Sonus Faber Grand Piano's come to mind. like the Kef's..a 4 ohm speaker but with better definition across the freq. range. and better imaging, smooth sounding speaker. I suggest a search and see what you come across. ;)
I would guess a properly set up B&W 801 sreies 2 or 3 would do well.......Had a pair for many years. I also always liked the KEF 104/2s ( almost bought a pair myself ). The B&W matrix 801 series will give you all you need to improve from the KEFs ..Good luck
I used to love those Kef speakers. In their day, they were awesome. Both of the above are good suggestions. I'd also consider a Audio Physic Virgo II for a little less money (+/- $2500) or Watt Puppy 6's for a little more $$'s (+/- 10k). Room size and other equipment need to be considered. Feel free to provide some more info...
Soliloquy, Vienna Acoustics, and Vandersteen all have several models that have an overall warm character that is similar to the old Kef sound. I like the Soliloquy 6.5 (own), Vienna Acoustics Beethoven, and Vandersteen 3A. The Soliloquy 6.5 has a very clean and deep bass with a lot of impact. It requires a fairly large room, though, or the bass can overload the room.
Dynaudio Contour S 3.4 or Audience 82, Spendor S9e, Tannoy TD- 10, Thiel CS2.4 and Proac Response D25.
I might be off in left field on this,but I listen to generally the same type and other tyoes of music and I would look to trying Metal Driver Technolgy speakers like Acoustic Energy AE-1's or similar speaerks as they excel in transparency and Bass presentation.
Thanks for all the comments
Soliloquy and Vandersteen are already on my list. I'm surprised at the mention of Sonus Faber and Vienna Acoustics. From what I understand these are pretty "warm" speakers (some would say staid) that excel at, say, classical music and vocals, but aren't the best choice for rock music (stuff like Radiohead, Wilco, Flaming Lips, etc). The Kefs, while on the warm side of neutral, are to my ears hardly warm and romantic sounding.
Panny, by "Metal Driver Technology" I assume you mean aluminum dome tweeters? If so, I already have a HT consisting of Paradigm Reference Studio speakers. They are fine for watching DVDs but aren't to my liking on 2-channel music.
Texsun, the upper models of Vienna do sound kind of over-ripe, but the Beethovens are, like you say, just on the warm side of neutral. I'm not sure they have the kind of slam you want but they are worth an audition. You might like Aerials also (lots of slam), but you have to be careful with system matching or the tweeters can be a little bright.
I just sold my 104/2 and bought a pait of Thiel 2.4s. They are not at all similar. It was a great upgrade, but the characteristics were not similar. I think B&W 7NT, 9NT sound similar. The mids and highs are in the same mold, but the bass is tighter on the B&W's, but lack the extension of the 104/2. I prefer the B&W's
The Silverline Sonata is an outstanding bargain and one of the most musically satisfying speaker systems on the market
a compelling musical rightness from top to bottom
Buy these, just listen to the music, and forget about hi-fi forever.
- Paul Bolin / the absolute sound
Issue 133 (Dec. 2001 / Jan. 2002)
Quoted with permission from the absolute sound
Th only speakers that I have found that image as well are the Dali model 4 and 5. This is why I modded mine. Now they beat Dalis, even the new KEF reference series.
I have been looking for a source to do a sensible mid-life (at least) upgrade of the venerable KEF 104/2. Could you please share the contact information / website as to where you obtained your upgrade and the extent of the upgrade? How did the company ensure the pair-matched criterion of the crossovers/drives? Thanks.
I replaced my 104/2s with 107/2s that give a more refined sound with even better imaging and bass that extends to a useable 20 Hz. If I were to leave the KEF line, I'd look at the Aerial 7T. You can find reviews of the 107/2 by John Atkinson and Thomas Norton at Stereophile. In essence, the 107/2 was one of the best speakers either had heard.