Kanto YU4 Review: Are They Worth Buying in 2021?
In our latest piece, we’re bringing you an in-depth Kanto Yu4 review. We’ll include some thoughts of our own as well as outlining the speaker’s pros & cons, which features you need to know about, any frequently asked questions there may be, and which competitors we think you should also be considering.
We’re no strangers to audio equipment here at All Sound Lab and have a great range of reviews for you to check out once you’re done here.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the Kanto YU4s, let’s take a look at a product overview.
|Total Power||140W Peak Power Class D Amplifier (70 Watts Total RMS)|
|Frequency Response||60 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Other Connections||RCA, ⅛” (3.5mm) mini-jack, Optical TOSLINK ports x2, phono/line switch|
|Dimensions||13.39 x 5.51 x 8.66 inches|
|Latest Price||Check the latest price|
- 1 Core Features of the Kanto YU4
- 2 How do the YU4 Speakers Perform?
- 3 Pros of the Kanto YU4
- 4 Cons of the Kanto YU4
- 5 What Are the Best Alternatives to the Kanto YU4?
- 6 Frequently Asked Question About the Kanto YU4 Speakers
- 7 The Bottom Line
Core Features of the Kanto YU4
The YU speaker range is Kanto’s flagship line of speakers and includes the hugely popular YU2, YU3, YU, and YU6 models. Today we’re focusing on the YU4s, the speakers that sit in the upper-middle of the range.
Kanto has an excellent reputation for designing and creating speakers that not only look wonderful but sound great too. The YU4s come with 4” Kevlar drivers and 1” silk tweeters as standard.
By using materials of this quality Kanto has managed to produce a clear sound that carries a real depth when listening. This depth of sound is difficult to produce when using drivers of this size so hats off to the manufacturers there.
The YU4s include Bluetooth 4.0 with Qualcomm aptX as standard. This means that connecting to these speakers via smartphones, tablets or laptops is quick, easy, and effective. By including Bluetooth Kanto has really opened up their target audience and catered to how the vast majority of music is consumed today.
As well as the wireless options, the YU4s come with more traditional connections such as RCA and AUX. This means you can plug almost any audio source into these speakers. If you’re planning to use them as a home cinema system, you can connect via the TOSLINK input for optimal performance.
The YU4s also benefit from subwoofer connectivity. If you’ve got one already or are looking to boost the low end in the future then integrating a sub with these speakers is simple. They also have the ability to switch between line and phono inputs, allowing all turntables and record players to be connected easily.
These speakers have been designed very cleverly so have the benefit of working well in multiple scenarios. They perform well whether you’re purely listening to music, watching movies, or playing video games. Due to their fairly compact size, they will fit seamlessly into the majority of spaces. If you’re having trouble finding space for them remember they work excellently when used with speaker stands.
Visually the YU4s are beautiful. Their simple design and high build quality combine to create an elegant and functional speaker set. Where some brands opt for a striking look that really accentuates features like the woofers, Kanto has developed a sleek, understated, and clean design that we think will appeal to most.
The speakers are also built using premium materials. The Kevlar drivers are strong and rigid, ensuring good performance even at higher volumes. The dome-shaped tweeters are silk and deliver highs that are both bright and refined. Even the MDF casing has been designed for maximum audio performance.
The Kanto YU4s come with Kanto’s automatic stand by and power-up modes as standard. This means that power is conserved when you finish listening and your speakers will power up quickly and easily when you’re ready to start again.
If having extra charging points appeals to you then you’ll be pleased to hear that the YU4s come with USB charging functionality. This means you can easily charge your phone or tablet whilst listening to music. We found that this feature was particularly useful when using them as desktop speakers.
It’s always good to know that your latest purchase is insured against any accidental damage or hardware failure. Luckily for anyone purchasing the YU4s, Kanto includes a 2-year warranty as standard. This covers any issues that may arise caused by poor workmanship for the duration.
Another thing that is important to know is Kanto has a good reputation for top customer service. So if you have any issues or need to use the warranty, it should be fairly straightforward.
How do the YU4 Speakers Perform?
When testing any bookshelf speakers it’s important to remember that size doesn’t always matter. It’s much more important that these kinds of speakers deliver a crisp sound that fills the space they’re in. Thankfully here, Kanto has designed and developed a great little speaker that packs the punch you’d expect from top quality 4” drivers.
