KEF vs B&W - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-12-2014, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I currently have a 5.1 system with B&W 818 in-ceiling speakers. I would like to replace the LCR across the front with three new speakers. I have a REL T9 sub.

I am broadly considering the following speaker manufacturers:

B&W
KEF
Monitor
Revel
Paradigm
Focal
Sonus Faber

My plan is to use bookshelf models and rely on sub for deep bass.

I seem to be gravitating to B&W and KEF although I have not completed my demos of the other speaker manufacturers listed above.

I have narrowed down the list to three:

B&W 805D - $5000
KEF R300 - $1800
KEF 201/2 - $6000

If money was no object then I would go with KEF 201/2, but money needs to be part of the equation. I think the best value of the three is definitely the R300. However, I think that B&W 805D sounds better. It costs more, but I am not sure it is worth it. I think the KEF 201/2 sounds better than B&W 805D, particularly in lower bass. However, I am not sure the additional improvement in sound quality is worth the additional cost.

I would appreciate any thoughts from the forum who may have gone through this analysis.

Thanks
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-12-2014, 07:58 PM
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Those are all great speakers you are considering. I would however recommend adding another one to your list, Dynaudio Confidence C1. It's right around your price range and well worth considering.

I personally have the 805D's and absolutely love them.
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-13-2014, 03:02 AM
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Depends on room size but have you considered LS50s and a second sub? Crossed over at 80-100Hz they are amazing.

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 #4 of 14 Old 01-13-2014, 05:42 AM
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I've never heard the R300, but based on the KEF's I've heard/owned and reviews, it would seem to be an excellent choice.
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-18-2014, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

Depends on room size but have you considered LS50s and a second sub? Crossed over at 80-100Hz they are amazing.

I have listened to both LS50 and R300 and I think the R300 has a bit more to offer. As I am not constrained by space, I think the R300 would make a bit more sense. Assuming that I go with R series I would then need to decide whether to go with R300, R500 or R700. I will be using a Rel T9 sub for all scenarios. One thought I had was to get another sub (perhaps another T9 or R528) and then go with either R300 or R 500. The R500 does not take much more space than R300. Since I would be adding a sub or subs I don't think I need to go up to R700 or R900.

I will be using as 5.1 system so I would add the R00c for center. The rear speakers would be my B&W 818s.

Any thoughts to this configuration.
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-18-2014, 07:20 PM
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R500s make the most sense to me as they don't need stands and are arguably the sweet spot in a very good line. I have only heard the R700s but the dealer who's input I trust believes the R500 as the most pure.

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 14 Old 01-18-2014, 08:26 PM
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If you like the 805ds but think they are too pricey, have to look at the Pm1s, especially considering that their downside (bass, which is entirely debateable) is negated by you having a subwoofer. WIth stands they are almost 2k less than 805s. I have pm1s and love them

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post #8 of 14 Old 03-24-2014, 07:20 AM
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Do the PM1s have less lower bass? If so, that might actually be a good thing. I thought the 805D had a little too much bloat when companies to Revel M106. I do love the look of the 805D though.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-24-2014, 07:46 AM
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I would strongly consider going with the Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2's over all of the other choices mentioned in this thread. The RAAL tweeter is better than just about any other tweeter out there. Although I have not head those KEF speakers, I have a/b compared my Sierra-1's with the RAAL tweeter upgrade to the B&W 805D and it was no contest, the Sierra-1 with the RAAL tweeter was better in every category.

Not sure if you are going with two speakers for 2-channel music only, or 5.1 for theater, or a combination of the two, but, I would recommend a pair of subs from the likes of Rythmic or PSA, or Chase, or possibly JTR or Seaton Sound.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-24-2014, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

R500s make the most sense to me as they don't need stands and are arguably the sweet spot in a very good line. I have only heard the R700s but the dealer who's input I trust believes the R500 as the most pure.
+1 on the R-500's. Heard them at my local dealers showroom. Small footprint but a nice full detailed soundstage. Worth a listen.smile.gif
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-24-2014, 09:53 AM
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This thread is ~ 2 months old, so I bet he already bought some KEF with some big discounts or something. biggrin.gif
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-24-2014, 06:41 PM
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Just to throw in another wrench I think you are missing a key ingredient as many do. I sold off my set-up last year to help my ailing pops. I am rebuilding and working my way thru it all again! Work bonus finally this Thursday from last year- yippee!

People always discuss left/right and rightfully so but I am a center freak. After owning one of the best around IMO I can't believe how I am so focused on this now. I do not care how great the left/right is if the matching center is in my opinion not up to par. I have crossed off a couple of lines just due to the center.

I did something bizarre after I sold my Dynaudios last year. I moved my B&W CM5 from bedroom to living room I also had the matching CM center that I moved out. Dreadful!! Fine for my small bedroom but just not a very good sounding set-up in my main rig. So I went and bought the smallest B&W Diamond center HTM4 and am using it with the CM5s. It's okay. Of course not a match but beyond that I am not sure I would be happy even if I go 805 diamond or 804 diamond. I really like the diamond series but it may force a move to HTM2 even if I did go 805 diamond. On the plus, it's paid for and I could lean to whichever Diamond l/r pair and update center later.

I love Dynaudio but don't think I can get back to Confidence level this go around. I would consider Focus and they have a couple of great towers in this range but I am not sold on its matching center.

Sonus Faber and their entry same deal. Their l/r are getting raves. I look at the center and not so much.

I am so far the other direction of most. If you are forced to using a typical center like most of us you should really pay very close attention to that lines center offering. I have moved from two channel to Blu-Ray concert junkie. When friends over and we are having a drink yuking it up-bluray concert in background. The center is critical.

If I were to go 805 diamonds I would seriously be looking at the HTM2 and not the 4. But that's me. You have to be really honest with yourself. Are you buying more for two channel or tv, movies and concerts. That answer will take you down the right path.

I am ready to see if there is interest in a three channel shoot-out. biggrin.gif Center channels are so critical to me and letting go of one of the best and downgrading really makes it even more evident.

Rick

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post #13 of 14 Old 03-24-2014, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

This thread is ~ 2 months old, so I bet he already bought some KEF with some big discounts or something. biggrin.gif

Didn't notice!! Oh well. tongue.gif

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post #14 of 14 Old 03-24-2014, 07:18 PM
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For a center, Kef's Uni-Q drivers work pretty well. I am still pretty amazed at how well the 202/2c integrates with my 205/2s for multichannel music.
I am sure you miss your Dynaudio Confidence, they are a highly regarded line. So many great speaker options, not much opportunity with the demise of B&M shops to hear them anymore.
For centers, I have got to guess that that the Kef R600c would be pretty good for a mid level 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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