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KEF R3 meta Measurements

Opal

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Good morning.

Yesterday I listened to the R3 Meta.

I didn't bring my old R3s for direct comparison (I didn't have time to take them apart and load them in my car).

I listened to songs that I know well, the impression was that of a slightly more open soundstage than the old R3 and they also had greater attention and presence of small details in the mid-high range, small nuances such as guitar or violin string plucks and some very small details on the voice and other instruments were certainly more evident.

Despite this I have to say with great amazement that I did not like them.

The main reason is that on medium-high frequencies they were sometimes annoying (I felt like covering my ears with my hands) too strong and present, I can't understand the reason but this was the impression I got.

On the one hand, that little more detail they gave was very nice, but on the other hand, that annoyance that emerged on some medium-high frequencies was unbearable!

How come? the "Meta" treatment shouldn't take away this problem.

On the forum I read that in the mid-high range the Meta series is less present and controlled than the old R3 series, but from the listening test I did I got the totally opposite impression

Could it have been the fault of a wrong match between Electronics Speakers and Cables?

The amplifier was a Hegel 590 and the silver Chord Cables......but as I said, I find the sound of the old R3s warmer and less aggressive in the mid-highs.

Another option is that the modification of the Crossover of the R3 Meta has emphasized too much this medium-high frequencies.

The shop told me that a customer with direct comparison (R3 Meta and non-meta) preferred and bought the old R3???

I went to buy them but I'm not at all sure, is it the case that I do other tests with another amplifier? (I can bring my Nad 399).

I was very confused, and I'm starting to think that if I put the dirac module on my Nad I can achieve better results, but I'm not writing to say this thing about the module (it's just my thought) I want to stay focused on the Kef R3 vs R3 Meta speech, everything else doesn't matter because a speaker must sound good on its own without adding equalizations especially if it has been updated to have higher quality.

I wanted to tell you about my experience, maybe it's useful or can make some users think......

In the next few days I'll listen again even if I'm less and less motivated to switch to the new model.

Do you have any opinion?

Have you also had the opportunity to listen to the new Meta model?

What impressions did you have the same as mine or different?
Thank you in advance.
Hey you are more than a year old here and has over 100 post. Did you just mentioned ' wrong match between Electronics Speakers and Cables'??
 

Alexx

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I agree, such a test gives no guarantee of what I am saying.

But I must say that when I listened to the R3s (same store, music and hall) I didn't feel that annoyance on the medium high frequencies, I compared them with the Polk but the tweeter of this brand was devastating for my ears

Probably also the coupling (amplifier and cable was not the best).

When I got mine I listened to them with a Naim and Rega, Qed Revelation cable.

Undoubtedly you are right, if I have to go back to buy them I absolutely have to bring mine for a direct comparison (I have to find the time) only then will I have more certainty about what I am saying.

If I can, I'll go next week.
 

Pudik

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I agree, such a test gives no guarantee of what I am saying.

But I must say that when I listened to the R3s (same store, music and hall) I didn't feel that annoyance on the medium high frequencies, I compared them with the Polk but the tweeter of this brand was devastating for my ears

Probably also the coupling (amplifier and cable was not the best).

When I got mine I listened to them with a Naim and Rega, Qed Revelation cable.

Undoubtedly you are right, if I have to go back to buy them I absolutely have to bring mine for a direct comparison (I have to find the time) only then will I have more certainty about what I am saying.

If I can, I'll go next week.
Plase do. I have the same dilemma, though don't have either of the r3 versions. I listened to lots of speakers, most harsh in their tweeters, but my main issue is classical music, a LOT more demanding genre. I am inclined towards the old version, but they have some balance problems between the mid base and tweeter, probably a crossover issue. P.
 

nygafre

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Since buying R3 Meta in march, I have to say I haven’t noticed any harshness or unpleasant sounds. They are clear and extended yes, nicely balanced and without too much of anything. Perhaps they seem brighter if you listen on-axis (which I don’t, I prefer them placed quite wide).

I find the R3 Meta to be great speaker. After living with them for a period I feel I have unlearnt several ‘erroneous’ listening habits. Much like gaining a new baseline of what listening to music/sound should entail.

I credit this forum just as much as the speakers for this (un)learning experience.
 

bodhi

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Since buying R3 Meta in march, I have to say I haven’t noticed any harshness or unpleasant sounds. They are clear and extended yes, nicely balanced and without too much of anything. Perhaps they seem brighter if you listen on-axis (which I don’t, I prefer them placed quite wide).

