Question Differences between Monitor Audio, B&W and KEF.

screemer

Active Member
Ok, so if MA are less treble on high frequencies, better at the bottom, suited to rock music, and B&W are higher on the treble frequencies, more suited to electronic music, where does that leave KEF?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The KEFs would sit in the middle. They can suit a wide range of genre. I have R300s and for me they excel in acoustic guitars, cymbal strikes are clean and precise. A voice like James Taylor or Jackson Browne are presented as warm and rounded. Throw some classic rock and increase the volume and they are equally adept, fast and detailed. Given a good bass line and the right amp and that again is so well controlled and shows some great detail.

The KEF R Series, whether old or new, are well suited to Denon receivers for film but will almost certainly show up Denon's overall poor performance on stereo music. Again I can speak from experience having owned several Denon receivers and currently have the AVC X6500. No matter what speaker you want to pair with a Denon receiver it's the receiver itself that is the weak link for music. I use a stereo amp with HT by-pass for music.
 

screemer

Active Member
I’m leaning to the R3 with an Arcam SA30. Music is rock based a lot or should I say guitar driven a lot. From Neil Young to Metallica via The Doors and back through Prince. So quite varied
 

gibbsy

Moderator
A good combination but I would wait until the lockdown is over and you can audition.
 

screemer

Active Member
I am getting a home demo for 7 days
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Even better.:smashin:
 

screemer

Active Member
Even better.:smashin:
Tried the Golds with the ARcam SA30, overall decent but not engaging enough for me. Nice smooth, warm sound but not enough detail. I am presuming that's the Arcam as opposed to the Golds. Might try a Naim atom with the Golds first, but feeling perhaps R3s are a better choice.
 

Jaded1

Member
I must be the only person in the world that thinks MA are waaay too bright and lean on bass. Certainly the one's I auditioned were.

I've never been that impressed with B&W either. I enjoyed some KEF's for a while and while the charms were numerous I found the bass muddy and poorly timed.

I am currently baby sitting some Mission QX2's while I seek my "forever speakers" Potentially Revels or Wharfedale Evo's once I've had a good audition.
 

daddy999

Active Member
I must be the only person in the world that thinks MA are waaay too bright and lean on bass. Certainly the one's I auditioned were.

I've never been that impressed with B&W either. I enjoyed some KEF's for a while and while the charms were numerous I found the bass muddy and poorly timed.

I am currently baby sitting some Mission QX2's while I seek my "forever speakers" Potentially Revels or Wharfedale Evo's once I've had a good audition.
MA Gold speakers bright? I have to say, not in my system. However, I would suggest sound depends on so many factors, source, amp, room acoustics all play their part in how a system sounds........oh and your own hearing of course. Good luck with the demo’s.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I enjoyed some KEF's for a while and while the charms were numerous I found the bass muddy and poorly timed.
Now that's what I love about my KEFs. Nice tight bass with great timing. Right amp is essential though, in an audition a Naim Nait XS2 produced bass as you described. The Rega Elicit-R tightened it up tremendously. Careful placement and porting is essential as well.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Now that's what I love about my KEFs. Nice tight bass with great timing. Right amp is essential though, in an audition a Naim Nait XS2 produced bass as you described. The Rega Elicit-R tightened it up tremendously. Careful placement and porting is essential as well.
Just from what I know of how the KEF Rs measure for room interaction, I would expect them to be more consistent sounding across a broad selection of room setups than MA speakers and probably respond to average room correctio systems (such as in most AVRs) better as well.

That isnt to say that MA silver couldnt sound better in a room setup that suits them - of course they could. Also I think a good amp that can properly control the speakers can make a huge difference with any floor standers whether high end or budget - elicit-R is one such amp as I think my Yamaha A-S2100 is as well.

If you can test in you own home, then test the MA and anything else you can get your hands on - they could be very good indeed. If you cant test at home at all, then I think KEF can be a much safer bet along with anyone else who has similar dispersion patterns and equally decent reputation for sound.

