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post #10891 of 10927 Old 09-13-2017, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by stash64 View Post
The "you don't need a separate amp if you can already play loud" comes up all the time. It's a shame because a quality amplifier does so much more than just play loud when paired with other quality audio equipment. I think it comes up so often because people by nature like simplification (including me) and using separates adds complexity and cost. I am glad that I switched to separates many years ago... and will likely never go back to an AVR.
That was where I was going with my question. I don't really need high volume anyway, as my system is in a small-ish room adjacent to a room that my family uses all the time.
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post #10892 of 10927 Old 09-13-2017, 10:32 AM
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Loudness is a static or non-linear quality. Where a good amp really shines is it's non-linear response. A good separate amp will give you dynamics (with lower distortion) that is just not possible with a typical AVR.

Sean
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post #10893 of 10927 Old 09-13-2017, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by stash64 View Post
The "you don't need a separate amp if you can already play loud" comes up all the time. It's a shame because a quality amplifier does so much more than just play loud when paired with other quality audio equipment. I think it comes up so often because people by nature like simplification (including me) and using separates adds complexity and cost. I am glad that I switched to separates many years ago... and will likely never go back to an AVR.
I'm of two minds on this. The first is the objectivist side stating that if test groups in controlled double blinds have a hard time distinguishing between the two, there are probably better places to put your money.

Along those same lines, while I've felt that I've heard differences between two amps (talking solid state here, valves are pretty easy to hear differences between), I've felt they have had less of a noticeable difference than phono-pre's and pre-amps.

Finally, different isn't always a better/worse scenario, the two could both be equally pleasing yet still be different.

In order of where I have noticed the most difference, a good phono pre was the most dramatic, followed by the pre amp, and then the amp. This is for stereo only, not surround as it gets harder to tell differences with lots and lots of channels.

This makes sense to me as well as the phono pre takes an extremely small signal and boosts the hell out of it. Doing so can lead to all kinds of differences. Throwing in different loading options and it's pretty easy to see how some phono-pre's can be much more noticeable, and dare I say, better, than others.

Similarly a pre ups the signal for the amp, may or may not have ADC/DAC, analog or digital volume control, tone controls, or a myriad of other items that can color/change the audio.

An amp I feel does make a difference, especially if you are talking about a flea powered amp on a tricky load (and again SS vs. tubes), but it's got a lot of diminishing marginal returns going on.

On the other hand, we are all gear and music geeks, this is a hobby, and we all want the best we can get. So if you want an amp, go ahead. It's unlikely to make things worse than an AVR, can instill some pride of ownership and piece of mind and the darn things last decades.
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post #10894 of 10927 Old 09-14-2017, 01:10 AM
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I'm of two minds on this. The first is the objectivist side stating that if test groups in controlled double blinds have a hard time distinguishing between the two, there are probably better places to put your money.

Along those same lines, while I've felt that I've heard differences between two amps (talking solid state here, valves are pretty easy to hear differences between), I've felt they have had less of a noticeable difference than phono-pre's and pre-amps.

Finally, different isn't always a better/worse scenario, the two could both be equally pleasing yet still be different.

In order of where I have noticed the most difference, a good phono pre was the most dramatic, followed by the pre amp, and then the amp. This is for stereo only, not surround as it gets harder to tell differences with lots and lots of channels.

This makes sense to me as well as the phono pre takes an extremely small signal and boosts the hell out of it. Doing so can lead to all kinds of differences. Throwing in different loading options and it's pretty easy to see how some phono-pre's can be much more noticeable, and dare I say, better, than others.

Similarly a pre ups the signal for the amp, may or may not have ADC/DAC, analog or digital volume control, tone controls, or a myriad of other items that can color/change the audio.

An amp I feel does make a difference, especially if you are talking about a flea powered amp on a tricky load (and again SS vs. tubes), but it's got a lot of diminishing marginal returns going on.

On the other hand, we are all gear and music geeks, this is a hobby, and we all want the best we can get. So if you want an amp, go ahead. It's unlikely to make things worse than an AVR, can instill some pride of ownership and piece of mind and the darn things last decades.
I couldn't agree with you more. Without getting into a tubes vs SS discussion, even with SS amplification, the 'quality' of the receiver, integrated amp, or separate Pre & Pwr amps is as important as the number of watts. It really is the quality of them which determines the experience.

