Friday, January 2, 2009

A visit with the KEF Q30s

The KEF Q30 is a small 29" tall floorstander that utilizes a single 6.5" Uni-Q (coaxial) driver. Expect to pay approximately $150 for a pair. Built in the early 90s, the Q30 used the second generation Uni-Q driver. Rated for 50Hz-20kHz and 88dB efficiency, the Q30 is best used for a small room. The 6.5" driver can only move so much air and of course there is only a hint of deep bass.

I use a pair of Q30s in my second system utilizing a McIntosh MC-250 amplifier and a refurbished Dynaco PAS preamplifier. The Uni-Q driver is very coherent, providing a nice (albeit small) window into the performance. Pulling them away from the wall decreases the bass response but the imaging as expected from a coaxial driver is fantastic. Treble is very smooth if not a tad rolled off, but with the amp/preamp combination I get a very musical presentation. We listen to hours of music a day through these little floorstanders. Only once in awhile do I wish for a bigger loudspeaker. But hey - that's what my main system is for.

This was my introduction to the KEF 'sound' and it made me curious enough to buy the older and larger KEF C-75. The Q30 is probably best used for small room - condos, dorms, apartments - where you don't want to intrude on your neighbor's ears. They offer a hint of some of the old audiophile tricks - imaging and detail. Pull them away for better imaging or if you need a little more bass they also work well close to the wall. Don't expect big bass or explosive dynamics from these little guys, but do expect a musical and involving presentation. They also would work well as surround speakers that can be tucked into a corner. The wife loves them since they look good and do not intrude into the living room like some of my other speakers.