Question Replacing KEF Q55 speakers

Jun 23, 2022
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0
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Hi All

I’m new to this forum.

I’ve had a hifi system since my 21st birthday in 2002 which is still going strong. However I’ve recently moved house and decided I want some speakers that are less bulky.

it’s nothing special but I’ve had a marantz CD player and amplifier and KEF Q55 speakers.

To be honest, I’ve never liked the KEFs that much. I listen almost exclusively to classical and I’ve always found these speakers lack good treble. They have a strong mid-range but I find with classical you need a strong treble or the music sounds dull.

I am looking for a replacement sound system with some smaller speakers but I still want a big sound and crucially I want a really bright, aggressive, in your face treble frequency.

overall system costs somewhere between £1,000-£2,000.

any recommendations for replacement speakers that will satisfy what I am asking for?

I have heard some of the B&W models and they have a brighter treble that is more what I have in mind.

many thanks

Jonathan
 
Which Marantz amplifier do you have? This may limit the loudspeakers you can look at. If you outstretch the capabilities of the amplifier, even the best speakers in your price range won’t sound as good as they should.

Ophidian will provide a smaller package with a more energetic treble, if you want an improvement without getting aggressive, it just depends how small you want to go. The best thing to do, if you’re keeping your amplifier, is to take it along to a dealer and try some speakers out for yourself - the amplifier/speaker combination is an important one, and is personal to you as we all hear differently - it’s no good hearing speakers with different amplifiers, and ideally you need to try some options out in your own room, as some speakers work better than others in certain types of rooms. Your room is the important one, and it’s size and physical construction will favour certain speakers over others.
 
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Jun 23, 2022
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🙂 I've never seen anyone actually ask for that before.
Even normal, open, clear, neutral treble is too much for some poor sensitive souls to bear.
For that reason you should get plenty of recommendations for speakers that people have detested 👍
I find that odd. I had assumed everyone wanted a bright treble. To me it’s the higher frequencies that brings life to the music. If you don’t have strong higher frequencies, the music sounds dull. Also the older you get, the more you struggle to hear the higher frequencies so you need to boost them to compensate. Though deafness is not why I want this. I’ve always liked higher treble frequencies since I was a child.
 

Edbostan

Well-known member
Aug 5, 2021
227
113
970
I find that odd. I had assumed everyone wanted a bright treble. To me it’s the higher frequencies that brings life to the music. If you don’t have strong higher frequencies, the music sounds dull. Also the older you get, the more you struggle to hear the higher frequencies so you need to boost them to compensate. Though deafness is not why I want this. I’ve always liked higher treble frequencies since I was a child.
Have you tried the latest Kef range?
 

bigfish786

Moderator
Jan 29, 2013
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19,270
I think the word “bright” is generally used to describe a tweeter that is “too bright” .
maybe You are actually wanting a clean, clear and crisp treble from the tweeter.
you Can always have a little experiment with the kefs. Try raising them up a little, see if the treble increases or decreases, same as moving them out towards you, and toe in and out, these small changes can make a big difference in sound, you may just find a sweeter sweet spot.
 

Gray

Well-known member
To me it’s the higher frequencies that brings life to the music.
...and to me, I couldn't agree more.
A speaker with anything less than neutral HF is ruled out completely by me as an option - however good it is in other areas.
I can't stand what's known as 'rolled off' treble.

It was just your terms, 'aggressive' and 'in your face'. Those are descriptions only ever used by those complaining that a speaker wasn't for them.
....unless that really is what you're after 🤔. In which case you could experiment very cheaply with some piezo horn tweeters.
Because of their high impedance, they can be connected directly in parallel with your current speakers.....it won't be the most refined or neutral, but you will get treble.
 
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twinkletoes

Well-known member
Nov 16, 2021
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Reading your statement of "Bright and in your face", i believe the word you're looking for is dynamic.
I've found that kefs of that age can sound pretty sweet almost soft when partnered with certain gear. Used to use Rotel and NAD to push them out of their shell but ultimately, like you, I found them lacking so went the mission route.

There are a few brands that do what you're asking for though

if you're going second-hand id recommend mission, specifically the M74i or the slightly older m74 you can pick them up for around 150 quid and to be honest will rock your world and go loud with ease and can handle massive dynamic swings. They are an exciting listen, if you really want to lean into the excitement a NAD 320bee made them sing.

