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post #1 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

Which is a better buy for the main speakers in a 5.1 set up: KEF iQ90 ($450/ea) or B&W 684 ($550/ea)?
Similarly, for the center channel, how does iQ60C compare against HTM62B?

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 02:32 AM
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do you have a chance to listen to either speaker? I know Best Buy Magnolia carries the B&W speakers. KEFs have amazing clarity but the sound can be bright for some people. I highly suggest you listen to either or both if you can.

The KEF iQ90 will play deeper than the B&W 684. Will you have a subwoofer?

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post #3 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 06:08 AM
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I own both B&W 802D2 and KEF Reference 201/2. They both sound fantastic to me. It's hard to pick a clear winner. Everyone is different. So as already mentioned, you'll have to audition for yourself.

Objectively, KEF will usually have better on-axis and off-axis frequency responses than B&W.

But subjectively, all bets are off. That's why we all have different speakers. biggrin.gif
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post #4 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 06:37 AM
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Listening for yourself is highly recommended.
None of the B&W 600 series speakers appeal to me.
The choice between the two (for me) would be the IQ90 by a wide margin.
I think the IQ90 has much better voice clarity for both male and female voices and in busy music the definition of the individual sounds is far superior to the 684.
To my ear the B&W CM 9 is the speaker that is closer in sound quality to the IQ90, but then the price difference is huge and I would still give the nod to the KEF's.

I have not heard the KEF center channel, but my description of the sound differences holds true for the other tower and bookshelf speakers throughout the IQ series compared to the 600 series so I would think the center channels would perform similarly.

Regards,
Charlie

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post #5 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 07:00 AM
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First off I have not personally heard the IQ90 or 684. I did a direct comparison between my 685s and the IQ30s. They were close but I'd give the edge to the 685 for music - primarily due to the tweeter, better air IMO. However, the Kef center will be much better than the B&W HTM62B and I think the Kefs overall will be better for HT. If home theater is important, Kef IQ90&IQ60 would be my recommendation.

Edit: I know the Revel Studio2s and would guess the B&W 802s would have a slight edge on the tweeter to my 205/2s but I believe the Kefs do better in HT at this level also.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #6 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 07:59 AM
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I could have easily written every word of this myself.

I second what he says.

The iQ30 is also a good choice for surround speakers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chashint View Post

Listening for yourself is highly recommended.
None of the B&W 600 series speakers appeal to me.
The choice between the two (for me) would be the IQ90 by a wide margin.
I think the IQ90 has much better voice clarity for both male and female voices and in busy music the definition of the individual sounds is far superior to the 684.
To my ear the B&W CM 9 is the speaker that is closer in sound quality to the IQ90, but then the price difference is huge and I would still give the nod to the KEF's.
I have not heard the KEF center channel, but my description of the sound differences holds true for the other tower and bookshelf speakers throughout the IQ series compared to the 600 series so I would think the center channels would perform similarly.
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post #7 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I fully agree to the viewpoint that speakers should be auditioned personally; however, unfortunately, the nearest city where I could find a KEF store is approx 10 hrs drive away. On the B&W 684s, I could find one in my local BB store and did audition that ... but to my utter disbelief, the 684 tower sounded more bland than a Def-Tech bookshelf speaker [Studio Monitor 45 model]; even the B&W 4" MIMB satellite speakers sounded better than the 684s. I consoled myself maybe there is some problem with the connection or positioning ... but this was really weird - I do plan to make another trip .... but don't know if anything would change and moreover whatever I can do, auditioning a KEF seems very distant possibility; hence looks like I need to take this leap of faith.

