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KEF Q series

 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17758
Registered: May-04
.

Jexx, everyone has their own priorities and I have no idea where your audio values exist. Therefore, you are free to prefer whichever speaker or system sound you wish. Contrary to your general comments though, the IQ90's receive rather good reviews judging from what I find on the internet. Possibly your basic problem stems primarily from the use of top o'the line speakers with a mass market receiver. Such complaints have been common on this forum. The real problem seldom, however, ends up being the high quality speakers.

While you say you paired the speakers with "different receivers", the essential fact of good system matching says a high end speaker's most significant task should be to show the listener exactly what it is being fed from the front of the system. A very transparent speaker, therefore, is going to reveal the many failures of the typical receiver as sold over the last two or more decades. Personally, I would rather have a $2k speaker matched with a $3k amplifier (at least) and not any HT receiver at any cost. You did not say but I'll assume the use of a receiver also means the use of less than top of the line source components and possibly midline cables. If those assumptions are in fact the case, I would have no less expectation for the top of the line KEF - or any other decent speaker line - than to demonstrate how poorly the components have been paired.

An approach to system building which places the majority of money in the speakers seldom results in sound quality other than what you have described. Attempting to "tame" the harsh high end coming from the (digital?) front end source player and the receiver by way of cutting back on the treble controls is not going to do much beyond adding phase and time errors to the signal. Such signal errors will, as you suggest, collapse the soundstage - at the very least. There is a very logical reason you do not find bass and treble controls on most high end pre amps and processors. When you do, those controls are intended only for small adjustments, typically to a too bright or too dull recording, and not for system sound or room issue corrections. A "tone control" found on a mass market receiver is bound to do more harm than good because the action is placed in the wrong frequency band and their adjustments are simply too broad to be effective. You may disagree with that logic but that is the very provable argument which removed tone controls from high end audio way back in the 1970's.


Your comments regarding construction ignore the possibility KEF found the system to be more transparent to the source with their selected design. Thin walled enclosures are not automatically bad or "cheap",, they pass resonances very quickly rather than holding it as do thick, heavy walled cabinets. Thin walled enclosures tend to have resonances which mostly exist in the upper frequencies - the "sound" of thin panels - where a thick, heavy panel tends to have resonances which are more noticeable since they exist in the lower frequencies where they affect both bass and midrange clarity. I would say it is not how thick the panels are, it is how well the enclosure resonances have been controlled.

Objecting to the "cheap" wiring means, what? The cables aren't as thick as you would prefer? Not to begin an argument about cables but it is possible KEF found the "cheap" (looking) cables perform more to their expectations than any other. Likewise with the crossover. "High quality crossovers" are what type of crossover? Those with numerous component parts? B&W builds such crossovers and they make for a very difficult load for most amplifiers. A simple first order crossover can be no more than a single capacitor wired in parallel with the tweeter. If the component value is well chosen and the cap itself is of high quality in terms of transparency, this would still be a very "high quality crossover" which would suit the needs of the design and impose very little in the way of time or phase issues on the amplifier or the system sound. The nature of the KEF conicident driver technology has the benefit of a simpler, less complex crossover than almost any other type of multi-way speaker. So with the KEF it is not about how many parts are in the crossover. It is about the result of a successful crossover design appropriate to the drivers.


If you prefer the B&W's, that's your personal choice. I'm not arguing you are right or wrong in the sound quality you prefer though you would seem to be comparing apples to oranges when you compare a high end tower to bookshelves and a subwoofer. No doubt B&W makes a very sellable product, though many of their speakers are very difficult loads on any amplifier, let alone a receiver. You are free to prefer whichever speaker and system sound you prefer. However, I'm not sure your comments regarding the KEF are entirely warranted given the system used with the top of the line speakers and the fact construction is not a "you must do this" option when it comes to loudspeakers.




