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What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

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unhalfbricking's picture
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I've always taken reviews with a pinch of salt, but was particularly nonplussed by WHF's recent, updated review of KEF's Q-300 speakers. The original 2011 review awarded five stars, gave them 'product of the year' and stated that they were the best speakers under £700. This year's updated review has down-graded them to four stars, criticised its 'thin' treble sound and noted that they have been over-taken by other newer speakers in the price range....infuriatingly, without saying which ones!!! Curious.

I'm not aware of any new speakers that have revolutionised the sub-£500 market in the past two years, so can only conclude that hi-fi reviews are even flimsier, less objective and more circumstantial than I had previously imagined. Surely such an about-turn in such a short space of time demeans the whole process of hi-fi reviewing?

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datay's picture
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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

There are plenty of other examples of this happening over the years. Make of it what you will.

unhalfbricking's picture
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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

datay wrote:

There are plenty of other examples of this happening over the years. Make of it what you will.

It's very odd. I've come across opinionated reviews (NME 1977-80 - Julie Birchall et al - springs to mind), controversial reviews, unfair reviews etc etc. It's the degree of inconsistency that strikes me about WHF. The slightly thin treble of the Kefs was noted in the original review, but passed off as minor nit-picking. Now it's a major issue, and a gushing review is replaced by a moderate one. Like I say, non-plussed.

 

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The_Lhc's picture
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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

I guess you're reading this online? I think I'm right in saying this update is the result of a group test in the latest issue, so if you'd actually bought the magazine you'd see which speakers WHF think now better the Q300s (and be honest, two years down the line do you really think it'll still be leading the pack?).

Besides, what difference does it make? Presumably you're a Q300 owner, are you suggesting this new review stops you from enjoying your speakers? Don't be silly.

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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

Just enjoy your speakers man...............if you think they're good that's the only thing that's important  Wink

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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

Its WHF's job to make you spend money on new hifi gear.  Thats why newer stuff is "better".

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The_Lhc's picture
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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

wilro15 wrote:

Its WHF's job to make you spend money on new hifi gear.  Thats why newer stuff is "better".

That's right, there's no such thing as progress after all.

plastic penguin's picture
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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

unhalfbricking wrote:

I've always taken reviews with a pinch of salt, but was particularly nonplussed by WHF's recent, updated review of KEF's Q-300 speakers. The original 2011 review awarded five stars, gave them 'product of the year' and stated that they were the best speakers under £700. This year's updated review has down-graded them to four stars, criticised its 'thin' treble sound and noted that they have been over-taken by other newer speakers in the price range....infuriatingly, without saying which ones!!! Curious.

I'm not aware of any new speakers that have revolutionised the sub-£500 market in the past two years, so can only conclude that hi-fi reviews are even flimsier, less objective and more circumstantial than I had previously imagined. Surely such an about-turn in such a short space of time demeans the whole process of hi-fi reviewing?

Agree with The_Lhc. It doesn't make a jot of difference: A top notch speaker doesn't become bad. If it loses a star it just means, according to the reviewers, that competition is tougher.

Lord knows how many stars my RS6 would achieve now. Still sound wonderful to me.

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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

It's not only the KEF Q300, they've reduced two others to 4 stars which I have both bought - the MA RX1 and B&W 685. IMO the latter should have retained its 5*s.

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The_Lhc's picture
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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

manicm wrote:

It's not only the KEF Q300, they've reduced two others to 4 stars which I have both bought - the MA RX1 and B&W 685. IMO the latter should have retained its 5*s.

You'd best start writing your own reviews then.

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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

Well here goes then:

Even other mags like WHF seem to suggest that even newer speakers like the Q-Acoustics Concept 20 do not quite have the same sense of grand and majestic scale the 685s possess.

You will be gobsmacked when cranking up Starless And Bible Black from King Crimson's album Red. And if you are not then you are a blithering idiot, and should be barred within a 100 yards of any store selling speakers.

Huh, huh?? rolling on the floor laughing

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The_Lhc's picture
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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

Rubbish! I'm not paying £4 a month for that.

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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

That one was complementary!

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RE: RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

It's the washing-powder syndrome. Every new generation of washing powder gives you whiter whites, brighter colours and removes more stains in cooler water than its predecessor did, as confirmed by a five-star review in "What Detergent?". Modern washing powders have improved so much that the powders from 30 years ago must have been making our clothes dirtier, even though I don't remember that being the case. It's true that the survival of "What Detergent?" also kind of relies on perpetuating the notion of improvement and continual progress, otherwise it may as well not exist, but I'm sure that's completely irrelevant.

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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

The_Lhc is right. The KEFs, along with the B&W 685s and Monitor Audio Silver RX1s were taken down to four stars in a Group Test in our June 2013 issue. As often happens at this time of year, newer models are launched which raise the bar in a particular price sector and old favourites such as the Q300s get downgraded. This doesn't make them bad speakers overnight, it just means something even better has come along.

In this case, it was the Q Acoustics Concept 20s, which are simply amazing sounding speakers for £350 (and that's £100 less than the KEFs, making them even better value). What is missing from the online review perhaps is the 'context' you get in the verdict page of the magazine Group Test, which is something we're thinking of replicating online.

As we say in the verdict: "At the end, three of our old favourites lost a star. That's not because there's anything wrong with them. It's just that the newcomers (Q Acoustics Concept 20 and Acoustic Energy 301) really are that good."

The full line-up of the June 2013 test was: Acoustic Energy 301 vs B&W 685 vs KEF Q300 vs Monitor Audio Silver RX1 vs Q Acoustics Concept 20 vs Tannoy Revolution DC4.

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RE: What Hi-Fi, Kef Q-300 review...

Andy Clough wrote:

...What is missing from the online review perhaps is the 'context' you get in the verdict page of the magazine Group Test, which is something we're thinking of replicating online.

I for one would be interested to read your group tests online.

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