...Really missing my Kef 103.2's

Discussion in 'British Audio' started by jdwdmi, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    293
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    So a year ago I was trying to fund a purchase and was selling of some gear. I sold my 103.2's and have really been missing them. The biggest sellers remorse of anything I have let go. The were so balanced and musical!

    Kefs never come up around here locally. I plan on buying another pair but was curious if I should go up the reference line? Some 104's or 105's? Also how do the newer models compare to the 103.2 sound? IE R300 or LS50.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!!
     

     

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  2. leesonic

    leesonic Hold on, here comes the bass. Subscriber

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  3. Raynald

    Raynald Addicted Member

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    I sold mine because they were beat up, still looking for a clean pair so I know how you feel. I did pick up a pair of Caprice II/203 which are the price point version with the same drivers. Very nice. A pair of 105/105.2/105.4 would be a great move if you can find them. The 105.4 use the same drivers as the 103.2, I would love to land a pair. In the newer ones, the R102, 103.3 and 107/107.2 have a similar sound but not the 104.2. Great speaker but different signature sound. The C60 was pretty much the replacement for the 103.2 but it just did not seem to have the magic.
     
  4. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    293
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA
    Thanks for the input guys. Super helpful info! I will check into the suggestions. I need to do some homework but I remember when I had my 103.2's reading about The Cube. What is this? Is it a subwoofer or an EQ of sorts? Also remember the Ferrofluid drying up in certain models and some needing the donuts replaced. Does any of this apply to the 105.4's? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    At a glance the 105.4 looks like it would be exactly what I'm after. I will have to check into the 104AB as well. I would be uber happy if I could find something that sounded like a bigger 103.2. Never ordered speakers from the Bay, maybe when I get closer I will put a WTB on Bartertown.

    This is going to be in a smaller listening area I use for my second system and powered by a Mcintosh 2105. When I had my 103.2's they were in a smaller space as well and ran them off of just a 16 watt EL34 tube amp and the midrange/vocals were amazing. Excellent imaging.
     
  5. Mortsnets

    Mortsnets Well-Known Member

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    I love the 103.2s too. Epos ES-11s or some of the Castle speakers might be a close approximation. More recent: JMR Twins?
     
  6. Raynald

    Raynald Addicted Member

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    The closest thing to a bigger 103.2 would be the 105.4. and the Carlton II/204/Carlton III which are bigger versions of the Capice II/203.

    The KUBE came in with the 102/103.3/107 series. It is an active equalizer that was designed as part of the system and is needed for the speaker to sound the way it was designed to sound. The cheaper electronics in the 102/103.3 KUBE do limit the transparency, the trade off being better bass and efficiency for their size. This is the series that suffers from ferrofluid drying up.

    The 105/105.2/105.4 were pre KUBE and ferrofluid, as were the Caprice II/203 et al.
     

     

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  7. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    I don't have any experience with those but thanks for the suggestions. I think for now I have tunnel vision and have to go for Kefs. :)
     
  8. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    Thanks Raynald! You have planted the seed. Did some reading since yesterday and the 105.4 would be stellar. Same drivers as the 103.2, bigger cabinet, no worries on the ferrofluid, and have a interesting look to them. I will be getting a pair of these, just have to bide my time for now. I always felt like my Kefs 103.2's would have come alive with some more power, my Mcintosh 2105 would be just enough power to make the 105.4's sing I believe.

    Anyone tried the Mcintosh/Kef combo??
     
  9. Robint

    Robint Well-Known Member

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    676
    Location:
    Wilmore KY
    If you go with a 105.4 you will probably need a sub-woofer for deep bass. The Carlton lll's go deeper than the 105.4. I like organ music so I use a sub-woofer with the 105.4's. The Carlton are rated 47-20,000Hz whereas the 105.4's are rated 55-20,000Hz and I see the 103.2 are rated 60-20,000Hz. The Carlton lll's are in the bedroom system and I don't feel the need for a sub-woofer in the bedroom
     
  10. BilboBaggins

    BilboBaggins AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I can recommend the 105, but you will need a big amp for it with lots of reserve power to sound its best.
     
  11. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    I will have to check into the Carlton III's as well. Using a sub is not an option with this setup, no room at all. Are the Carlton's close in sound to the 103.2's besides the bass? Also wondering the same thing about the 105's Bilbo suggested.
     

     

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  12. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    Thanks Bilbo, I have a Mcintosh MC 2105 and don't plan on cranking it too much. Its in a smaller listening space.
     
