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KEF Reference 201/2 vs KEF R 900

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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I was reading elsewhere about the 201/2 and some one made a remark that the R900s price falls close to 201/2 that it is better to upgrade to 201/2

I am of the impression that if I have the money and space then R900 is a better choice given that it is less than year old compared to the reference series which are I guess about 5 years old. Also, since R series has trickled down technology from Blade where as Reference does not have this advantage.

Assuming that sub 75Hz response is not an issue (as well as space) which is better? :?
 

Frank Harvey

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First things first. I think your amplifier will cope better with the R900's easier load. In this respect, both will match up better. Having said that, I think the 201/2's will allow you to upgrade your system further.

Yes, the R900's are Blade based, but the Reference range is still better. I would still take the 201's over the R900's myself, basically because they're better behaved, particularly at higher volumes, dynamically superior, with amazing headroom in reserve. A good design doesn't become out of date overnight :)

The 201's will be easier to place. They ported upwards rather than to the rear, and also have control for dropping the LF by 2dB if they're going to be placed near a wall. Very handy.

The main advantage of the R900's will be bass depth, although the 201's are no slouch for a standmount speaker.
 

jaxwired

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I vote for the R900. Any room that will handle those will be underserved by the 201/2 IMO. The R900 will be more full range and therefore more fun to listen to.
 

WishTree

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
First things first. I think your amplifier will cope better with the R900's easier load. In this respect, both will match up better. Having said that, I think the 201/2's will allow you to upgrade your system further.
Wow! Here I am thinking that I almost reached the end with Classe CP-800 + Classe CA-2100. I am sure I will not be changing the electronics any time soon but out of curiousity & genuine interest what could be my upgrade path?

FrankHarveyHiFi said:
Yes, the R900's are Blade based, but the Reference range is still better. I would still take the 201's over the R900's myself, basically because they're better behaved, particularly at higher volumes, dynamically superior, with amazing headroom in reserve. A good design doesn't become out of date overnight :)

The 201's will be easier to place. They ported upwards rather than to the rear, and also have control for dropping the LF by 2dB if they're going to be placed near a wall. Very handy.

The main advantage of the R900's will be bass depth, although the 201's are no slouch for a standmount speaker.
Thanks David.. You are making it very easy for me. Honestly I heard the R700 and very impressed by the mid to top end. Somehow I feel that I am on the rare group in this hobby because I do not care so much about low end but if the Vocals and top frequencies are not smooth then I get fatigued very quickly.

Partially it could be that my PV1 subwoofer is doing a great job but even when it is off, I do not miss too much.

The reason why I post this topic is, I am about to make an impulse purchase and I have not heard the reference series. I heard the R700 and I really like them. And what I gather is the Reference series is more cleaner and possible smoother in which case my impulse purchase won't be too bad, I hope!!
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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jaxwired said:
I vote for the R900. Any room that will handle those will be underserved by the 201/2 IMO. The R900 will be more full range and therefore more fun to listen to.
Deep down I know that a floor standing speaker will do so much better in scale especially when the R900 has so much bigger woofers. Having said & known that, I am keen to know the difference and gains that can happen in either directions.

At this point of time, I have very little choice but a standmount speakers. If the gap is much lower then spending the money on 201/2 is justified I guess. But if it is too much, then I rather go with R300 and make it work or some other option than spending alot more money on 201/2

Tough decisions but I guess I know already which way I am going ;)
 

Frank Harvey

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Jumping Jack said:
Could a superuniti do respect to the 201/2? They sure look stunning...
It'll drive them as long as you're not having any raves, but I've never really felt that the Naim amplification suits Reference. I feel they sound quite lean with Naim, as I've found that suitable amplification is needed to bring out the bass that the Reference range is capable of.
 

Frank Harvey

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WishTree said:
Wow! Here I am thinking that I almost reached the end with Classe CP-800 + Classe CA-2100. I am sure I will not be changing the electronics any time soon but out of curiousity & genuine interest what could be my upgrade path?
I was just referring to better amplification in case you wanted to take your system further. I think if I was sticking with the CA2100, I'd play safe and go with the R900's.

Thanks David.. You are making it very easy for me. Honestly I heard the R700 and very impressed by the mid to top end. Somehow I feel that I am on the rare group in this hobby because I do not care so much about low end but if the Vocals and top frequencies are not smooth then I get fatigued very quickly.

The reason why I post this topic is, I am about to make an impulse purchase and I have not heard the reference series. I heard the R700 and I really like them. And what I gather is the Reference series is more cleaner and possible smoother in which case my impulse purchase won't be too bad, I hope!!
If you like the more laid back sound of the R series, then yes, go for it. But the 201/2's will have a more revealing mid and treble. It's hard to explain, but the HF of the 201's is more prominent/forward, but not bright or harsh.

