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KEF Reference 201/2 vs KEF R 900

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Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
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WishTree said:
They are one of the best speakers I heard. I still need to check / play with positioning but as it is they sound brilliant. All the caps (for tuning) are in place. So nothing is altered from the original intended sound.
I believe the centre cap should be taken out for a flat response :)
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
I believe the centre cap should be taken out for a flat response :)
Thanks David.. That is right.. I simply assumed that all in is FLAT now I removed the center one. The difference is there but it is very little, I must admit!
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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Hi WT

Things can look different after a night's sleep, and you've had time to work it all out in your head.

Am I right in thinking that you got the proper stands as well, which along with the Gloss finish, make the speakers worth a little under £4k new. If you have the stands, you should use them, as I would expect the 201s to sound even better bolted to them.

David is absolutely right about the position of the "cap", which as you say makes a subtle, but observable difference. Removing the other "Treble Cap" drops it back another notch. Removing the "Bass Cap" cuts the bass back by around 2 dB, to allow for near wall reinforcement.

How do you find them as compared to the R Series, and B&W 800 series.....I hope you found my assessment somewhat accurate, as this is always so personal. I suspect you are really hearing what the Classe are capable of. IMO. They make good recordings sublime, and bad recordings listenable.

Let me know how your negotiations go

Cno
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
CnoEvil said:
Hi WT

Things can look different after a night's sleep, and you've had time to work it all out in your head.

Am I right in thinking that you got the proper stands as well, which along with the Gloss finish, make the speakers worth a little under £4k new. If you have the stands, you should use them, as I would expect the 201s to sound even better bolted to them.

David is absolutely right about the position of the "cap", which as you say makes a subtle, but observable difference. Removing the other "Treble Cap" drops it back another notch. Removing the "Bass Cap" cuts the bass back by around 2 dB, to allow for near wall reinforcement.

How do you find them as compared to the R Series, and B&W 800 series.....I hope you found my assessment somewhat accurate, as this is always so personal. I suspect you are really hearing what the Classe are capable of. IMO. They make good recordings sublime, and bad recordings listenable.

Let me know how your negotiations go

Cno
Hi Cno.. I picked up the deal with out the stands. In the picture you see, there are some stands which are mine - quite sturdy from mission and I filled them with sand in all the pipes, used them when I had the Proac Response D Two.

You are quite spot on and in sync with my observations too. There are few I differ..

Compared with Response D Two, the 201/2 do a great job. Any one can spot the difference between the two very easily.

201/2 are the best that I have heard. IMO, with the flat setting they are a bit bass shy. I have had my share of standmounts but these are absolutely amazing..

Ofocurse, the grandness of a floor standing is missing very clearly and a slight lack of bass, but they more than compensate with the midrange and a silky soft treble. I am finally at peace with treble (Having heard all the tweeter rubbish over the years ; )

yes.. they are honest.. I am not sure whether they are much forgiving as I do not have a bigger benchmark but makes alot musical sound.. I bet it is some thing to do with the Classe gear taking control.

To be honest after a little while I turned on the PV1D and the sound is a little more fuller but if I have to recommend some one who has space for floorstanders, I would still suggest to go for the floorstanding speakers but as standmounts the 201/2 are the end of the journey, IMO.

The rest are the cables and upstream but 201/2 are quite fulfilling :)

Thank you all the time for telling me about their strenghts.. !!

Now.. the tricky part.. Paypal will decide wether I keep the speakers or send them back to the seller (due to the challenges I mentioned in the earlier posts). I am keen to have them but not want to live with the dents and no proof of purchase.. may be once and if I send them back, I buy them directly from the dealer this time.
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
Paypal decided the case in my favor.

So I shipped the speakers back to the seller (though at my expense |( Though Paypal says legally I am obliged to be paid for shipping them back but Paypal cannot enforce it on the seller. I just wanted to quickly get out of it and have my money back)

Now I will stay calm for few days and find a dealer who stock 201/2 and buy it from him.

:read: (to self)

No more long distance buying (unless it is a delaer) and if it is an individual seller, walk away from the deal if I can not pick the item self (or delivered by the seller to me.. wishful !)
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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You have to look at this, as an opportunity to get a home dem, that mightn't otherwise have been possible. You now know what you want and so can keep your eye out for an ex-dem. The Satin finish will also save you a bob or two.

One thing I will tell you.....you are going to miss them every time you put on some music.

Cno
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
CnoEvil said:
You have to look at this, as an opportunity to get a home dem, that mightn't otherwise have been possible. You now know what you want and so can keep your eye out for an ex-dem. The Satin finish will also save you a bob or two.

One thing I will tell you.....you are going to miss them every time you put on some music.

Cno
Yeah. you are right.. Too much of trouble (even I consider it as home demo!) but you are spot on.. I am already missing the sound of the KEF !!
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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0
Here are some in Walnut (gloss) ex-dem from a dealer (7th down):
http://marketing.sevenoakssoundandvision.co.uk/store/southeast/guildford/clearance.aspx
 

Macspur

Well-known member
May 3, 2010
77
0
18,540
CnoEvil said:
Here are some in Walnut (gloss) ex-dem from a dealer (7th down): http://marketing.sevenoakssoundandvision.co.uk/store/southeast/guildford/clearance.aspx
Beat me to it there Cno... saw them the other day.

