Wrong combination of electronics, cable and room can make any speaker sound bad. I have heard the Blade1 and Blade 2 on multiple occasions and they sounded wonderful.
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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.
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