I am driving a 6.2.2 system with my Yamaha RX-A3060 AVR. It has outstanding power and feeds the LS50s very well. I have 5 up front, with old Kef 102refs on the rear, with two Def Tech powered subwoofers. For movies and digital sources the sound is very good.

For Analog Stereo, improvements are needed. I borrowed a vintage (refurbished) Yamaha C-2 preamplifier, for it's great phono stage. My Moving Coil Cart, and vintage turntables are both grateful. I can tell that the Yamaha power amps are up to the basic task at 150 watts, when I use 'pure direct' to force the system into clean 2.1 only. When I play a music file through the Yamaha from my iPad, two channel stereo sounds very good.

Then I ruined things by listening to the same file through the LS50Ws at my local Kef dealer. I know these are an extreme example of your premise, but mono amplifiers appropriately sized and appropriately driven prove very clearly to my ears that the 200 watts driving the 5" woofer sounds much better at a given volume on the same material. The 30 watts dedicated to the tweeter is an objective to aspire to. I believe the Yamaha may have comparable DACs and sources are comparable wi-fi feeds, so I'm betting we hear a significant difference because of the 'quality' of the power, its matching by Kef to the speakers and attention to details in loading from the internal DACs.

If I wasn't lucky enough to have a TOTL AVR, I'd have junked it for the LS50s already. As it stands a pair in on my list for next year. I heartily recommend your strategy for system improvements. I will be buying a phono stage or perhaps purchasing this vintage unit before I go for the powered LS50ws.

To the poster I would recommend you look seriously at the used market from good folks. You can improve things remarkably by adding incremental improvements to this great speakers.

Best, Chris
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post #10895 of 10927 Old 09-14-2017, 05:58 AM
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@Chris - thanks for the thoughtful response. Are you saying that you think you would hear / have heard improvement from your LS50 if you move from the Yamaha to a separate amp/preamp? I'd put my receiver in the same class as the RX-A3060. Thanks again!
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post #10896 of 10927 Old 09-14-2017, 03:16 PM
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Well, out with the old:



And in with the new:





I've only had a few hours with the new system. So far, so good. I think all around the system is now a little more musical, and just slightly less dynamic. The presentation is significantly different so I'm still getting used to the changes.
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Main System: Vizio 70" P-Series 4K TV. KEF LS50 Speakers. Mirage BPS 400. Anthem MRX-300. Wyred4Sound STP-SE. Blue Circle BC 24. Cambridge DACMagic +. Oppo BDP-83. Sound Application CF-X. GIK Panels
Living Room: Vizio 55" M-Series 4K HDR TV. GoldenEar 3D Array X. Rythmik L-12. Denon AVR-X3200. Oppo BDP-83
Studio: KEF Egg Wireless Speakers. Totem Kin Subwoofer. Yulong P-18 Power Conditioner. GIK Panels

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post #10897 of 10927 Old 09-15-2017, 09:37 AM
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On Monday going to board over ready for plastering, all wall speakers affix to plasterboard only - so holes made a little bigger.

Rockwool will go in ceiling speakers and with rear speakers, I assume the insulation in the cavity wall of the fronts and sides is ok?

