KEF 107.1 or B&W 802 S3 Matrix


So I’m building a system again after decades and starting with speakers. I bought Heresy 3’s but they just lack the punch of my beloved 802’s. I’m super intrigued by the KEF 107 since bottom end is what I miss listening to the Heresy’s. Still need to work on the rest of the system but would appreciate any feedback that could offer a comparison with the KEF 107 since I have not heard them yet. As a side not there are a few of the 802’s and 107’s around but the 802’s are basically twice the price. Worth it? Thanks in advance.
rhino5
I had the R107/2 for a couple years and the bass is as advertised if you have the kube. male vocals are a bit forward and while the ,2 was a little bright I think the original had a laid back tweeter. woofer surrounds and tweeter ferrofluid will need service. They were highly regarded back in the day.
Thanks Steve. Would you say a lot of potential is lost without the kube?
That kube adds some serious EQ to the speaker.

If you are OK with that route, why not try a Schiit Loki??
Thanks for the suggestion Erik. I'm looking at 2 pairs and one has the kube. We'll see how it goes. 
Hi Rhino,
If you can't find a kube, you can use something like a miniDSP to simulate one.  They weren't magic, just EQ. :) 
I only meant to say that if the idea of an EQ box add on does not make you feel weird, maybe you shoudl try it on your existing speakers before swapping? It might fix your problem.

Best,
E
Does the kube being "matched" mean anything? Or will any eq have the same function and performance? I guess I'm wondering why so may people seem to suggest not to buy the 107's without the kube. 
Hi Rhino5,

The kube came out of a generation of speaker makers (including B&W and Bose) who were experimenting with changing up what happens in the cabinet vs. the amplifier as well as allowing you to better match your room placement and personal tastes.  These EQs were very specific to each speaker model though. 

In the end though it is nothing more than an equalizer, so any good quality DSP can substitute so long as it is configured correctly. You can use the Stereophile graph to approximate the specific 107 curve:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/kef-r107-loudspeaker-1991-measurements

So, my point is, if you need more bass, but your current speakers don’t have it, and you are OK with new electronics in the system, why not try a Schiit Loki first? It’s cheap, gets good reviews here, and may make it unnecessary to switch speakers.

Best,

E
I used 107/2s for years with Parasound JC-1 monoblocks, a great combination. I loved the sound. As I understand it, KEF chose not to use internal circuitry and instead rely on KUBEs matched to specific speakers. KEF claims reproduction is not accurate without the associated KUBE. Unfortunately the KUBE is single-ended, not balanced.

I got hooked on the Ayre sound, and the KUBE was not compatible inserted between the Ayre preamp and amp -- according to Charles Hansen, nothing is. I use KEF Reference 1s now that may be a bit superior above 50 Hz, but I miss the LF extension of the 107/2s. Somehow supplementing the Reference 1s with a pair of Velodyne HGS-15s just doesn’t sound quite the same.

My advice is to buy 107/2s with the KUBE. The JC-2s really made a difference, so I’d go with amps that can deliver lots of current. A pair of rosewood 107/2s is a handsome addition to most rooms.

db
Thanks for the link Erik.

db, thanks for recommendation. I auditioned a 107 with the Morel tweeters and they were a bit bright for me taste. I'm looking forward to hearing what the original tweeters are like. 

I'm going to audition 107s that have not been used for 5 years. All original and nothing has been done to them. I'm guessing I need to be careful not to push them too hard without checking them out thoroughly. 


I think the tweeter is what differentiates the 107/2 from the 107.  I've never heard the 107s, but JA's review in Stereophile claimed they were bit lacking in the high end and the 107/2 cured that.  You might want to read his review of the 107/2s.

db
The KEF 107 has the soft dome t33 tweeter while the 107/2 has an aluminum tweeter. The t33 tweeter was used in many KEF speakers in the 80s and 90s. I have never heard the 107/2 but I would think that the aluminum tweeter would be brighter than the t33. Replacing the ferrofluid in the t33 is a fairly simple job.
Ciao Rhino. The question about the Kef 107 Kube is timely as I just wrote the following for an ad I'm in the process of creating. Hope this helps.

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The Kube's Preset Function
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Each pair of KEF 107s left the factory with a Kube unique to that specific speaker pair, and identified with a serial number identical to each speaker in that pair. An essential function of each Kube is to equalize the midranges and tweeters in their speaker pair to achieve frequency and sensitivity matching to within 0.5db or less. As such, each Kube (with its preset equalization factory customized via internal adjustments) is part of the design of a particular pair of KEF 107s and should be used with that pair in order to meet factory specifications and maximize the fidelity achieved.

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The Kube's User Adjustments
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How low bass response extends, another essential function, is User adjustable via a lower cut-off control with choice of 18Hz, 25Hz, 35Hz, or 50Hz. In addition, users can vary bass reproduction from being quite loose to quite tight and anywhere in-between. Also, the response below 160Hz can be increased or decreased by as much as 3dB. These user adjustments enable controlling speaker output to correlate to one's tastes, room requirements, and the music played.


ljgerens, will be auditioning them next week. I think I try replacing the ferrofluid myself. Thanks.

tubes108, I appreciate the info. The Kube is matched with the pair so I'm hopeful I can hear the difference. I do wonder after all this time if the Kube itself degradates much and if there is any way to know.