Originally Posted by sealmaniac
Do you have an equipment list anywhere? I was going over this thread after seeing the volt kits and noticed you sold some HTM12's last year.
That left me wondering what your actual setup is using.
Theres something about Mary..
I'm feeling a bit of imposter syndrome, as my theater is really more of a media room. To echo
's sentiment, most of the time I listen at a volume that a soundbar could easily meet. I have come to admit that there is some magic the KEF KHT3005 centers have, that other speakers can't match, at least for the volume I listen at.
Before buying the KEF 3005s, I always though their center speaker was a bit of a gimmick. After all, what benefit could those two tiny ABR units really provide? My plan was to set them aside and use the single cone bass reflex side speakers for all channels. The bass reflex versions didn't sound particularly great. As I played around with configurations I decided to try the center speakers as left and right channels, just for kicks. It was a revelation! They are very musical and give a three dimensional texture to sounds. The best analogy I can think of is car design. There are some cars that look flat and uninteresting in the magazines. It's only when you see them in person that you can see all the interesting curves and details of the body that were not evident in the pictures. That's what the KEF centers do for sound. I would find myself unconciously tapping along to the track music of the most mundane programming.
From experience I knew it would be hard to find another set of speakers that could provide such enjoyment, but I was going to give it a try. The HTM12's came along. They were great, and could really bring the house down when turned up. However that 'je ne sais quoi' of the KEFs was not quite there. Speaker musicallity is a complex subject and preferences are very individual. I believe that most people would find the HTM12s easily superior to the KEFs. While I wanted to keep them anyway, I just don't have the space to store them. The new owner loves them!
Surely in the 14 years since the KEFs came out there should be a number of speakers that could match them. I tried two: Mission QX-2s and Monitor Audio Silver 100s. The monitor audio silvers were musical but suffered from a problem I find common to speakers with metal coned mid\bass drivers - They needed to be turned up to start singing. There was a two month return window from Crutchfield, so they went back. The Mission QX-2s were not as musical, but they had the low level detail and natural atmosphere that the Monitors were lacking.
At this stage I was pretty sure there was little hope of finding an up-to-date version of the KEF experience. There was one last and obvious option - current KEF centers. Superficially they are similar but they are actually very different. I bit the bullet and bought three KEF Q650s. They are the closest I have come to getting the same enjoyment that the 3005s deliver. They are not quite there, but they are the first speakers that have made me content enough not to switch them out. The new KEFs are in many ways superior to the old, but not quite as enjoyable in a couple of crucial areas. What they both have in common is they don't use ports, and have sweet sounding high frequencies. I think there is an emphasis that the old KEF gives some midrange notes that really makes the difference.
The Mission speakers eventually found buyers who recognised them for what they were, and were very happy to take them off my hands, since they are not available locally. I have slight regret selling them because they performed very well as HiFi speakers. However I needed to recoup some money to cover the new KEF purchases.
DIY Sound Group is an excellent resource in our community for theater speakers. Unfortunately, due to the nature of their operation, models frequently go out of stock or are discontinued. That came to bite me when I wanted to order HTM-10s and HTM-6s. I really like what I hear from the Volt 6s, so I bought the additional four to either test as front channels or for a new theater system if I ever move house in the future. In other words I bought them to hoard.
My current system is KEF Q650s for LCR, Volt 6s for surround and Atmos. The left atmos channels of my Marantz SR7012 stopped working. I was banging my head for not registering the receiver for warranty. After some tests I found out that the pre-outs were still functional, so I hooked them up to an old Denon AVR787 that was literally a day away from being donated.
The KEF Kube 12b has been joined by a smaller 10b brother. There is something weird about the low frequency characteristics of the room that I need to get to the bottom of (no pun intended). The second sub will hopefully be able to help fix it. Now that all the hardware and room treatment is in place, It is time to get serious with room analysis and tuning.