I do feel that, any of these speakers should 'wow' me, because this will be my first real speaker system ... my previous one was a Samsung HTIB

What I am gathering from the response is that either (iQ90 or 684) should be good enough with a matching center ... and more people have given a bit more edge to iQ90. I am also inclined towards that (might be because of my previous auditioning experience with the 684s)

Now comes another dilemma - for surrounds, my personal option is to go for bi-pole / di-pole model and not the direct firing ones. KEF has iQ30, that is in the same line of speakers, but that is front-firing - the di-pole model that KEF offers [Q800ds] are not in the same speaker line and also a bit more pricey [$800/pair]. B&Ws most affordable surrounds [DS3B] pretty much are in the same range. Can you please suggest me a good surround speaker that would go with my set-up of KEF iQ90 & iQ60C [or B&W 684 & HTM62B] and would cost not more than $500 [with maybe 10% tollerence factor]

Q#2> Someone had suggested emptek E55Ti/E56Ci/E55Wi combination - this was also suggested by audioholics website as their recommended system for $6.5K budget[http://www.audioholics.com/buying-guides/system-buying-guides/6k-home-theater-system] ... should I be considering those while deciding between the KEF & B&W ... I know brand-name wise KEF / B&W have got much better reputation than empteks

Q#3> For the receiver I am pretty much decided on Marantz SR5007 (decided based on the following factors: reviews, aestheticity, airplay capability, 4K display support) ... can you folks please suggest if this is going to be a good overall system?

Once again, thanks for your opinion and time

- AniBan
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post #8 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I could have easily written every word of this myself.
I second what he says.
The iQ30 is also a good choice for surround speakers.
LOL, +1 here too. You know asking advise which is a better buy with speaker listening pref is so subjective with Kef and B&W IMO being so different. Polk to me is closer and similar to Kef then the other speakers like energy, Boston, paradigm and esp B&W. And only reason Kef separates from Polk is their one and only Unique large sound stage from their tweeter. Back in the 80's when I 1st got into Hi-Fi I loved the sound of B&W's but once you hear KEF there's no turning back, you're hooked for life.

And as for the iQ90's I know a friend who recently got steal from Vanns on those and the iQ60 center which are marvelous at clearance give away price. But to answer the OP question if you like the sound of B&W then price shouldn't really matter now does it? go with what you like. But I reckon if you like both equally then Kef for sure being $100 less.
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post #9 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 03:21 PM
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I was also looking at B&W along with KEF, KEF has a two week home audition that you can try.

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post #10 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aniban View Post

On the B&W 684s, I could find one in my local BB store and did audition that ... but to my utter disbelief, the 684 tower sounded more bland than a Def-Tech bookshelf speaker [Studio Monitor 45 model]; even the B&W 4" MIMB satellite speakers sounded better than the 684s. I consoled myself maybe there is some problem with the connection or positioning ... but this was really weird - I do plan to make another trip ....

Setup is crucial for every speaker. And don't assume the store or dealer know what they are doing, especially Best Buy - they are clueless most of the time. biggrin.gif

Speaker placements, room acoustics, and how the AVR is set up all matter a lot. For example, if they ran Audyssey room correction or employ any EQ or DSP, that could adversely affect the sound of the speakers. Not every speaker, room, or listener benefit from room corrections.

So next time make sure that Direct Mode or Pure Direct mode is used. See if they can hook up a subwoofer and use Stereo 2.1 mode, but make sure all EQ or other DSP is bypassed.

It is possible that you may personally prefer the KEF or DefTech or any other speakers over the 684. But it makes no sense if the B&W cheaper satellite speakers sound better than the 684. eek.gif
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post #11 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcarroll01 View Post

KEF has a two week home audition that you can try.

That is awesome. The OP should take the offer! biggrin.gif
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post #12 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 06:12 PM
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they place a small deposit on your credit card and ship them to you and you get 2 weeks to try them out and if you like them you keep them and they will charge your card. if not you just putted return label on and send them back. check KEF direct for more info.

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post #13 of 31 Old 08-11-2012, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcarroll01 View Post

they place a small deposit on your credit card and ship them to you and you get 2 weeks to try them out and if you like them you keep them and they will charge your card. if not you just putted return label on and send them back. check KEF direct for more info.

Sweet. So they already include a return label or do you have to call them for the return label? Sweet either way. biggrin.gif
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post #14 of 31 Old 08-12-2012, 05:10 PM
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Are you anywhere near New York City? I know of a KEF dealer in Manhattan. He only has the more expensive about 4 thousand a pair to hear though. if you are near nyc let me know if you want the location and phone number of his store. if you want demo b&w stuff cheaper and are in the north east I know a place Aniban.
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post #15 of 31 Old 08-12-2012, 06:41 PM
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So they already include a return label or do you have to call them for the return label?
I currently have a pair of Q300s for auditioning. Kef is setting up the return thru UPS, and UPS will email me the labels.

