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KEF X300A Digital Hi-Fi Speaker System Preview

KEF X300a Digital Hi-Fi Speaker System

KEF X300a Digital Hi-Fi Speaker System


  • Product Name: X300a
  • Manufacturer: KEF
  • Review Date: September 14, 2012 13:00
  • MSRP: $799.99/pair
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
System type Two-way bass reflex
Drive units Uni-Q driver array: HF: 25mm (1in.) vented aluminium dome LF/MF: 130mm (5.25in.) magnesium/ aluminium alloy
Frequency response (+/- 3dB) 58Hz - 28kHz
Frequency range (- 6dB) 49Hz - 45kHz
Max peak SPL 104dB
Amplifier type Twin Class AB
Amplifier power LF: 50W HF: 20W
AC power input US/JP versions: 100-120 VAC, 50/60 Hz EU/UK/China versions: 220-240 VAC, 50Hz
Analogue input AUX: 3.5mm stereo jack
Digital input Resolution Sampling rate USB 2.0: mini USB type B connector Up to 24-bit Up to 96kHz, depending on source resolution
Controls Balance control System volume control
Internal volume 4.7 l
Finish Gunmetal
Dimension (H x W x D) Without heatsink: 280 x 180 x 215mm (11.0 x 7.1 x 8.5 in.) With heatsink: 280 x 180 x 243mm (11.0 x 7.1 x 9.6 in.)
Weight 7.5kg (16.5lbs) per speaker

A while back, we previewed the KEF LS50 Mini Monitors. At the time, we were excited because we were seeing KEF bring some of their higher-end technology to a product that was much more affordable. At $1500 a pair, the LS50s weren't exactly an impulse buy, but they were within the reach of many enthsiasts. KEF is continuing this tradition with the announcement of their X300A Digital Hi-Fi Speakers for your office. While they don't have all the technology of the LS50s, they are self powered, are fed digitally, and cost only $799.99 a pair.

Having quality music playback in your office usually means having to upgrade not only your speakers but the soundcard in your computer. And if you plan on using your normal headphone jack in your laptop, prepare yourself for possible hard drive noise and other interference. This is a cost that many consumers don't realize they'll accrue when they decided to get some near-field monitors for their office.

KEF has removed that cost by including a high quality 24-bit/96khz DAC in their new X300A Digital Hi-Fi speaker system. First, more about the speakers. KEF is known for their coaxial drivers where the tweeter is mounted within the midrange/woofer. This driver configuration, they call it Uni-Q, features a 1" vented aluminum dome tweeter and a 5.25" magnesium/aluminum alloy woofer. The enclosure is a bass reflex design with a rear port. Knowing that the X300A speakers would likely be placed near a wall, KEF has included port plugs and an EQ switch for stand or desk mounting.


KEF has rated the X300A down to 58Hz at -3dB and 49dB at -6dB. Each speaker has twin class A/B amplifier pushing 50 watts into the low frequencies and 20 watts into the high. The X300A are connected to your PC or Mac via USB 2.0 and use a digital connection between the two to keep all the content in the digital domain until it is decoded at the speaker. There is also a 3.5mm port for adding your portable device. Each of the speakers weigh 16.5 pounds and are 11" tall and 7" wide. With the heatsink on the back, the X300A are 9.6" deep. The KEF X300A come in a gunmetal finish, have volume and balance controls, and have a max SPL of 104dB.

KEF stresses the simplicity of the X300A system and it really is true. With a digital connection, all you need to do is give them a power source. One question we have (that could easily be answered by providing a picture of the back of the speakers) is if the X300A allow for the inclusion of a subwoofer. While 58Hz is very respectable for such a small speaker, we bet we're not the only ones that would like something a bit lower. With a speaker system that operates in the analogue domain, a sub with outputs can be integrated. Having the KEF X300A entirely in the digital domain means that they'll the crossover technology has to be built in by KEF or you'll have to do without.


With the level of technology in the KEF X300A, $800 a pair seems remarkably reasonable to us. Borrowing much from the $30,000 a pair Blade concept speaker, the X300A should sound very, very good for the money. Keeping the source content in the digital domain means that much of the setup hassle is avoided and sound quality is completely controlled by how well encoded your music is and the quality of the KEF DACs. The 3.5mm analogue jack means you'll be able to connect your portable player without having to transfer your content to your computer. All in all, a very well thought out office solution for the discerning audiophile.

For more information, please visit www.kef.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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