The KEF Q series flagship speaker, Q950 is the largest floor-standing speaker in the series. These towering speakers are considered talented all-rounders where they will perform well whether in a stereo setting or as the main L/R channels in a home theater setup. Do you own this pair of magnificent floorstanders and are planning to get a matching amplifier that is capable of driving them? If yes, then that’s great! We will be sharing with you the best amps that you can go for and use them to partner with your KEF Q950.
These are some of the best amplifiers on the market and match really well with KEF Q950 speakers. These amps are chosen based on the matching sonic characteristics of the KEF Q950, and also capable of driving these speakers to sound their absolute best. We will also be showing you all these details so that you can have a better understanding of your Q950 floor standing speakers.
Sound Characteristics and Strengths of KEF Q950
From the cabinet to the size of the drive units, even though there no visible bass ports, it is still wise to give them ample breathing space of at least 30cm away from rear walls and a meter from the sidewalls. They are definitely meant to be used in a large size room. The KEF Q950 has that signature design of the Q series minimalistic look, not to mention, the iconic Uni-Q driver array which is even more prominent as it is bigger than the rest of the smaller models in the series. It is a 200mm (8 inch) aluminum Uni-Q driver array with a 38mm (1.5 inch) vented aluminum dome tweeter at the center, followed by a 200mm (8 inch) long-throw bass driver and two matching aluminum ABRs (8 inch). We are certainly expecting the KEF Q950 will effortlessly deliver powerful sound and fill a large size room with ease.
If the KEF Q950 is placed in a large size room with ample space around them, they should look grandeur in most house settings. The stylish design of the speakers will match well with most modern amps but we figure it might look odd when placed beside a small amplifier. The frequency response of 44Hz-28kHz (±3dB) is as expected and the speaker sensitivity of 91dB is good as well. The nominal impedance is 8 Ohms (min. 3.2 Ohms) which is terrific, as this means the KEF Q950 is not difficult to drive. There’s also a high probability that the tower speakers may do well without a subwoofer since they could dig deep into the bass extension (38Hz, -6dB). The amplifier requirements of 15-200 Watts do indicate that it can be driven with as low as 15 Watts but unless we are planning to get Class A mono power amplifiers which are way too expensive for Q950. We should be practical and look for amps with either high power Class AB or Class D amplification.
Immediately impressed by the scale and power of the sound reproduction that is coming out of the KEF Q950, it may not be as refined but it sure is entertaining. The bold and powerful presentation is amazing for movie playbacks, as it immediately grips you in and you are totally invested in every second of the action scene. They easily shake the room with their body-pounding bass. More importantly, the bass is rich and detailed, not as agile but the timing is definitely good enough for music as it is always taut and never muddles. The deep bass delivery is prominent and they really don’t require any support from a subwoofer unless you want to further enhance the low-end performance.
The highs are crisp and clean, it may sound a little too hard at times when is played at high volume. The midrange reproduction is exceptional as well, it is dynamic and blends with the rest of the frequency well without sounding exaggerated. As these are really energetic speakers and their lively nature helps create excitement for both music and movie playbacks. The KEF Q950 may not have the musicality of higher-end and pricier speakers. Still, they are certainly talented enough to play most genres of music without breaking a sweat. Stereo imaging is also one of its strong points where it ‘holographically’ projects the performers and instruments onto the sound stage, simply astounding. When playing movies, the landings of the robots at various distances and including the ones behind you, are all accurately depicted.
We don’t really feel that the KEF Q950 requires a subwoofer into the mix so it will remain optional. They certainly need space and may not sound their best in smaller listening rooms. If you are looking for some of the top-performing floor-standing speakers at this price range, then KEF Q950 is one of these speakers. Now we know the KEF Q950’s strengths and what are their sound characteristics, we can now start listing out the best amplifiers that you can go for and pair them with these speakers.
