$5k Kef Hifi setup with a tube amp

Home Theatre Systems

chenZi

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My AV dealer is offering me an option to take back by existing 3 month old LS50W V1 (I paid $1600+10% tax) and swap it with a new Kef R3. The other option is a swap for LS50W meta for $1200 and use the remaining balance towards other purchases. This is a thanksgiving sale and valid for another week.
I do have an existing RSL speedwoofer 10S that I bought couple of months back.

I am using LS50W for near field listening at my desk and am planning to move over to headphones for that (HD800S & Monolith M1070 + Monolith THX 788 DAC&Amp) and bring my hifi system into my home theater room. Since most of my near field listening during day is low volume background music during work from home, I can also reuse couple of Sonos Ones from my guest room to my office space.
My home theater room is a Sonos 5.1 wireless setup since I used to live in an apartment and change apartments once a year.

I am thinking of adding Primaluna Evo 100 integrated tube amp ($1800 ca$h) and a NAD C658 DAC (Blue OS, $1300 ca$h). While I strictly do not have a fixed upper budget, my spouse doesn’t ask for price and keeping below 5k is an expectation I have set ;) And she would notice if it is huge tower speaker or a Kef Blade 2 :)
I do have to bring my hifi setup to India when we move back in 2023.

My dealer deals with Kef, Monitor audio, Nad, Parasound, Chord, Marantz. I spent last couple of weekends listening to different combinations. I like his shop and service - I can just go over a weekend, blast some Rahman on Kef Blades and listen with some free beer, he used to have lot of meetups for audiophiles (pre covid). I bought my 4k Sony projector and 120 inch home theater screen from him.
 
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Ramanuj

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About time you visit audiogon and do vertical upgrades than parallels. Try and look for great deals on Pass,Wilson,Rockport,Avalon,Vitus, and the likes. Sometimes the deals are mouthwatering but being in India & shipping & customs being the unnecessary evils we folks stay deprived in the Motherland. Happy hunting
 
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chenZi

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About time you visit audiogon and do vertical upgrades than parallels. Try and look for great deals on Pass,Wilson,Rockport,Avalon,Vitus, and the likes. Sometimes the deals are mouthwatering but being in India & shipping & customs being the unnecessary evils we folks stay deprived in the Motherland. Happy hunting
I do need them to be brought back to India in two years. So trying to keep it reasonably in terms of size and cost. I did check out some Wilsons in Audiogon for $10k range, I don’t want the hassle of bringing them to India safely, customs etc. Bit concerned on longevity of Kii three and Dutch and Dutch 8c.
 
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AKT

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chenZi,

When I was relocating from the US a couple of years ago, I walked into Best Buy/Magnolia and bought known brands like B&W, Marantz etc. All such known brands are available in India too, either in retail or grey.

However, if I were relocating today; I would investigate local market (with phenomenal price to perf ratio) like Ohm Walsh, Tektons, Decware, etc. etc. etc. I would invest some time on craigslist/ebay, looking for well-known but erstwhile pretty expensive, quality used gear from Tannoys, B&W, Cary, Mcintosh, Wilsons, Pass and anything else that I might fancy. I would also look into the vintage gear market if that is to my taste. Audiogon suggestion is spot on.

I am not suggesting buying the most expensive or the biggest speakers and lug them around to India. You have two years and great avenues in the US. Carefully take your time to build the basic building blocks of your system that would stay with you for years. Great electronics are still easier to find in India but good speakers are far and few within.

Regards,
Abhi
 
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chenZi

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chenZi,

When I was relocating from the US a couple of years ago, I walked into Best Buy/Magnolia and bought known brands like B&W, Marantz etc. All such known brands are available in India too, either in retail or grey.

However, if I were relocating today; I would investigate local market (with phenomenal price to perf ratio) like Ohm Walsh, Tektons, Decware, etc. etc. etc. I would invest some time on craigslist/ebay, looking for well-known but erstwhile pretty expensive, quality used gear from Tannoys, B&W, Cary, Mcintosh, Wilsons, Pass and anything else that I might fancy. I would also look into the vintage gear market if that is to my taste. Audiogon suggestion is spot on.

I am not suggesting buying the most expensive or the biggest speakers and lug them around to India. You have two years and great avenues in the US. Carefully take your time to build the basic building blocks of your system that would stay with you for years. Great electronics are still easier to find in India but good speakers are far and few within.

Regards,
Abhi
Thanks Abhi.
My Kef offer for R3 would expire soon. The dealer offers “trade up” of speakers at full value within six months of purchase for his regular customers. LS50w are quite bright and fatiguing for near field listening and thought better for swap when it has full value.
On tube amp - Primaluna ones are well reviewed and better value for money compared to Mcintosh while still made in Europe. While I am looking at the starting series Evo 100, Evo 300 costs around $3kish. My listening room is 20*15 and I do not listen at higher volumes, so thinking Evo 100 should be good to start. Due to working from home, I am listening to more music in this last 10 months than say last 5 years combined - I used to travel a lot, hike etc. So my time for music will come down once a vaccine is out!
 
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chenZi

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Primaluna isn't made in Europe to my knowledge
You are correct- they aren’t ! Thought they were a deal at 2k and thought they were made in Europe :)

I am open to other speaker suggestions with combination of Kef, Martin Logan and Monitor Audio (the ones my dealer deals). I can reduce DAC costs and invest them in speakers.
 
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Kannan

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KEF R3 is way way above in terms of sound quality than the LS series. It would be a definite upgrade and you can go for it.
LS series from KEF is more a lifestyle product in my opinion.
 
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raghupb

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@chenZi
If you are gonna acquire amps/preamps/dacs etc, KEF R3 is the way to go.
If you are happy with LS50W-I as a complete music system, go for LS50W-II (Meta)
From my experience, R3 is definitely a better speaker, if you can put decent electronics with it.

Cheers,
Raghu
 
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chenZi

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I have following deal - Kef R3 new+ Stands - 1925$
Kef R5 - Demo speakers from the shop - $2000. I am tempted to take R5s with Primaluna evo 100. Listened to the combination and sounds good.
Still figuring out a DAC - thinking of NAD C658 with Dirac correction.
 
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oracle1974

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I do need them to be brought back to India in two years. So trying to keep it reasonably in terms of size and cost. I did check out some Wilsons in Audiogon for $10k range, I don’t want the hassle of bringing them to India safely, customs etc. Bit concerned on longevity of Kii three and Dutch and Dutch 8c.
If you are relocating , you don’t need to pay customs. I would seriously consider the good deals on audiogon on speakers and electronics (electronics which have switchable option to 240v).
All the best.
 
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