Arendal 1961 or Kef Q series

Luckosaurous

Standard Member
Hi guys

I’m looking at setting up my new house with 7.2.4 in the living room (floor plan attached), I’m totally new at all of this and slowly learning but I’d really appreciate your insight & wisdom.

I made another thread about subs and I’ve all but decided on a pair of Arendal 1961 1S now. Before that thread I hadn’t ever heard of Arendal though, but the reviews in them look really good for them so I started checking out their speakers too which also seem to be really good.

Does anyone know how they compare to the Kef Q series, and has anyone heard both with their own ears?

Reading the specs it seems like Kef are better and also cheaper so how believable are the specs?

Kef:
Q750 front L/R £1100
Q650c £530
Q350 surround and rear £800
Total: £2430

Arendal:

Tower front L/R £1349
Centre £449
Bookshelf surround and rear £1258
Total: £3056

The problem with Arendal is it’s a leap of faith as I can’t go and listen to them anywhere to compare for myself, the reviews seem glowing, but then so do Kef’s, so are they with the extra money?

Additional thoughts:
A small appearing centre is preferable. Ideally If someone knows of a magic wand that means that it won’t compromise on sound that would be nice.
One potential benefit I see of Kef is the timbre matching with heights as I want in ceilings.
 

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gibbsy

Moderator
If you are having the TV on the short wall then I don't think you need Q750s, Q550s would be better and the Q250 would be adequate for the centre. For surrounds I would go with Q150s as in those positions they would look a lot neater. The Q350s are quite big for standmounts.

My choice in your room would be:
KEF R3 £1300
KEF R2C £850
KEF Q150 x 4 £640.
Total £2790

You're intending to run two subs so in reality you don't need floorstanding speakers as all audio below 80hz will be directed to the subs. The R Series is much better than the Q Series and the front three are going to be the most important in any set up, certainly the centre. KEF have nailed it with the R Series centres. I would be very surprised if you could not get a 10% discount if buying from the same supplier.

However the don't mention what AV amp will be the driving force or whether music is going to influence your selection.
 

Luckosaurous

Standard Member
Thanks Gibbsy, yeah the tv will be on the short wall (the one in the right).

To be honest I haven’t researched the amp fully yet but I was thinking the Denon AVR-X6700H (not yet purchased so also open to suggestions)

Will the surrounds then not pale in insignificance to the front if I put such good speakers up front and weak ones to the back? Pardon my ignorance but I thought I had read that although the surrounds are less important, you should still aim not to have too much of a gap or it will be very noticeable when a sound moves round the stage.

Mostly watching movies and sport but there will be some music too. Probably 80:20 between visual and music 👍🏻
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
If you are having the TV on the short wall then I don't think you need Q750s, Q550s would be better and the Q250 would be adequate for the centre. For surrounds I would go with Q150s as in those positions they would look a lot neater. The Q350s are quite big for standmounts.

My choice in your room would be:
KEF R3 £1300
KEF R2C £850
KEF Q150 x 4 £640.
Total £2790

You're intending to run two subs so in reality you don't need floorstanding speakers as all audio below 80hz will be directed to the subs. The R Series is much better than the Q Series and the front three are going to be the most important in any set up, certainly the centre. KEF have nailed it with the R Series centres. I would be very surprised if you could not get a 10% discount if buying from the same supplier.

However the don't mention what AV amp will be the driving force or whether music is going to influence your selection.


if ur spending this much on the front 3, then u should consider the Arendal 1723 or 1723S as a means of comparison rather than the 1961.

(meant this message to be towards op not u gibbsy)
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Hi guys

I’m looking at setting up my new house with 7.2.4 in the living room (floor plan attached), I’m totally new at all of this and slowly learning but I’d really appreciate your insight & wisdom.

I made another thread about subs and I’ve all but decided on a pair of Arendal 1961 1S now. Before that thread I hadn’t ever heard of Arendal though, but the reviews in them look really good for them so I started checking out their speakers too which also seem to be really good.

Does anyone know how they compare to the Kef Q series, and has anyone heard both with their own ears?

