New 2018 KEF R series...?


Just saw the what-hifi review of the R3 which seems to be replacing the R300 (Not to be confused with the Ref 3) 

bit confusing name scheme. I suspect a lot of people are going to be confused in the near future.

anyway, what do you guys think? I figure they need a lot of space, I was interested in a Ref 3 for a time (NOT the R3) but I came to the realization I really needed about double the space I currently have. 

alas we are all the victim of our listening areas.
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Did a little research. Looks like they borrow the baffle used in the REFERNCE series. They claim it's better. Here are the listed specs of the R3:

Design Three-way bass reflex
Drive Units Uni-Q Driver Array:
HF: 25mm (1in.) vented aluminium dome
MF: 125mm (5in.) aluminium cone
Bass Driver:
LF: 165mm (6.5in.) hybrid aluminium
Crossover frequency 400Hz, 2.9kHz
Frequency range (-6dB)
Typical in-room bass response (-6dB) 38Hz - 50kHz
30Hz
Frequency response (±3dB) 52Hz - 28kHz
Harmonic distorition (90dB, 1m) <0.3% 130Hz - 20kHz
Maximum output 110dB
Amplifier power (recommended) 15 - 180W
Nominal Impedance 8Ω (min.3.2Ω)
Sensitivity (2.83V/1m) 87dB
Weight * 13.5 kg (29.8 lbs.)
Dimension (H x W x D)
with terminal * 422.2 x 199.6 x 335.5 mm
(16.6 x 7.9 x 13.2 in.)
Finishes Black Gloss / White Gloss / Walnut

Its definitely based on the Reference 1, but less robust cabinet and baffle, smaller overall cabinet, and drivers that are tapped instead of bolted through.

Stereoplay has tested the R7 and they indicate a step forward in the latest UniQ. Kef details a 12th generation of the driver that reduces the air gap between the tweeter and midrange. Seems the shadow flare also helps dispersion as that shows some improvement. For the asking price, its a competitive product and should be auditioned if one was in the market for something like this. You can also try the Elac Adante, which is rather similar in design. Sonus Faber Sonnetto II will have a distinctly different sound. This would in the least be a good starting point.
Read through the (very detailed) white paper on the new series. Of course a lot of ad-speak, but it seems a lot of facts and illustrations to back it up. I should get to hear the R3 this weekend.

[url]http://us.kef.com/media/doc/r2018_whitepaper_en.pdf[/url]
Any updates here? Curious about the new lineup, specifically the R3’s. It would be interesting to compare them to the R5’s as the bookshelves have a larger LF woofer (6.5" vs 5.25") albeit only one of them.
I see that some colors of the new R series are in stock at kefdirect. I’m really curious to see how good they sound. 
I brought home the R 3s last night. After setting up and getting positioning right I began to play with them. Streamed a little of everything on Amazon, then played some of my favorite Jazz cds and finished with some vinyl. it's only been one night, but I'm pretty happy. Vocals are incredibly clean, mid range is detailed and the sound stage is well defined. The bass is ample and tight for a speaker this size, but I did add a old Polk sub I had laying around, and preferred the addition of the sub with most music. I'm gonna live with them for a while, but I feel I will be shopping for a new sub shortly. My listening room is 13 x 17 and the ceilings are 16 feet high, no problem filling the room. The speakers are beautiful, I bought piano black, they compliment my other equipment.

Yamaha AS2100
Yamaha CDS2100
Dennon DP51F
Grado Red2
KEF definitely got their act together these days.  Seem to offer very good value at many price points.  Quad too.
Hello guys we just got our display products and are burning in the line now. There is still a big difference between the Reference and the new R. The new R does seem to capture a bit more of the References magic.

It will be interesting to do a comparison of the KEF R 11 at $5k vs the Dali Rubion 6 at $5,500 and then the Elac AS 61 $5k and the Quad Z4 at $4,200.00 to see which in our opinion is the best overall speaker in this price range.

The Kef’s do seem very smooth, deep tight bass, good treble clarity and a big soundstage. it is too early to see where they stack up.

The comment about Kef with their act together is very true, they keep on coming out with really outstanding speakers, the new LSX or KEF LS 50 Wireless Juniors sounded awesome at CAP so we also bought a pair.