The R100s will be in tomorrow. Overall, Kef has made the whole process as easy as possible. They have stayed in contact thru the whole process and eager to help.

I'll try to remember to update my experience when the Q300s are sent back.
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post #16 of 31 Old 08-12-2012, 07:33 PM
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What sounds good to you they are both fine speakers but have a different sound.
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post #17 of 31 Old 08-12-2012, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canelli View Post

I currently have a pair of Q300s for auditioning. Kef is setting up the return thru UPS, and UPS will email me the labels.
The R100s will be in tomorrow. Overall, Kef has made the whole process as easy as possible. They have stayed in contact thru the whole process and eager to help.
I'll try to remember to update my experience when the Q300s are sent back.

Lucky you, I wanted to try the LS50 but they charge a 15% restocking fee! That would mean that I would pay $300 to try them at home + shipping ;(
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post #18 of 31 Old 08-12-2012, 07:37 PM
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I personally prefer Kef to B&W. At least for home theater. But to each his own.
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post #19 of 31 Old 08-13-2012, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aniban View Post

Now comes another dilemma - for surrounds, my personal option is to go for bi-pole / di-pole model and not the direct firing ones. KEF has iQ30, that is in the same line of speakers, but that is front-firing - the di-pole model that KEF offers [Q800ds] are not in the same speaker line and also a bit more pricey [$800/pair]. B&Ws most affordable surrounds [DS3B] pretty much are in the same range. Can you please suggest me a good surround speaker that would go with my set-up of KEF iQ90 & iQ60C [or B&W 684 & HTM62B] and would cost not more than $500 [with maybe 10% tollerence factor]

Can anyone please suggest the good surround speakers within $500 price range?
Quote:
Originally Posted by aniban View Post

For the receiver I am pretty much decided on Marantz SR5007 (decided based on the following factors: reviews, aestheticity, airplay capability, 4K display support) ... can you folks please suggest if this is going to be a good overall system?

Also your opinion on the receiver ...
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post #20 of 31 Old 08-13-2012, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aniban View Post

Can anyone please suggest the good surround speakers within $500 price range?
Also your opinion on the receiver ...
My friend has the iQ90's up front and the iQ60 for the center and he just got this 1005.2 package to use in the rear and side of his 7.1 set up. He was reluctant at 1st but I assured him I've used many eggs in the past and they are very capable. It was a steal from amazon last yr for only $300 shipped and he even got an extra Kube sub for free that he sold on ebay. The whole thing ended up sounded great and matched up great even though we both thought the 1005 was not going match or be powerful enought as good as say the 3005 but it did fine...the little eggs blended in seamlessly.

For the receiver he used a denon avr-891 which was 105w x 7 for $500. The perfect marriage for kef's are either denon or yamaha IMO YMMV. Good luck...you'll be very happy with your set up as you have the main big 3 up front.

http://www.amazon.com/KEF-KHT1005-2GB-Subwoofer-Satellite-System/dp/B0015Z2UC0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344880116&sr=8-1&keywords=kef+1005
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post #21 of 31 Old 08-13-2012, 04:10 PM
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You indicated you had a 6.5K budget.
With that budget I would do this for myself.
6500........budget
-800........ Hsu VTF3-MK4 http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-3mk4.html
-3500....... http://www.sounddistributors.com/buynow.asp?action=detail&prid=814&crid=305&cat_name=HOME+THEATER+BUNDLES
-1200........ http://www.sounddistributors.com/buynow.asp?action=detail&prid=672&crid=248&cat_name=Klipsch+Surround+Speakers
-850........ Marantz SR5007 (everywhere)
150......... left over for cables (Mono Price)

Regards,
Charlie

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post #22 of 31 Old 08-13-2012, 05:28 PM
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vanns has iq90 on sale for $399 ea good price?
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post #23 of 31 Old 08-13-2012, 08:32 PM
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If you're going to get the iq90s get a good flagship receiver or you'll be in the same situation as I'm in. They're hard to drive so a quality amplifier is needed to make them sound like they should. Whatever receiver you get make sure it has high peak current and high damping factor otherwise you may be wasting your money on the speakers. The problem is you can't get honest information like that from a lot of receiver makers and if they do give the info it's probably exaggerated. Maybe denon is better because I don't like how onkyo makes them sound.
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post #24 of 31 Old 08-14-2012, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chashint View Post

You indicated you had a 6.5K budget.

