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KEF R11 Meta Tower Speaker Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 5 1.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 6 1.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 84 18.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 372 79.7%

  • Total voters
    467
OP
amirm

amirm

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@amirm,
This has likely been discussed (perhaps to death) and is completely OT, but every time I see this room - I’m curious about the bookshelf speakers in the background and their orientation?? :
As noted, it is a pair of old Revel M20 speakers. When we first moved into this house, I bought a Samsung LCD TV to go in that built-in cabinet. The sound out of the TV was excruciatingly annoying (the LG OLED there now has much better sound). I had the M20s so decided to use them with an AVR. Placing them vertically would have made the shelving tall and odd, bringing attention to them. So I put them horizontal and with the tweeters to the right as to increase the width of soundstage. Despite that orientation not being as optimal as vertical, the performance has been superb. The M20 are able to product just the right amount of bass for movie watching. And of course, the fidelity blows away any TV or soundbar. I added a remote sub but it was way too boomy on commercials.
 

Robbo99999

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As noted, it is a pair of old Revel M20 speakers. When we first moved into this house, I bought a Samsung LCD TV to go in that built-in cabinet. The sound out of the TV was excruciatingly annoying (the LG OLED there now has much better sound). I had the M20s so decided to use them with an AVR. Placing them vertically would have made the shelving tall and odd, bringing attention to them. So I put them horizontal and with the tweeters to the right as to increase the width of soundstage. Despite that orientation not being as optimal as vertical, the performance has been superb. The M20 are able to product just the right amount of bass for movie watching. And of course, the fidelity blows away any TV or soundbar. I added a remote sub but it was way too boomy on commercials.
+1 for good bookshelf speakers for TV (movie) watching as a simple upgrade.
 

MaxBuck

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With all this praise it seems that I appear to be the odd one out here. I’ve tried quite hard, but I have yet to be turned into a KEF fanboy, to be convinced of the superior sound quality of KEF. ...

So I can only conclude that the KEF coaxial drivers don’t appear to be for me.
Yep, sure sounds like it.
 

quattro98

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It's interesting that you find the Genelec and Neumann preferable to the KEF.

In our main system (multichannel, still in progress after a move) I have KEF Reference 3 Meta, Reference 2 Meta, and R3 Meta as LCR and surround (rears and Atmos still awaiting installation). In my desk system, I have Neumann KH120 II and KH750. I am using a Harman style curve for the MA1 EQ. Both systems sound great to me and tonally quite similar.

With the Harman style curve, the treble is tilted down on the Neumann's and the bass is tilted up. This approximates the sound of the KEFs in a real room. The standard Neumann tuning sounds quite light in the bass and over emphasized in the highs to me. Using that as a starting point, if you want to try KEF, you can consider adjusting the treble higher if your system includes EQ or tone controls.

I'd also just consider adding a set of Neumann or Genelec speakers to your analog system. The A/D is transparent and it should sound great. If your analog rig isn't just about a turntable source, but includes electronics you want to keep, then I'd just find a speaker that suits your preferences. Both Focal and B&W should provide different highs than KEF.

With all this praise it seems that I appear to be the odd one out here. I’ve tried quite hard, but I have yet to be turned into a KEF fanboy, to be convinced of the superior sound quality of KEF. The original LS50 wasn’t for me, it pierced my ears. I mainly listen to active speakers nowadays, but since I also own a serious analogue rig, I’ve been looking for a good replacement for my passive towers for quite some time now. And in that process I’ve auditioned frequently KEF speakers, lately focussing on the Reference 3 meta and the Blade 2 meta as possible candidates.

But for some reason I can’t get connected to these speakers, which is quite frustrating knowing that they do measure quite good. They aren’t and can’t be bad, obviously, but what I personally miss is refinement in the mids and highs, for lack of a better word, that I’m expecting from speakers, certainly in these price ranges. For me the meta versions are an improvement, but that still doesn’t tilt the medal for me.

Interesting BTW, whether measurement-wise the differences could reliably be pinpointed between the pre-meta and meta versions. The problem there is of course that there are more differences between the pre-meta and the meta versions than just the addition of that meta disk. But at least to me the “measurement improvements of meta” aren’t all that obvious, while the audible improvements are. So much for only looking at graphs, I don’t exclude my ears, thank you.

Okay, it could be that those ears simply just don’t like coaxial drivers, but that’s not logical in the first place, and it also isn’t the case, since I’m greatly enjoying the outstanding sound quality of my coaxial Genelecs 8351B’s/7370 set on a daily basis. I’m BTW possibly even more appreciating my non-coaxial Neumann KH150’s, truly fabulous speakers. Those are my references in my search for new passif towers, and they do have that mid-high frequency refinement that I’m searching for.

