KEF C65 Floorstanding Speakers

C65

User Reviews (11)

Showing 1-10 of 11  
bandolino   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 19, 2010]

This is a review of the KEF C-85 speaker.

I only auditioned these for about 40 minutes, in a less than ideal set-up, which I am sure biased my experience of these speakers. I thought I would add my 2¢ because of some observations that might be useful to others.

First off, the listening system and environment: I listened to these in a large garage with a cement floor and no fabric on any surfaces, so that would tend to reflect the sound from the speakers. The source was a Sony 200-disc changer. I didn't get the model number, but I assume the sound quality was not too great. The amp was a Marantz Model 18 receiver, which I am told is the first Marantz receiver, and is supposed to have a warm, tube-like sound. I had the speakers set up about 8 feet apart, slightly toed-in, about 3 feet from the rear walls, and perhaps 8 feet or more from the side walls. I sat about 10 feet away from the speakers.

In my home system, I have a Hafler SE-100 preamp and an Adcom GFA-555ii driving a pair of JBL L100Ts, which are large, vintage floor-standers. They are good speakers, but I find them a little bright and bass-heavy for my taste. They do have good detail and a full, coherent sound (not time-coherent, they just keep the music together somehow). This is the reference to which I am comparing the KEF C-85 speakers. This is a vintage mid-fi setup, I would guess.

Ok, for those patient enough to have gotten this far, here is my impression of the KEF C-85s. First, I found them to have great clarity of detail with a slightly forward-sounding presentation. The level of detail was perhaps superior to that of my JBL L100Ts. I had a sense of separation between the different parts of the music, so that I could chose to listen to one particular instrument or voice and hear it distinctly. My guess is that the modern cone materials make this sort of detail possible. The KEF drivers used a woven-fiber material, which the owner told me was fiberglass, while most vintage speakers use paper cones. I liked the detail, while at the same time, it left me feeling slightly detached from the music.

I know others have described these speakers as relaxed, laid-back, and natural sounding. I can see why people say this, as the KEF C-85 do have a smooth, pleasing sound. At first, I did think they were quite relaxed and natural. After listening to several songs, however, I started to get the impression that the speakers were working to bring the music to me, if that makes any sense. I couldn't quite forget about the system and sink into the music.

The frequency range was good, and the bass was clear, tight, and not overwhelming (for the most part), as others have said in their reviews. I didn't listen to a lot of bass-heavy music during this audition, so I can't offer much about that. I will say that when the owner of the speakers first fired them up, he put the volume very high, and played music with a lot of bass. It sounded great! Wow, I was impressed with the detail! But it was too loud! And it wasn't very fun to listen to after a couple of minutes. I'm not sure I even really was able to listen to the music with any focus, with the bass going like that. Perhaps the owner was trying to pull the standard speaker salesroom trick on me. So I turned down the volume, turned the tone knobs on the amp to neutral, and put in a CD I had brought.

This CD, "Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares," sounded completely different. It is a difficult CD for some systems, which is why I use it to audition speakers. It is all vocal, full of dissonance and strange harmonics. The KEF speakers could not seem to convey the life and fullness of the music on this CD, particularly the full chorus sections. The solo vocal parts sounded good, but perhaps the complexity of detail with dozens of voices at once was a challenge. I don't know if maybe the CD player was at fault here, or what, but this music, which can be extremely emotional, moving, and full of nuances, seemed lifeless to me.

The overall reason I was less than completely satisfied is that these speakers seemed to be lacking that full, coherent sound that I hear from the JBL L100Ts. This was true not only for "Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares," but also for other music I played. It is somewhat difficult for me to explain exactly what I mean by full, coherent sound, but let me attempt it. When I am listening to music, I want to be drawn into the music, to experience it without analyzing or criticizing it. Many times, I can have this sort of experience with even a low-quality system, if my mood or the music is right. I do think that good equipment and sound quality can help, however. When music sounds right, all the parts fit together to make a whole with a life of its own. I find that many of the vintage speakers I own do this well, even though they have certain other weaknesses. With the KEF C-85s, and a pair of B&W 801s that I once listened to, there is great detail and separation, which sounds good, but less great integration of all of these detailed parts into a whole. While it is easier to follow a fascinating background instrumental line, for example, it is harder to just be swept up in the music underlying all those details. I think that perhaps this is what people mean when they describe a speaker as "clinical" or "detached."

