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9.4 out of 10 based on 18 reviews

KEF R300

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  • User Score (16)
    9.7 9.7 from 16 reviewers
  • Expert Score (1)
    9.3 9.3 from 1 reviewer
  • Design (3)
    8.2 8.2 from 3 reviewers
  • Value for money (2)
    8.5 8.5 from 2 reviewers
  • Sound quality (3)
    10 10 from 3 reviewers
  • Durability (2)
    10 10 from 2 reviewers
  • Bass quality (2)
    9.2 9.2 from 2 reviewers
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  1. Testfreaks.33053966
    4 February 2014

    I have the PM8005 amp paired with a pair of piano black KEF R300 standmounts sitting on Atacama Nexus 6i stands and I'm using Marantz CD6004 as the CDP. Interconnects used are Chord crimson plus and speaker cables are chord carnival silverscreen (copper and not silver like the name suggests). I previously had PM7004 paired with Q300s.

    I had the PM8005 driving the Q300s for a couple of days before I sold the PM7004 and the Q300s and bought the R300s and so I could tell the difference the PM8005 made to the Q300s vs the R300s. The Q300s are amazing value for folks on a budget but whatever little was lacking in the Q300s (specifically the bass punch and depth) the R300s quite makes up for it. The R300s are a step or 2 better than the Q300s, highs sounds smoother and extended, more delicate sounding and the bass has more punch and goes deeper.

    Vocals were projected really well with the Q300s but I felt voices were actually a bit more forward sounding that I would like them to be and so I often found myself cutting down on the mids to around 11 'o clock position and leaving it there. I rarely used source direct. With the KEF R300s and the PM8005, I don't find myself doing that anymore cause I don't find vocals so forward sounding like with the Q300s, I think the vocals are placed well though some folks have reported that vocals are projected behind with the R300. I also had the bass controls at 1 - 2 'o clock position with Q300s and PM7004 cause the Q300s don't really have that weighty punchy bass (but they do pretty well with bass heavy tracks) while with the R300s I don't haven't had to do that yet cause the bass has enough punch and presence already. I might end up increasing the bass controls for bass light tracks but I don't find myself doing that yet. The R300s have more than 50 hrs on them now and it feels like they've slightly opened up or maybe I'm imagining things ;) but I remember this happening with the Q300s as well, I think with around 1-2 months of use, they opened up really well.

    Though the LS50s are brilliant, I didn't quite like the highs (hi hat and cymbals sounds), wasn't smooth and delicate sounding. They have a warmer sound signature more so than the R300s. The bass they put out is truly amazing for their size (tight bass unlike the R300s), vocals were brilliant and so was the imaging and soundstage. The soundstage is so wide that the speakers simply disappear, you wouldn't believe the sound is coming from those small boxes. The thing I didn't like about the LS50s is that they're not so forgiving with not so good and bad recordings, they're very transparent (probably a good thing for studio monitors) and component changes such differences in amp and cdp would probably show up as well (more so than the R300s). The R300s are a little more forgiving in this respect and so they would sound decent with not so well recorded material, not so bad will sound good and good recordings will sound amazingly good while the LS50s make bad recordings sound bad, not so bad sounds not so bad and good recordings sound brilliant, if you get the point. Kind of got carried away with the speakers here but I hope this helps someone who's stuck between choosing the LS50 and the R300.

    The R300s are great for low volume listening (so were the Q300s but the bass dept was lacking), the dynamics, the detail is all there in spades. Turn up the volume (the max I use is 9 - 10 o'clock position on the volume knob) and the sound is so amazingly crisp with no harshness whatsoever, nothing sticking out too much in the entire frequency range - all of it seems to sound so well interwoven. The R300s are just so good with detailing! Imaging and soundstaging is spot on (though I know it can get better with better speaker placement), highs sound smooth, airy and extended, mids are brilliant and lows are punchy, all gleaming with refinement and quality - luxurious sound if I can call it that (though a lot of this would depend on the quality of the recording, the source and the amp as well). The sound is never fatiguing, it's all listening pleasure - you could listen to this thing for hours without grimacing - ever.

    I had demo'd the PM8005 with Dali Helicon 300 Mk2 standmounts (huge and bloody expensive). Though the Dali's had scale, bass weight and a lot more going for them I didn't find them sounding clean and refined like the KEF R300s and besides they were beyond my reach (more than double the price of the R300s - yikes!!!). The R300s are brilliant with detailing, clarity, refinement; bass is neither loose nor overblown though bass guitar lines aren't really tight, taut sounding - but the bass punch is so good that this can probably be forgiven but don't expect thundering ground shaking bass, you'll need a sub if that's what you want. I think the Dali's were somewhat similar but with slightly more bass scale - B&W CM1/CM5 and the LS50s have tighter sounding bass. Bass heavy tracks with\ R300s do show signs of bass boom at times which I read can be controlled by using partial bungs supplied with the speakers but I don't use them cause I don't find this to be so much of a problem though my speaker placement isn't really so ideal - 10" from the back wall, 6" from the side wall for one speaker, 1" from a small section of the corner wall and then 1 meter from the side wall for the other speaker and both speakers a little more than 1 meter apart - which definitely isn't a good thing for soundstaging.

    Anyway I'm extremely satisfied with the upgrade! the R300s are for keepers :) but as always don't take anybody's word for it - go listen for yourself and be amazed - if you're not, the R300s are probably not for you. I find the marantz pm8005 and KEF R300 combo truly amazing! I may be wrong but the sound signature from my point of view is neutral - maybe leaning towards warm sounding but definitely not bright.

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