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Gold Member
Username: Illuminator

USA

Post Number: 5633
Registered: Apr-05
Jan, everyone does have their listening priorities, however I've seen people who don't give these speakers top ratings, moreover, I've had several of my audiophile friends listen to the speakers and agree that they don't sound that great.

Also, I wasn't aware that Krell and McIntosh amplifiers are mass market receivers? I own a Krell and a friend brought over a McIntosh. No joy. Speakers still sound mediocre. Keep in mind these amplifiers cost nearly triple and quadruple what the KEF speakers are worth, since according to you the only way to tell how good something is, is by how much it costs and not how it sounds. You can try to pick holes at my setup, but you really aren't going to find any.

I find it funny you say tiny wires are okay to use inside the speaker cabinet, yet you've also said in the past that one must pay thousands on fancy speaker wire to get the best sound. Seems contradictory.

Also, B&W makes a difficult load on an amplifier: so what? I've never blown an amp or had any problems with my many B&W speakers due to them "being a difficult load." They've always sounded gorgeous and have had no problems.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17761
Registered: May-04
.

I'll begin by pointing you back to your linked thread. It didn't appear to be locked when I posted a test just a minute ago.


Since you've made reference to my repsonse in that thread but no one reading this thread would have an idea what was said, let me post my response to your intial comments.

"Jexx, everyone has their own priorities and I have no idea where your audio values exist. Therefore, you are free to prefer whichever speaker or system sound you wish. Contrary to your general comments though, the IQ90's receive rather good reviews judging from what I find on the internet. Possibly your basic problem stems primarily from the use of top o'the line speakers with a mass market receiver. Such complaints have been common on this forum. The real problem seldom, however, ends up being the high quality speakers.

While you say you paired the speakers with 'different receivers', the essential fact of good system matching says a high end speaker's most significant task should be to show the listener exactly what it is being fed from the front of the system. A very transparent speaker, therefore, is going to reveal the many failures of the typical receiver as sold over the last two or more decades. Personally, I would rather have a $2k speaker matched with a $3k amplifier (at least) and not any HT receiver at any cost. You did not say but I'll assume the use of a receiver also means the use of less than top of the line source components and possibly midline cables. If those assumptions are in fact the case, I would have no less expectation for the top of the line KEF - or any other decent speaker line - than to demonstrate how poorly the components have been paired.

An approach to system building which places the majority of money in the speakers seldom results in sound quality other than what you have described. Attempting to 'tame' the harsh high end coming from the (digital?) front end source player and the receiver by way of cutting back on the treble controls is not going to do much beyond adding phase and time errors to the signal. Such signal errors will, as you suggest, collapse the soundstage - at the very least. There is a very logical reason you do not find bass and treble controls on most high end pre amps and processors. When you do, those controls are intended only for small adjustments, typically to a too bright or too dull recording, and not for system sound or room issue corrections. A 'tone control' found on a mass market receiver is bound to do more harm than good because the action is placed in the wrong frequency band and their adjustments are simply too broad to be effective. You may disagree with that logic but that is the very provable argument which removed tone controls from high end audio way back in the 1970's.


Your comments regarding construction ignore the possibility KEF found the system to be more transparent to the source with their selected design. Thin walled enclosures are not automatically bad or 'cheap', they pass resonances very quickly rather than holding it as do thick, heavy walled cabinets. Thin walled enclosures tend to have resonances which mostly exist in the upper frequencies - the 'sound' of thin panels - where a thick, heavy panel tends to have resonances which are more noticeable since they exist in the lower frequencies where they affect both bass and midrange clarity. I would say it is not how thick the panels are, it is how well the enclosure resonances have been controlled.

