Posted on Sat, 15 Dec, 2018
Posted by Declan

Innovative from the inside-out, KEF R-Series are groundbreakingly high-end speakers, their latest editions build upon the company’s 50 year history that stems from the Kent town of Maidstone, celebrating design and unique hardware in a luxurious exterior. The more revered technology from KEF’s signature components has been borrowed to construct the newer R-Series range, heaped with praise; their R3 pair of speakers won What HiFi’s ‘Best standmount’ within the price range of  ‘£1000-£2000′ for 2018’.

A single impressive stand mounter

Unlike the R-series that came before it which featured R100 and R300 model floorstanders, for this new range KEF listened to customers carefully, considered how R-series fits into their larger portfolio of products and have released R3 as a single impressive bookshelf (hic stand mounter!) in the new range. Sharing the same drivers and tweeter as the larger and more expensive floorstanders, the R3 offer an impressive presentation which as a KEF bookshelf speaker is now second only to the Reference 1 bookshelf – high praise indeed for the R3 which costs only £1299 vs. £4499 for the Reference 1. The latter is of course far more accomplished, but at less than 1/3 of the price without any other speakers inbetween, its quite remarkable what KEF have achieved with R3.

Details and nuances are as impressive as ever from KEF’s Uni-Q driver array, with a spacious soundstage with good depth and a lower end that’ll put many other bookshelf speakers to shame. At this level we expect these will be a hot demonstration choice in store. Available in a choice of gloss black, gloss white or rosewood with optional stands

Mighty Floorstanders

Following on from The R5, R7 and R11 are floorstanders in the new KEF R-Series speaker range. All three models share the same impressive KEF Uni-Q driver array, with increases in physical size (naturally) as you progress up the range with the flagship R11 boasting further LF drivers; the R5 and R7 both feature two 5.25″ LF drivers per speaker, with the R11 featuring four 6″ LF drivers per speaker. With the prior speaker range we found the R700 most popular and expect the same to be the case with the R7 (as pictured below) – which is a sweet spot in the range for many where you can accomodate the greater size and performance over the slimmer R5 where the R9 is quite a lot larger and needs a little more power to drive them at their best.

The new floorstanders look stunning and like the R3 are very much like “baby Reference range” – again they wont reach the heights that Reference can, but at the price points that R-series come in at, these are class leading speakers that offer the style and substance you’d hope and dream for from a new pair of speakers. In terms of substance, how do they sound? As you’d expect there is greater lower frequency extension and greater scale with these speakers over R3 thanks to their size and also a cohesiveness and presentation that just “sounds right”. We listened to R7 alongside Reference 3 and knowing what else is on the market at these price points, couldnt help feeling that if you had either budget, you’d feel that you were getting a lot for your money by choosing the KEF’s. We wont go into too much more detail about their sound because (at time of writing) we’re still getting used to these in our showroom – like always though we recommend popping into see us for a personal demonstration to hear what this incredible new R-series range offers. Like the R3, all of the floorstanding models are also available in gloss white, gloss black or walnut.

For Home Cinema

Just like the old range, this new R-series range caters equally well to music and multi-channel audio fans. The bookshelf speakers and floorstanders and can be combined into a 5.1, 7.1, or 7.1.2 Atmos setup, etc, with the addition of the single matched R2C centre speaker and R400B subwoofer which continues from the prior range and sounds as awesome as ever with the latest R-series models.

In addition to the centre speaker, KEF have released new R8A Atmos Speakers which can be placed on top of R3, R5, R7 or R11 speakers at front and/or at rear to create a 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 setup (or indeed with additional side channels create a 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 channel set-up) to enhance the already awesome sound of these new R-series speakers with multi channel soundtracks.

To compliment the individual models in KEF’s new R-series range which you can combine for the multi-channel setup of your choice, we’ve also assembled several ready made R-series multi channel setups which pair the most recommended combination of KEF’s new range, including some options with ceiling speakers for Atmos if you prefer this installation option over the R8A’s.

Overall Thoughts

Its early days for having these in our showroom but – as we expected we’d be, we’ve been incredibly impressed with KEF’s new R-series speakers. The slightly smaller range makes sense in KEF’s new hierarchy as the single R3 eclipses both the R100 and R300 as a bookshelf speaker choice but is still compact enough to appease anyone concerned about floorstanders in their living room. The larger speakers are a leap ahead of the prior models in sound performance yet also all of these models are somehow even more stylish than the outgoing range and we can’t think of many other gloss black or gloss white speakers that look more stylish than these.

At the time of writing, we havent yet had chance to listen to the new centre and Atmos speakers in a multi-channel set-up yet (although we will have by the time you’re reading this) but will have these running alongside the bookshelf/floorstanding models in our showroom to demonstrate what the new R-series range can do with music and multi-channel content. Overall the new R-series range is class-leading stuff but as mentioned before nothing can compare to a personal demonstration in our showroom or a home trial.

From here, feel free to view the new R-series range on our website or contact us to arrange a demonstration

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