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What Hi-Fi listening rooms

I have recently auditioned the new KEF speakers that What Hi-Fi hates (iQ50, iQ70, C3). I wanted to do this as I have enjoyed many KEF speakers over the years and my dream system would have KEF Reference 201/2s in it.


I was shocked at how good these new KEF speakers sound in store compared to the previous Q series, which I (and WHF) thought sounded pretty good also. The new models are stunning and give a vast improvement (taste of the high end) over other speakers at the price. What I think has happened is that since Haymarket moved offices to the new 'palace' in Teddington, the latest listening rooms are so dead acostically that the manufacturers are having to jack up the treble to get a good review. if you don't like an over bright sound or ould like to hear a piano or guitar sound like it does when played live then the current WHF favourites aren't going to do it for you as they will rip your head off with aggressive treble.


As always, the well known rule 'caveat emptor' - 'let the buyer beware' applies here. WHF has a history of completely disagreeing with other Hi-Fi magazines and the consumer can be very confused. The only solution is get a good demo, preferably at home on your own system in your own 'room acoustic' and choose what you think sounds best.

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

'Hates' is a very strong word. We found the iQ50s and iQ70s mediocre, while even the direly disappointing C3s managed a two-star review. 


I don't think the iQ50s hold up against the iQ5SEs at all. They don't have the drive or the brio, and they certainly don't feel or look as if they should be any more expensive. They're not so much a 'taste of the high end' as a vague smell of the high end as they hurry towards 'the mediocre'.


With respect, you haven't the first idea what our listening rooms sound like (or indeed what they look like, if you consider them palatial). We listened to the outgoing iQs many times in the new facility, and always found them enjoyable at the very least. The new iQ70s fared very badly against an identically priced pair of B&W 684s in the current November issue, and the B&Ws are emphatically not the sort of speaker that will take your head off with aggressive treble.


You drag it around toward some sort of coherence at the end there, though - we constantly suggest/insist that customers should hear equipment for themselves and not just take our word for it.

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms
Simon Lucas:With respect, you haven't the first idea what our listening rooms sound like (or indeed what they look like, if you consider them palatial).

Or indeed if you do, Sonicaccuracyisall, then I feel you should identify yourself in your signature, and explain how you come to have this 'insider knowledge'.

Perhaps you're just parroting what you've read elsewhere from others?

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms


His dealer, perhaps.

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

Indeed.

Sonicaccuracyisall, perhaps you'd care to explain the five-star review of the outgoing KEF iQ5se speakers as recently as last month's issue (October)? Or maybe the KEF KHT3005SE - current Award winners, only ever tested in these facilities. Or the more recent KEF KHT2005.3 five-star review? Or the praise given in the current Ultimate Guide to High-end for the KEF Reference  speakers you crave - the ones featured on the cover of that publication.

Please take your groundless conspiracy theories elsewhere and leave us to do what we do best - comparatively review an incredibly wide range of kit using an independent team in excellent facilities, with no agenda other than to help people towards the very best music and movie performance their money can buy.

Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.

Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS

TWITTER: @ClareNewsome

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

Everyone has a different view on this, but I for one would be lost if it weren't for the What Hi-Fi team reviewing kit each month. It must be a nightmare trying to be fair and impartial. So a huge well done from me.

On the subject of your listening rooms / demo suites, there would doubtless be a market should you ever choose to open them up for the occasional open day. I'd pay to come and see them and it could be great fun to experience a few tutored demo sessions. You could make a bob or two while you're at it!

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

Odd that you should mention that, Will, as we do have plans for some reader activity.....Watch this space!

Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.

Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms
Clare Newsome:Odd that you should mention that, Will, as we do have plans for some reader activity.....Watch this space!



(acts nonchalant)

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Anonymous
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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

Ooooooh good stuff. Be seriously cool to come and see What Hi-Fi Towers.

Now apparently there is a home entertainment show happening this weekend near Heathrow. Just spoke to my dealer on the phone and he's showing some gear there. Does anyone know anything about it? It's at the Park Inn on Bath Road apparently. Thought I might pop along on Saturday.

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

19 - 21 of September at Renaissance heathrow.


If you are going, be sure to have a look at Audiofreak's room....Avalon, conrad and Karan.  i can't go due to work commitment! Crying

Anonymous
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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

I would have thought the if their room had or has been treated, and I have no idea, then it would be have treated (hopefully) by an acoustician, then the room would be measured to see it's response, most people are hearing a highly reflective sound in their rooms, my room to is very dead also and treated and the sound it top notch, just a bit on the small size.

I find it hard to believe that manufactures are adding treble to speakers because a reviewing room sounds dead, I would have thought they would have tested and measured the speaker beforehand and would have been happy with it's sound or why put it to market?

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

If you enjoy reading reviews you should bear in mind that you won't always agree with what the reviewer finds. It is after all his opinion. Since there is no such thing as "golden ears" reviewers are eminently unqualified to tell you anything but their opinion. Neither will they give you your money back if you buy something that you hate. The lesson here is to take reviews as they are intended; to offer guidance. Then seek out the product, listen to it and compare it to other products so that you can form your own conclusion.

WHF's demo room bears no relevance to most of us and discussing it is fatuous. The only thing that should matter to you is how it will sound in your room. Finally - since you don't have access to all the products WHF do; you need to find a useful, helpful retailer who will give you the time and assistance to choose the products that are right for you.

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

Yes, it was treated by an acoustician, and yes it's measured.

The conspiracy theorists like a good story, but aren't interested in the facts.

Also, you'd be surprised how many manufacturers listen to their own kit but not to rival brands when they're developing/tuning products - including emerging contenders, not just established class leaders.

Many products sound fine in isolation, but when you put them up against a class-leading product, differences and/or deficiences can become apparant very quickly.

As  - unlike any other magazine in the UK - we have access to a stockroom full of kit as well as dedicated testing facilities - we can and do wheel out all sorts of rivals when we're even First Testing stuff. 

All in a quest to put a product in as much market context as possible, not just give an isolated snapshot of a single product.

EDIT - and bravo, Rev, for mentioning need for dealers to offer comparative testing experience, too! Don't forget to take your favourite discs with you...

Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.

Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS

TWITTER: @ClareNewsome

Anonymous
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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

Actually, this is a questionI've been meaning to ask for a while, and I'm just posting it in this thread due to the title and nothing to do with the argument at top, but - just how did WHF manage to spend 'nearly £1million' on the new demo rooms ??! Surprise Or does that include the warehouse of kit also ?! Talking of which, who has the keys to said warehouse ?! Stick out tongue

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms

The design, bespoke build and acoustic treating - plus fitting the rooms out - was a damn pricey process! We started with an empty shell....

Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.

Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS

TWITTER: @ClareNewsome

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Re: What Hi-Fi listening rooms
SC:Talking of which, who has the keys to said warehouse ?!


There are no keys. Access is achieved via a combination of retina scan, voice recognition and a supermarket-style swipe of the WHF?S&V barcode each of us has had tattooed on our backsides.

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