3 x Kef Ci-5160RL-THX
4 x Kef Ci200QL
4 x Kef Ci200RR-THX













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post #10898 of 10927 Old 09-16-2017, 08:24 AM
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Hi dbphd: saw your post asking about the LS50, the Ref 1 and Blade. I own all three, but mine seen the Blade Two's.
In a nutshell I love all 3 speakers. But there are differences between them.
The LS50, powered by a Devialet 200, sounds open, musical and nicely detailed. The soundstage is quite good. It's a very engaging speaker. I always find my feet and hands moving along with the music.
The Reference 1, quite frankly, is in a different league. It's priced that way too.
In my experience the tech in the mid/tweeter creates a notably larger soundstage and image. The extension is superior on both ends. The bass can get way deeper than expected.
The Ref 1's are now doing surround duty in my 5.2.4 system powered by an Ayre VX-5.
The Blade Two is simply a magnificent speaker. While the amps driving them are Ayre mono blocks, the sound they produce leaves the Ref 1 way behind. Everything you liked about the LS50 and Ref1 is taken up several notches. Whether it's the famous center locked image or massive enveloping soundstage, the detsil that comes through the Blade Two's leaves me saying "wow" all the time.
I am able to make the Ref 1 comparison because I have the C4 Ref center driven by another Ayre mono block.
Not sure if any of this helps.
Good luck!
bp
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post #10899 of 10927 Old 09-16-2017, 10:22 AM
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Hi dbphd: saw your post asking about the LS50, the Ref 1 and Blade. I own all three, but mine seen the Blade Two's.
In a nutshell I love all 3 speakers. But there are differences between them.
The LS50, powered by a Devialet 200, sounds open, musical and nicely detailed. The soundstage is quite good. It's a very engaging speaker. I always find my feet and hands moving along with the music.
The Reference 1, quite frankly, is in a different league. It's priced that way too.
In my experience the tech in the mid/tweeter creates a notably larger soundstage and image. The extension is superior on both ends. The bass can get way deeper than expected.
The Ref 1's are now doing surround duty in my 5.2.4 system powered by an Ayre VX-5.
The Blade Two is simply a magnificent speaker. While the amps driving them are Ayre mono blocks, the sound they produce leaves the Ref 1 way behind. Everything you liked about the LS50 and Ref1 is taken up several notches. Whether it's the famous center locked image or massive enveloping soundstage, the detsil that comes through the Blade Two's leaves me saying "wow" all the time.
I am able to make the Ref 1 comparison because I have the C4 Ref center driven by another Ayre mono block.
Not sure if any of this helps.
Good luck!
bp
Nice BP,

What pre-pro are you using with the KEFs? I'm using an Arcam AVR as a pre pro and I'm going back and forth on what I'm going to do here. Bryston just added 4K support to the SP3, lose the Arcam AVR and try the Arcam pre pro where you get balanced connections (not end to end and should not matter) but a couple of folks stated it made a great improvement. And then the NAD M17.

I'm not great with words but I'll use this example with the Arcam. When watching a football game, the players are there but the screaming crowd sounds much more distance back. Like their screaming from the parking lot over a stadium. I use this example as I find it true with musical arrangements and movies. I did not get this with the Classe I had prior before the Arcam. The 4C can provide an awesome experience but I feel boxed in my current set-up.

I'm looking to correct this and add a music server to improve some things.

Rick

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post #10900 of 10927 Old 09-16-2017, 04:21 PM
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Hi Rick:
My prepro is the Theta Casablanca IV.
I wonder if your issue is settings related, not prepro/receiver related.
Using your Arcam, have you performed a level setting for your speakers? If your center is sounding recessed (my interpretation of your description) perhaps the db level isn't equal with the front L & R speakers?
Curious if you have run Dirac?
popspin

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post #10901 of 10927 Old 09-16-2017, 07:59 PM
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Hi Rick:
My prepro is the Theta Casablanca IV.
I wonder if your issue is settings related, not prepro/receiver related.
Using your Arcam, have you performed a level setting for your speakers? If your center is sounding recessed (my interpretation of your description) perhaps the db level isn't equal with the front L & R speakers?
Curious if you have run Dirac?
popspin
Hey, yes I have done all of this but there has been some issues with the current version of Dirac. They have a revised version that I have not run yet that is supposed to resolve some of the issues but it sounds it still might have some issues but not as bad as it was.

It is a bit of the voicing as well. But I would love to try the pre pro version if I can get a loaner over the AVR and then run the latest Dirac. I am also interested in the revised Bryston which in conversation seems to beat my prior Classe SSP-800 in sound quality.

You have an awesome set-up by the way.

Rick
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post #10902 of 10927 Old 09-17-2017, 02:49 AM
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The Blade Two is simply a magnificent speaker. While the amps driving them are Ayre mono blocks, the sound they produce leaves the Ref 1 way behind. Everything you liked about the LS50 and Ref1 is taken up several notches. Whether it's the famous center locked image or massive enveloping soundstage, the detsil that comes through the Blade Two's leaves me saying "wow" all the time.
I have two setups:
(1) LS50s, Ayre QX-5, KX-5, VX-5 Twenties with a pair of Velodyne HGS-10s with SMS-1 acoustic room correction;
(2) Reference 107/2s, Bryston SP3, Parasound JC 2 BP, JC 1 monoblocks with 204/2C, four LS50 surrounds, and a pair of HGS-15s with SMS-1.