I know I'm giving you mixed messages here, but only you can weigh up the pros and cons of what you're after :)
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
If you like the more laid back sound of the R series, then yes, go for it. But the 201/2's will have a more revealing mid and treble. It's hard to explain, but the HF of the 201's is more prominent/forward, but not bright or harsh.

I know I'm giving you mixed messages here, but only you can weigh up the pros and cons of what you're after :)
Now you are making it tough !!

As you might remember from my other thread, I am relocating soon and I am looking for a standmount speakers and 201/2 tick all the boxes. However the offer that I am tempted to say 'yes' for the 201/2 is with out audition (too far away) and I can not get to audition them at a dealer (Also, I think it is unfair to the dealer if I audition with the dealer with out even having the intention to buy them from that dealer)

I liked the R700 sound and since I read the comment about the R900 vs 201/2 elsewhere, the offer over 201/2 makes even more enticing.

It is not that I have not taken such offers in the past in similar situations but back then I had time on my side and I could easily sell them off, albeit at a slight loss, if I did not like them. But now time is essence and I prefer to get it right quickly possible.

I am happy with more mid range but not too sure about the top end openness. I know it is individual but I would still like you to share your views / suggestions with me !

The top end / high frequency of B&W CM7 and Tannoy Revolution Signature DC6T are too harsh for me. I like the top end sound of Dynaudio Contour S1.4 as well Proac Response D Two and ofcourse B&W 804D as well as KEF R700

With these reference points, please share your thoughts on 201/2 top end response?

Also, it is not too late for me, may be. If Classe CA-2100 is not upto the task of driving 201/2 which power amp would you recommend to drive the 201/2 as I am really keen to keep the Classe CP-800 preamp.
 

Frank Harvey

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You may find the CA2100 all you need, but I would suggest the CA2300 as the ideal candidate.

As I say, you won't find the 201/2's as laid back as the R900's, but you should find them more revealing. There are those that feel the Reference treble is a little bright - obviously thats open to interpretation though. What you won't hear is any 'tizz'. The Reference HF is extremely clean, and you'll only hear whats there, nothing more. There's no (what I would call) brightness to it at all. If you did feel they were a little bright, you can reduce the HF by 0.75dB (which is subtle) or 1.5dB (which is quite noticable).

The R900's, and the other floorstanders are great speakers, and great value for money for the quality on offer, but I would still take Reference over them any day of the week. I actually prefer the 201/2's to the 203/2's as well.
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
You may find the CA2100 all you need, but I would suggest the CA2300 as the ideal candidate.

As I say, you won't find the 201/2's as laid back as the R900's, but you should find them more revealing. There are those that feel the Reference treble is a little bright - obviously thats open to interpretation though. What you won't hear is any 'tizz'. The Reference HF is extremely clean, and you'll only hear whats there, nothing more. There's no (what I would call) brightness to it at all. If you did feel they were a little bright, you can reduce the HF by 0.75dB (which is subtle) or 1.5dB (which is quite noticable).

The R900's, and the other floorstanders are great speakers, and great value for money for the quality on offer, but I would still take Reference over them any day of the week. I actually prefer the 201/2's to the 203/2's as well.
Thanks David. I am glad to read this. I took the offer. Should be getting the speakers early next week! I will fill in my findings once I receive the speakers!!
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Hi WT, David has covered most of what I was going to say (but that doesn't stop me!).

- Congratulations on getting one of the very best standmounts out there, in and around that money.

- I hate the word better. In terms of construction, design, quality of components, measurements, headroom and placement flexibility they are better. In terms of personal preference," better" is what you prefer and what works in your room with the rest of your system.

- I would describe them as a true Reference speaker, with just a hint of forgiveness.

- IMO They are less forward than Focal, Monitor Audio and Triangle.

- The realism they produce can be quite startling and somewhat disconcerting, when heard for the first time.

- If there is a weakness in the system, they'll show it up, but it does the same with the strengths. The "flavour" of the source and cables can (imo) be heard. The R Series is a bit more hifi and forgiving sounding.

- I think Classe produces a sound that's just on the warm side of absolute neutral, so that is exactly what you will hear.

- On the end of my Linn DS + 35i + Cardas cables, there is no brightness to the sound, as the 205s pass on these characteristics beautifully.

- The Treble reduction works effectively, but doesn't fundamentally change it's character.....so you have to like the sound of them in the first place.

If I was to hazard a guess, I think they will make an excellent match, provided you can get their placement sorted.

Look forward to your thoughts

Cno
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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Thanks Cno!

When I agreed to the offer, I thanked you and David in my head as I have personally not heard them and R700 was my only basis in KEF range. To be honest though I love the sound of the R700, I would say that they are a little bit towards the polite sound but it is so much music dependent.

It is very nice to see your assurance on the matching with my Classe equipment.

I have few months at the current place so I will atleast here the best possible and in the future home I need to come out with kind of solution. Since I only know the new home from pcitures and floor space is a definite premium, I need to get innovative enough to give the 201/2 the needed breathing space!