Modern designs (new) i'd start with some of the most dynamic speakers around, the Klipsch premier range. If they don't float your boat any brand that is horn-loaded, triangle, JBL brands of that type. and try and keep your sensitivity above oreund the 90DB mark easy on the amp and you get a more dynamic sound. Also easier to listen to lower volumes at night.

But David does have a point Marantz amps can have a wooly warm sound so it may not be your speakers at all
,kef q55 are screaming for a Yamaha, rotel or NAD something to really push those upper frequencies. And those brands are tuned for excitement. Especially NAD

Just my 2 cents
 
Jun 23, 2022
4
0
20
picking up this thread from months ago I bought some Sennheiser HD580 headphones and plugged them into my Marantz CD player, which was a revelation.
This is exactly the sound I am looking for from my loudspeakers. The KEF Q 55 in comparison is totally dull as dishwater.
I think the problem is the Q55s are just bad speakers. In comparison with the headphones the Q55s place a huge emphasis on the lower frequencies and de-emphasise the treble frequencies. I was listening to Beethoven 8 performed with von karajan and the Berlin philharmonic today and through the loudspeakers it sounds like an orchestra of double basses and the flutes, oboes etc are recessed into the background. On the Sennheisers this is not so.

I’m definitely replacing my KEFs now. I’ve had them over 20years and never liked them.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
112
51
670
picking up this thread from months ago I bought some Sennheiser HD580 headphones and plugged them into my Marantz CD player, which was a revelation.
This is exactly the sound I am looking for from my loudspeakers. The KEF Q 55 in comparison is totally dull as dishwater.
I think the problem is the Q55s are just bad speakers. In comparison with the headphones the Q55s place a huge emphasis on the lower frequencies and de-emphasise the treble frequencies. I was listening to Beethoven 8 performed with von karajan and the Berlin philharmonic today and through the loudspeakers it sounds like an orchestra of double basses and the flutes, oboes etc are recessed into the background. On the Sennheisers this is not so.

I’m definitely replacing my KEFs now. I’ve had them over 20years and never liked them.
At last! Someone who feels the same way I do. I've loved a bright and breezy, treble forward sound, full of detail, for decades and although I'm middle aged, I can still hear and appreciate treble and detail. I will be watching this thread, daily, to see if anyone can suggest a quick, clean, bright and detailed pair of speakers. I have an Audiolab Omnia and a pair of QA3030i speakers, on matching stands and they are dull as dish water. They have a soft, safe, warm bass sound and the top end is rolled off far too early for me. What's happened to treble and excitement and detail? Modern formats and production give such a wide frequency response and dynamic sound and most kit these days, especially loudspeakers, is tuned to give a safe and dull sound. That's my experience and it seems many people are 'scared' of treble detail. I've had Celestions, Tannoys, Kefs, Missions, Wharfedales and a few other brands and they've never delivered a satisfying treble, which is energetic and detailed. I'm still looking for a small pair of speakers, which can be screwed into matching stands, that will give a nice sparkly, bright, detailed and 'bouncy' sound, not something dull, lifeless, or bass heavy. There seems to be a pronounced upper bass reinforcement, with many modern speakers and I don't know why people want a honking and droning, bass sound. It just kills timing and detail and it's certainly not my cup of tea. I listen to trance, pop, rock, classical music (especially Bach) and my listening is fairly eclectic. The only things I don't like are country music, jazz and most modern R&B and rap. Dreadful. I know it's tricky to please everyone and reproduce all musical genres accurately, but a lot of kit I listen to, is flat and lifeless. I also have a pair of Sennheiser headphones, the HD600 model, I've had for years and I love their sound. I also wish I could find a pair of speakers, that sound exactly the same. I have mine plugged into my Dell laptop and Spotify sounds amazing. The edges to sounds, the clarity and detail and also the clean, quiet space, making all the music leap out of the headphones. I go back to my 'HIFI' and the clarity, detail, space and energy just disappears. I am listening through the headphones, more than ever. I'm sure there are speakers out there, that will give me what I want, so the search continues.
 
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Edbostan

Well-known member
Aug 5, 2021
227
113
970
Well, no one can say you didn't give the speakers a chance to grow on you.
Hi All

I’m new to this forum.

I’ve had a hifi system since my 21st birthday in 2002 which is still going strong. However I’ve recently moved house and decided I want some speakers that are less bulky.

it’s nothing special but I’ve had a marantz CD player and amplifier and KEF Q55 speakers.

To be honest, I’ve never liked the KEFs that much. I listen almost exclusively to classical and I’ve always found these speakers lack good treble. They have a strong mid-range but I find with classical you need a strong treble or the music sounds dull.

