Kef q550 "upgrade" woes

slim01

Active Member
Hi guys, long story short I think I MAY have downgraded my 20+ year old speakers (despite them having foil tweeters pushed in, a cat scratched mid driver and old/wobbly looking drivers)... How can I reduce brightness without losing clarity?

From...

Kef q55.2 (with upgraded tweeters from iq range)
To...
Kef q550
+got a b&w asw608 sub (8") as I knew the low bass was going to be pathetic on these in comparison. The q55.2 are so ridiculously bassy I've never needed a sub, despite people's advice on here (confirmed when I got the b&w, it does nothing except fart if passes q55 volume for music but does rumble movie explosions a bit).

Receiver: onkyo tx-sr508
• 90 Watts/Channel @ 8 ohms (FTC)
• 130 Watts/Channel @ 6 ohms (IEC)
(unsure if higher in stereo mode?).

Usage:
Music 60% (mp3s from HTPC)
Movies/tv 30% (4k blu ray/Netflix)
Games 10% (rtx 3080).
*don't really care about movies performance, if good for music it's good for movies IMHO) *


I wasn't expecting much sound improvement, the q55 sound great, the idea was to improve:
1) mainly aesthetics: I don't want retro.
White Q550: probs my fab looking speaker on the entire market. Quite like the white b&w 603 s2 but budget was around £700 not £1700.
2) tighter bass with the q550 smaller 5.25" drivers (vs 6.25" of q55) and non ported abr design. Q55 were boomy, as must be close (15cm) from walls.


The reason I'm thinking is downgrade (unsure) is:
A) I think I'm finding them "too bright"?

When the massive drop of a tune kicks in (eg Phil collins in the air tonight) I'm lunging for the controller to turn them DOWN not up, as it has a weird pronounced electrical buzz at the same time as those drums go off? A few dance tracks sound damn right horrible. Dj fire summermorning sounds crisp but hurts my ears at volume.
B) I'm picking flaws in a LOT of my old tracks, hearing things I couldn't before. Maybe that's a testament to their clarity, BUT it's never a pleasant addition, is more like a flaw is the only way I can describe, "what is that weird noise"???
Mrs describes them as "crispy". Lol 😂

I read literally hundreds of reviews before buying, as I did with the sub, not a SINGLE person said they were too bright, so thought KEF had done away with that "bright" reputation even the q55 had.

Note: I'm have a very mild autism which does make me find it very hard to make a choice, and I don't like change all too much, but I really want to like these speakers not just send back (I also got them for about £400).

Potential issues...
1) not burnt in yet?
2) they not a good match up my amp?
3) silver cable I have audio innovations ultra bi wire silver (But q55 were only a little bright).
What is the best COPPER speaker cable I can buy?

In my £80 ish budget:
QED reference xt40i
Chord c screen
Audio quest rocket 11


Thanks in advance for comments guys
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
There could be several issues with the new Q550s sounding bright. Their position, the room that they are in, a photograph here would certainly help. It could be that they are showing up the deficiencies in the Onkyo when it comes to stereo music.

As for speaker cable, copper wire is copper wire is copper wire. Don't believe the snake oil. Two of the most popular on here.

Amazon product

Amazon product
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hi guys, long story short I think I MAY have downgraded my 20+ year old speakers (despite them having foil tweeters pushed in, a cat scratched mid driver and old/wobbly looking drivers)... How can I reduce brightness without losing clarity?

From...

Kef q55.2 (with upgraded tweeters from iq range)
To...
Kef q550
+got a b&w asw608 sub (8") as I knew the low bass was going to be pathetic on these in comparison. The q55.2 are so ridiculously bassy I've never needed a sub, despite people's advice on here (confirmed when I got the b&w, it does nothing except fart if passes q55 volume for music but does rumble movie explosions a bit).

Receiver: onkyo tx-sr508
• 90 Watts/Channel @ 8 ohms (FTC)
• 130 Watts/Channel @ 6 ohms (IEC)
(unsure if higher in stereo mode?).

Usage:
Music 60% (mp3s from HTPC)
Movies/tv 30% (4k blu ray/Netflix)
Games 10% (rtx 3080).
*don't really care about movies performance, if good for music it's good for movies IMHO) *


I wasn't expecting much sound improvement, the q55 sound great, the idea was to improve:
1) mainly aesthetics: I don't want retro.
White Q550: probs my fab looking speaker on the entire market. Quite like the white b&w 603 s2 but budget was around £700 not £1700.
2) tighter bass with the q550 smaller 5.25" drivers (vs 6.25" of q55) and non ported abr design. Q55 were boomy, as must be close (15cm) from walls.


The reason I'm thinking is downgrade (unsure) is:
A) I think I'm finding them "too bright"?

