New KEF Reference Series 201/2 or 203/2

Hello Everyone,

I was at a mcintosh dealer in NC a couple of weeks ago and had a chance to listen to the new XQ line from KEF with mcintosh equipment and was very impressed. They did not have any of the new Reference Series speakers hooked up at the time. The only thing I have read was in Stereophile about the 207/2 which received very high marks. Does anyone have any experience with the new Reference line in particular the 201/2 bookshelf/standmount or the 203/2 which is the smaller floorstander? My system is a Mcintosh C2300 and MC402. Currently the only KEF speaker I demoed was the XQ40 floorstander. Any comments on the new Reference line would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
KEF is a reputable speaker company, and you are unlikely to be disappointed with any of their Reference Series speakers.

However, the only ears that matter are your own. For a significant investment like that, it is worth the effort to audition the speakers in your home, with your electronics, or to bring your electronics to the dealer to hear how they sound with the speakers you are considering, before finalizing any purchase. Most dealers are happy to work with you on things like that. That is the extra level of service you get with a high-end dealer that you don't get with a mass-market retailer.
Thanks for you input Javachip.
I live in SC and my closet delear is 100 miles. I need to make another trip back up to see them. They were in the process of setting up new systems and I just came it at the wrong time. I doubt that they will let me travel 100 miles away with a pair of speakers for an in home demo, but who knows. As for the speakers, i did get to see the 201/2 stand mount and the 205/2 floorstander in person, just no sound. I must say that KEF from a build and cosmetic stand point were immaculate! I know they have been around a long time it just when you look on here or google/inet you don't find to much about them like you do other speaker companies. However I did read somewhere that their presence in europe is huge, they just don't market themselves as well in the US like say B&W.
I have a pair of 205 speakers and I really like them.

I just signed up to be a dealer (Command Performance AV in the Washington, DC area) of the reference line. I don't just go on reviews, so I asked the local rep drop by a pair of 201/2s for an extended audition. Well, based on what I heard, I am bringing in the line. We already have a great bookshelf (Usher Tiny Dancer), but I thought the 201/2 was another outstanding speaker. The two speakers are both great in their own ways...just a matter of if you like chocolate or vanilla. If you can find a local dealer, the speakers are worth an audition.

-- Jeff

Thanks for your input. I definelty want to get back in for a listen. What type of amplification were you using with the 201's? I will be using a McIntosh MC402. I really liked the sound of the XQ40 tower speaker, which you probably know is a step down from the reference line. How did the 201's fair in the mid and bass range? I am in the process of buying a new home so I dont know what room size I will be dealing with, so once that is decieded that will aid in speaker selection. Thanks.


The KEFs like power. I liked the 201/2 best with Plinius gear. The only knock I have on those speakers is that with some music, the highs get just a bit much (for me anyway). The Plinius keeps the speakers smooth at all times.

In the mids and bass are superlative. As you note, the how much bass you need will depend on your room. Our demo room is 19x26. If you are mostly listening to jazz / vocal / more bass is needed. If your tastes go the other way, the 203 will serve you better in a large room. If you prefer the bookshelf - sub route, then please be sure to get a quality sub that can keep up with the KEFs. Feel free to email me directly if you like.

-- Jeff