New Kef Reference Speakers - I died and went to heaven

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by george king, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    Well we had an Ultimate Electronics open this weekend, and I thought I would drop in to check things out.
    Went to the high end room, and what did I see (they do not even advertise that they sell the speakers), but

    Krell Showcase - amp and processor

    Kef 205's up front
    204c for the center (as wide as the 46" Mits widescreen)
    201 for the rears.

    The movie was LOTR. No one was in the room so I threw in some SACDs after watching the movie for awhile.

    I have never heard anything so life like, and engrossing in all of my life (that includes hearing some B&W 805s on some Levinson gear). It really was amazing. The imaging, detail, etc. was all there.

    No all I have to do is find about $20K, and I can take it home.
     
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    George, do a search for Kef Reference. Someone on this board posted a thread on the 201's I believe a while back and said they were the best speakers they've ever heard and you were only getting them for surround use!!! These are on my short list for future upgrades definately.
     
  3. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    That would be me. I loved them and I still go and listen to them on occasion at a local shop here in NYC. Here's the link:
    Kef Info
    Good Luck
     
  4. James_N_H

    James_N_H Stunt Coordinator

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    So far I have heard the 205's and the 207's running in a 2-channel format at my local hi-end store, both times they where running off about £10grands worth of Chord equipment, and for the money I wasnt overly impressed, might have been the electronics.

    Also the 207's I saw where in the beech finish with the silver plastic, which to me looked really cheap, for £9000 I wouldnt want plastic all over my speakers.
     
  5. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    Martice,

    Yes the 201's were great, and if I had $1800 I would have started the upgrade cycle, and bought them then and there (the wife would have killed me though).:b
     
  6. Red Spencer

    Red Spencer Agent

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    Are these the brittish speakers that look like the B&W"s???
    What a joke having to copy someone to sell a speaker, and not even close the build quality, and sound, average at best, not EVEN close for the money...you must get out more.
     
  7. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Red,

    Kef has been around long before B&W if I recall so I wouldn't call it copying designs.
     
  8. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Red,

    They may look superficially the same, but the technology in B&W Nautilus Vs. Kef Reference is totally different. Kef has a supertweeter and concentric mid/tweet driver for starters.

    Cheers,
    Mike
     
  9. James_N_H

    James_N_H Stunt Coordinator

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    KEF may have been around longer than B&W but the Nautilus line has been around longer than KEF's new reference range, and they do look way too similar, but as someone said the KEF's build quality does not come close to that of the B&W's, the B&W's are more money but certainly seem to be worth it.
     
  10. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

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    I have not seen or heard either speaker, but from the rave reviews of both, when I do a future upgrade I intend to demo both lines. I cannot comment on the sound or build quality of either. With that being said...


     
  11. James_N_H

    James_N_H Stunt Coordinator

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    B&W's 805's are only a 2-way design but the KEF 201's are a 4 way design which I believe would explain the higher price for the KEF's. The KEF 207's are cheaper than B&W's 801 and 800's but if you want a set of speakers that are adorned in plastic then go with the KEF's, also the 207's sound didnt blow me away when I heard them, but I havnt heard the B&W's 801's or 800's.
     
  12. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    James,

    To each his own. When I was auditioning speakers, I listened to Paradigm, B&W (602 and 603 I think it was), Def Tech, etc. I got the Kef Q series, because I really liked the sound better, and did not care at all for the B&W (which I am sure is an excellent speaker, just not my cup of tea).

    However, your comment about the plastic on the new Kef's is somewhat odd. When I was listening this weekend, there was no plastic on the 205's at all. As to build quality, it was the same as the B&W's (800 series) - completely dead when rapped on, etc. There did not seem to be any difference.

    Also, the 201's sounded much better than the B&W 805's I heard - the front ends were roughly equivalent in terms of quality if not slightly better for the B&Ws- Krell for the Kefs and entry level Levinson for the B&Ws.

    I, and most people, would say to let your ears be the judge - I would be dumbfounded and upset if someone bought speakers on my advice without listening to them first.

    I started the thread because Kef does not get much play in the US (but they do seem to get a lot of press in Europe), and what I heard really took my breath away, even in a less than optimal setting. I wanted everyone to know this, so they might consider Kefs for an audition for any future speaker upgrade.

    Hope this helps.
     