When we move to a retirement community, I envision a stereo setup comprised of the Ayre electronics with the 107/2s and a secondary setup of a Parasound Halo Integrated with my wife's favorite racing red LS50s. I flirt with the idea of replacing the 107/2s with Blade 2s, but wonder how difficult the Blades 2s are to set up, i.e., is placement super critical?

db
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post #10903 of 10927 Old 09-17-2017, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by dbphd View Post
I have two setups:
(1) LS50s, Ayre QX-5, KX-5, VX-5 Twenties with a pair of Velodyne HGS-10s with SMS-1 acoustic room correction;
(2) Reference 107/2s, Bryston SP3, Parasound JC 2 BP, JC 1 monoblocks with 204/2C, four LS50 surrounds, and a pair of HGS-15s with SMS-1.

When we move to a retirement community, I envision a stereo setup comprised of the Ayre electronics with the 107/2s and a secondary setup of a Parasound Halo Integrated with my wife's favorite racing red LS50s. I flirt with the idea of replacing the 107/2s with Blade 2s, but wonder how difficult the Blades 2s are to set up, i.e., is placement super critical?

db
How are you liking the Bryston SP3? They have added HDR/4K pass-thru but will forego Atmos in this version. I only have front heights currently so not an overwhelming loss there. You should be able update you unit if interested with an upgrade kit.

Rick
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post #10904 of 10927 Old 09-17-2017, 12:20 PM
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KEF E305 - Partial System

In case there is any interest... Just placed a KEF E305 system (less two satellites) up for sale in the Audio section of the Classifieds. I'm using two of the E301 satellites for Atmos duty up front and decided that was as far as I will go with Atmos. Picture is the E301's mounted to my front wall on custom made hardwood sconces.

If someone already has an E305 system, this could be your ticket to Atmos and dual subwoofers.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Atmos_Front_Speakers1.JPG (145.0 KB, 24 views)

Sean
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post #10905 of 10927 Old 09-17-2017, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr.SoftDome View Post
How are you liking the Bryston SP3? They have added HDR/4K pass-thru but will forego Atmos in this version. I only have front heights currently so not an overwhelming loss there. You should be able update you unit if interested with an upgrade kit.

Rick
For audio, the front LR are passed through a Parasound JC 2BP to JC 1 monoblocks. For video, HDMI 1 from an Oppo 105D goes directly to the projector. The SP3 performs well and I have no need for upgrades.

db
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post #10906 of 10927 Old 09-17-2017, 02:17 PM
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@Chris - thanks for the thoughtful response. Are you saying that you think you would hear / have heard improvement from your LS50 if you move from the Yamaha to a separate amp/preamp? I'd put my receiver in the same class as the RX-A3060. Thanks again!
Yes. The built in phono stage of my AVR is good, don't get me wrong. But I have Low Output cartridges which need a boost to use it. I have an SUT which works and things sound good, but the vintage Yamaha C2 preamp (refurbished, recapped, etc. ) supports the MC output level and sounds very good, and better. I think contemporary phono stages, and/or SUTs will do wonders if you have those kinds of carts. LS50s are the kind of speakers that you can continue to upgrade sources and amplification for and continue to reap improved sound benefits. And we can look to the tuning Kef has done with the LS50w speakers for great insight into what can be accomplished.
Cheers,
Chris

Best, Chris
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post #10907 of 10927 Old 09-18-2017, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
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Hi Rick:
My prepro is the Theta Casablanca IV.
I wonder if your issue is settings related, not prepro/receiver related.
Using your Arcam, have you performed a level setting for your speakers? If your center is sounding recessed (my interpretation of your description) perhaps the db level isn't equal with the front L & R speakers?
Curious if you have run Dirac?
popspin
Hey, yes I have done all of this but there has been some issues with the current version of Dirac. They have a revised version that I have not run yet that is supposed to resolve some of the issues but it sounds it still might have some issues but not as bad as it was.

It is a bit of the voicing as well. But I would love to try the pre pro version if I can get a loaner over the AVR and then run the latest Dirac. I am also interested in the revised Bryston which in conversation seems to beat my prior Classe SSP-800 in sound quality.