I find the R3 Meta to be great speaker. After living with them for a period I feel I have unlearnt several ‘erroneous’ listening habits. Much like gaining a new baseline of what listening to music/sound should entail.

I credit this forum just as much as the speakers for this (un)learning experience.
You are right. At least the R3 and R5 are very bright and in-your-face on-axis. Two bigger floorstanders maybe not so much, I think they have more relaxed top end. 10 degree toe out changes the response very, very much and this is something I don't think many really understand.

But anyways congrats on acquiring taste for neutral sound. Unfortunately you cannot go back easily, few decibel deviations start to get on your nerves. Not immediately but try put +3dB bass boost and you start noticing it. It's not bad as such, but it feels... off. And then you dial it back down. :D
 

nygafre

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You are right. At least the R3 and R5 are very bright and in-your-face on-axis. Two bigger floorstanders maybe not so much, I think they have more relaxed top end. 10 degree toe out changes the response very, very much and this is something I don't think many really understand.

But anyways congrats on acquiring taste for neutral sound. Unfortunately you cannot go back easily, few decibel deviations start to get on your nerves. Not immediately but try put +3dB bass boost and you start noticing it. It's not bad as such, but it feels... off. And then you dial it back down. :D
Haha, I have done exactly that! Seemingly impossible to unhear the things when you first have noticed them. Stuck with neutral sound for the future now ^^.
 

Alexx

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I listened to them perfectly aligned (they were already positioned in the room by the dealer).

From what you say that you have them, I'm starting to think that the "harshness" I heard in the mid-highs is due to the amplifier and cable that the shopkeeper used, I can't explain other reasons.

It would be curious to see which components they replaced the crossover with respect to the old R3 (they certainly changed the value of the capacitors).

The naturalness that I felt was fantastic, truly fabulous, too bad I had that negative feeling about something else, but it's an aspect that I will definitely have to look into and understand well.
Thanks a lot for your replies.
 

bodhi

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I listened to them perfectly aligned (they were already positioned in the room by the dealer).

From what you say that you have them, I'm starting to think that the "harshness" I heard in the mid-highs is due to the amplifier and cable that the shopkeeper used, I can't explain other reasons.

It would be curious to see which components they replaced the crossover with respect to the old R3 (they certainly changed the value of the capacitors).

The naturalness that I felt was fantastic, truly fabulous, too bad I had that negative feeling about something else, but it's an aspect that I will definitely have to look into and understand well.
Thanks a lot for your replies.
The amplifier and especially the cable have nothing to do with it. Even in case those electronics were complete trash by ASR standards they wouldn't have that notable effect (or audible effect at all). Having the speakers toed in or out 5 degrees more would cause orders of magnitude bigger difference than any snake oil cable with purpose built filtering.

So, what was the room like, what was the listening distance and distance between speakers and what was the listening angle? I'm sure you considered those before starting to wonder about crossover capacitors?
 

Alexx

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@bodhi
Okay.

I don't completely agree about the amplifier, they are not all the same in terms of timbre, generally the Yamaha ones are very "brilliant" as are other brands, while some tend to be more neutral (see Nad) or warm, obviously we are talking about small differences but they are audible on the electronics.

For the cable probably can not affect the sound on this I agree.

Specifically it was Hegel 590 and silver placacto Chord cord.

For the crossover difference, it is evident that it has been modified on the new R3 Meta (the Kef site also says that modifications have been made, better quality capacitors have been installed, etc.) this too made me think of this difference on the mid-highs, for I think the meta update is not going to affect the unbalanced mid-highs in any way, ansi should help in this respect.

I guarantee you that I didn't enter with any prejudice and that the initial minutes of listening were fabulous up to a certain point of the song "Nardis by Patrici Barber" where I felt that annoyance and also on other songs and authors.

The listening room is approximately 5 x 6 meters fully acoustically treated on the walls, floor and ceiling.

The distance between the two speakers is about 3 -3.5 meters another 3 meters at the distance from my listening point with the speakers perfectly oriented towards the center of the sofa where I was sitting.

I haven't tried to move them, probably if you say that off axis they have a sweeter yield on the medium highs it would have been useful to try to change the angle.

Once again I confirm the excellent quality, clean detail and neutrality in the medium-high range.

I found the bass perfectly equal to the old R3s.

In any case I consider them exceptional speakers, I just have to do more tests to remove any doubts.