  13. James_N_H

    James_N_H Stunt Coordinator

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    I wasnt saying choose speakers on the basis of looks and not sound I would never advise anyone to do that, but the sound of the 207's and also the 205's I heard didnt seem anything special to me. The 205's I saw where in the darker finish and it did not look like plastic on them but on the 207's which are where in the beech finish the silver trim is quite clearly plastic.
     
  14. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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  15. Hanwook_K

    Hanwook_K Stunt Coordinator

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    Kef's Super Dupper Tweeter
    Can I assume that Kef uses a supertweeter for hi-rez audio? (Not to discuss what >18Khz really does to music). Has anyone done any critical listening with SACD or DVD-A?
    Kef vs. B&W
    I think the Kefs look totally different from the B&W N line. The N uses a rear loaded tweeter, the Kef use a cocentric + a supertweeter
     
  16. James_N_H

    James_N_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Martice,
    Plastic doesnt have anything to do with the sound of the speaker aslong as you say its not affecting the sonics of it. Just personally if I spent £9grand on a pair of speakers I would obviously want them to sound that amount but also at least look like they where worth the money. I would want to sit down to listen to them and the only thing getting me attention being the plastic rather than the sound.

    When listening to both pairs it wasnt with my own personal CD's but the music being used was a CD that I owned so the songs where very familiar, I also heard the 207's with some music I had never heard. It wasnt a dedicated listening room but just in the shop, however it is a very large open space with equipment only around the outer areas and nothing in the middle of the floor.

    You say people say that B&W's are overpriced, that must be an individual opinion as with the exception of the CM range I have never seen a bad review of B&W's speakers in any magazine yet, so the press certainly seem to like them aswell as the public.
     
  17. ManojM

    ManojM Stunt Coordinator

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    Speakers are a very personal item, but there are some speakers that most people can agree sound really good. To set the record straight, the KEF Reference series is quite well built. The 203s ($5000) that we recently bought for my friend in cherry are very handsome and well built speakers. The drivers are not as pretty as the B&W Nautiluses, so the grill stays on, but otherwise they look the part. They also happen to sound absolutely fabulous, and don't give any ground to the B&Ws. Very big soundstage, very smooth mid and top end, and a decent amount of base, and they are not quite broken in yet. I have been very impressed by the leap KEF has taken with these speakers cosmetically and sound-wise.

    One of the most difficult things in my opinion is to listen to speakers in an audio store in different sound rooms. It is pretty easy to get a feel for the sonic signature, but it can be very difficult to hear how they soundstage and image. In an audio store, I can tell that the B&Ws have a very smooth midrange and top end, and a very cohesive, nautral sound, but I cannot tell a whole lot more unless the room is set up right. For example, a pair of 804s at our local B&W store sound very nice hooked up to a Bryston amp and processor, but in my home hooked up to a Classe amp and positioned properly, the imaging is rock solid and almost unshakeable, and the soundstage is so deep that with a decent CD player, instruments are heard over my shoulders and behind me on 2 channel music. The only way I can think of to start hearing these subtleties at an audio store is to bring music that you know well, and play with the speaker positioning.
     
  18. Jeffrey Chin

    Jeffrey Chin Second Unit

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  19. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    Hanwook_K
    Yes the supertweeter is primarily for the higher frequencies of DVD-A and SACD. I remember reading a review, and as part of the test, they covered the super tweeter, and heard a loss of the top end and fullness during SACD listening.
    James_N_H
    I agree with you about the plastic. If I am paying $8K for a pair of speakers, I do not want them to look cheesy. The 205s I heard were the dark finish, and there was no plastic to be found. However, I have never heard, nor seen the 207s.
    ManojM
    Glad you also liked the Kefs. I am looking to upgrade my current Q series, and since you are buying speakers for friends, any chance you can buy me a pair [​IMG] . Unfortunately, the new reference line is way out of my budget, but I also like the sound of the RDM 2, which is in my price range. Or maybe a pair of the new Q7s, which I have not really had a chance to hear in an extended session.
     
  20. James_N_H

    James_N_H Stunt Coordinator

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    The 205's I heard and are still in the window of my local store are also in the dark finish, however I think it is still plastic, just black plastic that doesnt stand out.

    The part that gets me about the 207's is the drive unit that is housed in the circular bit that is stuck on top, which mimics B&W's higher end nautilus line. On the 207's with the silver plastic that drive unit on the top to me look awfull in real life, doesnt look bad in the pictures but its alot different when they can be seen for real.
     

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