Pioneer 1021 powering KEF R3s

Hi all,

I've been lurking on here for ages, and I'm very grateful to some of the users for educating me. I'm finally at a place where I'd like to upgrade my front, centre and sub channels, however I'm doing it slowly due to finances. I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up with KEF R3s and an R2C from what I've auditioned, and I'm toying with a SVS SB2000. However these are likely to be purchased one at a time.

I'm currently using a Pioneer 1021K receiver, which has been fine for my current setup. However, I've seen a few posts suggesting the R3s sing best with a lot of power, however I've not seen any numerical values. The pioneer manual says Front stereo 90 + 90 W, power output (1khz, 8ohm, 0.05%, 1ch driven) 120W per channel. Does this seem adequate? I expect I'll upgrade the amp in the next few years, but I can't do it all at once.

For reference, the room is a kitchen/lounge/diner approx 6x4m. My rears are Kef T101s. The usage is 60% music, 40% TV/HT etc but music is most important, mainly alt rock which is in ALAC format from my media server.

Happy to provide any details I've missed, and thanks in advance


The KEF R Series and especially the R3 and older R300s are a brilliant speaker that crosses easily between movie and music. Depending on the size of your room the Pioneer will drive them especially if you let the sub do the heavy lifting for both film and music. The centre R2C will be crisp and precise in it's delivery.

For music though I found the R300s responded much better to a good amount of power and certainly enough reserve to quickly recover from the 3.2 ohm dip they and the R3s are capable of. I don't think you'll find better three way speakers in the price range over the R3s and speakers will certainly out last any amp that's used to power them. You can always build around the KEFs.
Thanks for the fast and detailed response @gibbsy. I'll certainly be using a sub to handle the bass, I think my current system is crossing at either 80 or 100Hz.

The room is 6x4m, and my usually listening level is around 65-75dB, so I'm not shaking the room. When I auditioned the R3s, it was with a Marantz (SR6014 I think) and that sounded lovely to my ears, but its obviously all subjective.

Do you have any suggestions for other subs to try? I'm not a bass-head, but in the UK SVS seem to be frequently recommended as good all-rounders.


I have my R300s crossed at 80hz as well as the centre R200C, set as small. It will be the same for your combination. The level you listen at is very room dependent and I don't know if your Pioneer has a dB scale rather than an absolute which will show how close to reference you are actually listening at but those levels do seem reasonable.

Both Marantz and sister company Denon do pair very well with KEF and I've been running a Denon and KEF combination for many years. Marantz is a better choice over Denon with a heavy music use. I use to have a Rega Elicit-R for music duties and that combination was wonderful.

As for subs hopefully someone else will help you as I've had a faithful REL for ten years now. Won't get replaced until it goes bang.
That SPL was measured on a phone app, so I can't imagine its that precise, but I guess it helps for a ballpark. I believe that's something like -30dB on the amp. Thank you for reassuring me, I'm still going to audition a couple more when I get the chance, but the R3s haven't been beaten yet.

Subs are a bit of a knowledge gap for me, but if no-one responds here I'll make a new post when I'm getting ready to make the purchase.

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