Originally Posted by Dracore
How loud must KEF speakers play before they sound fine?
That depends on a few factors. The issue is not the loudspeakers, but the way people perceive different frequency regions (especially bass) at different volumes. Speakers voiced with a more-or-less neutral low end often sound thin at lower volumes, whereas speakers voiced more "ripely" (think, for instance, of the old BBC LS3/5a minimonitor, which had a very high Q closed box and substantial upper-bass rise in its response) sound subjectively better-balanced at lower volumes. But speakers voiced more ripely sound boomy and overwrought at high volumes.
My recommendation generally if perceived sound quality at lower volume is a priority, is to pick up electronics with one of the modern DSP-based loudness compensation programs, such as Dolby Volume's "volume modeling"* or Audyssey DynamicEQ. They seem to be substantially the same. Combine electronics with modern loudness compensation with neutrally-voiced speakers.
Modern KEFs, being generally neutrally balanced, are well-suited for such an approach. In an apartment, Q100's all around strikes me as a better approach than what you've outlined. The sonic benefits of identical front left/center/right speakers are so immense that it is hard to overstate.
*Dolby Volume has two separate components. The volume modeler is a loudness compensation program. The volume leveler is a compressor, similar to Audyssey's Dynamic Volume. The former works well. I've never used the latter (or Dynamic Volume).Edited by DS-21 - 1/27/13 at 8:27am