Cheers

Mac
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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0
Macspur said:
CnoEvil said:
Here are some in Walnut (gloss) ex-dem from a dealer (7th down): http://marketing.sevenoakssoundandvision.co.uk/store/southeast/guildford/clearance.aspx
Beat me to it there Cno... saw them the other day.

Cheers

Mac
Hah; WT's wallet doesn't really stand a chance! :shifty:
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
You guys are totally right.. My wallet is going to get a bigger hole |(

Last time I checked with one of the SSAV shops, they did not want to ship them to Germany but no harm in trying.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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WishTree said:
You guys are totally right.. My wallet is going to get a bigger hole |(

Last time I checked with one of the SSAV shops, they did not want to ship them to Germany but no harm in trying.
Any luck....or are you having a change of mind (R300)
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
CnoEvil said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
No UK dealer will be allowed to ship to Germany.
Thx David, that would explain it (and I should probably have remembered this).
:( That is what is confirmed. I managed to book a demo for Kef Reference 201/2, blade and R300 to see what is the lowest I can go and what is possible at the best from KEF - Planned next week. Will keep us posted.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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WishTree said:
CnoEvil said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
No UK dealer will be allowed to ship to Germany.
Thx David, that would explain it (and I should probably have remembered this).
:( That is what is confirmed. I managed to book a demo for Kef Reference 201/2, blade and R300 to see what is the lowest I can go and what is possible at the best from KEF - Planned next week. Will keep us posted.
I look forward to your findings......which will greatly depend on the quality of the amplification used (you should try and sort this in advance).
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
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I just want to give an ending to this thread with my findings.

After my 201/2 fiasco deal (but superb speakers), I went onto audition the 201/2. Luckily the dealer has blade as well as R300 (and R700 as well as R900) but no other reference series were there on display.

Started with R300 along with Pearl Lite amplifier and moved onto the 201/2 (along with marantz 11 series) and Blade with Marantz series. Neither I had the time to change the amplifier for blades nor it was so easily possible. 201/2 were done at the end of some Mcintosh gear as well.

I will just give a short version.

R series sound is very similar (Heard from R100, R300, R700 & R900). It is the increase in scale and weight as we moved up. It is a pity that I did not get to try the R500 but I think that is the sweet spot. Since I have no space / need for floorstanding speakers, the rest of the audition with floorstanders was purely for fun / to see what is missing.

Moving on to the 201/2 the sound is noticeably lean but very very clean (even compared to R300). R300s sounded a tad muddled when did a direct comparision with 201/2 however the scale felt much larger. I had a feeling that 201/2 had the same scale but it is the clean sound made it feel leaner & tauter. Also, I have realised the difference between a HiFi sound and Studio sound. R300s sounded more HiFi where as 201/2 were getting dangerously close to the accuracy.

I really want something in between! >)

Blade - What to say?! I might not be the best judge to take an opinion on the blade but for the asking price, I think the R series is already doing most of it especially the R900. Blade sounded a lot more powerful, drums had more authority and the sound just filled up the room effortlessly. As I said I am not good at this but now if some one puts an R900 behind an acoustic curtain with a good sub mated and Blade in front of my eyes, I would easily say that R900 with sub is blade. This is not only an observation of how close the sound of R900 to blade but it also might be my inability to decipher sound after a certain level

Blades and R900s are in different rooms and I felt guilty to ask the dealer to move R900s to the same room as Blade just because I am curious to know how they sound in the same room with the same amps :twisted:

In the end heard Amati Anniversario from Sonus Faber. If I am buying then Amati will be it. Physically they are not overwhelming, the soundstage is wide but smooth and there is a very warm character. Also I think at this price point every single component in the chain makes the difference. But with the little auditioning that I did beyond 201/2, I would seriously consider some of the Sonus Faber range.

I also figured out, after hearing the Mcintosh gear (there are many over there and I did not bother to check which one was actually driving Sonus Faber), I realize that Classe gear is at best neutral but never on warm side.

More learnings were made and I will post them in my other thread about the Power Amps mating with speakers.

Oh.. BTW, the dealer was nice to make an offer for R300 and so went for it. They are Gloss White !!
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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This is exactly what David and I have been trying to say.

The R Series is more forgiving and show a bit more of their personality. The Refs shine a strong light on the rest of the system, reflecting the personality of the preceeding kit. They should have displayed more warmth on the end of the McIntosh (which is a great match, depending on model). As the amp gets better, so do the 201s (eg MF Primo + AMS 35P)

With a SS amp that isn't Class A, the SF help inject some warmth, or if you like, offset the traits of the amp, if it sounds a little lean and forward.

This is where tailoring system synergy to suit taste is so crucial....if you want to add warmth to your Classe, then SF -> R series -> Ref series, will add progressively less, with the Refs giving only a hint of it.

