KEF R11 Loudspeakers $4999 Review

August 25, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“It was the R11s’ imaging that blew me away. With or without the assistance of subwoofers, the 705 S2 minimonitors are imaging monsters that can chisel out aural images on a soundstage with laser precision. Not everyone likes or wants this, but I do. Because the R11s are large tower speakers, I didn’t expect that level of imaging definition. Then I listened to “Give Me One Reason,” from Tracy Chapman’s New Beginning (16/44.1 FLAC, Elektra), a track I often play to test a speaker’s imaging abilities. It begins with plucked guitar to left of center, then Chapman’s voice dead center, then Andy Stoller’s bass drum, including his subtle cymbal work just to the right of and behind the first guitar, then a second guitar far to the right of Chapman’s voice. Then two background singers enter, behind and to the right and left of Chapman’s lead vocal. As I listened to the R11s re-create each of these images with exquisite precision, sometimes down to what seemed the size of a tennis ball floating between the speakers, I knew they’d give up nothing to the much smaller B&Ws with SVS subs. Even when instruments were panned hard right or left, their sounds didn’t seem to emerge from the R11s’ baffles, but to hover just around the edges of the speakers — just as I’m used to with my reference setup.”

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