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  1. #1
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    Getting Started with KEF

    I have always been wanting to have my pair of nice speakers, amp, etc but could not have the time to do research on so many products in the market. With new job n such.....I just have to go with my instinct.

    And with that, I finally brave enough to walked in an audio shop n with tight budget n a few cds, I browsed around.....seems to be I am the only female customer. Yup, I guess I am in the wrong place. Tried a few speakers (those that I can afford for now) and after a few recommendation from the sales person, I walked out to a new owner of:

    Speakers : KEF iQ3
    Amp: NAD C315BEE
    CD Player: Out of cash......next month.....NAD C525BEE or C515BEE

    The shop was kind enough to give me 4 metres of speakers cables for free....nice...a decent one I hope.


    It may not be the best but I hope I am getting the value for $.

    Question is, for next month - shall I get NAD C525 or the C515. Any suggestions will be appreciated guys......thanks....

  2. #2
    Ajani
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    Get the C515... it will match the look of the C315 better and I get the impression from reviews that is a better CD player than the C525 (the C515 is a newer model than the C525)....

    Congratulations on your purchases so far... it sounds like you've put together a very good budget setup...

  3. #3
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    Hey you've a post on my thread, and said you didn't do your homework. Why do you think this? Are you not happy with the iQ3's? I see you are new here, and a woman at that! Welcome
    AA

  4. #4
    Forum Regular aevans's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great start.. I took a look at the specs of the NAD C315BEE and I really like the back to basics approach of it as an integrated stereo amp.

    I don't really like the sound of KEF speakers, but don't like a lot of speakers. If they make good sounds for your ears you should be happy with your purchase.

    I'm a big fan of matched sets, it increases the resale value incase you ever become unhappy with your setup, and you know that the products were designed to work together. I would go with the C515BEE given the choice between the two.

  5. #5
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    good choice..

    KEF doesn't get the attention of Paradigm, B&W but in my experience, is a better sounding line of speakers across the board. I've had a number of speakers over the years. I listened to and bought a pair of IQ9's about a year ago. They're essentially IQ3's with two six inch bass/mid drivers. Very dynamic and capable of effortlessly filling a large room with smooth, non-fatiguing and realistic sound. Amazing imaging too thanks to the coax design. You'll probably want a sub to flesh out the lower end though. Good purchase.

    Quote Originally Posted by raychristenpaul
    I have always been wanting to have my pair of nice speakers, amp, etc but could not have the time to do research on so many products in the market. With new job n such.....I just have to go with my instinct.

    And with that, I finally brave enough to walked in an audio shop n with tight budget n a few cds, I browsed around.....seems to be I am the only female customer. Yup, I guess I am in the wrong place. Tried a few speakers (those that I can afford for now) and after a few recommendation from the sales person, I walked out to a new owner of:

    Speakers : KEF iQ3
    Amp: NAD C315BEE
    CD Player: Out of cash......next month.....NAD C525BEE or C515BEE

    The shop was kind enough to give me 4 metres of speakers cables for free....nice...a decent one I hope.


    It may not be the best but I hope I am getting the value for $.

    Question is, for next month - shall I get NAD C525 or the C515. Any suggestions will be appreciated guys......thanks....

  6. #6
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Congrats on the new toys!

    I love KEF. I started off with some Q7 floorstanders that I still own and use to this day in my computer rig. Great imaging and midrange, and I think you could do a lot worse in this pricerange. Just a very solid rock/pop/blues speaker that doesn't get much press or acknowledgment on this side of the pond.

    Just one man's opinion but I would choose the Marantz 5001 in a heartbeat over either NAD model, but if the NAD is a dealkiller go with the 515.

    Welcome to the forum.


    --sticks
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  7. #7
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Congrats on the new toys!

    I love KEF. I started off with some Q7 floorstanders that I still own and use to this day in my computer rig. Great imaging and midrange, and I think you could do a lot worse in this pricerange. Just a very solid rock/pop/blues speaker that doesn't get much press or acknowledgment on this side of the pond.

    Just one man's opinion but I would choose the Marantz 5001 in a heartbeat over either NAD model, but if the NAD is a dealkiller go with the 515.

