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Kef R500 vs R700.....

Gazzip

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Jan 15, 2011
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Does anybody know what the real difference between these floorstanders is apart from £500 in price? I have the R500's on home trial at the moment because my R300's developed a fault. I have the option to upgrade to them for only £350 instead of replacing my faulty 300's. I may well do this because they sound great, but am curious what the extra £500 on top again would get me if I decided to "double upgrade" for the R700's. I know it is ultimately down to what my ears say but I thought I would gather opinion before going through the hassle of boxing everything up again.....
 

Ajani

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Apr 9, 2008
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Gazzip said:
Does anybody know what the real difference between these floorstanders is apart from £500 in price? I have the R500's on home trial at the moment because my R300's developed a fault. I have the option to upgrade to them for only £350 instead of replacing my faulty 300's. I may well do this because they sound great, but am curious what the extra £500 on top again would get me if I decided to "double upgrade" for the R700's. I know it is ultimately down to what my ears say but I thought I would gather opinion before going through the hassle of boxing everything up again.....
The R500 has 2 x 130mm (5.25in.) bass drivers, while the R700 has 2 x 165mm (6.5in.) bass drivers. The R700 also has a larger cabinet. So the difference should be deeper bass.
 

CnoEvil

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Whether it's worth it in your situation, may depend on the size of the room and its acoustics.

I have heard the R700s but not the R500s, though I'm familiar enough with various Kef models to make a reasonable guess (until someone like David rolls up)

They will sound very similar, but with greater scale (bass)....which should make the speaker sound gutsier. The R700s did sound very good (in a mid sized room), and had surprising bass for their size.
 

Gazzip

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Thanks Cnoevil,

My room is 6m x 5m. The speakers back on to the 6m wall, 3m apart with approx 30cm behind them. I sit centre opposite appox 4m away. Smoking jacket, slippers, glass of good red. You know the score.
 

CnoEvil

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Gazzip said:
Thanks Cnoevil, My room is 6m x 5m. The speakers back on to the 6m wall, 3m apart with approx 30cm behind them. I sit centre opposite appox 4m away. Smoking jacket, slippers, glass of good red. You know the score.
In that case I would go for the R700.....but try first if poss.

I went through the same thing with IQ5/IQ7/IQ9 and then 203/2 vs 205/2.

As you get more bass, large scale or bass driven music just sound so much better...it's very hard to go back after hearing the bigger brother.

The impact on AV is less imo...as the centre does so much of the work, and the sub takes care of the deep bass.
 
A

Anonymous

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Hi Gazzip,

can you tell something about R300 and R500 inside a 180 square feet room? What is yor expiriece regarding the room size matching to those to models?Best regards

can you tell something about R300 and R500 inside a 180 square feet room? What is yor expiriece regarding the room size matching to those two models?

Best regards
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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In a 6m x 5m room, I'd definitely be looking towards the R700's. The R500's will still perform well, but you'll want something with a little extra headroom, and something that can effortlessly fill the room in the low end department. The R700's will reach deeper due to their larger cabinet volume (not vastly, but noticable), and they'll also shift more air due to their larger bass drivers. Effectively, the R700 is a floorstanding version of the R300's. They'll also allow your Mono X's to reveal their true abilities too.

As always, give them a try :)
 

Gazzip

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So I've had the R300's, R500's and R700's all on extended home auditions and this is what I have found so far:

R300's - £1000 - Amazing soundstage. Great bass but some fiddling with rear port bungs and positioning in relation to the rear wall was required to focus it. Great with vocal music but pretty dam good with anything you throw at them really. They do however get a bit confused with complex pieces of music.

R500's - £1500 - As above but with more oomph. Bass is deep and controlled. Also there is better separation within the soundstage and less tenancy for the presentation to be cloudy when the complexity increases. Female vocals are amazing but the metal drive units are exposed by some male vocal recordings which can lead to a slightly "metallic" and unnatural sound. This is a very small issue but it has been grating during prolonged listening periods. Not fussy about positioning.

R700's - £2000 - Hmmmmm. I only got these because I was so impressed by the R500,s and wanted to know what an extra £500 would get me. The bass is big. Really big. Could be weaponised with a few tweaks. Mind you it should be good coming from floorstanders weighing 27kg each. However after 30 hours of running in day and night I am feeling quite cold about these boxes. The incredible soundstage created by the much less expensive 300'sand 500's seems to have been lost in translation to the bigger cabinets, or maybe visa versa? Also the metallic male vocal issue is much more prevalent here.

