• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

KEF Reference 4, 2 and 200C - what amp

dogbait

Active Member
It's a dream setup I've been mulling for a while after seeing them reviewed in Home Entertainment magazine circa 1997 as a young lad. Back then it was KEF's flagship 5.1 setup and sold for £14k :rolleyes:

Now that I've finally got most of the bits and pieces second hand, thanks to classifieds, etc. I need to consider an amp. 5.1 capability is a must, and whilst separate power amp/processor sounds nice I'd rather penny pinch if I can.

Would any second hand integrated amp be able to do these speakers justice? eg. something like a Denon AVC-A1SE?
 

Tony Lazzerini

Active Member
It's a dream setup I've been mulling for a while after seeing them reviewed in Home Entertainment magazine circa 1997 as a young lad. Back then it was KEF's flagship 5.1 setup and sold for £14k :rolleyes:

Now that I've finally got most of the bits and pieces second hand, thanks to classifieds, etc. I need to consider an amp. 5.1 capability is a must, and whilst separate power amp/processor sounds nice I'd rather penny pinch if I can.

Would any second hand integrated amp be able to do these speakers justice? eg. something like a Denon AVC-A1SE?

KEF Reference really deserve a power and pre, otherwise you are not going to have enough horsepower to drive them.

What kind of budget are you prepared to spend? A used Arcam 888/777 would sound good.

Tony
 

dogbait

Active Member
Don't see those coming up as used very often. How about a Rotel RMB-1075 or Meridian 557/NAD Silverline 300 to drive the Reference Four fronts?

Those seem to come up second hand for between £300-800, which seems more reasonable. I've been recommended Chord by another forum member (bit pricey) Is there any reason not to go with the cheaper Meridian/NAD/Rotel amps which crop up?
 

derekn

Active Member
I use a TAG 250x3 with my Ref 4s to good effect but there aren't many of them around. The speakers deserve decent amps - maybe biamped use of a TAG 100x5 would drive the front end (plus a 200C ?) and something else for the rears - Audiolab 100P perhaps? My Kef HT of Ref 4s, 2s, TDM34s and 200C served me very well - but they are big! Still got the 200C and Ref 4s and when I ask Kef if anything smaller might replace the Ref 4s the answer is always the same - anything less than top of the current range will disappoint! Good luck. :)
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
I've owned the 4.2's with 200c previously, and it's an amazing set up, especially for what you can pick them up for now.

The 4.2's are capable of an amazingly dynamic, precise sound with excellent bass extension, power, and control - but only with the right amplification. The question is do you want to drive them adequately, or properly.

Driving the 4.2's with Bryston 7b monoblocks has to be one of the best combinations I've ever heard (and this was pre HD), and I regretted having to let those speakers go. Even though they're a huge speaker, it was pretty amazing what they're capable of with the relevant amplification. Even though they were a 4 way speaker, this didn't detract in any way from their musicality and capability of producing a vast, solid soundstage. Driving them with a one box AV amp will make them sound good, but I wouold strongly recommend the Arcam AV888/P777. This will allow you to bi-amp them if you stick to a 5.1 system, which will squeeze a little more out of them. A couple of our customers have gone for the P777 to partner with their KEF Reference.

By all means go for a one box AV amp, but I'd do so with the view to adding a power amp at a later stage.

You really need to hear what these speakers are capable of in order to assess what you want out of them. I know they're huge, but if you can book a dealer's demo room for a day and try out various combinations, it'd be well worth it.
 

mannyjarnail

Active Member
Dogbait you have got a serious pair of speakers and centre there. Just like other members have stated in order to really get them to sing you need good powerful amplifiers. The speakers will not reach there full potential without good gutsy amplification as they are not very forgiving, although when you get the right amplification they will make you :D.

i recommend Bryston amplification.

I tried a meridian 557 amplifier a number of years ago on a pair of 3.2s then changed to a Bryston 4BST which blew it in to the weeds. I found the meridian too warm and slow but thats my opinion.
 
Last edited:

stevefish69

Well-known Member
I've only got the Ref 3.2's but have commented many times on how much better the sound got when i changed amps. Here is a snip from what i recently posted on a US site ;)

I'm running Ref 3.2's up front, an XQ2C and TDM 34DS surrounds and used to think they sounded great via my old Denon A11SR (UK spec)

I changed to a Parasound 1500a for the front two and there was a great improvement. This provided 315wpc and the Ref's lapped up the power with more control and refinement. This was coupled with a Parasound 1205a and dedicated processor for the remaining system and all was well.

I then got the chance to pick up my current amp which is a Cinepro 3K6 (very reserved 500wpc and 120 amps on tap). The Kef's once again took a massive step up and only now do i believe that i'm giving them what they are demanding during peaks. The sound from these babies is in a different world to when being powered by my old AVR.

The Audiolab / Cinepro combo i'm now running only cost me £1825 in total and IMO will wipe the floor with any similar priced AVR's and probably some costing much more ;)
 

The latest video from AVForums

Hisense U7H TV and T+A Solitaire T headphone reviews, AV/HiFi news plus, what is screen uniformity?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom