KEF 103.4 Floorstanding Speakers

3.89/5 (28 Reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (28 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by chris gazzola a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 6, 2015

Bottom Line:   
The short:
I bought mine for 150$ CDN with all 4 internal woofers in need of a recone.
If you find some in reasonable shape ..... or not.
BUY THEM, they are an amazing speaker.

The Long:
I am 46 and worked in Audio Retail Hell for over 10 years in the 80's and 90's. Seen and heard almost every major brand over the years. Owned primary Kef Klipsch JBL. My equipment always ran on decent Bryston or Quad equipment. (Pioneer, Dynaco)

I sit here and type this while listening to music playing right now on the Kef 103/4 speakers!!!

They sit 10-12 feet in front of my computer desk. They are dwarfed sitting beside a pair of Klipsch Cornwalls. It has been more then once I have tricked visitors asking them which speaker was playing and the majority picked the much larger Cornwall. Only to be amazed it was the Kef. For a smaller speaker the sound is LARGE.

There is no fancy placement of the speakers. They are 1.5 feet from the back wall on a concrete floor appriximately 6 feet apart. Facing my computer desk.
Nothing crazy is hooked up the the Kef speakers. They are hooked up to a Apple G5 tower feeding direct SPDIF (optical) out to a Fiio D3 DAC then to a Bryston .5B preamp then to a Bryston 3B (100x2) amp .Decent Monster Cable interconnects, and decent 12 AWG Monster Speaker cable with Banana plugs.

To qualify.... I also run a pair of Kef 104/2 speakers which are amazing and some Klipsch Conrwall's and some Kef 102 Reference bookshelf and JBL L60T's. All my gear runs off Bryston 3B's or Quad 405's or Dynaco ST70 Tube.
My stuff is run of the mill nothing that costs 10k or anything like that so I feel its a fair and real evaluation of speakers in a real environment.
Own or have Owned.... Klipsch Heresy, Jbl L80T and L60T, Kef Reference 104/2 and 102 and 103/4, Klipsch Cornwall, Bose 901 Bose 501.


Kef 103/4 are smooth, warm, amazing depth, the mids and vocals are exceptional and the speaker can play for hours and not be fatiguing. The bass is full and fast and punchy and is lost a bit in my basement on concrete until I hear the heating registers buzzing on every deep note. LOL I suspect if they were on a main floor the room would shake.
The addition of a sub gives the 103/4 some added depth for me on concrete but I suspect it is not needed in all other applications.
The Kube is hooked as per Kef instructions. There is some debate on the Kube or Not to Kube. I have always Kubed all my Kef speakers. All 3 sets.

I might be getting old but these are not party speakers. If you want loud thunderous home filling DJ experience buy some of the newer JBL or Cerwin dual 15" monsters being sold.
The Kef will play to a substantial loud volume and sustain clarity and definition and musicality but if overdriven the poor internal 6" drivers will clip/bottom out.
There is no problem getting very good volume out of these Kef 103/4 off my 100x2 Bryston.
Im just NOW listened to Dire Straits, then Pink Floyd, then Def Leppard, then Fleetwood Mac then Scorpions, then Rush, Sting....and I often listen to Techno/Electronic.
They play anything everything well.

Construction of the speaker is great. The dual internal 6" is what gives all the thunder. I believe its called dual band-pass or dual 4th order band-pass. This allows the use of a number of smaller drivers to be used and still get amazing base.
The midrange is also a 6" but its a Uni-Q or tweeter in the middle design. Kef has been very successful in this and it shows as its used extensively in their speaker products to this day.
Remember its easier to drive a number of smaller 6" or 8" woofers then one large heavy slow 15" woofer. The smaller drivers are typically faster and punchier and can be tailored to give you just what is intended by the manufacturer.

The Kef 103/4 and as far as I'm concerned and most of the mid 80's Kefs to todays models are amazing speakers. If you are considering a pair of vintage units you found at a garage sale or your buddy has some he wants to get rid of BUY THEM. You will not be dissapointed. Purchase price 150-250$ including KUBE... $CDN seems the value right now in May 2013.

There is a question if money was no object what would the rating be on the speakers. Im not sure how to answer that question. I can say that I recently viewed an add for a used pinnacle Kef speaker made in the mid late 80's. The Kef 107. It is advertised at 1500$ CDN and I'm considering the purchase. The 107 would rate as 5 stars and compared to the 103/4 it would receive 3 stars. My 104/2 would rate in at 4 stars in this mini battle.

