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KEF R3 OR BOWER & WILKINS S706 s2 ???

HarmonicTHD

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I have a pair of 603 S2 Anniversary Edition (towers) and I'm fairly happy with them.
Measured from my listening position with UMIK-1 and a SVS subwoofer after I fiddled with speaker placement.
View attachment 207964
I have them ~1.5feet (0.5m) from the wall (measured from the back of the speaker).
View attachment 207965
Happy for you. But of what use is your subjective opinion to any other person, who will like different things and will listen in a different room.

The only thing a potential buyer can go by are the published measurements for a first priotization and then listen for themselves.

In terms of measurements the KEF outperforms the B&W, plain and simple. That doesn’t mean that by chance the B&W is not liked by some people as you just demonstrated. However the probability is higher that the KEF is preferred.
 

muad

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I have a pair of 603 S2 Anniversary Edition (towers) and I'm fairly happy with them.
Measured from my listening position with UMIK-1 and a SVS subwoofer after I fiddled with speaker placement.
View attachment 207964
I have them ~1.5feet (0.5m) from the wall (measured from the back of the speaker).
View attachment 207965

Standard scale is 50db. More than that tends to make things look flatter and smoother than they are.
 

UCrazyKid

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I think you might do better asking at the AVS Forums.
 

itz_all_about_the_music

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KEF R3 hands down. This is coming from someone who owned B&W 800 series speakers for 20 years: one pair of 804 towers and one pair of 805 bookshelves. Just buy the KEFs. Be sure to carefully press the shadow flare ring in all the way. Seriously, just buy the KEFs.

I'm curious...what years of production of 800 series, 804 towers, and 805 bookshelves did you find less than appealling? Or did I misunderstand your comment?
 

cavedriver

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so hard not to wade in.... will just say that I demo'd the top of the 700 series and bottom of the 800 series towers several years ago and in my personal experience agree with the batwing criticism above- the upper mids were sucked out and "slow". Reviewers shared this criticism with the latest 804 tower (I think I listened to the 804 D3, the below is for the D4). TBH I wonder if B&W design has become trapped under the weight of their own materials and manufacturing technology?

 

FrantzM

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Hi

Welcome to ASR. Here we value accurate reproduction . We value Science in the service of Audio Reproduction in the Home. One thing that you will have to understand is that accurate and pleasurable do coincide: This is a fact. When the biases are removed, most people find accurate speakers more pleasurable... When they (biases) come back .. a different story.

Kef R3 is likely the most accurate speaker, this said without a look at the measurements of your B&W choices. Call it a prejudice and it is, but it is backed by ... measurements :).. B&W has espoused a "House Sound" and most of their speakers are "tuned" with some strange frequency response to sound zingy and B&W-y... Exciting in the beginning for some, until they realize that ...everything , including things that shouldn't, sounds "zingy" and wow-y...

In parting .. I was about to answer : "Is that a trick question? kef of Course :( "... I realized it to be harsh and not helpful. I will advise to stay here at ASR and learn. In the meantime acquire the Kef R3. Later pair them with... a pair :D of subwoofers; people here will help you in the choice of subs and their integration with the R3.. Just ask the questions...

With the R3, you are likely to be in audio heaven for many years...

Peace
 

Skyro

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The only real knock on the Kef R3 is the narrow dispersion which is IMO why some people find it boring for music. However for a mixed use home theater setup I prefer narrow dispersion speakers. If you were just looking for a 2ch music setup IMO paying extra for the BMRs is worth it.
 

DSJR

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I'd say the KEF too... However, the ATC 11 is one I'd love to compare with it...
 

HarmonicTHD

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The only real knock on the Kef R3 is the narrow dispersion which is IMO why some people find it boring for music. However for a mixed use home theater setup I prefer narrow dispersion speakers. If you were just looking for a 2ch music setup IMO paying extra for the BMRs is worth it.
Yes. It strongly depends on the room. For a very reflective room (and of course for movies) one might prefer a bit more narrow dispersion. It becomes evident for example in Erin’s review - the speakers in his dampened home cinema sounded not so good and in stark contrast to his more reverby living room. Just need to try.
 
