Kef Q350, Elac UB52 or ?

Metalorama

Novice Member
Hi everyone, new to the forum after lurking for a long time. I've usually been able to find answers by searching threads but on this occasion I'm at a crossroads as to how to upgrade.

I am currently running a Denon X3700 receiver in a 5.1.2 front height setup using Q Acoustics 3010 for all speakers with a 3090c center and an SB2000 sub. Since my first setup a few years back I have upgraded my receiver and sub, as they both died on me, but am looking to improve center and front speakers in the near future. Although I have no complaints about how the 3010's sound I find the center pretty dismal for dialogue. Also worth mentioning that the front speakers are wall mounted as I have no room for stands.

Our living room dimensions are 5m x 4.5m so not a particularly large area. Listening habits are in the region of 80% music 20% Netflix/Amazon shows and movies, we have music on almost all day in the background and only sit down to watch anything in the evening.

So with all my jabbering out the way, here's what I have been considering.

Kef Q350 with a Q250/Q650 or Elac Unifi UB52 with a UC52. I have considered Klipsch RP600's with an RP500C, but I'm not sure if they'd be too lively and fatiguing.

I have been pretty drawn to the Kef setup due to the amount of music we listen to and their soundstage is meant to be impressive, my concerns are if they will be as good for movies and since I have to wall mount I'd either have to have them floating quite a distance out or bung the rear port potentially losing some audio quality.

The Elacs I kind of stumbled across and after reading and watching reviews they again seem to have an impressive soundstage, however some people rave about them and others are unimpressed. Since they are front ported I could mount them closer to the wall.

I quite like a warm speaker that won't become fatiguing with long listening times, I think both of these are that way inclined and the reason I'm dubious about Klipsch. Unfortunately there is nowhere even remotely near me, within 3 hours drive, that I can demo any of these.

Whilst I'm at it I guess I should ask if it would matter much if I kept the front heights and surrounds as 3010's for a while after I upgrade the front setup?

Thanks for reading my ridiculously long post and I'm grateful for any input.
 

GrazzaB

Well-known Member
Hi and welcome to the forums - the Kef Q350s are superb speakers but they are big and heavy for standmount speakers so you’ll need a strong shelf. If you’re using a sub you don’t need to worry about the bungs, as you will likely be diverting all the lower frequency stuff to your very decent SVS subwoofer anyway. That might not be the case with two-channel music I guess but in any case you can experiment - the bungs are good in that they are two-piece ones, so you can either use the whole bung or just the outer ring if you don’t want to neuter the bass as much.

I don’t know anything about the Elac I’m afraid. But I can say that the soundstage of the Q350 is quite something and I think they’re really nicely styled. Both Peter Tyson and Sevenoaks sound and vision have clearance (but as-new) black / white pairs for £350 with full guarantee on their websites as well at the moment.

Re. The surround / height speakers it’s not as important to use the same model / make - obviously that would be better but it’s much more important that the front three are the same make. You may also want to consider the (massive) Q650 centre over the Q250 as it’s got the same size driver as the Q350, but I got another Q350 as the centre speaker on its side as it’s much cheaper than the Q650C, and it gives a perfect speaker match (and being Uni-Q its fine for the speaker to be horizontal).

All the best with your selection!
 

GrazzaB

Well-known Member
As a follow up, given your space issue you might want to look into Monitor Audio Apex speakers - they are much smaller than your typical standmount speaker but sound fantastic, are easily wall mountable and you can regularly get them on eBay for pretty much half the new price. 3xA40 Apex would likely cost you £700-£900 on eBay / avforums classifieds, and 1xA40 and 2xA10 (still superb, but the A10s are smaller) probably £500-600 in total. They’re superb speakers with no real compromise despite their size.
 

