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KEF R3 Meta - My Experience

Steve Dallas

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Appreciate this as I may be wrong in the 95-105dB. I should clarify the dB levels I have been taking are simply off an app from my phone so they may be out to lunch. I did notice when I was using the DSP UMIK-1 mic and setting up REW pink noise to 77db (i believe) I was shocked how loud 77db was compared to listening to music and what my phone was telling me. I should of opened up my app at the same time. That being said regardless if this is an error in dB I cant get to the volume I like. Again appreciate this comment. This is my first post and fairly new to the HIFI world and shocked how helpful everyone has been.

REW has a built-in SPL meter that works with your calibrated mic. Click this button:

1704917493274.png


And use this to measure your SPL with music playing:

1704917653006.png


These are the standard weighting curves (courtesy of https://www.cirrusresearch.co.uk/blog/2020/03/what-are-a-c-z-frequency-weightings/):

1704917601608.jpeg
 

Mnyb

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Lets say I play a track that bottoms out at 90db - If I add a sub and play at the same level the R3's driver will still bottom out. Or am I missing something here? Appreciate your reply.
You should apply high pass filtering to R3's you cant just "add sub" this means for example a mini DSP or HT processors for crossover to the sub , this brings more headroom to to the R3 i don't have to do bass under 80-100Hz or something
 

Haint

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Your in room response is quite messed up, not surprised you find issue with it. Audiophool nonsense like different DAC's and AMP's aren't going to do anything unless they're also equipped with at least fairly robust room correction (e.g. Dirac, XT32, etc...). If placement isn't helping, you need some serious room treatments and real EQ, not haphazardly tuning dials by hand like you're trying. The "Audiophile's" prelidiction for buying increasingly expensive stereo amps and DAC's with no bass management features/room correction is pretty much the dumbest thing you can do for sound quality.
 
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Frank2

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Thanks Frank. The tests were done Grills off, and I take them off when listening.
Ok, apart from the high frequency peaks and dips the response you measured seems normal for this speaker. It is weak in the bass and the response slopes down towards the high frequencies, making it a midrange-focused speaker. This sounds great when you play intimate acoustic recordings but maybe these speakers are not the right ones for your music taste. Ever tried the Wharfedale Linton Heritage?
 
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K-dub

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Your in room response is quite messed up, not surprised you find issue with it. Audiophool nonsense like different DAC's and AMP's aren't going to do anything unless they're also equipped with at least fairly robust room correction (e.g. Dirac, XT32, etc...). If placement isn't helping, you need some serious room treatments and real EQ, not haphazardly tuning dials by hand like you're trying.
Agree - I tried the expensive DAC thing and probably won't realize the benefits of it until I get the room issues corrected. Would you suggest new amp with Dirac etc. or the "Real EQ" or both? What would be a good EQ product? Acoustic treatment has been designed by GIK but I have not pulled the trigger yet.
 

Theta

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Good Day,

Looking to share my experience with the KEF R3 Meta and hoping for some feedback to help guide in improving my system.

Setup:

  • KEF R3 Meta with KEF S3 Stands – Run Non-Bi-Wired
  • Yamaha A-S801 Integrated Amplifier – Primarily Run in Pure Direct
  • Denafrips Ares 12th-1 DAC
  • WIIM Pro Plus Streamer – Primarily use Qobuz
  • Speaker Cable - Micca Pure Copper, 14AWG (Amazon)
  • Interconnects – WJSTN RCA to RCA (Amazon)
  • COAX - FosPower Premium S/PDIF Digital Audio Coaxial Cable (Amazon)

Music Taste:

  • Rock and Metal – i.e. GNR, Megadeath, Metallica, ACDC
  • Oldies – Beatles, Elvis etc.
  • POP – Lady Gaga, Cardi B etc.
  • 90’s – Vanilla ICE, MC Hammer, and a lot others (Yes I’m not ashamed to admit it :cool: )

What’s important to me:

  • Ability to listen loud without cringing (95-105db)
  • I choose foot taping, good sound over “True to the source” “Uncolored” “Transparent” any day of the week.
  • Dynamics!
  • Punch and Tight Bass – not to be confused with boomy or bloated. Just to a better idea I feel the R3’s gives me exactly what I want here without a subwoofer. Feel I am a bit of an odd ball that likes to listen loud but don’t crave the room to shake. Albeit if its quality bass and the room is shaking, I’ll take it!

