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KEF IQ70 review

They look the part, but the sonic flaws of the iQ70s are significant in number Tested at £700.00

Our Verdict

They look the part, but the sonic flaws of the iQ70s are significant in number

For

  • Exquisite looks
  • inoffensive, smooth sound

Against

  • Lack of clarity, detail and dynamics
  • low frequencies fail to integrate

In the past, speakers from KEF's Q range have racked up their fair share of five-star reviews. So, it's a mystery why the iQ70 floorstanders fall so short of the mark.

For the new range, KEF has introduced new features, all of which are evident on the iQ70. There's a new chassis to aid dispersion and realism. Crossovers have been remapped to improve transition between fequencies.

The new floor-standing models also boast a new low-frequency driver made from the company's new Dual Composite Cone material, and 'labyrinth' internal damping, which KEF says lets the speaker deliver faster, tighter bass. They also showcase the KEF's new plinths, designed to give greater stability.

It's not difficult to see the iQ70s' appeal. They're arguably the finest- looking speaker in the group test, partly thanks to their striking Uni-Q drivers, compact dimensions and elegant, curved cabinets.

The new iQ series also sees the emergence of two new real wood finishes (Light Oak and Walnut), although the Dark Apple finish that's pictured here is lovely, too. However, we're not convinced by the new plinths. The cheap plastic look and feel undermines the rest of the styling.

Lacking in insight and bass precision

When it comes to integration between the treble and mid-range, the KEFs can't be faulted. The Uni-Q driver arrangement does a good job of marrying the two together and dispersing the sound evenly, even if other speakers in this test can create a broader soundstage.

But, despite the dispersion from the Uni-Q driver, vocals still lack clarity and insight. During the BBC Live Lounge's version of Duffy's Every Heartbeat, her vocals lose their natural tone and emotive edge.

Problems with the speaker extend to lower frequencies, too. Bass, although weighty, fails to keep up with the rest of the music. During Like a Dog Chasing Cars taken from The Dark Knight OST, the KEFs seem merely to plod. The drama of this track is lost and you find your mind wandering away from the music.

We had high hopes for these, so to say we're disappointed is an understatement.

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What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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