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Bookshelves in the 1L to 1.5L range - please advice

Audiolab 6000A Amplifier

eddie_fox

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Hi guys,

The chronic 'upgrade bug' is upon me and I need help deciding. Please advice.

To begin with, the reason for this upgrade: I don't have a very strong reason actually. I have had these 2 pairs of KEFs (Q500 and Q300) for close to a couple of years now. I use them in 2 different stereo set-ups. The Q500 FSs are in my main setup paired with my Rega Brio-r and Technics 1200 TT. The Q300s are in my second setup with a NAD 304 and Technics SL D3. I am quite happy with the performance of both these speakers.

But, as I mentioned, the bug has infected me and also the second setup is not being used as much, post marriage, so me thinks it is time to sell both the sets of KEFs and buy some really good bookshelves, whcih will last me a good few years.

With that intro, I am now on the look-out for a good pair of BSs in the budget range of 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh. Can you please help with some suggestions?

Some details of my music preferences and setup:
Source - mainly phono (technics 1200)
Amp - Rega Brio-r integrated (50WPC)
Listening space - 20*15 living room
Music style - Classic rock, Easy listening, some Jazz and Indian classical
Sound - prefer warmth and deep base, pure mids but not too much treble


I am very much drawn to the KEF LS50 and KEF R300 speakers. I went in for a demo in ProFX the other day with my amp. The listening setup was not ideal, but I did a A/B comparison and found that the LS50 are clear and transparent, but cannot touch the R300s in detail and bass depth. The Rega drove the R300s very well, but the LS not so much. I liked the LS50s but loved the R300. The only concern was that they both seemed a little brighter than I liked, almost a little harsh in some sections of the music.

So, I seek help in choosing more auditions. Please suggest other BS in the range that I should listen to. I am doing my research but any additional help from you guys will be really appreciated.

Thanks,
Eddie
 
Last edited:

regeHA

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Go with the R300, recommend them highly.

Harshness actually depends a lot on the source, at least it was so in my case. It was smooth, in fact liquidy smooth with a CDP, but some of the detail was lost. Then I moved to a PC based setup and the harshness, bright, forward, etc. became a part of my setup. I played around with a lot of sources and transports and to a large extent they had the most impact on how bright or neutral the sound was. With DACs and interconnects not so much. Warm amps will also help, something like Arcam, Rega, etc. With Yamaha/Onkyo my KEFs are way too bright for any extended listening.

On the whole KEFs are a tad bright, but I prefer them that way because that also gives them more detail over warm speakers.

I've since moved to a Raspberry Pi based source/transport and the harshness has completely disappeared. Even better is the speakers have disappeared. Detail is excellent and soundstage is better than any I've had before, but the best part is you cannot place the speakers. The sound is just there and you cannot place the location of the speakers.
 

raghupb

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Eddie,

Since you are coming from KEF Q, it is natural that R series and LS50 will appeal to you.
R300 needs space to breathe to make them sound good. Owning these, I can vouch for their bad behavior when cornered.
You have a 20x15 listening space, so you can afford to give some real estate to speakers.

Few things I can say for the R300s, is they lock the stereo image very well, provide a surprisingly large sound stage, have decent bass extension.
Harshness in some sections of music: I do feel it sometimes, but then my content is all digital and I can always tame it at source.
If you want to listen to them in a home setting, you are welcome to drop by for a session.

Cheers,
Raghu
 
M

mpw

Guest
u need to think if you want a lateral move or a different presentation.

no point spending so much money for more of the same thing IMO.
 

raghupb

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u need to think if you want a lateral move or a different presentation.

no point spending so much money for more of the same thing IMO.

Agree. Q series to R series will be more of the same than different.
Cheers,
Raghu
 

afj

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not sure if its exactly within your range, but the ushers mini diamonds are also extremely good value. punch above their weight
 

eddie_fox

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Eddie,

Since you are coming from KEF Q, it is natural that R series and LS50 will appeal to you.
R300 needs space to breathe to make them sound good. Owning these, I can vouch for their bad behavior when cornered.
You have a 20x15 listening space, so you can afford to give some real estate to speakers.

Few things I can say for the R300s, is they lock the stereo image very well, provide a surprisingly large sound stage, have decent bass extension.
Harshness in some sections of music: I do feel it sometimes, but then my content is all digital and I can always tame it at source.
If you want to listen to them in a home setting, you are welcome to drop by for a session.

