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KEF Reference 4C Review (Center Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 5 1.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 6 1.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 73 22.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 240 74.1%

  • Total voters
    324

KMO

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Yes, the center channel is mainly for home cinema.

Only if you're back in the 20th century still listening only to 2-channel music. There's a whole world of 5-channel and Atmos music out there, you know...

(And quite a few of us heretics rather like Dolby Pro Logic II Music mode for the retro 2-channel content).
 

Lsc

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Only if you're back in the 20th century still listening only to 2-channel music. There's a whole world of 5-channel and Atmos music out there, you know...

(And quite a few of us heretics rather like Dolby Pro Logic II Music mode for the retro 2-channel content).
Fair point, most of the Atmos songs at least on Apple Music, there is little to no sound coming from the center channel.

But I get what you are saying. The 4C or my Voice2 or C426Be are all more than capable of providing excellent sound quality as a center channel for both movies and music. Buy the one that matches your mains.

Here is what Kef says about the 4C…

Three-way centre channel speaker​

For movie lovers looking for total immersion, Reference 4c is the paradigm. For clarity, detail and emotional depth, it's a revelation.
 
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sarumbear

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I will allow myself to display some ignorance now and ask: what is the main purpose of these types of speakers? Home cinema?
They are speakers with good directivity, low distortion, high level capability and good FR. Use them where ever you need speakers, size permitting.
7500US for that is insanity. I don't see people buying it in pairs for music reproduction..
You say you won't see people buying it for music production but almost any large studio has much more expensive speakers than these, at least twice more. For home, let's remind ourselves how much the Salon2s that @amirm has, shall we?

Insanity is a relative term. I am proud to be insane. Thank God that I can afford three of them :)
 

sarumbear

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Robbo99999

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On left and rights the problem of the flawed directivity of most non-coaxial loudspeakers in one axis is usually just moved to the other (in this case vertical) axis. Of course there it is usually not as problematic and is also often questioned/discussed but if you can have perfection, why not getting it there too, also for the reason of better channel matching. Personally I don't want to miss such even directivity especially at nearfield listening, where imaging is also often superior due to the better "blending" of the drivers and early reflections (for example from desktop or mixing console surface) responses.
Yes, I agree that it shifts the problem to Vertical Directivity, and yes I agree it's not as problematical. Coaxials do have that advantage of both good vertical & horizontal directivity, so they are superior in that vein, certainly more of crucial usage for a centre channel for most people vs the other channels.
 

Robbo99999

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Crazy. Maybe they aimed to the non domestical cinema environment, which could accept this price.
It's definitely a niche market, it's a niche market within a niche market! For instance we're all relatively niche here on ASR, and this speaker is niche within that, gotta love a niche within a niche! I'm not being negative towards the speaker though, I voted it as "Great" in the poll, but it's hella expensive and is just that niche within a niche.
 

oversky

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R2C vs Reference 4C

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tifune

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Imo if you don't need your speakers to play as loud, R3 series are close enough and you can save a ton of money. But then I wonder how the Q series do since they are cheaper still. My guess those will not be as good even at lower volumes.

I voted "fine" due to this, and the cost. I realize it's a flagship product but full MSRP 8 years after the fact is a bit much. Maybe it's different if you actually walk into a dealer, not sure.

as you say, in this case Kef is their own competition. R3 gets close for so much less. Could even get wild and crazy and add DSP + KC62 to build your own room-corrected "R9".
 

sarumbear

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I voted "fine" due to this, and the cost. I realize it's a flagship product but full MSRP 8 years after the fact is a bit much.
A strange concept. You expect all those R&D spent for a product not to be recouped over less than a decade? A reference level speaker is not a consumable item.

Each to their own naturally.
 

tifune

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A strange concept. You expect all those R&D spent for a product not to be recouped over less than a decade? A reference level speaker is not a consumable item.

Each to their own naturally.