When the massive drop of a tune kicks in (eg Phil collins in the air tonight) I'm lunging for the controller to turn them DOWN not up, as it has a weird pronounced electrical buzz at the same time as those drums go off? A few dance tracks sound damn right horrible. Dj fire summermorning sounds crisp but hurts my ears at volume.
B) I'm picking flaws in a LOT of my old tracks, hearing things I couldn't before. Maybe that's a testament to their clarity, BUT it's never a pleasant addition, is more like a flaw is the only way I can describe, "what is that weird noise"???
Mrs describes them as "crispy". Lol 😂

I read literally hundreds of reviews before buying, as I did with the sub, not a SINGLE person said they were too bright, so thought KEF had done away with that "bright" reputation even the q55 had.

Note: I'm have a very mild autism which does make me find it very hard to make a choice, and I don't like change all too much, but I really want to like these speakers not just send back (I also got them for about £400).

Potential issues...
1) not burnt in yet?
2) they not a good match up my amp?
3) silver cable I have audio innovations ultra bi wire silver (But q55 were only a little bright).
What is the best COPPER speaker cable I can buy?

In my £80 ish budget:
QED reference xt40i
Chord c screen
Audio quest rocket 11


Thanks in advance for comments guys

Are the speakers pointed directly at you? Then you could try the opposite turning them shooting straight. As Gibbsy mentioned the room could be less than ideal if it´s highly reflective with some visible glass perhaps. Curtains, rug/carpet on floor in front of speakers, soft furnishing generally..?

You shouldn`t spend more than 2£/meter for speaker cable. Even that much isn´t necessary if you can sleep your nights without fancy big name cable brand.

As for the Onkyo it has the poorest Audussey version which is useless. If you listen in 2ch Stereo mode it may have Audussey eq On, Direct mode would disable it but i assume you want to use the sub with music listening with lfe connection. So go to Onkyo menu find Audussey 2EQ and make sure the EQ is turned Off. This may resolve the issue you having.

The review for your receiver mentioned the mess it`s making: If you turn on the Audyssey equalizer, the Onkyo plays too sharply, the highs appear overemphasized in our acoustically optimized listening room.
 

slim01

Active Member
There could be several issues with the new Q550s sounding bright. Their position, the room that they are in, a photograph here would certainly help. It could be that they are showing up the deficiencies in the Onkyo when it comes to stereo music.

As for speaker cable, copper wire is copper wire is copper wire. Don't believe the snake oil. Two of the most popular on here.

Amazon product

Amazon product


Hi sorry for late reply guys!

What do you mean the deficiencies of the onkyo? It's age? Amp has sounded superb with the q55 and also some tdl rtl 3.0 transmission line, and some qa 2030 speakers I tested. I thought onkyos were "musical receivers"?
Few people on here recommended me to get a more powerful amp instead of upgrading the q55 before and it sounded identical (to my ears) and was a monster in size, so sent it back. IIRC was 140w Thx certified onkyo 708, like £1200 worth.

Meh... Don't wanna open up the age old discussion but I certainly noticed a clarity difference (albeit small) changing from cheapy gale copper wire like amazon stuff to the silver stuff which I think was £4 pm (£8pm for biwire). Best £24 I've ever spent.
QED professional cable for sub has done sod all though, and it's not even plugged into both Jacks (should you use a y cable or splitter with subs when they have l and r phono Jacks?).
 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
So I can see a couple of things going on here. For one, you are having to push the Onkyo more than you did with the older Q55.2 as they were 91dB on sensitivity whereas the Q550 are 87dB meaning you are using a far amount more from this entry level unit. As you are using more power from it, you are also hearing what Onkyo are known for which is their brightness, so I would say before you jump to another Onkyo, maybe keep an open mind for something like a Marantz which will be a little warmer in sound whilst still retaining the dynamics that make the Kef's sing musically

The other thing I see and that is MP3, as you have moved to a more sonically capable speaker, it will also be showing the brightness of those MP3 files, so not only are you fighting with the brightness of the avr and cable, you are also fighting with the media you are using which is going to be a lot harder to resolve hence why I have mentioned using the Marantz to try and add some warmth to the system

Copper wire (Fisual S-Flex) is somewhere you should also be looking at it doesn't have to cost the a small fortune to improve the sound especially if you already have silver plated speaker cable in (which will have) as it should calm down the brightness a little

Sadly, I feel you will need to work a little hard than some to bring a truer representation of musical playback without to much harshness as it looks like you are fighting a few corners
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Hi sorry for late reply guys!

