KEF Q Series Dolby Atmos Speaker System Review & Comments

Abacus

Banned
Another good solid review (Take note some of you other supposed magazine reviewers) and I have to agree about the looks, I can see a lot of “You are not having those in the lounge” being spoken up and down the country.

The other thing is the finish itself, as while I realise the picture probably doesn’t do them justice, they look like they have been built in somebody’s back shed and then sprayed all over with black paint, (Drivers as well) so I think they’re going to be a hard sell when compared to the competition which for the same price have truly luxurious finishes.

Bill
 

Blu-rayx

Well-known Member
The other thing is the finish itself, as while I realise the picture probably doesn’t do them justice, they look like they have been built in somebody’s back shed and then sprayed all over with black paint, (Drivers as well)

Bill
That's so funny :D
 

meep

Active Member
Thanks for yet another comprehensive and practical review.

I'm intrigued by the option of using the Q50s as surrounds. Did you get a chance to try them in that configuration?
 

trevdigital

Active Member
Well I’ve had a more customised setup since September set up in an average lounge. I have the Q750’s with a Q650c at the front, but I’ve used 4 KEF T101’s at the back and installed 4 Ci160QR’s in the ceiling. I also got a Velodyne SPL-1200 ultra subwoofer. I was worried that the T101’s would be a bit weak for surrounds but they hold their own and create a richer than expected rear surround stage. I think you need four T101’s to make it work.

Initially, I was a bit nervous that I had overdone it but the end result was beyond expectations. The Q750’s are excellent with music and filmtracks alike. In stereo mode I had to check that the rear speakers were off since I could hear sound behind and around me but in was just the Q750’s. The dispersion of the Q series is ideal for Atmos/DTS:x. Also, the Q650c is amazing with dialogue clear even in the loudest of action scenes. So here are some pictures of my setup.

2790354B-C348-4D0E-8B5E-E8F7582C3BAC.jpeg 1EBA66E1-7E50-4CBC-84CF-DA86F420BC47.jpeg F6FF281E-89D8-48BB-A464-EEA35BC0E236.jpeg
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
I'm intrigued by the option of using the Q50s as surrounds. Did you get a chance to try them in that configuration?
Yes- on the understanding they weren't wall mounted and not at the perfect height. Even with these provisos, I think they perform well in this role.
Cheers
Ed
 

Member 769353

Previously davidf
I think that will be another reason why the Q50a will be popular - being able to use them as a rear surround by placing them on shelves or sideboard cabinets etc where on-wall/in-wall/in-ceiling isn't an option, and no space for bookshelf type speakers.

@RRRuss, you'll find this review interesting, as it's using an Emotiva power amp...
 

ryanvincent

Banned
Excellent review many thanks.
 

LicensedTaximan

Well-known Member
Sometime in the future I may go for an Atmos setup. Apart from purchasing a new AV amp as opposed to an AV receiver (I believe Count "W" mentioned "Denon" maybe coming out with a new AV amp next spring, and for the past eleven / twelve odd years I own the excellent AVCA11XV upgraded to "A" model.... a bloody waste of a £550 so called upgrade imo :rolleyes:) all I would need would be a pair of upfiring speakers. Ceiling speakers are a non starter as this is in our lounge.... plus I have a wifey. :love:

My present speakers, of which I have no intention of changing unless they pack up, are a pair of Kef 104.2's for standard stereo plus left and right surround, a Kef 100 centre, a pair of Kef 34DS dipole side surrounds and a pair of Kef 70s's for the back surrounds with a Rel Storm 3 sub bass unit for my LFE as well as (via the speaker lead outputs) an extension of the bass for the 104.2's.

What I wanted to know is which Kef upfiring Atmos speaker, would you Ed, or anyone else recommend as a good match for this setup. Either the Kef R50's or these new and cheaper Q50's. Ultimately the price difference is not the factor, although the price difference is marked, but more to do with compatability and sound (effect) quality, or have I answered the question myself by my last comment. :confused: Either model would fit perfectly on top of my 104.2's. :lease:
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
Well I’ve had a more customised setup since September set up in an average lounge. I have the Q750’s with a Q650c at the front, but I’ve used 4 KEF T101’s at the back and installed 4 Ci160QR’s in the ceiling. I also got a Velodyne SPL-1200 ultra subwoofer. I was worried that the T101’s would be a bit weak for surrounds but they hold their own and create a richer than expected rear surround stage. I think you need four T101’s to make it work.

