KEF Q150 is the smallest speaker in the Q series, a compact bookshelf speaker that is an all-rounder where owners will either use them for stereo playback and/or used as rear surround speakers. Whichever role they play, you bet they will work the hardest and provide top-quality sound. If you are looking for a stereo/integrated amplifier to power up these talented speakers then you are at the right place and you should definitely continue to read.
This is a pair of talented bookshelf speakers and is great for music playback in a small listening room or nearfield listening. KEF Q150 will still require high-quality amplification to sound its best especially those that could match their sound characteristics. This is where the next section of this article comes in, we will find out more about KEF Q150 sound characteristics, and from there we will start listing out the best amplifiers to pair with them.
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Sound Characteristics and Merits of KEF Q150
They may be the smallest speaker in the Q series range but KEF Q150 can still deliver quite a deep bass extension. It has an impressive frequency response of 51Hz-28kHz (±3dB), really amazing for a speaker this size. The moment you take a look at the stylish and sleek speaker design, you will notice it has the coveted Uni-Q driver array with the following drive units; a 25mm (1-inch) vented aluminum dome situated right at the center of a 130mm (5.25i-inch) aluminum cone. Unlike its predecessor KEF Q100, the bass port is located at the back of the speaker cabinet instead. To be honest, having the bass port situated at the front is easier for speaker placement especially if you are planning to use them as rear surround speakers and placing them on a wall.
The amplifier power requirement starts from 10 Watts, all the way to 100 Watts, it may look like KEF Q150 is easy to drive but when we look at the speaker sensitivity, it is only at 86dB (2.83V/1m) which is very low. This means that it requires a lot of power to hit a level of loudness, especially when watching movies. Fortunately, the nominal impedance is 8 Ohms (min. 3.7 Ohms) so it is still not that bad and does give us a wider range of amplifier options. KEF Q150 is no doubt will be great for a small room or as desktop speakers for nearfield listening. We shouldn’t expect much from the bass department, as we don’t think speakers of this size could shake a room with body-pounding bass. Probably you will need a subwoofer to supplement the bass output.
I think we need to take back what we say about supplementing the bass output, the KEF Q150 has surprisingly low-end oomph in them and there’re layers of bass detail. This is incredible, for a speaker at this price point, even so, you will still need a subwoofer to reach subterranean bass level though. You can’t really expect mid-bass pounding when watching a movie or deep bass reproduction of a church pipe organ. The bass response is agile as well, and snappy which is expected for a bookshelf speaker of its size.
The warm sound quality makes the music playback a relaxing fun listen, the mids are sweet and full-bodied, the highs are crisp. The transparency is somewhat lacking, not as clear when compared to the higher-end series such as KEF LS50 Meta but to be fair, the LS50 Meta cost more than the Q150. The soundstage is good and the stereo imaging is simply amazing. The overall sound reproduction has a level of refinement and is clean sounding, the music presentation has weight, and the bass is more authoritative than expected. In terms of sonic performance, KEF Q150 is worth every penny and a terrific entry-level speaker into the world of HiFi.
KEF Q150 will be great for surround speakers as well, they certainly have the capabilities to do an amazing job. These are respectable speakers and will require equally impressive amplifiers to drive them to their fullest potential. It is still recommended to integrate a subwoofer, as it might further improve the clarity, increases the size of the soundstage, and an improvement to the upper mids as well. Anyway, it is now time to list out the best amplifiers with which we can pair KEF Q150 with.