I am looking for a replacement sound system with some smaller speakers but I still want a big sound and crucially I want a really bright, aggressive, in your face treble frequency.

overall system costs somewhere between £1,000-£2,000.

any recommendations for replacement speakers that will satisfy what I am asking for?

I have heard some of the B&W models and they have a brighter treble that is more what I have in mind.

many thanks

Jonathan
I have had my iq10s for 10 years and feel similiar. I find the upper treble constricted and sounding 'pinched'. I
At last! Someone who feels the same way I do. I've loved a bright and breezy, treble forward sound, full of detail, for decades and although I'm middle aged, I can still hear and appreciate treble and detail. I will be watching this thread, daily, to see if anyone can suggest a quick, clean, bright and detailed pair of speakers. I have an Audiolab Omnia and a pair of QA3030i speakers, on matching stands and they are dull as dish water. They have a soft, safe, warm bass sound and the top end is rolled off far too early for me. What's happened to treble and excitement and detail? Modern formats and production give such a wide frequency response and dynamic sound and most kit these days, especially loudspeakers, is tuned to give a safe and dull sound. That's my experience and it seems many people are 'scared' of treble detail. I've had Celestions, Tannoys, Kefs, Missions, Wharfedales and a few other brands and they've never delivered a satisfying treble, which is energetic and detailed. I'm still looking for a small pair of speakers, which can be screwed into matching stands, that will give a nice sparkly, bright, detailed and 'bouncy' sound, not something dull, lifeless, or bass heavy. There seems to be a pronounced upper bass reinforcement, with many modern speakers and I don't know why people want a honking and droning, bass sound. It just kills timing and detail and it's certainly not my cup of tea. I listen to trance, pop, rock, classical music (especially Bach) and my listening is fairly eclectic. The only things I don't like are country music, jazz and most modern R&B and rap. Dreadful. I know it's tricky to please everyone and reproduce all musical genres accurately, but a lot of kit I listen to, is flat and lifeless. I also have a pair of Sennheiser headphones, the HD600 model, I've had for years and I love their sound. I also wish I could find a pair of speakers, that sound exactly the same. I have mine plugged into my Dell laptop and Spotify sounds amazing. The edges to sounds, the clarity and detail and also the clean, quiet space, making all the music leap out of the headphones. I go back to my 'HIFI' and the clarity, detail, space and energy just disappears. I am listening through the headphones, more than ever. I'm sure there are speakers out there, that will give me what I want, so the search continues.
Your source must be bright and breezy also. I have an original Cyrus One and an Onkyo 9010 and when I swap amps the Cyrus is bright and breezy while the Onkyo has more weight and bass presence. I have Kef iq10 bookshelf speakers so similar drive units. It's all compromise and accepting the weaknesses and strengths of your system .
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
picking up this thread from months ago I bought some Sennheiser HD580 headphones and plugged them into my Marantz CD player, which was a revelation.
This is exactly the sound I am looking for from my loudspeakers. The KEF Q 55 in comparison is totally dull as dishwater.
I think the problem is the Q55s are just bad speakers. In comparison with the headphones the Q55s place a huge emphasis on the lower frequencies and de-emphasise the treble frequencies. I was listening to Beethoven 8 performed with von karajan and the Berlin philharmonic today and through the loudspeakers it sounds like an orchestra of double basses and the flutes, oboes etc are recessed into the background. On the Sennheisers this is not so.

I’m definitely replacing my KEFs now. I’ve had them over 20years and never liked them.
Can you tell us what Marantz kit you have? Marantz don't have a typical "house sound" as the budget models tend to be less warm than the midrange/higher end models.
 