Room and Speaker Placement:
  • Odd Shape – approx. 250sqft
  • Ceiling height 14’ sloped to 10’
  • Pretty much everything in this room is against me. Sloped ceiling, speakers are positioned on the wrong wall both for the sloped celling and the long vs short wall. Windows everywhere. Listening position is right against the back wall. Odd shape room open to one side

View attachment 340987

View attachment 340984

The Good:

Bass from this setup exceeded my expectations for bookshelf’s. At this time do not feel the need to add in a subwoofer. **caveat to this noted below
Typical “Audiophile” tracks sound unbelievable especially at moderate volume levels (70-80db at the listening position)

The Concerning:
  • A lot of recordings – even HiRes recordings sound awful – especially above 75db
  • Bass heavy tracks will bottom out the R3 drivers around 90dB
  • Even great recoding’s can get shouty, messy and unpleasing past 85dB – Especially busy tracks.
What have I tried to correct the concerning:
  • Speaker placement – I have had these things everywhere – Close to the wall, 3 feet out, 1/5 out, 10’ apart, 7’ apart, toe in, toe out etc. etc. The only thing I can’t do I switch up the wall these are against as you can see by the photos.
  • Looked for another space in my home – this is a no go
  • Bought a Denafrips Area 12th-1 DAC as I read the R2R DACS can remove some harshness. Although it helped it really didn’t move the needle.
  • Bought a miniDSP UMIK-1 mic and ran some sweeps in REW – Results below. Don’t really know what I’m looking at. Sent these results along with the above info to GIK Acoustics for room treatment advise. I have not pulled the trigger on any room treatment yet.

OK friends to summarize I have two main issues I’m facing 1. Setup currently doesn’t give me the loud volume levels I’m after and 2. Most tracks of my taste are awful to listen to even at moderate listening volumes.

Thinking out loud – Swapping out the amplifier may help with the drivers bottoming out and may help the sound, but I feel just like the new DAC I tried the results would be minor. I could treat the room which would likely help with the sound but would do nothing for the volume levels and drivers bottoming out. Which makes me think a speaker swap is likely the best option, but It kills me to say that as when the R3’s are shinning they are just unbelievable. Then I think to myself – do I go the R7 or R11 to solve the loud listening issue but then I feel I would be in the same position just trying to find tracks that sound good rather than relax and listen to the music I love.

If you made it this far I would appreciate your feedback.

View attachment 340990

Apologies if this comment is a bit unfair, but looking at your favoured music choices, I would guess that this is as much of a problem as the midrange dominant room response you measured. A lot of the music you listen to often sounds terrible on hifi where the compressed dynamics and limited frequency range are fully exposed for what they are.

Which One remedy could be to push the speaker back much closer to the wall. I believe the KEFs are designed with a bass shelf to work well close to walls. Then would make some subjective judgements using known well recorded music from a range of genres.

It would also be interesting to know if you have heard a system/room combo that you were really impressed with when listening to your preferred music?
Very simple: You need big speakers with a 12 inch woofer and a powerful amp.
 

ZolaIII

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Agree - I tried the expensive DAC thing and probably won't realize the benefits of it until I get the room issues corrected. Would you suggest new amp with Dirac etc. or the "Real EQ" or both? What would be a good EQ product? Acoustic treatment has been designed by GIK but I have not pulled the trigger yet.
You have a chance to learn something and for free but you get to move your but. I am a lazy bug so I get you but still not enough not to do four lauzy PEQ's. It won't be smooth and silky but it would be nigh and day to what you are receiving now.
 

Matt_Holland

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Very simple: You need big speakers with a 12 inch woofer and a powerful amp.
Doesn’t look like there’s a lot of space in the OP’s listening area so maybe a floor stander with multiple 6” or 8” woofers.

Also, it’s a very voluminous space so more than likely does need some decent woofer area to drive the room effectively in the bass.

Floor standers for sure.
 

Haint

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Agree - I tried the expensive DAC thing and probably won't realize the benefits of it until I get the room issues corrected. Would you suggest new amp with Dirac etc. or the "Real EQ" or both? What would be a good EQ product? Acoustic treatment has been designed by GIK but I have not pulled the trigger yet.
Real EQ is not a specific product, just a general descriptor of something with sufficient sophistication and a bunch of filters (like Dirac or Audyssey XT32). I'm not familiar enough with expensive "separates" to make any suggestions. You can achieve similar results with PC software, or a MiniDSP processor + REW, but they require more know how than the room correction suites, which generally just require some common sense best practices and following some on screen mic placement graphics.
 
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ZolaIII

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Doesn’t look like there’s a lot of space in the OP’s listening area so maybe a floor stander with multiple 6” or 8” woofers.

Also, it’s a very voluminous space so more than likely does need some decent woofer area to drive the room effectively in the bass.

Floor standers for sure.
R3 Metas will pass uper calibration to 4 m in stereo and ideal crossover is 60 Hz or 120 Hz with port's plugged without much or any compression. What you add to the mix lowers that and they brake in 50~60 Hz region (woffer Fs).
 

