Magico A1 vs KEF Reference 1 (META) vs KEF LS50 + KEF KC62
I want to get a monitor speaker for a room that is 17'W x 22'L x 24'H and shared with my sons toys. The room actually opens up some more to a living room and a balcony on the second floor. So there is some volume to fill. I also need to use a monitor and not a more appropriate floor stander. I am limited to where I can place a speaker. It MUST be placed on a bookshelf that is 2 inches from the front wall and has the following dimensions. Depth: 17 3/8 " Height: 20 1/2 "
I am currently using KEF LS50's (passive) on the bookshelf. It works well but I would like more bass and a bigger sound.
I was thinking of the Magico A1 since it is sealed and can be comfortably placed on a bookshelf. Magico even sells 5 degree angled bookshelf stands for the A1. However, the price seems very high for a 2 way speaker.
The KEF Reference 1 is a speaker I always liked (heard it many times). However, I always heard it away from the front wall.
I have been trying to get some info out of KEF on the Meta stuff and also placement of the REFERENCE 1 monitor. However, no feedback yet. The Reference 1 is rear ported and maybe not too good close to a wall. I would also wait for the META stuff to appear on the Reference 1.
The other option is using my existing KEF LS50's + KEF KC62 subwoofer (placed on bookshelf). Though I am not sure if this combo is strong enough for my space.
I am using a KRELL K-300i integrated for this system. It would work well with the Magico and both KEF's.
So my questions are as follows:
1) Is the Magico A1 strong enough for the space? I assume it is a bit more detailed than both KEF's. I have demoed the A3. 2) Can the KEF Reference 1 be placed very close to the front wall? Would the META help in placement close to a wall? 3) Is the
KEF LS50's + KEF KC62 subwoofer combo strong enough for my room?
I guess I could also use the KEF KC62 subwoofer with the Magico A1 and also the KEF
I am seriously thinking of getting the Yamaha NS5000 that is classified as a bookshelf speaker. I have recently learned that it can be placed close to a front wall without catastrophic results. My only issue is that it is a relatively large speaker compared to other monitors and I am tight on space. This one should really be placed on the stands that Yamaha provides for it. This would make the space tighter than I would like. I think the other 3 speakers are actually more appropriate given my space restrictions.
I am looking for answers to my 3 questions and some opinions on my 3 choices.
The ref can be placed close to a rear wall as long as the port can breathe you will have no problem as per the kefs vs nagico the kef uses a waguide loaded dual con centric this creates us a very coherent sound and gives the ref ones a huge focused sound stage even placed in less then optimum positioning
Also tonally the kefs are well balanced where the magicos beryllium tweeter can be a bit on the hot side
There is no announced meta versions yet for thr reference line
Just because a speaker is sealed or front ported does not mean it performs well near wall. For example, the front ported Raidho X1/XT1 is awful near wall.
I would look at Vivid Kayas. The new S12 will eventually have a wall bracket. I have been using Kaya 45s less than a foot from the wall and they perform surprisingly well. The Kaya line is certain to excel in this application.
A bit pricier and has to be on the integrated stands, but the Wilson Benesch Vertexes are bottom ported and excel with near wall placement. I have these side-by-side with the Kaya 45s and my own speakers.
Perlisten S4b is a sealed, three way design. The floorstanding S7t is the best measuring speaker ever over at Audioholics and they are using the same technology (klippel) to optimize performance of all of their speakers and subwoofers for that matter. This is a very neutral, high performing speaker.
Verdant Nightshade and Blackthorn - despite being rear ported, I have tested using a port bung (foam plugs) and was very pleasantly surprised at how well the sound held together with placement 6" from the wall. You will lose about 10-15hz in bass response so a subwoofer would be critical. I think the Blackthorn is probably the better speaker for your taste if you like Kef and these are available for 30 day in-home trial.
The Magico A1 is a great speaker. I have been surprised to find the A line is a bit less bright than the S line. Ran into an issue where a relatively neutral amp delivered to warm of a sound with an Aqua DAC and we have to move to a more forward Musical Fidelity to drive a pair of A3s. I have not listened to these in a near wall application. I would look to see if someone has to be certain it will work.
Wilson TuneTot - they have a special port design to ensure optimal performance near wall. I have listened to these driven by a naim uniti atom and was pleasantly surprised. It is what you would expect from a little Wilson.
Audiovector R1 has an amazing AMT tweeter that is more natural sounding that you would expect. This might be the most neutral sounding speaker on the list. Has an aluminum baffle and some other interesting tech that makes it a very appealing design.
I am not a huge fan of the Kefs and will abstain from commenting. They are simply not to my taste.
These are all very big sounding speakers. Only the Perlistens Audiovectors are made from MDF/HDF and the AVs have an aluminum baffle. All the others use advanced cabinet materials which really help in terms of delivering a bigger sound.