I have found auditioning in a show room almost pointless unless the showroom is very well setup (like a mixing studio) to almost entirely remove the sound of the room, so at least you can get a decent sense of the speaker. Very few hifi dealers I have ever visited have this capability.
 

screemer

Active Member
Quick update...…. I have now got a Naim Atom and a pair of MA Silver 300s to demo as well as the Arcam SA30 and MA gold 100s. Not sure I am blown away by the Naim/Silver 300 combo, does sound good, nice and smooth but just lacking something. Perhaps the Arcam would be better with them? Trying the golds in a bit with the Naim.
 

daddy999

Active Member
Quick update...…. I have now got a Naim Atom and a pair of MA Silver 300s to demo as well as the Arcam SA30 and MA gold 100s. Not sure I am blown away by the Naim/Silver 300 combo, does sound good, nice and smooth but just lacking something. Perhaps the Arcam would be better with them? Trying the golds in a bit with the Naim.
I demo’d the naim atom with MAGold 100’s last year. The whole sound was too clinical and did absolutely nothing for me. However, that same day, I paired the MA’s with my now owned Amp, Yamaha A-S2100, it was audible gold to me. It just goes to show that even when esteemed hifi speaker manufacturer owners state “a watt, is a watt, is a watt”, clearly he’s talking rubbish.

Everyone is different, Personally, I just didn’t like the naim sound so the the Arcam may work well. It may be worth testing a Rega, Roksan or Yamaha amps too. Good luck.
 

Douggie

Active Member
Quick update...…. I have now got a Naim Atom and a pair of MA Silver 300s to demo as well as the Arcam SA30 and MA gold 100s. Not sure I am blown away by the Naim/Silver 300 combo, does sound good, nice and smooth but just lacking something. Perhaps the Arcam would be better with them? Trying the golds in a bit with the Naim.
I'm pretty confident the SA30 will be great. Keep us updated:)
 

Whiskyguy

Standard Member
Got some KEF R5s, B&W 704 S2s and Spendor A7s on home demo at the moment powered by an SA20 so will be very close to your SA30. Have owned B&Ws before and as mentioned previously they have a very clean and transparent upper range. Vocals are especially crisp and detailed with the 704s but getting towards being quite fatiguing for me at higher volumes and extended listening. Bass is solid but not really involving. Haven’t tried the Spendors yet, but in comparison the KEFs impart far more of a colour on the music and I think you’ll either love that or hate it. Bass is far more prominent, mid range is like honey- rich and warm (lead guitars sound especially good) but there is a tad less detail and sharpness at the upper end. Will be trying more combinations over the next couple of weeks, but so far really enjoying the musicality of the KEFs even if they aren’t providing the neutral monitoring so beloved of serious audiophiles!

Edited to note that I’m using silver speaker wire. Tried some copper and dulled everything down too much.
 

musicphil

Active Member
All the BW and MA's I have heard have been on the bright side.
Kef's generally just make very good sounding speakers, Calindas were my 1st pair , followed by 104 refs that filled my 25 ' x 15 ' flat lounge with with stunning sound back in the early 80's.
 

Douggie

Active Member
Got some KEF R5s, B&W 704 S2s and Spendor A7s on home demo at the moment powered by an SA20 so will be very close to your SA30. Have owned B&Ws before and as mentioned previously they have a very clean and transparent upper range. Vocals are especially crisp and detailed with the 704s but getting towards being quite fatiguing for me at higher volumes and extended listening. Bass is solid but not really involving. Haven’t tried the Spendors yet, but in comparison the KEFs impart far more of a colour on the music and I think you’ll either love that or hate it. Bass is far more prominent, mid range is like honey- rich and warm (lead guitars sound especially good) but there is a tad less detail and sharpness at the upper end. Will be trying more combinations over the next couple of weeks, but so far really enjoying the musicality of the KEFs even if they aren’t providing the neutral monitoring so beloved of serious audiophiles!

Edited to note that I’m using silver speaker wire. Tried some copper and dulled everything down too much.
I am looking forward for your feedback on the A7s with the SA20. I'm sure it will be a sweet combo.

Btw, what silver cables are you using?
 

Whiskyguy

Standard Member
Hey Douggie good timing! I wired up the A7s today and have been blown away by how good they sound with the SA20. I was really enjoying the KEFs but the A7s are just a league above when it comes to all round ability. The dealer is going to have to come up with something very special to convince me to hand these back!

There are a couple of immediate things that stand out. First of all the soundscape is huge. The room is filled with music and the separation between instruments is great. As much as I liked the warmth of the KEFs there is just so much more clarity with the A7s, they are also much more dynamic with classical music whereas the KEFs sounded somewhat stilted. It seems the A7s are far more capable across a wide range of musical genres than the KEFs. That said “noodling” guitar solos do sound brilliant on the former if you’re into Dire Straits and that kind of thing!

Second is the bass. It’s just brilliantly in control and much more present than in the KEFs which in contrast just don’t have the same punch at low frequencies.They are much smaller in size but project themselves into the room far more.