Reading the specs it seems like Kef are better and also cheaper so how believable are the specs?

Kef:
Q750 front L/R £1100
Q650c £530
Q350 surround and rear £800
Total: £2430

Arendal:

Tower front L/R £1349
Centre £449
Bookshelf surround and rear £1258
Total: £3056

The problem with Arendal is it’s a leap of faith as I can’t go and listen to them anywhere to compare for myself, the reviews seem glowing, but then so do Kef’s, so are they with the extra money?

Additional thoughts:
A small appearing centre is preferable. Ideally If someone knows of a magic wand that means that it won’t compromise on sound that would be nice.
One potential benefit I see of Kef is the timbre matching with heights as I want in ceilings.


I went from KEF Q to 1723S and the Arendal destroyed the KEFs to my ears.
Much bigger sounding, much bigger soundstage, far more detail retrieval, better dynamics.
KEF has a more relaxed and forgiving sound signature.
 

Luckosaurous

Standard Member
if ur spending this much on the front 3, then u should consider the Arendal 1723 or 1723S as a means of comparison rather than the 1961.

(meant this message to be towards op not u gibbsy)
The problem with that being the huge expense of the Arendal surrounds, they are so much more expensive than Kef.
The Q350 was £450 cheaper for 4 speakers than the Arendal’s and Gibbsys logic for spending more on the front 3 was saving money on the back 4 by going for Q150.

I don’t have budget for the 1723 I’m afraid, I’ll be buying all of this from scratch 😔

Thank you for the description of the difference between them though that is helpful. Have you ever managed to hear the 1961 range?
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
The problem with that being the huge expense of the Arendal surrounds, they are so much more expensive than Kef.
The Q350 was £450 cheaper for 4 speakers than the Arendal’s and Gibbsys logic for spending more on the front 3 was saving money on the back 4 by going for Q150.

I don’t have budget for the 1723 I’m afraid, I’ll be buying all of this from scratch 😔

Thank you for the description of the difference between them though that is helpful. Have you ever managed to hear the 1961 range?

yes i have 1961 atmos speakers. they are great.
u can mix and match 1723S and 1961 no problem imo. esppecially surround duties.



if i were u, i would try to demo arendal and KEF. if u cant do this, buy KEF and demo them under trial. if ur happy, keep them. if u feel u want more, try the arendal but be prepared to pay return fee.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
The problem with that being the huge expense of the Arendal surrounds, they are so much more expensive than Kef.
The Q350 was £450 cheaper for 4 speakers than the Arendal’s and Gibbsys logic for spending more on the front 3 was saving money on the back 4 by going for Q150.

I don’t have budget for the 1723 I’m afraid, I’ll be buying all of this from scratch 😔

Thank you for the description of the difference between them though that is helpful. Have you ever managed to hear the 1961 range?



You can also save some going with the 1723 S Bookshelf models as m ains see below (with dual 1961 1S), much easier to find good looking stands:

1-jpg.1295339




1723 S Monitors, 1723 S Centre and 1961 Heights and Surrounds, @John24ssj system.

img_20211007_115452-jpg.1588997


view
 

Luckosaurous

Standard Member
Thanks for this guys
You can also save some going with the 1723 S Bookshelf models as m ains see below (with dual 1961 1S), much easier to find good looking stands:

1-jpg.1295339




1723 S Monitors, 1723 S Centre and 1961 Heights and Surrounds, @John24ssj system.

img_20211007_115452-jpg.1588997


view
Thank for this, to be honest the 1961 was really at the top end of what I was wanting to spend (unless I can make savings elsewhere). Swapping out the fronts for 1723 bookshelf and centre would be £200 more expensive than the 1961 tower and centre.

The cost with Arendal comes from the surround channels which is £400 more than the Q350 and £550 more than the Q150.

Did you get to listen to this setup and would you recommend this over either a full 1961 setup or a Kef setup? (either what I proposed or what gibbsy proposed)

Thanks everyone for your help and knowledge I really appreciate it 🙏🏻 😊
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Thanks for this guys

Thank for this, to be honest the 1961 was really at the top end of what I was wanting to spend (unless I can make savings elsewhere). Swapping out the fronts for 1723 bookshelf and centre would be £200 more expensive than the 1961 tower and centre.