What do you mean the deficiencies of the onkyo? It's age? Amp has sounded superb with the q55 and also some tdl rtl 3.0 transmission line, and some qa 2030 speakers I tested. I thought onkyos were "musical receivers"?
Few people on here recommended me to get a more powerful amp instead of upgrading the q55 before and it sounded identical (to my ears) and was a monster in size, so sent it back. IIRC was 140w Thx certified onkyo 708, like £1200 worth.

Meh... Don't wanna open up the age old discussion but I certainly noticed a clarity difference (albeit small) changing from cheapy gale copper wire like amazon stuff to the silver stuff which I think was £4 pm (£8pm for biwire). Best £24 I've ever spent.
QED professional cable for sub has done sod all though, and it's not even plugged into both Jacks (should you use a y cable or splitter with subs when they have l and r phono Jacks?).

Did you try turning the Audussey Off from the menu at least for movies and do you hear the difference?

"If you turn on the Audyssey equalizer, the Onkyo plays too sharply, the highs appear overemphasized in our acoustically optimized listening room."

Have you tried listening 2ch music in Pure Audio mode? At the left side of your receiver should be button for it and when you press it there should come light on display saying Pure Audio mode is On. This is the "purest" mode for music listening as it turns everything off from the background.

Try both if you haven´t yet and report back your findings.. The receiver likely has some silly features which may do more harm than good for the sound so i would make sure you haven´t enabled anything that isn´t needed.
 

slim01

Active Member
Are the speakers pointed directly at you? Then you could try the opposite turning them shooting straight. As Gibbsy mentioned the room could be less than ideal if it´s highly reflective with some visible glass perhaps. Curtains, rug/carpet on floor in front of speakers, soft furnishing generally..?

You shouldn`t spend more than 2£/meter for speaker cable. Even that much isn´t necessary if you can sleep your nights without fancy big name cable brand.

As for the Onkyo it has the poorest Audussey version which is useless. If you listen in 2ch Stereo mode it may have Audussey eq On, Direct mode would disable it but i assume you want to use the sub with music listening with lfe connection. So go to Onkyo menu find Audussey 2EQ and make sure the EQ is turned Off. This may resolve the issue you having.

The review for your receiver mentioned the mess it`s making: If you turn on the Audyssey equalizer, the Onkyo plays too sharply, the highs appear overemphasized in our acoustically optimized listening room.

This was a GREAT suggestion! I have option for "dynamic eq" however it does something to the bass to make it much richer/punchier which I like.
I could tweak my sound card eq setting though (which is where I've had the most success so far, BUT when I reduce the highs on eq I then get an increase to the bass, making it sound flat/lifeless quickly: that's normal I guess?).

Sounds a little flat with it off, doesn't seem to effect the harshness. Even when I turn it off, I still see the auddsey logo.
Should I not use auddsey at all on this amp then? Just calibrate the levels myself? It does set all speakers to like -10 (almost max reduction).

Yeah they're pointed at me, very close, barely a few metres. But it still seems a bit harsh the other side of the room.
The KEFs are very good at filling the room with their sound (so they say).

How do i upload pics here? I should attach files or host somewhere?

I can sleep without it but it seems illogical knowing I could spend like less than 1% of my £3000 (£6000 if you include pc haha) system for it to (potentially) sound better.
I like the middle ground but still, if I'm missing something I'd pay £80 or so for it, ESPECIALLY if it mellows this brightness issue out.
On this occasion though I think I may have messed up and been better off NOT going middle ground, and got some used reference r700 or something after selling everything else I own, eat noodles for a year, and work overtime. Or waiting for them to go for like £800 on ebay as they sometimes do.
 

slim01

Active Member
Ok guys I think I've found this issue! Unfortunately though only a work around for now...

The orb - Outlands.
(listen to that treble that kicks in at 1:47)
The orb - Outlands

So I've been listening to this track as it is
A) it is a big offender
B) the highs are consistent throughout the track
C) I used to bass this at max volumes on the q55.2 and cannot remember ever wanting to turn it down due to harshness.

Now I used to always listen in direct mode (amp is getting dolby digital live signal) with q55, and just change the eq setting on sound card every now and then (but only really to add more bass for eg reggae).

however this mode disables my new sub for music from pc (my main source), which is needed on q550 with weak bass.

In direct, The highs of the guitar plucks at the start of eg, pink Floyd "coming back to life" don't have a high pitch distortion they do in stereo, HOWEVER in stereo it does sound much clearer, esp vocals, and just generally better, not so muddy or flat.
I expect if I plug my q55.2 back in it'll do the same thing but before I obviously preferred direct for 20 years.
Maybe I should test this, and just plug in one q55.2 on the left, leave one q550 on the right, is that a good way to test? Maybe I'll see the "upgrade" then? 😂

Perhaps though, this is just an amp my q550 do not get on with. I expect what's happening though, is I never used stereo so wasn't used to this increase in treble it brings.

