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It's been about 6 weeks with the new Reference 1's, so I thought to share my experiences to date.

The speakers came to me as a special deal on KEF B-Stock that my dealer took advantage of, bringing in about 4 pairs of 1's, a pair of 3's and two pairs of 5's. Of the 1's, they had 3 pair of the original Piano Black and one pair of walnut. He said he got the walnut "for a little less than the black" so offered me a deal I couldn't refuse. I had sold my entire set of R500, R200c, R100 & R50 from my living room system that just wasn't being used. I picked up a (passive) KEF HTF8003 used for $201, bought a pair of T101's to use as surrounds, and kept my AVR.

The room I was using to listen to my original LS50's would be where I put the Reference 1's for now, so I sold those too. When I picked up the Reference 1's the shop owner grabbed one box and I the other, and threw them in my car. When I got home, that's when I realized I had gotten B-stock of the NEW walnut finish! These are only a tiny bit different than the original Reference 1, in that the front baffle is now a single piece instead of having a trim ring for the woofer, and the contrasting white layer of damping polymer behind it is now black.

I've put them atop old Atlantic Technologies 20" stands ($20), but heavily modified by me making an intermediate plate of 1/4" aluminum to bolt down the top plate of the stand and bolt up to the bottom of the Reference 1's. I put another 1" thick x 2" wide bar bolted to the bottom rail to extend lateral stability, and 1" x 2" x 3" blocks on the back legs to level them. It's now the same height as the bespoke KEF stands, and will hold them fine until I can get a bargain on the OE ones.

The speakers are "underfed" for now, with an Emotiva USP-1 preamp ($200), and into that a Kenwood KD4100 direct drive turntable ($73) with used Audio Technica Lab Series LS500 microline cartridge ($105) using the internal phono amp of the USP-1. For streaming, analog out from my Bluesound Vault 2. The preamp feeds a reconditioned Carver M-1.5t power amp ($100), and on out to the Reference 1's.

The room is old and in need of refurbishing. It serves as our guest bedroom, so there's an oak set in there. I have to sit back up on the bed to listen, propped-up by a mound of pillows. The floor is thick cut pile carpeting with a thick pad underneath and a Berber wool carpet on top. The walls are plaster with wallpaper and a few hangings. Being on the 3rd floor near the roof, two walls (behind the speakers and behind me) have angles for about 18" (1/2m) from the textured plaster ceiling. There is thick insulation behind every wall and the ceiling. Ambient noise levels are almost non-existent, under 18dB.

The acoustics and the amp were really good with the LS50's. It is UNREAL with the Reference 1's. I have lost none of the fine detail, but gained a truly rich midrange and coherent, deep and tight bass. The subwoofer remains unplugged, though with maybe 2% of the recordings I listen to, I could benefit from it. The biggest thing is the imaging. As good as LS50's (and I tried my LS50 Meta in there too) might be, these Reference 1's create an incredible soundstage with such depth and breadth that I'm stunned. Better than any of the 3 rooms I've heard these speakers in at my dealer, by far.

When this 13' x 15' room gets turned into my dedicated listening room, acoustics may change but I'll be free to do whatever is needed to get it as good or better than it is now with the furniture in it. The future will bring a better pre-amp and amp or perhaps a killer integrated. I'm looking at Luxman and Gato Audio. Others may be considered, but that's at least 9 months away.

One courtesy photo, for now.
3119777
 

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Nice that you're enjoying them, KenM10759. I bet you're keen to get them set up to their full potential.
 
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One thing I’ll add is cabinet resonance, completely gone from the R2c. It was very much present in the Q600.
What does cabinet resonance sound like? Would it only be noticeable at high volumes?
 

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Right all, I'm ordering today so need a bit of help making final decisions:

Currently running 7.2.2 using Kef R500 / R200C / 3001SE's / R50 front Atmos / 2x SVS SB2000 Pro.

Moving to a 7.2.4 setup using in ceilings, the room is 5m x 5m x 2.8m.

Going for either the CI160QR or CI200RR-THX... head says 160QR, heart says 200RR, though i'm also mindful that both of these are 7yrs or so old, so potentially could be updated soon which makes the cost of the 200RR a bit of a risk I would have thought?

