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Best Center Channel To Use With KEF 105/3's?

 
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deckard
Intermediate Contributor 25+


Joined: 10 Sep 2012
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:50 am    Post subject: Best Center Channel To Use With KEF 105/3's? Reply with quote

So I just finished my 105/3 restoration detailed in another thread.

In the meantime, I had acquired a Model 100 center in great shape off the 'bay, thinking it would probably be a decent match for the 105/3's timbre-wise, based on the similar driver config, fairly close production years and other info found on the web.

Unfortunately, the Model 100 sounds nothing like a 105/3 in this regard (at least the one I have). Surprisingly, the Model 100 is much fuller-sounding, to the point of being almost boomy. The high-end is a little too sweet as well. It's almost like someone took a graphic EQ and made a big V with the faders. It doesn't sound "bad", just surprisingly colored and unlike the 105/3. Low-mids are so much more prominent on the 100 that when switching from the 100 to the 105/3's, it's as if the 105/3's bass drivers aren't loud enough to match the output from the mid-tweeter array so they sound "thin".

OR... Could it be that the NT-25/1353 tweeter in the 100 has gone dull (I've been down this road too many times now), causing the surround calibration to jack up the volume much more on the center than the other channels...?

There are 2 small ports on the rear of the 100. Maybe inserting foam plugs will tame the low-mids and make it more uniform with the front sound stage?

I'm looking to see if anyone here has had a similar experience and/or can recommend a more suitable, timbre-matched center for use with the 105/3's.

Thanks!
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Headrush
Junior Contributor 10+


Joined: 10 Nov 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Nottingham

PostPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a 200C with my 105/3s and always been happy with it. There are no port holes to worry about which is why I stopped using a 100C because I have it mounted on the wall apart from the fact I thought the 200C sounded infinitely better.

Also I will be refoaming my 105/3s in the next few weeks. I had the foam kit sitting around for ages just waiting to find time and will let you know how many washers there should be. Sounds like you did a great job on yours...
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deckard
Intermediate Contributor 25+


Joined: 10 Sep 2012
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey and thanks for the reply! Do you have the original 200C or one of the newer variants? Either way, I'm not sure I have enough clearance for anything wider at this point.

When you run pink noise through your speakers, do you hear anything like what I am describing when switching between your 105/3's and the 200C?

This situation has me a bit baffled. Since around 80% of film material is heard through the center, I get that they might make a center channel speaker sound "fuller", but I was always taught to use speakers that have the same timbre (if not identical speakers) for all surround channels. From the Model 90/100 page KEF museum: "The use of Reference Series components guaranteed that the sound quality was of the highest level and accurate timbre matching with, primarily with Models 101/3 and 102/2..."
Were the 101/3 and 102/2 really that tonally different from the 105/3?

When switching from Stereo to Surround and back, the tonal difference between the 105/3 and the 100 is so great, even with just dialog (or pink noise), that I can't help thinking something is not right. Or, the 105/3's are incredibly flat and the 100 is incredibly colored.

For a comparison: If anyone is familiar with AKG headphones, at one point they made (and probably still make variants of) a K140 and a K240DF. They were both available at the same time and common in recording studios. The K140 was actually made to simulate natural room acoustics and therefore was a bit colored on purpose. The K240DF was made to be a completely flat reference headphone. Casual listening was very boring on the 240's and bad recordings sounded extremely bad, etc.. They were very clinical and sterile, whereas the 140's were fuller-sounding and more enjoyable to the average listener, etc.

I appreciate your offer to keep me posted on the force-canceling rod washers! If you've never done the donuts before, probably the most important thing is to keep debris from falling into the voice coil gap. As I was removing the existing glue and other bits of crud off the drivers, I rotated them up on the edge so everything fell away from the coil. There are a couple videos on YouTube of people removing and installing donuts on a 104/2 as well.

Let me know if I can be of any help.
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Headrush
Junior Contributor 10+


Joined: 10 Nov 2012
Posts: 18
Location: Nottingham

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have 2 original 200C's, center front and center rear. With white noise I notice a small difference between them and the 105/3s, I think a lot depends on your ears and the direction the sound is coming from. For example I notice a difference with white noise between the 2 105/3s but if I turn round and face them backwards the difference is reversed. I use 2 102's for left and right side and when I do an auto setup with my Onkyo TX-SR875 it detects all 6 speakers as full range and sets the 105/3s the same and 102's the same even though they all sound slightly different to me, so I'm pretty sure it's my ears at fault. It sets the 200C's differently because I'm very close to the rear and furthest from the front center. I never bothered to swap them round to see what happens as they are both screwed to shelves on the wall and too much hassle.

After auto setup I turn the left front and left side speakers up one notch as it sounds more even to me, again I suspect my ears are the problem there because when listening in stereo on my analog system the right sounds louder than the left and I adjust the balance to compensate, swapping the speakers round makes no difference.
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