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KEF T101 Review (Thin Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 156 92.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 10 5.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 3 1.8%

  • Total voters
    169

redjr

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How does a well-respected speaker company let something this bad out the door, much less engineer it to be so bad!? :facepalm: Thank you Amir for another revealing, objective test. Hopefully, it will save people $650USD. Maybe they'll be listed on Woot in a few months for $125. :)
 

Everett T

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How does a well-respected speaker company let something this bad out the door, much less engineer it to be so bad!? :facepalm: Thank you Amir for another revealing, objective test. Hopefully, it will save people $650USD. Maybe they'll be listed on Woot in a few months for $125. :)
Lifestyle products and those that purchase them, nothing more.
 

ta240

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What was Amir supposed to do? Not perform the measurements? After the member sent it in?

If the results are going to be incorrect then, yes, don't do the measurements. A popular hobby on this site is to bag on manufactures that don't do things correctly; yet the same people jump in to defend this site when they don't do things correctly. We have pages of people (is there a more pleasant phrase than circle jerking) with excitement over the failure of speakers that it appears weren't tested as designed.

I've said it before, if they are going to use science in the name of the site then things shouldn't be done haphazardly just because it is fun to bash products or because it would be inconvenient to do them properly or a letdown to skip the test.

Let's mock the unscientific and then be unscientific ourselves.
 

Everett T

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If the results are going to be incorrect then, yes, don't do the measurements. A popular hobby on this site is to bag on manufactures that don't do things correctly; yet the same people jump in to defend this site when they don't do things correctly. We have pages of people (is there a more pleasant phrase than circle jerking) with excitement over the failure of speakers that it appears weren't tested as designed.

I've said it before, if they are going to use science in the name of the site then things shouldn't be done haphazardly just because it is fun to bash products or because it would be inconvenient to do them properly or a letdown to skip the test.

Let's mock the unscientific and then be unscientific ourselves.
You're assuming they're incorrect FWIW.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Even though the manufacturer sells the speakers as sets (T303, T205, T105) and the independent units are offered to extend the sets (they suggest add a pair to upgrade from 5.1. to 7.1) and the manual clearly says that the speaker should be used with a subwoofer only?
That's not what it says. That is standard verbiage saying to set your AVR for small speakers which these are. In no way does it admonish its use without a sub. Here is the picture in the paper:

1641345974651.png


Where is the sub in that? It is standard LCR configuration.
 

radix

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Yes. He had replied to me that he doesn't accept sets. These speakers are sold as sets. The extra pair is offered for upgrading the sets. For instance from the 5.1 to 7.1 or more subwoofers.
I don't see these as being sold as set upgrades. Yes, one could by the T205 set, or I think they have another set with their thin sub, but many places do not even sell the sets, only the separates. KEF does not market them like that either. I was the one who sent in the T101, T301, and T301c. I asked Amir first if he wanted to review them, he said yes. These were not blindly dumped in his lap.

Based on Amir's tests, I returned the T301. I will try using the T101 as heights as they are so easy to mount, or maybe ebay them later. I'll do some REW on-wall measurements once I get them mounted.

If I were to do-over the wall-mounts, I think for LCR I'd try the new Focal 300s. For surrounds and rears, I think the Revel S16 looks promising or maybe the Chora on-wall. For heights, maybe the ELAC DOW4.2 or Dali on-wall. If the T101s don't work out well for heights, I'll likely try the OW4.2 next (as they are least expensive), then the Dali. None of those have measurements, so it's really just shooting in the dark or going by others' experiences. In any case, I gave up on flat speakers and went R3/R2c/Q350 for the 5.0 piece. Now i'm just looking for front heights to replace some atmos bouncy-speakers.
 
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amirm

amirm

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I'm not sure what a sub has to do with anything unless it housed the crossover network and eq filters?
My thought exactly. That is how the sub integrated ones work.
 

spacevector

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Amir has provided full anechoic data. It should be pretty straightforward to simulate what response when wall mounted would be. @BYRTT ?
 

radix

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I'm not sure what a sub has to do with anything unless it housed the crossover network and eq filters?


