LOW’s

acolinf

LOW’s

220

REVIEW

Technology and Performance

Unlike KEF’s former middle range, the

XQ Series, which were great sounding

and gorgeous to boot, these R Series

products won’t win any beauty

contests. They are simple-looking

boxes, albeit ones that are superbly

finished and constructed. The

review pair of R300s arrives in a nice

black-gloss finish. (Rosewood and

walnut veneers are also available.)

The beauty of this range is in the

technology and performance. Some

nice touches with this line include the

magnetically attached grilles and the

strapless bi-wire capability, which

makes for easy bi-wiring and lets you

forget about losing the gold-plated

brass strap usually supplied with

speakers in this price category.

The R300 features yet another

generation of KEF’s Uni-Q driver,

which is central to most KEF products,

giving them their signature

coherent sound. For those unfamiliar

with the Uni-Q, it is KEF’s way

of making the midrange and treble

drivers into a point-source radiator—the

often sought-after but rarely

attained ideal for a lot of speaker

manufacturers. This generation Uni-Q

benefits from the same technology

in KEF’s flagship Blade speakers.

The midrange cone is made from an

aluminum-magnesium composite,

which makes for much-desired lightness

and stiffness. Ribs across the

surface of the driver cone minimize

resonance, while the surrounding

material provides further dampening.

The tweeter, which is made from

the same material, is rear vented to

reduce backward pressure, minimize

TONE AUDIO NO.54

distortion and increase power handling.

KEF’s tangerine wave guide fits

over the tweeter diaphragm to further

control the already wide dispersion

characteristics, particularly those at

the highest frequencies.

The 6-inch bass driver is also a

stiff and strong aluminum affair, anodized

with a satin-like material, with

a large aluminum voice coil and a

vented magnet assembly behind it.

One quickly realizes that this rather

conventional-looking box is anything

but—there is a lot of technical sophistication

packed into this small

cabinet.

initial Assessment

I play music through the R300s for

80 hours before optimizing them

up for serious listening, with perfect

placement via a pair of 26-inch

Sound Anchor stands to put the Uni-

Q driver at ear level relative to the

sitting position from my couch. With

this placement, the front plane of the

speakers is 3 feet from the back wall,

with each unit 3.5 feet from the sidewalls.

A slight 5-degree toe-in puts

the optimum listening point with the

most-stable imaging just over 9 feet

from the speakers.

Serious listening begins

with some small-ensemble jazz

selections. First up, the self-titled

Bill Frisell, Ron Carter and Paul

Motian Trio, from three musicians

needing no more introduction. On

the album’s Miles Davis/Ron Carter

bluesy composition “Eighty One,”

the R300 captures the interplay of

these musicians in a seemingly large

acoustic space. (continued)

April 2013 221

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