Further information is still available on the Kef website where you can find information on the 103/4 and the aforementioned 107 or 107/2.
http://kef.com/html/en/explore/about_kef/museum/1990s/index.html

I have had countless hours on my Kef speakers primarirly my 104/2 but also my 102's and 103/4's. I have consistently owned had a pair of Kef since the mid 80's.
Thats 30 years of enjoying Kef folks.

Chris




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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



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

Date Reviewed: October 29, 2012

Bottom Line:   
Well, I have been an avid audiophile since 1990. I was also a professional guitar player in several rock bands from 2000 - 2006. The best spekers I have ever owned were made by Klipsch, Monitor Audio and Paradigm. I have owned many different Klipsch models but my favorite for both jazz and rock are the Heresy. Minus some bass below say 40 hz the Heresy, no matter what version does it all. Fast, transperant, detailed and most of all it will rock you to death.

I recently got a pair of $1,800 Heresy III's but I needed the money so had to sell them. Fortunately, a good friend and fellow audiophile had the 103.4's and I got them off of him with the Kube 200 for $200 for the pair. The speakers are almost mint and my friend and I had a few beers one night and refoamed the inner bass speakers in about three or four hours. I scored.

I am totally blown away by the 103.4's. Basically, they do everything that a good horn speaker does with better bass and imaging. Open, fast, transperant, detailed, awesome vocals and a totally wide open sound stage. You can really hear the majic of the front firing mid woofer with the uniQ twetter. The big thing to consider is the the mid woofer is doing just that..the mids. All of the lower notes are shipped off to the two inside bass speakers. What this means is that the mid woofer is only working half as hard so you can turn it up that much more without the sound breaking up or the speaker claping (which I have done many times to speakers).

I was a little nervous when i read some of the reviews in this column that said that they lacked bass. I could not disagree more. I think the bass is perfect and much better than my beloved Heresy III's. I also tried the Kube 200 in both the tape loop of my pre amp and between the pre amp and the amp. What a difference between the pre amp and the amp. You can really hear what the manual says when it says that it will extend the bass down to 20 Hz.

I am very happy with what I am getting. Believe me, if this speaker had any glaring deficiencies it would not last a day in my system. Don't believe and bad reviews. This is an awesome speaker. I am officially a Kef man now. Once I go to a bigger room and get some extra cash I will get a bigger reference series Kef just to go to the next level.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1995



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

Date Reviewed: October 1, 2009

Bottom Line:   
These speakers were my ultimate dream speakers. Back in the early nineties I joined a lot of hifi demonstrations of Transtec, the dutch importer of Kef and Quad and I had regularly visits to my hifidealer, where I could listen to all the beautiful Kef speakers. Mostly it was just listening, since I couldn’t afford most of the speakers that made a deep impression on me. When I heard the Kef 103/4 for the first time, I was perplexed. Perplexed of the natural sounding without any colouration. What I especially liked was the character of the bass. At first notice and especially when compared to other loudspeakers, the bass seemed quite shy. But the opposite is true. The Kef 103/4 is not a very large speaker but the bass extension is far more than you would expect considering its size.
What really striked me was not the bass, but the balance between high, mid and bass. The bass itself creates that powerful ambiance/atmosphere and gives that live-feeling. This speakers excelled in the reproduction of vocal music, strings and piano. The Uni-Q system provides that unheard instrument placing. If the recording is OK, you will hear all the instruments, not from the direction of the speakers, but exactly where the instrument was placed. If you close your eyes, it’s impossible to locate the speaker. The music is not thrown into your lap, but beautifully placed in front of the speakers.
The first time I listened to those speakers in private, at my hifi-shop, I brought a lot of CD’s to listen to. What happened: I put on the first CD and listened and listened and …..
I wanted to listen to more CD’s, but the speakers forced me to listen to that first CD, only because it made so much impression on me. With these speakers, you forget the speakers and you will enjoy the music in a way that you never thought it would be possible. I think that is the best compliment I can give to this great speakers.
But reality was that I couldn’t afford them at the time, nor could I afford the Quad pre- and power amplifier which were connected to those speakers. But I then already knew: Once I can buy them, I will. The same with Quad.
A couple of years later I bought the Kef RDM two, from the Monitor series, which also made a great impression on me and until now they were my ultimate speakers which I could afford. They are really beautiful speakers, totally natural and without colouration. I have placed them on heavy target stands.