Objecting to the 'cheap' wiring means, what? The cables aren't as thick as you would prefer? Not to begin an argument about cables but it is possible KEF found the 'cheap' (looking) cables perform more to their expectations than any other. Likewise with the crossover. 'High quality crossovers' are what type of crossover? Those with numerous component parts? B&W builds such crossovers and they make for a very difficult load for most amplifiers. A simple first order crossover can be no more than a single capacitor wired in parallel with the tweeter. If the component value is well chosen and the cap itself is of high quality in terms of transparency, this would still be a very "high quality crossover" which would suit the needs of the design and impose very little in the way of time or phase issues on the amplifier or the system sound. The nature of the KEF conicident driver technology has the benefit of a simpler, less complex crossover than almost any other type of multi-way speaker. So with the KEF it is not about how many parts are in the crossover. It is about the result of a successful crossover design appropriate to the drivers.


If you prefer the B&W's, that's your personal choice. I'm not arguing you are right or wrong in the sound quality you prefer though you would seem to be comparing apples to oranges when you compare a high end tower to bookshelves and a subwoofer. No doubt B&W makes a very sellable product, though many of their speakers are very difficult loads on any amplifier, let alone a receiver. You are free to prefer whichever speaker and system sound you prefer. However, I'm not sure your comments regarding the KEF are entirely warranted given the system used with the top of the line speakers and the fact construction is not a 'you must do this' option when it comes to loudspeakers."



I'll post my response to your recent comments in the next post.




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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17762
Registered: May-04
.

Jexx, you make very broad statements which, in most all cases, are completely unsubstantiated. You lack specifics and you certainly lack facts.

You and your audiophile friends didn't care for this speaker. Fine, but what is that suppoosed to prove? No speaker is for everyone but, since I have no idea what you do prefer or what music you prefer or much of anything else beyond you didn't like the KEF, what does that prove? Other people seem to find quite a bit to like about the IQ90.

I am in no way attemtping to "poke holes" in your set up. But, you say I won't find any? Well, no, since you haven't detailed your set up, I suppose I can't find any fault in what I can't discern. Yet, when I see more favorable comments towards the IQ90's than I do negatives, then I do question the set up of the system that generates the negative remarks. That seems only logical.




You weren't aware McIntosh "amplifiers" were mass market receivers and I wasn't aware you had tried the KEF's with a McIntosh basic power AMPLIFIER. Your statement in your initial post claimed you had tried the speakers with "different receivers". You said nothing about various basic power amplifiers. Nor have you said anything about your source players. A McIntosh amplifier driven by a $199 CD player is still not the system for top of the line speakers. If you've not outlined your system, then I have to assume what you have said is what you meant to say.

My remarks are concerned with the use of top of the line speakers with RECEIVERS, what you said you were using. You made no mention of anything other than a receiver being used. So let's not try to twist my words when I followed exactly what you had posted in the first place. You said you adjusted the treble. How? A McIntosh power amp has no tone controls, nor does a Krell. My comments regarding tone controls are primarily directed at the type of "tone control" found on a receiver, a receiver such as you said you were using. I posted in response to what I saw as possible failings in your approach to system matching. Now you say I responded to things you never mentioned. One of us needs to adjust their approach to posting.

How exactly did you try to adjust the treble response of the system? You've not, as far as I can see, made that clear. "Tone controls" on high end components, when they exist are meant to be used as I've stated and they will virtually always introduce some trade offs in sound quality. They are not meant to be used as BandAids to a poorly matched system. Tone controls as found on mass market receivers are pure junk and shouldn't be used at all.

I am not inclined to back down from my post, my comments stand as how not to piece together a system - whether that is now what you meant to say you did or what you did not do. IMO it's not wise to pair top of the line speakers with receivers. Period.

And since McIntosh hasn't built a receiver in three decades and Krell last built a receiver when? I don't see anything in my post that I should retract given your latest adjustments. If you say you used "receivers", I assume you meant to say you used "receivers". It seems to me to be fairly obvious that I should take you at your own word. Now you're saying I shouldn't.




" ... since according to you the only way to tell how good something is, is by how much it costs and not how it sounds.


