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new KEF Q100s - break-in report

Desi Bell

Standard Member
I purchased these about a month ago, along with a Q400 sub. I have them running parallel with the sub into a simple two channel hi-fi setup.

The problem seems to arise when playing only music with high cymbal content, like rock :hiya:

...for some reason the treble comes off as sounding raspy and cheap. It's very unpleasant to the ears. I have been VERY gentle with these, assuming that there might be a break in period involved, but now I know that is unlikely with metal cones...so...

Can anyone PLEASE offer me some reassurance that I didn't just waste several hundred dollars on speakers made with parts of questionable quality? I really want to like these. :lease:
 
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Soundmangt4

Prominent Member
I purchased these about a month ago, along with a Q400 sub. I have them running parallel with the sub into a simple two channel hi-fi setup.

The problem seems to arise when playing only music with high cymbal content, like rock :hiya:

...for some reason the treble comes off as sounding raspy and cheap. It's very unpleasant to the ears. I have been VERY gentle with these, assuming that there might be a break in period involved, but now I know that is unlikely with metal cones...so...

Can anyone PLEASE offer me some reassurance that I didn't just waste several hundred dollars on speakers made with parts of questionable quality? I really want to like these. :lease:

There will be a run-in period, as it isn't the actual surface of the drivers that needs the running in, it's more about the driver suspension and and other moving parts.
I find a lot of rock music is simply produced badly, so maybe you are simply being exposed to more detail and it is unveiling the poor recording?

I would say to give them more time, and you don't have to 'baby' them in the run in period, just use them and leave them running when you are out if possible. Hopefully they will settle down.
 

The Eggman72

Established Member
what cables are you using?, make sure you use copper and not silver plated cables..
Agreed my silver spiral can sound very raspy with certain things......
 

fayeanddavid

Distinguished Member
what cables are you using?, make sure you use copper and not silver plated cables..

and to add to the mix, what amplification are you using?

But to me, having had the new Q series before the Rs, there is nothing wrong with the speaker, in my mind, and could well be the recordings.
Is it the same over all the genre of music you play?
 

Richy1984

Established Member
You havent done anything wrong and the Q series a goodd speakers. I home demo'd the Q100s once 9against monitor audio rx1) and I can see how you might find the treble raspy at times.

I personally found them very good speakers and was tempted by a pair at the time. They give nice bass response, good mids, and are very easy to position within a room. But the only downside for me was that the treble just sound a bit thin. thin is the best way I can describe it, perhaps we are describing the same thing.

Perhaps you should experiment with speaker cables and choose one that give a smoother element to the sound.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
What amp did they use in the shop when you demo'd them? Might be worth looking into that option since you must have liked them to have bought them in the first place? Of course it could be down to the room since I've had shop demos and then bought speakers home for a longer demo and they've sounded quite different (even the same pair in some cases).

FWIW I don't think changing the cable will make that much difference if any.
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
I would have to agree that I doubt changing the speaker cable will make a lot of difference.
A metal tweeter is always going to sound towards the bright or harsh side of the spectrum. So depending on your amp, your room and your personal perference to sound this can be a good or a bad thing. By the sounds of it your particular combination of these 4 things (including the speakers) is not producing a sound that you like, this is not the fault (or lack of quality of the speakers) of the speakers but the fault of a combination of all of these elements coming together. Changing one item out of the 4 may well cure the problem (although often changing the room is not practical and hard to change your personal preference leaving just the speakers or amp). Letting them run in a bit more may help as well and if the issue is only with one or 2 songs/albums then again the quality of that particular recording also could be to blame.
 

Richy1984

Established Member
PSM1 said:
I would have to agree that I doubt changing the speaker cable will make a lot of difference.

Probably not, but worth a try. Obviously the amp will have more of an effect, but would be a far more expensive change.
 

Desi Bell

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies. The KEFs seem to put out a massive amount in the upper range of frequencies, something I guess I'm not used to. So I cut the treble, it's now at 11:00 and it's making some difference. I'm sure I'll be able to dial in the right sound eventually, it's just that everything about these speakers is so different than what I'm used to.

