KEF Q90 Speakers Floorstanding Speakers

Q90 Speakers

User Reviews (20)

Showing 1-10 of 20  
bigx5murf   AudioPhile [Aug 08, 2017]

I found a pair of these at a thrift store for $25. One had a broken binding post, and missing terminal bridge. I messaged KEF to see if I could still buy the parts. KEF sent the parts free of charge. So right off the bat, amazing customer service from KEF.

For a couple of months, I used these, bi-amped, in my 2 channel rig (anthem avm20 + pva7). During this time I compared them to my previous 2 channel favorite. A mashup of NHT speakers, being fed separate signals from mnidsp (NHT SB1 for highs, 1.3 for mids, and SW10 mkii for lows). The NHT mash-up may've been more neutral, and maybe had a bit more detail in the highs. But these KEFs held their own, and offered better vocal clarity (if a bit more forward in the mids). KEFs won easily in terms of a larger sweet spot, and imaging.

Recently I've been using these in my HT setup, I found a KEF reference 100 center to go with them. They replaced an Acoustic Research holographic imaging LCR setup (M2 + MC1).The KEFs are superb in this role, the forward mids really improves dialog ineligibility, without having to turn the gain up like I did with the AR setup. I was also able to set my crossover lower, which tightened up the bass as my subwoofers had less to handle. It did take some manual tweaking, my AVR wanted to cross these over at 40hz (which matches their advertised specs). But I found I preferred these crossed at 60hz (Had the ARs crossed at 80hz). Also wanted to note, the height of these are just perfect for me, tweeters were exactly at ear height when sitting on my couch. Even when standing up, I don't hear phase issues until I get within 5 feet of the LCR.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Andrew_S   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 04, 2010]

I recently bought a pair of these 2nd hand of Ebay for £175, what a bargian. I knew about them because a friends dad had a pair new way back in 1994. He was also a professional DJ which may give you an insight in to what they are good at.

Listening to them again I'm astounded by how good they are, there is simply no comparison to my (now outgoing) Rega R3's. Bass is deeper, firmer with more layers and plenty of power - believe me as a 3 way floorstander these aren't low on bass output - but it's tightly controlled and focussed. The real beauty of these however is how all the elements fit together into a cohesive natural whole, producing a more natural sound stage than I've heard from other speakers. Most speakers I've owned have been very good at filling the space between them but not as good in the vertivle plane, hence why some sound at their best when your sat on the floor! The Kef's go beyond this and sound relatively the same almost wherever you are within the listenning space - ie when standing.

Aside from the sound producing hardware (drivers are crossover) the materials are typical of the 90's and relatively cheap by today's standards, ie black ash laminated chipbaord and internal foam sheet. However the finish is good (no visible joins) and the cabinets feel incredibly well branced and rigid. I also like the look, which is similar to the reference series from the same era. What they don't share is internal (foam surrounded) bass drivers - so less to go wrong.

Buy with confidence, these are amazing sounding speakers at any price, if you can live with the look - you have a bargain.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
arkeologist   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 14, 2008]
Strength:

musical reproduction is spot on the glockenspiel on swollen members - s+m on the rocks sounds amazing, the sound is extremely tight and the bass is as punchy as your amp makes it. I listen to hip hop and theres plenty of bass to spare.

Weakness:

as you can only buy these second hand now they can be a little rough round the edges so double check no rot on the cones etc and try before you buy if you can....

I bought these on ebay for £72 plus £15 carriage the cabs were a bit tatty and the cloth was loose on the grills but supposedly they worked fine. when they turned up they were exactly as described. and they work just fine. talking as a guy who used to run a pair of quad electrostatics with a 33/303 combo i think I know good speakers. they are knocking on a bit but if you can get a pair at reasonable money you will NOT improve on them with out spending very serious money in my opinion. the best speakers ive owned bar the ESL`s. buy some if you want serious quality on a shoestring. I cant praise these speakers enough.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Bob   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 01, 2007]
Strength:

Good bass, mids, crystal clear highs. Smooth clean sounds. No booming mids and highs or muddy bass. Cabinets are a good size for me and look good. Not great, just good. Height adjustable feet.

Weakness:

Duke Ellington and his whole frigin orchestra are in my living room.

I am very impressed with these speakers. I bi-wired them first thing with plain 'ol Radio Shack 12 g speaker wire using the A and B speaker terminals on the receiver. Upgraded from Sherwoods that I have been using for decades. Listening to digital Duke Ellington and his orchestra is a delight now. The clarinets are sharp and clear without being harsh, it's amazing. The piano harmonics are easily heard. No listener fatigue. No need to crank up the bass on the amp either. When these speakers handle the complex sounds of an orchestra so well, I know they can handle anything.

Customer Service

craigslist? yea right.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
rjymatt   AudioPhile [Nov 25, 2006]
Strength:

Clarity,imaging,tight bass,good overall performance.