With the Kef LS 50, LS 50 Wireless, LSX Kef is rounding out nicely the starter Audiophile active market. and with the new Q and R series they are building great contenders in those price points.

We just got in the new Dali Oberon series as well so in that $1,500 floorstanding range it is also going to be a good shootout.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
@audiotroy 

Have the addressed the subtle metallic treble that was occasionally noticeable in the old R-series?  
So what do you all think is suitable for a home office desk? I currently have Monitor Audio 100's. Love the sound and curvaceousness, bass. My desk is big, so they're about 3' from me toed in.

I was thinking LS50W, R300, or R3. I also was tempted with B&W 805D3. 

The 50's let me avoid the amp on the desk and strike me as the only ones geared more for near-field.
Whats wrong with those Monitor Audio then? Look pretty good!

Are they on isolating stands? If not that might be worth a shot to get the best from any desktop speaker.   I recommend Isoacoustics brand, readily available on Amazon or elsewhere. Be sure to check the measurements to get the right size.
They are on isolating bumpers. They are gorgeous speakers in Piano Ebony which is a Mocha/Black mixture.

I just thought perhaps something exotic may make a huge difference, such as B&W 805 D3. Since this forum is KEF, is the R3's are like Reference 1's (close enough), that also compete.

Is there anything to gain to the setup? Maybe a KEF r400b? Perhaps swap the Peachtree for a McIntosh Integrated?

I mention the LS50W's since it eliminates the amp.
Has anyone heard both these Kef speakers and the Elac as51 that could describe the similarities or differences in sound?  

These KEFs do cost about 20% less.  Are the Elacs worth the extra dough?

I just purchased the R11s.

For the past few years, my system was an Antipodes server into a PS audio PerfectWave dac into a Rogue ST100 amp to Vapor Audio Cirrus Black speakers using mostly Verastarr cables. I have been thinking about new speakers for about a year and listened to all the usual suspects, but not the Magico A3s yet. I was thinking that I would need to spend about $10K, or more for something closer to full range. My thought was to start with fairly neutral speakers and then start working back through the system…again.

Last week, I stopped by a Best Buy to buy an iPhone case and started to wander the store. I listened to the new Kef R11s and was impressed. This is a horrible environment to audition equipment, but they sounded nice. The sales guy said that he didn’t have any “new” R11s in inventory, but the demo pair was just put on the floor and he would sell them at a heavily discounted price. If I didn’t like them, I could return them in January for a full refund. I bought them. Driving home with two big boxes in the back, it dawned on me…I just purchased speakers from f&#$%@g Best Buy. I think this is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

I got them home and hooked everything up. To my surprise, I was not struck by lightning. The speakers look nice and are in pristine condition. Their dynamic capabilities far outpace the Vapors, but what really surprised me was the tweeter. The Kef tweeter does not have the delicacy or sweetness of the Raal amorphous core, but it’s close enough that I don’t miss the Raal. The Kefs also highlight an issue with the Vapors that I had never noticed before…the Raal and AudioTechnology mid-woofer have different personalities that don’t completely blend. Also, the AT driver is a little beamy. The Kefs are of one voice and very balanced. Another surprise was image depth. I have always thought Kef was good at image width and defining edges, but these are also credible with depth. My back wall does not melt away, but it is certainly pushed back.

These speakers are staying and Kef just saved me at least $5K for a couple of years. I am not insinuating these are giant killers. I just think they are very nice.


can you please comment on midrange transparency, say compared to a british monitor for example?   also, do you notice the metallic qualities in the treble that the prior r series had?  thanks.  
Avanti wejust put out the new KEF R line, and we have a lot of experience with KEF, and many other brands of loudspeakers we sell, Dali, Quad, Cabasse, Paradigm, Elac, ATC,  Legacy, Rethem and PSB to name most of our major loudspeakers.

The "British sound" you mentioned is not really as much of a thing today. 

Yes there are loudspeakers such as Harbeth and Falcon's versions of the LS 3/5A which tend to feature a prominent smooth midrange a polite treble and tight fast clean but not particularly low bass.

Most of today's higher performance British loudspeakers from B&W and Kef are very low distortion designs which tend to be more balanced then the previously mentioned loudspeakers.

If you like the older more colored Britsh sound of speakers like Harbeth or Proac, you may not like the  much less colored more articulate sound of today's best Britsh loudspeakers. 

