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Just sold my KEF 105.2s and replacement T52 tweeters......
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adam_audio
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:42 am    Post subject: Just sold my KEF 105.2s and replacement T52 tweeters...... Reply with quote

Goodbye, KEF. Finally heard the Calinda. Thought the bass was the typical "we designed these using giant solid state amps and computers with little regard for tonal accuracy below the midrange" type of KEF sound....slow, blurpy, and colored. The T27 is a nasty little bugger as well....sonic character suggests gross lack of refinement and poor design. Then I realized that the 105.2 is a hard sounding speaker with an artificial plastic sheen glazing over the music, with upper midband problems from the B110 making the experience uninvolving and sometimes downright unpleasant and painful. The 105.2 is a nice speaker system....infinitely better than most.....but still ultimately incoherent, ham-handed, and unacceptable...IMO. What has shed light upon what a speaker system should properly sound like....a truly neutral, natural, perfectly behaved, and all-around stellar performer....is the unfathomably god-like Harbeth Monitor 30s that are sitting majestically in my listening room where the 105.2s used to be.

I'd like to thank all of the members of this forum for your help and advice, particularly Colin..who is a genius and one of the best vintage speaker guys I've ever run into......for your assistance and guidance during my journey through the world of KEF loudspeakers. Vintage KEFs are among the finest budget loudspeaker systems available and absolutely take 95% of what is available on today's market to the cleaners....but in the end they win many battles but loose the war.

And so this afternoon, the last remaining KEF pieces in my collection have left the building. RIP.
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centaurus
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there's no reason to trash KEF speakers on a KEF forum.

i love my calindas. the T27 is only spitty if underdriven and not on axis (speakers not on stands). also, they will sound like crap if you use anything other than the 8 ohm tap on your tube amps.

the bass is fine for small speaker. i use a REL Q100 sub and it's awesome.

the Calindas do lack a bit in the lower midrange arena which is why the rather "mid-dy" Quad 405-2 matches so well with them. they were voiced with eachother.

all solid state is not bad and you can't condemn a speaker or a brand of speaker if you keep incessantly running them with inappropriate amplification. a 20 watt per channel eico 6bq5 amp will NEVER sound good on any KEF speakers. end of story.

when i tried to run my McIntosh MC60s on my apogee centaur minors, they sounded horrid, but i did NOT condemn either the amps or the speakers. both are wonderful with the right gear.

have fun with your $4,300 harbeths.

sorry if I'm coming off as rude, but you have to admit Adam, that you like to start shit with snide comments, that are only worded to get people's goat. maybe you should stop trying to rile people up, stop buying all these speakers, pour yourself a nice glass of scotch and actually LISTEN TO MUSIC!

Robby
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adam_audio
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

centaurus wrote:
there's no reason to trash KEF speakers on a KEF forum.

i love my calindas. the T27 is only spitty if underdriven and not on axis (speakers not on stands). also, they will sound like crap if you use anything other than the 8 ohm tap on your tube amps.

the bass is fine for small speaker. i use a REL Q100 sub and it's awesome.

the Calindas do lack a bit in the lower midrange arena which is why the rather "mid-dy" Quad 405-2 matches so well with them. they were voiced with eachother.

all solid state is not bad and you can't condemn a speaker or a brand of speaker if you keep incessantly running them with inappropriate amplification. a 20 watt per channel eico 6bq5 amp will NEVER sound good on any KEF speakers. end of story.

when i tried to run my McIntosh MC60s on my apogee centaur minors, they sounded horrid, but i did NOT condemn either the amps or the speakers. both are wonderful with the right gear.

have fun with your $4,300 harbeths.

sorry if I'm coming off as rude, but you have to admit Adam, that you like to start shit with snide comments, that are only worded to get people's goat. maybe you should stop trying to rile people up, stop buying all these speakers, pour yourself a nice glass of scotch and actually LISTEN TO MUSIC!

Robby


Robby,

My intention was certainly not to mindlessly "trash" KEF loudspeakers. If you re-read my post, you will see that to the contrary, I said some very nice things about them. It is my obligation to share my observations based on my extensive research with the hi-fi community. There is no reason why you would need to take my comments personally.

