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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So some of you know that I tried the R3 last year and didn't really like them but since then ASR measured them with the Klippel Near field Scanner and I wanted to try them again because they looked easy to EQ. I was originally disappointed in the R3, I was expecting them to be close to the Reference one at a quarter of the price but that wasn't the case, the R3 were good but seemed like they were missing something in the highs but were also somehow fatiguing. Fast forward to the Klippel measurements and we see a dip in the 1-5k range with a slight peak around 2800Hz, both seem to explain my previous thoughts.

After tweaking the EQ a bit and realizing the 5k region doesn't need to be toned down, I came up with a simpler EQ that is still neutral with a bit less in the 1-2k region that sounds very balanced all around. If anyone is happy with the R3 but finds them a bit fatiguing, the 2700Hz filter will take care of that. Also remember to make sure the shadow flare around the midwoofer is fully seated or it will create a dip around 1500Hz. I wouldn't say they are on the level of the Reference but these filters get them very close in my opinion.

Freq Spl Q
650 -.8 6
1250 -.7 20
2000 1.5 .6
2700 -1.5 3.5
5250 -.5 1

 

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So basically, you like the Revel room curve. :)

That's not surprising since it falls in line with Toole and Olive's research of smoothly declining off-axis being preferred as expressed in totality by the power response curve.

Kef is one of those brands that has a history of solid engineering and innovation.

As to the comparison between the different speaker lines within a brand, that is more subjective. There are always objective advantages to moving up, but we all draw different lines in the sand on what we're willing to spend for that smaller amount of improvement as we move up the pyramid.

I'm more of a bang for the buck kind of guy, so the R's would be fine for me, but as my favorite Canadian band, Sloan, would say:

"If it feels good do it, even if you shouldn't, don't let people mess you around" :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So basically, you like the Revel room curve. :)

That's not surprising since it falls in line with Toole and Olive's research of smoothly declining off-axis being preferred as expressed in totality by the power response curve.

Kef is one of those brands that has a history of solid engineering and innovation.

As to the comparison between the different speaker lines within a brand, that is more subjective. There are always objective advantages to moving up, but we all draw different lines in the sand on what we're willing to spend for that smaller amount of improvement as we move up the pyramid.
Kind of but I don't really worry about the room curve, even though yes a downward slope in the Listening window should cause more of a slope in the room curve. I've always said that the real benefits of ASR's measurements are that we have anechoic measurements to EQ a speaker perfectly, you have to see how the changes in the LW affect the early reflections and Sound power to make sure you're helping everywhere.

Even if I didn't end up liking the R3 I really wanted to buy them as sort of an experiment with EQ and to test some of the theories I had from listening before and what the measurements now show. Even though it doesn't look like much, that little 2800Hz Peak in the ER curve is responsible for the fatigue I was getting, even though on axis it didn't look like a problem. I also don't think it's a good idea for the ER curve to decline and then peak back up like it does so I made sure my EQ fixed that. The rest of it is just preference I guess or possibly because of my small room that the slight downward slope sounds so good, it seem most speakers with strong reflections don't sound that great in my room.

I do agree that KEF is one of the best Engineering companies out there but I question why they seem to shape their response the way they do in some of their speakers. The dip in the new R series is too perfect to be an accident, the cynical side of me wonders if they purposely did that so that it wouldn't sound so close to the Reference line. The Reference are still better but I do think 2k is about the most anyone needs to spend before diminishing returns start really working against you.

One really important thing I forgot to mention is anyone with any of the new R series needs to make sure the shadow flare (plastic waveguide around the Midwoofer) is fully seated, someone on ASR showed how they measure fully seated vs pulled out a bit and it creates that 1k dip that most measurements show, it seems it must be more common for it not to be seated and it does have a large effect on response.
 

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I hadn't really looked at the R3 measurements until now. I think that low Q rise from ~4-8kHz on-axis wouldn't bother me but it might give some folks some problems under the right circumstances. It levels out in the subsequent curves. Overall it looks real good as you'd expect from Kef.

The impedance graph is interesting. It looks like they tuned the box higher than they needed to for an increase in the midbass response, which is a great decision, imo, for a standmount speaker that will presumably be used with subs. You can really see the benefit of having that woofer in the distortion measurements. If I ever bought another Kef speaker, I wouldn't buy the straight 2-way. As for the dip, I guess it depends on how you look at it. You could say that is the flattish region with low Q peaks on either side.

It would be interesting to compare the R3 to the M105 or M106, since I assume they're in a similar price range. They are two well implemented designs with similar goals, but different ways of achieving them.

Did you say you bought another pair of R3's or are you going to? I agree it would be interesting to test out your EQ experiments.

Have fun
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I hadn't really looked at the R3 measurements until now. I think that low Q rise from ~4-8kHz on-axis wouldn't bother me but it might give some folks some problems under the right circumstances. It levels out in the subsequent curves. Overall it looks real good as you'd expect from Kef.

The impedance graph is interesting. It looks like they tuned the box higher than they needed to for an increase in the midbass response, which is a great decision, imo, for a standmount speaker that will presumably be used with subs. You can really see the benefit of having that woofer in the distortion measurements. If I ever bought another Kef speaker, I wouldn't buy the straight 2-way. As for the dip, I guess it depends on how you look at it. You could say that is the flattish region with low Q peaks on either side.

It would be interesting to compare the R3 to the M105 or M106, since I assume they're in a similar price range. They are two well implemented designs with similar goals, but different ways of achieving them.

