Vintage KEF vs new Salk


Hi all,
I recently started a thread asking if posters think I could do better with modern speakers vs my KEF Reference 3.2s. Unfortunately, my speakers need refurbishing to sound the way they should, so now my follow-up question is: am I better off sinking  bucks into what I have, perhaps upgrading some elements, or should I get one of the Salks I've been looking at? I just emailed Jim Salk to ask about the silk tower, song3 encore, and Veracity 2 and ST, so I'm sure I'll get useful info about my options there, based on the details of my room and such.
I don't have the urge to repeat all the info I provided in my earlier thread about my other equipment, what I listen to, etc. Perhaps someone could simply speak generally about how the two options might sound relative to one another in any room, as well as the likely cost of a non-DIY KEF fix-up.
Thanks,
Marc
4f312947 3247 4430 ae8a ab3bd0ac8e88m669326
I have Salk Song3 speakers. i have turned over alot of equipment but never the Salks. I love them. I can't compare to your speakers because I've never heard them. The Salks take some time to build though.

Your Kefs have a very full, laid back sound.  They were and still are very nice speakers but I’d sell them and buy something like the Salks, which should offer more clarity, more of an open sound and possibly tighter bass.  
The problem I have with the kefs is the age of them and the cost of upgraded crossovers and surrounds.

If you have a beautiful pair of kefs with some really nice bookmatched woodgrain and you already like them, you can upgrade the crossovers and get new surrounds and they’ll be good to go for many more years and they’ll be better than new.  You’ll want to check ferrofluid in those tweets too.  Not sure if they use it or not.

Aren’t you the one we were saying needs to upgrade the dac?  If so, keep the kefs, upgrade the crossovers and get a nice dac... you’ll be very happy!
Thanks, Bubba. I appreciate the feedback about the Salks. Everything about that outfit appeals to me, even though I haven't heard the speakers themselves.

Yes, b_Limo, I'm the woefully inadequate DAC guy. I'm looking into that too, but for some reason speakers fascinate me and DACs are simply functional to me.

The tweeters have fluid, which someone must've cleaned and refilled by now, I'm thinking. Unfortunately, I didn't get these new and I don't know their history. 

The KEFs are a handful - 80 lbs each , we live in a home you have to navigate steps and ramps to get to, and I'm old(ish), so a commitment to bringing them in somewhere for refurbishment isn't something I'd take lightly. For that matter, I'm not confident I could find a craftsman I trust to make good decisions based on their evaluation. It would be like someone who's ridden a bicycle all his life going into a car dealership - (intimidating). And I'd need to end up with a guarantee of ending up with something substantially better than what I've got now to make that worthwhile. The pretty cabinets and sentimental aspects don't move me (but they're nice).

It seems (today) as though Salks are more of a sure thing, and would be the odds on favorite to sound the best as well. I like a clear, open sound with tighter bass than I've got. At first, the well-mannered English sound suited me. Now, not as much.

On the other hand, yesterday I was satisfied with the KEFs and closed all the audio-oriented tabs on my browser. Tomorrow, who knows?

I seem to be skewing my posts toward trolling for support around whichever end of this I'm currently dwelling in. Interesting.

Marc



Could I self-diagnose my speaker's problem and just bring the crossovers or whatever for replacement? That's an even scarier notion.
The crossover situation is actually easy.

e-mail kef and ask for crossover schematics.  They’re fgreat about that.

then e-mail the schematics to madisound and they’ll give you a quote.  
You can usually, easily, swap crossovers out yourself.

Still, if you like the idea of an open and clear sound with tighter bass, go new.  Salks are great and you can get an even better deal used.  There are a few pairs of used Salks right now for under $4k.  Any of them would probably suffice!

Wait time on a build from salk can be 6 months... ask hilde45.
Where did you see used Salks? I looked and didn't find any that would work for me.
Thanks.
Never mind. I think I found them on Hi-Fi shark.
As I stated in your other post, your KEF Reference Model 3.2s are fantastic speakers and would be hard to beat. The Salk speakers are very nice sounding speakers with wonderful cabinetry. However, they have a different sonic signature compared to the KEFs. Personally, I prefer the KEFs but your experience may be different.

