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KEF Q Series speakers: Revised and refined

 
KEF Q350 speaker

 

Compared to electronic pieces of hi-fi, speakers are quite simple devices. Despite that, it's possible to produce a speaker that doesn't impress. A speaker's character and performance depend on how well the components work individually and together, ideally to produce a cohesive, enjoyable sound. In the case of the new KEF Q Series, it's a case of mission accomplished.

KEF has tweaked the tweeter, mid/bass drivers, bass reflex port, crossover and cabinet design of the previous Q Series to deliver speakers that are not only revised but refined. That refinement doesn't come at the expense of weight, though, with the speakers capable of providing considerable scale and authority.

The model which will have much focus on it is the Q350 (£530). The £500ish price point is a popular one for stand-mount speakers and one in which the Q350 can more than hold its own, delivering a result that's greater than the sum of its parts thanks to each doing its job exceptionally well and marrying harmoneously with the other components. Treble, mid-range and bass are all detailed, delivering a consistent character across the sonic spectrum.

KEF's trademark approach of placing the tweeter within the mid/bass unit (producing a Uni-Q array) hasn't changed but the combined unit is now centred on the cabinet's front baffle. The new location results in a more rigid cabinet when in use, aiding sound quality.

The Uni-Q approach and the central positioning of the combined unit also contributes to a neat front panel, made cleaner still by (a) the bass reflex port now being located at the rear of the speaker and (b) the absence of holes that fix grilles in place. Grilles are supplied but they connect to the speaker magnetically. Foam bungs are also provided to temper the bass if the Q350s have to be positioned close to a rear wall.

Aesthetics are further enhanced by some well-finished cabinets and complementary drive unit colours: silver units for the satin white cabinets; black units for the satin black speakers.

The cheapest floorstander in the new Q Series is the Q550 (£850). Discounting its stability-enhancing plinth, the Q550 is slimmer and shallower than the Q350 but uses its extra cabinet volume and a host of drive units - the Uni-Q array plus bass driver plus two passive radiators - to deliver even lower, well-controlled bass and a well-rounded midrange.

KEF's new Q Series also includes a centre channel speaker, two more floorstanding models and a more compact standmount speaker.

These superb speakers are in stock at Hi-Fi Stereo.


Date of article:06/09/2017


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