I too only listen to Clasisca and Jaz music, which is why I am very demanding on the performance and quality of the speakers, which must have characteristics that I like and must not cause any discomfort even after hours of listening.
See you soon.
 

nygafre

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@bodhi
Okay.

I don't completely agree about the amplifier, they are not all the same in terms of timbre, generally the Yamaha ones are very "brilliant" as are other brands, while some tend to be more neutral (see Nad) or warm, obviously we are talking about small differences but they are audible on the electronics.

For the cable probably can not affect the sound on this I agree.

Specifically it was Hegel 590 and silver placacto Chord cord.

For the crossover difference, it is evident that it has been modified on the new R3 Meta (the Kef site also says that modifications have been made, better quality capacitors have been installed, etc.) this too made me think of this difference on the mid-highs, for I think the meta update is not going to affect the unbalanced mid-highs in any way, ansi should help in this respect.

I guarantee you that I didn't enter with any prejudice and that the initial minutes of listening were fabulous up to a certain point of the song "Nardis by Patrici Barber" where I felt that annoyance and also on other songs and authors.

The listening room is approximately 5 x 6 meters fully acoustically treated on the walls, floor and ceiling.

The distance between the two speakers is about 3 -3.5 meters another 3 meters at the distance from my listening point with the speakers perfectly oriented towards the center of the sofa where I was sitting.

I haven't tried to move them, probably if you say that off axis they have a sweeter yield on the medium highs it would have been useful to try to change the angle.

Once again I confirm the excellent quality, clean detail and neutrality in the medium-high range.

I found the bass perfectly equal to the old R3s.

In any case I consider them exceptional speakers, I just have to do more tests to remove any doubts.

I too only listen to Clasisca and Jaz music, which is why I am very demanding on the performance and quality of the speakers, which must have characteristics that I like and must not cause any discomfort even after hours of listening.
See you soon.
From this I understand the speakers were toed in to point directly at the listener, which is generally not recommended with these speakers.

I bought the OG R3’s on sale in january, before deciding to sell them an get the R3 Metas after 2 months.

My immediate impression of the Metas, compared to R3’s, was that they had more/better HF extension. I’ve written a bit about this earlier in the thread. So, in that sense I too experienced the R3 Meta’s as ‘brighter’ compared to the R3’s, but only in a good way.

So to some degree I understand your reaction, when comparing them with your R3’s. But I think you really should try them with no toe-in. And as @bodhi and others have suggested, you can also toe them slightly out.

And you already have the R3’s, an ‘upgrade’ is not mandatory at all.
 

Fahzz

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And you already have the R3’s, an ‘upgrade’ is not mandatory at all.
I've read a lot about the Meta R3's and I haven't seen anybody suggest an upgrade from original to Meta. Nice to see an affirmative statement on the issue. It will quiet that little voice I hear every now and then.
 

nygafre

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I've read a lot about the Meta R3's and I haven't seen anybody suggest an upgrade from original to Meta. Nice to see an affirmative statement on the issue. It will quiet that little voice I hear every now and then.
The value-proposition of the original R3’s is probably better compared to paying full retail for the R3 Meta.

But personally, I’ve found the extra outlay for the R3 Meta has been worth it. A bit of Warren Buffett mentality going on there; no problem paying a fair price for a wonderful product.

.. just to keep that little voice alive a little longer ;)

Edit: but I don’t want to know KEF’s margins on the Metas
 

Alexx

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I too have that "little voice" who knows if I will listen to it!!!

However, a small improvement on the medium-high quality has actually been made.

It may also take some time to get used to this small difference.

I'll also try off-axis listening, who knows what will happen at first sight!

The price difference between the two models is important, I don't think the meta series will decrease over time, it is also true that it is a speaker that will be kept for many years, so there may be an important but definitive expense...( I don't think Kef does any more updates on the R3).

In the next few days I'm going to try and update you.
A thousand thanks.
 

exm

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I am curious if anyone have compared the R3 Meta vs the non-Meta Reference 1. I am expecting the Reference to do better at the lower end, but I am curious how the UniQ holds up between these two.
 

thewas

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Has anyone tried R3 meta for nearfield monitor use ? Listening from 1 meter away from speakers and point them directly at the listening position.
Want to replace my KH150 with these.
 

Descartes

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I am curious if anyone have compared the R3 Meta vs the non-Meta Reference 1. I am expecting the Reference to do better at the lower end, but I am curious how the UniQ holds up between these two.
Erin Audio Corner just did that!
 
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