1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Best speaker under 250 pounds

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by uncle eric, Apr 14, 2002.

  1. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    This brief 'look' at the KEF Q1's was first posted some three months ago. Since then, I think a fair number of folks have purchased these fine budget speakers. Your comments are welcome.
    __________________________________________________
    Many years ago, I had a KEF set up. Q35 L/R mains, Q95 Centre and Q15s for sides.
    The Q35's lacked any dynamism whatsoever. They never really had any real 'treble sparkle' while the bass was wooly and unrefined.
    The weekest link in the set up was the Q95 (centre). A truly awful speaker. Dialogue was a nasal sounding mess, while anything sounding remotely big and musical (film scores for instance) instantly shrank to music box size. This speaker actually put me off so called dedicated centre's for life. I've written a thing or two about this subject since and had something published in Stereophile Guide to Home Theater (oooohhhh), probably next to the corn blokes add.
    Next up, the often brushed aside Q15's. This is without doubt the most underestimated speaker KEF ever made. When I realized how good they were, I bought another two pairs (keeping one in the box as there was no such thing as EX/ES at that time) and got rid of the Q35's and the dreaded Q95 centre. At that time I had a Sony DD amp which seemed to bring the five Q15's to life quite nicely.

    I've been looking for some speakers as part of a budget/mid-priced system for my parents for a while now. Due to my dads recovery from illness, I'm now back to the job in hand. (DVD player and Amp purchased months ago). Having listened to various speakers including Monitor Audio Bronze 3's and the B&W 601S (5 star rating in many mags), also months ago, I wasn't happy. The M.A's seemed to have too much simblance with a raspy quality to their treble while the 601's (to my ears anyway) seemed below par in the bass and mid-range level.

    A few days ago, I had an opportunity to borrow a set of KEF Q15 replacements. The KEF Q1. After no more than 10 minutes of listening to these speakers, my first thoughts were, "I cant believe KEF are selling these at 250 pounds (per pair)"
    Built beautifully, to a standard that doesn't make sense at this price point, the units driver protrudes (much like the B&W Nautilus 800 range) from the top of the tear shaped box. The tweeter, as usual, is placed in the centre of the mid range/bass driver and is KEF's latest Uni Q unit. Bracing is phenominal as the bruises on my knuckles will testify to.
    Sound quality, what can I tell you. One word comes to mind. Lovely!!!!!
    Having placed these beauties on my stands and positioned them so they can breathe, (Note*, even though these KEF's have front porting I still like to keep things away from boundary walls as much as possible) I threw everything I had at them.

    First up, Joni Mitchells Emmy winning album, 'Both Sides Now' in the DVD-A format. The sultry voice of this great singer/songwriter sounded effortless. Every naunce of her wine and tobacco aged vocal chords, sometimes rough in texture came across perfectly. As is the case with the combination of good speakers and music, I forgot I was listening to speakers. I was busy enjoying myself. Next up, Harry Connick Jr on SACD. Connicks vocals have an uncanny 'being there' quality when played through my M&K 150's. Very nearly the same thing here with the KEF's. The Q1's just being a little more reserved and laid back in comparrison to the 'up front' antics of the M&K's.
    The Isley Brothers 3+3 in multi channel SACD sounded incredibly full and rich without being sloppy. Treble was sweet with not even a hint of simblance.
    And the next one please. Al Greens 'Lets stay together' in vanilla flavoured 16 bit CD sounded gloriously coherent. The mid range in particular being full of authority with much weight behind it.
    I even threw in a little Mahler (symphony No 5). Maybe I could trip them up with a little classical music. No way. The instruments had an air and space between them that I've only heard in far more expensive set ups.
    As you might be able to tell, I liked these speakers a lot. I think KEF are on to an out and out winner here. Needless to say, I now have three pairs on order to make up a six speaker system that will, I'm sure, be the focus of mum and dads living room. My parents are not yet convinced that they need a sub as they have two (pampered) persian cats that could go ape$hit if the .1 is brought into play. Lets wait and see.

    Sadly, one thing has dissapointed me. Having picked up the latest What Hi Fi mag (fast becoming What Home Cinema mag) this evening, I noticed they have reviewed and given the Q1 a five star rating. Surely the kiss of death.
    I take back everything I say. The KEF Q1's are rubbish.

    Seriously, anyone thinking of buying in this sort of price range, B&W 601's, MA's, Mission 780's, even potential M&K K series buyers. Think again.

