting Ito-san does not recommend – the low-end has a thick, meaty presence which finally penetrates the centre of the soundscape. It’s almost bloated at this point. But again, the mid-bass-bias gives the bass a less solid, concentrated structure, so it might still not be to bassheads’ liking. Again, this is a setting that’s not recommended.
 
Oct 20, 2019 at 8:56 AM Post #350 of 360

pithyginger63

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My meteo are done. Need to make the trip to pick them up...

This is an actual picture of my unit.

I know this is a long long time ago, but what is this specific design called? is the shell ice blue or is it clear and the faceplate is different? I'm also very confused as to what gradation means in the Kumitate labs design menu
 
Oct 20, 2019 at 1:39 PM Post #351 of 360

solgoodguy

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I know this is a long long time ago, but what is this specific design called? is the shell ice blue or is it clear and the faceplate is different? I'm also very confused as to what gradation means in the Kumitate labs design menu

You can always show the picture to Mr. Ito and he can go from there. That looks like a white faceplate and the shell is clear while the tip is red. The blue might be something added to the bottom of the faceplate?

Gradiation means the color changing from one to the other. I remember the Kumitate offers two: from left to right or from the inward to outward. The cover of their booklet: http://www.kumitatelab.com/images/companies/1/KumitateLabDesignBook2017-2018.pdf shows a one point gradiation from the center towards the rim of the faceplate.
 
May 20, 2020 at 2:46 AM Post #353 of 360
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Orders are open at the moment if anyone is interested.
I recommend getting in on it! I love the Sirius, and wish I could afford the KL-Ref.
 
Nov 21, 2021 at 3:25 PM Post #359 of 360

HiFi47

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Since yesterday I'm a proud owner of a second (maybe third, fourth or even more) hand Kumitate Lab Trio (No. 3078). I would like to share some first impressions here. There is not much information out there regarding this unique piece of gear. So hopefully this will help someone like me, who has to order blindly a set without auditioning them before buying.

The first thing that caught my attention opening the box was how small shells are.. Looking at pictures they seem much larger. Then taking the Trio out, I was impressed by the dens weight of the pure silver. And the third thing that came to my mind, was how masterful designed functional beauty looks like. The mix of sharp angles and homogenous curves with with an industrial feel to it makes it an outstanding piece of art to look at and gives a premium feeling in your hands. For me one of the most or even the most beautiful iem ever created. My compliments to the mysterious Mr. X who designed incognito not revealing his identity. Chapeau!

For cleaning the earpieces you can use a microfiber silver cleaning towel, they keep this jewelry shiny. And in case you mind some little scratches (completely normal for silver) you can use polishing pads to keep these beauties mirror shiny. But ya silver needs some extra care. The positive side is that there is no color coating which is easily fixed when scratched (not colored version). Long levity is granted in this aspect.

Now the comfort is a little bit more tricky. If you have deep ear canals (JH audio Layla II like deep), the Trio will probably not suit you well. Or you may can try to use big size ear tips, that might work. For me having short and small ear canals the fit is ok. The shell could be 25% bigger to fill my larger ears cups perfectly. Fortunately twisting them into my ears, the Trio sits steady and flush, allowing a good sealing. Very comfortable for long listening sessions.

This brings me talking about the sound. When I plugged the Trio into my Fiio M11 they sounded good, but not outstanding (including using the 2.5mm balanced output). So I checked the tips and realized that the moon shaped hole of the nozzle was covered by the inner side of the tips. So I pushed the nozzle more inside the tips that the sound could flow as intended.
Now the music started to shine more. Just the bass was a little boomy for my taste. So I took the screwdriver and turn the dial on around 11 o'clock. Now it's better. Very balanced and clear sound with good musicality to it. But I was still not 100% satisfied. It needs more juice! So I decided to go take my little powerful portable Alo Audio International+ Amplifier. Stacked it to my M11, and switched the high gain on. Let's try. Here we go!!! The Kumitate sings like a little silver angel! Joshua Redman plays his Saxophone on the live track "The Ocean" and I could listen to the concert in a never experienced manner, with an excellent staging and separation, it feels like being there in person. Impressive I thought, but I could understand why some people wrote that the treble is splashy and sharp depending the track played. During further listening, I took the manual out of the Kumitate Lab Trio box and started reading. It's recommended to use Comply Tx-500 ear tips with a earwax guard filter.. I was using silicon tips without filter. I tried first to change to comply tips, but the sound was to airy with no weight on the notes. Too light sounding for my liking.
Next I took some sticky nozzle meshes out my diy earphone toolbox. Put them on the nozzle covering both holes and I put the silicon tips back (Final Audio E Type). And the highs are not piercing anymore. Interesting.. Probably the meshes are needed as a necessary part of the intended tuning. Now the sound is perfect to my ears. What a joy! This clarity is outstanding!! Much better than for example the JH Layla II that I could auditioning a few weeks before (with a very bad fit for me personally, to be fair to Jerry Harvey). Good that I waited and took the risk to try a much less famous brand. I'm looking forward to further rediscovering my music collection in a in a new unveiling way.

Conclusion: if you have the change to grab one of these rare (handmade in Japan) sterling silver iems, don't hesitate. The Kumitate Lab Trio is an exceptionally well tuned professional HiFi gear that will satisfy your senses for a long time. My personal endgame :)

Good luck with the precious gem hunting!

Cheers
Nico
 
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