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