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Vacceo

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The only real knock on the Kef R3 is the narrow dispersion which is IMO why some people find it boring for music. However for a mixed use home theater setup I prefer narrow dispersion speakers. If you were just looking for a 2ch music setup IMO paying extra for the BMRs is worth it.
For HT, narrow dispersion is not a terrible issue as you will use several channels. In my experience, narrow helps with localizing the source of the sound, which is the whole point of Atmos, Auro and so on.
 
OP
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K20voigt

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Today I drove 40 min to a bestbuy to try to help myself to decide wichone would do it for me and what i noticed is the kef sounded like more full , deep and with more bass and the b&w sounded more bright on the vocals and no bass unfortunately the speakers were setup on different rooms so i couldn't do better A/B comparison ‍♂️ but even the guy at bb told me to go with the kef , i think for 500 dl more im going with the kef also they are way better looking.
 

Steve Dallas

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I'm curious...what years of production of 800 series, 804 towers, and 805 bookshelves did you find less than appealling? Or did I misunderstand your comment?

I bought my 804s and 805s in 2000. Some time around 2006, a friend heard mine and asked me to accompany him to the dealer to help him choose a pair. By that year, they had changed their sound signature, and he walked away without buying anything. I have various friends who are audiophiles and musicians who also own B&W speakers, specifically CM and 700 series. They also have the signature sound.

This is the listening window of the 805 D4 from Soundstage! and the NRC. Nana nana nana nana... Batman!

fr_listeningwindow.png


And the 805 S:


My speakers were much more accurate than what these measurements show for the newer 805.

For comparison, here is the listening window measurement of the KEF LS50 Meta from Soundstage! and the NRC. I would MUCH rather listen to this:

fr_listeningwindow.png


B&W has the skills and the tools to engineer accurate speakers. They simply choose not to.
 
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HarmonicTHD

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Today I drove 40 min to a bestbuy to try to help myself to decide wichone would do it for me and what i noticed is the kef sounded like more full , deep and with more bass and the b&w sounded more bright on the vocals and no bass unfortunately the speakers were setup on different rooms so i couldn't do better A/B comparison ‍♂️ but even the guy at bb told me to go with the kef , i think for 500 dl more im going with the kef also they are way better looking.
90% of your budget should go into speakers. Next to the room, they make up 99% of the sound. Rest is Electronics (the importance of electronics is way overrated when you read through the forums). So don’t let the extra 500USD hold you back. You will have these speakers a long time, presumably longer than any electronics.
 

iulianm

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Happy for you. But of what use is your subjective opinion to any other person, who will like different things and will listen in a different room.
Not much out of my message; fiddling with speaker placement in the room changes a lot the sound and if it would be possible to test them out in your room before buying, that would be great; that's what I wanted to get out of it.

But I agree with you that’s much better to start with the speaker measurements first (especially if such measurements are available).

I have KEF R3/R5 in my wishlist as well to replace the UB5 in my other room.
 
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ROOSKIE

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Hello guys I need some help here , I'm setting up a Home theater / listening room but I have 0 experience with audio so i hope some ppl give me some insight on which one of these speaker will work
better for me ., this would be a big purchase and i don't want to spend money on somethi8ng that it may not work or make a poor selection.

Planning to do a 5.1.4 system matching only LCR (surround will be same brand but smaller speaker/quality )
Room size 14Lx11.5Wx12H

I'm planning to buy this separately and at discount price from BB ., originally I was planning to do BMR Philharmonic on LCR but the amount of money i can save buying from best buy is just a no brainer i have my eyes on KEF R3 OR BOWER & WILKINS S706 S2 with their respective center also i need say that if ill go with b&w i can save up around 500 or 600dl....which is crazy since the difference in msrp price is just 200dl ...
I have no idea if you get a BB employee discount or Manufacture accommodation, just in case here are some deals.
1st if you go with KEF there are 2 options I want to tell you about.
1. woot.com(owned by Amazon) has the R3 in Black NEW for $1599. note woot.com does not accept returns.
2. accessories4less sells KEF refubs for great price, in stock varies day to day. Right now for example the R3 in all 3 colors is $1499

