Just wanted to chime in and say thanks for all the posts in this thread, and to give a little info on my recent KEF speaker purchases. I have spent the last three weeks with my KEF R700s. I also got a R600c at the same time and am about to go ahead and finish off the speaker setup with the R800ds and a sub.
My room isn't dedicated, it's just a spare bedroom in the middle of the house. I've got a Panny projector and a 106" screen. Because of that I went for the walnut instead of the gloss black.
Here are just a few things about using the KEF R series in a home theater room with a projector.
1) The speakers are absolutely beautiful without the grills attached. The walnut finish is as fine a finish as any piece of furniture I've bought for my home in the last five years. That being said, when it's movie time, I put the grills on. The shiny aluminum rings and shiny Uni-Q driver really can be distracting without the grills on while playing movies.
2) I'm also running these speakers on a recently purchased Marantz AV7701 pre/pro into a Parasound Halo A52.
3) My room is about 13.5' x 13'. Not ideal for acoustics, but the R700s aren't too bass heavy for me. In fact, I'm probably going to order to R400b because I just want a little bit of bass support. Not anything too boomy. I just don't think the speakers need it in my room.
I first got a test listen to the R500's at a dealer in Dallas and I was very impressed with how neutral they sounded. They were running on Parasound Halo JC1 mono amps. I really only had a chance to listen to CD's as a source at that dealer.
I have been happy with my old home theater speakers from a long time ago but finally decided to go for a great system. I was still using an old Denon AVR1400 with analog outputs from many upgraded DVD and Blu-Ray players over the years. I had experience with KEF in the past. I helped my parents pick out a home theater system using KEF speakers like the Reference 100 and 90s and then upgraded their fronts to KEF RDM 2's (I think). I loved the neutrality of the speakers compared to my DefTech's I'd always had.
The thing that strikes me about the R700s is they don't really have that distinctive flat/neutral sound I'm used to in the older KEF series of speakers. Maybe it's the new Uni-Q with the Blade technology. I did audition some PSB Imagine T2's just for comparison and those were very nice speakers as well (I thought). These speakers are pretty awesome after spending three weeks with them. It's the best set of speakers I've ever owned. They are a lot more lively in the higher frequencies than I remember KEF being. But acoustic guitars and strings still sound accurate without being overly bright.
What has been the biggest difference for me is in how revealing and controlled they are. It's hard for me to judge how loud they are playing. I can go from 72db to 77db on my Marantz and everything is so clear just at a higher volume. It's not like anything I've experienced before with my own speakers. There is no level of volume that makes you think the speakers are being pushed to their limits. (I dare not push them too far being this new). They just stay composed and play at a higher volume level.
The other thing for me that has been surprising with two channel music is they have such a great separation in the soundstage. It's more revealing of left and right channels than my DefTech satellites were. I had always read that towers wouldn't be able to create the type of soundstage satellite speakers are capable of reproducing. The KEFs also were so revealing. I could tell after a couple of days of listening to vinyl that the higher frequencies were too harsh. I was really worried the KEF neutrality I was looking for wasn't in these speakers. It turned out the speakers were just revealing to me that my phono preamp needed to have it's settings lowered when loading my MC cartridge. I made a few tweaks to my phono preamp and another world opened up.
I couldn't tell that on my former system even though the Parasound Halo amp was already in that setup chain.
For movies, they are great speakers as well. I just do so much critical two-channel listening on vinyl that I'm not quite as good at evaluating movie sound through the speakers. The R600c is a great match with the R700s. Just a seamless soundfield up front.
Again with movies, I am still re-teaching myself to judge volume levels too. You hear everything so well that you have to say to yourself, 'I'd like it to have a little more volume.'
I presume this is the biggest difference between the Q and the R series. I've read a lot about the Q series really opening up at higher volume levels. From my listening to movies and vinyl so far, the Rs are very good at producing a nice, clean, clear soundstage at medium listening levels.
I'm just really enjoying these speakers. I still have plenty to do to finish off the system with cables, interconnects and getting some people in to do some in-wall installation for the surrounds and projector chords, install new outlets, etc., but I couldn't be happier with holding out for the R series.
I'm a little bit of an analog freak and I do love movies. But I've really been blown away with the R700s for two-channel music. Just get some help carrying those speakers if you pick them up from your dealer. Those boxes are massive!
The wood finishes are beautiful. But if you are buying for just two-channel listening you should definitely go for the gloss black or white finishes. They are really pretty pieces of furniture with the grills off either way.