KEF Q950 Specifications
- Speaker Type: 2.5-way bass-reflex
- Drive Units:
- Uni-Q Driver Array: 1.5 inch (38 mm) vented aluminum dome tweeter, 8 inch (200 mm) aluminum cone
- Bass Driver: 8 inch (200 mm) aluminum bass driver, 2x 8 inch (200 mm) aluminum ABR
- Frequency Response (±3dB): 44Hz-28kHz
- Frequency Range Free Field (-6dB): 38Hz
- Amplifier Requirements: 15-200 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (min. 3.2 Ohms)
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 91dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 1116mm x 357mm x 328mm (with Plinth) | (43.9″ x 14″ x 12.9″)
- Weight: 20.6kg (45.4lbs)
Best Amplifiers to match with KEF Q950
Let’s start with a budget amplifier which is also one of the best matching amplifiers for KEF Q950, the Yamaha A-S801. It is an amazing amplifier that will provide you with exceptional sound quality and always doing its best to deliver the most faithful music presentation that is close to what the artists have intended. The Yamaha A-S801 is used by quite a lot of satisfied KEF owners who love the transparent sound clarity. There is a dedicated subwoofer output for bass fanatics to connect a sub, providing you even better bass performance. Really worth your while to audition them.
If you really like high-performance integrated amplifiers with unique capabilities then you might want to check out Cambridge Audio Azur 851A. It uses Class XD power amplifier that has the sonic purity of Class A, and combines with the efficiency of Class AB, providing you with exceptional sound quality. The Azur 851A also uses dual mono amplification blocks, providing you with clean and ultra-low distortion power throughout the music listening session. The price point of Cambridge Audio Azur 851A is certainly reasonable, further justified with the number of amazing features, it is definitely an amplifier that is a worthy match to your KEF Q950 speakers.
For HiFi separates, going for Parasound preamps and power amps combo will be an ideal choice as they match very well with KEF speakers in general. For your KEF Q950 floorstanders, you might want to check out Parasound NewClassic 200 Pre and get two NewClassic 275 v.2, bridge each power amp into 8 Ohms. Each of the NewClassic 275 v.2 will be driving clean power into each speaker, acting as a mono power amp block. With this combination, this system will be pushing the Q950 and releasing its fullest potentials.
If most of your music sources are digital and you require network audio streaming capabilities, then the Cambridge Audio CXN will be an ideal digital preamplifier for your KEF Q950 speakers. It has a plethora of features such as Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, Spotify Connect, and more. The Cambridge Audio Azur 851W power amplifier is also highly rated as well. Using this preamp and power amp combo, you will have one of the most modern audio systems which can deliver high-resolution sound quality. The Cambridge Audio CXN has garnered rave reviews from critics and satisfied customers over the years, definitely worth your time to audition them.
The Parasound Halo P6 will be one of the very best preamps to go with the KEF Q950, with the integration of Parasound A 23+ power amp, providing premium quality high bias Class A/AB operation amplification. This HiFi separate combination will deliver powerful sound with such musicality and refinement. It also provides more warmth into the overall sound reproduction which the KEF Q950 does lack, balancing the tone, providing much engaging and soothing music playback. It is an absolute must to hear them out, even if you are not planning to get them.
There are other amazing integrated amplifiers to check out too, such as the reputable Rega but be a little cautious when pairing with the Rega Elicit-R as it is quite bright sounding. Marantz integrated amplifiers also match well with the KEF speakers too. Another notable power amplifier at a similar price range to KEF Q950, will be the Emotiva, check out their XPA-2 Gen3 2 Channel Audiophile power amplifier, is really worth every penny. For home cinema, Denon AV receivers are always the first few names to pop up and probably is the best AVR for KEF Q series speakers. The Denon AVR-X6700H is definitely powerful enough to drive the Q950 floor-standing speakers and it is already highly rated as well even though it is still quite new.
To Sum It Up
There’s really no point in time we think that the KEF Q950 requires some bass supplements from a subwoofer. The KEF Q950 could do well alone in a 2.0 setup for either music and even movie sources. Whether you want to go the HiFi separates route or prefer integrated amplifiers, as long you like what you are hearing, that is the most important factor. The listed integrated amplifiers, preamps, and power amps are some of the best in the market, and some are more than worthy to pair with your KEF Q950. You should really take the time and have an audition with them.