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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I’m about to take delivery of the KEF E305 package. There doesn’t seem to be thread for this so decided to start one. The E305 is targeted for small rooms or life style homes. In these listening rooms, large floor standers and/or book shelves speakers on stands are not practical nor wont pass the Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF). The E301 satellites have the coincident tweeter + mid bass driver arrangement. KEF calls this the Uni-Q array. Interestingly the high end of KEF's reference series range of speakers consisting of the Blade and LS50 incorporate the same technology. This flow down from the high end speakers to more affordable range was a factor in the purchase decision of the E305/E301.

KEF's website for details of the E305 are found here: http://www.kef.com/html/hk_en/showroom/home_theatre_speakers/ESeries/overview/

Available colours are: black or white

Current purchasing options are: E305 package or a pair of E301 satellites

The KEF E305 package consists of:
  • four (4) numbers of model E301 satellites for left front + right front + left surround + right surround speakers;
  • one (1) number of model E301c for the centre speaker; and
  • one (1) number of model E2 sub
Pictures from the internet on what the speakers + sub look like:




Here are the specifications for E301 satellites:
Design: Two-way bass reflex
Drive units: Uni-Q driver array
High Frequency driver: 19mm (0.75in.) vented aluminium dome with the new tangerine wave guide tweeter.
Mid Frequency driver: 115mm (4.25in.) aluminium
Frequency range: (-6dB) 80Hz – 45kHz
Frequency response: (±3dB) 90Hz - 33kHz
Crossover frequency: 2.7kHz
Amplifier requirements: 10 - 100W
Sensitivity: (2.83V/ 1m) 86dB
Harmonic distortion:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Each individual E301 speaker has a custom designed base “foot”. This foot allows for:
  • horizontal mounting on a flat surface (easy one to figure out from the pictures); or
  • vertical mounting on the wall.


There is a slender neck where the speaker and base foot meet, at the connection point is a ball joint. One can rotate up the base 90 deg to mount the E301 onto the wall. A little bit hard to see this, but a picture paints a thousand words.



The same ball joint enables a little bit tilting/angling of the speaker. This could be useful when the speaker isn’t placed at an ideal height and one wants to direct the sound (i.e. toe-in) to the listening position. I’d say the range of movement is about +/- 15 deg. An allen key is provided that tighten up the ball joint if one wishes.


Underneath the base of the speaker lies the speaker wire connections. These only accept bare wires via the push in type connector, so banana plugs will not work here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Room layout and other considerations.

Staying in a small apartment means that space is a premium. There's not going to be a dedicated room for listening or watching movies - it's going to be a shared living space with the better half. That includes furniture, decorations, lounge, etc. with the TV and sound system. Placing large 3-way floor standing speakers or even 2-way bookshelves on stands is not practical. The Main Listening Position (MLP) and minor listening positions (minlp) are NOT going to be ideal. An easy and compromised option was to go with a speaker bar + sub combination - just beneath the TV. But that meant a limited stereo separation, a weak sound field, limited features such as HDMI switching and sound decoding. The technology and features of sound bars haven't caught up with the receiver and speaker set-up. The answer for me was a modern receiver combined with sat+sub combinations in the living room environment.

An interesting read on sat + sub combination is known as the Schroeder Frequency present in every room. The 3-part article is by Brent Butterworth from a well known hi-fi mag called Sound&Vision: http://www.soundandvision.com/content/schroeder-frequency-show-and-tell-part-1

The idea of having satellites placed at the right positions to give the sound stage based on mid to high frequencies and placing the sub a the right position to handle the room modes made a lot of sense. The physics of sound re-production makes the sat+sub combination a neat solution. The audiophile cynic may think this a neat justification to avoid paying $$$,$$$ for large floor standers, instead - you should trust your ears. You know what, the audiophile is is right about avoiding high costs, but I'm a bit skeptical about trusting just my ears.

Attached is the room layout and where the KEF E301 satellites are currently placed, the MLP and placement for the sub. Picture shows the various room modes and the approximate low frequency response using a single sub up to 200Hz. I'll be carrying out some REW measurements and posting them for all to see and comment.



Photo of listening room to give an idea of the limited placement options regarding the front sound stage. See further post on bracket mounting arrangement.


Layout sketch of the room. Dimensions in milimeters.



Notes: 1st edit on 6-Mar-2014 to discuss room layout.
2nd edit on 18-Mar-2014 includes listening room picture.
3rd edit on 28-Apr-2014 to show room layout.
4th edit on 17-Jun-2014 to correct some typos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A different sub set-up.