Despite the fact that powered bookshelf speakers will never live up to the quality of sound that their passive counterparts can deliver, the YU4s performed well when we tested them solely for listening to music.
That being said, they had a tendency to slightly overly rely on their midrange and never really delivered an outstanding depth of bass. Their size and chassis of course affect their ability to do so, but there are other similar sized options available that have managed it.
Despite the lack of real depth to the bass, they did deliver a warm tone throughout the upper-bass, mids, and into the highs. This was an area that really stood out for us whilst listening from a distance.
Thankfully, when we brought the speakers a little closer and tested them as if we were using them, the performance seemed to kick up a gear.
When angled correctly and the volume turned down slightly the YU4s sprung into action and suddenly the sound that had been good without being excellent became just that.
Kanto also manufactures speaker stands that will angle them at around 16 degrees, perfect for listening in this scenario as they allow you to position both the woofers and tweeters much more effectively.
Next, we tried out some of the connectivity options. First up was the Bluetooth. A must-have feature for any successful home listening speaker, we connected via an iPhone and began to stream.
We found that the strength of connection was more than good enough to listen with, suffering no dropouts or connection issues during testing. We also noticed that the quality drop off associated with listening via Bluetooth was almost non-existent and offered a great audio experience.
We then put the TOSLINK outputs through their paces and played movies through the speakers as if you were using them for surround sound.
They handled the rumbling lows and the often intense highs well and overall the listening experience was great. If you’re considering getting a set and will be using them in a home cinema setup then you won’t be disappointed.
Finally, we plugged a turntable in and put their analog credentials to the test. Kanto has included a switch that allows users to change between line and phono inputs, meaning all turntable and record players are catered for. Sonically, there were no surprises in that the listening was very good.
We’ve tested a great number of speakers now and Kanto has consistently delivered on this front. The option to switch between line and phono is an excellent addition that we think will be welcomed by many.
Overall, these speakers filled the room well and provided impressive performance when streaming both music and movies, but really came into their own when placed a little closer. For this reason, we think they’d make an excellent choice for anyone using them on a desk or who will be sitting close enough whilst listening to fully benefit.
Pros of the Kanto YU4
Kanto’s YU4 speakers come with a great range of features out of the box and as such would be a great choice for the majority of customers. Here, we’ll take a closer look at what we think the real pros of choosing these speakers are.
The Bluetooth connectivity is the real headline here. The ability to connect to these speakers wirelessly from the vast majority of modern smartphones, tablets, and laptops means they would make the ideal speakers for a wide range of people. The fact that the connection seems to be pretty stable and drop off in quality minuscule only adds to the positives of the YU4s.
The design and nature of this speaker set mean they are great in multiple scenarios. Their size means they will fit well onto bookshelves and other cabinets, making them ideal listening solutions for the living room. The fact that they are designed to fit perfectly onto speaker stands means that even if they don’t quite fit where you’d like them to, the solution is simple.
When we tested them they performed well in each setting but in particular, when listing up close, this makes them truly brilliant desktop speakers, perfect for gaming or producing, as well as great speakers for general listening and movie watching.
Quality of Sound
We touched on this point when we reviewed them but overall the quality of sound produced by the YU4s is a real pro. They performed well throughout the testing process and really excelled when listening to them up close and personal. If this is something you plan to use them for then we can’t recommend them enough.
As great as the wireless options are, you have to be able to connect the old fashioned way if you want people to buy your speaker. Luckily, Kanto has included a myriad of connection options for you to use, resulting in a set of speakers that can be connected to pretty much any audio device.
For listeners who want optimum sound quality when listening through an analog device, such as a HiFi system or record player, they come with standard RCA inputs and a ⅛” AUX input.
If you’re using these as a surround sound system, you’ll want to make the most of the TOSLINK inputs on the back. Another cool feature to remind you of here is the ability to switch between line and phono RCA inputs – this is particularly useful if playing vinyl through them.
Aesthetically, these speakers more than look the part. They will complement any home, modern or old, due to their sleek lines, minimalist design, and the range of color options available.
Kanto has a reputation for understated elegance and the YU4s are no exception. If looks are as important to you as sound then the YU4s, and Kanto products in general, will appeal to you.
