A former owner of KEF Reference 107/2s posted that he moved to Blades, and that it is the obvious progression. I really love the sound of my 107/2s, and John Atkinson and Tom Norton raved about them in their reviews a few decades ago, but I'm wondering if it's time to move on. I haven't heard either the Blade or Blade 2s. Anyone had the opportunity to compare 107/2s with Blade 2s? I've had a lot of opportunity to compare the sound of the 107/2s with LS50s supplemented by Velodyne HGS-10 subs. The LS50s are amazing speakers, but not quite 107/2s, especially for large orchestrations.
Stick to the 107/2. The Uni-Q driver doesn’t sound integrated at all SPL levels with the bass - maybe they cross it over to low and it runs out of steam - don’t know but that is what I hear on the KEF R700.
Anyway it is a strange beast. Normally a driver has a good setup and crossover point but KEF seem to vary the lower crossover points on the UNi-Q a lot between various models.
From what I heard, the Uni-q is great at female vocals but NOT quite there on male vocals! I think the lower mid range is not right for some reason - especially when cranked. This means large orchestral or rock may not sound integrated across deep bass through to lower mid range - especially at higher realistic levels...
Not saying this is so , I didn’t hear it my self . But, a friend , mostly a jazz listener, told me that was true on R700 but not on R500. If I had a good KEF made in England I would keep it . KEF was my go-to brand for 20 years .
I've never heard a KEF speaker of an earlier vintage than the last 5 years so I don't know what the Ref 107/2s sound like. I have had the chance to listen to the Blades a number of times and they're probably the second best speaker I've ever heard (second to Wilson Audio Alexx). I personally found no fault in the Blade in terms of coherence, dynamics, detail, and ease. The Blade is universally acclaimed in the audio press. Go find a place where you can listen to them and decide for yourself.
There is a very slight compromise in the Blade 2 and even Blade speaker in regards to the point where the bass/mids from the side firing drivers crosses in the UniQ mid driver. Its a small compromise gives in trade an optimized baffle shape that allows the Blade series to have an improved image and sound stage as compared to the Reference 5 model, which shares some similarities in driver complement.
Honestly, its not something your would really notice unless you carefully compared the two side by side. Either speaker is very well sorted out and you have to option to the Reference 5 if you so choose.
If you exclude the bass of the Blades (play something acoustic) and compare to the LS50 the Blades are still way better. The Blades disappear and give the best soundstage I have heard. It also has the largest sweet spot of any speaker I have heard. Compare the Wilson Alexa to a Blade and you will see the difference in sweet sport size.
The KEF Reference line is also very good. Not Blade level but the Uni-Q driver is also excellent on the Reference line. The lack of coherence on the Blades is a new one to me. Everyone’s ears are different, mine love the Blades.
I heard the older top of the line KEF model at a dealer and I was not that enamored. The Blades and LS50 I love.
Although I have no experience with the 107/2s, I do have a Pair of Blade 2's powered by a chord hugo 2 > c22 pre amp > 2x Mcintosh 275 in mono. The speakers do truly disappear and the soundstage is incredible. I never really thought a pair of speakers could place a singer or an instrument with with such precision. Sometimes I swear the must be a center speaker between the blades. It has been a long time since I've stopped trying to replace some component, but for at least now, I'm there. Perhaps a pair of mc2301s one day, but benefit/cost is getting marginal at this point and the equipment too big.
I also have a KEF LS50 on my imac with a chord mojo, decware zma amp (40w tube) and a small subwoofer (velodyne minivee 8"). I'm not a fan of subwoofers unless necessary but the little ls50's can only move so much air. I've tried the wireless LS50's but wound up returning them after a week. They had much better low end but they just didn't sound magical to me. This could have been due to tube amplification on my passives, also partly to blame for the weaker low end.
Anyway, if you love the LS50's, the Blade's are another level. I find both of them to be amazing. I had a pair of Reference 1's for about a year and I would describe those as being close to what Blades sound like, but still missing the low end. If you happen to be in NYC, you can come hear them.
I have heard the Blades (not the Blade 2s), several times. I had never liked them much. I found the sound pinched, congested and centered in the upper midrange. Then I heard them driven by Odyssey Stratos Mono Extremes. It was like another speaker altogether. Point of the post is that, with the Blades, amplification selection is critical. Not just watts, but the quality of the watts.
@steve59I see you are selling your Blades now. What are you keeping or replacing them with? I have 107's, Tannoy Arden's, and LS50's. Was all content but then I went to AXPONA. I really liked the Janszen A8-SE's, of all things. But would have to do another audition before I'd give up what I have. Plus the price of those Janszens (new) is as much as used Blades, which I have kind of lusted after...
How did you find the Blades compared to the 107/2's? I do really like my 107's...especially for the money. Ridiculous Price:Performance ratio, IMHO.
I’ve often regretted giving away the 107/2s. I did so because the KUBE wasn’t balanced, and I was moving to an all Ayre set up: DX-5 DSD, QX-5 Twenty, KX-5 Twenty, and VX-5 Twenty, that sounds best balanced. I replaced the 107/2s with Reference 1s, augmented with a pair of Velodyne HGS-15s with SMS-1 acoustic bass management and high-passed with a passive balanced Marchand filter. I’ve yet to hear Blade 2s or 207/2s.
ddunne83, I have the Blades and a pair of meridian dsp 8000 I bought the se upgrade for and I just have too much money into speakers right now, both are for sale on usam. I took a fixed amount of money and decided to try every speaker I could find at used prices I could resell at or close to what I paid for them and I’m trying everything I can.
The R107/2 has deep bass that avoids the midbass hump every other speaker design has, but the mid tweeter is slightly colored, my pair never had the ferrofluid replaced so that could have been the cause. The blades need more room around them and don’t go as deep, (my R107/2 measured down to 17 hz!) but the blade1 can pressurize a room just as well if not more down to 30 hz and decent output at 25. Both speakers xover at 350 hz but the blade takes more care in placement to get male vocals right, something that was so natural for the R107/2 to do. I agree the soundstage with the blades is amazing and again the tweeter is smoother while the midrange needs more care with placement. The Blades are more of a refined R105/3 than R107/2 and less of the traditional ’British’ sound of the Raymond Cooke days.
@dbphdBlades around Santa Barbara are limited. The best bet would be the next Los Angeles show when the Blade Meta should show up. Excel Audio in Newport Beach had a pair of Blades a few years ago but I think they are sold now.
yyzsantabarbara -- I'll take you up on that offer.
I never actually tried the R107/2s with the Ayre setup, because I had had a poor experience inserting a Bryston high-pass filter between the preamp and amp, and I was admonished not to put anything between them because of the zero-negative feedback used in Ayre designs. R107/2s rely on the KUBE.
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