Pulled the trigger on a new 5.1.2 Composed of Kef R Series and an Arcam Receiver

RatJones

Active Member
Hi All

I've been posting all over the place recently to gauge what components to buy for my new 5.1.2 system! (TV is LG OLED77CX)

In the end, as everyone says, go and demo the system yourself, which I did at Nintronics, who are fantastic, knowledgeable and courteous. My Shootout was between the MA Gold 300, B&W 700 Series and the Kef R series with (the largest floor stander as the front for all 3) running with an SVS SB13U and then an SB3000 - I listened to them through an Anthem MRX720 and an Arcam AVR850 with movie scenes and some music through a streaming device of which I can't remember the name. The room was fairly large, around 5m x 7m. FYI I already have 2 x Monitor Audio 265IDC speakers installed for Atmos

Overall my thoughts were,
  • KEF's R11's for me were easily the best for music and provided a lovely warm and open sound for movies, not fatiguing at all at high volumes but able to play very very loud when called upon. I loved the Uni-Q driver and that fact that the sounds was dispersed evenly everywhere.
  • MA Gold 300's were nice for home theatre (crispy and clean highs) but were fussy re placement for music and also seem harder to drive on both amps, we had to crank the volume up on both music and movies, music wise they seems the fussiest for being the 'sweet spot' also. I didn't much bass out of them as I was expecting (especially on the anthem)
  • B&W 702's were very easy to drive and as expected but bright and clinical. The highs were a bit overwhelming for Home Cinema (I used the Interstellar docking scene) when cranked up. For music, they sounded pretty nice and for me better than the MA's. Re placement, they were a a bit better than the MA's but not the same level as the KEF's
Amp, the Arcam for me blew the Anthem our of the water (maybe an unfair comparison since I went 850 vs 720) I will add that neither ARC or Dirac were configured as I wanted to hear the receivers as they were out of the box (this is also what Nintronics recommended) The Arcam just seemed to have bags more power, detail, dynamics and for music it was for me a in a different league in pure direct mode. of course when I did this demo the AVR30 wasn't in stock but Steve Withers review tells me apart for the extra features, this amp will generally sound the same.

Subwoofer - Here is a strange one, I wanted to compare the SVS SB4000 with the SB3000, they didn't have an SB4000 so demos their SB13U instead. I will again say 'to my ears' and in the room I was in, the SB3000 was the one I preferred, the impact it had in the John Wick club scene was more profound than the SB13U?! I couldn't make sense of it. It also matched the infrasonic sound of the SB13U with the Live Die Repeat beach landing scene.

I had WAF to consider and although she was trying to push me to the B&W's all this time as she preferred the look of them, I managed to holdfast for the KEFS as for me they sounded the best and I've realised I do prefer a warm neutral sound.

So in conclusion on order I have:

KEF R11
KEF R2C
KEF R3
SVS SB3000
Arcam AVR-30
MA-265IDC for Atmos

The only shame is that the Kefs are out of stock but of course there is the new lockdown so in reality I couldn't have had the guys come over and install until after December at the earliest in any case! Just sitting here excited in the run up to delivery/install, going to be a long month (or more)
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Congrats man very nice system! Only thing that would slightly worry me is the bugs of Arcam just seeing how members have been pissed with the new range. 🙄 But the unit sounds great clearly and the company is working fixes constantly.

The SB3000 actually matches/outperforms the SB13U in the chest punch range (40-80hz) if comparing raw output, so no suprise it has great impact with the club scene! James L. who has heard, measured and reviewed almost all SVS models said it kind of nicely:


And the SB-3000 is a small, light, great-looking sub that has absolutely smokin’ performance considering its size. My worry is that since the 3000 series is squarely the middle child in SVS’s subwoofer lines, they will get overlooked, as middle children often do- but that would be a mistake by any subwoofer shoppers. Of all of SVS’s subwoofers, the 3000s have the best balance of performance, size/weight, features, and pricing.

👌
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
And the SB-3000 is a small, light, great-looking sub that has absolutely smokin’ performance considering its size. My worry is that since the 3000 series is squarely the middle child in SVS’s subwoofer lines, they will get overlooked, as middle children often do- but that would be a mistake by any subwoofer shoppers. Of all of SVS’s subwoofers, the 3000s have the best balance of performance, size/weight, features, and pricing.

👌
I’d go with that for sure. It actually encapsulates why I still have them.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I’d go with that for sure. It actually encapsulates why I still have them.
Until you hear the dual PB3000s. ;) HCC actually compares little bit of the PB3000 to SB3000, bigger sound, more impact etc. But there is always different tastes so who knows which you would prefer in the end.. Just need to get two units for home trial. Easier said than done. :(
 

RatJones

Active Member
Congrats man very nice system! Only thing that would slightly worry me is the bugs of Arcam just seeing how members have been pissed with the new range. 🙄 But the unit sounds great clearly and the company is working fixes constantly.
Thanks Gasp and also for your informed input prior to my purchase

It's a fair point regarding the amp, and one I did consider for a while. I was worried about the Arcam bugs as well but I overcame this due to a number of factors. Nintronics are very supportive (they actually come down to install and run Dirac Live calibration which is a huge plus for me) and they even said back in July when I auditioned that if I didn't want to live with bugs that might annoy me, go for something else and then trade up when the Arcam is 'relatively' issue free. As it happens though, it's been a few months since my demo and when I got to the ordering stage, they have told me with confidence that they feel the major issues are sorted (cue Arcam owners moaning at me for saying that ;)) and that in any case, issues that might arise would be investigated by Nintronics first (they say 3/4 times its been human error of late) and if it can't be solved they would pick up, take away and reissue a new one. It's not ideal that we even had to talk about this of course but with this level of support it does give me re-assurance.