All of the above leaves me more confused than when I started the auditioning. I am tempted to revert to the 500's but am also wondering about the 900's. Will going to the top of the range just give me more of the R700's traits or are the 900's in a different league?
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Gazzip said:
So I've had the R300's, R500's and R700's all on extended home auditions and this is what I have found so far: R300's - £1000 - Amazing soundstage. Great bass but some fiddling with rear port bungs and positioning in relation to the rear wall was required to focus it. Great with vocal music but pretty dam good with anything you throw at them really. They do however get a bit confused with complex pieces of music. R500's - £1500 - As above but with more oomph. Bass is deep and controlled. Also there is better separation within the soundstage and less tenancy for the presentation to be cloudy when the complexity increases. Female vocals are amazing but the metal drive units are exposed by some male vocal recordings which can lead to a slightly "metallic" and unnatural sound. This is a very small issue but it has been grating during prolonged listening periods. Not fussy about positioning. R700's - £2000 - Hmmmmm. I only got these because I was so impressed by the R500,s and wanted to know what an extra £500 would get me. The bass is big. Really big. Could be weaponised with a few tweaks. Mind you it should be good coming from floorstanders weighing 27kg each. However after 30 hours of running in day and night I am feeling quite cold about these boxes. The incredible soundstage created by the much less expensive 300'sand 500's seems to have been lost in translation to the bigger cabinets, or maybe visa versa? Also the metallic male vocal issue is much more prevalent here. All of the above leaves me more confused than when I started the auditioning. I am tempted to revert to the 500's but am also wondering about the 900's. Will going to the top of the range just give me more of the R700's traits or are the 900's in a different league?
Do you have to go with Kef.....What about Spendor or Proac.

Maybe it's a certain size of speaker that suits your room acoustics.
 

eagle123

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May 4, 2012
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i was in the similar boat as getting a pair of speakers, my setup consist of roksan kandy l3 amp and cd player, speakers are a tannoy mx3 floorstanding, been decorating recently and paint spattered on my speakers and also had some damage to them, cone disfigured, any way it was time to get another pair as i find the tannoy bass light, went to the hifi dealers and demoed a kef r300 r 500 and r700, i found that there was a step up upgrade to the sound when you moved to different kef speakers, the r 300 terrific timing vocals, and sweet treble, the r500 had the same but some scale, i was sold on the r700, those were the daddy!!

Am waiting for them got them on a piano black finish and the dealer did me a deal £1700 for the r700 !!

P.s Lied to the wife i got them for a £1000 not £1700 not worth the aggro if yu tell them the truth!!
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Gazzip said:
Not fussy about positioning. R700's - £2000 - Hmmmmm. I only got these because I was so impressed by the R500,s and wanted to know what an extra £500 would get me. The bass is big. Really big. Could be weaponised with a few tweaks. Mind you it should be good coming from floorstanders weighing 27kg each. However after 30 hours of running in day and night I am feeling quite cold about these boxes. The incredible soundstage created by the much less expensive 300'sand 500's seems to have been lost in translation to the bigger cabinets, or maybe visa versa? Also the metallic male vocal issue is much more prevalent here. All of the above leaves me more confused than when I started the auditioning. I am tempted to revert to the 500's but am also wondering about the 900's.
I see you are now very happy with the R700s, so what changed....was it a "run in" thing or the Bryston amplification? I ask as I'm suggesting these to Wishtree, who was a little put off by your initial assessment (above).

You now have a wonderful system, and am right in thinking that the SBT is a transport for the built-in Bryston Dac?
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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CnoEvil said:
I see you are now very happy with the R700s, so what changed....was it a "run in" thing or the Bryston amplification? I ask as I'm suggesting these to Wishtree, who was a little put off by your initial assessment (above).

You now have a wonderful system, and am right in thinking that the SBT is a transport for the built-in Bryston Dac?
Thanks Cno! Yes, please let us know what has changed as it might be good learning for me about what to look for.

BTW.. I took a demo of KEF R700 (cno, I am converted to KEF R series, almost!). It is not much of a demo but heard few songs with a Marantz Pearl Lite Amplifier. Definetly there is magic there!! I was only focussing on the top end smoothness and it was really really smooth. I heard a track which I am very familiar with and there is an airy smoothness on treble..

Also, I got this nice shop to play the B&W 804D with the same Pearl lite amplifer and I can say that the smoothness on top end of R700 is not miles away from the 804D. Ofcourse, the 804D are in a different league altogether given the double or more pricing.

If I can get enought funds then it will be 804D, otherwise it will be the R700s.

BTW, Gazzip, which color did you get?
 

CnoEvil

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WishTree said:
Thanks Cno! Yes, please let us know what has changed as it might be good learning for me about what to look for.

BTW.. I took a demo of KEF R700 (cno, I am converted to KEF R series, almost!). It is not much of a demo but heard few songs with a Marantz Pearl Lite Amplifier. Definetly there is magic there!! I was only focussing on the top end smoothness and it was really really smooth. I heard a track which I am very familiar with and there is an airy smoothness on treble..

Also, I got this nice shop to play the B&W 804D with the same Pearl lite amplifer and I can say that the smoothness on top end of R700 is not miles away from the 804D. Ofcourse, the 804D are in a different league altogether given the double or more pricing.

If I can get enought funds then it will be 804D, otherwise it will be the R700s.