Vocals sound more natural/crisp and less coloured/warm.

Overall I think they are brilliantly matched to the Arcam and easy to set up. Have had them close to the back wall, a couple of feet out, straight on and toed in and they sounded great regardless. Best a foot or so out tho.

Will let you know how things go this week, but on first impressions they are well worth the third extra ££ over the KEFs.

btw using QED silver anniversary cable. Will grab some others to test when the next batch of speakers arrive for demo. The silver is pretty bright with the A7s so will be keen to test some decent copper cable with them.
 
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Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Sorry, just being pedantic, the silver anniversary cables are silver coated copper, not silver.
 

Douggie

Active Member
Hey Douggie good timing! I wired up the A7s today and have been blown away by how good they sound with the SA20. I was really enjoying the KEFs but the A7s are just a league above when it comes to all round ability. The dealer is going to have to come up with something very special to convince me to hand these back!

There are a couple of immediate things that stand out. First of all the soundscape is huge. The room is filled with music and the separation between instruments is great. As much as I liked the warmth of the KEFs there is just so much more clarity with the A7s, they are also much more dynamic with classical music whereas the KEFs sounded somewhat stilted. It seems the A7s are far more capable across a wide range of musical genres than the KEFs. That said “noodling” guitar solos do sound brilliant on the former if you’re into Dire Straits and that kind of thing!

Second is the bass. It’s just brilliantly in control and much more present than in the KEFs which in contrast just don’t have the same punch at low frequencies.They are much smaller in size but project themselves into the room far more.

Vocals sound more natural/crisp and less coloured/warm.

Overall I think they are brilliantly matched to the Arcam and easy to set up. Have had them close to the back wall, a couple of feet out, straight on and toed in and they sounded great regardless. Best a foot or so out tho.

Will let you know how things go this week, but on first impressions they are well worth the third extra ££ over the KEFs.

btw using QED silver anniversary cable. Will grab some others to test when the next batch of speakers arrive for demo. The silver is pretty bright with the A7s so will be keen to test some decent copper cable with them.
Thanks for the update! Yep, that's what I expected from the Spendors. Natural sounding with clarity. The R5s with the 3 way and bigger cabinet will have more complexity in tone compared with the simple 2way in the smaller A7s. So depends on personal preference.

So what speakers are coming for the second batch? :)
 

Whiskyguy

Standard Member
Not totally given up on B&W and felt it a bit unfair to match the 704s against the A7s so have some 702s coming along with Dynaudio Evoke. Keen to also test Fyne and PMC but dealer doesn’t stock them.

Have to say that demoing at home is the way to go. Much better having the time to adjust positioning at your leisure and of course being able to match the kit to the actual room it will be used in.
 

Whiskyguy

Standard Member
Got the 702s and Evoke 30s today. Not sure if it’s the rest of the equipment, but I’m pretty disappointed with the B&Ws. The top end is nice and crisp, but mid-range is really dull with very little separation. Given the three low end drivers pretty underwhelming bass too. Maybe I just need a power amp to help make them sing with more juice. Spent less time with the Evoke 30s. Nice compact units, seem well made, but the Spendors are just a league or two above in all departments. Just amazed by how much the Spendors can move me emotionally. Played some Simon and Garfunkel live and it’s pretty close to being there. Will give the Dynaudios a bit more time, but it’s not looking great for them!
 

Douggie

Active Member
Got the 702s and Evoke 30s today. Not sure if it’s the rest of the equipment, but I’m pretty disappointed with the B&Ws. The top end is nice and crisp, but mid-range is really dull with very little separation. Given the three low end drivers pretty underwhelming bass too. Maybe I just need a power amp to help make them sing with more juice. Spent less time with the Evoke 30s. Nice compact units, seem well made, but the Spendors are just a league or two above in all departments. Just amazed by how much the Spendors can move me emotionally. Played some Simon and Garfunkel live and it’s pretty close to being there. Will give the Dynaudios a bit more time, but it’s not looking great for them!
With that many bass drivers in the 702s, you really need a lot of juice to push those babies to make them sing.

The Dynaudios need to be pushed hard as well and sounds better at high volume listening.

Spendors FTW! :)
 

Whiskyguy

Standard Member
B&Ws and Dynaudios have gone back and in their place I now have a pair of D7.2 up against the A7!

They are crazy good based on a first listen. I also have a couple of other amps to try them with. Will report back when I’ve had more time with them.

Also aware this thread has gone off track towards a Spendor love in, so will start a new thread when the time comes!
 

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