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Help: NAD C3050 paired with KEF R3's

noname01

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I purchased the NAD C3050 and KEF R3 thinking that they would pair well together and unfortunately am running into one specific issue: I have to crank the volume quite high in order to get any real detail out of the speakers.

I'm finding that the R3's are very hard to drive with the C3050 and I'm at a loss. I've tried different speaker positions (a light toe-in did help), tried different sources (Yamaha PF-800 w/ DL 110, Tidal) and it's the same thing. I found two other people with the same pairing and they have echoed what I've noticed as well.

I don't have the MDC2 module just yet, but would Dirac help a little? Would adding a subwoofer help in this case? Or should I just cut my losses and buy another amplifier that matches the speakers? I do love the sound of the R3's and would prefer to get an amplifier that pairs well them.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

staticV3

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would Dirac help a little?
depends on where that loss in detail is coming from. In-room frequency response measurements would be useful.

Would adding a subwoofer help in this case?
With a proper crossover (low-passed sub, high-passed mains), your C3050 would have an easier time driving the KEF R3.
 

Beave

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I purchased the NAD C3050 and KEF R3 thinking that they would pair well together and unfortunately am running into one specific issue: I have to crank the volume quite high in order to get any real detail out of the speakers.

I'm finding that the R3's are very hard to drive with the C3050 and I'm at a loss. I've tried different speaker positions (a light toe-in did help), tried different sources (Yamaha PF-800 w/ DL 110, Tidal) and it's the same thing. I found two other people with the same pairing and they have echoed what I've noticed as well.

I don't have the MDC2 module just yet, but would Dirac help a little? Would adding a subwoofer help in this case? Or should I just cut my losses and buy another amplifier that matches the speakers? I do love the sound of the R3's and would prefer to get an amplifier that pairs well them.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

What makes you think these issues arise due to the amp not "matching" the speakers? (And what does that "matching" even mean?)

Why wouldn't you blame the speakers for the lack of detail?

The fact is, it's really more a function of your hearing than it is due to the amp or the speakers. We don't hear details well at lower listening levels. Our hearing changes with level.

How far away are you sitting from the speakers and how big is the room?
 

voodooless

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Maybe you were just used to a linear volume adjustment on an amp before, and now have a logarithmic adjustment.

Dirac will only make it “worse” b cause it needs some dB of headroom.

The only important thing is: if you set it as loud as you would ever want to have it: does it then still clean? If so, your good.
 
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Moonbase

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I would get REW with an UMIK-1 mic and take some measurements, if the bass is bloated then you’re going to get an imbalance. Check the basics of the listen triangle and tow in of the speakers too.
 

dougi

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The initial firmware, at least for the LE version, had a max preamp gain of 0dB. This was subsequently changed to +12dB. It may be the same in the non LE version, despite the lack of BLUOS. Try a manual firmware update and see if it appears louder afterwards.

The UcD amp modules cope with 2 ohms OK, so probably not a "drive" issue.
 
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noname01

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depends on where that loss in detail is coming from. In-room frequency response measurements would be useful.


With a proper crossover (low-passed sub, high-passed mains), your C3050 would have an easier time driving the KEF R3.
I appreciate the help. Still in the process of finding an appropriate sub within my budget and was hoping that it would help help my current situation.


What makes you think these issues arise due to the amp not "matching" the speakers? (And what does that "matching" even mean?)

Why wouldn't you blame the speakers for the lack of detail?

The fact is, it's really more a function of your hearing than it is due to the amp or the speakers. We don't hear details well at lower listening levels. Our hearing changes with level.

How far away are you sitting from the speakers and how big is the room?

I never said the speakers aren't to blame, however, I still love the sound and would prefer something that "pairs" well it. I'm sitting roughly 8 feet away, the room is 130 ft².

Maybe you were just used to a linear volume adjustment on an amp before, and now have a logarithmic adjustment.

Dirac will only make it “worse” b cause it needs some dB of headroom.

The only important thing is: if you set it as loud as you would ever want to have it: does it then still clean? If so, your good.

You're right on that - it does sound very clean even at higher listening levels.

I would get REW with an UMIK-1 mic and take some measurements, if the bass is bloated then you’re going to get an imbalance. Check the basics of the listen triangle and tow in of the speakers too.

I think that's the next step for me. I was thinking of buying the UMIK-1 along with the MDC2 module today and go from there. I do have the speakers toed-in ever so slightly despite KEF's manual saying not to. I found the soundstage is much better to me that way.

The initial firmware, at least for the LE version, had a max preamp gain of 0dB. This was subsequently changed to +12dB. It may be the same in the non LE version, despite the lack of BLUOS. Try a manual firmware update and see if it appears louder afterwards.