Buy the Revel M16 for $700 or maybe even less
I have done a ton of testing over the last 3-4 years for various reasons. I suggest you try REVEL. Many dealers sell in person at a very good discount 25-40% below MSRP. Additionally I also personally preferred the general REVEL sound.
For instance I did prefer the REVEL M16, which is on sale now everywhere for $700, over the R3. Yes it was close and I could see some choosing the R3 but for both myself and my Gf the less expensive REVEL won. It is a really nice speaker. Price was not a factor & the fact that compares well with the $2200(1600 onsale) R3 IMHO just make that $1000 MSRP($700 on sale) seem totally legit. In fact based on really liking the M16, I decided to try M126be, prepared to feel the cost wasn't justified. Not so and I kept them. I easily preferred them over the R3 & in this case not really even that close. I did buy the M126be at close to 40% discount from the MSRP of $4400 so make a deal.

If you spend more than the M16, try the M105 or M106.
I think you can find the M105 for $1200 NEW and the M106 for around $1500 NEW with a flexible dealer.

BestBuy/Magnolia can get REVEL, so if you have a hook up there then they can do you right. Or ask around there are some really accommodating dealers looking to make a sale.

I don't have experience with much B&W gear, and have not heard the BMR yet. That said B&W have their rep for being quite brash and the BMR has it's rep for being truly outstanding - almost silly good. I mean if they were a traditionally manufacturer like one BestBuy sells the MSRP on a pair of BMR's would likely be $4k. SO $under $2k is a heck of a discount in theory.
 
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OP
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K20voigt

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90% of your budget should go into speakers. Next to the room, they make up 99% of the sound. Rest is Electronics (the importance of electronics is way overrated when you read through the forums). So don’t let the extra 500USD hold you back. You will have these speakers a long time, presumably longer than any electronics.
someone on avsforum told me the same and recommend me the bmr philharmonics beautiful speakers in my opinion i was down to buy it just for the look but then my cousin told me for that price i can buy the KEF R3, KEF R2C AND KEFQ350 soo no brainer for me., thats the route im going. Pair that with a denon x47000h and later a SVS sub
 

AwesomeSauce2015

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Kef over bowers, for sure (see others' earlier posts about directivity), but for a home theater setup you may want to look at the JBL HDI series. They can get louder while staying clean, and handle dynamics better than the KEF speakers (in my opinion, but Erin's Audio Corner shows that the KEF speakers "compress" sooner than the JBL HDI series in measurements, so it's not an entirely subjective opinion).

JBL also has very good on-axis frequency response, and very good directivity (dispersion). They also can get quite loud, which is good for home theater.
The only issue is you can't really use them nearfield (since they are a standard 2-way, coaxials like KEF win in nearfield), but for home theater, you won't be doing that.

Best buy should also carry the HDI series, and you can probably get whatever deal you are getting on the KEFs on them.
 

ROOSKIE

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Kef over bowers, for sure (see others' earlier posts about directivity), but for a home theater setup you may want to look at the JBL HDI series. They can get louder while staying clean, and handle dynamics better than the KEF speakers (in my opinion, but Erin's Audio Corner shows that the KEF speakers "compress" sooner than the JBL HDI series in measurements, so it's not an entirely subjective opinion).

JBL also has very good on-axis frequency response, and very good directivity (dispersion). They also can get quite loud, which is good for home theater.
The only issue is you can't really use them nearfield (since they are a standard 2-way, coaxials like KEF win in nearfield), but for home theater, you won't be doing that.

Best buy should also carry the HDI series, and you can probably get whatever deal you are getting on the KEFs on them.
Along with my Revel M126be I also have the JBL 4309 which is similar to the HDI1600 at least in terms of the waveguide and tweeter.
They are super dynamic, much more than the R3 although all of them (KEF R3, Revel M126be and JBL 4309 can play very loudly for the form factor) The M126be is also quite dynamic with the JBL perhaps being a bit more so and the R3 being 3rd place. All 3 speakers are good (easily 5/5 unless you need $50k speakers) and different enough for different tastes.
 
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