    Welcome to the forum.


    --sticks
    You're sure right about that... on the other side of the pond, Kef and Monitor Audio are pretty much the kings of entry level.... over here it's more Paradigm & PSB...

  8. #8
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    A little bit of homework but not with all those technicals words n jargon......I am just lost. But thanks to a lot of review, I managed to narrow down the numbers.

  9. #9
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raychristenpaul
    A little bit of homework but not with all those technicals words n jargon......I am just lost. But thanks to a lot of review, I managed to narrow down the numbers.
    What's gotya stumped?
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  10. #10
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    Thanks guys......I am enjoying my music. Currently, I am using a very old Pioneer DV-515as my cd player. It's kinda gold in colour. Got if from my dad - which was in a garage for a while. He told me that he didn't really actually use it a lot. He opened the cover, blast off the dust n hooked it up. It works........

    Is this player ok? It's not a dedicated cd player as it is also for dvd.

    If I buy NAD 515, would it makes a lot of different? I agree, looks better.

    Currently, the vocal overwhelmed the music. Is that normal? I mean, yeah it's so clear n crisp.

    Sub? Hmmmmm.......I gota say that I am tempted as at the moment I am not happy with the bass. Any recommendation?

  11. #11
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Get the C515... it will match the look of the C315 better and I get the impression from reviews that is a better CD player than the C525 (the C515 is a newer model than the C525)....

    Congratulations on your purchases so far... it sounds like you've put together a very good budget setup...
    Would the C515 beat my old Pioneer DV-515? How is that so?

  12. #12
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    I guess at this point I am happy with my iQ3. At the moment I do not have a speaker stand. Just placed them on a granite window ledge and were only a meter apart from my amp. Obviously, it's a small flat. Would a speker stand helps to produce better sounds?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by raychristenpaul
    I guess at this point I am happy with my iQ3. At the moment I do not have a speaker stand. Just placed them on a granite window ledge and were only a meter apart from my amp. Obviously, it's a small flat. Would a speker stand helps to produce better sounds?
    Definitely grab some stands. If you are in the US, others might guide you as to where to look. You can get them fairly cheap (under 50bucks pair). I'd get some with rounded edges, to match the style of the iQ3's. 24 inches tall should be good.
    Also a dedicated CD player should sound better than a DVD. How much better? Well it depends.. You have to be the judge.

  14. #14
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raychristenpaul
    . Would a speker stand helps to produce better sounds?
    Yes they would, if only because in the current location you'll get some nasty reflections of the glass. If some of the lower frequencies sound "muddied" or "garbled" that's why...though if you listen to a lot of electronic or heavy rock you may well need a subwoofer.

    I don't know if the difference between a DVD and CD player will be the issue in this rig. I'm more inclined to think that the difference will be in the modernity of the DACs (Digital to Analog Converters) used in the player. There's been a lot of advancement the technology in this particular area within the last few years. I suspect that a new player of any stripe will give you greater clarity and presence...and fortunately it won't have to be a megabuck unit for you to enjoy the difference.
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  15. #15
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by raychristenpaul
    Would the C515 beat my old Pioneer DV-515? How is that so?
    I don't know how old your Pioneer is, but as bobsticks pointed out: there have been great improvements in DACS over the lifespan of CD and DVD players.... so a modern one will often outperform an older one (even if the older one was far more expensive)....

    How much of a difference the NAD would make over the Pioneer is subjective... I suggest you see if you can borrow the NAD from your dealer for a weekend to try it out first...

  16. #16
    JSE
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    Like Sticks said, the speaker position probably has a lot to do with the sound your getting. Speaker placement/stands will probably have a much greater effect on your sound than and new CD player. I would probably play around with your positioning and get some stands. Then, get a decent musical sub to give you some low frequencies.

    I think these suggestions will be far more of an improvement than a new CD player. Definitely get a new CD player but get stands and a sub first. Try and move your speakers about 6 to 8 feet apart if your can and angle them in toward your listening position. You can then adjust from there on the speaker angle. You will be amazed what a little tweaking can do.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Like Sticks said, the speaker position probably has a lot to do with the sound your getting. Speaker placement/stands will probably have a much greater effect on your sound than and new CD player. I would probably play around with your positioning and get some stands. Then, get a decent musical sub to give you some low frequencies.