Well, thank you to anyone who read this review. I do not mean it to be a put-down of these speakers, which I did actually enjoy quite well. I think I found that these are not exactly the speakers I would like to listen to a lot. Different speakers sound quite different, and people have many different preferences in sound. This is good, because it gives us a variety to compare and contrast. I would like to audition some Vandersteen speakers, as I suspect I would enjoy them more. If anyone has observations or comments on this review, please feel free to respond. Please also keep in mind the limitations of the audition conditions in which I heard these speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
sonySUCKS   Audio Enthusiast [May 09, 2004]
Strength:

Everything.

Weakness:

None.

Great speakers! Mines are actually the c55 model, sale uniq technology, 4 ohms. Very natural and relaxed sound, not tiring at all. Perfect size for a small room. Bass is deep but not "ghetto", voices sound great.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Audionorm   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 25, 2003]
Strength:

Clarity, tight bass, uncolored, beautiful midrange and highs

Weakness:

Hardly find any. They don't make it any more. Many of the newer models such as the Cresta are not made from Maidstone, UK....but elsewhere :-(

I bought the C75 back in the 90’s. The later Q series use the same what so called Uni-Q Technology. I compared these to everything in the store and everything I could find at other stores. It came down to the C75 against the much expensive B&W Nautilus. The C75 blew it away with there clarity, deep tight bass and wonderful uncolored mid's and high's. I listen to a lot of different types of music, I love classical and rock and roll, but trying to listen to classical on hard rock speakers doesn't cut it. To audition speakers I always use a digital recording of Beethoven's 5th, Berlin Philharmonic from 1985, the 2nd movement. About 1 min into the 2nd movement some french horns come in, with any other speaker except the C75 the horns sounded harsh and will hurt your ears on most speakers, but not with the C75 they sounded beautiful. I have been using them from classical, rocks, light music, vocals, including the locals who are so familiar with the Eagles, Satana, Sarah Brightman, Taiwanese female vocal Cai Qin (??), Hong Kong male vocal Danny Summer (???). They are sound alive. Having compared these with different models of the current popular brands in the local market such as ProAc, B & W, JM Lab, I have decided to keep mine for another 10 years at least. I can't recommend these speakers highly enough. If you can find them BUY THEM! There is nothing else on the market that can touch them at in the blanket of HK$20,000 now in the market.

Similar Products Used: Dali, KEF, Mission, Rogers, ProAc, JM lab, Acoustic Energy
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mike Zartun   Audiophile [Mar 29, 2000]
Strength:

Very Musical

Weakness:

They no longer make them

This review is also for the C-95. I bought these speakers 6 or 7 years ago new. They have continued to please me, they reproduce the soundstage very clearly. I have never got listening fatigue from these speakers. Their best quality is that they just sound real. They were the most correctly reproductive and musical speakers in my price range when I bought them, and all I've seen since are speaker prices rising but those speakers still not sounding any better then these. They are focused, clear, and I'm happy with the bass response, even with rock. The only reason I am on this site is that I'm looking for a new cd player and wanted to check out the reviews, but I'd be surprised if I'm on here in the next 20 years looking to replace these. Their not the best, granted, but in the 2 grand or so and under price class, I believe they were/are the best in their class.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Al   Casual Listener [Jan 04, 2002]
Strength:

good detail in all ranges; coupled-cavity bass is strong down to the 55 MHz cut off

This is also a KEF C95 review. I have recently upgraded my system, and I've found that these speakers continue to please after more than 10 years of use. I auditioned many speakers in all price ranges before I purchased these, and I couldn't find better sound except for more than double the price. I am not sure, but it seems that the C95's were slightly modfied to become the Reference 1 or were merely renamed. The specifications are the same.
Bi-wiring of the C95's definitely improved the bass response.

