• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

KEF R3 Speaker Review

napilopez

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
1,394
Likes
4,498
Location
NYC
Well sure, it is what it is. But R3 is still a speaker with very smooth directivity and EQ will fix the tonal balance better than radical toe-in you suggested. ;)
I did not suggest radical toe in. I suggested they be aimed straight forward. They should be listned to 15-20 degrees off axis. That is how KEF designs speakers.
 

Zvu

Active Member
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
180
Likes
222
Location
Serbia
@VintageFlanker When you think they sound their best, connect your Arias for A/B comparison. Here is my long lasting impression about sound of modified R300 quoted from another forum. I wrote it march 2019:

It's been a while since i've addressed the sound of modified Kef R300.

When the initial impressions of sound settle, then comes that long lasting feeling you get when you get to know your loudspeakers very well. Kef did an amazing job with these drivers, well almost. Almost everything sounded the best ever but i will not write about qualities of this loudspeaker but more on the weak spots. R300 when modified has two of them. Low bass - it's there but not really. In my room it worked perfect but when put in larger rooms 40sqm or more, it needs help - and i'm talking about hard walls, not wood or drywall - i'm guessing it would behave worse in that situation. Other one being low mids. Concentric at the top does such a good job that i wonder what could sound better than that. When Kef says -obsessed with high resolution- they really mean it. It's one of the finest midranges and tweeters i have ever heard, and i've heard quite a few loudspeakers. Woofer is crossed at about 450Hz to midrange, and there problems begin. I'll post a picture оf its construction first:

Kef R300.jpg


It's made by attaching large aluminium plate to a paper cone that is connected to voice coil former. In the paper cone there are elliptical openings to let the pressure out. Something similar can be seen in typical car subwoofer units. When it comes to bass frequencies boy does it deliver. It is one of the most punchiest bass drivers i've laid my eyes (ears???) on. It would be almost no compromise loudspeaker if midrange could be crossed to it at say 120-150Hz but pushing it to 400-500Hz has taken its toll. Since i made quasi-anechoic measurements with almost 11ms gate time, i get very good resolution from about 90-100Hz. I've made the flattest measuring loudspeaker (on and off axis) up to about 2KHz i've seen. But something was missing. i first thought that midrange was a bit quieter than it should be so i reduced the attenuation in 0.2dB increments to set its level by ear. That's wasn't it. Then, after some time i started to look at the crossover frequency between midrange and woofer. With few slight adjustments i moved it to 380Hz - it was better. Then i moved it to 310Hz, even better still. All the time i kept linearity and good phase tracking. The more i let the midrange work, the better the rendering of that thing missing was. Then i just played some music i know well and got really close to loudspeaker listening to midrange and woofer up and down. Every tone that wasn't pure bass frequency (say 80 and up) it played virtually the same. Every note sounded the same. They've made it work well and deep enough at low frequencies but they've damaged the transients of lower midrange on the way. I guess the price had to be payed somewhere and it was right there where it hurts the most. That couple hundreds hertz it should be playing it doesn't do well.

Knowing that there were couple of options i had to decide. To buy used Q300 and use its 6.5" woofer. I'd remove the tweeter and make a phase plug. But that's an investment of more or less 300-400 euros and leaves me with having to measure new trim rings dimensions and have them made out of plastic or aluminium, new crossover etc. Color of Q300 woofer looks really ugly when combined to concentric midrange in R300 so i gave up. Next thing would be trying to find a 4 ohm woofer that will work as well as factory one in about 15 liters of volume. That was cheaper option but i haven't found it.

Anyhow, i'd strongly recommend concentric driver from R series as it really sings but to use it with another woofer that will not absorb transients on the way. If you're listening electronic music, you'll never want for another loudspeaker. Couple of my friends do so i sold my R300's to one of them.

This was a very good experience. I've learned a lot and it showed me that Kef is a force to be reckoned with when concerning their concentric drivers.

cheers :)
 
Last edited:

QMuse

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
3,124
Likes
2,541
Well sure, it is what it is. But R3 is still a speaker with very smooth directivity and EQ will fix the tonal balance better than radical toe-in you suggested. ;)
These are estimated LW, ER and SP responses. This should sound ok.. :cool:

Capture.JPG
 

tuga

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
2,145
Likes
1,760
Location
Oxford, England
@VintageFlanker I never listened to R3's but I have LS50's and imaging is their strong point. Perhaps it's the curved baffle which makes it so. I'm a bit confused about which Focal speakers you have. Could you clarify?
Perhaps it's the concentric driver not the curved babble.
 

napilopez

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 17, 2018
Messages
1,394
Likes
4,498
Location
NYC
These are estimated LW, ER and SP responses. This should sound ok.. :cool:

View attachment 66143
That should definitely help. That said @VintageFlanker you might want to try pushing the area aorund 1kHz up a little futher if you still feel they are recessed in the mids. As noted earlier in the thread, it seems some R3 units have a dip in this region that KEF might have fixed in some batches. Mine had a very consistent 1K dip, on both speakers, and in both quasi-anechoic and averaged in-room measurements. As do several other measurements of the R3/R series.

