Kien modular speakers do just about everything

Indiegogo project says it's time to give your hi-fi and 5.1 systems the heave-ho

Err, so let's start with the basics. How am I supposed to say that? 'Kine'? 'Kiyen'?

Actually it's 'keen', only in Dutch it doesn't mean eager - it just means something that's smart and sharp.

OK, so I'm guessing that these cylinders aren't a detatchable pillow system, but rather something more intelligent.

Bingo! You're on the ball today. Kien is a modular speaker system consisting of a subwoofer and stackable satellite speakers which can work with, or independently from the whole unit. It claims to be a viable replacement for hi-fi, surround sound and mobile speaker setups to be used in and outside of the home. Essentially Kien wants to be the swiss army knife of speakers.

My audio setup already consists of seperate units. What's new?

Well unless you've bought the surpemely costly Philips Fidelio surround system, we're presuming you live in a den of wires like the rest of us. The Kien system only requires one power connection to be functional, and that's to the subwoofer. The satellites are, if you desire, wire-free with a battery life of 12 hours. Unburdened by cables you can pop your speakers in any configuration you like: have a couple on the windowsill for listening to radio, then move them to either side of the sofa for watching a movie, and then maybe attach them to the main sub again to produce an intimidating wall of sound when playing music.

Intriguing, but I want 5.1 surround sound. Three speakers ain't gonna cut it I'm afraid.

Well luckily for you the Kien system is scaleable. You can attach one speaker to a single end of the sub or you can attach three speakers to either side, or you could attach one to the left side and five to the right side.... you get the idea: you've got a lot of options. Of course you can then detatch these and use them however you wish, as each satellite speaker is capable of working totally independently if you fancy taking it to the park. And that's not even the clever part.

Don't tell me - it's also a detatchable pillow system.

No, I'm afraid that's the opposite of right. Kien earns its titular name for cleverness by automatically knowing how you want to use it. The speakers are aware of each other's location, so if you place them in the traditional positions for movie watching, it'll adopt the appropriate form of playback such as 5.1. And if you then place them like a hi-fi - two side by side on a shelf, maybe - they'll switch to a mode more appropriate for music. And that's not even the clever part.

Stop toying with me.

OK, OK. So by knowing the user's location and being able to adjust the sound levels appropriately, Kien is also able to follow you around the house. Or rather, its audio can - it doesn't actaully grow legs. Simply place Kien speakers in various rooms, then walk about a bit and it'll adjust itself as you go. We're a stones throw from Judgement Day, my friends.

It's also worth noting that Kien does this without the use of a proprietary app to minimise fuss. All you need to do is fire up your favourite media player on a connected computer, TV, or smartphone and connect via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

OK, so they're really clever and adaptable. Got it. Has it got all the mod cons of a more traditional setup?

Sure it does. As we already mentioned, it's compatible with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Ethernet as well as all the mobile and desktop operating systems you'd expect. The back of the sub allows for S/PDIF input, analog RCA input, and HDMI in/out. It even comes in five ever-so-tasteful pastel colours.

So what's the damage? 

Kien is currently an Indiegogo project, so before we talk price, let's talk dates. It's just passed its minimimum funding pledge, so the system is definitely going to get manufactured (yayyyy!) but the finished product won't be shipped until at least March 2016 (booooo!). 

Still kien? You can donate to the project to secure your prize. The 2.1 system with a sub and two satellites will set you back US$600. A 5.1 system is somewhat pricier at US$900. The pledges go all the way up to US$5000, hilariously called Commander Kien, which guarantees you dinner with the developers.