The cost with Arendal comes from the surround channels which is £400 more than the Q350 and £550 more than the Q150.

Did you get to listen to this setup and would you recommend this over either a full 1961 setup or a Kef setup? (either what I proposed or what gibbsy proposed)

Thanks everyone for your help and knowledge I really appreciate it 🙏🏻 😊

The only reason we're bringing up 1723S is because gibbsy has recommended the reference KEF range which changes the budget.

Its not really fair to to compare an £850 KEF centre to a £449 centre.
At least compare it to the 1723S which still comes in a £719.

The front 3 are very important so I'd go for whichever setup gives you the best front 3. Your room is quite big so will require a bit of brute force upfront for impact, dynamics and clarity IMO.

If the surrounds and bookshelves are an issue price-wise, I'd try to negotiate with Arendal for any rejects or customer returns.


If its between KEF Q and Arendal, Its a much easier decision to make. Arendal 1961. I've even compared the KEF Q50a to the KEF 1961 atmos and the 1961 atmos was smaller and better.
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
Just putting this one out there... do you have to timbre match the surrounds too? I get it for the front three but would expect 4 Q150s to do grand job in that space as surrounds, then more to invest in the front three and/or amplification (e.g. maybe 1723).

Also, whilst the x6700 is a fine AVR and it may be the extra channel processing/amplification that you want over the x3700 or x4700. It is worth considering that an x6700 costs about as much as an x4700 plus an IOTAVX AVP1. Or and x3700 plus a really good integrated amp with AV bypass.

Something to consider if you are happy with the x3700/x4700 available 11 channel processing.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Just putting this one out there... do you have to timbre match the surrounds too? I get it for the front three but would expect 4 Q150s to do grand job in that space as surrounds, then more to invest in the front three and/or amplification (e.g. maybe 1723).

Also, whilst the x6700 is a fine AVR and it may be the extra channel processing/amplification that you want over the x3700 or x4700. It is worth considering that an x6700 costs about as much as an x4700 plus an IOTAVX AVP1. Or and x3700 plus a really good integrated amp with AV bypass.

Something to consider if you are happy with the x3700/x4700 available 11 channel processing.


Good point.

I had a massive jump in SQ going from Denon to Arcam and the AVR390s are available for peanuts. If you can get one for a cheap price and pair this with an IOTA or another dedicated amplifier, I'm confident the sound quality (if you don't encounter any bugs or issues with the AVR390) will be in a different league if you can get a handle on DIRAC.

The AVR390 specifically has plenty of voltage with speakers set to small to actually take advantage of a dedicated power amplifier, something the Denons and Marantz sadly don't offer even with the bypass mode as per ASR and measurements here too.

The AVR390 (and the denons) will eventually become outdated but the amplifier won't. You'll then be set for a processor upgrade to something even better and high end in a few years time. Otherwise starting from scratch with an AVR alone is a pain in the butt.


Generally the components that last the longest in a setup are

LONGEST

Speakers
Amplifiers
Subwoofers
Processors
Projectors

SHORTEST

In terms of how quickly they become outdated with newer tech evolutions alongside durability! Just some food for thought in my opinion.
 

Dobbyisfree

Well-known Member
The AVR390 (and the denons) will eventually become outdated but the amplifier won't. You'll then be set for a processor upgrade to something even better and high end in a few years time. Otherwise starting from scratch with an AVR alone is a pain in the butt.

Yes, that's my theory too. But I'm doing it on a big budget. My power amp is probably what people would say is already at the end of its life! But its 1.5kVa toroid and 96,000µF capacitance trump the AVR!

Still the same theory though. 🤣
 

DrH

Well-known Member
I was in a similar boat to you but wanted to replace my old Kef Q series.
I mulled it over for quite a long time but the idea of not being able to audition before buying swayed me to having to take the Arendal speakers out of the equation.