  13. SimplySound

    SimplySound Kent Engineering & Fondry

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    Raynald knows of what he speaks... I have 2 pairs of the 103.2's in both Rosewood and Walnut. Beautifully crafted speakers from the outside in!!! I also have a few pairs of the R107's. :D

    Although I've never heard a pair of the R105 Series, I get the sense they probably sound pretty close to the 107's except perhaps in the Bass Dept. Think of the heads on the R105 and 107's as a phase aligned LS3/5a on steroids. Those heads are so well damped and constructed that the highs and mid's will blow you away. Compared to the 103.2's? Well let's just say they have more air and transparency to them. Not that the R103.2's sound boxy! And I'd say the Bass out either the 105 or 107, obviously is going to be the strong suit!

    Good luck on your quest!
     
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  14. Raynald

    Raynald Addicted Member

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    You are correct, the 105 and 107 are generally similar. I have never put them side by side but I sold 107s for years and now own the demo pair I used to use while I have a friend I found a pair of 105.2 for and I hear those from time to time. Both are lovely speakers. The 107 are more advanced in some ways but the 105 does not have the KUBE in the circuit which helps with transparency. The 105 series is lower maintenance, no ferrofluid to dry out or foam to rot, just sagging spiders to worry about which is an easier fix for a good tech. The 107 are supreme but the 105 are great bang for the buck if you are patient as they were sold in far greater number, around here anyway.
     
  15. Robint

    Robint Well-Known Member

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    676
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    The Carlton lll's use the same speakers as the 103.2, with the addition of a passive radiator, so I would assume they sound similar with extended bass. They are not Reference Series, but are top of the line for that series. The 105.4 are designed for a smaller listening space and here is a quote from TAS.
    in TAS #26 (June 1982), HP reviewed the KEF 105.4 and said, "I found the R 105.4 to be a fine loudspeaker, and to be a far better one than my former R 105.2s. It has excellent imaging, it produces a fine soundstage, and its overall integration is very good. Unlike the 105.2, there is no annoying touch of bass overhang, and the treble is much more musical. There is no hint that the woofer is following one path and the other drivers another.”
     
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  16. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    Hoarder!! :biggrin: I would love to hear a pair of 107's. I really appreciate the great info all of you have given me! This has been a great thread, very helpful indeed.

    The Carlton III's look like they can be had for a small sum, just don't know if I cant get over the vinyl cabs. Two way also, not that Two ways can't sound great, my 103.2's certainly did. I like real wood veneer on my speakers, although they have to sound amazing sharing the 103.2's drivers plus a passive. Not bad low end and a small footprint. Hmmm, pretty good bang for your buck!

    I really like the low end of the 105 it just may be too big for my area, I will have to do some measuring. That makes me lean towards the 105.4, but only getting down to 55hz might be a problem with no room possible for a powered sub.

    I just realized before posting this that Kef has there "museum" page on their site great reference point.

    Just thinking outloud. Thanks again for your opinions.
     

     

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  17. BilboBaggins

    BilboBaggins AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    At the request from another member on AK, I tried my MC2205 side by side with my Bose 1801 on the Kef 105s. I was also curious, but reluctant to pull out that 80 lb amp and carry it down and then back up the stairs. But one day I was configuring the mc cabinet and decided since I had the mc2205 out, I may as well find out how they sound together. With the mc2205 and a restored Bose 4401 preamp, the Kef 105s sounded really good. With the Bose 1801 using same pre and the Kef 105, the Kef's sounded awesome! This was also what a friend concluded after hearing both that afternoon with no comments from me.

    I think it has something to do with damping factor. This is my experience and all my choices since I discovered this have been correct when it comes to big 4 ohm speakers. They seem to need extra reserve power to sound their best. Not all big power amps seem to have that kind of reserve.
     
  18. Robint

    Robint Well-Known Member

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    676
    Location:
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    I just checked out my simulated walnut laminate on the Carlton lll's. It's not vinyl, I have a pair of Polk 7A's and they are vinyl covered. If you rub your finger across the Polk's it slides. The Carlton's are rough and it feels like grain. Definitely feel wood like, in fact they feel more wood like than the 105.4's and the HPM 100's. When I got my Carlton's they had a voice coil rub, I carefully peeled the surround off and re-glued using a 30Hz tone from a cd looney tunes provided with a re-foam kit. This kept the voice coil centered until I had the surround tacked down. An idea to rotate drivers occasionally, I rotated the drivers on the 105.4's and so far no problems.
     
  19. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    In all my years of this hobby I have never knew Bose made amps? Had to look your 4401 up and ran into the resto thread. Looks like a monster of an amp! Nice. Would love to hear one of those.
     
  20. jdwdmi

    jdwdmi Active Member

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    Thanks for letting me know they did a good job on the simulated wood. That will play into my decision. I will keep in mind to rotate the drivers.
     

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