Question Can KEF Q5 Tweeters be tamed ?

Din5

Active member
Jun 27, 2021
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Hi Folks,
I am new to this site and hope you can help me.

I recently upgraded my turntable, amplifier and CD player to Rega RP6/ Exact cart, Rega Elex-R amp, Arcam CDS-50. I play these through my my KEF Q5 speakers. I notice sometimes the high frequencies can be a bit too sharp/shrill, for example when I listen to the singers in Abba , their voices are shrill & scratchy at the top-end, and that with some recordings the sound can be overall a bit bright.
I am very impressed with the midrange clarity, bass, wide open sound and general reproduction from these speakers ( violins, acoustic guitars and trumpets sound amazing !) so I wonder if I could just tame the tweeters in some way to remove the sharpness?
Could a change of capacitor value in the crossover help ? or what about applying a very small strip of thin tape to the metal tweeter dome ( to slightly reduce the metallic ringing ) - has this sort of remedy been attempted ?

If the speakers can't be tamed in my setup, then I may need to buy new speakers, presumably I should select warmer sounding speakers. My wife doesn't want "bigger boxes" in our lounge, so as the KEF's are about 875mm tall, that limits choice somewhat ( though there could be some room for negotiation).

If all else fails, I am considering Wharfedale Linton, EVO 4.3 , Quad S4, Dali Oberon 5. I have auditioned the Oberon 5's with an Elex-R and was impressed, though the sound was slightly lacking the special open clarity that I achieve with the Q5's. I am not able to audition the Wharfedales or Quads unfortunately so I may need to buy on recommendations only.
Preferred price range is up to about £1300 .
My room measures circa 6m x 4.8m and is carpeted / plenty soft furnishings.

Many thanks in advance...
 

nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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Welcome! A resistor in the correct feed in the crossover would reduce the treble, but that’s not to be attempted lightly. Did you have this problem with your previous sources and amp, because I get the impression it’s a new issue?

Have you tried changing the toe-in of your speakers? If they’re beamed at you, cross them more widely or sharper still.

Many pop productions like Abba are shrill - what do naturally recorded voices sound like?
 
Last edited:

Din5

Active member
Jun 27, 2021
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Hi, many thanks for your quick reply.
I can do some more experiments next week regarding voices and toe-in, though I think I straightened up the speakers, with no toe-in and the brightness still remained.
My previous sources were Harman Kardon HK970 amp and HD970 cd player, Dual CS 505 turntable. There was no suggestion of harshness or shrill hard edge treble from my Q5's using these before.
I bought the RP6 first but didn't think the sound was good through the HK equipment ( very laid back), so I opted for the Rega amp to match the RP6. I must say the resulting sound is excellent/ clear and lively, but not sure if the KEF Q5's are matching my new sources.
 

Din5

Active member
Jun 27, 2021
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"Schiit loki" , I'd rather not add any tone controls or further boxes to my system.... but good to know about it though !
Thanks.
 

nopiano

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Feb 15, 2009
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How long have you had the new components? I’d not want to overstate it, but some items do mellow a little after ten or even hundreds of hours of ‘burning in’. And you might acclimatise too.
 

Din5

Active member
Jun 27, 2021
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Hi , thanks again.
I have had the new components for just over a year, but they have not been used much for various reasons, perhaps 10 to 15 hours total.
Maybe the clarity / tone of the Elex-R is not a good match for the UniQ metal tweeters - these speakers are from 2004/05 and I guess the tweeters have been refined many times since then in later models.
That's why I was thinking of changing the speakers to warmer sounding floorstanders maybe with a cloth /silk dome tweeter for softer high frequency., but I would want to buy something that is a good recognised match for the Elex-R and is able to deliver what the amp capable of.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
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Hi Folks,
I am new to this site and hope you can help me.

I recently upgraded my turntable, amplifier and CD player to Rega RP6/ Exact cart, Rega Elex-R amp, Arcam CDS-50. I play these through my my KEF Q5 speakers. I notice sometimes the high frequencies can be a bit too sharp/shrill, for example when I listen to the singers in Abba , their voices are shrill & scratchy at the top-end, and that with some recordings the sound can be overall a bit bright.
I am very impressed with the midrange clarity, bass, wide open sound and general reproduction from these speakers ( violins, acoustic guitars and trumpets sound amazing !) so I wonder if I could just tame the tweeters in some way to remove the sharpness?
Could a change of capacitor value in the crossover help ? or what about applying a very small strip of thin tape to the metal tweeter dome ( to slightly reduce the metallic ringing ) - has this sort of remedy been attempted ?

If the speakers can't be tamed in my setup, then I may need to buy new speakers, presumably I should select warmer sounding speakers. My wife doesn't want "bigger boxes" in our lounge, so as the KEF's are about 875mm tall, that limits choice somewhat ( though there could be some room for negotiation).

If all else fails, I am considering Wharfedale Linton, EVO 4.3 , Quad S4, Dali Oberon 5. I have auditioned the Oberon 5's with an Elex-R and was impressed, though the sound was slightly lacking the special open clarity that I achieve with the Q5's. I am not able to audition the Wharfedales or Quads unfortunately so I may need to buy on recommendations only.
Preferred price range is up to about £1300 .
My room measures circa 6m x 4.8m and is carpeted / plenty soft furnishings.