R3 Mystery.jpg
 

QMuse

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
3,124
Likes
2,541
That should definitely help. That said @VintageFlanker you might want to try pushing the area aorund 1kHz up a little futher if you still feel they are recessed in the mids. As noted earlier in the thread, it seems some R3 units have a dip in this region that KEF might have fixed in some batches. Mine had a very consistent 1K dip, on both speakers, and in both quasi-anechoic and averaged in-room measurements. As do several other measurements of the R3/R series.

View attachment 66146
Klippel found dip a little higher, and that is what I based my correction on.
 

tecnogadget

Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
255
Likes
439
Location
Madrid, Spain
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.
I had the same impression when I first set up my pair. I was impatient and had extremely high expectation bias. It was a quite short session, and did not set them up properly and was also in a rush because I had a social gathering later the same day. I was not impressed because of the high expectations but at the same time there was nothing wrong with the sound, it was refined just not that amusing.

My impressions changed pretty much the next days after they had played for a few hours, I started to know them and fallen in love with their signature. As the weeks passed by I did better placement and also figured out I was running the AVR with them set as "small" and 80hz LPF, their bass was fine, but after fixing that and listened at full range WOW this bookshelf plays bass like Floorstanders. Then I made some informal REW measurements and found they reach 30hz with room reinforcement without hesitation, there is even some good 20hz output.

I'm still waiting to change the living room furniture to finally get them properly set up and after that doing Room Eq to achieve nirvana.
 

QMuse

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
3,124
Likes
2,541
I had the same impression when I first set up my pair. I was impatient and had extremely high expectation bias. It was a quite short session, and did not set them up properly and was also in a rush because I had a social gathering later the same day. I was not impressed because of the high expectations but at the same time there was nothing wrong with the sound, it was refined just not that amusing.

My impressions changed pretty much the next days after they had played for a few hours, I started to know them and fallen in love with their signature. As the weeks passed by I did better placement and also figured out I was running the AVR with them set as "small" and 80hz LPF, their bass was fine, but after fixing that and listened at full range WOW this bookshelf plays bass like Floorstanders. Then I made some informal REW measurements and found they reach 30hz with room reinforcement without hesitation, there is even some good 20hz output.

I'm still waiting to change the living room furniture to finally get them properly set up and after that doing Room Eq to achieve nirvana.
As we are all well aware judging speakers without seeing in-room response is extremely unreliable. Let's wait until he posts in-room response and then we'll have a better picture.
 

tecnogadget

Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
255
Likes
439
Location
Madrid, Spain
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.
@Amir If you ever get to test the R2C or any other center that performs well, is there any possibility of also measuring them in Vertical configuration?? This would be very interesting for anybody who wants to run them as mains or have a full front set up to avoid the classic Center Channel Lobing.
In this case, being a concentric sample, I'm quite intrigued as to how similar the dispersion/performance gets between Horizontal vs Vertical positioning.
 

tecnogadget

Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
255
Likes
439
Location
Madrid, Spain
As we are all well aware judging speakers without seeing in-room response is extremely unreliable. Let's wait until he posts in-room response and then we'll have a better picture.
I have some rough and casual measurements. I could try to make a better effort and try several MMM over the listening area and average. I was used to always do Sweep with REW, the first time I've read about MMM was here because of you QMuse (many thanks). Too bad I don't have a mic boom so I could also do several sweeps (like the dirac couch pattern) and average them.

napilopez As for that infamous 1khz dip that shows on third party measurements but not on Klippel I'm starting to suspect about the protruding Shadow Flare ring...
I'm having replaced my R3's and R2C because of cosmetical issues on the lacker, KEF was very supportive of my case and provided excellent customer service. I hope the new units are cherry-picked from the factory and newer batch (mine were from the first manufactured breeds of September 2018). If this units have the Shadow Flare perfectly flush relative to the cabinet and 1khz does not show up maybe its case closed.
 

617

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2019
Messages
849
Likes
1,647
Location
Somerville, MA
I'd really suggest a low q eq at around 30 and another at 150. Play around with gentle eq in this region, it can do wonders to clear up muddiness. The r3 is a well designed speaker, meaning it is relatively room insensitive, so you should be able to get them sounding great.
 

QMuse

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Messages
3,124
Likes
2,541
I have some rough and casual measurements. I could try to make a better effort and try several MMM over the listening area and average. I was used to always do Sweep with REW, the first time I've read about MMM was here because of you QMuse (many thanks). Too bad I don't have a mic boom so I could also do several sweeps (like the dirac couch pattern) and average them.
MMM RTA with pink noise doesn't require a boom - you can do it while holding mic in your hand as well, as shown in this video. :)
 

tecnogadget

Active Member
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
255
Likes
439
Location
Madrid, Spain
@tecnogadget glad to hear the R3's are doing well in your home. If you can't find nirvana with EQ, find a guru.
My profile pic shows my previous dedicated HT set up in an almost 100% treated room (still and old pic since the center has been replaced by a KEF R600c). After living so much time with such a room gives you "standar room" anxiety. Thinking about modals, comb filtering, early reflections and so as if they were COVID-19 :p.

The thing is where I currently live could be defined as pretty much the most irregular possible room in the world. This should be an acoustical nightmare and yet I can't stop enjoying the R3's as much as the previous dedicated room. I'm suspecting that's the power of great coaxial-concentric drivers and good Directivity Index. I'm sure somebody will stab me if I confess they are only 50cm apart. The setup is as bad as it could be and still sound
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom