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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

sarumbear

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It's not much, but at 400-500Hz there definitely is. I wonder if that gap, even though it's still great for a center, would be filled when not dealing with multiple woofers.
What if the furthest apart drivers cut off even lower like in a 2.5 way. That is what I would do in order to avoid any loping.
 

sarumbear

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I certainly hope so. Still the C208 is a very good center channel

There is significant markup in high end speakers. When you sit back and look at speakers, especially the high end, it’s pretty interesting. For example my Salon2 retails for $22k a pair (when I bought it). Compare that to a Honda Accord LX. Cabinet, 6 drivers and crossover(s) etc. vs all those parts that make up a car.
To say high end audio is overpriced is an understatement. :)
How much are your Salon2s are worth now? Had the Accord LX kept as much value?
 

Zvu

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I agree, it measures great.

But I have to wonder, (being a DIY type of person) what drivers could be had for far less money, and for most intents imitate that performance.

$7,500 give you literally a THOUSAND dollars per driver, and $2,500 for crossover and box.....hmmmmmm....

You could buy 8xPurifi 6.5" woofers, 2xBliesma M74B-6 (74mm beryllium dome midrange) and 2xBliesma T25B (25mm beryllium dome tweeter) AND still left with substantial amount of money to make cabinets and do a passive crossovers for a pair of very competent loudspeakers (provided you know your way with mic, REW and VituixCad software).
 
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JD_Spoon

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Thank you for the test. Now I know how the "other" side listens to music. I am envious (and poor)!

That Uni-Q driver is an impressive feat of design/construction.
View attachment 180035
There is also a supporting 29page white-paper pdf from KEF R&D, which fully details the 'Reference' line.
I don't know how close @amirm test results are in reference to the pdf data provided.
@JD_Spoon: May I ask if you also have the complimentary R5 floor standing version of this KEF center?
The 4C test results are simply the best that I have seen amongst all centers reviewed here at ASR (I think).

Unfortunately, I do not, I'm using another pair of Reference 4c stood vertically in their stead. I did not have the authorization to stretch my budget far enough to pay the ~$28k for the full monty of that series. Truth be told, I only got the 4c trio because they were discounted significantly.
 

beagleman

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How much are your Salon2s are worth now? Had the Accord LX kept as much value?
Wow, tough comparison. Cars get "Used up" though, for the most part. They wear and get mileage on them.

I would honestly think a very high priced speaker would still lose a lot of value. Lower priced ones not so much.
 

bo_knows

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Amirm, Hope all is well with the home, or at least improving. Can’t imagine something like that occurring to me. Good luck.
Water damage, every home owner's worst nightmare. During the last Texas winter freeze, a lot of homes got damaged in my neighborhood. Most upper-level rooms got damaged when pipes burst. Most people pool's equipment was destroyed as well. I feel for Amir and his family. Hopefully they can put this behind as quickly as possible.
 

ezra_s

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Would love to see the others that go with this "center" channel measured as well. o_O
 

Descartes

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Based on discussions with my dealer, the 4c is specifically designed/intended to be paired with the Reference 5 towers. The Reference 1 and Reference 3 are intended to pair with the smaller Reference 2c center. The idea of the Reference 4c as an L/C/R trio, at least with the non-centers in a vertical orientation, was a relatively novel approach. KEF's documentation outlines placement considerations for a trio of 4c speakers, but only with all of them in a horizontal orientation.
Have they published anything about that?
 

JD_Spoon

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Have they published anything about that?
Nothing that I've seen as far as measurements anywhere for the Reference 4c; that was one of the main reasons why I sent mine to @amirm to have it tested. The horizontal orientation of the 4c trio was just one of the layout options mentioned in the product manual that came with the speakers.
 

Descartes

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Sadly, while my fireplace is functional, it's mostly decorative. The region I live in is generally reasonably temperate, so in the infrequent situations where the fireplace is needed, we'd move the center channel and forego using it, assuming we had electricity in the first place.
You might want to change your TV mount they have some that come down and provide much better position to watch and will be much more enjoyable!