Did you say you bought another pair of R3's or are you going to? I agree it would be interesting to test out your EQ experiments.

Have fun
Yeah I'll probably experiment some more but my in-room measurements don't show a problem at 5k so I might see how that sounds without the filter. And yes I think it's also a good idea to tune for more midbass than extension. The 2 ways could make a great 2.1 system if you could cross them over up around 200Hz with the sub/s very close but yeah in a multi channel setup the 3 way works a lot better. I originally tried filters that just cut on both sides around the 1-2k region but it takes quite a few more filters so that's why I just boosted the region instead, it's in a low distortion range so I wasn't worried about boosting 1.2 db.

I don't know if you recall but I did buy the M105 to compare to the LS50 last year and I had them at a stalemate in stereo and sighted so it was the first time I attempted to listen blind and in mono, in that setup I chose the LS50 easily. I now wonder if the 2k resonance in the LS50 is the reason, because it does tend to give them a nice "open" sound initially but it becomes fatiguing in longer sessions. I think the same thing happened when I preferred the LS50 to the R3 without EQ when I tried the R3 last year.

Without EQ'ing the R3 the M106 might be pretty close but I think it would be a massacre after using EQ. I like Revel but I honestly don't think much can compete with a good 3-way coaxial speaker, the build quality is also much better on the KEFs for the same money, these are fairly big bookshelf speakers but they weigh 30lbs..they are solid.

Last time I tried the R3, my local KEF dealer let me bring them home for the weekend but this time I just bought them from A4L so I could have more time with them if needed but I'll definitely be keeping them.
 

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The 2 ways could make a great 2.1 system if you could cross them over up around 200Hz with the sub/s very close but yeah in a multi channel setup the 3 way works a lot better.
Funny you should mention that. In my "question your assumptions" quest I have been experimenting with crossovers in the 150-200 Hz range with my Infinity R162's. In my system the higher crossovers are better overall, but it wouldn't be true for everyone, in fact, for most installations it would probably be detrimental. You have to have complete sub placement flexibility so the higher sub frequencies aren't bothersome, and quality sub drivers and alignments that can cover that higher range. I got it tuned just right after much experimentation that it opened up the depth of the soundfield.

Without EQ'ing the R3 the M106 might be pretty close but I think it would be a massacre after using EQ. I like Revel but I honestly don't think much can compete with a good 3-way coaxial speaker, the build quality is also much better on the KEFs for the same money, these are fairly big bookshelf speakers but they weigh 30lbs..they are solid.
Agree to disagree. :) I think when you get to that level of quality, it comes down to subjective preference--a la voicing differences, since the speakers at that level aren't doing much wrong, and are doing a lot right.

My next quest is phase and timing differences. I know Harman/Toole's et al take on the matter, in fact the majority of designers follow that line, but it bugs me that there are well respected engineers that have the polar opposite POV.

I need to watch out for windmills. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Funny you should mention that. In my "question your assumptions" quest I have been experimenting with crossovers in the 150-200 Hz range with my Infinity R162's. In my system the higher crossovers are better overall, but it wouldn't be true for everyone, in fact, for most installations it would probably be detrimental. You have to have complete sub placement flexibility so the higher sub frequencies aren't bothersome, and quality sub drivers and alignments that can cover that higher range. I got it tuned just right after much experimentation that it opened up the depth of the soundfield.
Yeah if you had dual subs close to a stereo setup, I have no doubt you could cross at 200Hz without localization, with a 2nd order high pass the acoustic crossover would probably be close to 150hz, not that bad.

Agree to disagree. :) I think when you get to that level of quality, it comes down to subjective preference--a la voicing differences, since the speakers at that level aren't doing much wrong, and are doing a lot right.

My next quest is phase and timing differences. I know Harman/Toole's et al take on the matter, in fact the majority of designers follow that line, but it bugs me that there are well respected engineers that have the polar opposite POV.

I need to watch out for windmills. :)
That's true and I do agree Harman speakers are well engineered and sound very good, they're usually the best typical line source speaker in their price ranges but I also think for the money they could be built better, even though it may not affect the sound quality. After comparing the M105, which has amazing measurements, to the LS50, even though it doesn't measure as well their was just a clarity from the point source presentation that made up for any shortcomings. KEF's biggest problem is that they seem to voice many of their speakers instead of just going for neutrality like Harman, thankfully most of their speakers have smooth directivity and can be EQ'd to whatever response you want. To your point about phase and timing differences, I really believe the even response coaxial speakers provide in the vertical plane is more influential than many believe, I posted a study awhile back that showed benefits of vertical reflections.

It's not really just about brands either, many people think the Genelec the One series are the best speakers they've ever heard and the 8341 measurements seem to back the statements up. It's a fact that line source speakers can only be near perfect in the horizontal plane but they will always have a null in the vertical plane that seems like it has to effect sound quality in some way.
 

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It's a fact that line source speakers can only be near perfect in the horizontal plane but they will always have a null in the vertical plane that seems like it has to effect sound quality in some way.
Its definitely another one of those pesky audio points of contention. I think it potentially can matter under the right circumstances, but is generally subordinate to other aspects. There are always trade-offs.

Do a search on Charles Sprinkle of JBL and Kali fame and read some of his works on waveguides. He didn't say it, but I think it could be considered at least, when you're using a midrange driver as a waveguide, you're locked in to the geometry of the driver. Of course, you engineer around that, and the Kef folks are smart guys, but you lose some of the flexibility that non-coaxials have in that regard.

Again, trade-offs.
 
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