The UcD amp modules cope with 2 ohms OK, so probably not a "drive" issue.

I never thought about updating the firmware. Thanks for the info! I'll try it tonight and see how it goes.
 

voodooless

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You're right on that - it does sound very clean even at higher listening levels.
Then I would say that there is no problem at all.

That amp looks absolutely awesome BTW!
 

raindance

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Where the volume control is pointing is meaningless. It all depends on the gain of the amplifier and the output voltage of the source in use.
 

quattro98

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Is your concern that (1) the speakers have to play loud for you to enjoy them (loud subjective level in room or measured at higher SPL than you prefer) or (2) the setting of the volume knob on your C3050 that results in the volume that you prefer?

I purchased the NAD C3050 and KEF R3 thinking that they would pair well together and unfortunately am running into one specific issue: I have to crank the volume quite high in order to get any real detail out of the speakers.

I'm finding that the R3's are very hard to drive with the C3050 and I'm at a loss. I've tried different speaker positions (a light toe-in did help), tried different sources (Yamaha PF-800 w/ DL 110, Tidal) and it's the same thing. I found two other people with the same pairing and they have echoed what I've noticed as well.

I don't have the MDC2 module just yet, but would Dirac help a little? Would adding a subwoofer help in this case? Or should I just cut my losses and buy another amplifier that matches the speakers? I do love the sound of the R3's and would prefer to get an amplifier that pairs well them.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

orouboros

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So, what was the end result? As someone who has 3 NAD integrateds, I wouldn't imagine a speaker with a sensitivity of 87dB would give the NAD any trouble. I've used them with speakers with a 90dB rating and a benign 6 ohm load, and I only turn it up to 11 on an NAD C356BEE (80 watts). After 12, it is too loud for me. You should be able to turn it up to 11 for a speaker with only 3dB efficiency less than mine, unless the speaker drops to some ungodly load like my old WATTS did (4 ohm, until 2k, and then it dropped to 1.8 ohm load. Hard on many amps!). And the room I had it in was 9 x 13 x 20, and it got plenty loud on classical music crescendos, whose music is usually less compressed than other genres (rock, pop, etc.).

Are the KEFs new? Meaning are they fully broken in or were they speakers you've had for years?
 
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noname01

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So, what was the end result? As someone who has 3 NAD integrateds, I wouldn't imagine a speaker with a sensitivity of 87dB would give the NAD any trouble. I've used them with speakers with a 90dB rating and a benign 6 ohm load, and I only turn it up to 11 on an NAD C356BEE (80 watts). After 12, it is too loud for me. You should be able to turn it up to 11 for a speaker with only 3dB efficiency less than mine, unless the speaker drops to some ungodly load like my old WATTS did (4 ohm, until 2k, and then it dropped to 1.8 ohm load. Hard on many amps!). And the room I had it in was 9 x 13 x 20, and it got plenty loud on classical music crescendos, whose music is usually less compressed than other genres (rock, pop, etc.).

Are the KEFs new? Meaning are they fully broken in or were they speakers you've had for years?

I do apologize for the delay in my response. I should have followed up with another post on how I fixed this issue.

Turns out, I needed to buy the MDC2 BluOS module as I needed to go into the settings and adjust the the Volume Limits. Default was set to -80 to +6 and I adjusted them to -60 to +12. That fixed my issue entirely and I couldn't be happier with what I have now.
 

pogo

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Dirac will only make it “worse” b cause it needs some dB of headroom.
The unused headroom can be recovered via an generell offset in the target curve. So DL doesn't make it any worse ;)
 

voodooless

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The unused headroom can be recovered via an generell offset in the target curve. So DL doesn't make it any worse ;)
You can do that, at the risk of digital clipping.
 

pogo

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In my experience, clipping is not possible, as DL has a limiting mechanism:

Screenshot_20231202-224223_Chrome.jpg
 

voodooless

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In my experience, clipping is not possible, as DL has a limiting mechanism:

View attachment 331248
Well, then your trick will have some negative consequences. If DL automatically calculates the best negative gain based on your curve and the corrections, offsetting will have lower the effectiveness of the corrections. It may not be a good idea in all cases.
 

pogo

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If you adjust the loudest correction point of the target curve file in an text editor to +12dB and adjust the other correction points accordingly with the same offset, there will be no clipping/limiting. Since the introduction of the auto target curve function, +12dB is possible. My screenshot is from the time before that.

Edit:
You can also save a customized auto target curve as a target curve and edit it accordingly in an text editor.
 
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