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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I currently have a pair of KEF Q35s for my living room stereo setup. I got them when I had a small house and small listening room, but they are now in a large open area with cathedral ceiling.  This is strictly for music, a variety of styles, but I am wondering if there are better options for decent stereo listening in the sub $1000 range or were these KEFs pretty decent?.  I also have an older Denon receiver and CD player and am considering upgrading these to the Marantz PM6005 and CD6005.

Thanks
 

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KEF is and has been a well-respected brand of speaker.  However, you can probably do a little better with new speakers for $1000.  Much less, and it will be less of an upgrade.  If you are wanting to keep it under $500, I would just keep the KEF speakers, and would likely just keep them if you were only wanting to go a little higher.

 

First, though, you should try the KEF speakers in your new room, and see how you like them, since you already have them.  If you are dissatisfied, what is it about them that dissatisfies you?  That will have a lot to do with what sort of advice you will get for replacements.

 

Unfortunately, speakers tend to be a more personal choice than most gear, because none of them are perfect, and different virtues are important to different people, and different vices are acceptable to different people.  If you are dissatisfied with the KEF speakers, think carefully about what it is that you don't like about them.  Also, go to all of the local audio shops and listen to all of the speakers they have in your price range, with music with which you are familiar, of all of the types of music to which you normally listen.  If you are in the U.S. (or another location where this would be legal), it is a good idea to make a CDR for this purpose.

 

Additionally, if you want an actual improvement in sound, it would probably be better to put the money you were thinking of putting into the new Marantz electronics all into your new speakers, if your old Denon gear still works properly.  Speakers matter far, far more than the electronics for how your system will sound, once one has competently made electronics.  And not buying the Marantz electronics will likely double your budget for speakers, which will significantly increase the possible choices of speakers.
 

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How large is the listening area? The Q35s are decent speakers. Perhaps you could get two subwoofers instead along with an AVR or 2-channel setup that is bass management capable (even though you specified 2.0).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Thanks for the replies.  I can't say that the KEFs are disappointing, although I feel there could be more clarity in the mids and highs.  They are not bass heavy but acceptable.  I also realise that source material can be part of the issue, and I am mostly listening to downloaded mp3 music so not as good as high quality CDs. I just notice more detail when I listen to the same source through my headphones (Koss Portapros).  There is also the problem that I sit at one end of the room near one speaker so I cannot really get the best from what I have.  From above the foyer I get more of the full effect but it still loses some clarity in my opinion.

 

If I really need to make a bigger leap to get to the next level of quality, and upgrading receiver and CD player will not provide much improvement, then I will do more research and perhaps look at the used market. I haven't shopped for audio equipment in 15 years and just thought what I have is decent. I did the favourite CDs in the sound room approach when I got these and its good to know I did OK.

 

Thanks
 

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Upgrading CD player and receiver will do little, or nothing, for the sound.

 

As for the headphones, often one can hear more detail, as one tends to hear less other noise in the room with headphones.  That can make a big difference by itself.  Plus, good headphones are very cheap by speaker price standards.  Also, if they exaggerate some frequencies, then you will be apt to hear the details in those frequencies more than in speakers that do not exaggerate those frequencies, so there could be a problem that causes you to hear detail you may not have noticed before.

 

As for seating in your room near one speaker, that will probably not be improved by changing speakers (though it is possible, because different speakers have different dispersion patterns, but do not pin your hopes to this).  The way to fix that is to change the seating area or the speaker positioning.  This, too, affects the details you hear versus what you would hear with the headphones, because you will miss subtle details of the more remote speaker if one is not optimally positioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Thanks for clarifying some points.  I cannot rearrange the seating or speaker placement unfortunately as it is the main living room dining area and my listening pleasure is not the primary factor.  I have concluded that replacing the receiver and cd player is not going to make much difference so I think I will continue to enjoy those until they break.  I just listened to some Moody Blues Question of Balance and Laura Marling with the volume up a bit more than usual (wife and kids) and I hear more of what the system has to offer.  Maybe down the road I will look at really good speakers and upgrading the components, but it appears a little tinkering will be spending money for the sake of spending money.

 

Thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Well, I thought I was settled but no.  I moved my speakers so they are at the far end of the room, about 25' from the listening area.  The overall effect is much improved of course, but I wonder if the Q35's are just too small to fill this big area.  I was looking at various options and I like the idea of getting larger towers.  I have limited options as to availability in my area and shipping to Canada, but the KEF Q900's I could get quite easily.  I also like the look of the Wharfedale Diamond 10.7's but I don't know where I could get them.  Would this kind of upgrade in speakers be better for the room (open on one side, sloping ceiling up to second floor) or am I off base?  

Thanks 
 
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