Workaround...
I can reduce the treble from +0 to - 2 or -4 however even one drop does make it considerably less clear.

Solution?
1) new amp? Hope not. I'm skint.
2) non silver cable (doubtful unless the theory some cable is warm is right)
3) use treble - 2 on stereo mode, and see if I can get back lost clarity with eq settings.


So to my ears...
Stereo - really clear, clean, but increases highs too much.
Direct - Is a flatter sound, particularly treble and mids.
+Dynamic eq on either - adds a nice richness (and increase) to bass, doesn't seem to affect highs much.


Finding this really difficult guys not gonna lie! Thanks for help.

I'll try get time to upload pics soon
 
I'd be pretty confident in saying your issue is the amplifier...

It was a very basic amplifier back in the day and will really be struggling to power your speakers and I'd say its 'clipping' the sound which is why they sound so harsh and distorting them and making you want to turn them down.

If you're not careful you'll damage your speakers as under powering them does more harm than having too much power!!

I'm not sure if it has pre-outs in which case you could add a cheapish 2 channel power amp. If not then realistically your only option is a new amp.
 

slim01

Active Member
So I can see a couple of things going on here. For one, you are having to push the Onkyo more than you did with the older Q55.2 as they were 91dB on sensitivity whereas the Q550 are 87dB meaning you are using a far amount more from this entry level unit. As you are using more power from it, you are also hearing what Onkyo are known for which is their brightness, so I would say before you jump to another Onkyo, maybe keep an open mind for something like a Marantz which will be a little warmer in sound whilst still retaining the dynamics that make the Kef's sing musically

The other thing I see and that is MP3, as you have moved to a more sonically capable speaker, it will also be showing the brightness of those MP3 files, so not only are you fighting with the brightness of the avr and cable, you are also fighting with the media you are using which is going to be a lot harder to resolve hence why I have mentioned using the Marantz to try and add some warmth to the system

Copper wire (Fisual S-Flex) is somewhere you should also be looking at it doesn't have to cost the a small fortune to improve the sound especially if you already have silver plated speaker cable in (which will have) as it should calm down the brightness a little

Sadly, I feel you will need to work a little hard than some to bring a truer representation of musical playback without to much harshness as it looks like you are fighting a few corners

A lot of this makes sense. Thanks so much my friend for your insight.

1) So you're saying the q550 are a lot harder to drive therefore need a more powerful amp?
Honestly I thought that was more to do with the bass/mid which is not an immediate issue.

I waxed all my money on the speakers/sub though, what marantz would you suggest? Also are onkyo the brightest of the bunch? Yamaha, denon, are they known for warmness also?
Second hand that may open up my options.

4k passthrough, Bluetooth, and VRR would be nice I guess but IMO not worth paying for if you're skint:
Bluetooth £12 dongle?
VRR/passthrough - just plug to TV?
EARC - meh... dolby digital, pure, dts hd master, all sounds the same to me.

2) I really hope a "more sonically capable speaker" means you shouldn't be using mp3, as I will never change this.
I've done the whole FLAC thing, buying and then ripping cds at 320kbps (after buying the q550 I've actually considered buying cds then realised that solves nothing), and honestly even some of my best sounding tracks are 128kbps. My FLACS still sound bright. Those imperfections exaggerated. I wouldn't of expected a "better" speaker to do that. Hope it's not the case or I'll look for some older b&w or kefs.

I use YouTube, iTunes and alexa, and honestly am glad to be rid of the massive bookcase of cds. I'm also questioning why I'm buying 4k blu rays, surprisingly, Netflix/Disney+ in dolby vision looks amazing.

3) yeah I think ill try some cheapy Cambridge audio copper (from the rears), and if even slightly less bright I'll just get something descent reviews mention is warm;
SEEMS to be quite a few reviews on the chunkier stuff that removes harsh/brightness eg Atlas equator, qed Xt40i.
Didn't really want chunky but if that's what I need, I want.

Was gonna buy anyway but guess £80 could pay for half a used amp.
 

slim01

Active Member
I'd be pretty confident in saying your issue is the amplifier...

It was a very basic amplifier back in the day and will really be struggling to power your speakers and I'd say its 'clipping' the sound which is why they sound so harsh and distorting them and making you want to turn them down.

If you're not careful you'll damage your speakers as under powering them does more harm than having too much power!!

I'm not sure if it has pre-outs in which case you could add a cheapish 2 channel power amp. If not then realistically your only option is a new amp.

Lol I'm also thinking that, not 100% convinced its the power though... Yet.

Due to...
A) when a lot of modern receivers have a lot less, including ones I've seen people mention in their positive reviews of these speakers?

