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KEF X300A, vs airmov5 and dragonfly?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to buy either a pair of KEF X300A, or a pair of emotiva pro airmotiv 5 and an audioquest dragonfly dac. For use with a PC laptop, sitting on a desk. Playing uncompressed 16/44.1 flac files of jazz, classical, rock, etc. (although may play higher res files in the future). Space including to the rear of the speakers isn't a problem. The price difference (not including interconnects) isn't much, KEF ($800), versus airmotiv5 ($450) + dragonfly ($250). I've enjoyed and am enjoying in other systems KEF products. Emotiva's reputation in general seems to be at least as good. I like the flexibility with some recabling to have the ability to use the external DAC output from the dragonfly to play headphones, although that isn't normally a priority for this system in general. I use foobar2000 (and sometimes media monkey and itunes), but may change to JRiver Media. Any thoughts about which direction to go (or perhaps other choices for a similar approximate price)?


I did hear a very brief demo of the KEFs at Axpona in Chicago, sound great (at the same time a writer for TAS was listening, I believe it was Jim Hannon). And next month Emotiva is doing an event in the western suburbs of Chicago where I could hear the airmotiv5.

post #2 of 5

Any update on this? I'm in a very similar boat. I'm looking at Kef x300a as well as Airmotiv 6 + Schiit Modi ($99), which makes the price difference essentially 0.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

I purchased and am happy with the airmotiv 5. I haven not purchased a new DAC. And as it turned out, I did not happen to attend Emotiva's roadshow in the Chicago area.


I suspect I also would have been happy with the airmotiv 4, given that I generally play the 5's with a tubed preamp's volume control set to 1/3 or less. But have not listened to the airmotiv 4, so am making an assumption.


Part of the decision to go with the airmotiv's instead of the KEF X300A was that I prefer to not have the DAC built into the speakers, as is the case with the KEFs.


For various reasons, I haven't pursued updating the DAC used in this system. Schiit, Audioquest, Cambridge Audio, Musical Fidelity and others sell DACs that may work out well for this system.


I sometimes listen to this system using headphones (Senheiser 600, Denon D600, or modified Fostex T50-RP) via the preamp's head amp section. And other times listen with the airmotv 5 (also connected to the preamp, as suggested by the airmotiv's user manual).


Others who suggested it is better to elevate the airmotiv's so that the ribbon tweeter is at ear level are correct

post #4 of 5

Thanks for getting back to this! I'm glad to hear you are enjoying your Airmotiv 5. I personally don't mind having a DAC included in the system (i.e. Kef X300A), but more concerned about overall SQ.


How do you think your Airmotiv 5 fares against Kef? Like yourself, I had a chance to give Kef a listen, but not Airmotiv. Any thoughts or comments would be highly appreciated!

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

I didn't reply earlier as I didn't have anything to add to the previous discussion. Since then I've gotten a new DAC.

System is now: all kinds of music in FLAC on NAS drive hanging off router > ethernet cable > windows 7 laptop > foobar2000 > wireworld ultraviolet 7 USB cable > Schiit Audio bifrost DAC (including uber analog and USB gen 2) > DiMarzio interconnects > airmotiv 5

Am really enjoying the music, don't see changing anything here for quite some time.

(I suppose in the future may add something between the DAC and airmotiv to allow headphone (Sennheiser, Denon, Fostex) listening too.)

Now listening to Shelby Lynne "Just a Little Lovin (Early in the Mornin')'" -- not a bad way to finish off the day, early in the morning.

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