KEF Q150 Specifications
- Speaker Type: 2-way bass-reflex (rear port)
- Drive Units:
- Uni-Q Driver Array: 1 inch (25 mm) vented aluminum dome tweeter, 5.25 inch (130 mm) aluminum cone
- Frequency Response (±3dB): 51Hz-28kHz
- Frequency Range Free Field (-6dB): 47Hz
- Amplifier Requirements: 10-100 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (min. 3.7 Ohms)
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 86dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 307mm x 180mm x 278mm (with Rubber Feet) | (12.09″ x 7.08″ x 10.9″)
- Weight: 5.6kg (12.3lbs)
Best Amplifiers to match with KEF Q150
If you are planning to use KEF Q150 as desktop speakers then you should check out the compact digital amplifier NAD D 3020 V2. With its rated power output and IHF Dynamic Power, D 3020 V2 will have no problem driving your KEF Q150 speakers. This amplifier has garnered rave reviews from reputable critics and has features for modern usage such as Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in DAC. There is a subwoofer output for you to connect to an active sub to further improve the low-end oomph. The small and compact size of NAD D 3020 V2 allows you to easily place them on your desktop. For a desktop audio system setup, it is one of the best amplifiers to pair with KEF Q150.
Onkyo TX-8140 will be an amazing amplifier to match with KEF Q150 as firstly it has great control over the bass which is rich, detailed, and taut. Making the low-end reproduction of KEF Q150 even better. TX-8140 is capable of delivering a spacious sound with clarity and accurate stereo imaging. Onkyo amplifiers are usually bright sounding, when pairing with the warm sound quality of KEF Q150, it does reproduce a slightly more cleaner sound. If you want a more neutral and transparent music presentation, you should check out Onkyo TX-8140 and audition them.
If you like warm-sounding audio systems or simply a vinyl enthusiast then you should check out Rockville BluTube Tube Amplifier. It is a fantastic entry-level tube amplifier and provides excellent value for money. This is a highly rated tube amp and has garnered plenty of praise from their satisfied customers. There is an upgrade option for you to add Optical and Subwoofer Output which is cool, as you can integrate a powered sub. At this price point, we can’t really complain, and as mentioned earlier, it is a terrific amplifier choice to pair with your KEF Q150 if you are a vinyl enthusiast.
Marantz PM6007 is an amplifier that is definitely worth your time to check out, it is an award-winning amp and one of the best budget stereo receivers out on the market. It shares almost the same sound characteristics as KEF Q150 and provides more clarity to the table. PM6007 has great control over the bass reproduction and provides a bit more authority which the KEF Q150 is more than capable of delivering. You should spend some time auditioning them and check out how seamlessly both the amp and speakers work together. Marantz PM6007 is downright musical sounding, the timing and punch make it so enjoyable to listen to.
For AV receivers, the Denon AVR-X1600H will be an ideal option as firstly it has a good power output of 80 Watts (2 channels driven) for stereo playback. If you decide to add in more KEF Q150 speakers for the surround channels, you should definitely go for a subwoofer as this helps lift a load off the amp. The best feature about AVR-X1600H is the Audyssey MultEQ XT calibration software which we find is the very best in acoustical correction technology thus bringing out the best in KEF Q150 no matter which listening environment is in. The sound quality Denon AVRs are usually full-bodied and warm sounding, well suited for KEF Q150 speakers.
Subwoofer for KEF Q150
We will recommend SVS subwoofers, as over the years they have garnered many fans and satisfied customers with their high-quality bass and value for money subs. If you are planning to use KEF Q150 solely for music purposes, you should go for a sealed subwoofer as they are more agile and musical sounding when compared to a ported sub.
If your home audio system is set up for movies, gaming, and music playbacks, you should probably get a ported subwoofer as they have more bass output and higher SPL. Ported subwoofers are more suited for movie playback since they are more efficient in delivering bass but not as refined and tight as sealed subs.
To Sum it Up
Sometimes we think that the flexibility of KEF Q150 is what truly makes it awesome, as you can use them as desktop speakers, surround speakers, and more. They may be the smallest entry-level speakers of KEF, but they are certainly worth the investment. The listed amplifiers here are some of the best matching amps you can go for and you should certainly audition them along with your KEF Q150 speakers. You can also use them as a reference while you are hunting for amplifiers from other brands/models.