B) Back when I bought the onkyo it was like the most wats you could get for like £500, 90wpc was fine for entry level speakers richer sounds said, UNLESS they lied? Can't say I agree it was basic at the time though, it had everything. The brand new dolby true HD, HD master, and 1080p passthrough, arc, audyssey, 7.1 and 2 zone.

C) read a few posts on here (again when looking to upgrade either speaker or amp) by seemingly intelligent sound engineers, and they were saying you should largely ignore wpc and rms ratings, as even 15w is enough to power most speakers. Which I thought was odd. Is this not true or a whole debate like speaker cable does nothing?


I can believe the issue is the amp easily if onkyo are famous for brightness, but even then, why did q55.2 not sound bright if the amp is too bright?
 
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slim01

Active Member
I'd be pretty confident in saying your issue is the amplifier...

It was a very basic amplifier back in the day and will really be struggling to power your speakers and I'd say its 'clipping' the sound which is why they sound so harsh and distorting them and making you want to turn them down.

If you're not careful you'll damage your speakers as under powering them does more harm than having too much power!!

I'm not sure if it has pre-outs in which case you could add a cheapish 2 channel power amp. If not then realistically your only option is a new amp.
Do you think I should sell them before the tweeters get blown then?
I'm guessing by the sound of it kef won't replace them under warranty as I'm using an old/onkyo amp.

I'm really really annoyed kef have taken away the option to bi-amp on their speakers, in fact I might have a word as I told them my amp and speakers last year when saw the q750 sexyness, and they said the q750 (that no doubt require even more power) would be "a substantial upgrade to the q55.2", they said nothing about not bi-amping or needing more power than 90w rms.

I probably would have upgraded amp first then.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Should I not use auddsey at all on this amp then? Just calibrate the levels myself? It does set all speakers to like -10 (almost max reduction).

You can disable it completely! Try it cause it disables the room eq and you might prefer the sound more who knows. The review already claimed it made the sound worse so try it. It will keep the other settings so you don´t have to do any calibration or anything just disable the damn thing and listen! You shouldn`t need to constantly tweak 10 different settings to get the sound good.

If you google there is folks in the reddit who founds some Kef Q speakers sounding too bright for them so it´s nothing new. Not everyone feels the same, some are more sensitive to any excessive brightness and if you have highly reflective room without much of soft furnishing, curtains, rug/carpet in front of speakers etc it can sound poor. If they are still in window you can return/swap them and try other brand then i would consider that assuming you don´t require new receiver (features/connections) anyway. This is why buying speakers blindly is bad idea. If you decide to swap them, go listen few other brands before deciding.
 
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slim01

Active Member
You can disable it completely! Try it cause it disables the room eq and you might prefer the sound more who knows. The review already claimed it made the sound worse so try it. It will keep the other settings so you don´t have to do any calibration or anything just disable the damn thing and listen! You shouldn`t need to constantly tweak 10 different settings to get the sound good.

If you google there is folks in the reddit who founds some Kef Q speakers sounding too bright for them so it´s nothing new. Not everyone feels the same, some are more sensitive to any excessive brightness and if you have highly reflective room without much of soft furnishing, curtains, rug/carpet in front of speakers etc it can sound poor. If they are still in window you can return/swap them and try other brand then i would consider that assuming you don´t require new receiver (features/connections) anyway. This is why buying speakers blindly is bad idea. If you decide to swap them, go listen few other brands before deciding.

Meh, I've liked every kef I've heard as far as treble goes, hence the blind buy. Stupid maybe yes, but was nowhere to hear them in cardiff.


I'll see if I can figure out how to disable it completely.

Ahhhhhhhh I just thought.... Ureka moment... I'm not sure I ran the Audyssey mic test on the q550 yet... If you're saying it sets some kind of eq, maybe, HOPEFULLY, the amp is simply running some kind of eq it set for the old q55??? Maybe the treble wasn't so strong, so it upped it?
I thought it was just adjusting speaker volume. And the "dynamic eq" was the audyssey tailored eq option.

I'll try when home tomorrow.

New amp yes maybe...
Guys above say the onkyo tx-sr508 is bad for music and so underpowered it can damage even small speakers like the q550, so I guess it won't drive anything even half decent -
Maybe i was lucky pairing with q55 before.
(Confused though as I've looked at several today and even a £700 marantz is a pathetic 35wpc, yet the onkyos 100w is so low it'll damage it so I guess they'd blow in seconds on the marantz unless I need to spend around £2000 for a 150w+ one? But then what the hell are people plugging into these marantz's? 50w satellite speakers? Research to do 😂
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Meh, I've liked every kef I've heard as far as treble goes, hence the blind buy. Stupid maybe yes, but was nowhere to hear them in cardiff.


I'll see if I can figure out how to disable it completely.