Well, now it comes! Half a year ago I finally bought a quad combination, the same which I listened to back in the late eighties and the early nineties: The very compact Quad 34/306 combo. I love the retro look of it. It replaced a huge Harman Kardon amplifier and together with the Kef RDM2 I almost heard the sound which I heard 16 years ago, at my hifishop. I was struck by the great sound of such small equipment. A couple of months later I bought the Quad FM4 tuner. Boy, what a great sound from that tuner. If you listen to Live-recordings, it’s unbelievable what quality you can have from FM!

And now the final: A couple of weeks ago I was Googling on internet and guess what I found: Yes, the Kef 103/4, 15 km’s from my work. In great condition and for a price which I couldn’t let go without paying a visit to the seller. He had replaced them by the mighty B&W 802D. Even though I didn’t know if my home equipment would be a good marriage with these Kef’s, I decided to buy them.
I didn’t expect them to sound as good as the RDM 2 (given the equipment and the room size (4,5 x 6,5 meter) ), but I was so wrong.
Soundstage was stunning. I never was a fan of much bass, since it often brings more harm than good, especially with small speakers. I always preferred a bit lower bass which was better controlled. The RDM2 has a great control of its bass. But with the 103/4 the bass was awesome. I listened to my favourite CD’s and was surprised to hear lower bass in songs which I had never heard before. And that bass really carries the music, instead of taking the leading role.
The whole tonal balance of the speaker is so good that if you tell me the musical artist is playing or singing live in my living room (while closing my eyes), that I will believe you instantly.
You don’t have to go to live concerts, because the concerts come to you. Of course, if the recording is of top quality.

The combination of the Quad 34/306 with the Kef 103/4 really suites my taste. I don’t agree with some people that you have to spend thousands of euros to make these speakers shine.
I paid 500 for the Quad combo and 300 for the Kef 103/4 and you know what: I can only laugh!
Even if you put the volume to almost zero, the complete tonal balance which the rich bass remains totally intact. That was really a difference in comparison with the small RDM 2. They need to power them more to come alive. All instruments, including voices, have the exact amount of body as real life, even at low volume. Put on some great choral music and you will be perplexed. Put on some cello and you will be perplexed. Listen to the acoustic guitar and you realize the body that wasn’t there before the KEF’s 103.
And the same thing happened again as 16 years ago: I had ten CD’s next to me in order to listen to a couple of numbers on each CD, I put on the first CD and stayed with that one. Again, I was so impressed by the musical emotion that these speakers produced, that music came to the first place and I forgot all about these beautiful speakers that were the reason of this involving experience.

With the KEF 103/4, music is EMOTION. They produce such a natural sound that you are convinced that this was the sound how it was recorded. Thank you Kef for giving me that experience, day by day!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Rich P a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Bought these speakers when in Singapore to upgrade my old stereo to prologic. I like the black ash finish and I also purchased the 100c center speaker, 70s rear speakers and 30b subwoofer. the subwoofer is pale compared to US models but adds nicely to the bass vs the Kube 200. THE 103.4 are VERY DEMANDING SPEAKERS as many have written. I had monster cable but when I replaced it with nordost flatline and biwired then they really came alive and you can here strings plucking right in your face. I have the DENON AVR 3000G gold receiver and love it. It is the dual voltage model with wood side panels. Now thinking about upgrading to a new one but read some reviews here and may just keep mine. ALSO FOR THE 104.3 ,ROOM speaker position is critical. You have to play with them a bit but it is amazing. Defintely a high maint unit but a nice speaker. I can understand why some reviews thought they were bad. I have a small room now and placement is not good so not great sounding currently.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Singapore



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Rich P a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 16, 2004

Bottom Line:   
Bought these speakers when in Singapore to upgrade my old stereo to prologic. I like the black ash finish and I also purchased the 100c center speaker, 70s rear speakers and 30b subwoofer. the subwoofer is pale compared to US models but adds nicely to the bass vs the Kube 200. THE 103.4 are VERY DEMANDING SPEAKERS as many have written. I had monster cable but when I replaced it with nordost flatline and biwired then they really came alive and you can here strings plucking right in your face. I have the DENON AVR 3000G gold receiver and love it. It is the dual voltage model with wood side panels. Now thinking about upgrading to a new one but read some reviews here and may just keep mine. ALSO FOR THE 104.3 ,ROOM speaker position is critical. You have to play with them a bit but it is amazing. Defintely a high maint unit but a nice speaker. I can understand why some reviews thought they were bad. I have a small room now and placement is not good so not great sounding currently.

Expand full review >>

Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $800.00

Purchased At:   Singapore




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