 

Lsc

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Ed
How much are your Salon2s are worth now? Had the Accord LX kept as much value?
I’m sorry but I don’t see the relevance of your questions. I don’t see $11000 in this Salon2 nor do I see $8000 in this Voice2. Nevertheless, I love these speakers and I listen to them every day.

I do think this new KEF reference 4C is priced correctly, given its competitors in the marketplace.
 

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Descartes

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I certainly hope so. Still the C208 is a very good center channel

There is significant markup in high end speakers. When you sit back and look at speakers, especially the high end, it’s pretty interesting. For example my Salon2 retails for $22k a pair (when I bought it). Compare that to a Honda Accord LX. Cabinet, 6 drivers and crossover(s) etc. vs all those parts that make up a car.
To say high end audio is overpriced is an understatement. :)
Margins range from 40 - 50 points so the dealers make very good money when selling high end speakers and electronics! One of dealer where I live has been able to buy a multi million dollar mansion because of his business. selling Meridian, Wilson and many other high end brands…
 

JD_Spoon

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You might want to change your TV mount they have some that come down and provide much better position to watch and will be much more enjoyable!

The MM700 is in the queue of stuff to get, mainly to get people to stop pestering me about what's a non-issue to us. :p Every seat in the room reclines, so the height/angle problem really isn't one. Getting the right amplification for my gear is a much higher priority, I'm concerned that my current NAD M27 is underpowered for this setup, based on Reference family specs and the impedance test results.
 

rynberg

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I have always thought that the C speaker is for vocal/speech. Isn't anyone here worried about that?

The problem doesn't begin to occur until 50 degrees off-axis...so no.
 

exm

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I own the Reference 2C, and the major differences with the 4C are the 2 additional woofers and the closed box vs ported design. I have also tried the R2C and the Ref is def a step-up.

What do you guys, and Amir, think about ported vs closed box designs for center speakers?
 

nerdoldnerdith

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Those are some impressive numbers. Now I'm really curious to see how the C426Be would fair under the same testing.

Amir can test mine but I have some requirements:

Costs covered to have someone...

drag this thing upstairs from basement, pack it up, ship it out.

Reverse steps on the way back.

Pain and suffering compensation (may be substantial) owing to stresses created by temporary lack of center speaker as well as angry wife yelling at me (latter is likely to continue even after return of said center speaker).
The C426Be performs better horizontally off-axis owing to its lower midrange crossover (220Hz vs 350Hz), but doesn't perform as well vertically or in the spinorama.
 

jhaider

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Oh good, the r/TVTooHigh crowd is here, too!

I always wonder what kind of janky seating that crowd uses...

I agree, it measures great.

But I have to wonder, (being a DIY type of person) what drivers could be had for far less money, and for most intents imitate that performance.

$7,500 give you literally a THOUSAND dollars per driver, and $2,500 for crossover and box.....hmmmmmm....

I don't understand this line of thought. In any speaker at this price point, if the cabinet design and finishing is not the vast majority of the expense then it's just a cash grab. Sure, there are DIYers who can do fanastic woodwork. I envy them! But if you know one, ask her how many hours she spent honing her craft, and how much the tools cost...

Here, KEF has clearly produced a superior loudspeaker. The cabinet is beautifully finished (though Amir did notice a blemish) in the UK. Personally I much preferred the styling of their previous (20x/2) Reference series, but that's subjective. There's intellectual property harnessed in that coax, and I think people who come up with novel ideas should be allowed to benefit from them. I'll admit, I've been staring at the Reference 2c pair clearance offer for a couple weeks now. A reasonably compact, beautifully finished closed box at this performance level is pretty much my ideal for the 2 channel system. For better or worse the grilles are currently on backorder, and a in my view a speaker without grilles is a nonstarter.
 
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