KEF R3 Meta Review: Solid Bass, Premium Sound

Pulling the hefty audio system from their packaging, you’ll discover a pair of port bungs, microfiber speaker grilles, and rubber toes. At the again of every speaker is a pair of rugged terminals permitting for discretely bi-amping the bass and higher drivers. I requested KEF concerning the want for bi-amping, as I solely deliberate to hook up with the decrease terminals, and was instructed there’s no actual firm “voice” on the topic however the implication is that there’s minimal sonic profit in doing so.

The audio system’ 4-ohm nominal impedance means they’ll doubtless be tougher to drive than 6-ohm or 8-ohm audio system, however impedance is a posh topic and it varies by frequency. KEF claims the audio system will be powered by as little as 15 watts per facet, however for finest outcomes, I nonetheless counsel a comparatively brawny amp with good readability, just like the Naim Uniti Atom I employed.

Let It Glow

As gleeful as these audio system are to play, it’s no straightforward job to inform a narrative as wealthy and expressive as what the R3 Meta inform your ears minute by minute, beat by beat. You’ve simply gotta hear this stuff. They’re extremely nuanced, dynamic, and clear, providing energy and lyrical musicality on a degree that few audio system their dimension can accomplish. Every tune you play is a brand new chapter, as their chameleonic sound signature units the stage for every new combine.

That’s to not say the audio system don’t provide their very own distinctive sonic taste; they definitely do. But what the R3 convey to the desk is so clear, so candy, and so effortlessly expressive—particularly when powered by a clear amplifier just like the Uniti Atom—they lend themselves to each topic with sympathetic supply. This means they’ll discover all the failings in your music, after all, however as a rule, it’s offered extra as a stylistic alternative. That lets your ears separate the manufacturing wheat from the chaff in all the things you play, whereas nonetheless having fun with lo-fi recordings.

Older Beach Boys songs can sound somewhat skinny and even tinny on many audio system, however songs like “In My Room” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” soar with the R3 Meta, with well-struck percussion that pops out from the immersive soundstage, satiny harmonies, and clean guitar tones that appear to tug you to the nice and cozy Pacific seashores. Flipping to topflight fashionable manufacturing like The Weeknd’s “Starboy” resets the stage utterly. The R3’s magnified readability offered the very best efficiency of the tune I’ve heard but, with laser synths, columns of bass, and swelling results echoing out the perimeters and skimming previous my face for an nearly surreal expertise.

The phrase “luminous” saved arising repeatedly as I moved by way of dozens of compressed and hi-res tracks over a number of days. Every string and horn participant, each synth impact, vocal, or guitar tone appears to bloom with its personal intrinsic gentle when handed by way of the R3, for chill-inducing performances. When cymbals sparkle, the audio system gentle that sparkle with an additional shot of vivid shimmer. When reverb trails cling, the audio system prolong and draw them out, letting them fade solely simply in time for the subsequent musical entrance. And when bass bumps, it hits with marble-hard authority and musical power.

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