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Anyone running KEF speakers??

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Old skool View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Old skool Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Oct 2018 at 11:25am
Trouble is, all the speakers I’m interested in are old! 
Can’t go to a dealer to audition a selection of 90s KEF, L*nn & Spendors 😕
Is the pursuit High Fidelity a sign of mental illness??
I think so....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bencat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2019 at 1:08pm
I have a pair of KEF 103 Reference units from around 1973 - 76 . I bought them after hearing a pair in a friends house and loved what they did. Used them as passive unit for many years after I upgraded the crossover with modern high quality capcitors and new in specification resistors (left all the indictors as they were) . This improved the bass and the intergration of the units no end chances were the original CR was way out of spec . As these are sealed baffle units I used them hard against a wall which has good domestic acceptance value and gives the bass an extra kick .

Around ten months ago I decided to immerse myself in a project and decided to make the KEF 103 units active . Refinished the cabinets , removed the passive cross over s and stored them away in case i wanted to ever put them back . Added a Mini DSP DDRC24 to cover the digital crossover , DAC and room DSP function (using DIRAC Live) and paired them up with two Fidele audio improved Quad 405 power amplifiers . The change and quality of these speakers now is breath taking they go lower they image better they sound intergrated and they really boogie when you ask them to . Active speakers seem to have a very fast sound , by which I mean notes start and stop very quickly there does no seem to be any overhang which gives music a precision and detail that once you have heard it is very additive .
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote peterb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2019 at 3:22pm
Pleased to read someone else has good experience with Kef 103s.
Andrew I would be interested to know about the upgraded crossovers you built. 
Did you just duplicate the values?
Can you recall what make the caps were, below is the original circuit diagram from my kit.

Peter
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Dual 505-1, Cyrus CD T, DIY 80W MosFet amp and PreAmp, 2xKEF 103.2
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Old skool Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2019 at 8:36am
I think the DIRAC active room correction software has a lot to do with it. 

My Arcam uses it too. When you turn it off it sounds a bit rough!
Is the pursuit High Fidelity a sign of mental illness??
I think so....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bencat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2019 at 9:15am
peterb sorry I do not know how to add attachments to this forum so apologies . I used the circuit diagram I was kindly sent by the KEF technical team and made sure all of the capacitor and resistor specifications were as close to the original as possible . I was able to buy a second pair of crossovers so I was able to remove the originals and store them then work on the second pair and upgrade them using film caps etc but not touching any of the inductors.

I can honestly say that when I turned on the speakers after they were first completed I was less than happy . They worked but the sound was tight and congested in the bass and was not really intergrating with the treble they seemed to be playing as two seperate units. I was about to remove the new CR's put the old one back in and start again but then I remembered when I had the Mains Capacitors replaced on my Krell KSA50 and on getting it home and turning it on being horrified at the poor sound it was producing advice then was to leave the unit running with music at low volume for a few hours which I did and was then greated with the old Krell sound I was used to .

So as the KEF's are not as dangerous (or costly ) to leave on as the Krell I put Radio Paradise in Flac quality on and let them play all night . Result next morning was that not only were the KEF 103's back and singing but they were now much improved smoother , more detailed and stronger bass with much improved imaging . As I use then hard against a wall imaging is the thing that suffers most so improvement is in this area is a nice bonus. Now what is I think impossible to say is was the improvement me just bringing the cr back to the original specification which is a good thing or did the "better" components I used make a difference . My personal view is a mixture of both and frankly I was not that bothered I just loved the sound and the KEF's became my main Music room system until I decided to make them active. 
Andrew
Raspbery Pi/Justboom Digi - MiniDSP DDRC 24 - Krell KSA50 - Quad ESL57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bencat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2019 at 9:27am
@Old Skool I know what you mean . Originally I used a MiniDSP HD 24 and then generated filters with REW software and they worked and at the time I thought they worked well . However there always seemed to be scope for improving the filter and never ending tweaking.

I then bought the firmware upgrade to DIRAC Live and things were very different . The process is very structured and easy to follow in a step by step way . The only area I would advise any user to take extra care with is the Nine microphone poistions you use for the measurements. Try and get the first listening position as precise as you can and mark it . Then measure the other positions as carefully as you can .

If you do this then the software in DIRAC has the very best chance to get a real idea of the room and your listening position and then produces the best filter it can . The programme produces a target curve and for amny they just load this which will be fine and sound very good. A little extra time and study to look at the response graphs produced to amke sure that you are only reducing peaks and not trying to fill in lows will pay real sound benefits as it will not stress your amplifier and speakers in to areas they do not want to go .

My Passive KEF's with new crossovers was an excellent speaker as an active speaker it is just so much better the excellent drivers are allowed to give there very best and the sound is detailed and alive and just makes you want to play just one more track before you turn it off which turns in to ten or twenty more . This is one of my criteria for judging the quality of any system do I want to listen to more all the time , if I do then that is a good system if not then the obvious conclusion .
Andrew
Raspbery Pi/Justboom Digi - MiniDSP DDRC 24 - Krell KSA50 - Quad ESL57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bencat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2019 at 9:31am
Peter my abject apologies I have done the stupid man read thing . My KEF 103 are the original version which were Mid seventies as per the below link . These are very different from the KEF 103.2 you are using and none of what I did would apply sorry for being so dense .

http://uk.kef.com/explore-kef/kef-museum/1970s/reference-series-model-103-1976-77

Originally posted by peterb peterb wrote:

Pleased to read someone else has good experience with Kef 103s.
Andrew I would be interested to know about the upgraded crossovers you built. 
Did you just duplicate the values?
Can you recall what make the caps were, below is the original circuit diagram from my kit.

Andrew
Raspbery Pi/Justboom Digi - MiniDSP DDRC 24 - Krell KSA50 - Quad ESL57
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