If I may give some unsolicited advice; likely worth what you are paying for...
I own Daedalus speakers and really enjoy them. I know the owner of Daedalus, Lou Hinkley, who is terrific. That said, I would be reluctant to purchase Daedalus speakers or any other audio component without auditioning them first. I would encourage you to contact Lou. I believe he has a 30 day(?) money back guarantee.
What is it about the KEFs that has you looking for alternatives?
I think that the Kefs are a good quality speaker overall. I think they don't really have any glaring weaknesses, but that being said, I don't feel as deep a connection with the music through them as I have experienced with some other systems. I listened to some Sonus Faber speakers a couple of times that gave me that connection, but were above my price range.
My hope is to find a lower cost alternative that might give me at least a little more of that connection I am looking for. I know that may be a little vague, but I think that the difference may be with the speaker's ability to reproduce the tone and timbre of real instruments or perhaps maybe a little more warmth in the sound quality. I'm still trying to figure it out. Thanks for the assistance.
Thanks, that makes sense. Connection with the music is what most of us what from our systems, but there's plenty of variation in what it takes to get us there. For you, it sounds like you need a little more warmth and tonal richness. Daedalus could be a good choice. You might also see if you can hear the Revel F206, which is price-competitive with your R700 but has a different sound. Another thought is something in the Dynaudio Focus range.
I'm also interested in Daedalus, primarily because of reviews indicating that they produce the open, uncompressed type of sound I'm looking for. I think that "connection" to music is to a large extent dependent on the ability of speakers to produce that open, dynamic sound.
I'm also looking at Legacy and Selah audio. The one question I'd like to know more about is the high frequency performance of the Daedalus, considering that, unlike many speaker manufacturers these days, Daedalus are using a silk dome tweeter, rather than ribbons.
Thanks for the suggestions Drubin. I have looked at the Revel a bit, but wasn't sure if they were much different from the Kef. I will see if I can find an opportunity to demo those at as well as the Dynaudio Focus.
Mtrot, I think you're probably right about the dynamics and lack of compression also being a big part of it. Hopefully some other that have experience with Daedalus will have a chance to comment about how they do with those aspects.
I agree with Jazdoc. I own Daedalus speakers but have no experience with the Kef's. However, you have cited tone and dynamics as being two areas where you would like to see improved performance. These happen to be two areas where the Daedalus speakers excel. Still, you really should hear them before making a decision. I know Lou has a network of clients who will conduct auditions for those seriously interested in his speakers. You may be able to connect with someone relatively nearby. Also, as Jazdoc states, Lou has an in home trial policy that is very reasonable, so you could go that route as well. Best bet is to call Lou and talk it through. I would also recommend that you hear a bunch of other speakers in your price range first and then try the Daedalus and see if they are your cup of tea.
As a Daedalus Ulysses owner, I'll third the comments by Jazdoc and Dodgealum. In particular, I can't imagine that you would be disappointed in the timbral characteristics or tonal richness of any of the Daedalus models, assuming that they are not compromised by the recording or by your electronics. And the fact that they are exceptionally easy to drive would help minimize the latter possibility. Dynamics, as has been said, as well as transient response and "speed," are also excellent.
Regarding Lou's 30 day return policy, the specifics are described near the bottom of this page
Regarding the question about the soft dome tweeter, IMO the related comments by Doug Schroeder on the first and third pages of his review
in Dagogo are spot on.
Thanks everyone for your responses. They are a big help. I'll work on finding a way to hear some Daedalus when I can and go from there.
As an owner of DA-RMA V.2s, I can say that you will very likely find it a rewarding experience to hear the Daedalus models. After hearing them once myself I was determined to own a pair.
Remember that the V2 is a significant upgrade to an already superb speaker and all new production is built using that configuration. Buying a used model and having it upgraded, as I did, also offers tremendous value. Lou supports his earlier production as well as anyone.
I've been in this hobby for 46 years, and one "sound" certainly does not fit all listeners, but I absolutely love the way these speakers simply get out of the way of the music, video sound, or spoken voices. It truly is as if you are in the same room as the performers, with nothing between you and the event. No hype, just a very truthful telling of the event. That is very special indeed, and puts these in the category as true bargains in high end. And the cabinets offer a lesson in craftsmanship that enhances the ownership experience. I believe Daedalus speakers are classic of the future, as they are hand made in limited quantities by one man, not stamped out like cookies.
All my audio buddies agree on all counts, and 3 of them are or are becoming Daedalus owners too, so hearing is believing.
I own the DARMAs too, not the V2 version(yet). I have heard Kef reference range on many occasions and they are very good, but not in the same league as Daedalus, at least not at a comparable price. They are neutral very dynamic and transparent.
You have the advantage of direct sales, cutting out Distributor and retailer, which must make up at least 50% of a conventional, dealer stocked speaker. They are good anyway, but the price makes them a steal. There are many owners around, particularly in the States, happy to demo. You can contact Lou to find someone near you.
So much goes into sound reproduction that just speakers alone are not the answer. I understand your connection with the Sonus. I heard them with an all Krell system and they sounded excellent. You have to understand what you want for sound and only you can know what that is. Old speakers have a warm and connection to me but lack in other areas. The Daedalus are excellent speakers, I heard them at a local Audiogonners house a few years back. They sounded very nice. I also brought along a preamp that I built and to me the system sounded even better to my ears. My point being you probably would have been happy with the system and more happy once the other preamp was placed in the system. So you have to know what you want your sound to be because each part of the system is a compromise.
You are looking for front-ported speakers, something that KEF does not offer.
I ended up saving up for a few months and purchased the Sonus Faber Olympica IIs. They were the speakers that I heard initially that got my attention and I couldn't be happier with them. I didn't get a chance to hear the Daedalus prior to purchasing the Olympica's, but I did eventually hear them at RMAF. I thought they were excellent, and I am sure I would have been happy with them had I purchased them, but I am glad I got the Olympicas and have no regrets.
congrats on your speakers and enjoy