Additionally, I don't buy this garbage about tubes not being enough power. I am fully qualified to make the determination based on sonic cues if I am under-powering a loudspeaker. The claim that KEFs need so much power to drive them properly can be defined as follows: A) Joe Public plugs his garbage 50 watt squalid state amplifier into the KEFs, which are neutral enough to tell him what a steaming pile of crap his electronics are...and he blames it on the lack of power. B) Joe Public plugs his fairly decent natural sounding tube amplifier into a KEF loudspeaker, hears the horrid colorations that are inherent to the design...and since the bass blurp isn't being masked by powerful and brittle solid state amps as intended by the manufacturer, blames the poor sound on lack of power.

Eventually, through experimentation with many different models and amplifiers....it becomes obvious what the real story is. KEF speakers are FAR from garbage. These vintage units are finer than 98% of the speakers ever made. They're just ultimately unacceptable.

And as I sit here with the Harbeth Monitor 30, widely recognized as the most accurate and magnificent reference monitor in the world, I am able to enjoy PLENTY of music(sans scotch) while more than adequately driving these speakers with my 30wpc tube amplifier. I am also able to hear EXACTLY what my electronics truly sound like and therefore am reassured that the front end of the system I've designed for my listening pleasure over the years is nothing short of superb in every aspect. Cheers.
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centaurus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, I'm happy you're happy. from my experience, tube or solid state, an underpowered speaker sounds thusly. rolled off bottom end with slow and flubby bass.

reason being has less to do with wattage and more with current. tube amps, by design, have far less current capabilities than good SS design. a good dampening factor for tube amps is in the mid 20's (like McIntosh). most classic tube amps are far below this. dampening factor is an amp's ability to offset the DC voltage from the "woofer kick-back." meaning, when the woofer moves forward, how fast the amp can basically stop it from moving backwards. maybe others can describe it better.

this is why tube amps sound richer and fuller on speakers that are a relatively easy load (i.e. bozaks). basically, an easy to drive woofer with not too long a throw will sound lovely on a tube amp. the low dampening factor is what makes the sound so romantic. if you use the same tube amp on a speaker that's not an easy load (drops way below 4 ohms), then you lose bass and the system just sounds stressed and sibilant.

also, as the impedance drops, good solid state amps can double their power. with tube amps, the power goes to HALF. so, your 20wpc eico is indeed 10wpc into a 4 ohm load.

you are right about good tube amps smooth highs. that's were their inherent second order harmonic distortion is bettered by SS 3rd order. so, when a tube amp is over driven, it's far more polite. more like a gentle compression.

i to have owned lots of stuff (though not as much as many of you). bozaks 302A Urbans, McIntosh MC60, McIntosh MC240, McIntosh MC225, McIntosh MX110, conrad johnson pv2a, dynaco MKII, dynaco st70, fisher SA300, adcom GFA550, adcom GTP500II, quad 34, quad 405-2, quad 909, precision fidelity C4 tube preamp, vandersteen 2C, a/d/s L810, kef calinda, kef 104/2 acoustic research AR3, apogee centaur minor, ampex 6bq5 monoblocks, ampex tube preamp, heathkit W-5m monoblocks, fisher 400 tube receiver, fisher 500S tube receiver, MFA maguc C preamp, harmon kardon citation V, harmon kardon citation I and more that i can't remember.

so, i have been around the block too Wink

see ya,
Robby
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adam_audio
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

centaurus wrote:
well, I'm happy you're happy. from my experience, tube or solid state, an underpowered speaker sounds thusly. rolled off bottom end with slow and flubby bass.

reason being has less to do with wattage and more with current. tube amps, by design, have far less current capabilities than good SS design. a good dampening factor for tube amps is in the mid 20's (like McIntosh). most classic tube amps are far below this. dampening factor is an amp's ability to offset the DC voltage from the "woofer kick-back." meaning, when the woofer moves forward, how fast the amp can basically stop it from moving backwards. maybe others can describe it better.