Ahhhhhhhh I just thought.... Ureka moment... I'm not sure I ran the Audyssey mic test on the q550 yet... If you're saying it sets some kind of eq, maybe, HOPEFULLY, the amp is simply running some kind of eq it set for the old q55??? Maybe the treble wasn't so strong, so it upped it?
I thought it was just adjusting speaker volume. And the "dynamic eq" was the audyssey tailored eq option.

I'll try when home tomorrow.

New amp yes maybe...
Guys above say the onkyo tx-sr508 is bad for music and so underpowered it can damage even small speakers like the q550, so I guess it won't drive anything even half decent -
Maybe i was lucky pairing with q55 before.
(Confused though as I've looked at several today and even a £700 marantz is a pathetic 35wpc, yet the onkyos 100w is so low it'll damage it so I guess they'd blow in seconds on the marantz unless I need to spend around £2000 for a 150w+ one? But then what the hell are people plugging into these marantz's? 50w satellite speakers? Research to do 😂

Yeah run it again as you have the old settings in use now and post Audussey try to disable the whole damn thing not just the Dynamic EQ.

There is plenty of power (80w for 2ch is the correct spec to look at) to run them to very loud levels which you likely aren´t even doing now. Your Onkyo can power 7 speakers for volume lot of people would feel uncomfortable so pair of Q550 two meters away isn´t going to be issue if you aren´t doing anything stupid. Of course the Onkyo might not be the most musical choice due to cheap price, but if you going to change receiver then i would make sure there is possbility to return the new unit if it doesn`t make enough difference. Or look for 2nd hand unit, but there is always risks in that.
 

slim01

Active Member
Guys guys guys! Thank you so much!

Went into richer sounds today to pick up some cable, didn't have what I wanted but asked advice and nearly had a heart attack... they recommended a £3000 arcam receiver (+2 guys said non silver cable the other snake oil lol) or to return them as kefs are bright and not for you.

But I've just turned off audyssey all together and omg... It's like the same crisp sound but without ANY of the harshness.

Just whacked on the offending, ear piercing Outlands by the orb... 50% volume, 70%, man I could probs go even higher and could listen to it all night (but neighbours would kill me past 70%).

All those nuances, and distortion noises I heard before for the first time with these speakers are still there, but they don't sound bad anymore, they sound like they belong there. I guess it's not clipping any more? I don't really know what clipping sounds like tbh.

Currently listening to the 14mins long frankie goes to Hollywood: welcome to the pleasure dome, a track I'm sure brings a lot of systems to its knees.
Incredible sound.
The symbol crashes in it are quite bright I guess, but upon reflection, that's what symbol crashes sound like. Few parts where the B&W sub kicks in and does something I'm sure my q55 didn't do... Lovely.

Cracking speakers... Cracking amp, I don't care what anyone says 😂 😂 😂. I'll certainly look to get a Marantz if there is more to be had out of these kefs, but for now am much, much MUCH happier and can't imagine them sounding much better tbh.

Its a minor change that has made a massive difference in their enjoyability.
 

slim01

Active Member
Yeah run it again as you have the old settings in use now and post Audussey try to disable the whole damn thing not just the Dynamic EQ.

There is plenty of power (80w for 2ch is the correct spec to look at) to run them to very loud levels which you likely aren´t even doing now. Your Onkyo can power 7 speakers for volume lot of people would feel uncomfortable so pair of Q550 two meters away isn´t going to be issue if you aren´t doing anything stupid. Of course the Onkyo might not be the most musical choice due to cheap price, but if you going to change receiver then i would make sure there is possbility to return the new unit if it doesn`t make enough difference. Or look for 2nd hand unit, but there is always risks in that.

Thanks again, honestly had no idea audyssey could
A) affect the treble/add its own eq setting.
B) sound so god damn horrible.

I haven't run the audyssey mic again, but considering I'm gonna be leaving it off is there any point?
Actually maybe audyssey will still be used for 5.1 content? Hmmmm...


The guys in richer sounds said yeah the onkyo is rated to 100w however in reality it's much more like 50w. The marantz I looked at, at 65w is almost half as powerful on paper but would maybe drive them better.
I still don't understand all that, it doesn't seem like they do either, or how you're supposed to shop and know how powerful something is, but he just said best thing is to try: when you wanna upgrade amp, bring in the KEFs, and demo a marantz, and for sh*ts and giggles the £3000 arcam 😂 😂.

The government pay me minimum wage, but the marantz is possible on finance. Mrs won't know. ☺

Still got some playing to do with the sub, bit of an annoyance to have to change it for almost every genre of music (-8 for house and chillout +8 for rock?), but sure I'll sort that.
THANKS GUYS
 

slim01

Active Member
Below are some pics finally... Bit late but comments welcome.