Regarding the speaker cable, I bought a spool of 14 gauge OFC from a big box store and it does the job.
 
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Ashmanuk

Prominent Member
Desi Bell said:
Regarding the speaker cable, I bought a spool of 14 gauge OFC from a big box store and it does the job.

Even though a lot will poo pan speaker cable it's a mechanical link and it does make a difference, your last comment does not bestow me with confidence :-0
What was the amp used when you demoed the KEF's ? And is your amp at home different? And also what was the cables linking it all together ?
Does your listening room sound lively? Lots of hard surfaces wooden floors and leather sofas?

When you put all the small bits together it can sometimes make a big difference.

I would agree in what others have said about some rock music can be poorly engineered and sound harsh.
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
I agree that much more info is needed in order to make any recommendations - system, room layout, furnishings, speaker positioning etc etc.
 

Desi Bell

Standard Member
System is Teac Reference AH-500 integrated amp into a PD-500 CD unit, previous speakers were Teac S300 bookshelfs that sounded AMAZING for their size with excellent projection and imagery...these sound weak and unremarkable by comparison, even with the sub. I'm really beginning to hate them!

I'm really tempted to ditch these and cut my losses and go back to a Teac system.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Just to clarify as it's been asked a few times and not answered:

Did you demo these speakers before you bought them and with what amplifier and other equipment?
 

Ashmanuk

Prominent Member
System is Teac Reference AH-500 integrated amp into a PD-500 CD unit, previous speakers were Teac S300 bookshelfs that sounded AMAZING for their size with excellent projection and imagery...these sound weak and unremarkable by comparison, even with the sub. I'm really beginning to hate them!

I'm really tempted to ditch these and cut my losses and go back to a Teac system.

In the day the Teac system you have was great and loved by a lot of people but those Teac speakers was never as good as the electronics.
The Teac speakers was designed around the amp so I can understand how the speakers complemented the amp and CD player BUT your new KEF speakers do deserve a better amp SORRY but it's true.
How did you demo the speakers? Did you bring your amp in for them to hook up?
I do not want to come across as being rude about your system so if it looks that way ITS NOT MANY TO
 

PEPPY52

Established Member
You are under driving the speakers, the Kef Q100 is rated at 10-100 Watts, while your Teac is 50 Watts per channel. If anything you should have an amp that is rated over your speakers rating. Change the amp or lower the treble. Also, it takes a while to get used to the sound of new speakers, give them a chance and if possible, upgrade your amp.
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
I do not think the OP is underdriving the speakers either. The minimum power needed is 10W and the OPs amp is way above this. There is no need to match the max poser output of the speakers to the power output of the amp. as long as the amp easily makes the lower value then you are fine. Having a higher powered amp can give benefits since you do not need to drive it so hard which gives less distortion and in principal better sound quality. However, this is a lot different to under driving the speakers.
 

PEPPY52

Established Member
I do not think the OP is underdriving the speakers either. The minimum power needed is 10W and the OPs amp is way above this. There is no need to match the max poser output of the speakers to the power output of the amp. as long as the amp easily makes the lower value then you are fine. Having a higher powered amp can give benefits since you do not need to drive it so hard which gives less distortion and in principal better sound quality. However, this is a lot different to under driving the speakers.

That is correct, I misused the term underdriven, but the uni q drivers in the q series are known to have thin high frequencies and it is recomended to carefully system match. They are not underdriven per se, but they are not driven as it is recommended. Im sorry for the misuse of the word, thanks for pointing it out. Again, I would recommend getting a more powerful amp to get the best out of your Kef's. They truly are great speakers.
 
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Desi Bell

Standard Member
Well, after about 3 months I'm happy to report that yes, these speakers do indeed need a fair bit of warming in before they truly show what they're capable of. They now put out a clear full range sound, the treble has tamed down and I'm hearing everything the way it should be from familiar music selections.

I am very satisfied with my setup, especially with the Q400 woofer...amazing how sensitive it its to very minute changes in it's volume. I find that different types of music require different volume from the sub, usually older material will require a small boost from the sub to bring up the bass a little. One notch on the volume does it.

Great speakers! Looooong break-in!!!
 
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