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Amp & Advice for KEF R700's?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

I'm moving into a new place that's finally big/private enough for some decent speakers. I've been looking at some of the mid-range KEF speakers and I'll be trying them out at a local shop, but I don't yet have much experience with speakers.

 

A couple of questions I'd appreciate some advice with: 

 

1) In your opinion is the R900 worth the extra money over the R700? 

2) Any amplifiers you'd recommend in particular for either model? 

3) Will I likely need a sub for the lower-end stuff? Any recommendations? 

 

I know a lot of this will probably be trial-and-error depending on the sound in this particular room, so I'm really just looking for a starting point.

 

Appreciate the advice! 

post #2 of 4
Your ears are the better judge of whether or not the R700s or R900s are better if you have the chance to listen to the both. To find people that have heard them, you might try AVS's KEF owners thread.

Kef rates their -3db points at 42hz and 40hz, so the differences in bass extension are insignificant. You would listen for whether or not the larger drivers provide more textured bass response. Also, the larger drivers in the R900s might have better dynamics if you like to listen to speakers especially loud and/or in a large room.

As for a sub, well, depends on the content you listen to, placement options, and how big the room is:

1) Most music would do quite well with that kind of low end response, except for some bass heavy genres. Movies and gaming will benefit from the lower extension down to 20hz that a really good sub can provide.
2) Bass response is affected by room size. If you have an especially large space to fill, the speakers may not do the job.
3) Speakers have to be placed where they are best able to produce upper bass, midrange, and treble for the listening position. That is often not the best placement for producing bass to fill the room.

If bass is really important to you, then R300s with dual subs could be the better way to go. Dual subwoofers can provide a smoother frequency response though a wider listening area. If you can, listen to the R300s with a good sub, and then listen to the R700s/R900s without. Maybe you'll like what a good sub can do over towers. A lot of people do.

For subs, I recommend looking at offerings by SVS and Rythmik. These companies offer much better values than traditional speaker company subs that you would find through a brick and mortar store. Just keep in mind that you need enough sub for the room space and how loud you listen, so a small sub may not work well in a larger room.

Finally, since you are just getting into this, learn about room acoustics. Being smart about placement and using room treatments can easily make more difference in sound quality than say going from the Kef Q to the Kef R line. Room acoustics almost always negatively affect SQ, and particularly subs generally need some kind of EQ to achieve a good, linear response.
Edited by cel4145 - 2/7/14 at 5:08pm
post #3 of 4

For comparison purposes, you might also want to check out the PSB Imagine and Synchrony line. The T2 tower is priced competitively with the R700, the Synchrony One with the R900. PSB is well-known for their well-built and fine sounding speakers. I've listened to the Synchrony Ones before - they're well-balanced with a warmish tone.

 

The Paradigm Signature S6 should also be price and performance competitive with the R900. I've heard its big brother, the S8. The treble extension was jaw-dropping.

 

Sonus faber makes the well-regarded Venere line - the 3.0 is about $3.5k to $4k depending on finish. I've not heard the Venere's directly, so I can't make a personal recommendation either way.

 

Two other makers that deserve your consideration are Vandersteen and Magnepan. I own the 3A Signatures ($4495 w/ stands) and I ended up choosing them over the Synchrony Ones and the S8's. The imaging is fantastic and I found them to be quite neutral - simply letting the music flow - although the sweet spot is rather small since they're a time-coherent design. Vandersteens seem to pair especially well with Ayre gear. The Maggies also sound incredibly clear and dynamic, but are power hungry so you need to pair them with stout electronics. I've listened to the 3.7 ($5500) but only for a few minutes. I think that if I hadn't just bought the Vandersteens, I might have ended up with a pair of Maggies. I believe now they have an 'improved' version of the 3.7 - the 3.7i.

 

 

For a few more ideas, there's also this reader letter at SoundStage Access:

 

http://www.soundstageaccess.com/index.php/ask-us/435-kef-and-hegel-the-ultimate-upgrade

 

 

Good luck and have fun!

post #4 of 4
In regards to what Yage said, it is definitely a good idea to go do some listening at your local hifi shops if you have not already. There are certainly some great options out there. What you can hear trumps anything we (anyone) can tell you on an Internet forum smily_headphones1.gif
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