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Focal Kanta 2 vs KEF R7 meta

underthetable

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Hello. I am considering upgrading my current 2.0 setup. I am torn between Focal Kanta 2 and Kef R7 meta. They are both around £3000. I have a smallish room 3m x 4m, with listening to a mix of music and films.

Any advice would be appreciated. I understand that sometimes narrow dispersion speakers (KEF) can work better in smaller rooms. Would that be the case here?
 
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underthetable

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Yes, it's a good point. The Kanta price is used from an online market place. The KEF R7 Meta is an open-box item, so £1000 off retail price.

edit:

I guess in which case maybe the Kef Reference 3 is a fairer comparison? I can see online used for ~£4000.
 
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underthetable

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Many thanks. Would you say then that other higher SPL the R7 Meta is the better choice (from purely measurements point of view)? In terms of directivity, the R7 Meta will yield better EQ results I guess. I'm not too worried about the loudness as I doubt I will ever be listening to near max levels.

I probably prefer the aesthetics of the Kanta 2, but not enough to rule out the KEFs. Do you have a sense of where the bg price difference comes in? Is it just build materials, place of manufacture?
 

napilopez

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They are fundamentally different speakers imo. The KEF is on the narrower side of directivity, the Focal is much wider than most above 2khz.

I would decide based on this over just FR as imo they're both probably "good enough" tonality wise. That said, the Focal will almost surely be a bit brighter. Nothing you can't handle with a little bit of EQ.
 

Battlebeast

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I'd go for the Kefs based on my experience with their entry level Q750s in a small room. The near perfect off axis response in both horizontal and vertical create a very large sound stage (in my room) 13x14x9. Walls and ceiling are painted drywall and the floor has a fairly thick carpet.
 

MarcT

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But which one kicks more ass?:cool:
 
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underthetable

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They are fundamentally different speakers imo. The KEF is on the narrower side of directivity, the Focal is much wider than most above 2khz.

I would decide based on this over just FR as imo they're both probably "good enough" tonality wise. That said, the Focal will almost surely be a bit brighter. Nothing you can't handle with a little bit of EQ.
So, would Kanta and the R7 work equally well in a small room?
 

Krillin

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My experience with KEF is with their Reference 2C center channel and it's an engineering masterpiece. Low distortion, gorgeous looks, perfect dispersion, and a little sterile (2D sounding). It won't hide the truth and nothing about the sound will be "full sounding" unless it's in the original recording. The new R-Meta should not be too far off from the non-meta Reference 2C.

While not often discussed I believe the raw driver CSD sonogram may be why some speakers sound fuller than others. While the KEF reference (ribbed aluminum), Seas Excel Magnesium, and Accuton Cell sounded more similar than different to my ears while Dynaudio poly sounded significantly fuller but lacked ultimate clarity. To keep this science and not just subjective here is the sonogram of the SBAcoustics SB15NBAC30-8 (ribbed aluminum) and SB15mfc30-8 (poly) which share the same motor.
sb_acoustics_sb15mfc30-8_sonogram.JPG
sb_acoustics_sb15nabc30-8_sonogram.jpg

While not a direct comparison between KEF and Focal that you asked for the short answer is KEF is engineering perfection. The Focal at best may subjectively sound fuller with their flax cones which are likely not as clean as aluminum's CSD. Focals dispersion will not be up to par, your wife on couch A will not get the same experience as you on couch B.

Before leaping at something this expensive you really owe yourself an audition. Many will tell you that dispersion, THD, and estimated in room response are everything it can be misleading. They are very important performance metrics with an audible result however my experience with hard cones vs softer cones was more audible.
 
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Robovox

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I have heard a number of Focal speakers at various price points, although not specifically the ones that you mention. They have all sounded on the bright side (elevated 2-5kHz), except for one pair; the first reflection points had been treated and these sounded very good indeed. Whilst measurements for speakers are good for identifying poor speakers, I would caution against making a substantial purchase like this based on speculative interpretations of measurements alone. Both of these speakers have will have very respectable measurements but will likely create somewhat different listening impressions in practice. I would suggest arranging a demonstration of each, ideally at home but failing that at a dealers premises.

I have R7 (non meta) in a 3.5m x 5.5m - they are excellent but I have often wondered if the R5s might have been more suitable - unless you are going to be listening at very high loudness levels.
 

MarcT

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aha, as in the bass? I am planning to get a sub at some point
Well, yes, but I also think about sharp, powerful transients like snare drum strikes and loud electric guitar work.
 