I know that quite a few people on here really like them.

So I went and listened to MA gold and Kef R. With no bias towards any brand.
I choose the Kef R. They are a bigger step up than I thought they would be. So if going down the Kef route the R series are the ones to look at…. The Kef R3 is as good as or better than the R5
 

Topmetom 2

Distinguished Member
Id also spend a bit more on the amp for now. But , id go and demo kef etc first…make sure you feel happy before buying blind..has anyone near you got arendal 1961?

edit, Dali make some very fine speakers as well..i had them before the Arendals and would happily go back when i sell up.DALI they are forum sponsors and seem nice, worth giing Lee a shout @Yorkshire AV
 
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rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Just putting this one out there... do you have to timbre match the surrounds too? I get it for the front three but would expect 4 Q150s to do grand job in that space as surrounds, then more to invest in the front three and/or amplification (e.g. maybe 1723).

Also, whilst the x6700 is a fine AVR and it may be the extra channel processing/amplification that you want over the x3700 or x4700. It is worth considering that an x6700 costs about as much as an x4700 plus an IOTAVX AVP1. Or and x3700 plus a really good integrated amp with AV bypass.

Something to consider if you are happy with the x3700/x4700 available 11 channel processing.

I don't think you have to. My heights and sides aren't matching the front three and rears and it sounds great. For me I need a bit downwards angle on heights especially rears and also able to turn (so I bought q acoustic wall brackets and speakers)

Plus depends on room style and speaker brands range and availability. For example kef make dipoles but not bipole or tripole so I'd you prefer bi/Tri that means buying from another brand - monitor audio, definitive technology, m&k and I think arendel are tripole. Celestion didn't produce bipole sides only dipole.

Plus I bought £500/600 bipole for £30/£150

These look impressive
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks for this guys

Thank for this, to be honest the 1961 was really at the top end of what I was wanting to spend (unless I can make savings elsewhere). Swapping out the fronts for 1723 bookshelf and centre would be £200 more expensive than the 1961 tower and centre.

The cost with Arendal comes from the surround channels which is £400 more than the Q350 and £550 more than the Q150.

Did you get to listen to this setup and would you recommend this over either a full 1961 setup or a Kef setup? (either what I proposed or what gibbsy proposed)

Thanks everyone for your help and knowledge I really appreciate it 🙏🏻 😊

Nope, just posted pictures for you to see the size and "looks" better. This is still living room i assume so you want something nice on eye too. The Monitor S is trickier as no suitable stands available and most available look bit goofy with them due to height/narrow design. The Bookshelf 1723 S (1st pic) is more similar to R3 so you can use any sturdy stands with big top plate.

However i don`t want to downplay the 1961 route either. I`m fairly sure lot of people would be more than happy with the 1961 Tower system you wrote and specifically if you require smaller center channel as you mentioned, low depth 15cm.

Kef is doing 60th year sale on Q150/350/550 models until January 6th i believe. The price jump from Q550 to Q750 is ridiculous!!

Kef R range is more laid back compared to Arendals (1723) and also even to Q range (350) what many has reported. R3s are very good speakers which will shine in system which is used also for music listening. I think one review mentioned them being ahead of Arendals with music. They follow these so called Harman principles in designing speakers and the 3-way design shows superiority in many areas to Q350 which we can see from objective measurements. Try to get a demo for Q350 and R5. Seven Oaks, Audio T, Richer Sounds... Some local dealer hopefully has those two so you can listen/compare to at least find out do you like em or fancy something different. The list is quite long if you start to dig around all the possibilities..
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Also note that Arendal are raising prices by upto 15% on Nov 1st.
wtf
im sure they did a covert price increase already. ***.
I have 2x speakers still to buy from them.
 

Luckosaurous

Standard Member
The only reason we're bringing up 1723S is because gibbsy has recommended the reference KEF range which changes the budget.

Its not really fair to to compare an £850 KEF centre to a £449 centre.
At least compare it to the 1723S which still comes in a £719.

The front 3 are very important so I'd go for whichever setup gives you the best front 3. Your room is quite big so will require a bit of brute force upfront for impact, dynamics and clarity IMO.