I am a dealer for Raidho, Vivid, Wilson Benesch, Perlisten and obviously Verdant. I have no relationship with Kef, Magico, Audiovector or Wilson
Thanks guys for this great feedback. Last night after I posted I spoke with another person very familiar with KEF and he said the KEF Reference 1 over the LS50 + KC62 sub. He said the Ref 1 is a more refined sound.
I looked at the TuneTots a few days ago after another dealer I have worked with recommended them. However, they cost a lot and seem too small for my space. This dealer used to be a TAD ME1 dealer (I demoed it there) and I was considering the TAD ME1 for this room but it is no longer distributed in the USA. It is a great speaker but it does need a little space on the back, which is surprising considering the side vented ports.
I know the Vivid Kaya 45/90 very well (demoed the 90). I was seriously considering that for my office but went with a used Thiel CS3.7 and rebuilt it with new drivers. I drive it with a CODA 07x and #8. I spoke with Vivid on the placement of the Kaya (and Giya G4) and they said near wall placement is OK because of the tube they use to kill some of the rear wave. The Kaya 45/90 is not doable in this living room because of the side firing woofers would be right beside the bookshelves. I was considering the KEF Blades that have the woofers higher up than the Kaya but that it is too much of a speaker for this bad placement.
I recently looked at Vivid S12 but I do not want to put any holes in the wall for that new stand that is coming out. I also am not comfortable with a 2 way speaker in this space I have.
The 2 speakers I seem to be coming back to are the KEF Ref 1 and the Yamaha NS5000. I have heard both and would be happy with either, though maybe a little happier if I could get the NS5000 to work.
If I go with the Ref 1. I will wait for the Meta and use my KRELL K-300i integrated.
If I go with the Yamaha NS5000 I will go with my Benchmark AHB2 mono + AudioByte VOX | ZAP | HUB (need to buy this stack) - Topping pre90 preamp or Benchmark LA4 preamp or no preamp
Going with the KRELL + Ref 1 is simpler and it also sounds great.
BTW - I did demo the Magico A3 but did not "JUMP ON THE A3 ASAP"
I would have reservations about using the Reference 1 speakers on a shelf, unless the shelf is absolutely rock solid. The KEFs can put out a significant amout of bass (for their size), so I would worry about the shelf shaking or resonating with all that bass. I am really pleased with my Reference 1s, but mine are solidly mounted to heavy stands about 3 feet from the back wall, in a much smaller room than the OP's.
I made a decision on this today. The main driver being the ease of use of the KRELL via ROON. The convenience factor of being able to adjust the volume using my cell phone is pretty important when I have multiple balls in the air when I am in that room. The KRELL is the only ROON READY component I have owned that supports this.
The KRELL works great with the KEF drivers. It also has built-in support for a sub. So today I ordered the KEF KC62 sub to pair with my LS50s. I will upgrade the LS50’s to the Ref 1 when they go META.
I do not think the KRELL will be as complimentary with the NS5000, 2 warm-ish components. The Benchmark gear I have will require a power strip, a streamer, a few more cables, and a remote that I will have to search for. Following the KISS principle I am going with the KRELL.
Go with the Kef subs always subs lol. But really subs for the win every time. One of the powered Kef speakers will integrate with the sub as it has a highpass crossover built in. This video goes over them. https://youtu.be/Y2Lc8oOinOY
Are you agents setting speakers on their side? Jbl 4329 could be a cool 3rd system lol. Something different and probably works well agents a wall with its’ horn and somewhat rolled off low end (front ported too)
Another small speakers is Revels 128be it is a small speaker that should be an upgrade from the Kef. At $4k it is less than half the Magico and probably objectively as good… subjectively that is up for debate. I have only spent time with the Kef Reference 3 and the revel 328be but the mids and highs were a lot better on the revel, cleaner and could play stupid loud. Bass was better too but that is probably a given due to size. Really bettered the Kef in all aspects. Not sure how it translates to the book shelves.
I am starting to like the idea of the small KEF sub because I have a small space beside the left speaker (3 foot) after I rearranged the shelves yesterday. If it does not work I can sell it.
My LS50's are 10 years old and are the original passive ones. So not powered or having any DSP built-in like the one in the YouTube video mentioned above. I have had some great amps on this speaker and it has always risen to the challenge. I tend to like concentric drivers, such as Thiel , KEF, TAD. Especially in challenging rooms, though this living room likely does not benefit from the concentric drivers.
These amps were very good to amazing on the LS50's, KRELL, CODA(s), Benchmark, Bryston(s), even Peachtree.
After owning Revel Salon 1 I told myself I will never buy a Revel again. I had too many repair issues. It sounded pretty good when it worked.
Magico is not a speaker brand I look for as my first choice however, the A1 was touted as playing big and also fairly nicely on a bookshelf. I liked the A3 when I demoed it though I liked a few other speakers more for the same application, Vivid, Yamaha, Paradigm. ************************************* On a side note. I love the new TIDAL Daily Mix feature that showed up on ROON. It took my deep dive past listening choices and dove even deeper.