Even ATC which we adore and it so typically Britsh sounds very clean with an accurate midrange and very low levels of coloration. 

The new R series is much more refined than the older R series it replaces, the older R series was a bit peaky but they created a very exciting sound, the new R series comes a lot closer to the Reference product in that it images more precisely, is faster with more articulate bass and the treble is detailed with more refinement.

We just did a shoot out of the R 11 vs the Elac Adante AF 61 vs the Quad Z4 and the client choose the Kef R 11 as his favorite.

Hope that helps

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

Regarding the British monitors, I don’t know how to answer that question.

Regarding Elac, I did hear the big version recently at a local demonstration by Andrew Jones. The system used JC-1 monoblock amps and an AR preamp. I would say the Kefs and Elacs both have good build quality. The Elacs look a little more imposing due to their extra width. Sonically, please take this with a large grain of salt, the Elacs sounded very impressive until I picked up on a hollow quality. Once I heard this, I could not un-hear it and now notice it in all the other Elacs designed by Jones. It might have been related to the demo being played painfully loud.  I would also say the Kefs go lower.

Briang, we have both pairs in the same room and can demo each of these loudspeakers.

The Elac's are big sounding with a deep punchy bass, the Kef's sound more refined with a tighter bass. 

The images on the KEF's also seem to be more precise. 

The new R series is a very impressive series of speakers, we will know more after we have had a greater time with them.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

I’m the client that Dave mentioned above that preferred the Kef R11’s.

Over the last two months I think I’ve heard every speaker on the market in the $3k - $4k range. Paradigm Prestige, Quad Z4, Elac Adante, Focal Aria 936, GoldenEar Tritons, ProAc Response 2, Revel (not sure of the model), Tekton Electron (non SE), and I’ve owned the Vandersteen 1ci and own the 2ce Sig II’s.

For me, the Kef R11’s have everything I’m looking for-- plenty of detail in the top end without sounding too forward or etchy. Clarity in the mid-range, and a taut low end that doesn’t sound flabby or one-notey. They image exceptionally well and are just very exciting speakers to listen to.

I spent about 3 hours at Dave’s house last Friday and after a long conversation ended up purchasing the Kef R7. I mentioned my concerns to Dave about having a smaller room that tends to get overloaded with bass very easily. So he steered me toward the R7 over the R11.

I just hope that R7 has all of the magic that I heard in the R11! As a side note, had I not heard the R11’s, I think I could be pretty happy with the Elacs or Quad Z4 as well. The Elac is a formidably large and heavy speaker though. The Quads are stunning to look at. But the Kef’s in piano black, which I chose, are no slouch either!

Shout out to Dave who is always generous with his time. At his suggestion, I brought up my Belles Aria amp and he had a BlueSound Node 2, and a Mytek DAC, so it was an apples-to-apples comparison to what I use at home.

Can’t wait to get my new speaks in!

To the OP, I heard the R3 at a different dealer located near my house. Obviously, being a monitor they lacked bottom end, but imaged like crazy both width and particular depth. For me they would need a sub, but that could be a pretty magical pairing.

Cheers,

-Joe

@briang Congratulations on your R11 purchase. You did well my friend. Enjoy!!!
Thank you and I wish you the best as well.

Please keep us updated on the electronics side of things.  I think I may want to experiment with integrateds and feedback is appreciated.


As far as midrange is concerned my listening / ownership has formed the following opinions-

KEF LS50.  Midrange transparency OK, extended treble masquerading as midrange clarity.
KEF former R-Series.  Midrange recessed slightly vs. the LS50s.
British monitors- midrange clarity outstanding, slight warmth in midbass, treble slightly rolled off.  
Wondering where the new R series fits with respect to the older R-series and LS50s.  
@audionoobie...The statement " being a monitor they lacked bottom end " , is not true of all monitors, just an fyi....Enjoy ! MrD.
Hey Joe ( a great song BTW )
how large is your room ?

@tomic601 My room is 13' x 11'. It's an upstairs bedroom in a Cape Cod style home so the walls follow the roofline at about 4' off the floor.

@mrdecibel I'll qualify my statement. I felt that the R3 was somewhat lacking in bass.

Joe - sounds like a challenging space, but those irregular surfaces will help w room nodes a bit
..have fun !!!!

