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KEF R3 Speaker Review

stren

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BTW anyone know if there is a R2C in the review pipe? Be interesting to see how that compares to the R3 and therefore presumably draw some conclusions to the R5 which uses the same smaller bass drivers and smaller baffle around the uni-q.
 

aarons915

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BTW anyone know if there is a R2C in the review pipe? Be interesting to see how that compares to the R3 and therefore presumably draw some conclusions to the R5 which uses the same smaller bass drivers and smaller baffle around the uni-q.
I think they would also be interesting for the front 3 channels as well for those who may want a sealed speaker or just dual woofers in an MTM setup. They won't dig as deep as an R3 but they should have more output above 100Hz or so.
 

richard12511

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There is an argument for the front 3, but side and/or rears very often act as effective mono sources which is why dipoles are so popular for those channels. Then in mixing and matching for directivity, you would miss out on the theoretical ideal of 5 or 7+ identical speakers.
Interesting. My rears are actually wide dispersion designs, but I got them cause they're so much closer than the front mains. I figured wide would work better for that distance.
 

stren

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I think they would also be interesting for the front 3 channels as well for those who may want a sealed speaker or just dual woofers in an MTM setup. They won't dig as deep as an R3 but they should have more output above 100Hz or so.
If you're blocking the ports on the r3, then purely on area the 2x5" beat the single 6.5, but it's also a smaller cabinet so...

But yes it could be another good option for LR as well as centre if you are blocking ports anyway. Speaking of which the uni-q's have an odd number of tangerine waveguides - meaning that they are not symmetric on the x axis when rotated. I assume this doesn't really affect using a R2C as a L/R speaker rotated 90 degrees.
 

Jon AA

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Interesting. My rears are actually wide dispersion designs, but I got them cause they're so much closer than the front mains. I figured wide would work better for that distance.
That's the right thinking. In Toole's general guidelines for a typical home theater, he points out that the surrounds generally need wider dispersion than the LCR for proper audience coverage.

I don't think dipoles are popular for surrounds anymore. They may work OK for some music, but not what you want for today's action movies.
 

stren

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That's the right thinking. In Toole's general guidelines for a typical home theater, he points out that the surrounds generally need wider dispersion than the LCR for proper audience coverage.

I don't think dipoles are popular for surrounds anymore. They may work OK for some music, but not what you want for today's action movies.
So it sounds the optimal midrange HT setup (just based on scores but with decent looks) could be R3's for L/R (and presumably R2C for centre), and then M16's for surrounds. If you stick to black speakers then they may not be so obviously mismatched either ;)
 
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my apologies to waste so much thread space. I figure I should bring closure to my piece anyway, after setting it up to listen in mono and running more tests with alternating which one was using the amplifier and being partially blind (I had a hunch but wasn’t 100% based on location of sound) I could barely tell a difference between them. Don’t know why the Kef was so worse earlier on the Denon but it did fine in mono on the Denon, just required being turned up more. There was a difference in tone that was usually noticeable between the two but o couldn’t figure out how to put it in words nor could o say one was better or worse, just something different.

Also sometimes one seemed more open or boxy, sometimes the other-about 90% sure it was just the result of switching and not really because either of them sound “boxy.”
Ultimately I just do not have the knowledge or ear to really say one was better, and many times they just sound super similar.

I did fine the r5 is actually a bit better going deeper, the 926 has terrible port chuff under 45hz (I thought it was rattling my cabinets at first and was trying to figure out what was happening for a bit. It was more of like a “port rattling box of pencils” based on a bass frequency tests, and above the 45 they were very similar with sometimes each one seeming slightly better at different frequencies, so, again I could not actually say one is better than the other.

So I call them basically equal, but I played some slow and emotional songs like Angel and even without being sure which was which always had a deeper emotional response to the r5. After relistening a million times there seems to be a slightly more human tone on the long emotional parts-the echo and whatever to call it seems more human to my ear whereas the Aria sounded slightly more metallic or “ringy” if you will, but it was really hard to say what was causing it for sure.