Many thanks in advance...
Did you hear this set-up before buying? If so, where and was the initial impressions good or indifferent?
 

Din5

Active member
Jun 27, 2021
24
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Hi,
I heard the setup in a HiFi shop audition room. They played the components through Proac DT8 floorstanding speakers. The sound was really great and I didn't notice any shrill or edgy sound to the treble.
 

Deliriumbassist

Well-known member
Apr 27, 2011
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What's happening at the first reflection points of the speakers? If you're not sure where they are, grab an unwitting individual, sit in your listening spot and have them walk a mirror along the walls - when you can see the tweeter of either speaker, that's a first reflection point. It could be that your room is more reflective, so even some basic diffusion at those points could make a world of difference.

Also, don't fall into the trap of thinking dome material will fix things - it's the implementation that is most important.
 
D

Deleted member 116933

Guest
TBH 90% of the time i read comments like this it really just boils down to placement, not just the speakers but strategically placed items of furniture. Could show us a snap or drawing of the room to better help out.

Simple things to think on

Do you have a glass coffee table in the centre of their sound stage?

Have you got them pulled out to far? soften them by moving them back slightly

Kef speakers don't need a lot of toe-in, they're effectively horn speakers. The more they're toed in the more "exciting" they get. Treat them gently you only need just enough to lock the centre image in the middle. BUT having said that you could do an extreme toe where they don't point at your ears but they cross over/converge around a meter in front of you. Visually strange but the sound stage that is produced is otherworldly

Sofa dead against the wall? pull it away.

Place cushions temporally beside your ears and see if that tempers it, if so then you need some treatment/bookshelves/soft stuff dotted around.

close to windows, radiators and any hard reflective surface?

Are the speakers actually the same distance from the walls, I'm very sensitive to this and hear imbalances all the time in peoples system, can actually hurt my ears over time as well. And i mean really hurt.

I know they look great nice but you listen with the covers on or off?

place cushions behind them and to the side of them. At the height of drivers

Are your speakers dead level on their spikes ie not pointing at the ceiling?

Does the room have an echo can you hear yourself speak? Do a clap test you should hear any strange reflections.
Not a lot you can do about that unless you are willing to treat. or hang large canvas art on the wall.

Dot some larger house plants around in the listening area grass/larger leaf plants, this will help scatter the high-frequency energy.


Throwing money at it isn't normally the answer. I do all and or think about the above. The funny thing is my room sounds better at christmas when i have the tree up as it solves a reflection problem i have a large reverb to the right me. Because its space in the room that has nothing there other than a radiator..

Do not buy any new speakers till you have heard them in your space.
 
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Din5

Active member
Jun 27, 2021
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Hi Folks, many thanks for your helpful replies.

Changing amplifier -
The shop offered the Elex-R as it would be a good lively match for the RP6, and the phono stage was almost designed for this deck, so I'm not very keen to change the amp which I'm sure is a quality piece of kit.

Applying tape to tweeter -
My thoughts were if the metal dome is effectively ringing at high frequency (like a bell), if I touch a ringing bell it dulls the sound, hence my idea that a little tape applied may be sufficient to reduce the ring , after lots of experimentation of course.

Reflections - The speakers fire down the length of the room (about 6m long) and are placed towards the middle of the room due to large TV in one rear corner and table/lamps etc in the other rear corner. The speakers are pulled out about 1.5m from the rear wall. There are 2 facing soft fabric couches, 1 either side of the speakers and there's a polished wood coffee table in front of my listening position ..... I wonder if the coffee table could be the fault ? though I think I had tried moving it previously. French windows are to the right of my listening position.
I will try to post a sketch, but maybe a photo would be better.
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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Experimenting with what you've got is definitely the first thing to do - though changing componentry in the speakers or applying tape are pretty drastic steps. As mentioned above, positioning/angle of speakers and listening position are no-cost first steps.
 
Experimenting with what you've got is definitely the first thing to do - though changing componentry in the speakers or applying tape are pretty drastic steps. As mentioned above, positioning/angle of speakers and listening position are no-cost first steps.
Agreed. Any modifications to speaker or crossover will effect resale value of this is what the OP ultimately has to do.
 

aversaurus

Well-known member
Jan 11, 2016
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Hi I'm a big fan of rega and have owned most of there amplifiers at one time .I really liked the rega Mira.
I owed the Rega Elex-R amp and it was ok until I got some focal floor standers .I found the pairing a bit shrill and bright at the top end .
 

Din5

Active member
Jun 27, 2021
24
5
25
Hi,
Thanks for your interest.
I will try some experimentation over the next week and let you know if I have been able to remove the brightness/ sharp high end sound.
If I eventually need to change the Q5's I guess I would be in the market for some slightly warmer sounding speakers with a smooth tweeter, but retaining a detailed midrange .
I have heard the Oberon 5's with an Elex-r and was quite impressed. I would also consider the Lintons as I read they are smooth also. I wish there were some reviews of the Quad S4 and Warfedale EVO 4.3 as they are smaller floorstanders in keeping with the height of my Q5's........my wife dosen't want "boxes" any bigger than what we have !
 

Din5

Active member
Jun 27, 2021
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Hi, yes I've already made a model of the Lintons using a cardboard box, just to judge the size against my Q5's. Obviously the Linton is much shorter but wider and deeper.
 

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