Kef r vs Arendal 1961

pk222

Active Member
@Rick84 curious as what did you end up going for in the end and what amp did you pair them with?

Am in a similar position to considering between the Kef Rs and Arendals (though upgrading from Kef Q series, either will be a massive improvement) - my next 10yr system so to speak
 

Conrad

Moderator
The arendals taught me about dynamics and speed. Before then I never fully appreciated the 'speed' of a speaker.. its ability to play a sound and withdraw it.

Do you have examples of music or movies where this is highlighted? I'm in no way challenging the assertion, I just love to have a listen to examples of what people consider great sounding.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
hmm a song which i first noticed it was a simple one actually and far from 'great sounding music'. every breath you take sting.. simple song. the ability to withdraw and play the beat at the start was a big jump up from my kefs. my kefs it was slower.. more relaxed.. but the sound hang in the air for longer. also the combination of the much bigger soundstage allows for easier instrumental separation for music which allows for me to appreciate this a bit better.

on the topic of 'great sounding', i wouldn't say that song is great sounding. its just a song where it become very apparent on the difference on how the two speakers handled the content. one was clearly more agile.


for films, an easy demonstratin of the power for centre channels for me is always mufasa's voice in lion king. KEF his voice was anemic, in the arendals it was powerful.. almost scary. I actually stole that one from sparechange but its a nice 'raw' test imo.

FYI im not an audiophile at all IMO.. these are just my general observations which were clear as day to me.

I had both speakers in house and if there wasn't a difference, I would have returned the arendals under the 60 day return policy because I could have put that money towards the JVC, 77 OLED or house extension fund. I wanted them to disapoint me :D
 

Conrad

Moderator
Nice, thanks.

That’s a good clarification, it might not be good sounding but there are details that stand out. That’s what I meant but you said it better.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Nice, thanks.

That’s a good clarification, it might not be good sounding but there are details that stand out. That’s what I meant but you said it better.

yeah, i mean good sounding music sounds better of course too. its a sum of all its parts.

the better dynamics, the better speed, the better soundstage which i found both horizontally and vertically (honestly god knows how that waveguide tweeter does this) means i can visualise with eyes closed sounds which seem to weirdly be lower, ones which are higher etc.

I've tested this with third parties (Family members lol) out of interest and they all agree when I can force them to actually analyse the music as opposed to enjoy it.

I think the result is definitely a much better sounding sound.


HOWEVER as with anything revealing of detail we have the drawback... similar to TVs and projectors.. which is the better the display or audio device, the more it can reveal shortcomings in poorly recorded tracks. I've DEFINITELY experieenced this with the arendals. Sounds i thought were poorly mastered, I can hear deficienies in them. I actually plugged BACK in the KEFs cos I thought maybe my arendals were faulty but no.. it is the music.. as its audible but just LESS audible on the KEFs cos the detail retrieval is bad. I think checked on the TV and its SOOO subtle but yes even TV speakers I can just abut hear the fault.. etc. etc.

im not trying to poo on other brands but just explain my personal observatioins as I wish people had written them before I bought the arendals. instead people were far more polite and simply said they will be a major step up ;) and gave me a few wink emojis.

I would not say the arendals are very relaxing as a speaker. They are relaxing as the music is relaxing whilst other brands like KEFs are edge towards being more laid back IMO.


im sure in someone who has moved from arendal to paradigm speakers will write an essay and poo on the arendals too. 😂 😂
 

Conrad

Moderator
Agree, it's that balance between completely transparent to the original sound or slightly coloured, warmer, whatever audiophile phrase you want to use, that changes the tone slightly but might make poor recordings sound more listenable. It's actually something I quite like about Bose, for example. I have a small set that I use in a home gym connected to Spotify. Everything I put through them sounds OK. It's never better, but it's never worse.

I'm not advocating going out and buying Bose, or suggesting that Bose are in some comparable with Arendal.

Another good detail test for you. Crosby, Stills and Nash, Guinnevere. At 2:28 or so there's the end of a phrase and you can hear one of the artists tapping their foot in time. It's very subtle but it's there. You need a decent recording of it, not sure it's in the spotify version but I can check. It's a good test of whether your speakers can separate it out as it's a noisy recording generally.

Obviously you can just crank it up and hear it, but then the rest of the track becomes unlistenable.
 

