What We Like
- Well designed coax build.
- Solid output.
- Great build quality.
What We Don’t Like
- Default performance might be too colorful for some.
KEF is known as one of the brands that have brought the coaxial design into the mainstream. Their Q300 shows us that just what this transducer layout can do. These are definitely one of the best bookshelf speakers under $1000.
KEF’s design of their Q series doesn’t really change when you go from one end of the spectrum to the other. Instead, it is just scaled up or down. Q300 are the largest speakers in the series, meaning that you get a whole lot of cabinet and larger transducers. Speaking of cabinets, these are made of high-quality MDF that is pretty thick. They have wrapped the entire thing in wood-grain vinyl that gives the Q300 a more natural look.
Baffle at the front covers the entire side of the cabinet and offers solid support to the speakers. KEF’s Q series design is fairly simple yet effective. They have put the transducers up at the top, while the front firing port sits at the bottom. These two imaginary sections are divided by a brushed aluminum bar that bears KEF’s logo. This is pretty much the full extent of aesthetics when it comes to Q300.
As it is the case with its smaller brother, Q300’s main feature are its coax transducers. This time around, we are looking at a 6.5″ aluminum cone woofer that houses a 1″ dome tweeter. Max SPL is set at 110dB while KEF recommends a 15-120 Watt amplifier to be used to power the Q300s. On paper, the entire thing looks pretty refined. However, there is a catch. KEF went ahead and installed a standard first order crossover. Some will justify this decision by saying that coaxial speakers don’t really require that much in terms of crossovers.
However, considering the price we are asked to pay, it would only be fair to get something that is at least a bit better than that. With that said, this flaw doesn’t impact performance all too much. Definitely not enough to discard the Q300 as bad. These speakers have managed to keep up with the ever emerging competition just fine.
The very foundation of Q300’s performance comes in form of its on-axis imaging and extremely low distortion. Right out of the box, these come with an accentuated lower end of mid-range frequencies. Trebles are very direct, sharp and clear while lows abundant and defined. That weak crossover doesn’t really have too much of an impact on what you hear, but corrections can always make things better.
Bang for the buck, Q300 from KEF are awesome. However, if you spend some time and develop a decent DSP corrections map, you can easily boost the performance to a level that is the order of magnitude better. KEF voiced these speakers to bring you their well-known flavor. The only problem here is that not everyone likes that mid boost. Thankfully, they have left us with enough headroom for adjustments so that we can tighten up the response to be more neutral.
At the end of the day, KEF Q300 pack a great performance in an unconventional package. Right out of the box, these speakers are good. However, that room for refinement makes them so much more interesting.