Buying a nice new set of speakers is always great, you get to listen and enjoy sounds in a totally different and exciting way – turning what may have previously been a flat listening experience into a richer and more dynamic one. But if that shiny new hardware fails then that excitement soon evaporates.
Thankfully Kanto includes a 2-year warranty as standard. With this, you’ll be covered up to 24 months from the original date of purchase for any hardware issues on their part. You can rest assured that should your set break, you’re entitled to a replacement one.
Cons of the Kanto YU4
Despite impressing overall, there were some areas we picked up on that could be considered cons. We’ll have a closer look at them in this section.
Lack of Sub-bass
The YU4 is a speaker that utilizes a 4” driver so you’d be forgiven for thinking we were being harsh here. When testing and not positioning the speakers within close proximity, the depth of bass was slightly lacking compared to some other speakers we have tested of a similar size.
The important thing to note though is the ease at which a subwoofer can be integrated into a setup to totally mitigate this issue. One to bear in mind but by no means a deal-breaker as overall sound quality is good.
Useful Features That Cannot Be Turned Off
Some of the YU4’s best features can also be considered a slight hindrance to the overall package. What we mean by this is that some of them cannot be turned off.
Bluetooth, for example, is on all the time which means anyone can connect. This is fine if you’re listening within the confines of your own home but if you’re in a public space or a shared environment this could prove to be problematic.
The auto-off feature is also on as standard and has the tendency to turn the speakers off when listening at low volumes. This is an issue that a number of products in the Kanto YU line suffer from.
What Are the Best Alternatives to the Kanto YU4?
|Best Alternative||Edifier S200 Pro||Check Price|
|Valuable Alternative||ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2||Check Price|
|Premium Alternative||Audioengine A5+||Check Price|
When you’re on the lookout for a new set of speakers it’s important to know what is available elsewhere on the market.
Here, we’ll guide you through some of the alternatives we think you should be considering.
Edifier is a great alternative brand to consider. They produce solid speakers at most price points but their S2000Pro is a real standout set. Although priced slightly higher the YU4s and (in our opinion) not as good-looking, when it comes to overall sound quality they are pretty hard to beat. Versatile and simple to use, we think the Edifier S2000Pro range is well worth testing for yourself.
ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 Bookshelf Speakers
These ELAC speakers offer an excellent option for the budget-conscious buyer who wants the look and sound of a more premium product without the price tag. This award-winning range of speakers is well worth exploring, no matter what your listening needs are.
A much pricier option but a really quality product, the A5+ Speakers from Audioengine is a premium all-round speaker that will serve even the most die-hard audiophile well. We took a much closer look at this particular product recently – make sure you check out our in-depth review.
Frequently Asked Question About the Kanto YU4 Speakers
Here we’ll answer the questions and queries we get asked the most about these speakers.
Question: Can You Select Inputs Without the Remote Control?
Answer: Yes. If your remote control is lost or damaged you can select your desired inputs by simply pressing the volume control in. By doing this you will cycle through the options, simply stop when you reach the one you want.
Question: Can You Play Music Via the USB?
Answer: No, frustratingly this isn’t an option with the YU4s. The USB input on the back of the unit is only to charge devices such as phones and tablets. This would have been a great feature to include.
Question: Do I Have to Buy a Kanto Subwoofer to Use With the YU4s?
Answer: No not at all – you can connect just about any brand of the subwoofer to the speakers via the dedicated input on the rear of the unit. Simply plug your chosen sub in, make sure it is powered, and away you go.
The Bottom Line
We are big Kanto fans here at All Sound Lab. We love the quality of their speakers and find the sleek designs work in all manner of spaces. If you’re a general user who wants a versatile speaker and you’re happy with the performance of 4” drivers then these are a fantastic option at a pretty good price.
However, if you want better performance and really value that extra sound quality we’d recommend taking a look at their bigger brother, the YU5s, as their slightly larger woofers help deliver a bit more in the sub-bass. Check out our in depth YU5 review for the full low down.
Whether you decide to go for the Kanto YU4 or a slightly larger model we’re sure you’ll enjoy all future listening with your Kanto speakers. They’ve quickly established themselves as a major player in the audio market and we’re looking forward to seeing (and reviewing) what’s to come from them in the future.