Jexx, why say I said something when I clearly have not? I would say you cannot find a location in my 17k posts on this forum where I have said price is all that matters. I know for a fact I've NEVER said that. For example, go look at my comments regarding the quite inexpensive T-amps. I was knocked out by a $39 amplifier! No, Jexx, what I have said on more than one occassion is I would rather have a higher priced amplifier paired with a lower cost speaker as a general rule. That is not an absolute and certainly makes no claim that high priced amplifiers will always be superior. A $150 Pioneer receiver costs several times that of the Sonic Impact T-amp. Which would I rather have in my system? Read my comments regarding the T-amp.

One other point I've have always made on this forum is that you do tend to get what you pay for. While a low priced class T amplifier can provide surprisingly good sound quality when compared to very pricey amplifiers, the T-amp requires a very specific system set up to achieve its end product. A higher priced amplifier is less likely to have the same limitations on system matching - though that too is hardly an absolute. I'm afraid you'd spend a large amount of wasted time trying to find any post where I did not stress appropriate system matching - "synergy" - as the key to audio quality. And that is exactly what I have said in my post quoted above. Top of the line speakers should not be paired with mediocre mass market receivers. No more, no less. And since you hadn't mentioned anything other than receivers, my comments were and are entirely appropriate to your initial post.




"I find it funny you say tiny wires are okay to use inside the speaker cabinet, yet you've also said in the past that one must pay thousands on fancy speaker wire to get the best sound. Seems contradictory."



Sorry, I don't find it even slightly amusing when someone tries to make claims for what I have said when those claims are entirely inaccurate. This is the problem with your comments, Jexx, you do not logically think through what you mean or what you want to say. So, somewhere I said something about "tiny wires"?

Where?

Here's what I posted, you can check it above if you care to argue the point, "Objecting to the 'cheap' wiring means, what? The cables aren't as thick as you would prefer? Not to begin an argument about cables but it is possible KEF found the 'cheap' (looking) cables perform more to their expectations than any other."

The point is, I don't know what you were referring to when you claim KEF had employed "cheap wiring thrown all over the place." I was literally asking you to define what cheap wiring looks like. Does it appear to be too thin - "tiny" - in your estimation? What if the internal KEF wiring were made from solid core, high purity silver? How would that be "cheap" when compared to any other cable? Did the dielectric appear to be of inadequate quality? In what way? What would foamed Teflon look like from the outside? You made a very d@mning statement yet you provided nothing to support your claim other than you thought the cables looked "cheap" And you think B&W's cables look "precise". First, the two adjectives are not opposites to one another and, second, neither of your terms is explained in a way which would make me undertand your dislike of one product and your preference for another. Nor do I consider the comparions between towers and standmounts with a sub to be a truly valid comparison. You are obviously seeing something you have not fully explained. That is what I was responding to, your lack of specifics yet your certain condemnation of the KEF.




You've mistaken my response to your post as a challenge to your perceptive abilites. I'd say my post is more a challenge to your descriptive abilities. What is a "high quality crossover"? One which adequately performs the task of a crossover filter? If so, how many components does that require in the construction of a filter? Is a fourth order filter a higher quality filter than would be a first or second order filter? What if first order filter is paired with a fourth order filter? Is a Butterworth type filter higher or lower quality? What quality would that be? In what way?

Is your perception of the enclosure thickness a valuable comment when it is suggested only thick enclosure panels are adequate? Would you not agree it is not how thick or thin or what materials have been used which define the quality of an enclosure? It is, as I said, the control of resonances which matters. That and only that. How that is achieved is a matter of taste and not of a single minded, everything must look like the next approach to design. While not making any attempt to support or refute your subjective comments regarding the IQ90, those are the things I was commenting on in regards to your "review" of sorts of the KEF speaker. If you are going to downgrade a component due to the appearance of some item, you need to explain why your perception holds water as a realistic negative in the case of this component. Simply saying the cables looked "cheap" or the B&W crossovers are "precise" is not saying anything other than you went out of your way to dislike the KEF. I can asure you, KEF is just as able as B&W to control resonances and to build a "high quality" crossover. That each company might do so in a different manner is hardly a negative.