Vacceo

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Not unfair at all. I'm starting to realize this as I go down the rabbit hole. One of the reasons I opted for the R3's was a lot of reviews stating "sound great will all genres" which I have come to realize means all genres that are great recordings.

I will try the close to wall suggestion with the port plugs - this is the one this I have not tried yet.

And to be honest this is my first hifi system and have not listened to really any other hifi systems. I have however always had a set up in my homes which usually consisted of decent in-ceiling speakers with a sub which I have always liked but knew there was something missing which is why I went down the road I have.
I have listened to Carcass (way harsher and thicker than anything Megadeth) on a set of KEF Blades for a very well adjusted and neutral system. It is messy, tangled and dirty, precisely because the record´s production is exactly that.

The R Meta are a bit more forgiving than the Blades, but the effect shouldn´t be too different.
 

ZolaIII

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I have listened to Carcass (way harsher and thicker than anything Megadeth) on a set of KEF Blades for a very well adjusted and neutral system. It is messy, tangled and dirty, precisely because the record´s production is exactly that.

The R Meta are a bit more forgiving than the Blades, but the effect shouldn´t be too different.
Seriously where did anyone ever get a good Megadeath recording and from where? I ain't into that but as much as I recall it whose bunch of live concert recording's that where bad recording quality. No Sleep Till Hammer's Meet for example. He wants Metal I recommend bunch of sealed 10" sub's.
Edit: My bad that's Motorhead. Still sub's recommendations stands uper cross and sealed port's on R3's for best effect.
 

terryforsythe

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Thinking out loud – Swapping out the amplifier may help with the drivers bottoming out and may help the sound,
Alpha audio reviewed the KEF R3 Metas, and were of the opinion that the bass was sensitive to the amplifier being used. Specifically, their opinion was the speaker's bass did not sound very good with an amplifier that has a low damping factor, but sounded much better using an amplifier with a high damping factor. (They liked the Kef R3 Meta's with the Hypex Nilai500DIY.)

However, I don't think changing the amplifier will fix issue with the woofer bottoming out. To address that, you need a speaker with a larger woofer and/or a woofer with more excursion, or the addition of a subwoofer. Getting a subwoofer optimally integrated with the speakers, though, takes some tweaking, and definitely will benefit from a good DSP unit. I fought with that for years until I got a MiniDSP unit.

Here is a link to the Alpha Audio review:

 

Vacceo

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Seriously where did anyone ever get a good Megadeath recording and from where? I ain't into that but as much as I recall it whose bunch of live concert recording's that where bad recording quality. No Sleep Till Hammer's Meet for example. He wants Metal I recommend bunch of sealed 10" sub's.
Edit: My bad that's Motorhead. Still sub's recommendations stands uper cross and sealed port's on R3's for best effect.
The harsher the metal genre (hence, the lower the instruments will be tunned and the harder the drums will be used, hence lower frequencies will abound) the more important a subwoofer is. If you go to more specific cases such as Industrial, you´re closing the bridge that gets you on Technoland, and that is an absolute requirement.

That is something I learnt 25 years ago when I got my first PSW 1000.2 from KEF for a set of Crestas from KEF too.
 

Theta

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I have listened to Carcass (way harsher and thicker than anything Megadeth) on a set of KEF Blades for a very well adjusted and neutral system. It is messy, tangled and dirty, precisely because the record´s production is exactly that.

The R Meta are a bit more forgiving than the Blades, but the effect shouldn´t be too different.
Reviews are very misleading, the R3's very impressive at first and good quality for background listening. No small stand mount will give you satisfaction for the music you like. Don't waste your time and money, adding a sub woofer is also a waste, you will have a big hole in the mid bass, most important in rock music.
 

ZolaIII

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@Vacceo yeah and keep it fast and under control (time domain, impulse response).
 

ZolaIII

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Reviews are very misleading, the R3's very impressive at first and good quality for background listening. No small stand mount will give you satisfaction for the music you like. Don't waste your time and money, adding a sub woofer is also a waste, you will have a big hole in the mid bass, most important in rock music.
Can pass with only one sub on lower cross (60 Hz) but if you want attack then you go with cuple of sub's (2x or 4x) in 2.2 setup (and they do under 60 together on their own) on 120 Hz with plugged port's on R3 Metas.
 

Vacceo

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Reviews are very misleading, the R3's very impressive at first and good quality for background listening. No small stand mount will give you satisfaction for the music you like. Don't waste your time and money, adding a sub woofer is also a waste, you will have a big hole in the mid bass, most important in rock music.
My system´s mains are a pair of KEF IQ7. That is indeed fine with a subwoofer.
 

nerdemoji

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And of course the Zero money option. Equalizer APO
 

Matt_Holland

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I would not use EQ to balance the bass to the mid as this will put even more demand on the woofers which are already struggling.
 
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