Jun 23, 2022
4
0
20
At last! Someone who feels the same way I do. I've loved a bright and breezy, treble forward sound, full of detail, for decades and although I'm middle aged, I can still hear and appreciate treble and detail. I will be watching this thread, daily, to see if anyone can suggest a quick, clean, bright and detailed pair of speakers. I have an Audiolab Omnia and a pair of QA3030i speakers, on matching stands and they are dull as dish water. They have a soft, safe, warm bass sound and the top end is rolled off far too early for me. What's happened to treble and excitement and detail? Modern formats and production give such a wide frequency response and dynamic sound and most kit these days, especially loudspeakers, is tuned to give a safe and dull sound. That's my experience and it seems many people are 'scared' of treble detail. I've had Celestions, Tannoys, Kefs, Missions, Wharfedales and a few other brands and they've never delivered a satisfying treble, which is energetic and detailed. I'm still looking for a small pair of speakers, which can be screwed into matching stands, that will give a nice sparkly, bright, detailed and 'bouncy' sound, not something dull, lifeless, or bass heavy. There seems to be a pronounced upper bass reinforcement, with many modern speakers and I don't know why people want a honking and droning, bass sound. It just kills timing and detail and it's certainly not my cup of tea. I listen to trance, pop, rock, classical music (especially Bach) and my listening is fairly eclectic. The only things I don't like are country music, jazz and most modern R&B and rap. Dreadful. I know it's tricky to please everyone and reproduce all musical genres accurately, but a lot of kit I listen to, is flat and lifeless. I also have a pair of Sennheiser headphones, the HD600 model, I've had for years and I love their sound. I also wish I could find a pair of speakers, that sound exactly the same. I have mine plugged into my Dell laptop and Spotify sounds amazing. The edges to sounds, the clarity and detail and also the clean, quiet space, making all the music leap out of the headphones. I go back to my 'HIFI' and the clarity, detail, space and energy just disappears. I am listening through the headphones, more than ever. I'm sure there are speakers out there, that will give me what I want, so the search continues.
I’ve heard some of the B&W models that seem to be more treble orientated. So I’m going to try some of those out to start with. The other option people seem to say is more similar to what we are looking for are Quad electrostatic speakers but they are expensive (around £6-7k) and I’ve not actually heard them as yet.
Jonathan
jonathan
 

Gray

Well-known member
...I'm still looking for a small pair of speakers, which can be screwed into matching stands, that will give a nice sparkly, bright, detailed and 'bouncy' sound, not something dull, lifeless, or bass heavy.
PMC 20.21 fed by Cyrus 8 amp is what gives me just that.

As for Sennheiser HD600, I've tried them (and several other makes / models)
I think the treble (and bass quality) of the HD560S would be much more to your liking - take no notice of their price (seen for as little as £113) when compared to 'better' headphones).
 

Gray

Well-known member
...it seems many people are 'scared' of treble detail.
Controversial.
But I know what you mean. Not talking about over exaggerated treble - but natural treble.

They would actively seek out speakers that would fail my triangle test.

Many types of sound are hard to describe (or imagine) which is why reviews aren't always useful.

But the triangle test is simple:
When struck, an undamped triangle sounds open, clear and rings on to a natural conclusion - it sounds natural.
On some speakers, it sounds as if it's being firmly held between fingers as it's struck - a dull, muted unnatural sound.

Some people say there"s no such thing as a right or wrong sound....what they mean is there's no such thing as a wrong preference for an obviously wrong sound.

I'd say to them, try the triangle test for HF naturalness.
(They'd no doubt say to me, **"* off 😆).
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
PMC 20.21 fed by Cyrus 8 amp is what gives me just that.

As for Sennheiser HD600, I've tried them (and several other makes / models)
I think the treble (and bass quality) of the HD560S would be much more to your liking - take no notice of their price (seen for as little as £113) when compared to 'better' headphones).
If he likes bright headphones Grado should fit the bill nicely.

I like a lively sound but Grado take well beyond easy listening.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
112
51
670
I'm more than happy with my HD600 cans. They were half price at £150 and I've had them years. Getting a pair of speakers, that will sound as clear and accurate, might be a challenge. Next time I think of buying kit, I will have a really long listen, in the shop. I'm missing so much nuance and detail, with my speakers. The micro dynamics and subtle details that I do get, with the headphones, even when plugged into the laptop. Late night listening through these, is much more rewarding, than through my Audiolab Omnia and QA speakers. I'm beginning to regret buying this stuff now. The Omnia is safe sounding and the QA3030i speakers are a bit soft and 'mushy'.
 

Dom

Well-known member
Aug 6, 2011
923
275
19,270
Perhaps headphones are misleading. Artificially exaggerating frequency's to sound clear. As you say plugging them into your laptop sounds rewarding and that shouldn't be possible, frankly.
I'm glad you like your headphones as I liked mine having owned the Hifiman 400i's and found them accurate and engaging.

You should really find where the weak link is and sort it out.
It might not be your Hifi as you have spent hundreds/thousands and them. It could be as simple as a mains cable, where it should be tight its mushy, where it should be lit its dull.
Mains cables cost a few quid and if you know what your looking for, make the experience better than headphones deserve to be and rightly so.

To give you some help I suggest you start with the wall plug and distribution block as I would suspect that's the culprit.
 
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