Originally Posted by echopraxia
Posted my results here (KEF R3 vs Ascend Sierra 2-EX blind listening comparison):
Anyone interested in the KEF R3 and its competitors, or the Ascend Sierra 2-EX and its competitors, should find this data valuable, I hope.
Interesting indeed ... but remind me on the situation when i bought Dyns special 40. Yes, better resolution, better separation, better soundstage, faster bass but now i am selling them and listening to KEF R3 even they are half of the price of the Dyns. I enjoyed them more than a year but at the end they are too smooth and overwhelming with information in the top end and especially when you listen them on moderate levels that is just too much - there are very very fine and impressive sounds coming from these speakers but somehow i couldn't get the music as whole. If you turn the volume up things changes to some degree, but in my case i listen 95% on pretty low levels. And in general like i said, they are just too smooth - i found i was missing the aggression in many cases. Its not harshness what i am talking ... its the attack of the notes.
The problem in such choices is that actually when i bought them i was impressed exactly from those smoothness and silky sound. Unfortunately its unrealistic.
The KEF on the other hand deliver music as whole without trying to get every fine detail and this on any volume level.
Found very interesting to read this impression "The violins sound sharper, stronger, harsher. On the other speaker they were smoother but I don't think they're supposed to sound like that." here ... i auditioned some speakers in the 2-5K € Range and KEF represent string and brass instruments best. You really have this feeling of something scratching on a string or get realistic volume of a trumpet sound. On the Special 40 they sounded unrealistic smooth and thin.
Some here price the good bass response of the KEFs. Hmm ... not so sure about this. Yes, there is a good extension on the bottom end, but is not especially fast and detailed. This mean - actually in normal listening you wouldn't miss something there. Bass is enough to deliver the expiriance of the music as whole. But if you know what to look for in drums you will miss some of that information in R3s.
About harshness or so ... Sometimes this has to do something with the amp. In my case is a Hegel amp and Hegel and KEF have partnership, and hegel amps are voiced with KEF speakers. Hegel is pretty neutral i think.
Next - metaldome tweeters are not like softdome. They sound just different. And ribbons also ...
And i also use DSP and must say that in terms harshness there is in my opinion misinterpretation of the frequency response curves here in this tread. Those curves dont tell you much about that. I can tune the curve with the DSP how i like it ... get it perfectly flat if i want. Still, the KEFs sound more aggressive then the Dyns even the Dyns have more presentation and detail on the top end. But like i said - for me this is a good thing and i wouldn't call it harshness. Its more about the dynamic of the notes in the top end.
Ok, at the end i am not saying R3 are perfect
... and actually i am still in the searching of something better in terms of resolution (a little bit more at least), and better bass in terms of speed. Next is to audition the elac adantes. From the reviews it seems they are a step in this direction although bass is again not so well treated ... but is interesting if is better than the R3. If they got the resolution of the Dyns without the overwhelming effect and the bass is at least a little bit better could be my next speaker.
It is very interesting how different the crossovers of the R3 and adante are. 400Hz, 2.9kHz on kef vs 200Hz / 2,000 Hz on elac. So on elac you almost cant locate the bass as a separate driver and fast the whole vocal spectrum is on one driver. Theoretically a good thing. The KEFs have actually some kind of problem with fmale vocals. Cant say what exactly is it, but they just don't sound so realistic, that trick you to imagine the singer in front of you. Or at least my brain want