You have an awesome set-up by the way.

Rick
Hi Rick:
The Arcam pre pro does sound very good.
Do you think it's possible your Arcam receiver is defective? They do have a trouble-prone reputation that has been resolved in only the most recent models (per friendly dealer).
If your Classe played a normal center channel and the Arcam doesn't perhaps something's up with the Arcam?

BP

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post #10908 of 10927 Old 09-18-2017, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dbphd View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by BP View Post
The Blade Two is simply a magnificent speaker. While the amps driving them are Ayre mono blocks, the sound they produce leaves the Ref 1 way behind. Everything you liked about the LS50 and Ref1 is taken up several notches. Whether it's the famous center locked image or massive enveloping soundstage, the detsil that comes through the Blade Two's leaves me saying "wow" all the time.
I have two setups:
(1) LS50s, Ayre QX-5, KX-5, VX-5 Twenties with a pair of Velodyne HGS-10s with SMS-1 acoustic room correction;
(2) Reference 107/2s, Bryston SP3, Parasound JC 2 BP, JC 1 monoblocks with 204/2C, four LS50 surrounds, and a pair of HGS-15s with SMS-1.

When we move to a retirement community, I envision a stereo setup comprised of the Ayre electronics with the 107/2s and a secondary setup of a Parasound Halo Integrated with my wife's favorite racing red LS50s. I flirt with the idea of replacing the 107/2s with Blade 2s, but wonder how difficult the Blades 2s are to set up, i.e., is placement super critical?

db
Hi db: beautifully configured systems! Love all that Ayre equipment!
My kids moved out so what used to be a downstairs family room is now my dedicated listening space. The Blade Two's are 3' from the side walls and about 1/3 of the length of the room in from the front wall.
Not knowing what your options are I would say you need at least 3' from any wall.
I hope they will fit!
popspin

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post #10909 of 10927 Old 09-18-2017, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel Cook View Post
On Monday going to board over ready for plastering, all wall speakers affix to plasterboard only - so holes made a little bigger.

Rockwool will go in ceiling speakers and with rear speakers, I assume the insulation in the cavity wall of the fronts and sides is ok?

3 x Kef Ci-5160RL-THX
4 x Kef Ci200QL
4 x Kef Ci200RR-THX
Without reposting all your photos, that's going to be a REALLY cool home theatre! What is that material that the front three are cut into? I've never seen it before, has a look of concrete blocks.

Using in-wall speakers for all isn't common, but you're doing it right and it'll be a killer sound. Insulation is fine, just don't use very dense material around the speakers so you maintain some "cabinet volume" for them. Congrats!

What will you be using for a screen? Will it be an acoustically transparent or ??

KEF R500, R200C, R100, SVS SB2000 sub, NAD T758 receiver, Pro-Ject RPM1 TT w/ Ortofon 2M Red, Bluesound Vault2, Sony BDP-S480 BlueRay player, Samsung UN55JU6500F 4K LED TV, KEF M500 headphones, Sony CDP-CE500 CD changer.
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post #10910 of 10927 Old 09-18-2017, 03:34 PM
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I just posted a question about the changes in frequency response specifications (on all the new models of Q series) to KEF's Facebook page. I'm hoping to get a response...no pun intended.

I may have missed your post, but did you ever hear from them? Thank you.
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post #10911 of 10927 Old 09-18-2017, 05:06 PM
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I may have missed your post, but did you ever hear from them? Thank you.
They did reply but it was so long ago that I couldn't find their response to repost it. Sorry.

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post #10912 of 10927 Old 09-18-2017, 06:03 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I enjoy reading your posts.

Just got the Q100 for a simple bedroom set-up and considering another KEF for the livng room.
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post #10913 of 10927 Old 09-18-2017, 08:28 PM
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If I recall correctly, Jack Sharkey replied to my question about why the frequency response figures given for older Q series went lower than the Q series 2017. I believe he stated it's a change in how it was measured, but assuredly the new ones are capable of digging deeper. I've heard them and agree.
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post #10914 of 10927 Old 09-18-2017, 11:28 PM
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Without reposting all your photos, that's going to be a REALLY cool home theatre! What is that material that the front three are cut into? I've never seen it before, has a look of concrete blocks.

