I used to own the predesecor the 201/2. It is a wonderful sounding speaker but is very ruthless imo to poor recordings because of its high resolution. It can be warm or bright depending on the recording. From what I have read the ref 1 is the same kind of super precision sound. If your equipment is of similar caliber with a balsey amp and you listen to mainly fairly well recorded material I bet they are phenominal.
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if you're referring to the 90s vintage reference 1, i posted a review here a long time aqo here:
i'm not familiar with a more recent kef reference 1
I work part time, for the East Coast's only displaying full line KEF retailer, Audio Doctor in Jersey City, they have the Ref 1, Ref 3, 2C, and a full Reference Theater, The Blades, R Series, Q Series, X, and T series on display as well as many other lines of speakers.
The Ref 1 are awesome, and will work wonders in that room, you can tune the bass via the ports to better work with the room and placement location, which is a rare feature in such a design.
The Ref 1 sound more like a large floor stander, then a mini monitor and their bass and dynamics are amazing. If you set them up correctly you will be rewarded with a huge holographic sound stage and their resolution and coherence puts them up against really expensive $10-15k compact speakers.
In terms of comparison with the R series the Reference just blows them away. The R series are great loudspeakers for the money, but the Reference series KEF has raised the performance to an entirely different level.
The Reference series is a much more sophisticated speaker and employs many new patented ideas as well as build concepts in use by other companies here is a list of the differences:
1: Reference composite damped aluminium, front baffle with tensioning bolts to absorb energy and minimize resonance transfer into the cabinet.
vs Regular MDF box in the R series
The drivers are much more advanced in ways that you don't see:
2: The tweeter is comprised of two layers of aluminium with different shapes to change the radiation pattern and break up resonances in the dome, The Reference tweeter combines the extended high frequencies of a diamond driver without the weight extension goes up to 35K
single piece dome in the R series.
3: The woofer has a more extended throw with a new type of suspension and damping system.
4: Better cabinet bracing.
5: Better crossover parts and designs
When you look at the R&D book from KEF on all the research the engineering department went through and all the new patents on driver design, you will quickly realize that the Reference series is an entirely different level of speaker than many other speakers.
The KEF Stands are really superb, they will sound great on Hegel and the PS, I would recommend if you haven't purchased those components you might be able to hear some other electronics that you might like even better.
I've had my Reference 1 Speakers running for a few weeks and wow they are amazing. They don't sound like bookshelfs at all. They sound huge. The sound stage and precision are easily a upgrade over the well regarded LS50 that it replaced in my setup. The bass output is surprisingly robust for my 17x15 room when I need more kick I turn on my dual JL e112 subs.