KEF Reference 3 Floorstanding Speakers

Reference 3

User Reviews (35)

Showing 1-10 of 35  
Vlad   AudioPhile [Jan 22, 2015]

Totally agree with comments below. Beautiful speakers KEF REFERENCE THREE-TWO. YOU HAVE TO PAY many times more to get something better.
HUGE SOUNDSTAGE, VERY NICE MIDS ( especially on female vocals), POWERFUL and TIGHT BASS. Killer Bass with the right power amp. Excellent built and finish.
Associated gear:
Museatex Bidat, Vimak DS-1800, Vimak DT-1800, SimAudio Moon P-5LE, Simaudio Moon 5.3, Coda Technologies amp, VD Master PCs , Acoustic Zen Silver Ref.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
CharlieBrown   AudioPhile [Aug 10, 2010]


Bought these from the original owner in excellent condition.

For me, they're one of the most 'complete' speakers one can have, a true full range transducer that excels mainly in acoustic music ( Jazz, Classical, Opera), but if asked, will also rock.

The bass is deep and powerful and it's generated by two internal 8" paper cone drivers, while the two front drivers look after the lower and upper midrange.

The Uni Q tweeter is co centric with the upper midrange driver, and has an excellent sound to it, there's no sibilance or hardness in it's presentation, opting instead for a very articulate and elegant presentation of high frequencies.

The KEF Reference 3.2 are biwirable and have a small compartment at their base for loading with led or dry sand, which makes their bass response faster and even more tuneful.

Talking of bass, if the user finds the 'sweet spot' in the room, the speakers will reward him with extra low frequency extension down to 32 Hz. Definitely, no need for a sub woofer!

Even though these speakers are quite efficient at 91 dB / 1 watt / 1 mtr, they require powerful amplification as their nominal impedance is 4 Ohm and, quite often, goes lower than that.
Kef recommends 300 watts for optimal performance.
Of course, they will work with an amplifier of 100 watts or so, but you won't get the best out of them until you give them plenty of power.

Overall a very serious speaker, one that will keep the owner satisfied for many years, and in many cases, it will be THE speaker to keep as, to better them, you'll have to spend very serious money ( .. most likely in the $ xx,xxx territory..)

Highly satisfied with them and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone who thinks seriously about music.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
CharlieBrown   AudioPhile [Aug 10, 2010]


Bought these from the original owner in excellent condition.

For me, they're one of the most 'complete' speakers one can have, a true full range transducer that excels mainly in acoustic music ( Jazz, Classical, Opera), but if asked, will also rock.

The bass is deep and powerful and it's generated by two internal 8" paper cone drivers, while the two front drivers look after the lower and upper midrange.

The Uni Q tweeter is co centric with the upper midrange driver, and has an excellent sound to it, there's no sibilance or hardness in it's presentation, opting instead for a very articulate and elegant presentation of high frequencies.

The KEF Reference 3.2 are biwirable and have a small compartment at their base for loading with led or dry sand, which makes their bass response faster and even more tuneful.

Talking of bass, if the user finds the 'sweet spot' in the room, the speakers will reward him with extra low frequency extension down to 32 Hz. Definitely, no need for a sub woofer!

Even though these speakers are quite efficient at 91 dB / 1 watt / 1 mtr, they require powerful amplification as their nominal impedance is 4 Ohm and, quite often, goes lower than that.
Kef recommends 300 watts for optimal performance.
Of course, they will work with an amplifier of 100 watts or so, but you won't get the best out of them until you give them plenty of power.

Overall a very serious speaker, one that will keep the owner satisfied for many years, and in many cases, it will be THE speaker to keep as, to better them, you'll have to spend very serious money ( .. most likely in the $ xx,xxx territory..)

Highly satisfied with them and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone who thinks seriously about music.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
ArthurGatos   AudioPhile [May 14, 2006]
Strength:


Natural sound with acoustic Music, and voice both, male and female.

Warmth and non fatigue sound.

Imaging and soundstage second to none near this price.

Great for Classical, Choral and Opera as well as Jazz.

Enough low end to not need a subwoofer.

Weakness:

The one and only issue I have with them relates to the spikes used. They are OK but only just, Kef could do better with thicker ones.

This is a posting to confirm that the KEF Reference 2 - two are still with me and, so far, no speaker that I have heard, either at dealer demos or at friends places, have made me want to change them!

They have 'mellowed' a lot and it took the best part of the first year of ownership to 'burn in' and sound their best.


In these 4 years of ownership, I auditioned speakers from B & W, Ruark, Sonus Faber, Naim, Totem, Audio Physics and Usher and none of them had me thinking that perhaps, I should be upgrading my speakers.

Electronics have also changed, they're at the end of Naim CD5i , Linn LP12, Meridian 501 preamp. Meridian 556 power amp and sometimes, a Densen DM 10 amp.

Still as relevant and sounding exciting in 2006.

Customer Service

None needed

Similar Products Used: See my previous posting
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rajesh Kunchur   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 28, 2003]

I came across an advt so I bought the Kef Ref 3.2 a big leap for me from a proac tablette. My room size is 33'x15'. My speakers are about 5' ahead from the rear wall and 3'6'' from the side wall. I have aSonyXA7ES cd player,a custom built pre amp, 2 custom built monoblocks 100w each, a seperate custom built power supply for the monoblocks. Cables are Van Den Hul revelation and van den hul 1st ultimate. With these cables the piano sounds better than many expensive speakers. The saxophone,violin simply great. The notes never get shrill. The only drawback a slighly laid back sound . vocals are also good. Like I read in 1 or 2 reviews the singer appears to be at a distance deeper than the rest of field. I would have prefered the bass like that on the proac response 3.8. It sometimes just does not feel right. Let me not disappoint any potential buyer there is hardly anything at the price of a3.2

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Jostrowski   Audio Enthusiast [May 09, 2003]
Strength:

Exceptionally neutral Best imaging this side of Electro Static Widest sweet spot you’ll ever find Not a slave to the room as far as imaging is concerned

Weakness:

Exceptionally revealing Bass is very tight so it sounds thin Like the 4.2s, they need a decent sized room to breathe!!

