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KEF Reference 1 META Bookshelf Speaker Review by Erin's Audio Corner

phoenixdogfan

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Yep that is true too
And if you already have a small fortune invested in high end electronics, do you want to displace it just to go active. These look really good, and I'm sure they will give the D&D's, Kii3's, Genelec's, and Neuman's a run for their money. For me, already owning an Octo 8, and a Purifi Eval 1, and a couple of SVS Subs, these would be a once in a lifetime, endgame purchase, and would allow me to have a 7.1 all Kef, computer based home theater.
 

AwesomeSauce2015

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And if you already have a small fortune invested in high end electronics, do you want to displace it just to go active. These look really good, and I'm sure they will give the D&D's, Kii3's, Genelec's, and Neuman's a run for their money. For me, already owning an Octo 8, and a Purifi Eval 1, and a couple of SVS Subs, these would be a once in a lifetime, endgame purchase, and would allow me to have a 7.1 all Kef, computer based home theater.
How exactly does a computer-based home theater setup work in the age of streaming and DRM?
Do you have a media server with blu-ray rips or something? Does streaming even work?
 

HarmonicTHD

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Great review and consider me biased. Thanks Erin. Speaker is just wonderful. Love the KEFs sound stages and low distortion all the way to the aesthetics. Happy to see another step up for the Metas. Need to think if trading in my Ref 3 for Ref 3 Meta or if to resist the upgraditis. Sigh.
 

Tangband

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Beautifully looks and aparently very good sounding . Nice review.
 
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Tangband

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Interesting subjective take.
Especially as he compares to the R3 which I owned.
Never once found the R3's bright in my space, even on bright tracks they resolved with less brightness then other systems.
In my experience they were a were a bit to buttoned, reserved and mellow, never quite able to pull a 007.
Could be room issues-mfctr deviations or taste who knows but I always find subjective takes interesting.
My actual in room "curve" did not quite match the PIR and did not level off, it was very smooth, of course that PIR/my actual in room MMM, doesn't really mean much of anything.

Anyway despite not loving the R3's I deff want to hear these bad boys and see if they do in fact have some dynamic prowess.

Don't think the META will help much with dynamics.
The R3's are not dynamic speakers. Very average in that regard. Clean, buttoned sound but little excitement.
It was one of the major reasons I did not keep them, that and the smallish sweet spot and smallish soundstage.
They could play very loudly with low distortion when High Passed. That part was covered well. I do go loud and the R3's stayed very clean sounding and unstressed. If not high passed the speakers got a little dirty down low, I deff recommend a 70-80hrz HP if you like content with bass and you want some natural sounding SPL.

Anyway I could see someone finding the R3's 5/5stars and someone else like me being very non-plussed. (For me they hit about 3/5 stars.)
The ref3 and this Meta loudspeaker seems to be slightly different at on axis response , the ref3 is brighter voiced.
 

TheBatsEar

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My god, KEF, slow down, the competition can't keep up!
Check out Mission, B&W, Tannoy or Wharfedale, they seem dead in the water.

KEF is on a roll, just like B&W in the late 90ies (DM6xx, Nautilus). Seems they have a good bunch of marketing and engineers working for them.
 

8bits

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How would this compare to the March Sointuva measurement-wise? Maybe @hardisj can chime in since you measured/listened to both recently :)
 

Jukebox

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As always, great job from @hardisj !!! This uni-Q from Kef is getting better and better with every iteration!
 

ROOSKIE

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The ref3 and this Meta loudspeaker seems to be slightly different at on axis response , the ref3 is brighter voiced.
I do see that the measured on axis responce is slightly flatter for this speaker vs the R3.
It would be interesting to A/B/Q them.

Perceived brightness is dependent on so many factors. Think about High Passing a favorite pair of speakers at 120hrz, then add the bass back, then add a robust sub.

Now a dynamic speaker on an intense passage vs a less dynamic one. A speaker with slightly elevated treble on a sweep, might sound less bright due to presenting less dynamic SPL.

Dispersion is also huge factor for me in perceived brightness. Low distortion is as well.
One thing we hardly ever see IMD testing of tweeters. Some tweets sing at high SPL in complex areas and others are really stressed even if HD on sweep is fine.

Interesting for me at least, my pair of R3's did not really measure with that slightly elevated treble when simultaneously measured with several other speakers.

In practice, in my case the R3's never once sounded siblant, brash, harsh, shrill or anything along that line(unless it was due to poor recordings) and I listen to some crazy stuff sometimes.

Who knows.
That is the subjective part.
Over-all both speakers measure so well.

Shame I didn't dig the R3's. Did a lot of testing/listening, appreciate the speaker but it just wasn't quite there for me.

The Reference 1's are to $ for me to try currently. Maybe someday.
 

Arnas

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My god, KEF, slow down, the competition can't keep up!
Check out Mission, B&W, Tannoy or Wharfedale, they seem dead in the water.

KEF is on a roll, just like B&W in the late 90ies (DM6xx, Nautilus). Seems they have a good bunch of marketing and engineers working for them.
If they would add beryllium tweeter they would be unbeatable.
 

LightninBoy

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My god, KEF, slow down, the competition can't keep up!
Check out Mission, B&W, Tannoy or Wharfedale, they seem dead in the water.

KEF is on a roll, just like B&W in the late 90ies (DM6xx, Nautilus). Seems they have a good bunch of marketing and engineers working for them.

I was just thinking the same. KEF is lapping the competition, including Revel, from a product design perspective.
 

ROOSKIE

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I was just thinking the same. KEF is lapping the competition, including Revel, from a product design perspective.
I don't agree.
Unless you are only talking aesthetics only.
I mean I prefered the Revel M16 to the R3 by a notable margin and it is less than half the price and then the M126be sealed the deal for me. The R3 wasn't even close and that is not hype. In terms of good sounding gear they do have a pretty different sound from one another though.

Had them all at the same time for quite awhile.
M126be=Much better sounding speaker for my taste, vastly.

I did like the look of the R3 more, though I wish all of these came in matte finishes. Glossy to some of use looks like office microwaves.
 

Everett T

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If they would add beryllium tweeter they would be unbeatable.
Maybe, maybe not. My 2ch setup using the Satori beryllium and I have no issues with it at all. Does it blow away blow away the hiquphon ow2 or seas millennium, not really.

It's possible that it could improve this speaker, but it's pretty darn good as is and we would more information to discuss it.
 
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