Kef have suggested that the 160QR's are fine for the room and that the 200RR's are perhaps overkill, though I see many on here buying the 200RR's for smaller rooms and nobody seems to blink an eye at that. Also mindful that the 160QR's are technically Q series speakers vs the R series of the 200RR's... though again saying that, the 200RR driver is in fact the Q950 driver so not exactly R series! The R50's are using the R100 5.25" driver, so seem a middle ground between the 160QR and the 200RR (i.e. they have a 1" tweeter and Z-Flex surround but a smaller LF cone)... so am I effectively going backwards in spec with the 160QR's?

I'm tempted to also swap out the 3001SE's for R100's / Q150's but having done a blind comparison to my ears in a bass managed setup they don't actually seem much different at all... so not sure it is worth sacrificing the compact / unassuming size of the eggs for a fairly large bookshelf and comparatively ugly wall bracket.

Are the R100's particularly better than the Q150's? Obviously with the R's being discontinued it is difficult to find these at a favourable price to the Q150's and so it might be easier / cheaper to just get Q150's, though I can hold out and keep searching if the R's are noticeably better / more suited to my existing R500's / R200C.

Thanks all
 

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Right all, I'm ordering today so need a bit of help making final decisions:

Currently running 7.2.2 using Kef R500 / R200C / 3001SE's / R50 front Atmos / 2x SVS SB2000 Pro.

Moving to a 7.2.4 setup using in ceilings, the room is 5m x 5m x 2.8m.

Going for either the CI160QR or CI200RR-THX... head says 160QR, heart says 200RR, though i'm also mindful that both of these are 7yrs or so old, so potentially could be updated soon which makes the cost of the 200RR a bit of a risk I would have thought?

Kef have suggested that the 160QR's are fine for the room and that the 200RR's are perhaps overkill, though I see many on here buying the 200RR's for smaller rooms and nobody seems to blink an eye at that. Also mindful that the 160QR's are technically Q series speakers vs the R series of the 200RR's... though again saying that, the 200RR driver is in fact the Q950 driver so not exactly R series! The R50's are using the R100 5.25" driver, so seem a middle ground between the 160QR and the 200RR (i.e. they have a 1" tweeter and Z-Flex surround but a smaller LF cone)... so am I effectively going backwards in spec with the 160QR's?

I'm tempted to also swap out the 3001SE's for R100's / Q150's but having done a blind comparison to my ears in a bass managed setup they don't actually seem much different at all... so not sure it is worth sacrificing the compact / unassuming size of the eggs for a fairly large bookshelf and comparatively ugly wall bracket.

Are the R100's particularly better than the Q150's? Obviously with the R's being discontinued it is difficult to find these at a favourable price to the Q150's and so it might be easier / cheaper to just get Q150's, though I can hold out and keep searching if the R's are noticeably better / more suited to my existing R500's / R200C.

Thanks all
The driver in the Ci200RR-THX is actually a variation of the Uni-Q driver in the older Q900, not the Q950. I got that straight from David Kroll, KEF's VP for installed systems.

Get the Ci160RR and have the best of both worlds.
 

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The driver in the Ci200RR-THX is actually a variation of the Uni-Q driver in the older Q900, not the Q950. I got that straight from David Kroll, KEF's VP for installed systems.

Get the Ci160RR and have the best of both worlds.
I'd written the 160RR's off as the specifications are seemingly woeful in comparison to the other speakers (though I wonder if they're measured differently)? i.e. Freq response of 52Hz - 24kHz is far worse than both the 160QR and 200RR. Also max SPL is the same as the 160QR so no benefit in output?

Not to mention that they are virtually the same price as the 200RR...
 

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How much bass frequencies are sent through the Atmos channels? I would think dispersion is better than outright SQ for these channels.

I have Ci100QR in one room and they disperse better than the Paradigm 6.5" basic ceiling speakers I have in another room. I got a deal for Ci160ER and will be using that in my third room. Still a few more weeks away to report how they perform.
 

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Are the R100's particularly better than the Q150's? Obviously with the R's being discontinued it is difficult to find these at a favourable price to the Q150's and so it might be easier / cheaper to just get Q150's, though I can hold out and keep searching if the R's are noticeably better / more suited to my existing R500's / R200C.

Thanks all
The biggest difference is the finish and that the R100 will match perfectly, the Q150 is a cheaper cabinet and doesn't have the piano black finish. Sound quality wise the Q150 are probably about equal to the R100, I used them as surrounds for the R3 and they match very well.
 

