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KEF R Series Grills

ronnzi

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Aug 20, 2021
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Hi, everyone.

I’ve been doing a lot of research for if/when I do my next speaker upgrade. I’m currently pretty happy with my SVS Ultra Center/Prime Pinnacle L/R front setup (crossed over at 80hz with 2 Monolith 15 v2 subs and corrected with Dirac Live). I might just be upgrading for the sake of getting some more speaker experience under my belt, as the system sounds pretty great as-is. That said, If I’m able to sell my current mains for a decent price, I’m interested in potentially trying out some KEF or Revel speakers, so I’m sort of keeping my eyes open while looking into options.

I have a very reflective room (ceiling-to-floor windows on one side, leather couch, etc), so I’m starting to think I’d benefit from the narrower directivity of the KEF’s (my SVS’s are pretty wide, so I really tow them in to try to maximize their direct sound in my setup currently).

Anyways, I’ve been debating between an R3 LCR setup vs doing R5’s L/R with a R2C. For all intents and purposes, the R3 seems like the best choice if it weren’t for my TV, which I’d have to raise higher than I would like to fit a center R3. For that reason, I’m thinking I might just save up and get the R5/R2C setup (it’s a big room, so the extra SPL would be helpful anyways).

On that note, one thing I’ve noticed in measurements for some of the KEF R Series speakers is that the grills look like they cause some really weird issues up-top (combing effects). I have kids and will likely have to keep the grills on for at least a few more years - is this a reason to look elsewhere?

I know grills always have some impact, it just seemed particularly bad with the KEFs from looking online (maybe because of how the grills are constructed?).

On the Revel side, doing matching LCR M106’s would be a little more doable than the LCR R3’s, as they’re a little shorter. However, I really am interested in trying the narrower dispersion KEFs like I mentioned, as well as the coaxial design. If I were to go Revel, I might take even longer saving up to do f208s and a c208 (I really want to stick with a 3way center if I’m going horizontal).

Anyways, particular thoughts on the KEF grills is what I’m looking for, but general advice on speakers would also be welcome. I might not even upgrade for a while (the SVS’s have been really awesome, especially for the price), but I’m trying to learn everything I can in the meantime in case I ever decide to.

The system is 50/50 movies/mysic, btw.

Thanks as always!
 
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Battlebeast

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May 25, 2022
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The Kefs aren't really narrow dispersion speakers IMO/IME but they do have a very even off axis response both horizontally and vertically. In my room what reflections I get give me a huge sound stage. For much HT content it's like I have front wides and heights. I'm always hearing things from places I have no speakers. It's quite nice.

You can try them with minimal risk from Crutchfield if you're in the US and the R3s are on sale.
 

MarkS

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Apr 3, 2021
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The KEFs, like almost all speakers these days, have badly designed grilles. But the audible effect is minimal (even though the response plots can look bad).
 

tifune

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I went through same thing, in fact I'm the one who sent R5 to Erin and asked if he'd be willing to test with grille on for this exact reason. In the end, the easiest thing was to calibrate with grilles off and remove them when you're sure it's safe. They basically make no difference for TV/movies, and most likely you're the only person in the house that has a chance of caring during music playback. It took me <30 seconds for 5 speakers and it usually only happened on weekends
 
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ronnzi

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Aug 20, 2021
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Thank you all! This has been very helpful! @tifune, I may DM you sometime with some questions about your experience with your system - sounds like I’m heading down the same path! I’d type it out now, but it’s been a long day.

Appreciate the input!
 
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