Currently the old sub is from a HTiB - not great. Its passive, made with cheap parts and with a tape measure the driver is about 8". Frequency range is 45Hz to 300Hz. It's a one note boom box as shown in the frequency response curve below.





The waterfall is truly terrible:


Further confirmed by the spectrogram:


The significant boominess between 50Hz to 120HZ is very audible as well as the peaks, nulls and ringing. I'm trying various placement options to see if any improvements can be made for the low frequencies - but don't hold much hope. A better sub is what's needed.



As stated in the 1st post, I didn't take delivery of the KEF E2 sub and have gone down a different road of trying to get a better sub. Well after much homework, the decision had been made to go with direct servo units offered by Rythmik Audio here: http://www.rythmikaudio.com/products.html


I've placed an order for the F12G - one of Rythmik's smallest offerings due to space constraints within the listening room - see previous photo. The GR research driver using the paper cone is the interesting part. This is the most expensive item in the audio equipment list. The justified logic is that getting the bass right is the foundation of good sound reproduction. Once received and set-up properly - will post some pictures and notes.


Edit: 22-Mar-2014 explaining current sub set-up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
5th post reserved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've got these now mounted on brackets for front left, front right, surround left and surround right. Below is a picture of the left speaker set-up with bracket. The bracket allows for greater movement to allow angling down and toe-into the Main Listening Position (MLP).



Hooked up with the Marantz NR-1504 and ran the Audyssey room correction. In the 5.0 set-up, the sound is much better compared to the previous LG HTiB speakers (model number FE-3500TE). Once the HTiB sub was engaged, there was bass - but it's very one note type, i.e. goes boom, boom, boom.


Will enjoy the listening to these E301's for a while now. Have been thinking and pondering about a new sub.


In a month's time, will post room measurement frequency response of the E301. Please note that this is specific to my room and listening position. It is unique and unlikely to be the same with anyone else.


If anyone has questions related to the KEF301, I'll answer as best as I can.


Edit: 17-Mar-2104. Included picture of left speaker + bracket
 

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Looking forward to this.  I got my set in the 5.1 + 2 free sale that Kef were doing at Christmas.

I'm currently only running 3.1 from a Sony STR-DA1800-ES with monoprice in wall (but not actually in wall) 14/2 cable.

They have certainly run in nicely and the speech on True Detective was good and clear.

The 7.1 will go into my renovated living room which is currently a to be started work in progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi SMHarman,


Looks like you and I are the only ones who've got the KEF E301 satellites.


I didn't take the E2 sub and have decided to grab something else. As you've got the complete package, would like to have your set-up arrangement and thoughts on the E305 package. What did you have before the E305? Hopefully it's a step-up on sound quality and an improvement in the listening experience. From the HTiB to the KEF eggs, I can honestly say that there has been a noticeable improvement in sound quality. I'm now re-listening the music collection and enjoying the tunes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveting99  /t/1520904/kef-e305-e301-satellite-sub-speaker-package-thread#post_24497230


Hi SMHarman,


Looks like you and I are the only ones who've got the KEF E301 satellites.


I didn't take the E2 sub and have decided to grab something else. As you've got the complete package, would like to have your set-up arrangement and thoughts on the E305 package. What did you have before the E305? Hopefully it's a step-up on sound quality and an improvement in the listening experience. From the HTiB to the KEF eggs, I can honestly say that there has been a noticeable improvement in sound quality. I'm now re-listening the music collection and enjoying the tunes.
My TV did have an older Stereo Amp (which had IR volume control) and Bose Acoustimass 5

http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/speakers/stereo_speakers/acoustimass_5/index.jsp

not my choice but a compromise to a compromise.  Better than the TV speakers anyway.

 

Then the amp got upgraded to a Sony STR 1800 ES to better control / switch the sources etc (got it for a steal,
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
^

SMHarmon,


I'm hoping that you can fill in some details of the E2 sub. I've reserved post 5 for this and for people who want to know more about the standard sub that KEF packages with the E301, it would be useful. If you can carry out some REW measurements on the frequency response of the E2, it would be welcome. Whilst this is particular to your room and set-up, a disclaimer can be made up front. When reading posts from another forum (with a similar sounding acronym as AVS) owners are very happy with the integration of the E2 with the E301. This is similar to your experience.


The reason I didn't take the E2 sub was because I wanted something better and found it in the Rythmik servo sub. I'm patiently waiting for the F12G to arrive and will post measurement results as well as impressions. Most likely, the integration will be a challenge, but willing to take it head on with an intent to succeed. REW is going to be my friend here.
 