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Hey Q650C owners! I'm looking for a new media console to house this behemoth of a speaker and I'm having trouble finding any that will fit. Unfortunately only some listings actually state the dimensions of the shelves and I really don't want to play the guessing game. Wall mounting is not an option but if it comes down to it I guess I could get a TV riser but I would prefer not to lift the TV any higher
 

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Hey Q650C owners! I'm looking for a new media console to house this behemoth of a speaker and I'm having trouble finding any that will fit. Unfortunately only some listings actually state the dimensions of the shelves and I really don't want to play the guessing game. Wall mounting is not an option but if it comes down to it I guess I could get a TV riser but I would prefer not to lift the TV any higher
 

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I'd written the 160RR's off as the specifications are seemingly woeful in comparison to the other speakers (though I wonder if they're measured differently)? i.e. Freq response of 52Hz - 24kHz is far worse than both the 160QR and 200RR. Also max SPL is the same as the 160QR so no benefit in output?

Not to mention that they are virtually the same price as the 200RR...
They have indeed changed how they measure the speakers. Almost all of the Q series and R series showed higher values for the bottom end of frequency response from 2017 on. They didn't remeasure existing models even though the numbers would change if they did.
 

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I have the T series and Q50A’s for height surrounds. Today I decided to unhook all speakers and listen to the height speakers by itself.

All I can say is how disappointed I am with the T101/T301C and how great the Q50A is. Granted, it’s just for heights in my setup but I wouldn’t want the T series just as my surround setup. They sound flat and one-dimensional compared to the Q50A. Uni-Q magic?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Not really, she still talks over the dialog... :p

I'm hesitant to gush too much because I'm not really a fan of nebulous flowery audiophile-talk, but I am happy with the purchase, so I will...

My impression, after running Audyssey, is that the sound of the r2c is more refined, less ?harsh? I'm hesitant to say harsh because I found the Q600 more "detailed" than harsh, but on the verge of harshness. But I think there was a very slight harshness/metallic sound to the treble on the Q600 that I do still hear very slightly on both my Q900s and more on my Q100 surrounds (but they're right next to my ears and maybe turned up a bit too much - but I do enjoy pronounced surround audio). Sometimes I enjoyed that characteristic but not always.

The r2c just sounds smooth - nothing is accentuated and nothing is hidden. Female vocals sound lovely, smooth and clear but not shrill. Dido, Billie Eilish, Sarah Mclachlan - Amazing!

The word, "effortless" springs to my mind, it is the center and expected to be the focus of surround audio, and it performs that task beautifully. Separation between the drums and the rest of the instruments is more clear.

It's quite hard to say for sure exactly how much improvement there was because I don't really trust my auditory memory clouded by the shiny new toy, and also a re-done Audyssey correction thrown into the circle of confusion mix. But it was definitely a step forward.

Heavily distorted music - RATM, Tool, Metallica, Nirvana, Disturbed, etc is less fatiguing - still detailed, but less harsh, more enjoyable. Maybe I've reached the age where I don't want it to be so harsh...

I was surprised by some songs where I had to raise the center channel a bit to make the vocals more prominent that I don't remember being like that before, but I think that could well be an artifact of something that Dolby upmixing is doing. I wish I took down what songs I noticed that with, but I was trying to get as much listening in as I could in the time I had. I should have tried DTS upmixing and seen if that made a positive difference (mostly I like Dolby upmixing for music).

Watching TV shows with my partner, I have found the dialog more intelligible, I've had less desire to adjust the volume and I think less skipping back because we missed something.

I do feel like it has improved low-volume listening at night significantly. Very happy about that.

I haven't watched a movie yet but I fully expect it to be great judging by what I've heard with music (in surround) and TV.

Also I love the look of the r2c. I very much liked the look of the Q600 but it was more industrial, more prominent and physically larger under the TV.

I could have solved some of that by using the grilles but it would have been a crime IMO to cover up the lovely design of the Kef coaxial/waveguide. Anyway the r2c looks great when I look there, but blends in like a ninja otherwise. I love the look and the piano finish matches the OLED.

I'm going to keep an eye out for R3s, R5s or R7s in my area and probably upgrade the mains later on, but I'm not in a massive hurry.