Conrad

Moderator
Hmmm. Maybe scratch that. I can hear it using Spotify on my Macbook pro speakers, so might not be the best test after all!
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Hmmm. Maybe scratch that. I can hear it using Spotify on my Macbook pro speakers, so might not be the best test after all!


Yup could hear that quite easily :D
 

Apollo

Well-known Member
If you want a good example of the extra detail the Arendals can dig out of a soundtrack try the new UHD of Full Metal Jacket. They are revealing of just how rough the dialog in the barracks scene really is. Makes me wonder what the disc reviewers were listening to/with for it to not be mentioned?

Not just my system either, @mb3195 had the same problem to a greater degree even with his Trinnov :(
 

florentins

Novice Member
I have been listening to my new pair of Arendal 1961 towers for 2 weeks and i thought i’d share some impressions about how they perform for music and less for movies. Just before these I owned a pair of KEF R3 and for both I used the same amplifier, a Marantz PM7000N.

They were admirably packaged and the speakers themselves look adequate for the price. There is a bit of warping on one of the woofers’s margin and the cabinet doesn’t sound very inert when knocking on the side but overall i’m pleased with the build quality.

1961s sound very relaxed but dynamic and they have a wide sound stage. The first few hours of playback the highs were a bit confused and the bass was a little muddy. After roughly 1 week all sounds gained more clarity. I would classify these speakers as smooth sounding, Arendal polished the harsh frequencies without making them sound warm like a pair of Wharfedale Diamond.

The highs are gentle and a bit rolled off in combination with the Marantz amp. There is no sign of harshness, not even in poorly recorded tracks (old songs) from Spotify.
The mids are also laid back. Voices don’t project forward as they would do in KEF R3. On the other hand, vocals are not as clear and precise as they were with the KEFs.
Bass response with the ports unsealed is overwhelming for me when listening to music. Sealing the enclosure helps a lot especially if they are placed right in front of a wall. I would actually remove the port plugs when watching movies but that’s not practical. The bass is pleasant, clean and it integrates very well with the other sounds.

An exigent listener could ask for a better imaging, resolution and vocal articulation but some of these would work against their easygoing character. Maybe the sound stage could have been slightly deeper and the instrument positioning more precise. After reading that they use long fiber pulp paper I expected them to sound natural but that didn’t happen. With a few exceptions (voices, brass instruments) I don’t think the KEFs sounded natural either but they were closer.

The waveguide really improves the dispersion and integration with the woofers. Off axis listening is really good. Although I’m sensitive to sibilant and harsh sounds I’ve experimented with turning up the treble knob to get more sparkle in that region but i’m fine with listening in direct mode most of the time.

I would also like to mention the wonderful customer support from ArendalSound and the quality of the content they’ve put on the website.

Comparing the Arendal 1961 to Kef R3, R3 wins in terms of clarity, details and voice reproduction but Arendal’s relaxing nature and soundstage create some lovely music listening moments.

I hope to see on this forum some independent measurements and comparisons with other waveguide speakers like Buchardt.

Thanks :)
 

ashenfie

Well-known Member
We all understand why you consider your purchase the ultimate speakers and the information you provide is totally correct. I'm simply trying to provide accurate information to assist the OP.

In the past we had Surround system with 2 speakers and of course we have two ears only (hopefully) the system worked well. The issue is that such systems are expensive and speaker location critical. So we now use a number of speakers/amps.

The issues not having a centre is that people to the extreme left or right get confusing sound as the left/right sound delays are great enough to confuse then brain. Locating the speaker closer to each other reduces/removes this issue. I have no issue listening to a stereo broadcast for example, so in AV I can mix the 5.2.4 format to 4.2.2 for example.

Centre speakers in what is call a MTM configuration introduce off-axis issues once again. That is why some choose to use 3 x LS50 front speakers configured all vertical which can be located under the monitor/behind a screen. So avoiding the laws of physics and off-axis interference
For one don't consider my system Ultimate in anyway. It provides for me a good compromise between AV & Music. I require a centre because I want to place to the L+R Channels in places that comply with the listening triangle. The centre is different because I can't put a R700 centrally under the 65inch TV, so using a centre. The R700 are good AV/Stereo compromise with a sensitivity 90db and deep bass, while say the LS50 are 85db and roll off quite early. I have has LS50 and while they are great form some music tastes, but offer compromises in AV and other music tastes. Many would want to use a sub with them even for music.

Pure AV I would look at the MK sound LCR750 which would be on money parr with what I have and two ported subs. Pure Stereo wise Focal Kanta No3 and no sub.

