Question What amp for Kef 104.2 speakers..?

stevewestern

Active Member
I may be about to get some old Kef 104.2's and will need an amp of some sort - ideally not costing more than about £500.
I used to have some 105.3's way back in the early 90's and think I had my Beard valve pre/power with them - the sound was lovely as I recall.
Obviously I'm happy to buy used, and the idea of valves appeals as I do like that kind of sound.
The only amp I currently have to hand is an old Arcam alpha 5 (my stereo has active speakers) so I may try that, but if anyone is old enough to remember these speakers and has any suggestions I'd be very grateful !
 
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MIKEVO

Well-known Member
Well, even though they have a 4 ohm resistive load, they still perform at their best with a grunty amp. They can handle loads of power, but make sure the foam on the bass drivers hasn't perished. Tweeter Ferrofluid runs dry too, but there is a replacement tweeter from Falcon, which is probably as good, if not better than the T25.
I would suggest a Leema Tucana, maybe a Roksan Caspian.
I used to work at Kef and give them a real hammering and they performed at their best with a Perreaux Power Amp, which was about 400 wpc.
Its quite easy to bottom the Bass drivers out if you have insufficient power and like to play them load as the voice coils collide with the magnet, but if you don't drive them too hard they will perform well with a nice, high current amp.
I doubt the Alpha 5 will get the best from them.
 

stevewestern

Active Member
Thank you for such a helpful reply Mike - I never really thought the alpha 5 would be the best amp, but it might serve to test them..
I've not heard of the Leema Tucana, but remember the Roksan Caspian though have never heard or had one. I had wondered about a valve amp of some sort given what I remember about my 105.3's but will bow to your knowledge, as my memory is rose-tinted at best...
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I used a quad 44/405-2 with mine and they liked the extra umph that the quad power supply gave.
 

MIKEVO

Well-known Member
Unfortunately, at Kef, they didn't really find the Quad 405/2 was able to drive the 104/2's very well, but we did tend to play them very loud.
We did, however use Quad 405/2 Amp cards in the KM1 studio Monitor. (8 Modules per speaker).
There is a peak in the response of the 104/2 at about 1khz, which could only be reduced with the Kef Kube 104/2, which gave a flat response, taking out the peak at 1khz and extending the Bass down to 20hz, but clarity of sound was affected, so I wouldn't bother trying to source one.
The 105/3 didn't suffer with the Bass drivers bottoming out either, so were able to handle a clipping amp without damage.
A valve amp may sound very nice with the 104/2 because of the softer tones valves seem to generate, but if you do intend to drive them hard, then you really do need a Solid State amp with lots of Current Drive.
I doubt there are any 104/2's left that don't have rotting foam surrounds on the bass drivers, so be careful.
You can use a torch in the 4 inch port at the front and get your hand side and push the surrounds gently. if the surrounds have been replaced with rubber, the Bass response of the speaker will be affected, hence the foam surrounds are best, but do only last about 20 years, if you are lucky.
 

stevewestern

Active Member
I can't see me playing them loud as my neighbours don't like my music taste, so will keep my eyes open for something secondhand that could always be sold on..
Maybe I'm being a bit romantic but the idea of some valves does appeal..
 

MIKEVO

Well-known Member
The 104/2's will sound lovely with Valve Amplification and will be easy to drive from the 4 Ohm tap.
I do love Valve amps, very organic and the warm glow makes them seem alive.

I would be very interested on how you get on. Good luck with your quest.

Mike :smashin:
 

stevewestern

Active Member
The 104/2's will sound lovely with Valve Amplification and will be easy to drive from the 4 Ohm tap.
I do love Valve amps, very organic and the warm glow makes them seem alive.

I would be very interested on how you get on. Good luck with your quest.

Mike :smashin:
I'll keep you updated Mike - there is a 'Dared' valve amp on an auction site that the owner says works well with his 104.3's - never heard of them, but.......
 

stevewestern

Active Member
OK , I've spent a few hours thinking and.....
My current system is Sonos into active speakers (Avi adm9. 1's) and aside from a valve amp I've now read about the new Sonos amp, which may be all I need, and certainly easier to get passed my wife than another option I looked at, the Yamaha R-N803.
Now, a question. I listen to Radio Paradise a lot - via my pc I can listen to its flac stream, but via Sonos I can only get its lower quality stream - the main (only) reason for wondering about the Yamaha is if it can access the flac stream - anyone know the answer?
The minimal size of the Sonos is a huge advantage as it can be hidden away out of sight, and may never be noticed by my wife...
 