Has anyone had an opportunity to contrast the new KEF R5/R7 with the existing R500/R700 series in the same audition?

If so, are the audible differences significant enough to pass up leftover R500/R700s at a great price?

My space is roughly 15’ x 15’ and I fear that the R700’s bass will dominate the room. I hear that the R7’s have tighter bass control. Has anyone validated this?
If you have freedom to move the speakers where you please then you can certainly find a spot the r7 will sound good. I think if there are any problems with placement and sound with the r700, you will have it with the r7. But 15x15 is big enough if you can make it a dedicated room.
Thanks -

I am sort of stuck here ... there aren't many places locally to properly audition the variety of interesting choices.

These would be strictly for 2-ch audio and I prefer speakers that are open and somewhat lively but not too bright. My current options are:

- KEF R500/R700 or R5/R7
- Paradigm Prestige 85F
- Monitor Audio Silver 300
- Dynaudio Excite x38

I would be driving these with either PS Audio M700 monoblocks or a Parasound Halo A23+, with a NAD c658 as the preamp/streamer.

Any clear winner(s) in the mix. Any others in a similar price range worth auditioning if possible?
Hypersonic

We sell both the Kef and the Paradigms. The Prestige are very exciting loudspeakers but they tend to be a bit on the more forward side. They are very punchy with great bass. 

The Dynaudio's are very musical they do not have the same level of detail and the same quality of Soundstaging as the KEFs. 

The new Kef R Series are smoother than the outgoing R series, they have a huge soundstage and great tight bass, fanastic performers for the price. 

We would recomend a package of the Mytek Brooklyn with the A23 for a great combo, the other killer package is the new Parasound Hint.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ 
Has anyone compared the R11's to a speaker such as the REF 3? I can find used pairs for 8, and the R11's are about half that but have that R5 look. I'm not sure if the extra bass makes up for the benefits of the reference line. I'm sure the Ref 5 is better, but nobody has those used.

I'm also thinking of selling my Monitor Audio 100's (on my desk), for either the R3's or LS50 Wireless.

Neither my desk nor living room has any flexibility in placement. So they have to go next to my monitor, and in the living room L/R of my TV. 

I'm looking for a great near-field solution for a desk. 

Options: I do already own a Peachtree Sky & Audioquest Bi-Wire Cables.

KEF R300: $1,200
R3: $2,000
LS50 Wireless: $2,000
Heard R3s yesterday for the first time. Very nice. Would strongly consider owning. Just picked up a pair of ls50s for the current reduced price. They just went on stands in my 12x12 office. Very nice right out of the box even!   I am using a sub with them which fills out the bill nicely. R3 could likely get by sans sub quite nicely in many rooms.
Post removed 
@mapman 

I have about the same sized office. I just put in the LS50 Wireless on Iso Aperta stands today and sounds quite excellent. If they need to break-in, that's even more encouraging. I had bought the Nocturne edition and am very glad, it's actually far more stylish in-person.

I might not need a sub, the bass is quite good with just casual music listening. I did select the advanced options>extra bass in the app, and it's all near-field listening.

Just my experience at the moment. 
For those that have experience with both series, I’m wondering how much of an upgrade is the R3 over the R300? I currently have the R300’s and I’m looking for something with a little smoother top end. I was originally figuring on having to spend at least $4k to find something to best the R300’s, but if the R3’s will do it for half the price consider me sold. 

Currently I have monitor audio silver 8 speakers , and the bass is decent when I’m sitting in the right spot . I was wondering if the r11 would be too much bass . My room is an open layout with vaulted ceilings “ rancher style home “ I’m using a marantz pm11s3 to drive the speakers 
@crn3371 

I can't quite speak on the R3's, but I did just purchase a pair of the new R11 series floor standers along with the LS50 Wireless Nocturnes. The new towers sound incredible and look stunning in white. As a previous owner of the R900, I feel it's an enormous upgrade in both design, sound, and aesthetics. They are some VERY tall towers and command a visual presence in the room, even with my 80" flat screen in the middle. I've been listening for the past few hours at a good volume and not fatiguing as you listen. I generally greatly dislike boxy speakers, but front on it's not a concern. 

If anyone wants a test on the R11's, just let me know on sound material.

I think the R11’s sound incredible. I auditioned many speakers over the last year and I’ve found nothing that comes close for 5k new.

