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KEF Concerto speakers ( or Reference model 104ab )

 
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ollie80
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Joined: 21 Dec 2011
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Location: Kent

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:27 pm    Post subject: KEF Concerto speakers ( or Reference model 104ab ) Reply with quote

Hi Guys!

Ive got a pair of KEF Caprice speakers. I really like the KEF range ( previously owned a pair of Coreliis.

Im interested in either the KEF Concertos or KEF Reference model 104ab.

Whic would you recommend?

My musical tastes vary from Reggae / Ska / dance

My amplifier is a Yamaha A-S500.

Thanks! Ollie
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Ollie Kiell
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speakerguru
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum.

The Concerto and 104aB are probably at the extremes of the KEF spectrum of that era. The Concerto is a bit "middly" and the 104 a bit sucked out in the midrange. Only a dB or two, but significant nonetheless.
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Garethwatkins
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In about 1980 when I wanted to buy a pair of Kefkit 3's (home build Concertos) the reply from Kef was that the model had been discontinued but that the 104aB kit would deliver "similar performance in a smaller cabinet". I can't say I have heard the Concertos but I have been very happy with the 104aB's and they seem to be available easily enough on various auction sites. I am presently driving them via a Quad 306 and listen to a wide variety of music. Their bass is surprisingly extended, but it's worth getting them off the floor a bit to stop them booming. I replaced the crossover capacitors recently, an easy enough job if you are handy with a soldering iron.
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martin
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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speakerguru wrote:
Welcome to the forum.

The Concerto and 104aB are probably at the extremes of the KEF spectrum of that era. The Concerto is a bit "middly" and the 104 a bit sucked out in the midrange. Only a dB or two, but significant nonetheless.


Couldn't the slight dip in the mids on the 104 be evened out a bit using the acoustic counter control?


Any whom...

Never listened to the Concerto but I've always found the 104aB to be quite a revealing speaker and to be honest don't favourite it with the kinds of music mentioned.
It's a wonderful speaker with acoustic music though, especially piano.

For me it always seems to point out sub-par recordings very very easily especially any kind of harshness in the highs and lets face it a lot of dance and regge isn't the best recorded music out there.

I used to play a lot of electronic music and on the 104 a lot of it isn't enjoyable for me as I always go.. I wish they mixed it differently!

Another hobby of mine is dabbling with synths and what have you so I put the 104aB in my little project studio and it's in it's element there!

I think dare I say an American speaker may be a better choice like a vintage JBL or AR.. Or one of those Pioneer HPM-100's?
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speakerguru
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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

martin wrote:
Couldn't the slight dip in the mids on the 104 be evened out a bit using the acoustic counter control?

Yes. The response is "flat" on the tweeter axis with the control in the "+" position.
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martin
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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

speakerguru wrote:
martin wrote:
Couldn't the slight dip in the mids on the 104 be evened out a bit using the acoustic counter control?

Yes. The response is "flat" on the tweeter axis with the control in the "+" position.


Thanks for the explanation.
Do you know why this was done by any chance? I always presumed the speaker was flat when the switch was centred.
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speakerguru
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a BBC paper by Harwood which advocated a hollowed out midrange to reduce "colouration". One such BBC design became the commercially successful Spendor BC1 and it could be said that the 104 was KEF's improved "version" of the BC1. The short coil in a long gap and the ABR replacing a hole in the cabinet, were certainly worthwhile improvements in linearity.

These designs got very good ratings in the very influential Hi-Fi Choice review books of that era. The Model 103 continued the trend, though some said that it was a step too far because of the resulting low subjective sensitivity.
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martin
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great info there, thanks.
It's funny how you can still pick up 104aB's very cheap yet the BC1's commend quite a bit of money now. Probs mainly cos the Spendor name and the BBC connection.

Bit off topic but how would you say the 103.2 compares to the 104aB?

Personally whilst I think the 103.2 sounds great with music I feel the 104aB is a more accurate speaker or certainly more linear in the mids and highs at least any way.
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audiolabtower
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the risk of making enemies here Embarassed I sold my 104aBs to get the original Harbeth HLs when they came out. They were a very amateur construction compared to the professionalism of Kef, but had a midrange depth the 104aBs lacked, but were let down by the Audax tweeter I think. I don't think quality control was much of a priority for Dudley Harwood in those days (one of the Rogers built bass units had the surround glued on off centre!). For Spencer Hughes I know repeatability of the reference unit was the no 1 priority.

Later I swapped the Harbeths for BC1s and surprisingly they were better than both (despite the polypropylene hype of the time), they were at the top of the Choice listening tests for quite a few issues in the paperback book format days. I mainly listen to classical and acoustic music so it depends on your mileage. I will say that despite what many say the higher power ferrite BC1s are better than the alnicos since they had greater flux density, lower Qt and better sensitivity leading to more control in the bass, the last port tube mod also helped considerably. But it is the midrange and treble where they shine with a holographic, tangible hall image, the HF1300 has a remarkable stop/start performance with little hysteresis for such an ancient design. The T52 in my 105s was one of the few tweeters that could compete subjectively. Even today in the 2nd system they can give the tri-amped, tri-wired, matched crossover rebuilt 105s a run for their money in some respects.
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