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^ What do I need to do REW measurements on the frequency resopnse?

 

Gimme a step by step (or a link to one) and what tech I need and I will try to oblige.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^ SMHarmon,


Jerry Austin the in the simplified REW + USB thread has laid out a step-by-step guide for carrying out REW measurements. It's here in post 275: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1449924/simplified-rew-setup-and-use-usb-mic-hdmi-connection-including-measurement-techniques-and-how-to-interpret-graphs/270#post_22823228


There's some basic gear you'll need and it's assumed that some of these you already have. These include:

(1) a laptop/notebook/PC with Windows 7/8.1 and a HDMI port;

(2) a HDMI cable;

(3) Radio Shack SPL meter (optional but highly recommended with a cost about $40); and

(4) Internet connection so that you can download REW from Home Theater Shack (free registration) and ASIO4All driver from the web.


The only purchase is a USB mic + mic boom stand. The general recommendation is to get one from Cross Spectrum Labs. They've got several options and cost is about $100. The mic boom stand is about $20.


It took some time to get familiar with the settings and there was an initial learning curve. I can assist in answering some basic questions if you need help. The more difficult questions would have to be posted at the forum.


Once familiar with the set-up, I'm up and running in about 30 minutes to carry out a measurement.
 

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steveting99,


If I vertical mount the 301. What is the total distance from the wall to the front of the speaker? I want to know how much it sticks out. This is using the included mount.



Tractng
 

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I bought a pair of eggs in black to match with the Kef LS50 and returned the Minx. It makes more sense go with same vendor. Thanks steveting99.
 

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It sticks out 6.5in

TWSS
Quote:
Originally Posted by tractng  /t/1520904/kef-e305-e301-satellite-sub-speaker-package-thread#post_24592023


steveting99,


If I vertical mount the 301. What is the total distance from the wall to the front of the speaker? I want to know how much it sticks out. This is using the included mount.



Tractng
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHarman  /t/1520904/kef-e305-e301-satellite-sub-speaker-package-thread#post_24595992


It sticks out 6.5in

TWSS

Thank you. I bought a pair for the rears to go with the front LS50
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
tractng/SMHarman,


I'm glad to see that SMHarman helped answer your question. If you want confirmation from me, I'll need to get out the measuring tape and climb up to the E301 near the ceiling, a bit inconvenient. Let me know.


As I'm waiting for Brian at Rythmik to make the F12G, I've been playing around with the old sub and attempting very badly to integrate with the E301. At times it was frustrating as the integration is a lot harder than I thought. The version of Audyssey used in the current AVR (Marantz NR-1504) is called MultiEQ and its a low end room correction. I knew that when first purchasing the AVR. The right version of Audyssey to get is XT32 with subHT EQ.


I've had to redo Audyssey a number of times as the mic placement is important and the room is far from ideal. I'm currently awaiting parts from Amazon that will allow me to look more closely into the crossover region as well as the low frequencies (15Hz to 300Hz) response using REW + USB mic. My intention is to smooth out the lows as far as possible to help MultiEQ to it's job properly.


Part of the discovery work has led me to purchasing the MiniDSP (unbalanced 2x4) to deal with the bass issues and the old sub. The strategy is to put the MiniDSP into in the LFE output chain before the sub. With no Audyssey correction, I will then carry out a low frequency sweep to see where the peaks are using REW. Within REW is the ability to implement target curves with PEQ correction filters. I intend to have just cuts of the peak to help Audyssey MultiEQ work itself out in regards to the boom-boom of the bass. After which, go back and check the frequency response with REW and Audyssey enabled. Will let you know how things go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I managed to carry out REW in room measurements for the KEF E301 satellite speakers. The room dimensions, Main Listening Position (MLP), left, right speaker placement and sub placement is shown in post #3. There's a picture of the room layout also shown. The MLP is the center of the couch.


Initial room equalization was carried out with Audyssey MultiEQ that was available on the Marantz NR-1504 AVR.

The six point pattern were carried out as follows.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
  • 1st point at MLP;
  • 2nd point 3 inches forward of MLP;
  • 3rd point 3 inches left from MLP;
  • 4th point 3 inches right from MLP;
  • 5th point 6 inches left of MLP;and
  • 6th point 6 inches right of MLP.
The close mic positioning is meant to give a better response.


Based on the mic positions , the NR-1504 then gave the following results for the 5.1 sat + sub combination.