I’m using them in a 13’ x 11’ room and I don’t think they have too much bass. As a matter of fact, I originally purchased the R7’s from Audiodoctor and thought they were slightly anemic on the low end. So I returned them back to Dave and upgraded to the R11. I know he takes a lot of abuse here, but he’s been really great to work with!

I’m also using a Kef R400b sub crossed over at about 40Hz. I can’t actually "tell" there is a sub in my room until I turn it off. I played "Hotel California" from the Hell Freezes Over record, and you can really feel those kick drums in the beginning of the song. Maybe I just got lucky, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about re: sub integration.

They are just a very exciting speaker overall, and I find they have just enough detail without sounding too bright or harsh. They also image very well.

I’m pretty smitten right now. Over the next six months I plan on an amp upgrade (possibly the Hegel H190) and adding a Rega RP3 TT.

Cheers!
Joe

Audiotroy,

I see you recommend the new Parasound Hint 6 with the R-11’s (or all of them in general) and thinking about that amp. Right now I am going to try or coarse the integrated I already own, the Arcam A-49. I think it should be a great match, but if not, thinking about the Parasound Hint 6 or maybe the Rotel 1592. 

Hopefully will have my new R-11’s by the end of the week.


@telescope_trade When I spoke to Kef, they were able to tell me that they often pair their speakers with Arcam, Anthem, Hegel, and Parasound.
audionoobie 

Thanks, that’s good to know!




I just had to share my excitement for Kef as well.  I have about 50 hours on my wireless LS50’s now and whoa.  I’ve been in awe / jaw on floor the past 3 nights; it just kept getting better and better as they broke in and I added all kinds of room treatments.  I Have spent the past 2 days dialing in my room with a bunch of new acoustic panels and taking everything out of my room.  I can not believe the imaging these speakers are producing.  I have never heard anything like it.  Kef is doing some magical things right now!  Its that sound that just keeps reeling you back into the music.  I absolutely am in love with these speakers.
@b_limo Can you tell us what room treatments you are using and what your objectives are?
I’m using 6 Gik 244 panels and then I have 10 other panels, 2’x4’ that Im not sure of the brand.  I also removed 2 lights and 2 glass tables.  You could actually make the lights ring just by clapping your hands.  I also put up a bunch of curtains in order to cover a window and a big portion of the wall.  I’ve got every wall treated now except for the ceiling.  I’ve always had 4 gik 244 panels but that wasn’t nearly enough.

The imaging and bass response just goes through the roof when you get your room dialed!
@b_limo Thanks! I just took a look at your room. Looks good!
My room is 15' by 15', 9' ceiling.  I just bought the Kef R-500s after also listening to
Paradigm Prestige 75F
DynAudio Excite X-34
Monitor Audio Silver 10
Very close, 75Fs were a bit bright, X-34s were a bit lively, the Silver 10s were a bit forward.  Am in heaven with the Kef R-500s.
I had the Paradigm Prestige 75Fs for a few days and you’re right. They are very bright!!! Bottom end was boomy. 

Congrats on on your new Kefs!
I auditioned the KEF R3s at my local hi-fi shop the other day and ordered a pair.  

At the shop, I did A/B comparisons of the R3s with the LS50s, which I own and like a lot.  The R3s were better.  Everything sounded bigger, with more separation between instruments--that's something the LS50s did well for small bands but not for big bands or orchestras.  The R3s have better mids, better soundstage and are just sweeter & fuller sounding.  I was smitten!  

Now, if I were smart, before ordering the R3s I would have also (1) auditioned the B&W 705 s2 and (2) compared the R3s with the now much cheaper R300s.  I urge all of you to be smarter than me and compare the R3s to at least one or two strong alternatives before purchasing.  

What can I say?  I'm a sucker for the KEF sound.  My entry into audiophile gear 25 years ago was a pair of KEF K140s, paired with the then low-end Linn Majik integrated amp.  I still have that system and it still sounds great.  Seven years ago, I bought the KEF X300A powered speakers with internal DAC and love them to this day.  And bought the LS50s 3 years ago to replace the K140s.  I have no doubt I will be happy with the R3s.  

They should be ready for pickup in a week, then I'll break them in for a few days.  At that point, I'll be happy to report back in case anyone's considering picking up a pair and looking for more owner feedback.