For me bottom line it best to stick with the Normal formats for best results and read and understand the speakers location and room size requirements. Steve did a pod cast on the subject recently which cover this and much much more on how to get it right. Focal for me get praise for clearly specify this information. They it clear say that Kanta speakers performs at its best in large rooms, from 40 to 80 m² and recommend location information. A common error made by many including me in the past.
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
For most people identical speakers wouldn't work. Good luck trying to get a arendel 1723 thx tower as a center.

Dropping down to 1723 thx center will work but then ideally want 1723 left and right monitor but that is compromise for stereo.

Plus I don't like MTM centers I've moved to four driver centers I've had two and advocate these over MTM three driver
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Somehow the editors/reviewers will get that third tower from speaker company bought as single while normal people have to buy pair or the small horizontal center channel which is always more or less compromise.

For a living room three towers is possible if money is not issue. Here is Stereophile editors living room system. AT-screen drops in front of the towers.

IMG_0033a.jpg
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
That wouldn't work with flat panel though TV bottom edge would need to be around 1.2m from floor.. too high need to look up
 

Dean

Well-known Member
Somehow I don't think I could live with a 3rd tower like in that photo. I think book shelves arranged the same way would look better.
 

Conrad

Moderator
This needs an AT screen (and the rear surrounds aren't in the right place) but I wouldn't mind this room:

156677_full.jpg

128430_full.jpg
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
That wouldn't work with flat panel though TV bottom edge would need to be around 1.2m from floor.. too high need to look up


If osmeone is this serious about home cinema and getting a triple tower setup, they aren't playing around with tVs 95% of the time. They're going for a proper home cinema experience with a PJ and AT screen.
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
I have been listening to my new pair of Arendal 1961 towers for 2 weeks and i thought i’d share some impressions about how they perform for music and less for movies. Just before these I owned a pair of KEF R3 and for both I used the same amplifier, a Marantz PM7000N.

They were admirably packaged and the speakers themselves look adequate for the price. There is a bit of warping on one of the woofers’s margin and the cabinet doesn’t sound very inert when knocking on the side but overall i’m pleased with the build quality.

1961s sound very relaxed but dynamic and they have a wide sound stage. The first few hours of playback the highs were a bit confused and the bass was a little muddy. After roughly 1 week all sounds gained more clarity. I would classify these speakers as smooth sounding, Arendal polished the harsh frequencies without making them sound warm like a pair of Wharfedale Diamond.

The highs are gentle and a bit rolled off in combination with the Marantz amp. There is no sign of harshness, not even in poorly recorded tracks (old songs) from Spotify.
The mids are also laid back. Voices don’t project forward as they would do in KEF R3. On the other hand, vocals are not as clear and precise as they were with the KEFs.
Bass response with the ports unsealed is overwhelming for me when listening to music. Sealing the enclosure helps a lot especially if they are placed right in front of a wall. I would actually remove the port plugs when watching movies but that’s not practical. The bass is pleasant, clean and it integrates very well with the other sounds.

An exigent listener could ask for a better imaging, resolution and vocal articulation but some of these would work against their easygoing character. Maybe the sound stage could have been slightly deeper and the instrument positioning more precise. After reading that they use long fiber pulp paper I expected them to sound natural but that didn’t happen. With a few exceptions (voices, brass instruments) I don’t think the KEFs sounded natural either but they were closer.

The waveguide really improves the dispersion and integration with the woofers. Off axis listening is really good. Although I’m sensitive to sibilant and harsh sounds I’ve experimented with turning up the treble knob to get more sparkle in that region but i’m fine with listening in direct mode most of the time.

I would also like to mention the wonderful customer support from ArendalSound and the quality of the content they’ve put on the website.

Comparing the Arendal 1961 to Kef R3, R3 wins in terms of clarity, details and voice reproduction but Arendal’s relaxing nature and soundstage create some lovely music listening moments.

I hope to see on this forum some independent measurements and comparisons with other waveguide speakers like Buchardt.

Thanks :)


I'd agree. I haver some 1961s and the 1723s sound like they're in an entirely different league to the 1961s. Far more laidback presentation with less detrail retrieval in your face.

I think they're perfect for my front lounge where its really just on all day to play classical/jazz/pop music at a moderate volume and for the odd football/boxing match when I put down the projector once a month for guests.

Otherwise in the home cinema room, its 1723S for wherever I can fit them, and 1961 for the atmos + rear surrounds.
 

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