Initially, I was a bit nervous that I had overdone it but the end result was beyond expectations. The Q750’s are excellent with music and filmtracks alike. In stereo mode I had to check that the rear speakers were off since I could hear sound behind and around me but in was just the Q750’s. The dispersion of the Q series is ideal for Atmos/DTS:x. Also, the Q650c is amazing with dialogue clear even in the loudest of action scenes. So here are some pictures of my setup.

View attachment 950046 View attachment 950047 View attachment 950048
Good looking system. I would suggest that you bring the 650 forward so that it is sitting proud of the cabinet's edge. I think you will be surprised at the improvement in dialogue.
 

steviedr

Distinguished Member
Good to hear the Q50’s did well.
I’ve the R series and still debating on the R50’s, reading user reviews doesn’t help as they are meant to be both brilliant and poor...as with everything, I guess it depends on your room setup.
 
What I find odd is that those Atmos speaker don’t look matched to the rest of the system. They look like an after thought with the size differences. I don’t find it pleasing to the eye at all.
 

Member 769353

Previously davidf
The drive units are a direct match for the Q150 (Q50a) or R100 (R50). The cabinet size for the Atmos speakers are different as they’re sealed cabinets - sealed cabinets don’t need to be as big as ported cabinets. The footprint of the Atmos speakers need to match the smallest speaker in order to cover the whole range.
 
Lol if you have to explain why it doesn’t look right it will never get the wife acceptance factor. Lost at the first hurdle. Or worse, it will downsize the speaker package if it only matches the entry level speaker.

They were shown with some pretty small standmount speakers and still didn’t blend in.

Anyway just my opinion.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Lol if you have to explain why it doesn’t look right it will never get the wife acceptance factor. Lost at the first hurdle. Or worse, it will downsize the speaker package if it only matches the entry level speaker.

They were shown with some pretty small standmount speakers and still didn’t blend in.

Anyway just my opinion.
As with the R50 which matches all speakers in the R Series so the Q50 will do the same for the Q range right from the Q150 to the Q950. Looking at photographs and knowing that the Q350 is only slightly smaller than my R300s I would say the Q50 has an almost identical size as the current R50s which look very neat when stood on top of any of the R range. I'm not fussed on the matt black effect of the new Q range.
 
As with the R50 which matches all speakers in the R Series so the Q50 will do the same for the Q range right from the Q150 to the Q950. Looking at photographs and knowing that the Q350 is only slightly smaller than my R300s I would say the Q50 has an almost identical size as the current R50s which look very neat when stood on top of any of the R range. I'm not fussed on the matt black effect of the new Q range.
Am I the only seeing these huge gaps on top? Odd.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Am I the only seeing these huge gaps on top? Odd.
I'm with you now. You mean that apart from the Q150s then they are not symmetrical with other speakers and show a gap all around. That's exactly the same with the R Series, a perfect fit on the R100s and R500s but with the gap on the rest of the range. I, strangly perhaps, prefer it as they seem more stable. It was if when combined with R100s it made the whole thing too tall and narrow when mounted on my cabinet, much prefer the look on R300s.

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.............who ever they are.:)
 

Dean

Well-known Member
As far as upfiring speakers go I quite like the look of the Q50a and R50. I'm contemplating a 5.1.2 set up for the future with the Q50a as it would be easy to implement (just would also need an Atmos receiver and connect Q50a's to the surround back terminals). I've noticed nowhere seems to have the Q50a in stock at the moment.