I guess though what it boiled to was, I did just genuinely prefer how the Arcam sounded on the day so was really pushing myself towards it from that point on coupled with the fact I'm also going to be using in it what's considered a fairly simple set up (5.1.2) with no additional power amps etc.
 

Dean

Well-known Member
Awesome system there, I'm sure it's very well matched.

I would love the try the new R series and the SB3000 out.

I wonder if KEF would release a R6c centre speaker with bigger 6.5" drivers to match the bigger drivers on the R series.
 

RatJones

Active Member
Awesome system there, I'm sure it's very well matched.

I would love the try the new R series and the SB3000 out.

I wonder if KEF would release a R6c centre speaker with bigger 6.5" drivers to match the bigger drivers on the R series.
I did actually contact KEF about a larger centre and their reasoning for not having a larger centre is that the current one is adequate for room filling sound. Though I imagine the real reason for having less units is due to the costs
 
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goatlips

Well-known Member
I did actually contact KEF about a larger centre and their reasoning for not having a larger centre is that the current one is adequate for room filling sound. Though I imagine the real reason for having less units is due to the costs
Nice setup you've ordered....

Just like to add my 2P worth here, why did you go for the AVR30? I would go for the AVR 20 and use the money saved for a PA for those kefs11. I think the only difference is the class G amp and I doubt you'll hear the difference if u done a blindfold test. Just my view.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Those R11s look so nice! Maybe the R600c wasn´t big hit for them in the past, but then again they have 2 different size center channels for Q range. And also for the Reference range. 🤔

 

Dean

Well-known Member
I did actually contact KEF about a larger centre and their reasoning for not having a larger centre is that the current one is adequate for room filling sound. Though I imagine the real reason for having less units is due to the costs
Probably right, they have two centre sizes for the Q series so would be good if they did for the R. It would give better cohesion on the front soundstage having identical drivers. Interesting here is a review of the current Q series and he did think the smaller centre could have been a little better.

 

RatJones

Active Member
Nice setup you've ordered....

Just like to add my 2P worth here, why did you go for the AVR30? I would go for the AVR 20 and use the money saved for a PA for those kefs11. I think the only difference is the class G amp and I doubt you'll hear the difference if u done a blindfold test. Just my view.
Good question, it could have been an option but here's my reasoning. Firstly, I wanted to try to limit myself to one unit for space purposes, so if could get the sort of sound I wanted with the AVR30 then this was my preference. Second, I did hear the KEFS on an AVR-850 at what I'd consider to be reference volumes for music and movies without Dirac engaged and the amp was more than adequate enough to drive the speakers with authority in a space that is essentially larger my own room which is 6m x 4m (whilst I didn't hear the AVR20 I was assured by the team, whom I trust, that I would hear differences were I given a blind test) Finally pricing! I was offered an irresistible price on the AVR30 which made it a no brainer no me given the space constraints mentioned before (An AVR20 with a PA240 would have been interesting mind you if I'd have listened to both!)
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Those R11s look so nice! Maybe the R600c wasn´t big hit for them in the past, but then again they have 2 different size center channels for Q range. And also for the Reference range. 🤔

Looks cool. the only issue is that TV looks small compared to your speakers. :)
 

RatJones

Active Member
Quick question actually, though I said I did not want another power amp, if I could get one that was fairly small and cheap for my 2 Atmos channels, would this allow for more dynamic power output to the my other 5 channels being driven by the AVR30? or not worth it?
 

RMP888

Member
Not mine! It`s @RMP888 system and yeah 65" tv is small. Big screen or +80" tv when possible! ;)
I agree the TV looks small, that 65 inch tv was only meant to be short term as wanted to get an 82 inch, but then the lockdown situation impacted the supply chain for many months where I am, so much so that last month when I went to buy one and non were available, I decided to wait to the 2021.

The KEF R11's have an amazingly wide sound stage, they are a joy to live with. I too asked KEF about if they would release a larger center speaker when I got mine a couple of years ago, but find the R2C more that adequate and probably would not change it even if a larger one was available now.
 

goatlips

Well-known Member
Quick question actually, though I said I did not want another power amp, if I could get one that was fairly small and cheap for my 2 Atmos channels, would this allow for more dynamic power output to the my other 5 channels being driven by the AVR30? or not worth it?
I guess yes in theory as it's another load on the power supply, but in reality I doubt you'll notice the difference.

I'm sure you'll notice PA the front 3 channels when you are getting to reference volume, I'm sure those KEFs will appreciate it.

It will be brilliant of the receiver anyway.👍

I was thinking about going the KEF R7 and R2 on my arcam AVR20, but going for the arendals.
 

RatJones

Active Member
I'm sure you'll notice PA the front 3 channels when you are getting to reference volume, I'm sure those KEFs will appreciate it.
Sorry I'm not sure I understood the above correctly, do you mean I would appreciate a power amp for the front three 3 channels? or do you mean if I bought a small amp for Atmos if would notice a better stage across the front 3 at reference volume?
 
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goatlips

Well-known Member
Sorry I'm not sure I understood the above corrently, do you mean I would appreciate a power amp for the front three 3 channels? or do you mean if I bought a small amp for Atmos if would notice a better stage across the front 3 at reference volume?
You would appreciate the power amp for the front 3 channels heading towards reference volume.

An extra amp for the atmos wouldn't give you a better front stage.
 

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