I wish I could saiD that LOL biggrin.gif - what I mentioned was that emptek was referred by audioholics.com as their choice of a speaker of $6.5K budget

Alec88, will Marantz be a good choice for the iQ90s??
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post #25 of 31 Old 08-14-2012, 04:17 PM
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Get both models and try them out at home for a week!

With the Kef return policy, its a no-brainer.
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post #26 of 31 Old 08-14-2012, 06:12 PM
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both brands sound good. you can't go wrong either way.
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post #27 of 31 Old 08-15-2012, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aniban View Post

I wish I could saiD that LOL biggrin.gif - what I mentioned was that emptek was referred by audioholics.com as their choice of a speaker of $6.5K budget
Alec88, will Marantz be a good choice for the iQ90s??

I can't say, I'm not familiar with them. If you get one you can try it out and return it if it doesn't sound good. There's also a marantz 5 channel amp, the MM7055.
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post #28 of 31 Old 08-16-2012, 08:45 AM
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One really needs to listen to see what's preferred. As others have mentioned, KEF as a general rule makes an objectively superior speaker to B&W. But many seem to like B&W's "house sound," and many others are influenced by their appreciation for B&W styling and snob appeal that they convince themselves that the B&W's are great sounding speakers. smile.gif

However, one caveat - the previous generation of sub-Reference KEF's (curved Q/iQ/xQ) were actually quite a bit more like B&W's in performance than they were like Reference KEFs or the current generation lower-line (boxy Q-Series, R-Series) KEFs. The better KEFs (Reference from at least the Uni-Q + bandpass models, current R- and Q- series) are designed for uniform midrange coverage. The previous Q/iQ/xQ series were not, because the tweeter they used wasn't stout enough to do it. So they had the "midrange mushroom cloud" coverage typical of speakers like B&W - narrowing coverage until the tweeter comes in, when it goes wide open.

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post #29 of 31 Old 08-16-2012, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aniban View Post

Hi all,
Which is a better buy for the main speakers in a 5.1 set up: KEF iQ90 ($450/ea) or B&W 684 ($550/ea)?
Similarly, for the center channel, how does iQ60C compare against HTM62B?
Thanks in advance

What split (%) between music and home theater and will multi channel music be important? Also, what is most important - music, HT or both? I would recommend the new Q series as better for both than the IQ or 600 series, but that was not a choice by the OP.

Main Kef: Reference 205/2 & 202/2c, Surrounds: Kef XQ40, Velodyne Optimum 12, Integra DHC 80.3, Oppo BDP-103, Bryston 4Bsst2, Parasound Halo A31. Second B&W: 685 (3), CCM618, Def Tech Powerfield 1500, Onkyo TX-NR1008, DBP 2010, Samsung BD-C7900, Zone 2 Klipsch AW650. Sitting still CCM616, Kef...
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post #30 of 31 Old 08-19-2012, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec88 View Post

If you're going to get the iq90s get a good flagship receiver or you'll be in the same situation as I'm in. They're hard to drive so a quality amplifier is needed to make them sound like they should. Whatever receiver you get make sure it has high peak current and high damping factor otherwise you may be wasting your money on the speakers. The problem is you can't get honest information like that from a lot of receiver makers and if they do give the info it's probably exaggerated. Maybe denon is better because I don't like how onkyo makes them sound.
sorry that's not really correct. The iQ90's have sensitivity of 91 db which is highly efficient and shouldn't be a problem with any decent denon, yamaha, onkyo, pioneeer, etc. Anything aboe 88 db will be fine. The ACE9000 I had was only 88 db and they were amazing with a denon 85w x 7 to start and later upgraded to 3805 which was 110 x 7
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