Delays
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Distances in feet:

Front Left = 9.3

Front Right = 10.4

Center = 7.9

Sub = 6.5

Surround Left = 7.6

Surround Right = 9


Note that the above includes the MiniDSP in the sub signal chain. The MiniDSP added an additional 1.2' of delay and reduced the output by approximately -8.5dB.

Trims
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Levels in dB:

Front Left = -3.5

Front Right = -3.5

Center = -3

Sub = +4.5

Surround Left = -4.5

Surround Right = -4


Crossover
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show) Crossover setting in Hz:

Front Left + Right = 60

Center = 90

Surround Left + Right = 60


The measurements have Audyssey Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Vol disabled. I then disabled Audyssey to get an initial set of frequency sweeps (15Hz to 20kHz) for the front sound stage that includes the left, center and right speakers. Results are shown in the graph below. The graph has been revised (10-Jun-2014) as the initial measurements had the speakers set to small which means the crossover point came into the measurements. The procedures for taking the measurements followed the guide written by Jerry Austin (et. al.) in the simplified REW + USB guide. The Main Volume (MV) on the NR-1504 was set at -15dB which gave about 80dB according REW. 15Hz to 20,000Hz frequency sweep, no Audyssey. 1/6 smoothing applied. Sweep length set to 1M (longest duration). The noise floor as measured by REW is just under 70dB.





As can be seen, the results are less than satisfactory with significant peaks and nulls.


I then turned on Audyssey to carry the same frequency sweep to see if there is any improvement.

Audyssey On. No Dynamic EQ/Vol. 15Hz to 20,000Hz frequency sweep. 1/6 smoothing applied.




The peaks have been smoothed out with a gentle roll off at the high frequencies (>7kHz). Most impressive is how close the channels are now for frequencies above 300Hz.


What the results show is that Audyssey did make a difference and what I'm hearing in room with Audyssey engaged isn't something that been imagined...
This improvement in sound quality isn't subtle. So engaging Audyssey seems to be the way to go.


The problem of course is with the frequencies below 300Hz. That story is going to take another post to tell.


Edit on 17-Apr-2014: Revised mic positions and Audyssey results

Edit on 10-Jun-2014. Graphs revised to include calibration file for mic and speakers set to large to ensure no affect due to crossover setting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I thought there was a way to turn the bad sounding HTiB boom-boom box sub into something more respectable. This included placement, the use of a MiniDSP with PEQ filters and Audyssey room EQ. Here are the results of several experiments/attempts to improve the sound quality of the boom-boom box.


Baseline REW measurement were taken with the sub in various positions to give the best low frequency response. The optimum location was found at 6'9"from the back wall and the the left of the Main Listening Position (MLP). The physical distance to the MLP is 3'2" and Audyssey came up with 5'5" taking into account the group delay.



Well, thinking the graph looked pretty ugly - was there a way to fix it up and improve sound quality? MiniDSP to the rescue! Neutro wrote up an excellent tutorial here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1488457/tutorial-dual-sub-integration-using-the-minidsp and thinking that it's easy to set-up, placed an order and hooked up into the audio chain as follows:


Marantz LFE output (RCA) ---> MiniDSP (2x4 unbalanced version) ---> boom-boom box amp (RCA input)


The MiniDSP has a maximum input voltage of 2Vrms and an output of 0.9Vrms. I checked with JDsmoothie in the NR-1604 thread about the maximum output of the NR-1504 and confirmed it's less than what the MiniDSP can take and thus not clip the input. The output into the boom-boom box was a bit of an unknown so the only way to was to increase the gain to maximum. With everything set-up in the signal chain, frequency sweeps between 15Hz to 300Hz were carried out in the following scenarios.


(1) MiniDSP in bypass mode (this was to simulate no PEQ filters). This is shown as the brown curve below;

(2) MiniDSP PEQ engaged. This is shown as the blue curve below; and

(3) MiniDSP PEQ + Audyssey. This is shown as the purple curve below.



There was an improvement in the frequency response graphs when the MiniDSP was put into the audio chain. Some of the peaks were cut and interestingly a few dips were lifted even though no boost were applied via the PEQ - only cuts. The blue curve is essentially what Audyssey sees as the "before" it makes correction filters to flatten things out further.


The purple curve is the post Audyssey in-room correction - it looks even better. A little bit more smoother than what the MiniDSP did alone.


When splicing the KEF E301c central channel satellite speaker with the boom-boom box, the overall response is shown below. Notice the hump in the lower bass frequencies.



What's apparent is that starting out with a bad sub, it's more than difficult to improve sound quality. Will have a listen to this arrangement for a while and report back.
 
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