What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 16 Mar 2011, 5:59pm

KEF Q700

Tested at £1000
60100
3

A promising presentation comprehensively scuppered by ill-disciplined low frequencies

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For

  • Purposeful looks
  • midrange articulacy and outright scale

Against

  • Very muddled in the bass

At a modest 92cm high, the KEF Q700s aren’t the burliest floorstanders you’ll encounter, but still manage to look somewhat imposing.

This impression is deepened by the Q700s’ driver-count. The 165mm aluminium Uni-Q driver with centre-mounted 25mm tweeter is taken from the class- leading Q300 standmounter. It’s joined by a 165mm low-frequency driver and two 165mm auxiliary bass radiators.

If the wood-fibre finish doesn’t feel too luxurious, don’t forget these speakers cost less than some obvious rivals. And, where robust floor-spike arrangements and elegant biwiring speaker terminals are concerned, the KEFs are supremely capable.

Better control in theory
The decision to go with passive bass radiators rather than reflex ports is an unusual one, that promises, in theory at least, better control. The Q700s are happiest out in free space, though, and toed-in towards the listener slightly.

Playing Clinic’s Bubblegum, a lot of the Q700s’ best work is recognisable from the Q300s. The beautifully defined and informative midrange is carried over, and vocalists are granted explicit detail and eloquence.

There’s the same confident attack with high frequencies, too, fine scale, and a dismissively assured way with even the heftiest dynamic variances.

This, sadly, is all undermined by the Q700s’ low-frequency reproduction. The passive radiators hum along, with little regard for the beginning or end of notes; the subsequent blow to definition and organisation is mortal.

There’s little low-end solidity, and this lack of precision is at odds with the rest of the frequency range. It’s this lack of coherence that relegates the KEFs to ‘also-ran’ status.

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