Cheers,
Raghu


Thanks Raghu,
I must say, the audition room at ProFX was not the best setup for the R300s, they were squeezed between a number of other speakers, at not even the ideal height. It might not have been the best listening zone. I may take you up on the offer to listen at your place. It may make the decision easier. Thanks for the offer.
 

eddie_fox

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u need to think if you want a lateral move or a different presentation.

no point spending so much money for more of the same thing IMO.


Agree. Q series to R series will be more of the same than different.
Cheers,
Raghu

Hi Mpw/Raghu,

Are you suggesting the R series would be lateral? I don't mind the sound signature of KEFs (apart from them being a tad bright), but based on the audition, I thought the R300s were definitely a big step up from the Qs, both sonically and value-wise.

Of course, the fact that they cost almost 3 times the Q counterparts, will need to be justified, if it not a vertical jump. I am a little confused by your suggestion.

Ed
 

regeHA

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Hi Mpw/Raghu,

Are you suggesting the R series would be lateral? I don't mind the sound signature of KEFs (apart from them being a tad bright), but based on the audition, I thought the R300s were definitely a big step up from the Qs, both sonically and value-wise.

Of course, the fact that they cost almost 3 times the Q counterparts, will need to be justified, if it not a vertical jump. I am a little confused by your suggestion.

Ed

I'm not going to interpret or translate for them, but I'm thinking they mean since you are with an upgrade bug, it might be better to try something new. Probably going with the same KEF sound signature may entice an upgrade bug sooner than later.

BTW the R series is a huge jump from the Q series. I've also gone from Q300 to R300. The R series plays on a different field, nothing entry level about them. But you'll also have your work cut out for you... I had to move through a number of sources and amps before I got them to really sing and sound like they do now.

Also, akin to B&W they really come into their own with higher amplification. I'd look at upgrading your Rega too if you go with the R300s. Most of the mid level integrated amps did not bring out the best in them. I've tried Yamaha, Onkyo, Arcam, Marantz, NAD, and Anthem before I settled on the K3.

I did not get to try Rotel, Parasound, and McIntosh amps though I wanted to.
 
M

mpw

Guest
regeHA HAs summed it up nicely..

your speaker choices will be limited to what your source material / source / amp is....

and that means to have the full value of a 1.5 lac speaker , the amp must play in that range also.

Please be open to pre-loved stuff - thats 1 way to maximize..
 

raghupb

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Eddie,

Let me clear this up front. Q300 and R300 don't sound exactly same by any stretch of imagination.
I was sufficiently impressed with the Q-series audition and thus went ahead with R300 blindly because an opportunity presented itself at the right time.
What I meant is that the underlying tech that is KEF's USP is the same, Uni-Q. The R300 is a generation ahead of Q300 and a generation behind their Reference series.
When I said, you will hear more of the same than different, I meant that you will be able to easily identify that these 2 lines are benefiting from the same science.
R300 is definitely ahead in terms of soundstage, depth of presentation and bass extension. And also sexy looking (if WAF is important).
Also it is one of the few stand mounts that are 3-way in this price range. Not that this is terribly important, but it helps.
regaHA and I can talk endlessly about R300; but we are enslaved to their sound for now.
Without confusing you more, I would suggest this (if feasible).
Get your Q300 (I do see they are up on sale) and amp. Plug in the 2 sets of speakers in a back to back session of a few familiar numbers/genres and hear them out.
This exercise will help you make an informed decision whether to stay with KEF sound or move away to a different set of speakers.

regeHA's observation about amplification is also true.
I personally can hear a difference when R300s are driven by Marantz IA/AVR as compared to a pair of monoblocks.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

bornfi

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Trust me, based on my experience (you will regret for sure), do not spend that much on bookshelves; instead buy decent floor-standing speakers from Tannoy, Wharfedale.
 

prem

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Kvm, you have a pretty large room. If you can extend your budget a bit, you can look at Rethm Trishna. That should work very well in your room
 

magma

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my favorites in the said budget - bookshelves
ATC SCM 11
Morel octave signature ( the octave 6 may just be a tad out of budget but its a really nic speaker too )
PMC Db1 gold
Im not sure but i think you might get a Canton too at this budget
 

Hassan Khani

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Have a listen to Harbeth P3ESR since the distributor is in Bangalore. You would need to stretch the budget as the price I remember is close to 2L.

My request would be to listen to these once before making a decision.
 
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