Weakness:

None

I have owned a pair of Q90's since 1992 and I have listened to a lot of other speakers since,but these are still the best. I walked into a pawn shop last week and they had a set of Q90's they looked a little ratty but I bought them for $200.00 WOW !!! what a deal ,I cleaned them up and put new grill cloth on them and they look and sound new!!! In my opinion after listening to these since 1992 they are a wonderful speaker if you can find a used set for under $500.00 you'll be hard pressed to find anything that compares unless you spend thousands more.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John   AudioPhile [May 19, 2002]
Strength:

Natural sound quality

Weakness:

May need a sub

These are simply wonderful speakers. Male and female voices sound so natural and live. Guitar and horns sound like they are being played in my living room right in front of me. They just fill the room with music and disappear. I’ve looked at other speakers in the $3,000 to $5,000 range recently and I don’t like them as much as my Kef Q90s. I can’t believe it. I have the money to upgrade and I can’t find anything that I like better. Also these $3,000 to $5,000 speakers I’m listening to have way better electronics then what I’m using with my Kef’s. Other speakers sound like speakers. These sound like live performance. I would recommend them to anyone who can find them.

Similar Products Used: B&W N804, AP Virgo 3, Linn AV5140
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
cwkelly   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 28, 2002]

I love these speakers. I got them new in 1993, when they still had the look of the reference series. I think they only made them that way for about a year or less. The reason was because all the reviews on them stated that they sounded better than other speakers twice or three times more expensive. It was basically a reference upper series KEF with downgraded components on the inside. The overall performance of the speakers is incredibly crisp and clear. I do admit that the overall bass is lacking somewhat, but its very tight. I really don''t think the developers were thinking about people booming snoop dog when they designed them. My advice for those of you who have the old Q90''s is to hold on to them. I went back to the store that I bought them from and they offered me more than I bought them for...that was 5 years later! Someday I do plan to upgrade. I just have to save an enormous amount of cash to improve on the KEF''s.

Similar Products Used: Allison Two Definitive Phase Tech...these blow
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
BrianHannah   Casual Listener [Feb 05, 2002]
Strength:

Mids, highs, sound construction

Weakness:

Size and footprint. Low end hard to hear if underpowered. These speakers thirst for power.

My ownership experience has been both a blessing and a curse. I got a good deal on them new but never uprgaded my system to really get the most out of them. I''m still trying to power them with a 60W Denon reciever. I love the Mid range and highs. I listen to alot of SRV, Miles Davis and Fat Boy Slim. I agree the low end doen''t round out well. Adding a Sub will work wonders if you want to shake the windows. I plan to add an MK sub and then upgrade to a 150W AV reciever. Over all I''m happy with them as advertised.

Similar Products Used: My present system Nakamichi CR-3A Tape deck Adcom GCD-750 CD player Denon DRA375 60W Reciever
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Jon   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 01, 2000]
Strength:

Wide sound stage

Weakness:

Weak bass for the size of speakers

I've used these speakers for over 4 years now. I have to agree with others that they are pretty good speakers. I've been thinking about upgrading for some time, but I just can't justify getting rid of these, especially when I can't find too many speakers that flat out sound better for less than $2K (I've been auditioning NHT, B&W, and Magnaplanar).

I primarily listen to jazz and string orchestra music with some 80's pop. I really enjoy listening to these with acoustic jazz and orchestra stuff. Like some people, I believe the low end could be better, but I believe it's adequate for my listening style.

To comment on J Becker below, I believe that most $1-2K speaker do not have a tripping device built into the speakers. It is the listener's responsibility to protect their investments. I can understand why KEF did not do much to help you out. It sounds like the reason the speaker blew was due to abuse. If you look at the gurantee, you'll see that KEF is not responsible for abuse. Max volume and bass usually mean a lot of distortion, even with good amps or receivers. I would highly suggest that you keep your daughter away form your expensive stuff.

I would give these speakers 4 stars, but to offset the buttheads below, I'll give them 5. I'm not saying they are the best speakers I've heard, but if you're reading this, most likely you are in the market for used ones, so believe me, they are pretty good speakers for the money. Especially since I've seen them go for about $250-400 on the used market.

Associated Equipment:

Audio Research LS-1 preamp
Sony DAT and EAD CD-1000 going through EAD DSP-7000
B&K ST-3030 amp

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Andy Pool   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 02, 2000]
Strength:

Great soundstage, good accurate midrange, can go loud, works well as home cinema left Right main pair

Weakness:

suffers at low volume listening

I bought my Q90's following a trial in my own home. They cost me about £350 (UK Pounds)and are great. I drive them through a Quad 606 / 77 Power/pre amp and a Marantz 67 KI sig CD player.

Personally I prefere their sound to the latest generation of Uni Q based speakers, but they do need driving with a good amp.

Pair them up with a Kef C100 centre speaker of the same generation design and you have an awesome Home theatre system which presents a great soundstage for Dolby Digital and DTS DVD's.

However I would always go back to my old pair of 1970's B&W 701 semi electrostatic speakers for hi -fi if my wife would allow them within 100meters of our lounge.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 20  

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