Your KEFs are easily refurbished. The midrange drivers have rubber surrounds and do not need replacing. The internal cavity-coupled bass drivers also have rubber surrounds and do not need replacing. However the donuts on the bass drivers are foam and might need replacing. The donuts in my Reference Model Ones and Twos are still fine. The major item that should be replaced is the ferrofluid in the NT25 tweeters. Several people have done this with pictures on Audiokarma. I have not done mine yet. I did replace the ferrofluid in my KEF 104/2s and it was a simple job and took about 1/2 hour for each speaker. The caps in the crossovers may need replacing but I have found that they are typically ok with these speakers.

You stated they need refurbishing. What doesn't sound right with them? Typically it is the high end getting dull when the ferrofluid begins to dry up in the tweeters.
Thanks. When a range of mid to high frequencies are played by piano, classical guitar, choral groups, the left speaker gets fuzzy. To my inexpert ears, it sounds like the cones are damaged in some minor way, but my reading (and you) suggest otherwise. Anyway, that's the kind of sound it is, however it's being produced. When I touch the woofer cones, the fuzz doesn't stop, but my ears think it's in their range. I understand I shouldn't be touching the tweeter.
 My guess is that the bass used to be better as well since it isn't tight or well-defined, but this could be a placement/room issue, or perhaps the intersection of my ears with the KEF signature sound.
Other than these two elements, I love my speakers. But piano shows up in all kinds of music, doesn't it?
I did come into some money and I could upgrade, but if Salks represent a lateral move into an uncharted  signature sound, then they wouldn't make sense.
Someone suggested I look at a set of ATC SCM 40 mk 2s that are for sale for about 4 K. Do you know these? My reading online suggests they are something special and the sealed sound might work well in my difficult room. Any thoughts?
I really appreciate your help. I'm in over my head here, which means I'm relying on posters like you.
Marc
P.S. - When I look at the speakers, I see a way to open the front, but it looks like only the section behind the posts in the back come off. I'm such a rank DIYer that I don't even know how to get to anything in there. I presume the tutorial and others you mention assume I'm as ignorant as I am and tell me things like that? Also, should I do the same things to both speakers?
Marc,
I am not sure what is making the fuzzy sound in your left speaker. It could be the tweeter or something else. 

The bottom front driver is the lower midrange driver and the upper front driver is the upper midrange driver which is the Uni-Q driver housing the tweeter. On the Uni-Q driver it would be hard to tell if the fuzzy sound originates from the tweeter or woofer. The NT25 tweeter is a tight fit in the center of the midrange driver and maybe something is misaligned.  

If you look in the front port with a flashlight I think you can see one of the woofers and check if the foam donut that goes around the coupling rod is degraded.

The four-way crossover is assembled on a large printed circuit board which is mounted on the reverse of the plastic rear terminal housing.

Regarding taking them apart, I believe there are some examples from people who have done it on Audiokarma.

Regarding the Salks, I would not rule them out. They are fine speakers. The best way to make a decision is to hear them for yourself. Any move you make will be in uncharted sound unless you can audition them.


Marc,
I forgot to mention that the front polymer baffle housing the two midrange drivers is removable. There are 6 screws attaching it to the cabinet. I think they are hex head screws but might be torx.
Thanks once more.
 I take it you're not familiar with the ATC SCM 40 v2?
The seller just came down $500 this morning - an interesting coincidence. I'm leaning toward these right now. I just started a thread to compare them with Song3 Encores. Any thoughts?
m669326,
Those ATC's are very fine speakers with a great midrange (and everything else). I think they would be hard to beat, and they are made by a company who really knows what they're doing, and are very grounded in solid science and engineering. 
OP, I don't know the Kefs but I just got some Salk SS 6M's. Happy to let you know about them Feel free to message me.
Hilde: I can't figure out how to message you.
I've heard the Song3 BeAT and the Song3 Encore.  They were both excellent; the BeAT had a little more "something" (magic--in that it all came together), but the Encore has more bass.  If you could stretch to it, I think the SS 9.5 would give you the best of both worlds and then some.
twoleftears,
I wish. Thanks.
To message, click on the poster’s name (in blue) and select the bottom option from the drop-down menu.