Stingray, dah dah dah dah, Stingray...
What is the KitSound Cayman Bluetooth Speaker?There seems to be a steady flow of these types of products at the moment, some are great and worth the outlay, while others are simply thrown together in an attempt to grab some of the market while it is hot. Reading snippets of the marketing materials that accompany the KitSound Cayman could set some alarm bells ringing, especially where the slight curved plastic design is said to mimic the majestic stingrays of the Cayman Islands. Yeah, we are still trying to work that one out but a good tip is to not put one in the bath.
However, get past the marketing materials and what we have here is a nicely designed plastic ported enclosure with 2 x 2.5-inch high frequency drivers and a 4-inch mid/bass driver with the HF speakers getting 10W and the mid/bass driver 30W. I had to contact one of the KitSound staff for those details as strangely they are not to be found within the instructions or online specs. I guess they are aiming for a section of the market where those details are not a necessity to a customer, it’s what it sounds like and to be honest, it sounds bigger than the specs suggest.
So will the KitSound Cayman prove to be a bit special or an also ran in the current Bluetooth wireless speaker market? Let’s find out.
Design and functionalityThe cabinet comes in at 540mm wide and as stereo sound stages go, that is not very wide unless you are sitting quite close to the speaker. As a single speaker bar design, stereo is always a difficult trick to pull, but more about that below in the sound assessment area.
The actual design, once you get the stingrays out of your head, is pleasing to look at and would fit well in most living rooms. The front facia is slightly slanted backwards with a speaker grille covering the entire length of the front face. At the bottom there is a metal stand that curves down where the front facia curves upwards with a light hidden just behind the front face. This light shines green or blue when in use lighting up a KS logo on the metal stand.
Around the rear the plastic is sculpted backwards to create a large enclosure and it tapers at each end to meet the front facia. There are also two ports (although one is just for show and closed off) which add to the design flourish. Surprisingly the power cable is hard wired to the rear of the unit and the only other item of note is a 3.5mm input jack.
To the top of the unit are some control buttons for various functions such as boosting the sound, play/pause of devices, answering phone calls, NFC enabling and more.
These controls are also mirrored on the provided remote control. This is a small and very fragile feeling plastic unit where the buttons don’t appear to be very well held or work particularly well. It is probably a sign of the price the unit sells for and we’re not sure if the remote would last the life of the speaker unit it controls given its very cheap build quality. That is not an accusation we can make about the actual speaker enclosure which feels solid and well-built with just the right number of options available to open it up to a number of uses around the home.
UsabilityBecause the Cayman is a long single unit speaker bar, which doesn’t sit that high, and has a 3.5mm input jack, the first job we gave it was as a soundbar. Now when we say it doesn’t sit that high, well that was probably a little bit of a white lie as it does stand at 7-inches tall from the base.
However, it can sit nicely in the shelf underneath your TV which is exactly where we used it. As a soundbar we just fed it a 3.5mm jack lead from the TVs headphone socket (at half volume in the TV settings menu) and it worked incredibly well. The remote for the Cayman helped with volume control and the light underneath shone green when in use. We found we could also leave it in this position and just switch the mode button to start streaming from our iPhone via Bluetooth V4.0.Pairing with Bluetooth devices didn’t take long at all with no issues thrown up at any time. We like products that just work, without having to read the instruction manual – after all most of us reading this are men, and we don’t do that – ever! The Cayman just worked with everything we threw at it, even when we used it as a hands free phone!
When in Bluetooth mode the light shines blue just to remind you that you are streaming. One thing we couldn’t find was an off switch for the light, should that type of thing annoy you. The Cayman is also equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) with a sticker placed on the front panel to highlight where to pair your NFC device and the speaker.
So, with everything set up and ready to go, just what did the Cayman sound like?
KitSound Cayman 2.1 Video Review
KitSound Cayman Sound QualityThe first task we set the Cayman was as a soundbar in our living room. It was fed a 3.5mm jack input from the headphone socket of a Panasonic VT20 Plasma TV with the volume set at half way on the TV. The height of the Cayman was not an issue as we placed it underneath the TV on a shelf. You may have issues if you place the speaker closer to the TV as it does sit seven inches high from the base.
We were pleasantly surprised by the full sounding Cayman, it produced a nice bottom end for such a small speaker which added to a good midrange with male voices and a high end that didn’t get shrill at any time. With action movies the sound remained clean and clear at reasonable volumes and only when pushed very hard did it all start to fall apart. The only issue we did have with the Cayman in terms of its use as a soundbar, and to be fair with music as well, was the stereo separation or lack of it. Because it is only 540mm wide there is not much of a sound stage produced by the Cayman and as a stereo speaker it fails to really push a wide enough sound for the whole room to gain from.
With music applications, from Internet radio to Tidal, the Cayman once again sounded far better than it has any right to. For £200 we were charmed with its full bodied sound that never at any time felt boxed in to the small dimensions of its enclosure. It had a nice bottom end, warm midrange and very nice high frequencies without any issues at reasonable, listenable volumes. For the money it's a very good performer and the fact it can do a couple of roles in the home really helps.
- Very good sound quality at reasonable volume levels
- Can double as a sound bar for your TV
- Cheap build quality of the remote control
- Hard wired power lead restricts placement
KitSound Cayman 2.1 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker ReviewAt £200 something had to give when it came to the KitSound Cayman 2.1 Bluetooth wireless speaker. With similar products it would probably be a boxy and enclosed sound but generally good build quality. Here we get a standard of sound that you wouldn’t expect at the price. However, there have been corners cut with materials used, especially the flimsy remote that will probably break within a few weeks of use. But as you tend to buy a speaker for its sound quality, KitSound are onto a winner with the Cayman.
The fact it can be used as a soundbar as well as a wireless speaker for music streaming just adds to its appeal, certainly with the AVForums audience. Yes, build could be better, there could have been more inputs and even some HDMI ARC compatibility, but that would have added to the price point. What we have is a well-priced, great sounding product that fits very neatly in a price conscious area of the market. It gets a recommend on those positives.
Value For Money8
Our Review Ethos
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