    Eric
     
  2. garylloyd

    garylloyd
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2001
    Messages:
    468
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +53
    Thanks for that Eric.
    Now sit back and watch Q1 ownership soar.
    Gary
     
  3. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Gary,
    Your welcome. If only.
    Many forum members have jumped on to the KEF EGG wagon. If any more are thinking along the same lines. Go and have a listen to the Q1's first.

    Eric
     
  4. garylloyd

    garylloyd
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2001
    Messages:
    468
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +53
    Can we look forward to Uncles guide to mid-range recievers next?
    It would seem that a lot of people buy on hear say only.Me included I guess,Servo 15 at the end of the year.
    Is the MC-12 still on the cards?Or is a trip abroad needed to pick this up.This is the route I am taking if I buy M and K.
    All the best
    Gary
     
  5. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Gary,
    As I'm getting a little tired of waiting for the Denon A1SE upgrade, the MC12 is on the cards (as prime suspect) but I would also like to consider other options from the Theta, and Meridian range.

    Re mid range amps/recievers, Denon seems to have everything wrapped up at the moment with the 3802. I'm mostly using these for Mid Price installs.
    Yamaha, who was one of the leaders in Surround amps years ago seems to have fallen into a coma and can't come up with any products that can compete with Denon at any level.

    Marantz and Pioneer seem to be the ones Denon should look over their shoulders for. While Pioneer have only fired blanks in the past, trickle down tech from their latest flagship will ensure stiff competition. Marantz have always made quality gear and their current range has been strong. One or two models did suffer teething problems but these seem to have been largely cured.

    Best Regards
    Eric
     
  6. Wilf

    Wilf
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2001
    Messages:
    364
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Ratings:
    +6
    Erik, may be i'm a little confused but did you test the Q1's with a dedicated center or do you recommend 5xQ1's for DD and DTS etc.
    thanks in advance
     
  7. philmate

    philmate
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2000
    Messages:
    214
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Southend-on-sea
    Ratings:
    +4
    Kef are love you :D and loathe you Eric :mad: , lots of money, and keeping up on production.

    Philmate.
     
  8. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,277
    I have to completely agree with what Eric has said in full. I own the Q15, but was left un impressed by the larger Q models as well. The Q95, well I have active campaigned against this horrible speaker. Buy the 100 instead, miles better IMHO,

    The new Q1 seems excellent. It gets my vote at the moment. One hell of a performance for the money and build quality looks excellent. Seaparate tweeter does win everyone over however.

    Now Eric, time to come over to the Tag fold….you know it make sense :D
     
  9. bertha

    bertha
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2001
    Messages:
    1,303
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +89
    Hello there - thanks for your comments on the 'lifestyle speakers' thread... so do you recommend that I get an extra pair of Q1s for centre & (future 6.1 duties) ?

    My only worry would be positioning of the front centre - they wouldn't I imagine look/sound or be practical due to their curves to lie on their side..I currently have a Tannoy MC - which is a reasonable sized speaker & my 1st proper centre speaker (before I had an aiwa prologic job a few moons ago) but 1 of my reasons for considering the Kefs apart from firstly sound quality is aesthetics..I can't picture how the Q1 would fit into the puzzle as a centre...any help or advice?

    thanks in advance

    Berth;)
     
  10. cybersoga

    cybersoga
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2002
    Messages:
    1,628
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +25
  11. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Wilf, Bertha
    I recommend the purchasing of three pairs (KEF will not sell a single Q1 for a possible 5.1 system) and use one as centre and another in a future EX/ES rear placement position.
    I realize placement of the Q1 in a centre channel position can be less than ideal when used with a TV based display system. For one thing the centre will probably end up in a different plane to the main L/R. However, this is likely to be the case anyway as in most cases this would still happen as your dedicated centre would, in all likelyhood, sit on top or under your TV's.
    Depending on your room and and its configuration there are ways to locate standmount speakers like the Q1 without much fuss. If you have a problem, just ask. Most members here are very friendly and will give a helping hand right away.

    Cybersoga,
    I've posted at length regarding these so called dedicated centres which most speaker manufacturers have been pushing for many years now. For the sake of any newbies, I'll comment on these again.
    You will know that the front soundstage is all important to both music and movie applications. Many will also tell you, the dialogue or centre channel is probably the most important of these three. It is therefore imperative that the three be identical in order that the front soundstage sounds equal, balanced and coherent.

    Manufacturers will often tempt buyers with terms like "same drivers as the mains, therefore, same timbre".
    This is in fact rubbish. The only timbre they share are the MDF/HDF cabinets that are used with many a speaker.

    These 'dedicated centres' are usually a different external size, and therefore not the same internal volume as the main L/R's. This is disaster number one as the tonal characteristics will not be the same. Disaster number two, most dedicated centres are also a different shape and therefore possess an altogether different 'colouration' when compared to the main L/R's.

