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post #1 of 19 Old 07-26-2013, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I had a chance to spend several hours today listening to KEF speakers including the Reference 201/2 and R300 and R500. I also listened to the Blade which was very impressive, but out of my price range.

I was contemplating purchasing B&W 805D, but someone on this forum suggested KEF 201/2. I was pretty impressed with the 201/2 particularly the base considering the small size of the speaker. I need to go back and listen to the B&W 805D to see how it compares to the 201/2. My gut tells me that the B&W may sound better in mid range and highs, but KEF has much better base and is perhaps a better all around speaker. I am planning to use it in a 5.1 system that is 70% HT and 30% music.

Much to my surprise was how much I liked the R500. They are the smallest floor standers in the R series line up. Considering they cost about $2600 vs the 201/2 price tag of $6000, I was very impressed.

I was looking for a bookshelf speaker for WAF purposes. But considering cost and sound quality of the R500 I may be persuaded to go with R500 if I stick with KEF.

I am interested in anyone's experience with the KEF R500.

I am also interested in any feedback of similar or better sounding small sized floor standing speakers for under $4000. A few brands that are on my watch list are Paradigm, Monitor Audio, Focal and Revel.

Thanks
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-26-2013, 10:38 PM
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dynaudio, dali, pmc, vandersteen, sonus faber plus the ID brands like philharmonic or salk

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post #3 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 07:04 AM
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Try to audition the KEF LS50.
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Chucka View Post

Try to audition the KEF LS50.
As long as your room is not too large, five LS50s and two fast capable subs would make a killer system at a killer price comparatively.
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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 #5 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 07:25 AM
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You could try R700 too, so if you plan for 5.1 channel in the future, you'll just need R100 and R200c and sub to complete.

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post #6 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by pinoy ako View Post

You could try R700 too, so if you plan for 5.1 channel in the future, you'll just need R100 and R200c and sub to complete.
^^^^. First hand experience above. It does seem like the R700 and R500s are sweet spots in a very good line.

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 #7 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 10:21 AM
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The R700s were one of my favorite tower speakers when I was auditioning. If you plan on getting good subs, you could save money by getting het R300s for the main speakers.

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post #8 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

^^^^. First hand experience above. It does seem like the R700 and R500s are sweet spots in a very good line.

You look to have experience with both KEF and B&W.

Sonically, how do the two brands compare? Diamond series on B&W to Reference series on KEF and CM Series on B&W and R series on KEF?
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pinoy ako View Post

You could try R700 too, so if you plan for 5.1 channel in the future, you'll just need R100 and R200c and sub to complete.

You look to be a KEF 201/2 owner. How did you decide on the 201/2?

I auditioned the 201/2 and liked them very much. I am also very impressed with the build quality. However, I was surprised that I could not hear a significant improvement in sound quality over the KEF R500. Granted this is comparing a bookshelf with a floor stander, but I thought the higher end materials in Reference line would stand out more. What do you think?
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

The R700s were one of my favorite tower speakers when I was auditioning. If you plan on getting good subs, you could save money by getting het R300s for the main speakers.

What did you end up buying?
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post #11 of 19 Old 07-27-2013, 09:39 PM
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I was auditioning speakers a while back. From those you listed, I heard the r700 and cm series along with some others. The kef was one of my favorites. HUGE sweet spot and great sound. The CM9 was just ok. The top end just seemed to be missing like a thick blanket was thrown over it. Here's the thread I started about my search. Good luck and have fun with it!
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1466750/full-range-towers-wanted
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post #12 of 19 Old 07-28-2013, 03:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post

You look to have experience with both KEF and B&W.

Sonically, how do the two brands compare? Diamond series on B&W to Reference series on KEF and CM Series on B&W and R series on KEF?
Even though I have not heard the R series, from reading and from people I trust I think they would be a big step above the CM line but not sure how the new CM10 will do. I was set on buying the CM9s and CMC2 until I heard the CM7 side by side with my dying Kef 103/4s. Good but not impressive enough.
Diamond vs Reference? Much harder choice. If I had a large area and a focus on music I would likely pick the 800D2 over the 207/2s if someone gave them to me. If I was paying I probably go with the Revel Salon2s. Slightly smaller space, the 802D2 might also be the choice if you have enough room, but for my room the 205/2s work the best (based on auditioning Studio2s). 201/2 vs 805D2, I would go with the 201/2 (3 way vs two way) but for this level I would prefer floorstanders. The other thing to consider is I believe Kef does a better balance between Home Theater and Music. Either way, Reference or Diamond you will have great speakers but it really comes down to what you prefer. I took a friend to the shop that had the CM7s and he preferred Paradigm Monitors over the CM7s due to bass, I believe. I thought the Paradigms were horrible, muffled and veiled. He ended up buying Def Techs which to me are weighed towards HT and gaming. Sound is subjective, what matters is what you like.

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 #13 of 19 Old 07-28-2013, 04:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post

You look to be a KEF 201/2 owner. How did you decide on the 201/2?