this is why tube amps sound richer and fuller on speakers that are a relatively easy load (i.e. bozaks). basically, an easy to drive woofer with not too long a throw will sound lovely on a tube amp. the low dampening factor is what makes the sound so romantic. if you use the same tube amp on a speaker that's not an easy load (drops way below 4 ohms), then you lose bass and the system just sounds stressed and sibilant.

also, as the impedance drops, good solid state amps can double their power. with tube amps, the power goes to HALF. so, your 20wpc eico is indeed 10wpc into a 4 ohm load.

you are right about good tube amps smooth highs. that's were their inherent second order harmonic distortion is bettered by SS 3rd order. so, when a tube amp is over driven, it's far more polite. more like a gentle compression.

i to have owned lots of stuff (though not as much as many of you). bozaks 302A Urbans, McIntosh MC60, McIntosh MC240, McIntosh MC225, McIntosh MX110, conrad johnson pv2a, dynaco MKII, dynaco st70, fisher SA300, adcom GFA550, adcom GTP500II, quad 34, quad 405-2, quad 909, precision fidelity C4 tube preamp, vandersteen 2C, a/d/s L810, kef calinda, kef 104/2 acoustic research AR3, apogee centaur minor, ampex 6bq5 monoblocks, ampex tube preamp, heathkit W-5m monoblocks, fisher 400 tube receiver, fisher 500S tube receiver, MFA maguc C preamp, harmon kardon citation V, harmon kardon citation I and more that i can't remember.

so, i have been around the block too Wink

see ya,
Robby



Well thank you, Robby. Looks like we've owned a lot of the same gear as well. I could type out a list, but I'd be here all night as I've owned just about every vintage/classic tube amp, turntable, and loudspeaker you can imagine....with a few exceptions, of course. And FYI, I'm not using a 20 watt Eico. I sold that amp long ago.
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oplancq
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Just sold my KEF 105.2s and replacement T52 tweeters.... Reply with quote

adam_audio wrote:
Goodbye, KEF. Finally heard the Calinda. Thought the bass was the typical "we designed these using giant solid state amps and computers with little regard for tonal accuracy below the midrange" type of KEF sound....slow, blurpy, and colored. The T27 is a nasty little bugger as well....sonic character suggests gross lack of refinement and poor design.


The crossover was the original "vintage" one ?


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speakerguru
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 12:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Just sold my KEF 105.2s and replacement T52 tweeters.... Reply with quote

adam_audio wrote:
"we designed these using giant solid state amps and computers with little regard for tonal accuracy below the midrange"


So where did that sweeping generalisation come from then? Certainly none of the KEF engineers I've known over 20+ years. Why did KEF spend tens of thousands of pounds (70s money) on a custom listening room which was refined and virtually rebuilt twice, and why did many KEF engineers take prototypes home to listen to during the final stages of development, if they had little regard for tonal accuracy?
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centaurus
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Just sold my KEF 105.2s and replacement T52 tweeters.... Reply with quote

preach on brother!

all i hear with my calindas and 104/2 is music. plain and simple. are they the greatest speakers ever made? no. do they have awesome an synergy that makes you forget about the stereo and concentrate on the music. YES!

as i said before. if you are hearing a marked drop off in bass AND slow/flubby bass with sibilant highs. YOU ARE UNDER DRIVING THE SPEAKERS!

I'm all too familiar with this tonality to blame it on the speaker, let alone the manufacturer.

i love my calindas with my Quad 909 and McIntosh MC60. but i can't wait to get my modded quad 405-2 back. the synergy between the two is breathtaking. it's quite obvious the 405 was the amp used to voice KEF speakers in the 70's.

sure, you can bitch that a speaker should sound good with any proper amplification, and they do. but you always find that certain magic when you couple a speaker with its "voicing amplifier." same with bozak and McIntosh. or janszen and marantz.

see ya,
Robby


speakerguru wrote:
adam_audio wrote:
"we designed these using giant solid state amps and computers with little regard for tonal accuracy below the midrange"


So where did that sweeping generalisation come from then? Certainly none of the KEF engineers I've known over 20+ years. Why did KEF spend tens of thousands of pounds (70s money) on a custom listening room which was refined and virtually rebuilt twice, and why did many KEF engineers take prototypes home to listen to during the final stages of development, if they had little regard for tonal accuracy?
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adam_audio
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Just sold my KEF 105.2s and replacement T52 tweeters.... Reply with quote

centaurus wrote:
YOU ARE UNDER DRIVING THE SPEAKERS!