    I think these suggestions will be far more of an improvement than a new CD player. Definitely get a new CD player but get stands and a sub first. Try and move your speakers about 6 to 8 feet apart if your can and angle them in toward your listening position. You can then adjust from there on the speaker angle. You will be amazed what a little tweaking can do.
    Wow, you guys are the greatest.

    I have repositioned the speakers, almost 6 feet apart. My listening distance is about 12-15 feet away. Speakers still on the window ledge, cone rises to about 2 feet n 8 inches. Speakers are about 1 feet infront of the window. Playing hotel costes x, which I just bought - clear vocal sounds, crisp I would say....but on the lower freq, rather dissapointing. Bass sounds ok on some songs but I would expect a better outcome. It's just not coming out or how shall I put it....humming...or...non distinguished bass. Can't recognise if it's from bass guitar or others..

    I've got this wooden blinder for my (5 by 7) window and would that help or should I change to fabric? The window ledge is my fav spot for my set n will try not to locate to another area. Unless I do not have an option - than means to the bedroom.....oh...no....

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I don't know how old your Pioneer is, but as bobsticks pointed out: there have been great improvements in DACS over the lifespan of CD and DVD players.... so a modern one will often outperform an older one (even if the older one was far more expensive)....

    How much of a difference the NAD would make over the Pioneer is subjective... I suggest you see if you can borrow the NAD from your dealer for a weekend to try it out first...
    It was about 4 years old, printed on the front panel are " 96 kHz 24 bit DAC Legato Link Conversion, dolby digital/dts/Tru Surround w/srs"......whatever.......

    Will save some $ on speakers stand n then getting a dedicated cd player. Oh wait, somebody said get a sub. Speakers stand n a sub.....might go for that. Nah, can't borrow the NAD from the dealer.

  19. #19
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by raychristenpaul
    It was about 4 years old, printed on the front panel are " 96 kHz 24 bit DAC Legato Link Conversion, dolby digital/dts/Tru Surround w/srs"......whatever.......

    Will save some $ on speakers stand n then getting a dedicated cd player. Oh wait, somebody said get a sub. Speakers stand n a sub.....might go for that. Nah, can't borrow the NAD from the dealer.
    Checking out speaker stands and a sub are probably a better option than buying a CD player, especially since your complaint is about poor bass response...

    Another option you can consider is whether the total cost of IQ3s + Stands + Sub may not end up being more than say the IQ7/IQ9 floorstanders.... if so, you might want to consider just trading up the IQ3s for one of them.... If you can, I'd suggest auditioning a IQ3/stands/Sub combo in the store versus IQ7s to see which you prefer (assuming the store will allow a trade up)....

  20. #20
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    If you're budget hunting, I think you'll have to put some thought to whether you want good bass or adequate bass. I'd play around with room placement some more. Putting speakers in corners or closer to walls will bring out the bass more. Ultimately though, good bass is all about moving large volumes of air accurately.

    I think the best way to approach good bass on a budget (outside of the used market) is to consider subwoofer kits. Parts Express makes some good kits (Click for link) . The 10" kit is well reviewed and would be a place to begin the search.

    I bought my 15" MkIII subwoofer off their ebay auction, pre-assembled for less than the kit price. If you are patient and watch the auction (click again) , subwoofers will show up.

    But, patience is key to the next step. I'd advise that it's better to wait and think about what you want longer (perhaps save more) then pull the trigger.

  21. #21
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Also, on the CD player front, many here have moved over to computer based audio. E.g. rip the CD to the computer in a lossless format. Then buy a good external DAC. The Computer/DAC combo can outperform many a CD player if done right and give you more flexibility in playing music. 2 cents.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    If you're budget hunting, I think you'll have to put some thought to whether you want good bass or adequate bass. I'd play around with room placement some more. Putting speakers in corners or closer to walls will bring out the bass more. Ultimately though, good bass is all about moving large volumes of air accurately.