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My experience with KEF is with their Reference 2C center channel and it's an engineering masterpiece. Low distortion, gorgeous looks, perfect dispersion, and a little sterile (2D sounding). It won't hide the truth and nothing about the sound will be "full sounding" unless it's in the original recording. The new R-Meta should not be too far off from the non-meta Reference 2C.

While not often discussed I believe the raw driver CSD sonogram may be why some speakers sound fuller than others. While the KEF reference (ribbed aluminum), Seas Excel Magnesium, and Accuton Cell sounded more similar than different to my ears while Dynaudio poly sounded significantly fuller but lacked ultimate clarity. To keep this science and not just subjective here is the sonogram of the SBAcoustics SB15NBAC30-8 (ribbed aluminum) and SB15mfc30-8 (poly) which share the same motor.
sb_acoustics_sb15mfc30-8_sonogram.JPG
sb_acoustics_sb15nabc30-8_sonogram.jpg

While not a direct comparison between KEF and Focal that you asked for the short answer is KEF is engineering perfection. The Focal at best may subjectively sound fuller with their flax cones which are likely not as clean as aluminum's CSD. Focals dispersion will not be up to par, your wife on couch A will not get the same experience as you on couch B.

Before leaping at something this expensive you really owe yourself an audition. Many will tell you that dispersion, THD, and estimated in room response are everything it can be misleading. They are very important performance metrics with an audible result however my experience with hard cones vs softer cones was more audible.
Thanks for this. Yeah, from these discussion seems like both speakers are “ very good”, and it will come down to how the off axis radiation interacts with the room. Hence why I’m thinking that the KEF are probably the better choice for a smaller room. Unless I see a crazy deal for the Kansas lol

Unfortunately, I’ll be probably used or open box/ex demo/ trade in so auditioning at home is less likely. I’ll audition them in a shop for sure I think.

Indecently, my ideal purchase would probably non meta R7. That’s probably the better purchase for my very untrained ears.
 
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I have heard a number of Focal speakers at various price points, although not specifically the ones that you mention. They have all sounded on the bright side (elevated 2-5kHz), except for one pair; the first reflection points had been treated and these sounded very good indeed. Whilst measurements for speakers are good for identifying poor speakers, I would caution against making a substantial purchase like this based on speculative interpretations of measurements alone. Both of these speakers have will have very respectable measurements but will likely create somewhat different listening impressions in practice. I would suggest arranging a demonstration of each, ideally at home but failing that at a dealers premises.

I have R7 (non meta) in a 3.5m x 5.5m - they are excellent but I have often wondered if the R5s might have been more suitable - unless you are going to be listening at very high loudness levels.
Thanks. I’ll have some EQ regardless of which one I go for. You’re right, an audition is the way to go. As I said earlier, I think a home audition may be more difficult, but in a dealer shouldn’t be a problem
 

Leeken

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I’ve only listened to the Kantas,if I’d have only listened for two mins I’d have forced them to take my money,luckily by minute 3 I was getting a head ache,by the 5th minute it was like a screaming migraine,that’s not even a exaggeration.
The high frequencies in the room excited things in a way which I’ve never experienced,I can imagine some people loving them though,after all it’s all a bit personal.
 

napilopez

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Whilst measurements for speakers are good for identifying poor speakers, I would caution against making a substantial purchase like this based on speculative interpretations of measurements alone. Both of these speakers have will have very respectable measurements but will likely create somewhat different listening impressions in practice.

This is an important point that isn't made enough here and elsewhere, I think: measurements are really useful to help you find the least-flawed speakers. As Toole drives home in his book, the best speakers are the ones with the least audible flaws, so I prefer to think of high end speakers not as something that will necessarily spund

So, would Kanta and the R7 work equally well in a small room?

It depends on the room and the layout and preferences. Some people say narrow directivity is better for small rooms but that hasn't been my experience.
Thanks for this. Yeah, from these discussion seems like both speakers are “ very good”, and it will come down to how the off axis radiation interacts with the room. Hence why I’m thinking that the KEF are probably the better choice for a smaller room. Unless I see a crazy deal for the Kansas lol

Unfortunately, I’ll be probably used or open box/ex demo/ trade in so auditioning at home is less likely. I’ll audition them in a shop for sure I think.

Indecently, my ideal purchase would probably non meta R7. That’s probably the better purchase for my very untrained ears.
Ultimately, the KEF are the safer choice. As the speaker with fewer flaws, there's less of a chance you'll find something offensive. I do think they are fundamentally different because of their directivity, but if you're not sure what you want in this regard the KEF is the safer choice.
 
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