• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Used Kef Reference 3 Meta with reduced warranty

dogmamann

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 16, 2022
Messages
817
Likes
513
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.
I have the reference 3 and had heard r11 many times. To me, r11 is very close to reference 3 and it doesn’t distort when pushed like reference 3. reference series is just for looks and it’s a minor upgrade in neural sound
 

hlevinson

Member
Joined
May 5, 2022
Messages
10
Likes
9
Location
United States
I have the reference 3 and had heard r11 many times. To me, r11 is very close to reference 3 and it doesn’t distort when pushed like reference 3. reference series is just for looks and it’s a minor upgrade in neural sound
there are many differences between those models that make the Reference 3 a better performer.

Frequency response:
Reference 3 - 43Hz – 35kHz
R11 - 46 Hz - 28 kHz

Output:
Reference 3 - 113.5dB
R11 - 113dB

Harmonic distortion:
Reference 3 - <0.5% 40Hz – 100kHz / <0.2% 200Hz – 2kHz / <0.1% 2kHz - 20kHz
R11 - <1% 33 Hz and above / <0.5% 80 Hz - 20 kHz

Construction:
Reference 3 - Better materials / wood finishes, more bracing, one piece front baffle, heavier, hand matched drivers, performance results included with speakers
R11 - Lower grade materials / vinyl finishes, less bracing, no front baffle, lighter cabinets, mass produced, no testing

The Reference are hand made and KEF matches the drivers to within 0.5db. They are more than a significant step up from the R11.
 

dogmamann

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 16, 2022
Messages
817
Likes
513
there are many differences between those models that make the Reference 3 a better performer.

Frequency response:
Reference 3 - 43Hz – 35kHz
R11 - 46 Hz - 28 kHz

Output:
Reference 3 - 113.5dB
R11 - 113dB

Harmonic distortion:
Reference 3 - <0.5% 40Hz – 100kHz / <0.2% 200Hz – 2kHz / <0.1% 2kHz - 20kHz
R11 - <1% 33 Hz and above / <0.5% 80 Hz - 20 kHz

Construction:
Reference 3 - Better materials / wood finishes, more bracing, one piece front baffle, heavier, hand matched drivers, performance results included with speakers
R11 - Lower grade materials / vinyl finishes, less bracing, no front baffle, lighter cabinets, mass produced, no testing

The Reference are hand made and KEF matches the drivers to within 0.5db. They are more than a significant step up from the R11.
„Hand Made“ !! Lol! R11 is made with legs ? Finishing on the reference 3 is better but not on par with my previous canton reference 7k which costs less! I won’t call both great.

„No front baffle“ ? Where are the drivers mounted on r11 then?

„Mass produced“ agreed compared to kefs own other speakers as they are mostly appealing and making sense to rational buyers

„no testing“ - not true. There are not verified at a British factory but none of kefs speakers would go to stores without testing

„Lower grade materials“ as long as they measure fine, the looks of the material doesn’t matter. R11 has materials which are enough for audible transparency.

Kefs engineering is almost the best at r series. Once you go up the chain, you are paying or overpaying simply because you like the brand and you like the looks.

In terms of distortion, r11 has lower distortion levels under 50hz at higher loudness levels as per measurements. You can eq the bass on r11 without it getting bottomed out like the reference 3. reference 1 bottoms out even at lower level than refrwrence3 meaning it won’t hold a candle against the r11. I bought it by mistake and since it became a financial burden I just decided to keep it as it doesn’t sound all that bad and they look super cool. I would rate refrwrence 3s looks 10/10 and sound like 6/10.

Reference 3 hands down is the worst speaker decision I made ever financially. Looks cool but sound very congested narrow and doesn’t dig deep for their huge size. Built is just fine nothing extra ordinary if you look closer. There are lot of cheap touches on looking closer on them.
 

hlevinson

Member
Joined
May 5, 2022
Messages
10
Likes
9
Location
United States
„Hand Made“ !! Lol! R11 is made with legs ? Finishing on the reference 3 is better but not on par with my previous canton reference 7k which costs less! I won’t call both great.

„No front baffle“ ? Where are the drivers mounted on r11 then?
Erf
„Mass produced“ agreed compared to kefs own other speakers as they are mostly appealing and making sense to rational buyers

„no testing“ - not true. There are not verified at a British factory but none of kefs speakers would go to stores without testing

„Lower grade materials“ as long as they measure fine, the looks of the material doesn’t matter. R11 has materials which are enough for audible transparency.

Kefs engineering is almost the best at r series. Once you go up the chain, you are paying or overpaying simply because you like the brand and you like the looks.

In terms of distortion, r11 has lower distortion levels under 50hz at higher loudness levels as per measurements. You can eq the bass on r11 without it getting bottomed out like the reference 3. reference 1 bottoms out even at lower level than refrwrence3 meaning it won’t hold a candle against the r11. I bought it by mistake and since it became a financial burden I just decided to keep it as it doesn’t sound all that bad and they look super cool. I would rate refrwrence 3s looks 10/10 and sound like 6/10.

Reference 3 hands down is the worst speaker decision I made ever financially. Looks cool but sound very congested narrow and doesn’t dig deep for their huge size. Built is just fine nothing extra ordinary if you look closer. There are lot of cheap touches on looking closer on them.

