If you are looking for the convenience of wireless Bluetooth, the independence of self-powered speakers, and the ability to get true stereo sound you are finally in luck. Most powered Bluetooth wireless speakers on the market today are standalone speaker units that may sound good but typically won’t provide enough separation to deliver true stereo sound. The Kanto Yu5 bookshelf speakers are an excellent solution that looks and sounds great, with a lot of flexibility and simplicity.
I have tested a lot of wireless Bluetooth speakers, but the Kanto Yu5 are the first ones that are an independent pair of bookshelf speakers. I call them independent because they have their own power source so they don’t need a receiver or separate amplifier. In fact, they won’t work with a receiver or amplifier because the internal amplifier in the speakers will essentially compete with another receiver or amp.
Kanto Yu5 Setup
In the box comes everything you need to get them working in your home in just a few minutes. In opening the box I found the pair of speakers to be packed extremely well. They each had their own soft cotton bag to keep them well protected, plus they had well designed cardboard and foam to ensure they won’t budge in the box.
Included with the two speakers is a remote control with batteries, 8 self-adhesive rubber feet for the speakers, and a power cord to plug them in. Also included is 10 feet of speaker wire to connect the speakers to each other, and a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable so you can connect various devices directly to the speakers. The auxiliary cable is convenient for connecting devices that don’t have Bluetooth capability, although this is becoming less and less common these days.
I found setup to be dead easy. All you’ll need to do is connect the speakers to each other using the provided speaker wire and then plug in the main speaker to a power outlet using the power cord. Turn the main speaker on – it has an on-off switch in the back – and you are ready to pair your Bluetooth device and rock on.
Pairing up with my phone and iPod was easy. I just pressed the Bluetooth button on the remote control and a white LED light on the main speaker started to flash slowly, indicating that the speakers were in pairing mode. Then I put my phone in Bluetooth pairing mode, selected Kanto Yu5 and waited a few seconds for them to pair up. I knew as soon as they did because my phone said “connected” and the white light on the main speaker stopped flashing and became a solid light. I paired a couple of my devices and both worked brilliantly the first time without any problem.
The Kanto Yu5 are extremely attractive speakers. I tested out a black pair, but they come in a variety of colours like a matte green, yellow or grey as well as a gloss black or teal. The gloss black speakers had a beautiful glossy finish that seems very durable. As soon as I picked up each speaker they had the feel that they were well made with quality finishes. They also felt a lot heavier than they look like they should be, another indicator that of quality speakers made with solid materials.
The front doesn’t have a cloth screen on the front that covers the speakers. Instead, both the larger mid-range speaker and the smaller tweeter are exposed. The tweeter is a 1 inch silk dome and the mid-range is a 5.25 kevlar speaker that both look very well made and are nicely integrated into the speaker box. I usually don’t like exposed speaker cones but these are so nicely appointed I like the look and think it is actually better than if they did have a cloth cover.
The back of the speakers is also well designed with lots of connections on the main speaker. In addition to using the Bluetooth wireless connection, it has a pair of optical inputs, an RCA input (left and right channels), and a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack. These additional input connections allow you to directly connect a variety of other input devices like a turntable, CD player, MP3 dock or player, gaming console, media players, etc.
The main speaker has a output port that provides an output signal for a powered subwoofer. It also has a USB charging port so you can plug in your tablet or phone and charge it up while connected to the speakers. Finally in the back is an on/off switch to disconnect the power supply, but I didn’t use this at all since the remote control was able to turn the speakers on and off much more conveniently.
The front of the main speaker has what looks like two knobs on the bottom. One is an actual knob when turned controls the volume, or push on it and it toggles through the various input devices that you may or may not have connected. The other one isn’t actually a knob, it just looks like one to balance out the design. It also serves another purpose. It has a few LED lights that light up to indicate different conditions – power on or off, Bluetooth pairing mode, standby, and mute.
These speakers sound as good as they look! For relatively small bookshelf speakers they have fairly big sound. They are well powered at 40 watts per channel and I found cranking them up was no problem. I played a variety of music using the Bluetooth connectivity of my iPod, and cranking up the Stones or Dire Straits was always clear and crisp, even at higher volumes. Then I tried some classical Vivaldi, bluesy Muddy Waters, plus John Mayer, Beth Neilson Chapman, and the new Adele album. All of these different genres sounded very good, with nice clarity at whatever the volume.
The bass, treble and balance between the two speakers is fully adjustable so you should be able to find the sound that suits your personal tastes. If you like more bass, it is not only easy to adjust these speakers to get more but you can also add a subwoofer. I plugged in my powered subwoofer and actually turned down the bass on the speakers and found it very appealing with solid bass from the subwoofer and bit more crisp clear treble sound from the Kanto Yu5’s.
In addition to having great sound, these Bluetooth speakers have a lot of excellent but simple features that make them unique. The fact that they are separate wireless independent speakers that can provide a better stereo effect is a great feature. My only complaint is that the 10-foot of speaker wire that comes with them is a little bit shorter than I would have liked. However this is easy to fix by just getting a little longer speaker wire for even more separation.
I really liked the design of the remote control unit because it was simple but yet lets you easily control everything that is important. It is well laid out and allows you to adjust the bass, treble, and balance to your hearts content. But it also lets you reset these back to the default settings with the push of one button. You can also switch input sources, adjust the volume, mute, and pause or switch tracks on your Bluetooth device. Simple, fast, and easy!
The Bluetooth capability was so easy to set up and very reliable. I took my iPod away from the speakers and found the wireless had very good range. I was at least 30 to 35 feet away before I could hear any signal loss. This is also one of the few Bluetooth speakers that I have seen with a couple of optical inputs plus RCA and 3.5 mm stereo inputs. This gives a lot more flexibility.
These speakers would be great for student dorm rooms, kids bedrooms, or adding sound to your den, basement games room, etc. They are flexible, easy to use, sound great, and are small enough to fit anywhere.