The r5 was consistently more emotional-but only a bit-and that is about the extent of my abilities to evaluate it haha.

Yea, I really was not capable of doing this well...hats off to you guys, and if the aria (906 results coming soon) comes out scoring higher (than the r3) I will just trust the data and go with the aria anyway haha.
 

617

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The reason for narrow dispersion (and big waveguides) is best explained by Geddes - basically you want to avoid early reflections which inhibit intelligibility. By making a narrow dispersion speaker and toeing them in a lot (crossing well in front of the listener) you can create a huge 'sweet spot' much wider than a conventional set up, so you get ideal intelligibility across a wide listening area.

The conventional wisdom here, and I'm sure someone here can clarify, is that you want all those horizontal reflections, which create a sense of spaciousness, but you don't want the early reflections, which muddy the sound. Bose speakers made their name by making speakers which reflected a ton of energy, and people loved them because they did sound spatious - but they also sound unclear. Big wave guides give you both.

The reason why people may prefer 'wide dispersion' designs such as the Revels, and this is pure conjecture on my part, is not that they are wide or narrow dispersion speakers so much as the fact that the dispersion slowly drops off as frequency increases. The DI is smooth, but not flat. Big state of the art waveguides are a profoundly different presentation of midrange and treble, being able to essentially create a uniform sound field across a wide bandwidth and across a wide area. It's an unfamiliar sound, and one which people often describe as more in-your-face. I think they sounds more like headphones, albeit very spacious ones.

Smaller speakers with waveguides, say below 8", are really more similar to good conventional speakers, just with smoother directivity and slightly improved intelligibility. The big wavguides, however - the 12" and 15" woofer guys - are another animal.
 

VintageFlanker

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Hum.

Listening to R3s right now. Played some tracks few hours after unboxing/installation.

So far: not impressed.:confused: It don't think it'll need deep investigation to find out Arias are very different speakers (I'd say not worse nor better, but definetly few in common).

On stands, these take up as much space as big floorstandings. Very, very (too) deep. And quite frankly, they kind of sound like it.

At a glance, first sighted and uncontrolled impressions:

- Need much more power than Arias (literally 10dB more on my ADI-2 to get about the same SPL)
- More bass weight against the Arias (like no contest)
- But somewhat boomy and uncontrolled at times (will have to play with bassports, there's no room to optimize positioning)
- A touch on the brighter side (not "harsh", tho)
- Seems to lack low-mids and body. Sounds almost slightly V-shaped in my room (No kidding)
- Narrower soundstage and spread, it seems way easier to audibly locate each speakers.
- Possibly more "pinpoint" imaging.
- Maybe more accurate for near-field with low-volume listening... But:
- Overall signature is somewhat boring to me.
 

QMuse

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Hum.

Listening to R3s right now. Played some tracks few hours after unboxing/installation.

So far: not impressed.:confused: It don't think it'll need deep investigation to find out Arias are very different speakers (I'd say not worse nor better, but definetly few in common).

On stands, these take up as much space as big floorstandings. Very, very (too) deep. And quite frankly, they kind of sound like it.

At a glance, first sighted and uncontrolled impressions:

- Need much more power than Arias (literally 10dB more on my ADI-2 to get about the same SPL)
- More bass weight against the Arias (like no contest)
- But somewhat boomy and uncontrolled at times (will have to play with bassports, there's no room to optimize positioning)
- A touch on the brighter side (not "harsh", tho)
- Seems to lack low-mids and body. Sounds almost slightly V-shaped. (No kidding)
- Narrower soundstage and spread, it is way easier to audibly locate each speakers.
- Possibly more "pinpoint" imaging.
- Maybe more accurate for near-field with low-volume listening... But:
- Overall signature is somewhat boring to me.
Can you post in-room measurements? I'm sure a little room EQ would help.. :)
 

napilopez

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Hum.

Listening to R3s right now. Played some tracks few hours after unboxing/installation.