MIKEVO

Well-known Member
I love the AM9's, Ive had 3 pairs, 9, 9.1 and 9Rs, plus DM5, all of which sound fabulous, but I would take a pair of 104/2's any day.

Do you know if the Sonos is Ok with a 4 Ohm load? You don't want to end up with a brittle sound.
Perhaps you could get one on trial?
I too like the sound of the AVI's via songs, then I'm not sure the Flac files will give much benefit.
Cd's are only 44.1khz and I can't hear the difference with high res, unless a different engineer mastered them.
 

stevewestern

Active Member
Hi Mike,
I guess the amp will be fine - a guy in Richer Sounds said it would be fine as did a guy from Peter Tyson, and this is from the Sonos website -
"This article covers the setup and requirements of attaching speakers to an Amp or Connect:Amp. With either the Amp or Connect:Amp, you can wire two or four speakers between 4 and 16 ohm loads. If you're wiring four speakers, they must be wired in parallel and the attached speakers must be 8 ohms."
I could always connect my (android) phone to the amp if I needed for Radio Paradise, and as for hearing the difference - try swapping the quality via the 'settings' tab on the Radio Paradise website. I know I can hear quite a difference, and I'm a 60yr old builder and ex roadie, so can't hear a word my wife says..
By the way, thats listening via my pc, into a PS Audio Sprout and Q Acoustics Concept 20 speakers
 
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MIKEVO

Well-known Member
Regarding the Amp, the 104/2 are a purely resistive 4 ohm load, so will be easy to drive.

I have to admit, I haven't tried Radio Paradise, but may give it a go.

At least with your phone connected and the 104/2's, you won't be able to hear your wife anyway. :rotfl:
 

stevewestern

Active Member
Oh dear....
Seems my wife, who happily lived in a small room in nurses accommodation with me and my 105.3's (must have been young love or something) thinks that the 104.2's are ugly and too big, so I'm not sure they'll be keepers - I'm going to remove the AVI's and put the 104.2's in their place for a week or two to see if she changes her mind, but fear I'll be starting again.
So, any ideas what to look for.
The new sonos amp looks like a it'll pass her steely gaze as it'll hide away easily, but what speakers - either thin/narrow floorstanders or some stand mounts with an easy sound that don't need to do loud, must not be harsh or bright, but must make music - second hand is ideal, auditioning is unlikely but I'm happy to buy, try and sell on assuming I don't loose too much.
I have no idea what's out there but would love any suggestions - budget is around £500, could happily be more for something special...
 

stevewestern

Active Member
An update...
I've just got the crossovers back from Wilmslow audio who have replaced all the capacitors and supplied me with some new tweeters - I spent half of yesterday waiting for the courier and the other half getting them up and running.
First of all, they sound pretty impressive despite needing a little time to run in - the Sonos amp has only been powered up for a couple of hours before I took everything apart for repair.
I'm hoping that over the next few days things will get even better, but I may be tempted to get a power amp as I may be about to buy a Yamaha WXC50 to allow streaming Radio Paradise at a higher bitrate, so any suggestions will be much appreciated as always..!
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The quad 909 is pretty much bullet proof and has twice (plus a bit) more power then the 405s and considerably more current available.

Combined with the mighty fine Yamaha it’ll be difficult to beat.
 

stevewestern

Active Member
The quad 909 is pretty much bullet proof and has twice (plus a bit) more power then the 405s and considerably more current available.

Combined with the mighty fine Yamaha it’ll be difficult to beat.
Many thanks Paul - I'll start looking.
I'm sure the Sonos amp is capable but the idea of something a bit more ballsy appeals...
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you can’t find a 909 then the 606 and 707 are pretty close. A number of 606’s on eBay and they generally go for £350-400.

More info here Quad 707 - any good?

Looks like the 707 is the sweet spot but few come up for sale (one on eBay at the moment though).

Here’s another alternative - 200w per channel Rotel RB991.

Rotel RB-991 power amplifier | eBay

Review here where they compare it to the Nad218 the @Paul7777x linked, one being detailed and bright the other more warm and rounded, you choice.

Rotel RB-991 power amplifier

Review for the nad NAD 218 THX power amplifier
 
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D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
You could save money by using pro audio amps for power, look at the Behringer A800 or the Crown XLS1002 / 1502.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
The Crown amps especially are considered golden in professional circles. And they tend to know their stuff.
 

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