Pros: Better features than the YU3's
Cons: Grounding issues
I reviewed the Kanto YU3’s mid to late last year.
The majority of the problems mentioned in my review about the YU3’s have been fixed. The auto standby sensor is better and almost instantaneously you can hear sound after it activates. I would consider this particular problem to be fixed in the YU4’s. The sound threshold issue on the low end is also fixed. You can now play media as low as you want and the auto off sensor on the YU4’s will not put your speakers to sleep.
Nothing was changed with the Bluetooth that I can see between the YU3’s to the YU4’s.
With that, I still would have liked to see Kanto include the ability to disable the auto standby and Bluetooth. Even being compliant with EU power standards, I am not sure why it wouldn’t be a standard feature or be a difficult one to implement and allow the end user to control the settings for themselves. Maybe in a future edition…
Unfortunately there are some serious draw backs on YU4’s that were not present in the YU3’s that just cannot be ignored. Kanto took a step forward in the features but two steps back in actual quality of sound and missed the mark.
Simply put, if you have a gaming rig, do not purchase the Kanto YU4’s unless you’re wanting to use optical and even then…eh, I might still hold off... I will attempt to explain. First, both the 3.5mm AUX and RCA connections are not grounded. White noise plagues both of these connections and it gets worse the louder you choose to listen. This is where Kanto took a step back as this issue was not present on the YU3’s. Even with a cheap DAC, the problem persisted with both the 3.5mm AUX and RCA connection. This was confirmed on multiple gaming computers. One must use optical if they want to use these speakers on a PC. Even then, when you got close, a small inkling of white noise at high volumes, nowhere compared to the level of other mentioned connections, is still present.
Then who should purchase the Kanto YU4’s? I had absolutely no issues when I connected my Samsung Galaxy S7 or Surface Pro 3 via 3.5mm. I feel confident if you do not use the Kanto YU4’s on a gaming rig and intend on using them around your home, you will not run into these aforementioned issues.
As mentioned, you can use a DAC, or you can also use a ground loop noise isolator. However, I feel on this kind of setup you shouldn’t need one. If you did, it should be produced by Kanto and be included in the box with the final product. Nowhere on the YU4 site does it state you need one either. I personally do not like extra adapters, connections, and hardware where none should be necessary.
The last complaint I have is about the remote sensor on the YU4’s when compared to the YU3’s. On the YU3’s, the remote seemed not to need line of sight to the sensor to pick up the signal from the remote. The YU4’s now needs line of site. The good thing about the new sensor is when the speakers is active it’s a white LED instead of a blue LED to signal that the YU4 speakers are active. (I hate blue LED) This is a small issue and should not go into your decision of whether or not this is the right speaker choice for you. I mention it because the YU4's sensor is different than the YU3's.
To wrap things up and to reiterate, Kanto did address my issues with the features that I had with the YU3’s in the YU4 edition. However, failed to deliver the same sound quality that the YU3’s had due to ground issues in the YU4’s. I am still perplexed on why I cannot have the option to decide myself to turn the extra features off or on. There are just too many debilitating issues for me to endorse this product that list on the Kanto website for $389.99 to anyone who is a gamer, which I am so take this review for what it's worth.
For everyone else, this product should do you well. I would encourage you that on day one when you receive the Kanto YU4’s to immediately connect them to your phone or laptop via the 3.5mm AUX connection, without music playing, turn them all the way up, and see if you hear any white noise and ask yourself if you hear is acceptable for what you paid. If not, return them. Remember, that this product has a built in AMP, is an all in one solution, and should not require you to purchase anything else to make it function properly. I hope to see and review another Kanto YU4.1, or whatever else they call the next one, very soon as they are so close to a really great product.