Metalorama

Novice Member
Hi and welcome to the forums - the Kef Q350s are superb speakers but they are big and heavy for standmount speakers so you’ll need a strong shelf. If you’re using a sub you don’t need to worry about the bungs, as you will likely be diverting all the lower frequency stuff to your very decent SVS subwoofer anyway. That might not be the case with two-channel music I guess but in any case you can experiment - the bungs are good in that they are two-piece ones, so you can either use the whole bung or just the outer ring if you don’t want to neuter the bass as much.

I don’t know anything about the Elac I’m afraid. But I can say that the soundstage of the Q350 is quite something and I think they’re really nicely styled. Both Peter Tyson and Sevenoaks sound and vision have clearance (but as-new) black / white pairs for £350 with full guarantee on their websites as well at the moment.

Re. The surround / height speakers it’s not as important to use the same model / make - obviously that would be better but it’s much more important that the front three are the same make. You may also want to consider the (massive) Q650 centre over the Q250 as it’s got the same size driver as the Q350, but I got another Q350 as the centre speaker on its side as it’s much cheaper than the Q650C, and it gives a perfect speaker match (and being Uni-Q its fine for the speaker to be horizontal).

All the best with your selection!
Thanks for your welcome and advice.

I must admit I am in awe of how good the Kefs look and with every write-up or review I've seen they are raved about. I wouldn't mind wall mounting them as I'd make a nice sturdy shelf as you mentioned. I'm not short on space on the wall but where the speakers need to be I can't put stands unfortunately. Ah I wasn't sure if the Q250 matched them or not, the 650 seems like a behemoth but I think I could get away with it, just. The Mrs might shake her head at me initially but she'd get over it.

I'm just getting in to proper audio equipment and setup so forgive my ignorance but I wondered if bunging the ports would be detrimental to the higher frequencies at all? I'm a bit of a heathen when it comes to listening to music, as I rarely do it two channel, so if I had to compromise bass but still have clean audio I'd be fine with that. I'd really have liked the X4700 for Auro 3D it's meant to be pretty good for music, but I couldn't justify the extra cost and I was way over budget as it was.

I thought they wouldn't matter too much but best to check with someone who knows more than me about it. Would be nice to have matching speakers but in reality there's no way I can afford to get three sets of new speakers, it'll take me months of saving and selling some stuff to upgrade what I already want to as it is, same as when my sub went pop.

The monitor audios you mentioned seem interesting, I'll definitely look into them.
 

GrazzaB

Well-known Member
Hi

Bunging the ports wouldn’t be detrimental to the higher frequencies, it reduces the bass. But if you’re going to shelf mount and have them right up against the wall you might be better off getting a pair of speakers where the port is on the front rather than the back. The Apex range really are superb, they’ve been around a long time but are in my opinion far better than other similarly sized speakers. If you want to buy new however you could consider the Monitor Audio Radius range - the centre speaker (radius 200) is really good and you could use the Radius 225 as left and right speakers if space allows.

Re. the receiver, you should be able to pick up an open box Denon 4500 with guarantee which also has Auro 3D for £750 ish. It has everything modern in terms of features unless you also need HDMI 2.1, although it does do eARC.

Finally, re. the centre speaker I’m sure the Q250 would still work well, tonally it would certainly match. Also if your heart is set on the Kefs and you’re shelf mounting, you could try the slightly smaller Q150s which do have the same size driver as the Q250.

Cheers
 
Last edited:

Charlie Brown

Active Member
Hi

Bunging the ports wouldn’t be detrimental to the higher frequencies, it reduces the bass. But if you’re going to shelf mount and have them right up against the wall you might be better off getting a pair of speakers where the port is on the front rather than the back. The Apex range really are superb, they’ve been around a long time but are in my opinion far better than other similarly sized speakers. If you want to buy new however you could consider the Monitor Audio Radius range - the centre speaker (radius 200) is really good and you could use the Radius 225 as left and right speakers if space allows.

Re. the receiver, you should be able to pick up an open box Denon 4500 with guarantee which also has Auro 3D for £750 ish. It has everything modern in terms of features unless you also need HDMI 2.1, although it does do eARC.