So I can only conclude that the KEF coaxial drivers don’t appear to be for me. And that really hinders me, having just seen and read Erin’s auditioning and measurements of the Blade 2 meta, and having great trust in and respect for Erin’s expertise and verdicts in general. The only thing that maybe could be of influence is that I haven’t had the chance to audition the Reference 3 or Blade 2 meta in my own home, but I did listen to them quite extensively on various occasions in different listening environments.

So is there anybody out there that has a similar experience / opinion? Any tips or solutions? Constructive criticism greatly appreciated.
 

Chromatischism

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With all this praise it seems that I appear to be the odd one out here. I’ve tried quite hard, but I have yet to be turned into a KEF fanboy, to be convinced of the superior sound quality of KEF. The original LS50 wasn’t for me, it pierced my ears. I mainly listen to active speakers nowadays, but since I also own a serious analogue rig, I’ve been looking for a good replacement for my passive towers for quite some time now. And in that process I’ve auditioned frequently KEF speakers, lately focussing on the Reference 3 meta and the Blade 2 meta as possible candidates.

But for some reason I can’t get connected to these speakers, which is quite frustrating knowing that they do measure quite good. They aren’t and can’t be bad, obviously, but what I personally miss is refinement in the mids and highs, for lack of a better word, that I’m expecting from speakers, certainly in these price ranges. For me the meta versions are an improvement, but that still doesn’t tilt the medal for me.

Interesting BTW, whether measurement-wise the differences could reliably be pinpointed between the pre-meta and meta versions. The problem there is of course that there are more differences between the pre-meta and the meta versions than just the addition of that meta disk. But at least to me the “measurement improvements of meta” aren’t all that obvious, while the audible improvements are. So much for only looking at graphs, I don’t exclude my ears, thank you.

Okay, it could be that those ears simply just don’t like coaxial drivers, but that’s not logical in the first place, and it also isn’t the case, since I’m greatly enjoying the outstanding sound quality of my coaxial Genelecs 8351B’s/7370 set on a daily basis. I’m BTW possibly even more appreciating my non-coaxial Neumann KH150’s, truly fabulous speakers. Those are my references in my search for new passif towers, and they do have that mid-high frequency refinement that I’m searching for.

So I can only conclude that the KEF coaxial drivers don’t appear to be for me. And that really hinders me, having just seen and read Erin’s auditioning and measurements of the Blade 2 meta, and having great trust in and respect for Erin’s expertise and verdicts in general. The only thing that maybe could be of influence is that I haven’t had the chance to audition the Reference 3 or Blade 2 meta in my own home, but I did listen to them quite extensively on various occasions in different listening environments.

So is there anybody out there that has a similar experience / opinion? Any tips or solutions? Constructive criticism greatly appreciated.
So what do you mean by refinement? Usually I use that term when the upper mids and treble are too forward or harsh and they need to be tamed/smoothed. Like what KEF did with the R3 Meta or comparing to an entirely different speaker, the Buchardt S400 Mk 2.
 

BrokenEnglishGuy

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The salon 2 maybe have more resolution or clarity in the top end? the cymbals and that stuff?
The Be tweeter seems to be a very good one
 

amper42

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The salon 2 maybe have more resolution or clarity in the top end? the cymbals and that stuff?
The Be tweeter seems to be a very good one

That's very possible. The Be tweeter in the Revel F328Be is nothing short of amazing. I use to think the RAAL in my BMR Monitor and BMR Towers was my favorite Tweeter but after spending considerable time switching between the BMR Towers and the F328Be I have grown to really appreciate the added clarity of the Revel tweeter. It's definitely my favorite for crystal clear high definition.
 

mcdn

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Ah, need for subs varies, we will all have anecdotes. There are threads full of the same back and forth.

If you look at in room measurements and bass levels, most people fall into the untrained listener category and need subs for extra/exagurated bass


View attachment 359767
This graph comes up a lot and people focus on the bass preferences. But look at the treble - trained listeners want a much more deeply dropping treble. so overall their preference is actually for more bass as a proportion of the whole response,
 

mmshah

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It's interesting that you find the Genelec and Neumann preferable to the KEF.

In our main system (multichannel, still in progress after a move) I have KEF Reference 3 Meta, Reference 2 Meta, and R3 Meta as LCR and surround (rears and Atmos still awaiting installation). In my desk system, I have Neumann KH120 II and KH750. I am using a Harman style curve for the MA1 EQ. Both systems sound great to me and tonally quite similar.

With the Harman style curve, the treble is tilted down on the Neumann's and the bass is tilted up. This approximates the sound of the KEFs in a real room. The standard Neumann tuning sounds quite light in the bass and over emphasized in the highs to me. Using that as a starting point, if you want to try KEF, you can consider adjusting the treble higher if your system includes EQ or tone controls.