So far: not impressed.:confused: It don't think it'll need deep investigation to find out Arias are very different speakers (I'd say not worse nor better, but definetly few in common).

On stands, these take up as much space as big floorstandings. Very, very (too) deep. And quite frankly, they kind of sound like it.

At a glance, first sighted and uncontrolled impressions:

- Need much more power than Arias (literally 10dB more on my ADI-2 to get about the same SPL)
- More bass weight against the Arias (like no contest)
- But somewhat boomy and uncontrolled at times (will have to play with bassports, there's no room to optimize positioning)
- A touch on the brighter side (not "harsh", tho)
- Seems to lack low-mids and body. Sounds almost slightly V-shaped. (No kidding)
- Narrower soundstage and spread, it is way easier to audibly locate each speakers.
- Possibly more "pinpoint" imaging.
- Maybe more accurate for near-field with low-volume listening... But:
- Overall signature is somewhat boring to me.
I'm sorry you're not enjoying them yet! I think the R3 would probably do best with half the port bung installed if you have it relatively close to the wall. 'Boomy' is not a thought that ever came to mind when I listened to them, and there's nothing to suggest they would either be boomy or lack low mids, so that's almost certainly their relationship to your room.

I do think they are very different from the Focals, which is somewhat ironic because if the Arias measurements hold up to my simulated ones for the Chora, they actually have a very similar PIR to the R3. For example, here's my PIR for the Chora vs Amir's PIR for the KEF R3:
1590774999122.png


But the directivity characteristics are very different, and that's probably what you're hearing.

You might simply have to get used to the sound too.
 

MZKM

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- A touch on the brighter side (not "harsh", tho)
- Narrower soundstage and spread, it seems way easier to audibly locate each speakers.
Try the extreme toe-in method (aka, utilize Time Intensity Trading), where you toe-in each speaker so much that they cross in front of you instead of at your ears. This will naturally reduce the upper treble as well as give a wider center image.

Like this:
 

QMuse

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Try the extreme toe-in method (aka, utilize Time Intensity Trading), where you toe-in each speaker so much that they cross in front of you instead of at your ears. This will naturally reduce the upper treble as well as give a wider center image.

Like this:
Eh.. I really prefer EQ to that method.
 

VintageFlanker

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I'm sure a little room EQ would help.. :)
It probably will. But quite frankly, I was looking for some new toys to play with, while there was fery few to complain about 906s, with no EQ whatsoever (maybe was looking for stronger bass). I had no intend to spend that money to then investigate how to make them sound like I would by EQ or tweaking.
This was the best rated passive speakers here. So I had to buy it. There's not that much thinking behind that. :p:facepalm:

Anyway, it has only been few hours, so let's wait a couple of days more. I won't work for the next three days, so plenty of time for critical listening.
 

napilopez

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Eh.. I really prefer EQ to that method.
EQ isn't going to fix the narrower soundstage though.

In my home, the R3s sounded unequivocably better when pointed straight forward. I tried extreme toe in, but I felt that left the image too diffuse in my place. Your mileage may vary. Either way, they shouldn't be listened to on-axis
 

VintageFlanker

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Try the extreme toe-in method (aka, utilize Time Intensity Trading), where you toe-in each speaker so much that they cross in front of you instead of at your ears. This will naturally reduce the upper treble as well as give a wider center image.

Like this:
Thanks for the suggestion, but that won't going to happen...ever. ;)
 

QMuse

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It probably will. But quite frankly, I was looking for some new toys to play with, while there was fery few to complain about 906s, with no EQ whatsoever (maybe was looking for stronger bass). I had no intend to spend that money to then investigate how to make them sound like I would by EQ or tweaking.
This was the best rated passive speakers here. So I had to buy it. There's not that much thinking behind that. :p:facepalm:

Anyway, it has only been few hours, so let's wait a couple of days more. I won't work for the next three days, so plenty of time for critical listening.
I will be happy to provide my EQ to R3 based on Amir's Klippel measurement if you have means to apply it. :)
 

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