Amp for kef reference 1


First time posting.

I recently purchased a pair of kef reference 1's.  I had heard these and fell in love.  I had a chance to purchase a few weeks ago and the pairing with my musical fidelity m6i just doesn't work.  Having said that I LOVE this amp, but it doesn't seem right for this application.  It was a fantastic pairing with my totem forests, but this is no longer ideal.  The M6i also works seamlessly with my bryston bda dac.  This really added to the former kit, but these kef's are fussy.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  The hegel h360 keeps popping up, but does anyone have any other suggestions? Also, does anyone have any ideas as to why this musical fidelity is not working with this speaker?
cshadow
If you want opinions that have value, pick three amps/preamps/Integrated amps that are in your budget and you are leaning towards. Perhaps then you will get practical answers and opinions.

My recommendation is an SST.audio amp/preamp combo.  I own an SST preamp and amp and they are the best sounding combo I have owned.
How big is your room?
How loud do you play music?
Do you like to listen at very low volume?
Do you want separates or is an integrated preferred?
What is your budget?

Congrats on the KEF Ref 1, one of my favourites.

The room is about 18 x 20

My preference is an integrated (cost, but am open to any good option. 
Budget about 2500
And I listen at all levels... Never ear splitting loud 

And thank you.  I love this speaker, but damn is the musical Fidelity not cutting it.
cshadow
Amp for kef reference 1

These are 80-85db efficient, so a good 120- to 300w @ 8ohms will do, and they are a quite easy load around 4ohms with very low -phase angle.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/images/stories/loudspeakermeasurements/kef_reference_1/impedance.g...

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/images/stories/loudspeakermeasurements/kef_reference_1/electrical_...


They are flagship model and deserve a flagship amp, if I owned them and had the funds I look at a high class-A bias class-A/B amp to get the sweetness, these Class-A/B Gryphon Diablo’s would be nice the 120 or if you have the extra the 300

https://gryphon-audio.dk/shop/integrated-amplifiers/diablo-120/

https://gryphon-audio.dk/shop/integrated-amplifiers/gryphon-diablo-300-integrated-amplifier/

BTW MF amps to me have always been a bit too surgical sounding, and they have lot of gain usually which brings up the noise floor, Antony Michaelson seems to love gain, not a good match for these Kefs, to be a relaxing listen.

Cheers George

The only integrated in your price range that "might" have the horsepower to drive the Reference 1's might be the Kinki EX-M1.  David at HiFi Knights has driven two different pairs of Boenicke speakers with it and they are also a very inefficient speaker. Currently W11 SE's.
Our local KEF dealer (Quest for Sound In Bensalem, PA) has them in a room where they are paired with the current Pariasound Halo integrated amplifier as well as the Rogue Pharaoh integrated. I think they sound terrific with both. I also love the Reference One speakers! Sounded good on the previous generation Parasound integrated as well
The Hegel 390 (not 360) would be a top choice to keep things simple. I have heard the Hegel 360 with KEF Blades (similar to the Reference line) and it was surprisingly good given that the Blade is a fairly big speaker. The Hegel 390, which I have not heard, is supposed to have a better DAC and other improvements on the 360. However, the 360 can be bought used for your $2.5k price.

The Mark Levinson 585 is amazing. It costs $12K but can be found used for $6K (even dealer demos). Best integrated I have heard, even preferred it to the Luxman 509x integrated. It would sound great with the KEF Reference 1. I heard that integrated with the Magico A3. The new ML 5000 series is supposedly a little lower in sound quality to the 585 (dealer feedback from dealer who does not sell ML).

I am going to buy some new gear for my KEF LS50’s. I should say old gear because I at one time had Benchmark AHB2 + DAC3 HGC on the KEF LS50’s but sold them. I want to buy the AHB2 and the new LA4 preamp again because I enjoyed that clear, silent background from the Benchmarks. Not sure if you would like that but if you did go that route I would get 2 AHB2 and run them as monoblocks. They do have a 30 day home trial.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/recommended-components-2020-edition-power-amps

https://benchmarkmedia.com/products/benchmark-ahb2-power-amplifier

I have also considered going out and listening to the following to pair with the KEF LS50’s.

- Bryston 4B3
- CODA #8
- Hegel 390

However, the AHB2 is the bird in the hand so to speak and I likely won’t bother getting my butt out the door to go demo them.

BTW - I am currently using a Peachtree Nova 150 with my KEF LS50’s. It is rather good, not the best you can get but if saving $$$ is the #1 factor, a very good choice. For the KEF Ref 1 I would consider the NOVA 300 or the new NOVA 500 with the improved DAC.
Thank everyone... Much appreciated

I found an almost new Hegel h360.  I could not be more happy.  Very good match
Keep breaking the speakers and amp in.
maybtake a while for your ears to be accustomed.z

stick w it.

 Give it a few weeks.

report back.