|KEF R700 Loudspeaker Review|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Andre Marc|
|Friday, 07 March 2014|
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As good as the R700s sounded with tubes in a medium room, they sounded even better In slightly larger room with the Plinius Hautonga integrated amp. The speakers were even more impressive, dynamically and with respect to soundstaging, when given more room to breathe. By the way, in both rooms I preferred the speakers with the foam port plugs installed. Without them, bass was a bit boomy; with the plugs, bass notes were nimble and controlled. This may not be the case in larger rooms, and your mileage may vary.
The R700 can also produce sound pressure levels (SPLs) that will overload virtually any room with no strain at all. The advanced driver material and well-designed cabinet, I am sure, contribute to this. On the flip side, at whisper quiet volumes, the soundstage retains its integrity and all the music remains intact. It is not often one encounters a speaker that plays well at both ends.
Any sonic grievances? I really was hard pressed to come up with any. Perhaps far more expensive speakers offer a hint more refinement and delicacy on top, and a smidgen more articulation in the bass, but that is comparison to top tier speakers like KEF’s own Reference line or even its flagship Blade. The R700s cover so many bases and do so many things well, I would be very surprised if, after a proper audition with high quality amplification, sources, and cables, the most astute listeners would be anything other than impressed. I personally heard very few compromises in this fairly priced speaker.
KEF has clearly been flying high as of late, with the Blade and LS50 dazzling listeners world wide. While this is most welcomed by KEF, their R line is a bit overlooked, which is a shame, since the R700 is a very good speaker and a high value product. I mentioned how attractive the speakers were in the gloss white. They became quite a conversation piece. Form and function in one package.
Not only do the R700s make terrific stereo speakers, but they would also be fantastic as part of a 5.1 surround sound system, with an R-series center channel and sub. If I could afford it, I would buy four R700s for the front and rear channels. Maybe one day. With a good multi channel amplifier this would be a heavenly set up.
The KEF R700s perform best in a medium or larger size space, and are amplifier friendly. If you can accommodate them, and crave a coherent, well-integrated sound, they must be heard. Another excellent achievement by the KEF design team. An audition for those shopping for a floorstander in the $3000 to 4000 range is highly recommended.
KEF R700 -- $3600 a pair
• Design: Three-way bass reflex
• Drive units Uni-Q driver array:
• HF: 25mm (1in.) vented aluminium dome
• MF: 125mm (5in.) aluminium
• Bass units: LF: 2 x 165mm (6.5in.) aluminium
• Frequency range (-6dB): 37Hz - 45kHz
• Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 89dB
• Nominal impedance: 8Ω (min. 3.2Ω)
• Weight: 25.9kg (57lbs.)
• Dimension (H x W x D) (with grille and terminal): 42.1 x 8.3 x 13.6 in.
• Dimension (H x W x D) (with grille, terminal & plinth): 44.1 x 13.0 x 14.5 in.
CD Transport: Marantz SA-14S1 SACD player
Server: Squeezebox Touch
DAC/Server: SIM Neo 308D
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MkII
Amplifier: Audio Research VS 55 CLONES Audio 25I
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables: Stager Silver Solids, Darwin Ascension (IC), Transparent MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner, Salamander rack
CD Player: Marantz CD5003
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity A90
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh MA6600, Plinius Hautonga
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3
Cables: Darwin Cables Silver IC, Kimber Hero HB, DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Transparent MusicWave (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Mojo Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold, KECES XPS