Finally, re. the centre speaker I’m sure the Q250 would still work well, tonally it would certainly match. Also if your heart is set on the Kefs and you’re shelf mounting, you could try the slightly smaller Q150s which do have the same size driver as the Q250.

Cheers
I'm using Q150s for LR with a Q250c. The Q150 are placed close to the wall with the ports bunged. This works well as the Q250c is sealed, so in effect all three LCR speakers are running sealed. I have all three crossed at 100Hz to make the most of the dual SB13 Ultra subs. I do not feel it lacks anything compared to my previous setups (Leema Acoustics floorstanders with matching centre, then Apex A10/A40 LCR). I have a pair of original Kef Eggs as front heights which blend well.
I'm going to be selling the Q150s and Q250c soon, but only as I'm upgrading to an Arendal or M&K setup in preparation for a new extension being built.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
There is feedback from different sources that Q350 sounds better when using port bungs cause the upper bass is boosted quite a lot. Using the bungs the speakers suppose to sound much cleaner and bass more controlled.

As for the doubts using Kef with movies i would see the coaxial driver design as benefit (especially for horizontal center channel). The Q650c while larger in size comes with the larger drivers and 2,5-way design over 2-way in Q250c. So if there is way to fit it in free space not inside unit at good height then the little extra cost is surely worth it with the larger model! If i would be buying new movie system i would first look the center channel available on X brand. Being one of most active speakers it should be high quality one.

@Metalorama you could also eye Kef R100/R300 and R200c as 2nd hand. I just noticed you listen music lot also and prefer warm sound. I have seen people commenting that Q is bit brighter and forward sounding which can be great with movies where as the R-range is tad warmer and laid back. There is few R100s available and you could buy 2nd pair and use one as center channel horizontally too, R200c is so tough to find. One walnut on ebay. Cabinet construction step up from Q-range, gloss finish, better audio crossover components, better driver on R-range. R300 would be even better with 3-way design and larger cab & driver.



 

Metalorama

Novice Member
Hi

Bunging the ports wouldn’t be detrimental to the higher frequencies, it reduces the bass. But if you’re going to shelf mount and have them right up against the wall you might be better off getting a pair of speakers where the port is on the front rather than the back. The Apex range really are superb, they’ve been around a long time but are in my opinion far better than other similarly sized speakers. If you want to buy new however you could consider the Monitor Audio Radius range - the centre speaker (radius 200) is really good and you could use the Radius 225 as left and right speakers if space allows.

Re. the receiver, you should be able to pick up an open box Denon 4500 with guarantee which also has Auro 3D for £750 ish. It has everything modern in terms of features unless you also need HDMI 2.1, although it does do eARC.

Finally, re. the centre speaker I’m sure the Q250 would still work well, tonally it would certainly match. Also if your heart is set on the Kefs and you’re shelf mounting, you could try the slightly smaller Q150s which do have the same size driver as the Q250.

Cheers
Thanks for clearing that up, I currently have my front 3010's bunged because I knew to do it if they were mounted close to the wall but wasn't sure if it had an effect on sound quality.

I've read good things about Monitor Audio as well. I feel so out of my depth trying to choose speakers as whenever I seem to narrow it down somewhat another option comes along, ha ha.

That's what I should have done but I thought I'd get my system HDMI 2.1 ready and not long after I bought it they announced the issues with the chipset, typical.

I have read elsewhere that some people think the Q150 is the better speaker due to what it has in common with the LS50 and the R&D Kef put into them. I believe their logic being they didn't take the same time to develop the Q series as the LS50 but the Q150 uses a similar enclosure size and driver so by default encompasses some of their acoustic traits whereas the Q350 is completely different. I have no idea if there is much truth to that to be honest.
 

Metalorama

Novice Member
@Metalorama i also see now that the Q350 open box are £319 at Peter Tyson which is a real bargain, they were £530 when they came out.

That is an absolute bargain, unfortunately I really am scraping by right now so It'll be a few months before I can buy unless I can find anything of any value to sell.
 

