Switching from Kef Q series 5.1 to satellite speakers

CodeThief

Active Member
Hi all,

I've been happily using my Kef Q series speakers in 5.1 configuration with a REL sub for many years, but we've moved house to somewhere I can't easily fit the existing speakers and my wife would like to replace them with "slightly smaller" speakers if possible.

My current setup for reference:

Kef Q1 bookshelf speakers on stands for L+R.
Kef Q9C center speaker.
Kef Q2DS dipole surround speakers.
REL Q201e subwoofer.
Marantz SR7011 AV Receiver

I'm intrigued by the Focal Sib Atmos satellite package reviewed on here by Steve but am concerned it might sound a bit anaemic compared to my existing setup.

I know the Kef Q series aren't exactly top drawer, but I don't want a downgrade in sound quality if I can avoid it.

The use will be 95% TV/Movies and about 5% music. I don't mind a slight reduction in music quality, but it will happen occasionally.

It's it feasible to replace them with around a £1k budget?

I'm happy to keep my existing sub and sell whatever comes with the package if required (and if it's worse!)

Any thoughts?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I don´t think they would sound anemic as they aren´t as small as one may think and they have quite large drivers for lifestyle satellites (5") with ported cabinets. Sure the Kefs are more capable due to size, but in same manner the center channel only uses one driver. How different they will sound will be intresting, the Focals are likely brighter which usually suits for AV use. Although your receivers Audussey XT32 reference eq curve can bring that down a notch if necessary. It has been pointed out earlier that they are good speakers, but the subwoofer is limiting them at least extension wise and if playing loud bottoming out. You would lose the more dispersed soundfield without the dipoles for effects, but at the other hand you would get Atmos upfiring without any extra modules or speakers placed on wall/ceiling. Would this be of any use for you depends how far you sit (1,5-3meters seating distance sweet spot mentioned in reviews) and ceiling type etc.

For optimal performance, the ceiling should be flat (not angled or vaulted), with a height between 7.5 and 14 feet (2.3 to 4.3 meters), and made of an acoustically reflective material (drywall, plaster, hardwood, or another rigid, non---sound-absorbing material)


Another option would be to upgrade slowly / save up if you want upgrade in sound with compact size and nice finish/look. Example Monitor Audio Apex A10 & A40. Although the latter is quite wide, it`s also very slim (100mm depth) and comes with bracket that lets you mount it flush against wall. You could always start with front three. Gloss black and gloss white finish. The stand in A10 works as wall bracket when turned back, although it will make them sticking out some. However if you have wide (+2meters) and decent height (50-60cm) av-unit then you could place them on top of it.


 

CodeThief

Active Member
That's great, thank you for the detailed reply! Atmos is a big bonus as I'd love that, and no way of getting ceiling speakers past my wife!

I'm considering wall mounting the front L&R pair, just not sure if they'd be too wide apart. Excuse the mess, we're still unpacking, but here's the TV in situ. I'm about 3m away from the speakers, so the up firing drivers should work nicely still.
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
That's great, thank you for the detailed reply! Atmos is a big bonus as I'd love that, and no way of getting ceiling speakers past my wife!

I'm considering wall mounting the front L&R pair, just not sure if they'd be too wide apart. Excuse the mess, we're still unpacking, but here's the TV in situ. I'm about 3m away from the speakers, so the up firing drivers should work nicely still.

How far apart the main L/R would be? I don´t know what type wall brackets they have, but i assume they can be toed in the mains toward listeners. Before mounting you could use some boxes and move them around bit to find the sweet spot if you have few spots to choose from. Measure carefully that you will mount the speakers correct height, that would be tweeters at seated ear height! Important!!

The issue with these upfiring modules is they are inside the speakers so you can`t angle them, if the sweet spot doesn´t happen to be at your listening position it means you have to move couch closer as you mount speakers. If the center channel can be vertically upright like mains then keep it like that, no need to lay it down if not necessary. I think the horizontal dispersion is better when it`s the way it should be=upright. Then you got the small REL sub. I would place it in front corner (furthest from opening if there is any). You got the better version of Audussey so it won´t sound boomy, but you do get some boundary gain (corner loading sub) which is going to help the tiny sealed sub perform better.

You didn´t mention other options so it sounds like you are quite sold on the Focals. Only one way to find out. :) Keep us posted if you buy them.
 

CodeThief

Active Member
I was considering the B&W M1s as they're a similar price without the sub, but no Atmos and the drivers are smaller than the Focals...

I think I might just pull the trigger before the post-move spending frenzy ends 😁
 

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