All these differences that I've just described are definitely noticeable, but not night-and-day, let's say a 5% improvement, from 80% of what I think is achievable at any budget in my room and with my ears (which are ok but not ultrasonic audiophile quality), to 85%.

I was pretty happy with the setup before, and I'm very happy with it now.

All Kef R's around, with another sub and minimal treatment, and if I could put a speaker in front of the damn doorway, would probably be 95% on my scale...

I feel like the r2c center was a significant upgrade and I'm quite satisfied for the moment.
Glad you're enjoying it! I would love to hear your impressions and comparison after you watch some movies in surround.
 

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Heya, does anyone have much experience with KEF support? I have a pair of X300A speakers and something strange has been happening to them over the past year - the right speaker is gradually getting quieter and quieter - adjusting everything I can, changing cables, plugging them into another PC, using wired/wireless seems to make no difference. They are 5 years old but have been looked after well, haven't been pushed that much and have sat in the same place the entire time so it's a bit frustrating they are slowly dying.

Anyway, the reason I ask about support is I filled in their support form on their website 3 months ago and heard nothing. 9 days ago I emailed directly to their support email and have heard nothing. That kind of thing puts me off purchasing from them in the future. I am also not sure they even offer a speaker quite like the X300A anymore if I understand correctly? I want active speakers I can plug in to a PC directly to take advantage of the DAC and I think more recent KEF equivalents not longer offer that?
 

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CALL their tech support?

That seems to be the most effective way.
 

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CALL their tech support?

That seems to be the most effective way.
Fair enough but the fact is they offer multiple support channels that they then seemingly ignore. I prefer to have a written transcript wherever possible and space/time to think about what I say to make sure I've covered all bases. Plus, it's 2021, who likes talking on the phone these days?
 

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Fair enough but the fact is they offer multiple support channels that they then seemingly ignore. I prefer to have a written transcript wherever possible and space/time to think about what I say to make sure I've covered all bases. Plus, it's 2021, who likes talking on the phone these days?
Who likes to talk on the phone? Me. I like actual interpersonal communication.

As it turns out, this is reportedly the most effective way of getting action from KEF, and why I suggested it. If you don't wish to talk don't call, stick with old-fashioned e-mails, slightly more-advanced texts, FB messages and the like. Then keep complaining about the lack of response from the other means when you could have got satisfaction by talking to them.
 

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Who likes to talk on the phone? Me. I like actual interpersonal communication.

As it turns out, this is reportedly the most effective way of getting action from KEF, and why I suggested it. If you don't wish to talk don't call, stick with old-fashioned e-mails, slightly more-advanced texts, FB messages and the like. Then keep complaining about the lack of response from the other means when you could have got satisfaction by talking to them.
Thanks so much for your really helpful response, I bet you are a delight at parties!
 

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Heya, does anyone have much experience with KEF support? I have a pair of X300A speakers and something strange has been happening to them over the past year - the right speaker is gradually getting quieter and quieter - adjusting everything I can, changing cables, plugging them into another PC, using wired/wireless seems to make no difference. They are 5 years old but have been looked after well, haven't been pushed that much and have sat in the same place the entire time so it's a bit frustrating they are slowly dying.

Anyway, the reason I ask about support is I filled in their support form on their website 3 months ago and heard nothing. 9 days ago I emailed directly to their support email and have heard nothing. That kind of thing puts me off purchasing from them in the future. I am also not sure they even offer a speaker quite like the X300A anymore if I understand correctly? I want active speakers I can plug in to a PC directly to take advantage of the DAC and I think more recent KEF equivalents not longer offer that?
I have also had trouble with their main support via email. Try emailing one of their reps directly and you’ll get a faster response . Here are two that I’ve worked with:
[email protected]
[email protected]
 

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Fair enough but the fact is they offer multiple support channels that they then seemingly ignore. I prefer to have a written transcript wherever possible and space/time to think about what I say to make sure I've covered all bases. Plus, it's 2021, who likes talking on the phone these days?
I just noticed you aren’t in the states. Those two are KEF America reps. Maybe you could find kef rep contact info on the UK KEF website or someone else could chime in with a UK Kef rep contact? Anyhow, I noticed on Amazon a lot of people listed problems with these speakers in their reviews. Maybe you could post a question about fixes or repair there. Anyway, hope it works out for you!
 
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