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Used Kef Reference 3 Meta with reduced warranty

srrxr71

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I have a bit of a buyers' remorse to be honest.
I am completely missing the low frequencies of the Reference 3 Meta in my room without EQ/DSP (Denon x4800h in pure direct mode + NCx500 stereo). I don't know if it's the lack of power from the amps or it's the speaker or placement. If I boost frequencies below 120Hz by 8-12dB in Audyssey or Dirac, it's better, but I have to stand up or go to the corners, because it's cancelled completely at my seated listening position. I can hear the Kefs struggling when I boost sub-bass. The NCx500 can move those membranes easily when boosted, but I can barely hear any bass even if I put my ear directly to one of the ports of the speaker. They can get loud (mids and highs unbearable), but no bass. I was really hoping that I won't need my old active sub to fill in those lower frequencies...
I'll do some REW measurements later today to see what's going on. I tried to move the speakers closer to the wall, nothing's changed in terms of bass, only the soundstage was impacted.. I cannot move them much further away from the front wall because the current listening distance is 3m and I'm already 1.5m close to the back wall.

According to soundnews:
"Each Reference 3 has two bass ports that are adding a lot of oomph, punch in the chest and rumble down low. In the package you can find shorter bass ports that are limiting the low-end delivery by a little, making it tighter and clearer sounding in untreated rooms."
"They were delivering a chest pounding impact, with bass notes reaching as low as 30 Hz on some particular tracks."
"When it comes to bass definition, punch and cleanness, Reference 3 are taking the iron throne as the most impressive ones."

Sandu replaced his dual mono Benchmark AHB2 with a single Chord Ultima 5 power amp + Ultima 3 Pre recently, he recommends "full-bodied and organic sounding amplifier/s" for. But, looking at the spec sheet of my NCx500, if it's really the bottleneck, I just don't get it why. What am I missing and where should I start? Is it the pre-out voltage of the Denon that's not enough for the Audiophonics power amp with 25dB gain?

View attachment 307209
You may have to try a diagonal seating arrangement.
 
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soerenssen

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REW Measurements 23/12/2023:
- Room: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?attachments/20230822_101700-jpg.307209/
- Electronics: Umik1 -> MacOS -> Wiim Pro via Bluetooth -> Yamaha RXV-440RDS -> KEF Reference 3 Meta without subwoofer
- REW settings: 1/24 smoothing, Level: -25dbV, Input: -57dBFS, 68dB SPL (on the safe side... I was not sure if the speakers / AVR will survive if I crank it up even more)

MLP Left + Right:

Screenshot 2023-12-23 at 15.30.05.png


MLP Left vs. Right:

Screenshot 2023-12-23 at 15.28.16.png


60cm close to the ceiling above the MLP (overall room height: 320cm):
Screenshot 2023-12-23 at 15.30.14.png


20cm from the back wall, behind the couch at tweeter height, but partially blocked by the couch:
Screenshot 2023-12-23 at 15.30.24.png
 

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Gatordaddy

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The main problem to my eyes is it looks like the bass from each speaker in the current configuration is cancelling each other at the MLP resulting in a very large null at 50hz which also would explain the impression that the ports aren't doing work near the speakers. Less problematic is you have a psychoacoustic dip between 100 and 200hz which is very important for the perception of bass quantity. Do you get a better bass response with only a single speaker playing? You would be much happier with these speakers (which otherwise have a reasonable response in your room) by integrating one or more subwoofers with a dsp processor. However, since you seem a little resistant to messing too much with signal processing corrections you may also try before going that direction is using different port lengths (longer port in right speaker) or adjusting the width of the speakers. My $.02
 

dogmamann

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REW Measurements 23/12/2023:
- Room: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?attachments/20230822_101700-jpg.307209/
- Electronics: Umik1 -> MacOS -> Wiim Pro via Bluetooth -> Yamaha RXV-440RDS -> KEF Reference 3 Meta without subwoofer
- REW settings: 1/24 smoothing, Level: -25dbV, Input: -57dBFS, 68dB SPL (on the safe side... I was not sure if the speakers / AVR will survive if I crank it up even more)

