Kef R3 or Acoustic Energy AE1 Active

jodaki

Active member
May 10, 2022
12
1
25
Hi, Im looking for some opinions on these 2 speakers to help me decide whether I want to go the active or passive route.

Yes I will doubtless audition them if possible but right now I just want to gather some opinions from people with good ears.

Sound-wise which do you prefer?
thanks, John
 
Hi, Im looking for some opinions on these 2 speakers to help me decide whether I want to go the active or passive route.

Yes I will doubtless audition them if possible but right now I just want to gather some opinions from people with good ears.

Sound-wise which do you prefer?
thanks, John
Unfortunately you are simply going to get opinions for those that prefer active or passive as it is highly unlikely anyone will have auditioned both.
Go audition yourself would be my advice as we don't have any information as to your sources of room size to go on.
Do you already own an amplifier...?
What led you to select these two?
 

jjbomber

Well-known member
Dec 22, 2006
1,238
602
20,070
I just want to gather some opinions from people with good ears.
What works for people with good ears may or may not work for you. Would you ask Lewis Hamilton to recommend a car for you? No, he would only recommend what is best for him. It's the same with speakers. Loads of people with better ears than me will would recommend PMC but I can't stand them. Great product, but not for me.
You are on the right lines with two great speakers there. My guess is that it will depend what amp you use with the KEFs, but again, you have to audition. For what it's worth, I have a Dynaudio active system and a Naim/Focal passive system. I prefer the passive system. You may well get a different result.
So audition them both and do what is best for you, not the salesman!
 
I still want to know why these two speakers.
You are trying to compare a £1300 passive with a £1000 active.
The figures don't make sense. You are going to have to add a substantial amp to the KEFs price so, if going active you need to be looking at more expensive active speakers for an similar overall budget.
 

Roger_A

Well-known member
Mar 31, 2010
44
28
18,570
I still want to know why these two speakers.
You are trying to compare a £1300 passive with a £1000 active.
The figures don't make sense. You are going to have to add a substantial amp to the KEFs price so, if going active you need to be looking at more expensive active speakers for an similar overall budget.
I don't think it's quite as unbalanced as you make out. The AE1s are what I would call a traditional active speaker i.e. they just have the amplifiers within the cabinets and need an analogue input. Consequently the OP will need a preamp with whatever else is needed for other sources such as phono, DAC, streamer whether in one box or several.
 
I don't think it's quite as unbalanced as you make out. The AE1s are what I would call a traditional active speaker i.e. they just have the amplifiers within the cabinets and need an analogue input. Consequently the OP will need a preamp with whatever else is needed for other sources such as phono, DAC, streamer whether in one box or several.
I am aware of that, but such preamps are available quite cheaply. Depending on his sources, which he doesn't mention, he may not even need one....
whatever, he is still very much trying to compare chalk with cheese and nobody has answered his question yet as it's pretty much unanswerable
 

CheshirePete

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2020
59
48
570
Hi, Im looking for some opinions on these 2 speakers to help me decide whether I want to go the active or passive route.

Yes I will doubtless audition them if possible but right now I just want to gather some opinions from people with good ears.

Sound-wise which do you prefer?
thanks, John
One thing to consider, with actives there is not much of an upgrade path. Maybe that floats your boat, never heard either but I would go with the R3's because I like swapping kit.

Good luck
 
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nopiano

Well-known member
I’d say the LS50 is a nearer comparison with the AE1 Active, however…

I like most KEFs and I’ve been impressed at the AE1 too, so could happily enjoy either, I suspect. I’ve only heard the much larger R11 however.

Not really an easy comparison. A bit like hatchback v sports car. Different things for different purposes.
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
103
47
18,620
One thing to consider, with actives there is not much of an upgrade path. Maybe that floats your boat, never heard either but I would go with the R3's because I like swapping kit.

Good luck

Never bought that rationale. I have a pair of AVI actives, but in the last few years, I've had two preamps (the onboard one in the ADMs limits the number of inputs so I added an external one and just hook up to the line in), several CD players, two turntables, a few cartridges and a couple of external phono stages.

Never missed the mucking about with speakers and amps, actives just make that side of things so much easier.
 

Fidelity dom

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2020
29
19
545
I demoed the kef r300 the previous version of the r3 & they are a beautiful speaker, they provide considerably more base than the ls50 but likewise appreciate some good quality power behind them. Not listened to the AE 1s but be good to hear how you get on......😁
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
65
21
18,545
Not heard the Kefs but for what it’s worth, once compared the AE1a with the passive ATC SCM11 and preferred the actives. Like has been said above, you really need to hear both but will probably be difficult from a dealer that sells both (unlikely).
 

leemccann1

Well-known member
Sep 2, 2020
31
11
545
Ive got the LS50 wiresless 2's, Ive not heard the AE1's but I cant see thata £1k speaker with amplification built in could compare to the same speaker (LS50 passive) without amplification. A little off topic I know but relevant. I considered the R3's when I got the LS50's but would probaly have had to get something like the cambridge audio cx81 amp and cxn streamer to realistically meet the performance, which would be £3k as appposed to the £2250 I paid for the ls50's. I think the fact remains that the R3's are a better speaker than the AE1's if measured on the speaker alone. I think this is comparing £3k (r3 and amp etc) to £1k accoustic energy speaker, which im pretty sure we know which option would be better.
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
65
21
18,545
Ive got the LS50 wiresless 2's, Ive not heard the AE1's but I cant see thata £1k speaker with amplification built in could compare to the same speaker (LS50 passive) without amplification. A little off topic I know but relevant. I considered the R3's when I got the LS50's but would probaly have had to get something like the cambridge audio cx81 amp and cxn streamer to realistically meet the performance, which would be £3k as appposed to the £2250 I paid for the ls50's. I think the fact remains that the R3's are a better speaker than the AE1's if measured on the speaker alone. I think this is comparing £3k (r3 and amp etc) to £1k accoustic energy speaker, which im pretty sure we know which option would be better.
The price of HiFi kit is only a rough indicator of sound quality, but should not be used to rank components without prior listening and comparison - that’s a recipe for disappointment.
As I stated above, I owned the ATC SCM11 a few years back (they now retail at around £1400) and I heard them side by side with the AE1a - regardless of relative costs, I preferred the actives.
 

doifeellucky

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2016
217
127
10,970
Ive got the LS50 wiresless 2's, Ive not heard the AE1's but I cant see thata £1k speaker with amplification built in could compare to the same speaker (LS50 passive) without amplification. A little off topic I know but relevant. I considered the R3's when I got the LS50's but would probaly have had to get something like the cambridge audio cx81 amp and cxn streamer to realistically meet the performance, which would be £3k as appposed to the £2250 I paid for the ls50's. I think the fact remains that the R3's are a better speaker than the AE1's if measured on the speaker alone. I think this is comparing £3k (r3 and amp etc) to £1k accoustic energy speaker, which im pretty sure we know which option would be better.
I’ve yet to see a bad review of the AE1 active and several reviews put them as being equivalent to a passive 2k system, so that puts them squarely against the likes of the Kef models you mention, but with guaranteed results.
 
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