Now, where exactly have I said, " ... one must pay thousands on fancy speaker wire to get the best sound"? I can assure you I have NEVER said that. I can assure you of that because my opinion of cables has not significantly changed in the last few decades. Possibly, what you thought you had read was what you posted but what I would have said is I am not inclined to discount claims of superior performance from higher priced cables - as are some others. I am hardly an objectivist who feels cables are cables and anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. On the contrary, I firmly believe in the value of good quality cables. I use what I consider to be quite excellent cables in my main system, though "excellent" does not equate to having spent thousands. My cables are what you would clearly consider "tiny" in that they are not 10 AWG.

You have entirely misrepresented my position on cables just as you have when you claim I consider cost to be the only way to judge a component or system. Please, Jexx, don't try to quote me when you have no idea what I've said. I've been on this forum for a dozen years and my positions on such things have not changed. I know exactly what I have said since I've said it more than a few times over the years. If you do not understand what I've said, ask me. Don't just make up whatever suits your needs.



"Also, B&W makes a difficult load on an amplifier: so what? I've never blown an amp or had any problems with my many B&W speakers due to them "being a difficult load." They've always sounded gorgeous and have had no problems."



So what? "What" is a speaker which is not well suited to the amplifier driving it and a buyer totally unaware of that fact until they get the system home. The issue of B&W's sounding less than stellar once the buyer has them in their home and connected to their HT receiver has been a consistent issue on this forum over the last decade. That's "what". If you are content with your B&W's, then you are content. Not all B&W's are difficult loads and not all amplifiers will stress under the load of any one B&W speaker. HOWEVER, if you are equating the parts count of a crossover with "high quality", then, yes, most other designs will not be seen in your eys as being "high quality". That doesn't mean those other filters are not of a possibly higher quality than B&W's, you just don't see high quality the way many other people might.



"If this thread also becomes locked, then that's pretty much proof you can't someone's opinion that differs from your own. I thought this was a "forum" where a difference of ideas are discussed. Seems more like a dictatorship to me. Maybe they're being locked since there's a commercial reason. Either way, just goes to show why I never post here anymore."




Well, the other thread doesn't appear to be "locked" and you seem to be tossing around an awful lot of accusations and misconceptions which are not fact based. At its best any audio forum is a place where differences of opinion can be discussed. Whether that actually happens is ultimately up to the moderators of the forum. I see any forum as a reflection of the moderators' attitudes and Brian has largely given up on this forum IMO and no longer cares what is here other than more and more pop up ads. You gave up on this forum quite some time ago.

Which begs the question, why, if you never post here anymore, have you returned now just to bash a specific speaker you don't like?




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Gold Member
Username: Superjazzyjames

Post Number: 2229
Registered: Oct-10
Jexx, are you at least using high end source players with your high end amp and speakers? If not, that would be a good place to start. Once one or more high end source players in place, if you still don't like what you hear, things like speaker re-location and/or room treatments may be in order. If all else falls, the amp/speaker combo may just not be to your liking. You might love the KEFs with another amp or you might want to use different high end speakers with your Krell amp. Not to take sides, but I agree with Jan that simply bashing a speaker like this one is not warranted. Please keep us posted on what you end up with.
 

Silver Member
Username: Unbridled_id

ChicagoUsa

Post Number: 740
Registered: Mar-04
My original question was does anybody have experience with the current Q series in general and the bookshelf (300) in particular.

I am not sure why my post was deleted, but I do understand the nonsense after it being deleted.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3043
Registered: Oct-07
ID,
Find youself some of the NEW KEF LS50s to audition.
I think you will be Very Impressed.
They are 1500$ the pair with a 'show' discount to 1200$
Everyone in attendence was impressed and the 'buzz' was very favorable.
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