MLP Left + Right:

View attachment 336545

MLP Left vs. Right:

View attachment 336544

60cm close to the ceiling above the MLP (overall room height: 320cm):
View attachment 336541

20cm from the back wall, behind the couch at tweeter height, but partially blocked by the couch:
View attachment 336540
RXV 440RDS- seriously for a KEF reference ? Those things sell for like 40 bucks and is no way anything worth to use to get the potential of the Reference 3M! I guess the KEF’s foam plug would cost more than that. By the way, plug those ports that bass is very uneven, better cut it off and use a sub instead. or use a DSP to correct it. this frequency sweep shows that all the people who are chasing the ultra flat response on paper are simply overlooking the fact that in real rooms they don’t sound anything like flat.
 

HarmonicTHD

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REW Measurements 23/12/2023:
- Room: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?attachments/20230822_101700-jpg.307209/
- Electronics: Umik1 -> MacOS -> Wiim Pro via Bluetooth -> Yamaha RXV-440RDS -> KEF Reference 3 Meta without subwoofer
- REW settings: 1/24 smoothing, Level: -25dbV, Input: -57dBFS, 68dB SPL (on the safe side... I was not sure if the speakers / AVR will survive if I crank it up even more)

MLP Left + Right:

View attachment 336545

MLP Left vs. Right:

View attachment 336544

60cm close to the ceiling above the MLP (overall room height: 320cm):
View attachment 336541

20cm from the back wall, behind the couch at tweeter height, but partially blocked by the couch:
View attachment 336540
Unless you change your positions nothing you can do but add a sub or two. Also I would get that DenonX4800 and that power amp back pronto. It will flatten the peaks at least and will integrate a sub.

I run X3700 (MultiEQX), Poweramps, KEF Reference 3 plus 2x KEF KF92 xover at 80Hz. Takes care nicely of the dips (proper positioning provided) confirmed by REW.
 

dogmamann

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Unless you change your positions nothing you can do but add a sub or two. Also I would get that DenonX4800 and that power amp back pronto. It will flatten the peaks at least and will integrate a sub.

I run X3700 (MultiEQX), Poweramps, KEF Reference 3 plus 2x KEF KF92 xover at 80Hz. Takes care nicely of the dips (proper positioning provided) confirmed by REW.
Do you have measurements of the ref 3 without any eq?
 
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soerenssen

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Thanks a lot for all the advice!

I am fully aware that I'm missing the proper electronics currently, but - correct me if I'm wrong - it has not much to do with how the speakers interact with my room. That dip should not be caused by the lack of power/current. I'll nevertheless check again the polarity and try the single speaker setup mentioned above.

I've been trying to hold off on buying anything temporary at the moment, because - unless I find a really good deal sooner - I'd rather wait until we move to our new place around April-May next year (I don't know what room I'll end up with for the speakers, how many subs I'll need, etc.) and I am also waiting for Dirac ART announcements in Q1.
I've been considering both all-in-one setups like the Denon A1H (supported by external amps if necessary) and separates (AVP+Amp or a fully computer-based setup with a MiniDSP Flex HT).
 

bo_knows

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Unless you change your positions nothing you can do but add a sub or two. Also I would get that DenonX4800 and that power amp back pronto. It will flatten the peaks at least and will integrate a sub.

I run X3700 (MultiEQX), Poweramps, KEF Reference 3 plus 2x KEF KF92 xover at 80Hz. Takes care nicely of the dips (proper positioning provided) confirmed by REW.
Out of curiosity, if I may ask, at what frequency do you cut off the DSP? Also, do you ever listen to music in the pure direct mode?
 

Gatordaddy

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Thanks a lot for all the advice!

I am fully aware that I'm missing the proper electronics currently, but - correct me if I'm wrong - it has not much to do with how the speakers interact with my room. That dip should not be caused by the lack of power/current. I'll nevertheless check again the polarity and try the single speaker setup mentioned above.