This is a good point - I have no idea the turnaround on profitability for a low volume/high margin item. Is 10 years generally accepted, especially given the depreciation will make the secondary market very attractive to buyers?
 

sarumbear

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This is a good point - I have no idea the turnaround on profitability for a low volume/high margin item. Is 10 years generally accepted, especially given the depreciation will make the secondary market very attractive to buyers?
Nobody but the company will have that data. However, if you look at the market, almost every major customer's top of the range products stayed on the market for more than a decade. They may have some versions with hardly any price change but they are all the same products otherwise.
 

voodooless

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This is a good point - I have no idea the turnaround on profitability for a low volume/high margin item. Is 10 years generally accepted, especially given the depreciation will make the secondary market very attractive to buyers?
It's not just a single product here. It's s whole product line that is the real investment here. The price for creating a single product is then relatively low compared to the R&D put into the drivers (especially the coax) that get used all over the place. The Kippel can be used for all products, and for a company like KEF, is a no-brainer. It easily takes away work for 2 people, so you have your money back within a year or so.

I really doubt that any of the products are sold as a loss, and I also doubt that the R&D effort to create the flagship product is very much higher than for the Q or R series, since the major investment is joint technology. It's definitely not as reflected in the sales price difference. So yes, these things are too expensive for what you get. But as always with these things, if you want to squeeze out the last percentages of performance, you'll pay a high premium for it. Price is also determined by what people want to pay for it (and the competition), and evidently, people pay for it.
 

mj30250

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This is a good point - I have no idea the turnaround on profitability for a low volume/high margin item. Is 10 years generally accepted, especially given the depreciation will make the secondary market very attractive to buyers?

There are likely too many variables involved to pinpoint a "generally accepted" timeframe for high-end luxury goods especially. It's also not common practice for a manufacturer to analyze the used market when setting pricing for new. Toss the current situation around inflation into the mix, and good luck.

Personally, I don't feel that $7K is all that wild of a sum IF it provides you with a truly end game speaker that is more likely to outlive you than the reverse. The real question then becomes: are there true end games speakers available for less? In this case, maybe...depends on your needs / room / preferences.
 

Robbo99999

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This is a good point - I have no idea the turnaround on profitability for a low volume/high margin item. Is 10 years generally accepted, especially given the depreciation will make the secondary market very attractive to buyers?
I'm not an insider on this market by any stretch, but a more than 10yr return on investment doesn't sound realistic to me, I'd expect them to plan for a return on investment well before that point - I mean in 10yrs anything can happen to a business or market, you can't really plan on a 10yr return I don't think, I doubt it.
 

sarumbear

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It's not just a single product here. It's s whole product line that is the real investment here. The price for creating a single product is then relatively low compared to the R&D put into the drivers (especially the coax) that get used all over the place.
There are different co-axes through their range.
 

voodooless

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There are different co-axes through their range.
Sure, but that does not mean that they don't share a whole lot of technology and R&D time. Equivalent models of Seat, Skoda and VW are also different cars, yet they share a shitload of technology and R&D and not only common parts.
 

RichB

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the mid-range won't move if it's crossed at ~300Hz, at all.
Drivers move to produce sound waves.
The Salon2s midrange is crossed at 575 Hz and it moves,
Placing your hand on the driver confirms that moves.

Does a midrange crossed lower, move enough to modulate tweeter with complex signals remains open, IMO of course.

- Rich

P.S. 300 Hz has a wavelength of 3.7 feet.
 
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Lsc

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There are likely too many variables involved to pinpoint a "generally accepted" timeframe for high-end luxury goods especially. It's also not common practice for a manufacturer to analyze the used market when setting pricing for new. Toss the current situation around inflation into the mix, and good luck.

Personally, I don't feel that $7K is all that wild of a sum IF it provides you with a truly end game speaker that is more likely to outlive you than the reverse. The real question then becomes: are there true end games speakers available for less? In this case, maybe...depends on your needs / room / preferences.
One of the best end game speakers that’s more attainable with the dealer discount is the Revel F226Be. Yes, this may not be an end game speaker for many but for the value conscious, it’s quite a deal and gets you to that “high-end” sound at a very competitive price point. A pair of these and a C426Be would be right there vs having three 4C speakers for substantially less.

So I think yes, but others may have varying opinions.
 
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