KEF R100 Bookshelf speakers

KEF has over 50 years of initiating inventiveness behind it, bringing to mind other venerable British loudspeaker manufacturers, like Quad, B&W, Harbeth, and Spendor. It may be claimed that a fresh height was reached by KEF several years past with the extremely well, along with with its Blade loudspeaker - a. stands -mounted version, a contemporary homage

In the event the Blade establishes the standard of quality for price-no-thing loudspeakers, as well as the LS50 is caused by design and engineering dripped down to an amount that is far more affordable, the collection of R versions of KEF targets a broader consumer base. The owner's manual, for example, offers comments in 15 languages. The R series is well suited to home theaters: its ten versions consist of three floorstanding loudspeakers, two centres, an environment, a Atmos-certified version for height advice, a subwoofer -- and two bookshelf models, the smaller of which can be the R100 ($1199.99 USD per pair).


The R100 is an 8-ohm, two way, bass reflex design using a promised sensitivity of 86dB. Its single drive-unit is among KEF's patented Uni Q assemblages: a 1" dome tweeter in what KEF calls their "tangerine" (their quotes) waveguide, mounted in the middle of a 5.25" midrange-woofer. Both motorists are constructed with silver-coloured aluminum. Approximately back is a 3"-wide interface that is aligned using the Uni-Q array, and two sets of five-way binding posts - the R100 can be biwired or biamped. In lieu of standard jumpers, between the pairs of binding posts, is a pair of knobs that will be tensioned in another manner for biwiring, or a single method for single wiring. I did my listening using the R100s linked with single pairs of loudspeaker cables.

Each R100 measures 11"H x 7.1"W x 11.4"D and weighs 14.5 pounds. Because the Uni-Q driver is recessed to the front baffle and a metal flange conceals its own outer edges, the cupboard can be fashioned to appear as one seamless piece, without visible screws or bolts. It is real, or for sale in four finishes: Gloss White or Gloss Black -wood veneers of Rosewood or Walnut. I believed the R100s seemed somewhat veiled - and seemed strikingly sleek and good-looking - without them, although KEF supplies magnetically attached metal grilles. I did most of my listening with no grilles.

System and set up

As it was on other parts of the state, the winter of 2015 was not as tough on Brooklyn, but it was not hot and made for the states that are perfect to use my winter amp: Raysonic's hot-working SP300 tube incorporated. I had received the R100s promptly after reviewing a set of MartinLogan Motion 35XT stand-mounted screens, so my listening comparisons were to them, also within my head's ear I hear to the musical ideal.


My first impression of the sound of the KEF R100 was that, true to its sources, it was the embodiment of that which we anticipate from some of British-designed stand-mounted loudspeakers in 2015: courteous, and having a midrange emphasis -- as much as a wonderfully balanced speaker can highlight any portion of the audioband; brilliant integration of highs and lows, thanks to the Uniq design, and exceptional linearity. The KEFs were a small power hungry, demanding from the 80W standing of the Raysonic as it may deliver. These features did not differ much.

Through the Uni-Q driver, Marsalis's trumpet was pleasant and clean without being sharp, and behind him the group was firmly incorporated, from Jeff "Tain" Watts's massive drumming, to the thrum of Robert Leslie Hurst III's bass, to Marcus Roberts's pounding, resonating piano constructions. With the softer "Autumn Leaves," the R100s distribute a broad soundstage that has a great number of ambient retrieval, creating a palpable awareness of what it must have been like to have been in that nightclub on that night.

It is a jammy, performance that is comfortable, as well as its laconic rate was expressed by the R100s in abundant, detail that is unhurried. An arrestingly midrange that was coherent held my attention throughout, and when Hendrix pauses, this track was given an especial awareness of existence by the perceptible buzz of his guitar amp through the R100s. The tune that was newest pulsed with musical life, providing a clear view to the occasion itself.

The R100s shone where human voices and acoustic instruments took precedence over hard rock poetry slam with records of duets and small ensembles. "The West End," from John Mellencamp's No Better Than This (16/44.1 ALAC, Rounder), is affected greatly by T Bone Burnett's production style, which tends toward heat, even claustrophobically so. The sound of the instruments, nevertheless, had a natural, fluid quality, ease and a delicacy that generated a healthy tension. Like Mellencamp's band, Bob Dylan's group on his Modern Times (16/44.1 ALAC, Columbia) is acoustically inclined; the R100s copied Tony Garnier's double bass resolutely, with speed and precision - and a top to bottom unity of sound and intent, from guitars to drums.

The R100s always offered dependable low end audio that has been steady and balanced, and did so without tension or pressure.


Late within my audition of the KEF R100, I got the D3020, NAD's digital integrated amplifier. Its power output is comparatively low at 30Wpc, but it removed any wonky or woolly distortion the tubes of the Raysonic might have already been responsible for. Powered by the NAD, their grasp somewhat tightened on the emotional truth of the music, having important weight and a more drive. Through lesser loudspeakers, this variation of Waits-ian insanity may cause confusion in anarchy and the crossovers on the list of armature. Not so the R100s, whose top notch engineering earned its keep.

From the conclusion of my time using the MartinLogan Motion 35XTs, I had been engrossed by their power to produce low level dynamics, and from the high end expansion of the thread tweeters. And their bigger (6.5") midrange-woofers were only able to transfer more air than a smaller driver could. Colours and instrumental timbres were vividly realistic and extreme. The R100s of KEF, nevertheless, excelled at a natural midrange, a scintillating treble, bass that was fast, as well as pinpoint imaging. Song after song, the sound through the R100s was completely unfatiguing, happily soothing, yet in-depth.

Their assaults speeded up but stayed in control, never sounding etched or fragile. Aural pictures of instruments were built in three dimensions, resulting in textural and foil and tonal finesse. The recording kept the greatest degree of dimensionality, free from distortion and brimming with harmony, purity, and articulation.

On the flip side, the KEFs excelled at calibrated speed of graceful and assault decay. They presented the vocalist's adaptive falsetto in three measurements, the background voices floating in and around him like butterflies browsing a wind that was constant. Textural details came through, as when the track were not as stale as on a first listen.


Everything they did seemed to be centered on a doctrine of equilibrium. The bass was not fostered although punchy. The trebles were not accentuated although clear. The focus was about the midrange, as befits a layout using the pedigree of the R100. And because KEF continues to be carrying this out for some time, I got the feeling that was reassuring that they had been gone into by plenty of time, effort, and expertise. KEF gets the courage of the convictions.

KEF's proprietary Uni-Q driver, by its very nature, incorporates the output signals of woofer and tweeter as can no pairing of individually mounted drivers. The harmony it produced throughout the audioband was not deniable. The driver array is not as analog -age as the strong, durable cabinet is analog. The mix combines modernity with classicism.

KEF R100 Bookshelf speakers photo