I auditioned the 201/2 and liked them very much. I am also very impressed with the build quality. However, I was surprised that I could not hear a significant improvement in sound quality over the KEF R500. Granted this is comparing a bookshelf with a floor stander, but I thought the higher end materials in Reference line would stand out more. What do you think?

I don't have 201/2 yet. I have 205/2 and 204/2c..Build quality is really top notch for Kef Reference. I've used r700 for a year, a very good main speakers for ht and music.
I upgraded my main speakers to kef ref because I really like the mids and highs of kef ref.
Please check this link for your reading..

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/kef-r-series-range-vs-reference-range

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post #14 of 19 Old 07-28-2013, 05:28 AM
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I have a pair of R900s which just arrived the other day....had auditioned the Revel F206/208 as well as B&W CM9 and 804D. The 804D sounded great but so did the R900 to me. I think the KEF bass rendering and midrange were on par with the 804 and for the price difference I didn't think the 804 was that much better in the highs. I also heard the R500 and I think the KEF R series sounded better to me than the CM9s. I liked the Revels but the 206 were a bit too bright and the 208s also a bit forward compared to the KEFs.
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-28-2013, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post

What did you end up buying?

SVS Ultra towers. A bit cheaper and I am not using a sub, so the better bass was a factor. I never did side by side comparison, I only heard the R700 in the store.

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post #16 of 19 Old 07-28-2013, 07:26 AM
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I would get KEF or Revel bookshelf + multiple subs.

I will be placing my five KEF 201/2 on stands atop five RBH SX-1010N subs and it will be like five big towers, except the bass will be much better than most towers.
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post #17 of 19 Old 07-28-2013, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeda View Post

I auditioned the 201/2 and liked them very much. I am also very impressed with the build quality. However, I was surprised that I could not hear a significant improvement in sound quality over the KEF R500. Granted this is comparing a bookshelf with a floor stander, but I thought the higher end materials in Reference line would stand out more. What do you think?

One thing to consider there is that the R-Series is a much newer design than the Ref. KEF's learned some things in the interim. The reworked "slash 2" Refs were IIRC the first speakers to come out after KEF reinvigorated themselves by poaching Mark Dodd from Tannoy to head up engineering. Now Dodd assembled a formidable engineering team that that's a worthy successor to KEF's old Laurie Fincham and Andrew Jones regimes, while improving on his earlier word into phase plugs in concentric drivers that resulted in the "Tulip" phase plug used by Tannoy since the 1990s.

The concentric mid/tweeter if the R-Series is in some ways more advanced than the Reference unit, with its "Tangerine" phase plug and thin suspension. The Ref cabinet is better, and voicing may be different enough that one could prefer one over the other. (That is to say, the R-Series appears to have some voicing to bring out the mids, whereas the Ref is flatter.)

That said, IMO 201/2 vs. pretty much anything else its size class regardless of price is an easy choice, assuming one can afford the 201/2. They're just about as close as physics allows to perfection at that cabinet volume. (Unless, I guess, like me your wife has a thing about curved speaker cabinets, but will let one get away with a much larger rectilinear cabinet...)

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post #18 of 19 Old 07-28-2013, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

One thing to consider there is that the R-Series is a much newer design than the Ref. KEF's learned some things in the interim. The reworked "slash 2" Refs were IIRC the first speakers to come out after KEF reinvigorated themselves by poaching Mark Dodd from Tannoy to head up engineering. Now Dodd assembled a formidable engineering team that that's a worthy successor to KEF's old Laurie Fincham and Andrew Jones regimes, while improving on his earlier word into phase plugs in concentric drivers that resulted in the "Tulip" phase plug used by Tannoy since the 1990s.

The concentric mid/tweeter if the R-Series is in some ways more advanced than the Reference unit, with its "Tangerine" phase plug and thin suspension. The Ref cabinet is better, and voicing may be different enough that one could prefer one over the other. (That is to say, the R-Series appears to have some voicing to bring out the mids, whereas the Ref is flatter.)

That said, IMO 201/2 vs. pretty much anything else its size class regardless of price is an easy choice, assuming one can afford the 201/2. They're just about as close as physics allows to perfection at that cabinet volume. (Unless, I guess, like me your wife has a thing about curved speaker cabinets, but will let one get away with a much larger rectilinear cabinet...)

The Ref 201/2 are $6000 MSRP and the R500 are $2600. Sometimes it is fairly easy to hear differences in sound quality. I could hear differences but I am not sure I could easily say that I liked one over the other. Visually, the Ref 201/2 are far superior and would rate much higher on the WAF. At less than half the price I might be able to persuade my wife that floor standers may be ok.

My next speaker to review will be Monitor Audio. I am interested in the how the GX line and Platinum compare. In particular I want to hear the ribbon tweeter. I still like the 805D and the diamond tweeter, but price always plays a factor.
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post #19 of 19 Old 07-28-2013, 06:06 PM
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The gx is nice, the ribbon impressed me a lot. Gorgeous cabinet too. The price was way over my budget though frown.gif
Check out the monitor audio thread. Folks in there helped me a good bit.
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