If the surrounds and bookshelves are an issue price-wise, I'd try to negotiate with Arendal for any rejects or customer returns.


If its between KEF Q and Arendal, Its a much easier decision to make. Arendal 1961. I've even compared the KEF Q50a to the KEF 1961 atmos and the 1961 atmos was smaller and better.
Tha is Kenshingintoki that’s really helpful 😊

I’ve seen conflicting information about how important the front 3 are. Like some people say to blow the budget on them and then use what you can afford for the surrounds.
But then some people say if there is too large of a disparity between the front 3 and the surround stage then it sounds odd when things pass from front to back.
Looking at how Arendal are set up it seems they are of the latter school of thought as they only offer expensive surrounds, did you try your set up with something cheaper in the surrounds, or did you go wholesale from Kef to Arendal?
 

Luckosaurous

Standard Member
Just putting this one out there... do you have to timbre match the surrounds too? I get it for the front three but would expect 4 Q150s to do grand job in that space as surrounds, then more to invest in the front three and/or amplification (e.g. maybe 1723).

Also, whilst the x6700 is a fine AVR and it may be the extra channel processing/amplification that you want over the x3700 or x4700. It is worth considering that an x6700 costs about as much as an x4700 plus an IOTAVX AVP1. Or and x3700 plus a really good integrated amp with AV bypass.

Something to consider if you are happy with the x3700/x4700 available 11 channel processing.
This is my next line if questioning 😂
I honestly haven’t a clue about amps. Until 2 weeks ago I didn’t even know what the difference was between an amp and a processor. 🙈

I basically searched for something capable of 7.2.4 and all that came up was Denon and Marantz, however then I discovered the concept of processors and separate amps, which makes much more sense to me. The physics of amplification won’t improve much at all in the next few decades. So shoddy build quality aside, I would have thought it makes more sense to split the roles, that way when processing technology moves on, I only have to replace the processor not the amplification as well which will keep costs down in future.

However I did a very brief skim of pricing and found that to be much more expensive in the short term. So although I’m far from deciding on amp/processor yet, I think it may be likely that I end up with an all in one if that’s cheaper.

…I am very open to thoughts and opinions on his though 👍🏻
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
This is my next line if questioning 😂
I honestly haven’t a clue about amps. Until 2 weeks ago I didn’t even know what the difference was between an amp and a processor. 🙈

I basically searched for something capable of 7.2.4 and all that came up was Denon and Marantz, however then I discovered the concept of processors and separate amps, which makes much more sense to me. The physics of amplification won’t improve much at all in the next few decades. So shoddy build quality aside, I would have thought it makes more sense to split the roles, that way when processing technology moves on, I only have to replace the processor not the amplification as well which will keep costs down in future.

However I did a very brief skim of pricing and found that to be much more expensive in the short term. So although I’m far from deciding on amp/processor yet, I think it may be likely that I end up with an all in one if that’s cheaper.

…I am very open to thoughts and opinions on his though 👍🏻

Seperates can be more expensive but not always..ie tonewinner at-300 plus 7 channel bas-x
That'll be roughly around flagship avr price, biy once you have it can change as needed.

Seperates are worth spending the extra in the long run, also if have larger room.

I can reach SPL and doesn't distort it sounds clean

The power amps I had way back in lexicon dc-2 area are now used as height channels...
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Tha is Kenshingintoki that’s really helpful 😊

I’ve seen conflicting information about how important the front 3 are. Like some people say to blow the budget on them and then use what you can afford for the surrounds.
But then some people say if there is too large of a disparity between the front 3 and the surround stage then it sounds odd when things pass from front to back.
Looking at how Arendal are set up it seems they are of the latter school of thought as they only offer expensive surrounds, did you try your set up with something cheaper in the surrounds, or did you go wholesale from Kef to Arendal?


I had a mix of KEF Q100s and Arendal 1723 front 3 for a few weeks. it was awesome but the 1723S surrounds are a different beast. they are like a gigantic wall of sound. My fav speakers
 

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