Anthem AVM2
Adcom 5503
Adcom 555 II
Kef C95's biwired
Kef Reference 100 biwired
Kef TDM34DS's
Kef TDM45B

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Adam Rosner   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 16, 2001]
Strength:

Clarity, dynamic range, bass response, imaging.

Weakness:

These speakers are so good that it is easy to play them too loud as they completely lack any hint of distortion or strain at any level

This is also a C-95 review. I bought these used speakers from a hi-fi trading post, I was told they are eight years old. They are replacing the B&W P6s I have had for two years. The improvement in clarity, imaging, bass response and dynamic range was instantly obvious. They're being fed by a Sony FA777ES integrated, with a Denon 1460 CD player playing through a Musical Fidelity Digilog D/A converter at the front end.
These speakers have got the sound I have been looking for, for over ten years. I have spent the weekend rediscovering my CD collection and hearing things I've never heard before. I have thrown everything from Techno-industrial metal to Vivaldi at them and there's not one thing they've tripped up on or handled less well than anythign else.
These speakers are not made any more but if you find a pair at a trading post buy them.

Similar Products Used: B&W P6, Mission 780 'Argonaut'
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Al   Casual Listener [Jan 09, 2002]
Strength:

That would be "55 Hz"

Obviously I meant 55 hz in the previous review.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Karlo Davila   Audiophile [Nov 15, 2001]
Strength:

Detailed highs,warm mids and tight bass

Weakness:

mid low could be improved

I am writing this review for the C-95 not for the C-65, as the the product was not listed. This product is practically the best below $2000. If you want a speaker that sounds good in different kinds of music , may it be pop, jazz, operas and classics. These are the speakers for you. Craftsmanship is exceptional, the drivers are used are the same drivers used for speakers in the references. Plus ofcourse the most important the sound!!!

Crisp highs, warm mids and extremely good tonal balance in lows. Plus the dynamic range of this speakers are impressive....

These speakers are no longer made but I suggestthat if you know anyone who has it, get even second hand!!! They don't make speakers like they use to. woofers and tweeters for the new c or now refered to as the Q series are smaller in diameter...

Similar Products Used: kef C-75,kef 105, kef Q-10, kef Q-90
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Alan   Audiophile [Mar 03, 2001]
Strength:

Natural tonal quality, great imaging, great construction, inexpensive on used market. Be patient.

Weakness:

Can be difficult to find- few are looking to sell!

This review is for the KEF C95 and C85 speakers, both of which I currently use (separately). If you can, upgrade the capacitors in the crossover and you will get cleaner, clearer sound with improved focus and imaging. I listen to 95% classical music with a tube amp/preamp, and both of these speakers are a steal! Even without the parts upgrade they are a fabulous value. But after the upgrade, they move into a select level of sound quality. The C85's have more bass, using a port, and I've dampened it some and gotten great results. In direct comparison, the C95 bass is more solid and tighter, but the C85 is deeper and more generous without being at all boomy (with proper placement, of course). If you heard only the C85, you would say the bass is tight and well extended. I urge you to give either of these a try, and if possible upgrade the caps and wiring.

Similar Products Used: You name it, I've tried it.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mark Pit   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 26, 2000]
Strength:

Great Midrange, focus, imaging

Weakness:

Bass could be better, but fine for my tastes

This review is for the C-95, not C-65. There was not a C-95 listed. I bought these speakers used a year or two ago for $600. I think they retailed around $1600-1800. For the money I paid I have been very pleased with these speakers. The Uni-Q 8 inch woofer/tweeter provides great imaging while also giving a great midrange, surprising for an 8-inch mid-range. The bass reasponse lacks a little but some of that has to do with it being in a small room (the bass was more noticeable in the larger room I auditioned them in). Still, the bass response is decent, its just overshadowed by the better mid-range and high. I'd recomend this speaker to anyone who doesn't need extreme bass response who's looking for a speaker in this price range (used that is, since they are no longer made. I've heard some people say that this generation of Kef's are their favorites over the newer models.

Similar Products Used: B&W, Mission, Bose (not good...) The B&W's were good, but these speakers are clearer and image better. The bose gave me a headache
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 11  

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