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Kef R3 Bookshelf Speaker Review (Erin's Audio Corner)

Tokyo_John

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It's a very good speaker, I previously auditioned them and I really wanted a pair. But at ~$2.5k (usd) a pair, a bit pricey. Instead I ended up paying ~15% more for a pair of LS50 Metas and a KC62 sub...and very happy with the result compared to the R3 pair alone. Maybe KEF should think a bit more about how they price these speakers, if they can bring the price under $2k it would be more enticing.
 
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JRiggs

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They aren’t $2,500. They were $1,999 prior to COVID, and are now $2,199.
 

bo_knows

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It's a very good speaker, I previously auditioned them and I really wanted a pair. But at ~$2.5k (usd) a pair, a bit pricey. Instead I ended up paying ~15% more for a pair of LS50 Metas and a KC62 sub...and very happy with the result compared to the R3 pair alone. Maybe KEF should think a bit more about how they price these speakers, if they can bring the price under $2k it would be more enticing.
Good choice Tokyo_John, glad to hear you are very happy with the setup.
 

Koeitje

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I think you are ignoring room effect too much.
The biggest influence of the bass you hear from the speaker is where it (and you) are in the room.
A speaker with flat anechoic bass will excite room modes more strongly.
The KEF slow roll off in the bass compensates for this quite well in most domestic rooms and reduces the common boomy bass problem.
If you listen to church organ, electronic music and film sound tracks having a lot of low bass is worthwhile, there is rarely anything that low in rock music (a the lowest note on a bass guitar is 41Hz iirc)
Piano's hit 27,5 hz at the lowest, so its not uncommon to go below 41hz there.
 

KMO

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They aren’t $2,500. They were $1,999 prior to COVID, and are now $2,199.

I wonder how much scope they've got for discounts. I'm currently seeing them listed on sale at €1299 here in Finland (normally €1599), which suggests there might be scope for haggling when at list price.
 

Tokyo_John

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They aren’t $2,500. They were $1,999 prior to COVID, and are now $2,199.

Actually I was being generous, based on the ultra-bargain prices from discount websites.

KEF actually lists the R3 pair as ¥308,000 per pair here in Japan, which is $2.8k usd. Don't believe me? Look for yourself: https://jp.kef.com/products/r3

Furthermore...
KEF lists the LS50 Meta pair at ¥159,500...see https://jp.kef.com/products/ls50-meta
KEF lists the KC62 at ¥187,000...see https://jp.kef.com/products/kc62-subwoofer

So...
LS50+KC62 = ¥346,500
R3 = ¥308,000

Difference...
(346,500-308,000)/308,000 x 100% = 12.5%

What would you choose? I think the LS50 Meta+KC62 is a no-brainer at this price comparison. These prices are set by KEF, and nobody else.
 

BrokenEnglishGuy

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Actually I was being generous, based on the ultra-bargain prices from discount websites.

KEF actually lists the R3 pair as ¥308,000 per pair here in Japan, which is $2.8k usd. Don't believe me? Look for yourself: https://jp.kef.com/products/r3

Furthermore...
KEF lists the LS50 Meta pair at ¥159,500...see https://jp.kef.com/products/ls50-meta
KEF lists the KC62 at ¥187,000...see https://jp.kef.com/products/kc62-subwoofer

So...
LS50+KC62 = ¥346,500
R3 = ¥308,000

Difference...
(346,500-308,000)/308,000 x 100% = 12.5%

What would you choose? I think the LS50 Meta+KC62 is a no-brainer at this price comparison. These prices are set by KEF, and nobody else.
Well, there is a lot of a R3+subs like L12 from rythmik 499$ can do vs a meta + that small sub
 

Koeitje

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tecnogadget

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Pricing will vary at different countries/continents, I don't think that is something KEF can control directly. Mind that shipping and taxes won't be the same. Nearest countries to UK will benefit to nearest prices (Europe). I got my pair in Spain with black Friday discounts for 1270€/us$1.489.
I don't find it strange at all they are more expensive in the US than Europe due to shipping, taxes and cash conversion.
The same goes the other way around with the example of something as mainstream as Apple products. iPhone 13 in the US: us$799 - iPhone 13 in Spain: 909€ / us$1.065
 

keenly

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Every speaker I have heard with metal tweeters has sounded harsh or sibilant.
 

Frank Dernie

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Piano's hit 27,5 hz at the lowest, so its not uncommon to go below 41hz there.
Yes classical music goes lower than rock music.
I have a Model B Steinway. Its lowest note is just below 30Hz. You need a model D to go to 27.5 and that won't fit in most rooms :)
I don't know of a piece of music which uses the lowest key often though, maybe there is one?
Also the harmonics are strong.

So yes, it is possible to go lower than 41 but it really doesn't happen often even with the sadly unpopular classical repertoire and pretty well never in pop and jazz.
Full. Its key #1 on a piano and should be exactly 27.5hz.


"Full" is how hard you play it, and the harmonics are at least, probably more, audible than the fundamental, probably because of equal loudness effect. (I just went and played it)
 

Zvu

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Every speaker I have heard with metal tweeters has sounded harsh or sibilant.
My experience exactly untill i've heard Kef UniQ tweeters. Seas DXT in Kii3 comes close but not close enough.

I've had high hopes for Focal Shape monitors 40 and 50 - tweeters sounded very clean but had that glare that i didn't prefer on the long run.
 

maverickronin

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Big thanks to @hardisj for thoroughly investigating and documenting the shadow flare debacle.

I just bought a pair and sure enough, the shadow flare wasn't pushed in all the way on either speaker. It took a surprising amount of force, but I got them flush with the outer edge of the UniQs.

Also, just putting this out there because Google wasn't much help when I was looking this up myself, but the bolt holes on the bottom of the R3 are M8-1.25.
 

dfuller

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My experience exactly untill i've heard Kef UniQ tweeters. Seas DXT in Kii3 comes close but not close enough.

I've had high hopes for Focal Shape monitors 40 and 50 - tweeters sounded very clean but had that glare that i didn't prefer on the long run.
IMO, the Shapes are quite bright sounding compared to the SM6 line (i.e. Solo6, Twin6, Trio6, Trio11). The beryllium tweeter models are quite smooth sounding, I found...
 

Head_Unit

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Any position out from that - like flush with the baffle - leaves a small gap and causes the response to dip ~1kHz. The further out the shadow flare, the more drastic the dip. You want the shadow flare to meet the drive unit, not the baffle.
Nice to see this quantified! And makes me wonder, when you have like LS50 cranked up and the woofer moving way back and forth, what is the effect on the tweeter response? That's the Achilles' Heel of two-way coax design and I've never seen it measured or even discussed much. This is especially so for models like Uni-Q or Uni-Fi, but we might still expect some effect from automotive-style coaxials where the tweeter is out on a bridge in front of a 6x9 or whatever cone.

I'm not sure how you'd move the woofer cone in/out to its extremes other than DC signal, or some kind of physical thing like jamming paper towels on the back side.
 
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