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Multitest budget monitor loudspeakers – 360 – 650 euros

Price: € 600

Multitest bookshelfs

KEF Q350

KEF sends us the new Q series: the KEF Q350. At a price of €279 per pair equivalent to the Bowers & Wilkins 607. Why competitors? The KEF Q350 stands out because of its UniQ driver: KEF’s coaxial unit with the tweeter in the centre and around it the mid/low unit. So it’s not one unit, but two put together. The advantage of this set-up is that the display comes from a single point, which in turn should benefit phase and radiation behaviour. We’re gonna go through it.

The Q350 is solidly constructed. The weight of 7.6kg also says it all. Together with the Elac it is the toughest in this test. With 7.35 kg, Focal doesn’t do much less than that. But it’s a little bigger. The finish of the cabinet is excellent for this price range. So optically there is nothing to haggle over the KEF.

Sound

KEF presents totally different from its competitor Bowers (607 has more sparkle) or for example the Dynaudio (Emit M10 has more punch).

What is immediately noticeable is the mild behaviour. We hear a hint of warmth in de lower frequencies. A bit like a warm blanket in the fall… nice, comfortable… cozy. But in this case you always get some kind of KEF sauce. It’s also a little warmer than the 607. Something we didn’t expect. By the way, the bass remains tight. That’s clearly part of Angel from Massive Attack. Everything remains easy to follow under heavy load…even vocals. By the way, this is a strength of the KEF: voices come very neutrally and pleasantly through the drivers.

The insight we hear during the listening session is remarkable. We can easily track everything. That this is possible in this price range is unprecedented. There are very clear details. Also at higher volume. These details also remain demonstrable: the imaging is stable and large. Timing is tight and spot on with this Q350. Also outside the sweet spot. It’s a speaker who doesn’t care about multiple lines in the music. Not even if more is requested in terms of volume.

Measurements KEF Q350

The response shows that the KEF Q350 is a bit hot-tuned. And that’s what we hear. Is that bad? No. it could be tasty. The advantage of the KEF Q350 is that it remains low and tight. Not a boomy, flubbery bass. That shows the impulse too: just tight. Off axis performance is very neat, as we are used to from KEF. High response just stays up with our off-axis measurements. So the UniQ setup is absolutely no nonsense.

Distortion is low: from about 150 Hz we dive below 1% which is fine. At 60Hz it’s around 1.2%. From 150 Hz the rap goes towards the 0.3% to end around 0.17%. Those are neat numbers. KEF just doesn’t show crazy things. That’s the way we like it.

Conclusion

KEF is putting a serious monitor on the market with the Q350. An all-rounder. Voices come through the UniQ driver very nicely. Clear, easy to follow and without edges. The low-end is warm, but that can be caught with clever placement. Especially since it’s low and tight. In short: a fine all-round speaker that many a lover will like!

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