GrazzaB

Well-known Member
No worries, totally understand. It’s a very friendly forum here so feel free to ask as many questions as you want! This stuff can be a complete minefield so people are happy to help. Also I don’t know if that’s true about the Q150 and the Q350 but I’ve seen reviews state that the Q350 is better as it has more presence, but I’m not sure. The LS50 are no doubt better but then that’s £499 a pair open box instead of £319 although they were originally £800.
 

Metalorama

Novice Member
I'm using Q150s for LR with a Q250c. The Q150 are placed close to the wall with the ports bunged. This works well as the Q250c is sealed, so in effect all three LCR speakers are running sealed. I have all three crossed at 100Hz to make the most of the dual SB13 Ultra subs. I do not feel it lacks anything compared to my previous setups (Leema Acoustics floorstanders with matching centre, then Apex A10/A40 LCR). I have a pair of original Kef Eggs as front heights which blend well.
I'm going to be selling the Q150s and Q250c soon, but only as I'm upgrading to an Arendal or M&K setup in preparation for a new extension being built.

Well it's reassuring to hear they perform well when bunged, thank you for that. On another note dual Sb13 Ultras, wow that must be impressive!
 

Metalorama

Novice Member
There is feedback from different sources that Q350 sounds better when using port bungs cause the upper bass is boosted quite a lot. Using the bungs the speakers suppose to sound much cleaner and bass more controlled.

As for the doubts using Kef with movies i would see the coaxial driver design as benefit (especially for horizontal center channel). The Q650c while larger in size comes with the larger drivers and 2,5-way design over 2-way in Q250c. So if there is way to fit it in free space not inside unit at good height then the little extra cost is surely worth it with the larger model! If i would be buying new movie system i would first look the center channel available on X brand. Being one of most active speakers it should be high quality one.

@Metalorama you could also eye Kef R100/R300 and R200c as 2nd hand. I just noticed you listen music lot also and prefer warm sound. I have seen people commenting that Q is bit brighter and forward sounding which can be great with movies where as the R-range is tad warmer and laid back. There is few R100s available and you could buy 2nd pair and use one as center channel horizontally too, R200c is so tough to find. One walnut on ebay. Cabinet construction step up from Q-range, gloss finish, better audio crossover components, better driver on R-range. R300 would be even better with 3-way design and larger cab & driver.



I did not know that could even be the case, learning quite a bit from you experienced guys already. Now that you mention it I did get into reading about the 2.5 way driver just last night, after taking a few measurements in the living room to see if it would fit ok, and it seems like a decent speaker.

I agree entirely, I made that mistake with this first setup of mine. I'd recommend the Q Acoustics 3010 to anyone on a tight budget starting out based on my experience with them, or even trying their higher range for two channel music listening but unfortunately their center speaker isn't very good and its led me to looking for an upgrade. Their sub was pretty poor as well, then the amp fried out of the blue.

I did read up on the R3 a little while ago, then looked at the price and noped out, ha ha. A set of second hand R series is certainly an idea to consider if I can find a center to match.
 

Metalorama

Novice Member
No worries, totally understand. It’s a very friendly forum here so feel free to ask as many questions as you want! This stuff can be a complete minefield so people are happy to help. Also I don’t know if that’s true about the Q150 and the Q350 but I’ve seen reviews state that the Q350 is better as it has more presence, but I’m not sure. The LS50 are no doubt better but then that’s £499 a pair open box instead of £319 although they were originally £800.
I'm grateful for all your input and patience as I've found on some forums experienced guys don't have much time for people just starting out with things.

I'm inclined not to believe it to be honest, the audiophile sections on Reddit seem to push it pretty hard, but I tend to avoid there for the most part for various reasons. I've been using this forum as a credible source of information for quite some time before now.

I looked at the LS50 briefly but I thought I'd probably have a hard time wall mounting them because of their curves and yeah the price as well.
 

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