    I think the best way to approach good bass on a budget (outside of the used market) is to consider subwoofer kits. Parts Express makes some good kits (Click for link) . The 10" kit is well reviewed and would be a place to begin the search.

    I bought my 15" MkIII subwoofer off their ebay auction, pre-assembled for less than the kit price. If you are patient and watch the auction (click again) , subwoofers will show up.

    But, patience is key to the next step. I'd advise that it's better to wait and think about what you want longer (perhaps save more) then pull the trigger.
    You r so right about being patience n playing wth speakers placement. Gonna do that n if that doesn't work - u will know for sure as my next question will be what's a good sub for my set up. Till then, me n my spakers r playing with space. Will let u all know the result.

  23. #23
    JSE
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    Quote Originally Posted by raychristenpaul
    You r so right about being patience n playing wth speakers placement. Gonna do that n if that doesn't work - u will know for sure as my next question will be what's a good sub for my set up. Till then, me n my spakers r playing with space. Will let u all know the result.
    Based on your comment about weak bass above, I would defintely go the stand/sub route first. Like noddinoff mentioned, bass is about moving air. Small speakers simply don't move a lot of air, thus limited bass.

    However, you have some great speakers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pairing a decent sub with them. Many audio nuts prefer a monitor/bookshelve style speakers like yours combined with a sub. Some prefer a larger full range larger speaker that produces more bass on it's own. Even then, most still add a sub to a full range speaker.

    In the mean time, keep playing with positioning and maybe even some room treatments like you mentioned with fabric on the window. Generally speaking, fabric and soft materials will absorb sound and reduce reflections. Wood or any hard surface creates reflections and "bounces" sound. Since I am starting to speak outside my limited expertise, I am not really sure which would help best with your lack of bass and your layout . I suspect the wood shutters would be better in your situation but again, maybe someone else will disagree. A little "boomy" bass created by some hard surfaced might actually help a little here in this particular situation. At least until you get a sub.
    Last edited by JSE; 03-19-2008 at 10:29 AM.

  24. #24
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSE
    Based on your comment about weak bass above, I would defintely go the stand/sub route first. Like noddinoff mentioned, bass is about moving air. Small speakers simply don't move a lot of air, thus limited bass.

    However, you have some great speakers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pairing a decent sub with them. Many audio nuts prefer a monitor/bookshelve style speakers like yours combined with a sub. Some prefer a larger full range larger speaker that produces more bass on it's own. Even then, most still add a sub to a full range speaker.

    In the mean time, keep playing with positioning and maybe even some room treatments like you mentioned with fabric on the window. Generally speaking fabric soft and materials will absorb sound and reduce reflections. Wood or any hard surface creates reflections and "bounces" sound. Since I am starting to speak outside my limited expertise, I am not really sure which would help best with your lack of bass and your layout . I suspect the wood shutters would better in your situation but again, maybe someone else will disagree. A little "boomy" bass created by some hard surfaced might actually help a little here in this particular situation. At least until you get a sub.
    Good advice, though I'm not sure the highlighted line is correct.... For Home Theater - possibly.... but for music? probably not...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Checking out speaker stands and a sub are probably a better option than buying a CD player, especially since your complaint is about poor bass response...

    Another option you can consider is whether the total cost of IQ3s + Stands + Sub may not end up being more than say the IQ7/IQ9 floorstanders.... if so, you might want to consider just trading up the IQ3s for one of them.... If you can, I'd suggest auditioning a IQ3/stands/Sub combo in the store versus IQ7s to see which you prefer (assuming the store will allow a trade up)....
    Went back to the shop n try some sub plus stand n iq3 just roar and ump with bass. Not looking back with KEF of mine. Small compared to the towers surrounding it but yes it can perform. However, instead of NAD C315 we were switching to the bigger amp - big brother of C315, Marantz that is triple the price and ONKYO & of course Denon.

    Marantz n Denon sounds better in term of vocal, sweet oh sweet vocal......mind u all, I brought with me stacks of cds, just to try different beat, vocals, pop, jazz, rock etc. Such crisp sound.

    M getting back to earth n looking at my C315, I will have to settle for it....for now. Can't say anythingwhen $ is a concern.

    Can't believe the price of the stand. The cheapest is about $200.

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