KEF is no stranger to fantastic speakers, but the KEF R300 Bookshelf Loudspeaker - Gloss White (Pair) sits at an interesting spot in their line. While still very much fitting into the bookshelf form factor, the speakers come with a premium price tag of $2,000 (KEF R300 Bookshelf Loudspeaker - Gloss White (Pair)).
Considering KEF’s flagship Blade’s sit at just North of $30,000 for a pair, the R300s may seem like a change in comparison. However, $2,000 is $2,000 and the R300 must stand up to this price considering the small form factor.
Quick Specs of KEF R300
|Bass Driver||1 x 6.5 inch (aluminum)|
|Frequency Response||50Hz – 28kHz (±3dB)|
|Crossover Frequencies||500Hz, 2.8kHz|
|Amplifier Requirements||25 – 120W|
Construction and Appearance[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B00DDQCM90″ locale=”US” src=”http://allsoundlab.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/413uREtdTIL.jpg” tag=”allsoundlab-20″ width=”500″]
If looks were the only thing that matter in the world of speakers, the price of the R300s would be easily justified. To say these speakers are beautiful would be selling them grotesquely short.
The three color options (black, white, and walnut) are matched beautifully with a driver and tweeter design that show these speakers mean business all while maintaining an elegant stance. The concave bass driver looks like something ripped from the future, with a clean overall look.
The futuristic look tweeter blends in with this in a way that can only be described as cool, but in a way that tries too hard.
If you’ve ever seen one of KEF’s speakers, however, this should be no surprise. The R300 doesn’t do anything in the way to deviate from this line, meaning it integrates perfectly with other options.
Overall, the look of the R300s is consistent with what I’d expect from KEF. The design is clean and elegant, but still looks like something ripped from a spaceship. There’s very few manufacturers that can pull off this appearance in a way that doesn’t make you cringe.
However, KEF killed it with the R300s in this regard, mixing both of these elements into a balance that seems next to impossible to find.
Where I was really impressed with the R300s was actually not in their design, though. The standout part in this realm is their absolutely stellar construction. Externally, this translates to more clean lines, with no visible screws and grilles that are magnetically fixed.
Inside is a far different story. The geometric construction inside the speaker optimizes vibrational behavior. While many speakers actually use the cabinet resonance to help out, this design reduces the interference of the wood, allowing the driver and tweeter to deliver a much cleaner sound.
Sound Quality[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B007C3SXDE” locale=”US” src=”http://allsoundlab.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/41zMzA9oCLL.jpg” tag=”allsoundlab-20″ width=”271″]
The R300 is interesting in the scope of sound quality. Despite premium features like the Uni-Q driver array, the speaker is still fairly small. Due to the limitations, the sound cranked out can only meeting a certain threshold, not sounding as big as a larger speaker.
I’m happy to say that KEF has done just about everything they can with the R300 to make it sound incredible, though. This starts with the 6.5-inch LF bass driver. The heart of this tiny speaker is in the fantastic, clean bass response. The giant magnets drive the uniquely shaped cones in a punchy, dynamic, and clear way.
However, the midrange cones are where things really get special. The Uni-Q driver array is truly something special. The midrange cones are made of a rigid magnesium/aluminum construction that helps reduce breakup. What results are a present and fast midrange?
Each transient punches in just the right ways, leading a sound that is full while still defined. The vented tweeters help increase this midrange bandwidth.
The tweeter is a marvel of design as well. Starting off, the Z-flex surround smoothes the tweeter interaction with the front baffle, creating crystal clear high-frequency reproduction.
However, reproduction is not all that is required to produce a pleasing high-end. KEF’s tangerine waveguide disperses high frequencies in a very wide field around the room, creating a natural stereo field and smoothing the top-end.
If there was a critique to be had, it’s that these speakers don’t reach as far as larger speakers do. Of course, this is more a flaw of physics than a flaw of KEFs. The bass response, while very pleasing for the size, lack just a hair when compared to larger speakers. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, though.
Overall, the R300s sound absolutely astonishing. A slightly neutered low-end is made up for with just about every other area of the frequency spectrum. The low-end, despite the lack of size, still sounds full and punches in a way consistent with a 6.5-inch driver.
The midrange is beautifully crafted, still being concise without flooding the speaker and making them sound dull. The high-end is beautifully dispersed and diffused, leading to a pleasantly rich, but not too harsh, top-end.
Best Feature of the KEF R300[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B007C3SXDE” locale=”US” src=”http://allsoundlab.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/31HuHnyVEnL.jpg” tag=”allsoundlab-20″ width=”345″]
Trying to figure out the best feature of the R300 is like trying to pick a favorite child. You know what it is, but you probably should appreciate the other parts. What still stands out about the speaker is the innovation in design and construction. The speakers are gorgeous and masterfully crafted in every sense of the word.
However, the design is more than skin deep and leads to the sound that is cranked out from these little bad-boys. The innovation with all the drivers in the R300s shows how precise KEF is and why their speakers are some of the best in the world.
Worst Feature of the KEF R300
Worst is a very relative term when considering the R300s. However, if an issue needs to be addressed, it’s a slightly lacking low-end. The small size of the speakers lack deep bass, not just in the super sub range, but also a little higher up.
For such small speakers, this should be expected, but we figured we’d note it either way.
KEF is an amazing company and the R300s show why they’re experts of their craft. The Uni-Q driver, excellent construction, beautiful design, and overall frequency response bring this speaker into a realm that is accessible for all, but provides a premium experience.
The small bookshelf design is beautifully executed with one of the three colored options. For me, the natural, real-wood finish is stunning in every way. When looking at the range overall, the black and white variants, while beautiful, do a massive disservice to the range when compared to the real-wood finish.
The construction is much deeper than that. KEF’s innovation in design leads this speaker into the cutting edge instead of just a copy of a copy. With this, the R300s sound not only beautiful but unique.
However, that isn’t to cover how phenomenal they sound overall. The standout area is in the midrange. This high-bandwidth region punches with tight and focused clarity in a stunning way. The response is not too warm, but instead full and sleek.
The low-end may be lacking a hair, but the top-end is beautifully dispersed. The top is certainly there, but it’s soft in a way that makes the audio still sound exciting, but never harsh.
Overall, the KEF R300 Bookshelf Loudspeaker - Gloss White (Pair) is a pretty expensive speaker considering where it fits in the market. Again, $2000 is $2000. However, the expense is easily justified with innovative design, beautiful construction, and absolutely top-notch sound quality. In every sense of the word, the KEF R300s are absolutely fantastic.