I'm guessing the v shape roof was the major cause for the boomy bass on the ported q55.2?
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gibbsy

Moderator
Looking at the photograph of your room it has a myriad of reflective surfaces from the shape of the roof it is a bit of a nightmare and the basic Audyssey on the Onkyo is certainly letting you down. A newer Marantz with Audyssey XT32 (and the app) would help but the RS salesman was right, or clairvoyant, Arcam with Dirac would be even better in your room but not with the Q550s.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks again, honestly had no idea audyssey could
A) affect the treble/add its own eq setting.
B) sound so god damn horrible.

I haven't run the audyssey mic again, but considering I'm gonna be leaving it off is there any point?
Actually maybe audyssey will still be used for 5.1 content? Hmmmm...


The guys in richer sounds said yeah the onkyo is rated to 100w however in reality it's much more like 50w. The marantz I looked at, at 65w is almost half as powerful on paper but would maybe drive them better.
I still don't understand all that, it doesn't seem like they do either, or how you're supposed to shop and know how powerful something is, but he just said best thing is to try: when you wanna upgrade amp, bring in the KEFs, and demo a marantz, and for sh*ts and giggles the £3000 arcam 😂 😂.

The government pay me minimum wage, but the marantz is possible on finance. Mrs won't know. ☺

Still got some playing to do with the sub, bit of an annoyance to have to change it for almost every genre of music (-8 for house and chillout +8 for rock?), but sure I'll sort that.
THANKS GUYS

Run the setup again as you have new speakers, don´t be lazy! :laugh: Do the 3mic placements it takes 10min or so. Use tripod or some camera stand if you got or can lend from friend to get the mic at seated ear height. You can mess things if you just throw it on some pillow or top of backseat. Naturally room fully silent as the mic is very sensitive and get out of the area when it runs.

Did you buy new sub and you haven´t run the setup at all? No wonder the bass is all over the place if that is the case. Now get on with it and listen how it sounds with Audussey and Off. It still sets the speaker and sub levels, distances (delay) correct and leaves them if you turn the Audussey (correction) off.

Onkyo is rated 80w 2ch 0,08% THD and that is the "universal" figure. Anything other is just PR marketing stuff. That is taken from the manual spec sheet. If you are going to buy new receiver try to talk with the dealer so that there is return period cause it might not give you the change you are hoping for. No one can say for sure so i would play it safe. Not sure which model you were looking as you spoke stereo amps too, but you have 5.1 system.
 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
A lot of this makes sense. Thanks so much my friend for your insight.

1) So you're saying the q550 are a lot harder to drive therefore need a more powerful amp?
Honestly I thought that was more to do with the bass/mid which is not an immediate issue.

I waxed all my money on the speakers/sub though, what marantz would you suggest? Also are onkyo the brightest of the bunch? Yamaha, denon, are they known for warmness also?
Second hand that may open up my options.

4k passthrough, Bluetooth, and VRR would be nice I guess but IMO not worth paying for if you're skint:
Bluetooth £12 dongle?
VRR/passthrough - just plug to TV?
EARC - meh... dolby digital, pure, dts hd master, all sounds the same to me.

2) I really hope a "more sonically capable speaker" means you shouldn't be using mp3, as I will never change this.
I've done the whole FLAC thing, buying and then ripping cds at 320kbps (after buying the q550 I've actually considered buying cds then realised that solves nothing), and honestly even some of my best sounding tracks are 128kbps. My FLACS still sound bright. Those imperfections exaggerated. I wouldn't of expected a "better" speaker to do that. Hope it's not the case or I'll look for some older b&w or kefs.

I use YouTube, iTunes and alexa, and honestly am glad to be rid of the massive bookcase of cds. I'm also questioning why I'm buying 4k blu rays, surprisingly, Netflix/Disney+ in dolby vision looks amazing.

3) yeah I think ill try some cheapy Cambridge audio copper (from the rears), and if even slightly less bright I'll just get something descent reviews mention is warm;
SEEMS to be quite a few reviews on the chunkier stuff that removes harsh/brightness eg Atlas equator, qed Xt40i.
Didn't really want chunky but if that's what I need, I want.

Was gonna buy anyway but guess £80 could pay for half a used amp.
The first thing I would do if you still have our CD's is sadly set to and re-rip them at lossless (if you still own our CD's), your ears will thank you. Thankfully with FLAC, you are still able to compress the packets where the software will still open it up to full lossless in place of converting the music to a lesser bitrate

Using a program like dBPowerAmp is a simple no nonsense that just does what it says on the tin. Yes you can use EAC, but I found it a little more complicated to use and for a few quid, its a simple press of a button

Onkyo's have always delivered loads of power for their price, but sadly it is brighter sounding sound than some of the others on the market. Now I'm not opposed to the Onkyo, but why I've said to look at something elsewhere is basically because the combination has brought everything that can go wrong with a setup to light in yours

I'd be interested in hearing what you're ears did when you swapped the cable?

