KEF Q350

FOR Stun­ning clar­ity and de­tail; el­e­gant de­sign AGAINST Lack a lit­tle drive; not best at low vol­umes

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

If there’s one over­rid­ing theme across the KEF Q350, it’s re­fine­ment. Nearly ev­ery as­pect of the speaker has been re­designed to achieve a cleaner, more so­phis­ti­cated pre­sen­ta­tion.

The first thing you’ll no­tice is how clean the de­sign is com­pared with the old Q300s. Apart from the logo at the top, the fas­cia is com­pletely de­void of any­thing to dis­tract you from the main event: the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of KEF’S iconic Uni-q driver.

What looks like a sin­gle driver is ac­tu­ally a 25mm vented alu­minium dome tweeter in a 16.5cm alu­minium mid/bass driver. This sin­gle-point source ar­range­ment is de­signed to im­prove the in­te­gra­tion be­tween the driv­ers, and the way mu­sic is dis­persed.

The lat­est evo­lu­tion of the Uni-q driver fea­tures a damped tweeter load­ing tube – de­rived from KEF’S high-end Ref­er­ence se­ries – that soaks up un­wanted sound com­ing from the back of the dome. It’s de­signed to im­prove the qual­ity of the high fre­quen­cies. Other tweaks have been made to the mo­tor sys­tem and shape of the mid/bass cone to help re­duce dis­tor­tion.

The Uni-q driver now sits right in the mid­dle of the cab­i­net. This keeps a con­sis­tent look with the rest of KEF’S speaker range, such as the LS50S, and also helps re­duce in­ter­nal stand­ing waves and im­prove the speaker’s clar­ity.

The port has been moved to the back of the speaker, and re­designed to re­duce noise and dis­tor­tion for deeper, cleaner bass per­for­mance. The cab­i­nets are of an im­pec­ca­ble, sturdy build, com­ing in two satin fin­ishes, black or white, with black or sil­ver Uni-q driv­ers to match.

KEF’S re­designs pay off, as the Q350s dis­play a level of clar­ity and sub­tlety that’s un­heard of at this price. They stay clear of sound­ing clin­i­cal; they’re sim­ply ar­tic­u­late in the way they de­liver ev­ery sin­gle note. Voices sound clear and nu­anced, and the in­te­gra­tion be­tween the midrange and tre­ble is seam­less.

The scale of sound is huge, too. The ex­tra inches give KEFS the abil­ity to fill a room more eas­ily than most ri­vals. You can ac­cu­rately pin­point in­stru­ments in the Q350s’ airy and open sound­stage. They also sound even across the fre­quen­cies. The tre­ble per­for­mance is de­tailed and sweet, sound­ing crisp with­out ever go­ing bright enough to make you wince.

We wish the KEFS had a more ex­plicit sense of drama and drive, though. They are a touch too po­lite to fully let go – the Dy­nau­dio Emit M20s sound more im­me­di­ate and fun, for ex­am­ple. But then they can’t com­pete with the KEF’S level of in­sight and clar­ity.

Wall of sound

You have to crank up the vol­ume to re­ally ex­pe­ri­ence the full tal­ent of these Q350s. To their credit, the KEFS don’t let dis­tor­tion creep in when pushed hard, nor do they lose com­po­sure when things get messy – they keep in­stru­ments sep­a­rate even as they come crash­ing to­wards you in a wall of glo­ri­ous sound.

KEF can be proud of its work – that stun­ning level of clar­ity and re­fined de­tail isn’t some­thing we usu­ally hear at this price. The Q350s are as­tound­ingly good speak­ers for the money.

“A stun­ning level of clar­ity and de­tail”

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