I'd also just consider adding a set of Neumann or Genelec speakers to your analog system. The A/D is transparent and it should sound great. If your analog rig isn't just about a turntable source, but includes electronics you want to keep, then I'd just find a speaker that suits your preferences. Both Focal and B&W should provide different highs than KEF.
What are you planning to use for surround rears? I'm planning a similar (but cheaper) system around the R series.

Thanks
 

jhaider

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when I add the RME Loudness option at lower volumes it's takes the music to a whole new level.

I've found the same thing. Loudness compensation can make a huge perceived difference, especially if you don't always listen at live levels. RME's is indeed great. HTP-1 also has well-executed loudness. I liked Dolby Volume and Audyssey Dynamic EQ as well.
 

prerich

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People who put 3 of these behind acoustic transparent screens? Given the symmetrical bass drivers could probably put one on its side to use as centre channel.
If they're going behind a screen - I'd keep the center vertical.
 

ahofer

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This graph comes up a lot and people focus on the bass preferences. But look at the treble - trained listeners want a much more deeply dropping treble. so overall their preference is actually for more bass as a proportion of the whole response,
Of course this is level-dependend, Fletcher Munson being what it is. Which is why one of my most precious kit features is the RME dynamic loudness. I think only Buchhardt and JRiver have anything similar, with the latter confounded by not knowing the hardware gain.
 

dfuller

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That port tuning is awfully high Q - you can see some of the filter ripple in the axial response. Seems to be the case on most KEF speakers that run a port - all the way up to and including the Blade.

Wonder how audible that might be.
 

ROOSKIE

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This graph comes up a lot and people focus on the bass preferences. But look at the treble - trained listeners want a much more deeply dropping treble. so overall their preference is actually for more bass as a proportion of the whole response,

This graph does come up a lot. I think it was really just to show basic variation in trained vs untrained listeners NOT be a model for some room curve or similar use. The dispersion of the particular speaker, listening distance and room characteristics very much affect what 'downward trend angle' might be measured in a room that sounds great. Folks ought to not use this to force a 'house sound or room curve'.

I generally agree with your sentiment that trained listeners also want more bass than graph makes clear to a viewer with a typical quick glance.

Untrained prefer a 'V' or "U' Shape and trained prefer and smoother downward trend.
The graph matches the lines at 200hrz but doesn't have do.

I redrew it here. Trained listeners essentially like a more even midrange and a bit less overall bass and they do prefer less treble as well but not quite as much less as the graph might trick out.

1711988259527.png
 

Koo

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I wish there were more cardioid speakers. Not everyone has the space to keep the speakers far enough from walls. That's why the D&D 8C are still my dream speakers.
 

ahofer

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That port tuning is awfully high Q - you can see some of the filter ripple in the axial response. Seems to be the case on most KEF speakers that run a port - all the way up to and including the Blade.

Wonder how audible that might be.
Can you point that out in the graph? Sorry for the trouble.
 

ahofer

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This graph does come up a lot. I think it was really just to show basic variation in trained vs untrained listeners NOT be a model for some room curve or similar use. The dispersion of the particular speaker, listening distance and room characteristics very much affect what 'downward trend angle' might be measured in a room that sounds great. Folks ought to not use this to force a 'house sound or room curve'.

I generally agree with your sentiment that trained listeners also want more bass than graph makes clear to a viewer with a typical quick glance.

Untrained prefer a 'V' or "U' Shape and trained prefer and smoother downward trend.
The graph matches the lines at 200hrz but doesn't have do.

I redrew it here. Trained listeners essentially like a more even midrange and a bit less overall bass and they do prefer less treble as well but not quite as much less as the graph might trick out.

View attachment 360622
One thing EQ software should be able to do is take a starting setting (flat or post room-optimization), then tilt the curve directly with one or two commands. Or even better, adapt it to loudness…
 

dfuller

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Can you point that out in the graph? Sorry for the trouble.

Sure - check this out. Speakers are resonant high pass filters - the Q (filter steepness) determines the shape of the passband right above the corner frequency. The higher the Q, the more likely it is that any ringing will be audible. Generally it is preferred to not go above a Q of about 0.71, if possible. 0.5-0.71 is a common area.

Notice how it has a hump right before it falls off below Fb? That's a clue that the Q is very high.
KEF R11 Meta Floorstanding Tower Stereo Speaker early window frequency response measurement~2.png



An "ideal" EBS alignment looks like this (drawn in in red).

KEF R11 Meta Floorstanding Tower Stereo Speaker early window frequency response measurement~3.png



KEF are certainly not the only company who does this - Neumann has it as a bit of an issue as well on some models, albeit less severe.

Neumann KH-420 G Measurements Frequency Response anechoic Active 3-way studio monitor speaker.png
 
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