I've been trying to hold off on buying anything temporary at the moment, because - unless I find a really good deal sooner - I'd rather wait until we move to our new place around April-May next year (I don't know what room I'll end up with for the speakers, how many subs I'll need, etc.) and I am also waiting for Dirac ART announcements in Q1.
I've been considering both all-in-one setups like the Denon A1H (supported by external amps if necessary) and separates (AVP+Amp or a fully computer-based setup with a MiniDSP Flex HT).
A more robust amplifier will be better able to deliver current to these hard to drive speakers. You are likely limiting their dynamics or introducing either linear or nonlinear distortions.

There might always be something better in the pipeline as far as automatic room correction is concerned. However, a reference setup will always benefit from subwoofer(s) to eliminate nulls in the MLP. Audyssey and Dirac Live already do a good job at automating subwoofer integration. Your measurements show that you might be perfectly satisfied with your SOTA setup if you decided to utilize relatively inexpensive tools that are already on the market such as introducing a sub, or aligning the acoustic phase of the speakers at your MLP through use of DSP, positioning and measurement.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Out of curiosity, if I may ask, at what frequency do you cut off the DSP? Also, do you ever listen to music in the pure direct mode?
Hopefully I understand your question correctly. By cutting off, do you mean if I stop correcting above Schroeder? If this is what you mean, I don’t, but I match the natural roll off of the room ca. 0.6dB/octave with a tilted preference curve above ca 1kHz. This way MultiEQ doesnt change tonality. (But of course one could cut it off too).

No I never listen in Direct mode. The boomy bass caused by the room modes is not to my liking.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Thanks a lot for all the advice!

I am fully aware that I'm missing the proper electronics currently, but - correct me if I'm wrong - it has not much to do with how the speakers interact with my room. That dip should not be caused by the lack of power/current. I'll nevertheless check again the polarity and try the single speaker setup mentioned above.

I've been trying to hold off on buying anything temporary at the moment, because - unless I find a really good deal sooner - I'd rather wait until we move to our new place around April-May next year (I don't know what room I'll end up with for the speakers, how many subs I'll need, etc.) and I am also waiting for Dirac ART announcements in Q1.
I've been considering both all-in-one setups like the Denon A1H (supported by external amps if necessary) and separates (AVP+Amp or a fully computer-based setup with a MiniDSP Flex HT).
Yes electronics have nothing to do with it. It’s physics. Standing waves cancelling (dips) or reinforcing each other (peaks). Google room modes or download REW and play with the room simulator.
 
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HarmonicTHD

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Do you have measurements of the ref 3 without any eq?
Yes somewhere on my PC. I set it all up initially in 2021 (Corona project ;-)). As I am currently traveling over Xmas I need to dig into my plethora of REW files and see if I find it.

But you might be disappointed as it mainly shows my room as it does with most speakers no matter how expensive.
 

bo_knows

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Hopefully I understand your question correctly. By cutting off, do you mean if I stop correcting above Schroeder? If this is what you mean, I don’t, but I match the natural roll off of the room ca. 0.6dB/octave with a tilted preference curve above ca 1kHz. This way MultiEQ doesnt change tonality. (But of course one could cut it off too).

No I never listen in Direct mode. The boomy bass caused by the room modes is not to my liking.
Yes, that is the info I was looking for. Thank you for answering.
 
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soerenssen

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Happy New Year!

@HarmonicTHD Rookie question: How do you match the natural roll off of the room with your preference curve?
 

bo_knows

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hlevinson

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I auditioned the R11 against the Reference 1 (Demo model) a little over a year ago. Was disappointed in the R11 but did like the accuracy of the Reference 1 and bought them (Price difference was about $1K). Not too long after that the dealer told me he was parting with his Reference 3 demo pair. They were a hair above my budget, but I spent another $1K) for them and sold the Reference 1. I do use them with a subwoofer just to fill out the lower end. I currently have an RSL Speedwoofer 12S which was a super bargain at less than $700.
 
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