Right....that's why my amp has zero problem whatsoever driving the hell out of the 85db efficient Harbeth Monitor 30s. Sorry, I don't think it's a power issue. The Harbeth sounds smooth as silk, even at high volume....the KEF is tonally challenged, IMO....shall we say. However, I would be interested in hearing another pair of Calindas at some point. Who knows if the crossovers were working properly on the pair I heard....but trust me, I am not under driving the speakers in my small room.
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centaurus
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:30 am    Post subject: Re: Just sold my KEF 105.2s and replacement T52 tweeters.... Reply with quote

well, i'm in no way trying to compare my calindas to a $4,300 pair of harbeths. i should hope your harbeths would wax my calindas for that kind of scratch.

as far as tonaly challenged, well, i can almost guarantee your harbeths are not in the same league as a pair of Apogee Scintilla ribbon speakers, but that doesn't mean your Harbeths are "tonally challenged."

much as the saying with cars; "there's always something faster" rings true in audio as well. there's ALWAYS something that sounds better.

Robby

adam_audio wrote:
centaurus wrote:
YOU ARE UNDER DRIVING THE SPEAKERS!



Right....that's why my amp has zero problem whatsoever driving the hell out of the 85db efficient Harbeth Monitor 30s. Sorry, I don't think it's a power issue. The Harbeth sounds smooth as silk, even at high volume....the KEF is tonally challenged, IMO....shall we say. However, I would be interested in hearing another pair of Calindas at some point. Who knows if the crossovers were working properly on the pair I heard....but trust me, I am not under driving the speakers in my small room.
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adam_audio
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ATTENTION: Recently it has come to my attention that the pair of KEF Calindas I heard had damaged crossovers. No wonder they sounded so horrible. My apologies for my previous commentary, which is now absolutely retracted.
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centaurus
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

do they sound better now? or you guys haven't fixed the x-overs yet?

i should probably go through mine.

see ya,
Robby

adam_audio wrote:
ATTENTION: Recently it has come to my attention that the pair of KEF Calindas I heard had damaged crossovers. No wonder they sounded so horrible. My apologies for my previous commentary, which is now absolutely retracted.
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adam_audio
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

centaurus wrote:
do they sound better now? or you guys haven't fixed the x-overs yet?

i should probably go through mine.

see ya,
Robby

adam_audio wrote:
ATTENTION: Recently it has come to my attention that the pair of KEF Calindas I heard had damaged crossovers. No wonder they sounded so horrible. My apologies for my previous commentary, which is now absolutely retracted.



Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to hear them at this stage. However, their owner reports that they are modified with T52 tweeters and sounding quite nice.
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centaurus
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

got the quad 405-2 back. it does sound lovely with the calindas. awesome mids. not the tightest bass, but full and musical. awesome imaging. highs are much better, but still not in the same league and my McIntosh.

regardless, it was a fun experiment to pair the 405-2 with the calindas. the two were invariably used to voiced one another.

but, i think it's gonna be the macs and the caindas as my reference. I'll still keep the 405-2 and probably the quad 34 (no one wants to buy it). i think they would make a super cute bedroom system once i find some baby KEF speakers (although the reference 101 are too expensive these days).

I'm gonna make an i-pod listening station they way it SHOULD be. 405-2/34/small KEF bookshelf with an ipod on top Wink

that's Bose DONE RIGHT!

see ya,
Robby
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

centaurus wrote:

regardless, it was a fun experiment to pair the 405-2 with the calindas. the two were invariably used to voiced one another.


Sorry to disillusion you, but the Calinda was almost certainly in its development phase before even the first 405s were launched, let alone the 405-2. From memory, I think the listening room at that time had a pair of 303s modified to work in bridge mode; one for each channel.

In any case, the idea of "voicing a speaker with an amplifer" did not exist in the late 70s.
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