Regarding cabling, it doesn't have to be expensive to sound good, so although QED's XT40i's is highly recommended by all the tabloids, I bet if you placed it against some of the good quality lesser know cables like out Fisual S-Studio 2.5mm copper cable, you would be hard pressed to justify the difference in pricing

Now with the cables and media you are playing, you may even find these small steps of changing the cable and re-ripping your media correctly will be enough to bring enough warmth to the speakers enabling you to enjoy them in a way you are unable to do at the moment

As for an amplifier, so long as you look at one which has more power (as I've said Onkyo's are powerful for their price point - but have a bright sound signature), as its the sound signature you are looking to change should come through, but in reality, try and spend as much as you can afford as your speakers and ears will thank you in the end as headroom is also important when playing music

Just seen the room, yes, that's going to cause some fun with the sound as there is a lot of hard surfaces and the room is a very unusual shape

I'd remove the toe-in effect and place then square on in the room as you will be removing a little stereo definition for sure (not sure if this has been mentioned)

Do re-run the room EQ again once you have done this as it may change the way they sound a little to. Plus what ever the EQ says, if you do not like it, don't be afraid of altering it to your taste as we are all different and if you do find some setting you enjoy more, write them down or take a photo so if something happens, you have a saved copy as our ears are fantastic at lying to us when things change
 
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slim01

Active Member
Ok guys back to square one... Or 0.5

Had been enjoying the q550 for the past few days.
Tonight however... Chillout genre. Cevin Fisher - Hallelujah...
heard farting. Got up close to the midrange and looks like they're having hell of a job, moving like mad, hardly any bass/mid coming out, just a disgusting sound as if I was trying to play prodigy at 200db past the limit? 🤢. And with... Basically no volume?! Well not that bad but they were farting.

Very quickly two others with kef flatulence arose:
Suzanne vega - Tom's Diner (dna 12" remix)
Jerome Isma-ae & the srobe Vila nova

Eq is relatively bass heavy but nothing crazy, so this prompted me to plug back in the q55 to see if it was the mp3. It had to be...

So... sub off, q55 in, bi-amp on (don't matter much on q55), treble -10 bass +10, and they just sound like 2 massive subwoofers taunting "yeah annnd what?" "Wanna go louder?" The house was trembling before I even got to the same volume as the q550. Wtf.

So... maybe these speakers are
1) a pile of manure that have a shockingly pathetic mid range/punch that even with a sub and Crossover over 100hz won't help them?
2) already blown from my weak amp?
3) not getting even half the juice they need to even perform basically?

Yeah I could put crossover to 200hz max, and then I couldn't even call them 2 way speakers... Just basically waxed £600 on some massive slightly better tweeters.


but this exercise reminded me why I wanted to change: boomy. esp the one in the left corner.
One things for sure the q550 offer cleaner bass. Not sure about treble.

Guys is it a bad idea/stupid to wire one speaker to one side of amp one to another for testing? How do you test?
It's moments like this I swear I'm autistic I can't decide.


I'm pretty sure q55 + no sub is beating q550 + sub at this point.
 

slim01

Active Member
Will reply to comments above once free gents thank you.
 

ShanePJ

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
I feel you need to contact the dealer where you purchased the speakers from and get them to test them. Although it's extremely unusual for a pair of Kef speakers to be defective, but it can happen with any brand and since you haven't really enjoyed them from the outset, I feel that as you have come from a pair of older Kef's you should certainly be hearing some parts of them that should be exciting especially since you have a woofer working on the bottom end

Have you changed the quality of the music from MP3?
 

slim01

Active Member
I feel you need to contact the dealer where you purchased the speakers from and get them to test them. Although it's extremely unusual for a pair of Kef speakers to be defective, but it can happen with any brand and since you haven't really enjoyed them from the outset, I feel that as you have come from a pair of older Kef's you should certainly be hearing some parts of them that should be exciting especially since you have a woofer working on the bottom end

Have you changed the quality of the music from MP3?

Well this is why I wasn't sure if faulty and just very poor instead, because both speakers make the same sound. Would a speaker fart (Or chuff... Or like run out of steam... No idea what the actual term is 😂) if underpowered by amp, even at a low volume?
It's the noise I'd expect at very loud volumes, with bass turned up too high.

No, listened to the mp3s on the q550, then the same mp3 on the q55.2, then also a few YouTube versions.
It's like they don't like those frequencies?

I hope kef are open they told me my amp would run them and if what other guys are saying is true maybe I've damaged them.
 

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