Kef Ref 3 or Focal Kanta 2


Hello all,

Been demoing speakers for 6 months or so and am torn between the above two. Im looking at these for the towers and center channel for incorporation into my existing room, about 500 sq ft. I am currently running a 7.1 set up with MartinLogan 60xt towers, ESL C center, SVS SB16 Ultra with GIK sound panels and base traps and decent amplification/prepro/cables. (NAD M22V2, M27, M17V2, AQ Castlerock speak cables and AQ Water interconnects).  

Not really looking for alternatives just opinions.  Pricing is within 15% of each other from my negotiations with dealers, unfortunately they arent anywhere close to each other so A to B listening isnt possible. 

Which would you do?  
laskakj
Both are great, but I’d go Kanta personally.  Although, I’d get the Kanta no3 for barely more money.  It’s a dramatically better speaker than the no2 for a nonsensical up charge.
https://www.stereophile.com/content/focal-kanta-no2-loudspeaker-measurements 
https://www.stereophile.com/content/kef-reference-5-loudspeaker-measurements 
https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1668:nrc-meas... 
 
The KEF Reference Line has better imaging, but the Kanta has a wider soundstage. 
 
The bass in Kanta decays quicker, whereas treble in the KEF decays quicker; and since long decay is more noticeable in the treble, I’d give the nudge to the KEF in terms of “tightness”.
I’ll add my $.02 worth of opinion/bias here.  Speaker preferences are just that - bias and opinion resulting in preference.  

Both are very well respected lines. Toward that end, regarding Focal: Are they detailed? Check.  Transparent? Check. Dynamic? Check. Accurate? Check.  Build quality? Check.  Any other boxes I may have missed? Check.

KEF Ref 3 checks all the same boxes by the way.  I would add imaging is superior to the Focal (and probably everything else in this price range).

Plenty of listeners will disagree with me - and perhaps even the majority - but I’ve yet to hear any Focal (from $ to $$$$) that I’d consider buying.  No matter the source or electronics, when I’ve heard them, I didn’t listen long.  They were initially exciting and fun, but ended up being fatiguing with time.   

For me, given my biases and my ears, the KEF would get my cash.  And, I particularly think they are the better match with your current NAD M series electronics which are quite good.  
Again, only my $.02.  
Thanks for the responses. After another round of demoing, I've ordered Kanta 3s. To my ears the Kanta 3 and Kef Ref had similar soundstage size and I like the mids better on the Kantas. 

It ultimately came down to my gut. Everytime I walked out of demoing Kantas, I wanted them and it was a struggle to not just put the money down. Whenever I heard the Kefs I would appreciate them but never found myself endlessly mulling over having to have them. Instead they were a, "I could be happy with those". 

To top everything off, the dealer I worked with on the Kanta's was awesome and worked an incredible deal for me. Looking forward to getting them this week and thanks again.  
Congrats on the Kanta 3 they should provide you many years of enjoyment.
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