    A few speaker manufacturers have awoken to this fact and sell centres that are (virtually) identical to their main speakers. Miller and Kreisel are one company that comes to mind. They will sell any number of any model speaker that they produce. In fact, they have done so from the offset.

    Eric
     
  12. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Nic,
    I really dont know how KEF can sell the Q95 and keep a straight face. Pile of rubbish IMO. (Maybe they asked Bose to design it :eek:)

    I mentioned that I'm getting a little tired of the Denon upgrade shenanegans. Will they, wont they, and when. I've had less trouble from women in the past. Bloody hell, what a mess.

    I personaly feel that going from an ungraded A1SE to the TAG route wont exactly be a 'leaps and bounds' improvement. I'll bide my time a little and keep thinking. I'm pretty certain that the Lex MC12 is the way to go.

    Regards
    Eric
     
  13. Wilf

    Wilf
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2001
    Messages:
    364
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Ratings:
    +6
    Unkle erik

    thanks for the confirmation. I do have reservations (well my wife will) of trying a Q1 in the center, from a practical point of view. I may demo the Q9c ( sorry if this causes you to bang your head against a wall). Looking at the Q series, is it your opinion that you get better value for money buying the standmount or was it just to keep the price under the £250 mark. Also, how would you recommend the rears be integrated at a suitable height? I'm thinking about this 2/3 feet higher than the fronts thing. Wall mounted on brackets or ignore this and put them all on the same stands. tar very much, this has been a very useful thread.
     
  14. lmccauley

    lmccauley
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2000
    Messages:
    3,302
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Newcastle
    Ratings:
    +212
    The 8s looks suspiciously like one of their old surround designs - it only goes down to120Hz, too, rather than 80Hz.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  15. Lowrider

    Lowrider
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Wilf,

    If they are far enough the height is not that critical, I have mine on the same stands as the fronts, check my WWW...
     
  16. Matt F

    Matt F
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2000
    Messages:
    900
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Chester, UK
    Ratings:
    +4
    Some interesting points here but, as someone who presently owns 3 identical front speakers (at least for the next couple of days), it's worth noting that even then the 3 don't sound identical when you play white noise test signals through them - the left and the right sound the same but the centre doesn't.

    Why? Because firstly, the centre is placed on its side, not vertically like the left and right speakers and secondly, it has a TV immediately above or below it which, of course, affects the sound.

    I would say the only way to get an almost identical front 3 is to have identical speakers in the same plane, on the same stands at the same height and with no TV anywhere near them - possible with a drop down screen or a plasma screen on the wall but otherwise not easy.

    There was an interesting piece by Paul Miller on this subject in HiFi Choice a couple of months back - he looked at various packages, most of them with different sized/shaped centres and did listening tests and took measurements to see how well the centres matched up with the left and right pair. Some of them worked quite well and, from memory, this was where the manufacturer had deliberately engineered the crossover on the centre speaker to give a similar response the the left/right speakers, despite it being a different shape and volume.

    At the end of the day when we look at the practicalities of fitting our gear into what are often not dedicated home cinema rooms and when we bear-in-mind that many people favour floor standers for left/right duties (I'm certainly going back to that) then the best we can really do is get a centre speaker from the same range/manufacturer and preferably using the same drive units.

    Oh, and just one final "devil's advocate" comment - if we want an equal, balanced and coherent front soundstage then, accepting that there would only be a small "hot spot", would the phantom centre option not be a possible solution?
     
  17. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Matt,
    Thanks for your reply.
    I use three M&K' 150's all at the same plane (and stands), all one way up with the L/R's slightly toed in and brought forward so that they are in fact eqidistant from the main listening position, my chair. This positioning offers even degrees of delay re the amp for the front three which is always a better solution.
    There are so many variables soundwise that things could get anal very quickly. The carpet underlay could be a little thicker on one side of the room. (Applies less to the narrow vertical dispertion of THX speakers) There could be heavy drapes again only on on side causing a subtle imbalance. My heater is on the left. Therefore, if the room is not heated 24/7, I'll have colder more dense air on the right. Whoops, thats going to effect the sound. Better get an air circulation gizmo.
    I could go on but I think you get the picture. There is a limit to to all this and going into it at these levels is a sure sign that men in white coats are on the way. Suffice to say, Identical stands and speakers are probably good enough. For now anyway.