The web page for the T301 say
Ultra-slim bass driver

Clean, forceful response that brings the action vividly to life.

Instead of a cone, the radical new twin-layer bass and midrange unit has a flat diaphragm whose rigidity throughout the frequency range is maintained by very fine stiffening ribs, with the driver as a whole acting as a stressed member to help eliminate any unwanted resonance from the slim cabinet. The resulting response is as clean, accurate and distortion-free as a quality conventional speaker, with none of the bulk.

In addition to minimising the height of the magnets, we placed the entire suspension outside the magnet system so that it adds nothing to its height. Whether you opt for the standard satellite and centre speakers or the larger models with additional bass/midrange drivers, the result is an exceptionally shallow unit that allows the enclosure to have the same installed depth as current flat screen TVs without compromising acoustic integrity in the slightest. Lush yet well controlled, it's the kind of performance that brings soundtrack effects to life with a real sense of drama.

But any look at the specs show they have no bass range. They are rated down to 80 Hz @ 3dB, i.e. a normal HT crossover frequency, I assume for on-wall mounting.
 

AdamG247

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That's not what it says. That is standard verbiage saying to set your AVR for small speakers which these are. In no way does it admonish its use without a sub. Here is the picture in the paper:

View attachment 176824

Where is the sub in that? It is standard LCR configuration.
And that is the exact target group for this product. Minimal room intrusion and high WAF. It fits in this pretty large segment of the industry. Going out on a limb here, but most here have a no compromise attitude to the best reproduction of sound they can afford. The exact opposite of what this product is intended for. We knew the moment we saw how thin the enclosure was it would not measure well. Minimal performance with maximum room decoration blending. Different strokes. While we fill our rooms with large boxes and bundles of wires and think that just looks majestic :oops:
 

Everett T

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The web page for the T301 say


But any look at the specs show they have no bass range. They are rated down to 80 Hz @ 3dB, i.e. a normal HT crossover frequency, I assume for on-wall mounting.
I'm not sure what that is saying in relation to my post?
 

beagleman

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Even though the manufacturer sells the speakers as sets (T303, T205, T105) and the independent units are offered to extend the sets (they suggest add a pair to upgrade from 5.1. to 7.1) and the manual clearly says that the speaker should be used with a subwoofer only? Testing the speakers which are offered as an upgrade path is a punishment to the manufacturer, which is not fair.
 

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ta240

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You're assuming they're incorrect FWIW.

It seems like a speaker who's main purpose is being attached to a wall should be tested attached in the designated manner to a wall.

We can dance around all the different methods it can be used in but the real single reason for it existing is to be attached to a wall. If someone wants to argue that it has a stand and can be used in other settings then test it in both.

And since they note under the "IMPORTANT" in bold that distortion will occur if you try to send bass frequencies to the speakers; were bass frequencies sent to it during the listening test? Are the operating manuals read before tests are done? It seems like there should be some level of familiarity with a product and its limitations before testing.

But, hey, why bother with looking at and possibly improving actual testing methods when we can make fun of anyone that buys it or likes it. Let's just wing the tests and proceed with the bashing.

There is a bit of irony in badmouthing companies for not doing things right when the tests done here are questionable and yet the results are posted and then we move on to the next 'scientific' product test.
 
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amirm

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It seems like a speaker who's main purpose is being attached to a wall should be tested attached in the designated manner to a wall.
Unless a speaker is in-wall, we assess its performance using stand-alone free-field measurements. This is how they would measure it as well. Erecting a wall in an anechoic chamber is non sequitur. This is no different than any other speaker. We can't pretend to measure it the way you would use it in your room. We measure it in free field and then make predictions about its performance in the room.

This type of measurement shows a hole in crossover region. We have no evidence that such a hole disappears with mounting on the wall.