Why not look at the Focal Sopra1 that is a excellent Loudspeaker with excellent reviews, 39 lbs built very solid much better then most. Perrotta consultants Anthony gives fair pricing and great package deals.
Personally I don’t like integrated low end class D amps in loudspeakers , subs that's ok , a separate quality power amp much better sound . class D can be good but in the $1000s , not a $200 amp in a speaker . general rule of thumb only 25% on average goes into a Loudspeaker including the cabinet, this too applies to Electronics on average, the rest of cost is overhead, and markup .
@audioman58 The KRELL K-300i is a Class A amp (first 90 watts) that unfortunately cost $8K MSRP. The 10 year old passive KEF LS50 does not have a built-in Class D amp. As I stated in a post above.
These amps were very good to amazing on the LS50’s, KRELL, CODA(s), Benchmark, Bryston(s), even Peachtree.
I also did look at the Focal Sopra. It would also work similarly to the KEF Ref 1. Maybe a little better or worse depending on your preferences.
The speaker that I have considered that is better than everything that I have mentioned (at least to my ears) is the Yamaha NS5000. It s an incredible sounding speaker. It also costs about 3x more than what I could get the REF 1 for and it is big. It also may not be as good as a smaller bookshelf close to the wall. So I would be wasting money getting something of that caliber and then positioning it in non-ideal way.
I am going to see if I can sneak in the stands I have for my LS50’s into the room. I have a small kid, dog, and wife that could throw a wrench into those plans but I will see what happens this weekend.
Good luck ,it’s not easy to get a ideal fit sometimes. my brother has $$ 6 digits in audio equipment where I have to plan on my next buy , sometimes others don’t realize just how lucky there are when $$ is not the limiting factor.
Hello, You have to demo these speakers. I love the KEF Reference 1s. The port does have a few tricks for tuning the port. The KEF LS50 meta are ported too. The KC62 is too small and too picky about placement. You would be better off with the big brother KF92 due to the extra db. Another speaker you should look at is the DALI minuets SE. They are ported but designed to go near the wall. I would still add the KEF KF92 sub or even better a JL Audio sub. If you add the JL Audio F110 sub it will blend it in perfect. I know these DALI speakers look tiny but they are monsters when it comes to the sound. The store I buy gear from has everything except the Magico’s. https://holmaudio.com/ This store lets you try in your home before you buy. Also, KEF and JL Audio have wireless kits for the subwoofers. A last option would be the REL subwoofers. They have a unique Speakon hookup.
@hshifi My overriding issue is space to put my gear. At present I have my LS50s on the shelve with no bung (is that what it is called) in the rear port. I think it sounds pretty good, mainly because there is no side reflections close by and the ceiling is so high. I am really impressed by the sonics in this room.
I bought the KC62 subwoofer today. It maybe not as good as the bigger subs but it fits better than anything bigger. I asked my dealer to get me to the head of the line when the KEF Reference 1 META is released. I will try it with the KC62.
So for now I will have KRELL K-300i | EtherRegen | LS50 | KC62. With the LS50 to be replaced hopefully soon with the Reference 1 META. I put the Yamaha NS5000 to bed. It is too big for the space I have along the LONG wall placement.
The new KC62 has received great reviews. The only con I’ve seen is some of the reviewers think it’s a bit expensive. I think your thoughts about getting the Ref 1’s to go with the KC62, should make you very happy. Elite Enterprises in St. Charles, MO that sells KEF and I have already warned them that I want to hear the LS50 Metas, the Ref 1, and players to be named later. I’m planning on making an appointment next week.
Hello, You might not need the sub once the KEF Reference 1 meta comes out in the space you intend to put them. These are one of my favorite speakers of all time and I am considering these for myself due to already having a killer subwoofer setup. I love the piano black with the copper color. I might even pop for the matching stands. At $2k they are expensive. Sound Anchor has a nice setup for these as well for half the price. I am waiting for a new front end to do a final test in my house. I love that they are a true three way speaker. On the Ayre EX-8 these speakers were so clean and detailed. Plus, they sounded like the had a subwoofer attached. That’s amazing. I also love the Reference 3s but they cost $6k more or $4k more if you add the stands to the Reference 1s. This store in the Chicagoland area lets you try in your hone before you buy. https://holmaudio.com/ I am lucky they are a KEF dealer so I can make the best decision for me and my room. I hate having buyers remorse.
You are right that I may not need the sub. However, it may be a while before the META is released for the Reference 1. Since the LS50 META did not have a price hike with the META I do not expect a hike on the Reference. So getting the sub should hold me until then. Since I will not be selling my LS50s I can always keep the sub around with them if they are nit needed with the Reference 1. I do have a lot of volume to fill in my living room so I expect the sub to likely be needed.