PSB, AR, or KEF - advice sought

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by EricTownsend, Feb 5, 2002.

  1. EricTownsend

    EricTownsend Stunt Coordinator

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    I am transitioning my home theater and am at a crossroads where I need to purchase a mid level speaker system...

    I currently have:

    KEF Reference 95 Center

    KEF Coda S Subwoofer

    I sold everything else (Wharfedales)...

    I am considering (with matching surrounds):

    * PSB 3LR mains

    * PSB 4T mains

    * Acoustic Research AR9 mains

    * KEF Q-35 mains

    * Niles HDLRS & HDCTR (In wall)

    I have been researching my tail off and these seem to stand out for the price of less than about $700 per pair.

    Any advice on my choices? Any experiences with these? I am leaning toward the PSB setup because of the cost and rave reviews... Of course, there are the Niles... But how good are the in-walls? This would mean I have to sell the KEF's to match all the way around, but that is OK... Any thoughts?

    My room is 13X20 roughly and it is a standard living room with sofa and carpeting. I want these for 90% HT use and 10% music.

    Thanks!

    Eric
     
  2. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I really like PSB. I've been putting my 4T's through the paces for about 2 years, giving demo after demo. They have never blown a driver, nor have I ever heard them distort. That's just their durability side.

    Soundwise, they image amazingly well. For their small footprint, they also output excellent bass. This is important when matching with a sub, as there will be no hole in the frequency response where one leaves off and the other takes over(I have mine mated with an SVS 20-39PC). They are about middle of the road when it comes to warm vs. bright.

    The matching 8C center is also a great speaker. Another powerhouse that will play very loudly and not sound stressed. Voices sound very natural; during 'Memento,' my dog kept looking at the 8C and barking during the narrations. He really sounded as if he was in the room.

    Go with the 4T's over the 3LR. Bigger cabinet, no stands necessary. If you want great sound, I believe in-walls will not do it for you.

    They have a 5 year warranty, though I've never needed it.
     
  3. EricTownsend

    EricTownsend Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks James! You are making me feel better about my current choice too. I figure, the cost of the 4T is the same, if not better, than the 3LR with good stands.

    I am purposely putting off my decision until next week so I can really make an informed choice. Thanks for the info!

    -Eric
     
  4. John Chow

    John Chow Second Unit

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    I went with KEFs over the PSB 5Ts and have been extremely pleased with them. I've got Q35s in the front and rear, with the matching Q95 center. One of the reasons I did this was that it allowed me to get the same speakers in the front and rear, since I was able to get a much better price on the Q35. Although they don't get much publicity on the HTF, I feel that the KEFs are one of the best speakers out there. After having my KEFs for one year, I went speaker auditioning with a friend, and would not have traded them in for any of the other brands that we listened to (Paradigm, Mirage, couple of others), although the kef reference series sounded pretty tempting. There's something about the upper frequencies that just seem to sing more to me.

    Another thing, check out the KEF webpage, it looks like the Q35s have been replaced/upgraded.
     
  5. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    Like John, I went with the Kefs after demoing lots of speakers (including the PSBs). The Kefs do a wonderful job for both music and HT.

    Also as John pointed out, the Q series (along with the Reference and Coda series) just got an "upgrade" and are being replaced. There are several issues as a result.

    The current Q35.2 is an amazing little speaker, and has won several awards. Given the new line, these speakers should see a price drop fairly soon, so they would be a good buy.

    The new line has "upgraded" technology. However, according to the Kef webpage, the new line will have a metal dome tweeter instead of the cloth dome. This will probably change the "sound" of the speaker. I have not heard the new speakers, but personally I do not like metal domes (one reason I didn't care for B&W speakers), but Kef may have a good one. I simply do not know.

    The upshot is that if you buy the Q35.2's you MAY have to buy all of the older speakers to maintain a consistent sound.

    In any event, I whole heartedly recommend the Kefs.
     
  6. EricTownsend

    EricTownsend Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, now the choice becomes tougher again...

    I can say that I too love the KEF brand. I have been using the Reference Center and the Coda Sub for some time now. Do you know where I may be able to pick up a set of 35.2's for less than the $500 I can pay for the PSB 4T's? I check eBay often and don't mind shopping on the web...

    Getting the KEF's would save me from having to purchase a new center and sub too, so that is a definate plus.

    I think I will call around town (Spokane, WA) to try and audition both. I know one store locally that sells the KEF's but I need to find someone with the PSB.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  7. EricTownsend

    EricTownsend Stunt Coordinator

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    Has anyone heard of "Fluance" speakers? I came across these in my searches.

    Thanks!
     
  8. george king

    george king Supporting Actor

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    Eric,
    Sounddistributors (www.sounddistributors.com) sells the Q35.2 for $459/pair plus shipping. I have never bought from them, but they have 459 reviews at www.audiosurvey.com, and the ratings are superb. So you might want to give them a shot.
    Onecall (www.onecall.com) also sells them. Their listed price is not what you pay. You have to call and haggle a bit, but their prices are reasonable, and their service is excellent (I have bought several things from them). Also, they are the online store for Huppins HiFi, which is Washington State (maybe even Spokane), so they are a legit store.
    Hope this helps.
     
  9. EricTownsend

    EricTownsend Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks! OneCall is actually right down the street from where I work. I will trot on over and audition the Q-35.2!

    I will check out the others too.

    Thank you for the tips!

    -Eric
     

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