I have a smallish room size (more wide than deep at 2.7m x 5.5m) and a low ceiling so should make use of upfiring speakers better than overhead which might be too localised. The only thing putting me off is

1. The limited amount of Atmos soundtracks available, I'll only do it when there's a lot more native tracks available.

2. I would lose bi-amping the fronts which I've always quite liked.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
1. The limited amount of Atmos soundtracks available, I'll only do it when there's a lot more native tracks available.
But you can still use the Dolby Surround & DTS Neural:X up-mixers with basically any movie you want, so the upfiring speakers wouldn`t go waste in any way. Quite the opposite from what i have read as using either one (DSU or X) will bring some movies alive like never before. I don`t have personal experience, but people seems to love those and wouldn`t go back to 5.1/7.1 anymore.

"Dolby Surround excels at spacial recreation and voice placement. It's more refined and delicate. If you feel as though you need more oomph overhead, DTS:Neural:X is a little louder and I also enjoyed the way it panned aggressive sound effects. "

Up-mixed: Dolby Surround v DTS:Neural:X | High-Def Digest
 

gibbsy

Moderator
As far as upfiring speakers go I quite like the look of the Q50a and R50. I'm contemplating a 5.1.2 set up for the future with the Q50a as it would be easy to implement (just would also need an Atmos receiver and connect Q50a's to the surround back terminals). I've noticed nowhere seems to have the Q50a in stock at the moment.

I have a smallish room size (more wide than deep at 2.7m x 5.5m) and a low ceiling so should make use of upfiring speakers better than overhead which might be too localised. The only thing putting me off is

1. The limited amount of Atmos soundtracks available, I'll only do it when there's a lot more native tracks available.

2. I would lose bi-amping the fronts which I've always quite liked.
I use R50s and at present I have 14 Atmos or DTS:X titles in my collection as well as three series of Game of Thrones which have outstanding Atmos effects. However it is the added dimension in sound that the two upmixing modes bring to the soundstage that makes the addition of Atmos speakers in whatever position such a bonus. I believe the bubble of sound produced by a 5.1.2 far outweights a base 5.1, which seems flat in comparison and well worth the sacrifice of a bi-amp front pair.
 

Matson

Distinguished Member
Have the q series atmos speakers on order. Kef has them in stock but there waiting for the press release which is very soon. Expected to get them within 2 weeks. Look forward to see how they sound.
 

Dean

Well-known Member
But you can still use the Dolby Surround & DTS Neural:X up-mixers with basically any movie you want, so the upfiring speakers wouldn`t go waste in any way. Quite the opposite from what i have read as using either one (DSU or X) will bring some movies alive like never before. I don`t have personal experience, but people seems to love those and wouldn`t go back to 5.1/7.1 anymore.

"Dolby Surround excels at spacial recreation and voice placement. It's more refined and delicate. If you feel as though you need more oomph overhead, DTS:Neural:X is a little louder and I also enjoyed the way it panned aggressive sound effects. "

Up-mixed: Dolby Surround v DTS:Neural:X | High-Def Digest
That's good to know, I am leaning more towards getting Atmos the more I research into it.
My surrounds are a bit above ear height so I do get a bit of height effect at the moment with normal 5.1, but obviously nothing like what Atmos can deliver.
 

Dean

Well-known Member
I use R50s and at present I have 14 Atmos or DTS:X titles in my collection as well as three series of Game of Thrones which have outstanding Atmos effects. However it is the added dimension in sound that the two upmixing modes bring to the soundstage that makes the addition of Atmos speakers in whatever position such a bonus. I believe the bubble of sound produced by a 5.1.2 far outweights a base 5.1, which seems flat in comparison and well worth the sacrifice of a bi-amp front pair.
I just saw the Sony announcement of the release of the STR-DH790 which looks ideal to match with the Q50a's. It's not out until Spring, so I'll have to wait a bit unless I the STR-DN1080 gets discounted more. One thing I've heard is that sometimes the bass impact is slightly diminished with an Atmos set up, is there any truth to that do you think?
 

Dean

Well-known Member
Have the q series atmos speakers on order. Kef has them in stock but there waiting for the press release which is very soon. Expected to get them within 2 weeks. Look forward to see how they sound.
Where have you ordered these from? Let us know how you get on with them.
 

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