BTW.. I still run my Chord Carnival Silver Screen but it is time for me to move to some other speaker cables!!

Finally.. I guess.. I might be the one less person on your list, to whom you can suggest the KEF Reference! Or even better I can join in and get some others to move on to reference >)
 

Frank Harvey

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WishTree said:
Finally.. I guess.. I might be the one less person on your list, to whom you can suggest the KEF Reference! Or even better I can join in and get some others to move on to reference >)
I don't like to try and convince people to buy Reference as sound is a personal preference, and to be honest, I don't need to convince people to buy it - if they go and hear it and have a good demo, it sells itself. If someone doesn't like them, they won't buy them. We have plenty of competition for people to choose from, and because of the choice on offer, people do take advantage of that and try other models out. More often than not, the Reference models tend to win out, depending on the individual's requirements.

I'm sure you'll love them - what they offer for a speaker which is not really much bigger than my R300's is pretty stunning.
 

CnoEvil

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My "assurance" is a "best guess", as I have not heard them paired together.....and like David, am never totally comfortable with anyone buying on my recommendation without a demo.

Your amp produces a very "strong" 100W, as that doubles into 4 Ohms....so even though the 201/2s may only be 86 dBs, they drop to 4.2 Ohms, which will make your amp sound more powerful than it looks on paper.

Your amp is refined, controlled, detailed and musical sounding with no "grit" in the treble; as well as portraying a great soundstage, with superior imaging.......all of which will be passed on in full. The sound will indeed be a little less polite and a little more exciting.

I also agree with careful attention to cables when all is settled down, and that includes the demo of a decent mains cable.
 

Frank Harvey

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CnoEvil said:
I also agree with careful attention to cables when all is settled down, and that includes the demo of a decent mains cable.
My preference, but I like Chord Epic with r series, Reference, and Blade. And before anyone assumes I'm recommending that, I'm not - I'm stating MY preference! Use bell wire if you want to... :)
 

CnoEvil

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
CnoEvil said:
I also agree with careful attention to cables when all is settled down, and that includes the demo of a decent mains cable.
My preference, but I like Chord Epic with r series, Reference, and Blade. And before anyone assumes I'm recommending that, I'm not - I'm stating MY preference! Use bell wire if you want to... :)
That's only because you are (probably) not familiar with Cardas, Atlas (Mavros) and Telurium Q! :shifty:
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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David & Cno..

Please be assured that though you gave me only your views, the decision however is fully mine :)

I am the one who seeked for views & opinions to aid in my decision making.. so it is all in good spirit & thank you!
 

CnoEvil

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iceman16 said:
Hi Cno,

which Focal? If you dont mind?
I certainly don't mind, and please remember this is personal preference:

I have heard the Utopia Diablo, Scala and Maestro....with a variety of amplification. The more expensive they get, the better they get; and the best I heard the the Diablo/Maestro sound, was on the end of the MF AMS 35i (and DCS Debussy Dac/Electrocompaniet EMC 1UP CDP).

Having demoed them, I was glad to get back to my References, which aren't as "in yer face".....but I would describe them as "forward", rather than bright. Of the three I speakers I listed, I would much rather have the Focal....but at that kind of money, it is essential to make as few compromises as possible, with regard to one's subjective preference.
 

WishTree

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May 18, 2010
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CnoEvil said:
Yup! We'll take all the credit if your decision works out; but distance ourselves if it doesn't!! ;)
That sounds about fair..!!

There are two decisions that I regret the most.

1. I demo'ed the B&W CM9 atleast at three different places with different amplifiers including the amp that I used to have then and it was an easy upgraded from then existing CM7. Where ever I heard them the high frequencies sounded shrill to me and the dealers convinced me that their rooms are bad. Ofcourse, I was very new to the hobby. I bought a brand new pair in high gloss black and after a month or so I could not live with them and sold them off. Thanks to all magazines for great reviews for CM9, I lost just a 100 pounds on the whole

2. Dynaudio Contour S1.4 - Bought used with out a demo immediately after CM9 and was only focussing on top frequencies which sounded very good. Drove 200 miles with a friend, heard them paid them and collected them. Once I am back, I placed them about 20 cm from the wall in a 25 square meter room (the seller placed them good 120cm from the wall for audition and he has almost 60 square meter living room) and the bass was so much. I tried tweaking (sub was never on) positioning but in the small room I could not go beyond 50cm and either the room modes or what ever, all I could get was too much bass. Sold them off after few month and I think I made some 150 pounds profit!

So I have stories on both sides of demos and the place where I live, I am yet to come across a dealer who can offer a good price over retail and still provide home demo. Some times I find it silly to pay full retail when a delaer 20 miles away is willing to make a good discount over the retail but not willing to give a home demo. But sometimes I think the otherway :)

Eitherways, I will fill next week on the findings!!
 

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