    Now, your 'devil's advocate' comment. Phantom centre channels are of course used by many. Even Gary Reber has this option at WSR's Holosonic Lab.
    However, I think you've got things a little bit the wrong way round. The small 'Hotspot' you mention would in fact be the 'small sweetspot' or the one and only perfect listening position. In the case of Rebers lab for example, that would be slap bang in the middle of the room as the six main Dunlavys are set up in a circular (equidistant) postion with regard to Rebers main chair. Sitting anywhere alse (even forwards or backwards of this position) would produce inaccurate results. Sitting left or right of the main chair would 'pull' the centre channel off centre and nearer the listener. In other words, if you have an eight foot screen for instance and one of your guests is sitting on the far left, instead of the actors voice being anchored on centre stage, the dialogue would seem to be coming from further to the left of this position. Rather unnatural wouldn't you say?

    To sum up, all others in the room will not and cannot be in an ideal position. The reason being that levels equal levels can only be set in one position and one position only (And yes before you ask this also applies to the surrounds, ie sitting nearer to one and further from another etc, but as these are used for effects the vast majority of the time they are far less important than the front soundstage.)

    Hope this helps
    Eric
     
  18. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2001
    Messages:
    17,133
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    133
    Location:
    Cumbria
    Ratings:
    +1,277
    Eric

    You might be surprized how much better the Tag is complared with the Denon, having said that the MC12 looks like (when software is sorted) will be a major tour de force. It is everything the MC1 should have been. It looks like Lexicon is finding it's way again. I think the MC12 will be the standard all aim for at the highest end (and not the Krell rubbish). I hope the Tag AV192 will be competition when it come out.
     
  19. ReTrO

    ReTrO
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2000
    Messages:
    3,498
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    High Wycombe, Bucks, UK
    Ratings:
    +59
    The new Proceed AVP2 is out at the start of May. I suspect it will be around the £6k mark. Should be pretty good. All current AVP's can be upgraded to 2 spec also.
     
  20. imr4n

    imr4n
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    uncle eric,

    Have u ever tried listening to Q1 and B&W 601 S3 side by side?

    Does Q1 has a better bass than B&W since that's what lacking from 601 s3 from the reviews i've read. nobody has done a side by side comparison test of these 2 speakers.

    and also is Q1 binding port gold or silver? it looks silvery in what hi-fi mag.
     
  21. dood

    dood
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2000
    Messages:
    943
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Hobart
    Ratings:
    +38
    So the consensus is that the Q95 centres are terrible. But it seems that Kef manages to improve things with newer models. Does anyone care to comment on how good or bad the Q95.2C centre speakers are? And how do they compare with the new Q9?
     
  22. juboy

    juboy
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    I have two Kef Q95c speakers, one for front centre, one for the rear centre duties.

    Although I do think they were expensive (rrp £249) I picked mine of for £200 and £150 (discontinued stock) respectively.

    I'm no expert but although I very much doubt they're World class speakers, for the money I doubt they're much worse than many at the same price point.

    I find it hard to believe that a manufacturer like Kef would deliberately sell a known crap speakers alongside the rest of the Q series, it just wouldn't make any sense. Even the Q85s are OK for their intended use.

    They know that packages like that get reviewed as a whole and also know that people aren't really stupid enough to pay £250 for one speaker that they then discover sounds awful.
     
  23. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Juboy,

    Most everything is ok for their intended use. With respect to you, my comments stand on the Q95. For what these speakers cost, IMO, there are far better solutions out there. If you like them and you are happy, great. I'm pleased for you.

    Eric
     
  24. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Its now three months on since I posted this breif look at the Q1's. Are the Q1 owners happy. Any problems?

    Eric
     
  25. Lowrider

    Lowrider
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Eric,

    Congratulations for the 3rd place in the world cup... :cool:
     
  26. CodeThief

    CodeThief
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    660
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +5
    Well I was when I demoed them, if they ever turn up at my house I'll be ecstatic!!!

    Dave
     
  27. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Antonio,
    Thanks very much. They did very well.

    Regards
    Eric
     
  28. uncle eric

    uncle eric
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Dave,
    Hope they turn up soon.
    Eric
     
  29. CodeThief

    CodeThief
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    660
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +5
    lol thanks for the supporting vote Eric :)

    I hope they turn up soon as well. But the excitement is still building the longer I don't have them :) But I've just found them online for £206 inc VAT and delivery. Hmm cancelling them from the hifi shop first thing tomorrow methinks.

    Dave
     
  30. CodeThief

    CodeThief
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    660
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +5
    Well I ended up waiting from my local shop and they finally turned up!!! I love em :) So much more detailed than my last horrible ones. Sound more open and I've heard things in songs that I'd not heard before. My last (homemade I think) speakers had too much treble and bass and not enough mid!!

    Dave
     

Share This Page

Loading...