I'm an advent KEF fan/owner. I truly love KEF speakers and have had the privilege to own many different models through out my life and induction into “high end” audio. I started with my Q55’s and went through the ranks until I finally had the money to purchase one of the reference line speakers. It was a choice between the Reference 3.2 and the 4.2. I went with the 3.2 model over the 4.2 model simply based on room size. I was impressed, on levels that I can’t articulate, with the 3.2 model and even more with the 4.2. But, my room size would have actually been a detriment to the 4’s and probably would have stifled them. The 3.2s are speakers, when partnered with the right equipment, can bring tears to your eyes. It can be the tool that is used to evoke the very emotions that the media you’re listening to is trying to bring out. On the flip side, it can reveal all the faults of a media as well. I put in an old CD of Ozzy’s first album and I ran out of the room for cover. I had to stop the CD with the remote from the hall way!! I know this is slightly dramatic, but that’s how horrible it sounded!!! This CD sounds better on my brothers’ boom box!! Yet, Korn’s issues CD sounded great! I enjoyed it as much as my Jazz/Classical CD’s that shine all so much. These speakers will reveal weaknesses through out your system so, be prepared to partner these with some worth components. When you do finally find the right combo, you will be in for enjoyment on a level you could never imagine!!

Similar Products Used: Martin Logan SL3 Boston Acoustics Thiel
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
ArthurGatos   AudioPhile [Jun 30, 2002]
Strength:

Extremely accurate with 'real' instruments. Great imaging, due to the UniQ tweeter, with life like soundstage. Excellent build quality of both cabinets and driver units. No gimmicks, what's on the recording you get, nothing more and nothing less.

Weakness:

Not cheap. Can do with heavier duty spikes, given the weight for each speaker (35 kg). Need above average quality amplifier to show their capabilities to the full. Sonically no weakness at all.

Brilliant speakers for Classical Music, be it Symphonic, Chamber, Choral or Baroque. Instruments sound convincing, especially strings, where the UniQ tweeter is at its best. They need good amplification though, as their very revealing nature, will expose any component that is not up to the task. They are very responsive to Valve amplification, with the extra warmth being projected in an extremely civilized way. I have tried both placements, with close to the rear wall giving a more 'warm' presentation at the expense of some depth, while when well into the room ( 2 mtrs from rear walls), the depth and presence is breathtaking. In this position, the music is also much more accurate. Biwiring provides extra 'air' around instruments and voices, and good quality speaker cables deliver definite sonic benefits, and let these wonderful speakers show their capabilities. One thing that you should be aware though, they are NOT forgiving of badly recorded material, but that's the price one pays for accurate reproduction of music. Thouroughly recomended for serious music listeners, head bangers look elsewhere! (Cerwin Vegas or Bose perhaps?). Just for the record they are connected to the end of: Linn Sondek LP12 / Meridian 500 CD transport/Meridian 606 DAC/ Audio Research LS2 pre/ Two valve monoblock amps.with 4x6550 output valves, at 100 W/ch. Cables by Symo biwired, and MIT, Monster, Cardas and Audioquest interconnects.

Similar Products Used: Infinity Kappa 8.1i JBL L19 Rogers LS 7 ..and a few others of lesser pedigree.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Manuel Varela   Audiophile [Mar 28, 2000]
Strength:

None

Weakness:

Many

This and all the new products of the company do not come close to the performance of the old (Raymond Cooke) speakers
like the 104.2
The service you get in case you need it is lousy. They will
never answer any enquiery of any kind.
The company was sold to a Far East Group, but the brits do nothing, but sabotaging the company. They are lumpen of the worst case.

Due to my frustration I made a Website to tell the audiophile community about this:

see mavare.com/speakers.html

Similar Products Used: Kef 104.2
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
sk   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 28, 2000]

These speakers are wonderful! I've had them for about 2 months now and couldn't ask for more. I listen to a wide range of music (techno, pop, classical, and jazz) and these speakers handle it all with ease. The bass is well-controlled, not boomy, vocals sound live, and the high-end is clear and seems to come out of the air, not the speakers themselves. These speakers also work well as the front channels in my home theater setup.

Placement of these speakers was quite easy. I have limited space with little freedom to move the speakers around. They were very forgiving in terms of placement. I have them about 1.5 feet away from the rear wall and they produce a wide and open soundstage. Bi-wiring the speakers provided a small improvement to the sound.

Other equipment:
Bryston 4BST amp
McIntosh C15 preamp
HarmonKardon ? CD player
Monster 550 cables

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
André   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 17, 1999]

I bought my kef ref3 at a sell out, i paid $1800.
I like this speaker,the sound, image, dynamic are very good but they lacks a litte in the deep bass so i used them with a mirage bps150i bipolar subwoofer and it works well together.My KEF REF3 is standing on Sonic Design damping feet and it works better than spikes.

Associated equipment.
Perreaux ECD1 cd player.
Electrocompaniet EC4r preamp.
Musical Fidelity XAS-100 power amp (mid & High).
Musical Fidelity XA-200 power amp (bass ).
Mirage BPS 150I Powred subwoofer.
Interconnects:Harmonic tech truth link & PAD Elementa & Audioquest Quarts.
Speaker cables:MIT T2 & MIT T3.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 35  

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