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How do the KEF speakers from the 70's stand today?

 
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SaSi
Senior Contributor 200+


Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Posts: 223

PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:50 pm    Post subject: How do the KEF speakers from the 70's stand today? Reply with quote

I'm a KEF lover ever since I built my CS1 monitors some 30 years ago. I have recently procured a few drivers from that era, basically B139, B200 SP1014 and T27 SP1032.

My plan is to build a 5.1 system using these.

Some friends that claim to follow hifi progress argue that I'm a bit backwards and that speaker development has evolved a lot since then. He claims I should be spending less on brand new and modern drivers (SEAS, VIFA, Peerless, etc) to design such a system.

I am wondering: How do the vintage drivers from KEF compare to recent designs in terms of actual sound quality? That is, assuming the drivers are in top condition.
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ColinR
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Joined: 31 Jul 2004
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Location: Staffordshire

PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's see the detractors from diyaudio.com are correct in their assertions that
Quote:
I'm a bit backwards and that speaker development has evolved a lot since then. He claims I should be spending less on brand new and modern drivers (SEAS, VIFA, Peerless, etc) to design such a system
but this is because the current computer models available just about match KEF's first HP system in performance.

However some people like the "house sound" and KEF based Meridian products don't see to have lost their resale value.

If you do go active you won't get the gut wrenching slam of ATC's, but Carl is a guitarist and the products bear his house sound.

So go for it, but use proper amplifiers like Adcom, Aragon, etc not the AV amplifiers' chip animals.

One member uses KEF Ref 101s as centre, Ref 105-2s as mains and Cantatas as rears so if you don't need or can have ear shattering sound levels it can be done.

A budget system would be four KEF Calindas Very Happy .
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Craigb
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Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 33
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI. I run a pair of Calindas as my rear speakers with a variation of the Atkinson TL design for the main, which means not much need for a sub woofer! The centre presented some issues trying to find a balance to the laid back (relaxed) effect of the above. but I've ended up with a recent (2000's) Coda that seems to do the trick. Great for Music DVDs and passes for Movies.
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SaSi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2008
Posts: 223

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies and suggestions. However, I feel they don't really answer my question.

So, let's put it in another way.

How well do the R104ab or the Calinda or the LS3/5a stand today compared with newly bred loudspeakers? Either from Kef or other manufacturers?
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T.O. Chef
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Joined: 31 Aug 2007
Posts: 150
Location: Toronto Canada

PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well SaSi, I'll wade in. I used R104aB's for about 6 years as main fronts in a 5.1 set up ... sans the .1. No subwoofer was ever necessary nor desired. As the room is small R101's fill in the rear very nicely. The center took a lot of experimentation and after many trials I settled in a more modern iQ10C. Interestingly, that center is just as good as match with the Cantata's and the R105 II's that alternate as front channels now.
Needless to say 2 channel (which is of much more importance to me) in the same system is glorious using Aragon amplifiers but for the HT nothing is or was ever better than those 104aB's up front. Many a jaw had to be pried from the sofa.
Back to the question .... you'll be very hard pressed to find anything "modern" to beat some of these vintage KEF's mentioned, at any price and for either application. IMHO.
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Gary
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Joined: 07 Nov 2004
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Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I'll wade in, too.... Very Happy

Like you, I also have Calinda speakers. I still love 'em to this day.

It really depends on what the rest of your system is. Generally speaking, modern gear is "faster" than vintage gear so any modern speakers would be faster. That has to do with the sound - but I really can't explain it in words.

You might find that expensive modern speakers may match better with modern (yes, "fast") speakers. However to match the quality of sound of a vintage KEF you would probably need to spend a few thousand dollars - at least.

Bass is a problem with modern speakers. That's why there are a lot of sub woofers out there. Your Calindas are more of a full range speaker - with no need of a sub woofer - and that's hard to find in a modern speaker.

I am never giving up my KEF speakers....

I guess I am saying that they have not aged badly - actually they have not aged at all, as far as I am concerned. Why don't you visit a high end stereo store and see what they have and what some modern speakers sound like?
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Cloth ears
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Joined: 11 Aug 2007
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Location: Barcelona

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of wading here so ═ guess I┤ll wade in too:-)

I have had a home cinema set up with JR150s at the front, CS1s to the side, JR149s to the rear and a JRsubwoofer in the end of the room.

The voices came over very very well. The bass was too light for a dedicated home cinema room. The 'action explosions' sounded too compressed --- read "not scary enough'.

I changed the front speakers for OverkillAudio Encores, kept the JR149s as side speakers, introduced another pair of JR149s to the rear. I left out the CS1s and the subwoofer, sound is now earth shattering and sublime.

How do today`s home cinema speakers equate to the 1970s gear?....... I keep the 149s as I believe they give a good rendition of the human voice. Yet I am a bass fan for many years so I love the ability of the Encores, which are head and shoulders above anything the 1970s could have produced.
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SaSi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I guess it's time to give some feedback myself.

First of all,
I may have misguided you with references to a 5.1 system. I'm mainly interested in stereo reproduction.

Anyway, I spent yesterday evening listening to some LPs through my 104aB in a nicely laid out and spacious living room. The music was mostly jazz. The sound was terrific although some bass notes seem to have been missing body.

I later switched the speakers into a pair of Calindas. Same sweet sound although I found them a bit more "boomy".

Finally, I placed a pair of Corelli on top of the Calindas. These were given to me by a fried to fix. Both tweeters were fried - according to my friend during a party his daughter had some 5 years ago. The speakers never sounded good after that party and he was wondering why Laughing

The Corelli sounded a lot like my home made CS1-alike with better extension in the low frequencies without the occasional clipping when the B110 can't handle the content.

This morning I was at my uncle's and we listened to some classical music through his pair of Wharfedale E70. Although these are substantially bigger enclosures even compared to the Calindas, the sound was clearly distorted in the mids and the highs were either too bright or too shallow depending on the settings selected. The lows were boomy - much more so than the Calindas.

I still haven't had any chance to audition current spealkers - but I will probably have an opportunity soon.
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Lee in Montreal
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Joined: 22 Aug 2009
Posts: 203

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Sasi

Listen to a pair of 105s or 107s. They are hard to beat, despite being respectively 30 and 20 years old. How much would you pay for a modern set of speakers with equal quality sound? I'd say 5 to 10 times more... So, I'd say that the inventiveness that Kef engineers had "back in the days" has yet to be surpassed...
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