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KEF Reference Series Model 101
3 Reviews
rating  5 of 5
MSRP 
Description: Small, unobtrusive loudspeaker, achieves a standard of performance superior to most larger loudspeakers. <br> <br>* Flat frequency response down to 90Hz (-10db at 47Hz) <br>* Two-way system designed for minimum inter-unit time delay <br>* Pairing of systems guarantees matching of sensitivity and frequency response to within 0.5dB <br>* Fully protected against fault conditions when used with amplifiers up to 100 watts <br>* Electronic overload protection, S-STOP, protects against overload and fault conditions <br>


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Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Arjan_S a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 2, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I have some great sets of Kef speakers; the Kef 103/4 and Kef RDM two. So I really didn't need the Kef Reference 101. I became interested in them because of the LS 3/5 series, which used the same tweeter and woofer that the 101 uses. I have never heard the LS 3/5 from Rogers, Harbeth and other brands, but these BBC speakers do have such a great history that at least I had to listen to the versions Kef had made.

I started with the Kef Cresta from 1968, the first speaker that had the B110 woofer and the T27 tweeter. I must say I didn't expect much from such an old speaker, but I was really surprised with the sound. Very detailed, very airy and the absence of colouration in the mid low. The high was smooth but also dynamic and the mid was very clean.
I heard details which I never had heard with the Kef 103/4 and Kef RDM 2. The 103/4 and RDM 2 both give the music a convincing weight and the total sound from top to bottom is very even.
With the Cresta you miss some weight in the mid low and also because the sound is somewhat cleaner it's easier to hear details and imperfection in the recording.
It was so easy to hear and understand all the conversations on the radio, that it was quite refreshing.

Sometime later I had the opportunity to buy a pair of KEF reference 1, which were made from the end of the seventies.
These speakers are really small, so I didn't expect much weight in the bass and I expected a sound that was thin sounding.
Well, I was really surprised with the overal sound of the speaker. Although it has the same type of drivers, its sound is totally different.
The soundstage is enormous and the sound is so airy. The sound doesn't come from the speakers, but hangs beautiful around the speakers and creates a beautiful stereo image.
I can understand that some people say they like the T27 tweeter more than the later Uni-Q tweeters. It seems like the tweeter sound goes a bit further than with the uni-q, the latter which sometimes can have a restricted top end.
No agressive sound in the high, beautifully detailed and yet with ease and very relaxing.
The mid-low and low are phenomenal. This speaker can create a total sound that is complete without missing some important frequencies. The sound is warm, though I can't detect any colouration. And that's strange. A speaker of this size and with this overal grown up sound must add some colouration. And probably it will, but it has been done in such a way that I can't hear it. The mid and mid-low is clean, detailed and still warm.
It's amazing how a piano sounds on these speakers. No thin, metallike sound, but a very clean piano sound with a good low extension. Not a metallic sound with too less wood sounds, but a complete sound with the right amount of wood and metal sound in it (if the recording is OK).
Voices are projected in a stunning way. This speaker has the ability to let the music hear with all its intimacy. These speakers connect you to the music.

There are lots of small smeakers this size that are very revealing and have a complete neutral and not exciting sound. Not for the Kefs 101. They are revealing, but they do it in a very musical way. They sound very even with no peaks or dropouts in high, mid and low register. The transparency is enormous and these speakers will bring you closer to the musical event. The atmosphere of the recording is being projected to the listener and this gives the speaker its intimacy
I can't say any negative about this speaker. On both the high, mid and low registers it performs great with no audible compromises.
I can only say positive things. One of those things is that the moment you listen to these speakers, it's hard to believe that the sound you are hearing is really coming from these tiny speakers.
Fully recommended!


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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Classical_Nut a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 5, 2009

Bottom Line:   
First let me say that I listen to 90% classical music, and most of the rest is also acoustic music (jazz, etc.). I first heard the KEF 101's almost 30 years ago. It was an unforgettable, life-changing experience for me. I walked into the "high end" room of a stereo shop where a demo was in progress. There were probably a dozen pairs of speakers, most quite large and expensive looking, in a row about 8 feet in front of the listening couch where a middle-aged couple sat listening intently to an opera recording. The salesman was standing behind the couch listening as well. I walked over and stood next to him. The sound was unlike any I had ever heard before: detailed, holographic, musical... just stunning. I leaned over and whispered to the salesman "Which speakers are we listening to?" He pointed and answered "The small ones." I thought he was trying to insult my intelligence, as he probably thought a young person like myself couldn't afford any of the speakers in that room anyway. But I was fascinated by what I was hearing and persisted, "No, really, which ones?" He repeated "The small ones." I shook my head in disappointment at his attitude towards me. Then I walked over to the line of speakers, turned my ear toward them and walked down the line to determine which ones were playing. Yes, they were "the small ones" - KEF 101's. This was the moment of my "birth" as an audiophile.
Today I still use the 101's, but I've modified them to a much higher standard of sound quality. The overload protection (S-STOP) is bypassed, the crossover parts are upgraded and the internal wiring is upgraded. Now the dynamics are outstanding, they are far more transparent, the bass extension is dramatically improved and the highs are more extended and without grain. The best I've ever heard them sound is with my pair of modified 90WPC Altec 1569A EL34 tube amps (I've tried dozens of different amps with them over the years). The 101's are power-hungry speakers, but the transparency and dynamics are just phenomenal with these amps. To this day, I have yet to hear small speakers that can match them, much less better them, including many pairs of LS3/5A's owned by audiophile friends. In fact, they are much more satisfying than all but very few speakers of any size and price. I've had countless audiophiles over to audition them with familiar recordings, and the usual reaction is stunned silence and amazement.
In short, get yourself a pair. If you have them, upgrade them, and be sure to use them with plenty of power to get the most out of them. You'll be amazed at what they are capable of.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Meeuwnie a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: April 22, 2009

Bottom Line:   
These beauties followed up my KEF 103.2's. They are very responsive and absolutely non-obtrusive. These are the most smooth and neutral loudspeakers i've heard so far and yes, they can fill up quite a large room. The 101's were designed to compete with the LS3/5a and KEF never came closer to these legendary close-range BBC-monitors. I found that my 103.2's lacked the mid-frequencies and with the 101's all music comes to life. Soundstage is superb and you forget that you're listening to two seperate speakers.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995




Reviews 1 - 3 (3 Reviews Total)

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