BTW, Gazzip, which color did you get?
That's great. I suspect they will sound better again with the Classe. The best compliment I can give them, is that they sound closer to the Refs than the price would suggest.
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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CnoEvil said:
That's great. I suspect they will sound better again with the Classe. The best compliment I can give them, is that they sound closer to the Refs than the price would suggest.
Closer to Refs? That is nice to know. This nice shop is getting renowated right now and 4 weeks from now, they are going to do a side by side demo with KEF blades and R series (I think it is because of some of the blades tech got trickled down to R series, I guess). It would be a delight to listen to both and possibly I will take my amp and check how it works out (provided I do not already buy the speakers by then ;) )
 

Gazzip

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Hi Cno and WishTree,

Piano black is the colour. You chose well WishTree, they look amazing. My initial disappointment was due to a restricted soundstage. Not surprisingly really considering the ability of the R300's I had before them and their incredible ability to position instruments. However given time the 700's scale and range have won through. The change of mind followed a good run in, I would say a week on low volume, all day every day.

The Bryston stuff is a pre/power combo that sounds lovely. It has taken me a couple of listening sessions to "get it". Initially I wasn't bowled over by what I perceived to be a lack of "HiFi" in comparison to the Cyrus stuff I previously owned. However, I don't remember tapping my feet and bobbing my head like a strutting chicken to the Cyrus kit, so something pretty cool has happened.....
 

CnoEvil

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Gazzip said:
Hi Cno and WishTree,

Piano black is the colour. You chose well WishTree, they look amazing. My initial disappointment was due to a restricted soundstage. Not surprisingly really considering the ability of the R300's I had before them and their incredible ability to position instruments. However given time the 700's scale and range have won through. The change of mind followed a good run in, I would say a week on low volume, all day every day.

The Bryston stuff is a pre/power combo that sounds lovely. It has taken me a couple of listening sessions to "get it". Initially I wasn't bowled over by what I perceived to be a lack of "HiFi" in comparison to the Cyrus stuff I previously owned. However, I don't remember tapping my feet and bobbing my head like a strutting chicken to the Cyrus kit, so something pretty cool has happened.....
That's great, thank you.

It's good to get an owner's view, as my impressions were based on a relatively short listen.

Cno
 

Gazzip

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Gotta say that I am really surprised that WHFI haven't tested the R series. Kef need to sort themselves out and send a set of one of the four in the set for review.
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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Gazzip said:
Hi Cno and WishTree,

Piano black is the colour. You chose well WishTree, they look amazing. My initial disappointment was due to a restricted soundstage. Not surprisingly really considering the ability of the R300's I had before them and their incredible ability to position instruments. However given time the 700's scale and range have won through. The change of mind followed a good run in, I would say a week on low volume, all day every day.
Thank you! I am considering the Rosewood color (though the one that I auditioned are in Gloss Black as well). I wish the manufacturers run in their products while making them, so that we do not have to wait (with crossed fingures) for few weeks to see how they would turn out :)
 

eagle123

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i bought mine a few days ago, still no reply to when they arrive, are they hand built? i am also upgrading the interconnects on my roksan kandy, got some ixos cable was thinking of chord crimson + as at the moment the with the tannoy m3 i got and the speakers cables are qed silver the sound is bright, and bass light, the 700 i listened to got more bass than the 500 so the qed silver may temper it, and ideas of decent cables am after a neutral sound
 

eagle123

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May 4, 2012
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i got my speakers, the r700, in piano black, initial impressions are that speakers are better at separation, has better detail, like fingers strumming the guitar you can pick it out, lastly the bass, like when i am listening to 60s music, you can differentiate, the sound of the drum, one lower than the other, it exposes weak recordings, but rewards you with music that has been recorded to the highest standard.

I think there a thread here about the way you upgrade components then you realise that certain sound recording sound naff, like i was listening to mp3 music and find that it sounds limited there is something missing, maybe a dac upgrade may improve it.
 

mgkwackerd

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Can't comment on the 500 vs 700, but I have bought the R500 to replace M/A RX6, and with a cyrus cdxt se2, rega dac, cyrus xp pre-amp and cyrus X power, power amp, they are beautifully open with a precise soundstage, and good detailing, picking up lots more info in the mid range, and the vocals are very good, picking up harmony vocals I hadn't heard before and the bass is deeper and taughter than the RX6, overall a great upgrade to compliment my system, I agree that KEF should get this range some reviews, as they are really good capable speakers. Piano gloss black finish is lovely.
 

Frank Harvey

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While the R series doesn't really have any 'dead ducks', I do find the R500 a particularly strong model in the range. A demo I did on Saturday had them on the end of a Naim CD5i and Naim Nait 5i - and the results were fantastic. Modeselektor's track Evil Twin from their album Monkeytown sounded pretty amazing. They never fail to impress with their bass depth and power, which is better than some more expensive floorstanders.

The R700's have been the first of the R series reviewed, and have come out very well :)
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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Gazzip said:
...because my R300's developed a fault. .
What fault did they develop and how did that happen? Due to a change in situation, I am currently considering standmount speakers and R300 is of great interest to me.

Would be nice what hidden surprise to expect with R300. Do let me know
 

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