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Hi Jay, I like the Blades very much. I suspect your anomaly lies in your room acoustics. Room control or proper treatment would take care of it. You might also move the speaker closer to the wall but you have to deaden your first reflection points. Most people auditioning loudspeakers do not do the full Monty in acoustic management because they still do not know if these are the speakers for them.
With the speakers in your room with your gear only you can (should) determine whether they are the right speaker. If you are working with a dealer ask them to ensure proper setup, sit back with your favorite music and decide whether YOU like them. This forum is (sometimes) good at helping narrow down the field where in home audition is not available but utterly useless when the speakers are sitting in your home.
Room acoustics are the main reason I cannot get the Blade2 at the moment. My side walls are too close. Love those speakers though.
One option would be to look at DSP using convolution files as I use in my office. In this scenario you place the speakers where you want and let the DSP magic to it's things. However, I would only use this with streaming sources, not analog sources. It would also help if you are a ROON or JRvier user.
I use the following which was remotely setup for me. It will "fix" the room if that is an issue, which it usually is.
Honestly I feel what you hear is similar with the Kefs. I can’t comment with the blades as I did not spend much time with them (as they were more than I wanted to spend) but I felt like the Reference 3 had a similar sound.
The mids lacked dynamics a bit and the bass was strong but lacked texture. I walk away thinking the Reference 3 sounded like a sub satilight. All in all ok but I like the Olympica Nova III and Wilson Sabrina better.
The first thing I wonder is what is the amp/preamp you are using. Second is blades need serious space. At least 16’ wide and about 27’- 30’ deep. Third is are they broken in. All of these retail places do not get enough hours on there speakers. 200 hours on a tweeter and 500 on the drivers. Most places have one or two listening rooms. Yet there are 20 full size speakers that have not been broken in fully. Last but not least is the cables. You are auditioning $32,000 speakers for the full blades. You should have serious cables throughout your whole system. I am not saying you don’t. It amazes me when I hear people have $5,000 DACs still using the standard black power cable and a digital cable they spent $15 on. I am going to recommend Revel speakers. Try the 328be. The whole speaker is really good. The closest to the Blade 2s would be the Revel Salon 2s but for half the price of the blades you could get the 328be. The tweeter and mids are incredible. I am auditioning from https://holmaudio.com/
the Revel M126be bookshelf speakers right now to get a feel for the sound signature until I can demo the 228be which are out on demo to someone else. These small bookshelf speakers filled a 14’ x 24’ room. I do have 2 REL subs to cover below 50hz but you would not need to do that with the bigger speakers which can go down to 22hz. I hope this helped.
I wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to respond. I’m recuperating from shoulder surgery, so I’m a bit late getting back to you. Lot’s of good questions, and thoughts to consider. Here are a few answers........I will be upgrading all my components at some point, I’m starting with speakers. The second upgrade was the purchase of a Lumin X1 (streamer/preamp/DAC). which I run directly balanced through an aging McIntosh MC 452. This new digital source has made quite a difference. Cables are previous generation Transparent, and the preamp is an aging McIntosh C-2300. Analog source is the Clearaudio Ovation.
As some of you had pointed out room size and treatment seems to be the first order of business. Room size is 13’ wide x 26’ deep x 10’ high, just a bit slim for the Blades, or so I thought. I have been able to repeat the original problem with another set of speakers, so the crossover of the Blades is not at fault. The room needs some major work. I’ve had some topflight help from KEF, including their Head of Marketing/Technology Development. The Blades can be placed in such a way to perform well even in a room as narrow as mine. Of course opinions will vary. I have elected to go with the Blade 2’s however. My wife has registered an opinion on the considerable size of the Blades.
I will be working with a local sound expert, for room treatment. The technology involved in managing room acoustics is over my head at the moment.
Someone mentioned Revel, love ’em! I used to run the first version Salon 1 many years ago, but there is no dealer within 200 miles of me. I had given up the audiophile habit after that, and now with time on my hands I’m edging back in one foot at a time. I appreciate not everyone is a KEF fan, this my second KEF after the Reference 1. The Blade 2’s are coming in two weeks, by then I will start dealing with the walls.
BTW, if you’ve heard room placement is an issue with these, and other side firing speakers, believe it! Once you get the right spot, these boys come to life. Someone mentioned playing with the positioning, and that was it, save room treatments. I agree that upstream electronics are also a big influence on the sound, so my next order of business will be an updated amplifier, maybe.
Thanks again everyone.................additional thoughts welcome.
If you look at the horizontal dispersion characterstics of the Blade, they are a bit on uneven side past 30 degrees off-axis.
The newer Reference and R series are a lot better in this regard and should have much less variation as you move around. While they also start dropping off at around 30 degrees, the continued drop off is very gradual and should sound a lot more uniform.
Bump, I had the kef r105/3 that had 2 6'' mid bass drivers and they still made male vocals sound like choir boys. Designers believe wide dispersion speakers are the way to go and maybe so, but with that coax driver pushing so much radiated sound of reflected surfaces and our ears being more sensitive around the 3khz range we need room to let the speakers breathe. My solution was to put acoustic tiles over the sheetrock on my 7' ceiling, use heavy carpet pad under the carpet and keep the speakers 5' from the sidewalls. I'm looking at the Blade now and if I go for it i'll be posting my impressions for sure.
Speakers with metal drivers are a pita. Pulling my old speakers that used poly cone drivers and dropping in a pair with all metal drivers sucked. I just went through several of the affordable headliners (ahem 20-30k list) and while there’s no denying the speed and resolution they all have a clinical vs musical sound to them.
It’s more work getting these new, clinical, ‘tools to analyze music’ to actually sound musical but once we do the results undeniable. I decided to go with the blades over the other brands and models I had in here because out of the box the bass, soundstage and imaging are already the best I’ve heard. Still a bit more recording dependent than I want, but I’ve only had them 3 weeks.