That Was Then... KEF KHT 2005 review

"Do you really want a room full of boxes? For the committed, no doubt the answer would be a slavering 'yes', but for most of us, the prospect of PA-style home decor is daunting."

That introduction could be from a soundbar review in 2015 but back in 2001, with the soundbar not even a glint in Yamaha's eyes, it was how we began our first look at the compact KEF KHT 2005 speaker package.

With home cinema products still relatively fresh to the pages of What Hi-Fi?, we were still wrestling with the idea of surround sound packages filling our rooms with extra speakers. So the idea of a compact, "sub/sat" package, held plenty of appeal.

As with anything in the AV world, there's always a trade-off. So compact speakers would, we tended to assume, offer a so-so sound rather than something that would really feel like a cinema system. KEF's KHT 2005 package set about changing that perception.

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KEF Uni-Q drivers explained

KEF Uni-Q drivers explained

"OK, so how does it sound? Let's cut straight to it: the KHT 2005 is brilliant, delivering a quite sensational performance for a package of its type," said our June 2001 review.

And it was as good with music as it was movies - both equally important for us back then, even in a surround system.

"The key is the quality of its midrange. First and foremost, it actually has a midrange (many sub/sat packages don't), which helps to give it character. You can hear vocal nuances and inflections, the movement of fingers on guitar strings or the impact of sticks on drums: it's all reassuringly hi-fi.

"Movies fare equally well with this surround set-up. Those Uni-Qs deliver an outstanding sense of sweep and scale..."

To conclude? "The KEF KHT2005 is effortlessly stylish, very compact, sounds excellent with both music and movies, and costs a more than reasonable £800. It's superb; we can't really put it more clearly than that."

The KEF KHT 2005 went on to win multiple What Hi-Fi? Awards for various incarnations of its 'egg' system - of which we have reviewed plenty - which is why we're pleased to see the design return in the new KEF EGG wireless system...

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Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is the Content Director for What Hi-Fi? and Future’s Product Testing, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for almost 20 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).