I will be intrigued to hear the difference on the end of your system, which will be slightly different again. The quality of the source becomes ever more important, as the system gets increasingly expensive/revealing.
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
CnoEvil said:
I will be intrigued to hear the difference on the end of your system, which will be slightly different again. The quality of the source becomes ever more important, as the system gets increasingly expensive/revealing.
Yes.. I am trying to get a sound which is not too warmed up but at the same time not too detached.

Example - 201/2 sounded great with Classe CA-2100 power amp where as when I put R300s on CA-2100 it was too clean and too detached. Currently i am running the CP-800 with Pearl Lite as Power Amp and the sound is very much balanced and sounds a lot to my liking. Better than SA Pearl Lite and PM Pearl Lite combo.

Now I am starting to think that the give the best possible Source + Pre but do the right matching of Power Amp to speakers. R300s are ex-demo so I am sure they are run in but I will keep switching and checking all the combinations :)

Also, now I have the Rega DAC and NA 7004, it would be a huge number of combinations to try at home!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Must congratulate all on an interesting and informative blog.

I looked hard at the R900 and auditioned them twice. Some immense strengths. The depth and stability of the soundstage was really second to none. Good, tight slam in the bass. Vocals also very good. The only criticism that I could make was that on orchestral works, massed strings and the like, and other lounder, complex passages, it all sounded just a touch smeared and there was an "almost but not quite right" quality about it all.

Having read this blog, I decided to audition the 201/2. Comments - after an hour of listening, clearly better than the R900 in several respects. Voice even better and more realistic, amazingly close to "you are there." Overall clarity and seamlessness of the sound, again, better. No smearing and every instrument in my test complex passages stayed more clearly delineated. Little sound cues were present that I just did not notice as clearly with the R900's. Although there was not as much lower bass, it did not seem to matter; there seemed to me to be more than enough. Closer to live, certainly, at times astoishingly so. I still might give the R900 the nod in soundstage depth, although that may have been caused by speaker placement. Will need to play with that.

I do have a big SS amp, a Classe CA301, so driving the 201/2's will not pose a problem. I did at first audition them with a lower-powered amp and concur that driving power is important if the 201/2's are on your list. In the end, they ended up on mine and am looking forward to collecting them shortly.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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hkgslosar said:
Must congratulate all on an interesting and informative blog.

I looked hard at the R900 and auditioned them twice. Some immense strengths. The depth and stability of the soundstage was really second to none. Good, tight slam in the bass. Vocals also very good. The only criticism that I could make was that on orchestral works, massed strings and the like, and other lounder, complex passages, it all sounded just a touch smeared and there was an "almost but not quite right" quality about it all.

Having read this blog, I decided to audition the 201/2. Comments - after an hour of listening, clearly better than the R900 in several respects. Voice even better and more realistic, amazingly close to "you are there." Overall clarity and seamlessness of the sound, again, better. No smearing and every instrument in my test complex passages stayed more clearly delineated. Little sound cues were present that I just did not notice as clearly with the R900's. Although there was not as much lower bass, it did not seem to matter; there seemed to me to be more than enough. Closer to live, certainly, at times astoishingly so. I still might give the R900 the nod in soundstage depth, although that may have been caused by speaker placement. Will need to play with that.

I do have a big SS amp, a Classe CA301, so driving the 201/2's will not pose a problem. I did at first audition them with a lower-powered amp and concur that driving power is important if the 201/2's are on your list. In the end, they ended up on mine and am looking forward to collecting them shortly.
Hi there and welcome to the forum.....I'm delighted you joined to pass on your experience, and that the thread helped with your selection process.

I have started a Kef Reference thread so owners and potential owners can ask questions, or pass comment on their Refs here: http://www.whathifi.com/forum/hi-fi/the-kef-reference-thread

So please feel free to fill us in on how it all sounds when you get your speakers connected. We know what your amp is (nice!), but what source and cables are you using, and what music do you listen to?

Looking forward to your input

Cno
 

Freddy58

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2014
25
1
10,545
CnoEvil said:
Freddy58 said:
An interesting read...
Just not as interesting as Cables. *unknw*
Infinitely more interesting, especially as an owner of R300's. I didn't know they'd been around so long, not that it matters. Wouldn't mind hearing these 201/2's though. I've always liked the Kef 'sound'. I suppose if I had one wish, it would be that the R300's were a little more..'open', but it's a minor gripe. That said, good positioning is crucial, I've found.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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Freddy58 said:
CnoEvil said:
Freddy58 said:
An interesting read...
Just not as interesting as Cables. *unknw*
Infinitely more interesting, especially as an owner of R300's. I didn't know they'd been around so long, not that it matters. Wouldn't mind hearing these 201/2's though. I've always liked the Kef 'sound'. I suppose if I had one wish, it would be that the R300's were a little more..'open', but it's a minor gripe. That said, good positioning is crucial, I've found.
We somehow had more interesting threads back then, when the likes of Wishtree, Neuphonix, Gregvet Acalex and Roby etc were about.
 

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