Using in-wall speakers for all isn't common, but you're doing it right and it'll be a killer sound. Insulation is fine, just don't use very dense material around the speakers so you maintain some "cabinet volume" for them. Congrats!

What will you be using for a screen? Will it be an acoustically transparent or ??
They are concrete blocks, typical construction material in the UK.


Looking at larger AT screens to cover the speakers wholly would have about tripled spending on the screen and gone over budget considerably.

So the screen is not acoustically transparent.

120inch wide 2.35:1, electric, tab tensioned.



this render is missing the surround speakers, or even atmos. Also the chimney breast has been removed - and PJ screen will go in the ceiling flush won't need boxing in.



this was my atmos plan, though things changed a little as we went due to joists.

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post #10915 of 10927 Old 09-19-2017, 06:13 PM
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Not 100% true. While no KEF speakers I've heard require break-in, I know of two reputable speaker makers who do advise break-in and most owners do report they sound better after a certain amount of time. Those would be Dynaudio and Totem.
Kef supports a week or two of burn-in. It's on theirWeb site.
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post #10916 of 10927 Old 09-19-2017, 06:21 PM
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Kef supports a week or two of burn-in. It's on theirWeb site.
For which of their speakers? Got link?

I'd never noticed them mentioning it, so do share. Thanks!

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post #10917 of 10927 Old 09-19-2017, 10:02 PM
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For which of their speakers? Got link?

I'd never noticed them mentioning it, so do share. Thanks!
I knew that someone would make me go looking for this. From the Kef blog:

"According to Dr. Jack Oclee-Brown, our Head of Acoustics: "The suspensions see the largest change, [as] they are made from impregnated textile and at a microscopic level the textile fibres pull apart a little when they are stressed, which leads to a softening. Break-in can take from a few hours to a few days. This depends mostly on the signal used for the break-in. Louder music will break in the drivers more quickly. As typically the bass drivers break in the most, music with more bass will speed up the process too. The same effects can apply to headphone drivers too."

The suspensions and surrounds will deform as signal is applied to the speaker, and that deformation causes the material making up the suspensions and surrounds to soften and become more flexible. It should be noted that the cones themselves do not deform."

https://www.kefdirect.com/some-basic...eaker-break-in

Sorry about the days to weeks confusion.
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post #10918 of 10927 Old Yesterday, 05:42 AM
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"CONCLUSION
Enjoy your new out-of-the-box speakers smiling with the knowledge that no matter how great they sound the first time you play them, things will only get (slightly) better. "

And that's the summary of what the blog is all about. Mine were "pre broken-in" as they were dealer demo stock. My center and surrounds were bought new, and I can't tell that they sounded different (better or worse) after any particular period of time. They sounded GREAT right out of the box and continue to please me. That's all that matters to me.

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post #10919 of 10927 Old Yesterday, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenM10759 View Post
Not 100% true. While no KEF speakers I've heard require break-in, I know of two reputable speaker makers who do advise break-in and most owners do report they sound better after a certain amount of time. Those would be Dynaudio and Totem.
Kef supports a week or two of burn-in. It's on theirWeb site.
I auditioned Revel Ultima Studio2s brand new out of the box and the bass definitely increased over the first three hours. My 205/2s were run in by the dealer for a couple days so I did not detect any break in. Funny thing is Revel says there is no break in. I also noticed break in on my XQ40s (opening up) and surprisingly more so on my previous XQ50c.

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post #10920 of 10927 Old Yesterday, 10:47 AM
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Question Center recommendation for Q100?

I recently purchased a KEF Q100 pair for LR($300), Have Denon AVR X1300W($250), JBL 550P subwoofer($189) and Pioneer AJ BS22 pair($60) for surrounds. Looking to plug the center hole in my 5.1 setup. Budget was $1000, have spent $800 so far on everything else. So left with $150 - $200 (can stretch it a bit if needed).

I would have preferred to get another Q100 or Q300 as center but I can't justify buying a pair. Couldn't find a single Q100/Q300 in Craigslist/classifieds here. Any suggestions on what alternate options are good? Read that bookshelves are better than MTM centers if you have the space. So leaning towards bookshelves if I can get a single speaker that doesn't cause any obvious tonal match issues.
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