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KEF R700 Floorstanding Speakers Review

KEF R700 Floorstanding Speakers

KEF R700 Floorstanding Speakers


  • Product Name: R700 Floorstanding Speakers
  • Manufacturer: KEF
  • Review Date: December 06, 2012 21:35
  • MSRP: $1800/ea.
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Design: 3-way bass reflex
  • Drive units: Uni-Q driver array
  • HF: 1" (25mm) vented aluminium dome
  • MF: 5in. (125mm) aluminium
  • Bass: 2 x 165mm (6.5in.) aluminium
  • Frequency range (-6dB): 37Hz - 45kHz
  • Frequency response (±3dB): 42Hz - 28kHz
  • Crossover frequency: 500Hz, 2.9kHz
  • Amplifier requirements: 25 - 200 W
  • Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 89dB
  • Harmonic distortion (2nd & 3rd), 90dB, 1m: <0.4% 100Hz-20kHz
  • Maximum output: 113dB
  • Nominal impedance: 8Ω (min. 3.2Ω)
  • Dimension (with grille): 42.1 x 8.3 x 13.6 in. (1070 x 210 x 345 mm)
  • Dimension (with plinth): 44.1 x 13.0 x 14.5 in. (1121 x 329 x 368 mm)
  • Weight:  57lbs. (25.9kg)

This review was an exciting ride. But before I tell you why, let me introduce you to the KEF R700 Foorstanding speakers. These speakers are in the R-Series and are the middle child in a three-way tower line-up. They retail at $1800 each, so as you can imagine, KEF is pitching them at consumers who are serious about their music.

They are designed as 3-way bass reflex, or ported, speaker and they use the company's Uni-Q driver array. It's a 1" vented aluminum dome tweeter inside a 5" aluminum midrange. We call that a coaxial design. But it also has twin 6-1/2" aluminum bass drivers that allow the speakers to drop down to 42 Hz.

plinth attachmentThe speakers stand around 46-1/2" tall on an included plinth which you actually attach during the process of unboxing the speakers. This puts the tweeter just below the ear. The finish is a beautiful piano black, and you can also get them in both Walnut and Rosewood finishes, and those are real wood veneers. The grills are magnetic and this is one of those speakers that looks good with the grills both on and off. The R700 speakers are bi-ampable and foam plugs are included which you use to stop up the dual ports to correctly flatten the low frequency extension. We tried it without the plugs and bass was way too boomy, which made me wonder why the speakers have ports to begin with.

foam plugsbiamp terminals

With such tracks as 'Last Plane Out' from Toy Matinee, we found the lead vocals to be much more detailed and the stereo guitars to be wide open and as beautifully airy as we remembered. The track had a massively wide soundstage, perfectly centered vocals and a midrange detail that completely opened up for us. Background (doubled) vocals were also spacious and they spilled into the room like we were listening to the song played live in a small venue. When we queued up the title track, the midbass was really clean and not at all boomy. The toms that pan around the room were very easy to define and they seemed to have 3D depth, even though we were only listening in mono and not in the 5.1 version of this album. Bass was very low and true – it’s just a great-sounding speaker.

drivers on towers

You'll want to power these with a serious amplifier. Sensitivity is rated at just 89dB and we noticed that they really came alive when we drove them hard. About the only thing we were slightly disappointed in was that male, and even female vocals, took on a slightly metallic sound - for lack of a better description. While vocal tracks were very revealing, they also held a sort of "grittiness" that we didn't hear in many other speakers we've tested.

plinth sideWe actually reviewed a full 5.1 R-Series KEF speaker system with R100 surrounds, an R600c Center channel and even the R400b subwoofer, though most of our time was spent with the two towers and stereo content. With films such as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, battle sequences with thunderous attacks by the orcs were unbelievably powerful, while shield clashes and sword strikes were presented with almost hyper-real detail. We also put in Captain America: The First Avenger and played the battle sequence over and over as he leads the men to victory in their first big battle of the movie against HYDRA. The surround effects were stellar as the shield gets thrown (literally) all across the soundstage. Weapons fire sound design in this movie is extremely nuanced and so both the bottom end sweeteners and the top end crispness were all present and even punchier than I remembered from the theatrical experience. This is simply a great movie for surround sound and the KEF R-Series really showed that two-channel listening isn't the only thing they're good for.

You know, you made it to the end of this video, so we know you at least have some interest in home theater, speakers, Blu-ray... projectors. If you want more GREAT reviews like this one (well I thought it was great) subscribe to our YouTube channel. And this week’s question is: what number signifies an “expensive” speaker in your opinion? Is it $100, $500, $3000? Leave us a comment and let us know. Our Twitter handle is @AudioholicsLive and you can Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/audioholics.

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

About the author:
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Andrew Gash was the online personality for Audioholics' video reviews back in 2010. He's an accomplished video editor and scriptwriter and enjoys masochistic events such as entering 48 hour film festivals each year, for which his last several attempts have placed in various nominations and awards.

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