Have you been to the KEF factory in England. If not watch one of the YouTube videos about it. They are literally hand assembled and hand finished with materials, crossovers and drivers that are matched for each pair.
The reference series are hand made. R series are mass produced
Reference use a single piece aluminum baffle with rubber isolation layers that the speakers are attached to. R series are attached to the cabinet structure.
The reference series are tested with results included. R series are not tested before sale.
Reference use top quality wood or lacquer veneers and wood finishes are matched per pair. R series use vinyl wraps.
Literally every single professional reviewer states that the reference series are in fact top level products with performance to match. There is not one review that indicates otherwise.
 

dogmamann

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 16, 2022
Messages
817
Likes
513
Have you been to the KEF factory in England. If not watch one of the YouTube videos about it. They are literally hand assembled and hand finished with materials, crossovers and drivers that are matched for each pair.
The reference series are hand made. R series are mass produced
Reference use a single piece aluminum baffle with rubber isolation layers that the speakers are attached to. R series are attached to the cabinet structure.
The reference series are tested with results included. R series are not tested before sale.
Reference use top quality wood or lacquer veneers and wood finishes are matched per pair. R series use vinyl wraps.
Literally every single professional reviewer states that the reference series are in fact top level products with performance to match. There is not one review that indicates otherwise.
I have seen thei factory videos and I must say it’s not anything special. The factory looks like any other speaker factory and theater front baffle is just for looks. Measurement shows no audible resonances on the r series either which means they are already engineered well. You just got sold on their marketing of 0.5 db thing. Have you measured it at your home to verify if it’s the case ? Also, how did you conclude r11 is not tested without sending it to a customer? They must be really stupid to sell anything without testing. Where did you get this information? The reference meta is a superb speaker but the old references, well nothing special anymore other than just looks. It bottoms out like I said earlier very easily under 50Hz like a stand mounter!

Also “hand made” - like I asked, so other speakers are made with legs?
 

SlaughterX

Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2024
Messages
32
Likes
10
Man I wish I could find some open box R3 metas for half off, I need some R rears... and a center!
 

hlevinson

Member
Joined
May 5, 2022
Messages
10
Likes
9
Location
United States
I have seen thei factory videos and I must say it’s not anything special. The factory looks like any other speaker factory and theater front baffle is just for looks. Measurement shows no audible resonances on the r series either which means they are already engineered well. You just got sold on their marketing of 0.5 db thing. Have you measured it at your home to verify if it’s the case ? Also, how did you conclude r11 is not tested without sending it to a customer? They must be really stupid to sell anything without testing. Where did you get this information? The reference meta is a superb speaker but the old references, well nothing special anymore other than just looks. It bottoms out like I said earlier very easily under 50Hz like a stand mounter!

Also “hand made” - like I asked, so other speakers are made with legs?
the 0.5dB tolerance on the reference series is that each speaker acts as a matched pair (it will say serial # with an A and B). this is not done on the R11
each reference model includes actual test results from the speakers, R11 does not because it is not done.
hand made - reference series are hand built and matched to each other in england. R series are made on a production line in china.
any FR measurement chart will show you that these do not perform the same.
 

dogmamann

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 16, 2022
Messages
817
Likes
513
the 0.5dB tolerance on the reference series is that each speaker acts as a matched pair (it will say serial # with an A and B). this is not done on the R11
each reference model includes actual test results from the speakers, R11 does not because it is not done.
hand made - reference series are hand built and matched to each other in england. R series are made on a production line in china.
any FR measurement chart will show you that these do not perform the same.
FR doesn’t matter, as both will be influenced by the room you put them in. As long as for directivity is good, both can be eq’ed and both needs in eq in real room to sound neutral. So that 0.5db match is useless. I have the reference 3 like I mentioned, and I can clearly hear the one next to the wall doesn’t sound similar to the one not near the wall in my room and to me it does nothing unless I live in an anechoic chamber!

Also, Kef r11 is not made a machine but again by human hands but Chinese hands as opposed to pure British blood hands. Agree if that matters to someone. Kef r11 has lower distortion for frequencies under 50 hz which is something that matters though. Because once you have a set of woofers which bottoms out, no amount of eq can fix it. To me, verdict is ref 11 is a superior speaker with eq. Ref 3 is better without eq but limited win terms of bass even with or without eq. Lookwise I agree R series appears cheap. The plastic fake metal rings of the ref 3 around the uniq drivers look way better than the plastic rings on the r series.
 

Descartes

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 27, 2020
Messages
2,140
Likes
1,103
Wasn't Denon usually described as harsh and clinical by the "more advanced" hobbyists? And the Marantz was the warmer, more musical option?

;)
So funny all these subjective comments? Based on what?
 

Descartes

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 27, 2020
Messages
2,140
Likes
1,103
I have the reference 3 and had heard r11 many times. To me, r11 is very close to reference 3 and it doesn’t distort when pushed like reference 3. reference series is just for looks and it’s a minor upgrade in neural sound
Interesting I heard the Reference One Meta vs the R3 Meta and the Reference One was phenomenal
 
Top Bottom