I have measured plenty of other speakers meant for on-wall installation that don't have these problems. So the onus is on you/KEF to show that performance problems go away with such mounting.
 
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amirm

amirm

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And since they note under the "IMPORTANT" in bold that distortion will occur if you try to send bass frequencies to the speakers; were bass frequencies sent to it during the listening test? Are the operating manuals read before tests are done?
Was the speaker damaged? No. This is they reason they are telling you to bass manage it. It is not like they even tell you what this high-pass filter must be.

It seems like there should be some level of familiarity with a product and its limitations before testing.
I suggest leaving the insults at the door. I am quite familiar with this speaker and its application. KEF wanted us to become a dealer for them and came and talked to us about this speaker series. So I know what it is, and what the intended marketing message is. My job is different. I am assessing every speaker using the same standard much like Harman does in its research. All speakers are measured and listened to similarly. That way you know what compromises you have when using this speaker versus some other.

And no, this is not a school project where you spend three months measuring and testing this speaker. My time is not free, and there are tons more speakers to test. You are not happy with these test conditions? Move along. Or buy one and measure it in your room and report back.
 

KMO

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I am assessing every speaker using the same standard much like Harman does in its research. All speakers are measured and listened to similarly. That way you know what compromises you have when using this speaker versus some other.
Which is fine, but does mean we're a bit limited for non-freestanding speakers. They're being tested with a protocol that was never intended for them.

Headphones would also score abysmally on a speaker spinorama and freestanding response, but we've got a different scientifically backed target curve and measurement method for them.

Wall-mounted (on or in) speakers are clearly a different beast to freestanding, even though far less than headphones are, and using the standard "predicted in-room response" calculations that assume a wall some distance behind just aren't going to produce accurate results.

I don't think there's anything much else we could do for measurements at this point, but we could certainly look at what target curve we're aiming at, and an actual on-wall listening test would be a small step to getting there. Floyd chapter 9 suggests that for something flush with the wall you're looking for something with a shelf in its response around 500Hz. This speaker has something like that, but gets penalised for it because we're looking for something with flat response. And because it's not being listened to on-wall, we're not finding out whether that shelf was the right thing to do for the wall mount or not.
 
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tecnogadget

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Based on Amir's tests, I returned the T301. I will try using the T101 as heights as they are so easy to mount, or maybe ebay them later. I'll do some REW on-wall measurements once I get them mounted.
We would greatly appreciate it. I know this T series doesn't perform well objectively, especially by KLIPPEL NFS anechoic standards. It's clear to me this won't be a candidate for surround "upgrade" for minimal room intrusion. Nevertheless, I'm still thinking a single T101c (I can get them for 169€ where I live) could work for me as a single back surround (6.1 channel), but I would need to see some in-room to corroborate if I can deal with its deficiencies through DSP.
 

beagleman

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Which is fine, but does mean we're a bit limited for non-freestanding speakers. They're being tested with a protocol that was never intended for them.

Headphones would also score abysmally on a speaker spinorama and freestanding response, but we've got a different scientifically backed target curve and measurement method for them.

Wall-mounted (on or in) speakers are clearly a different beast to freestanding, even though far less than headphones are, and using the standard "predicted in-room response" calculations that assume a wall some distance behind just aren't going to produce accurate results.

I don't think there's anything much else we could do for measurements at this point, but we could certainly look at what target curve we're aiming at, and an actual on-wall listening test would be a small step to getting there. Floyd chapter 9 suggests that for something flush with the wall you're looking for something with a shelf in its response around 500Hz. This speaker has something like that, but gets penalised for it because we're looking for something with flat response. And because it's not being listened to on-wall, we're not finding out whether that shelf was the right thing to do for the wall mount or not.
Some wall mounted speakers actually have a switch that compensates for "On Wall" versus "Free standing" I know Polk had a few surround and in wall speakers containing crossover switches that take that into account.

Would be cool to see the on and off response of the ones I saw and get an "idea" of how at least Polk feels wall versus free standing varies...
 
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