KEF knows how to design speakers that can deliver high sound quality and look absolutely beautiful at the same time. One of which will be the KEF Q350 bookshelf speakers, from their entry-level Q series range. They are wonderful bookshelf speakers that have gained five stars from What Hi-Fi? and highly rated by critics. If you are a proud owner of Q350 standmounters or planning to purchase a pair in the future, and are currently also looking for a matching amplifier then look no further.
We will be sharing with you the best matching amplifiers that you can go for and pair them with the KEF Q350 speakers. But before we start listing, let’s find out more about the sound characteristics of these speakers and see if they have any limitations. Knowing all these are important, as this is how we can find the most compatible amplifiers.
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Sound Characteristics and Strengths of KEF Q350
KEF Q350 is a 2-way bass reflex speaker design, with the bass port located at the back. The speaker uses their coveted Uni-Q driver array, consisting of a 1 inch (25 mm) vented aluminum dome tweeter for high frequency which is located right at the center of a 6.5 inch (165 mm) aluminum cone. KEF Q350 has an impressive frequency response of 63Hz-28kHz (±3dB) which most stereo amplifiers are able to accommodate this range. The speaker sensitivity is below average though, which is at 87dB (2.83V/1m), thus higher power output amps are required if you always prefer to play your music at loud volume. The nominal impedance is 8 Ohms (min. 3.7 Ohms) and the amplifier power requirements are between 15-120 Watts, which shows that the Q350 speakers are quite easy to drive and this will open up to more amplifier choices.
As mentioned earlier in the article, KEF Q350 looks gorgeous and sleek, the modern aesthetics will suit most modern interiors as well as amplifiers. The color options make it even easier to blend Q350 into the surrounding. The sound quality of KEF Q350 is even more spectacular, they could reach deep into the low-frequency extension and reproduce thumping bass. The amount of air it could move is surprising for a speaker of this size. These bookshelf speakers are really capable of filling up the listening room. The scale of the sound is large, and the soundstage is spacious.
KEF Q350 are indeed powerful standmounters, they also have the ability to be insightful as well. They are revealing but not clinical which is great. With the precision and timing that Q350 has, the overall music presentation is so enjoyable to listen to and just makes you automatically tap your feet. The clarity is mesmerizing as well, helps to bring out the ambience of music tracks whether it is joyous or ominous sounding, you will be emotionally invested. KEF Q350 has exceeded its predecessor Q300 in terms of sound performance, and if given a choice, we will always pick KEF Q350 over the latter.
The sweet and natural-sounding highs, this is why I love coaxial speaker design or for this instance, the Uni-Q driver array. KEF Q350 sounded sweeter than its predecessor though. They have exceeded our expectations as we never imagine they can be that transparent and never sounding bright/harsh. There is a tad warmth to the sound reproduction which makes it easy to the ears and more relaxing to listen to. At this price point, is really hard not to choose KEF Q350 to be your stereo speakers or even for your home theater setup.
The neutral and tad warm-sounding nature makes KEF Q350 quite approachable when it comes to pairing with an amplifier. Adding in a subwoofer may even help to open up the speakers even more but you will require an amplifier with a dedicated subwoofer output. With all this data gathered, we can start listing out the best matching amps for KEF Q350.
KEF Q350 Specifications
- Speaker Type: 2-way bass-reflex (rear port)
- Drive Units:
- Uni-Q Driver Array: 1 inch (25 mm) vented aluminum dome tweeter, 6.5 inch (165 mm) aluminum cone
- Frequency Response (±3dB): 63Hz-28kHz
- Frequency Range Free Field (-6dB): 42Hz
- Amplifier Requirements: 15-120 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (min. 3.7 Ohms)
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 87dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 362mm x 210mm x 306mm (with Rubber Feet) | (14.25″ x 8.27″ x 12.05″)
- Weight: 7.6kg (16.8lbs)
Best Matching Amplifiers to pair with KEF Q350
Marantz PM6006 is one of the best budget amplifiers ever made and turns out it is also a terrific amp to pair with KEF Q350. PM6006 at this price point, you can hardly find any fault with them even if you are trying to nitpick. It is a musical amp without sounding exaggerated, it is in fact smooth and clean sounding. If you just want to relax and listen to your favorite tunes to unwind, this combination will be an ideal choice for you, especially if you have a tight budget.
The Yamaha A-S801 will be another worthy integrated amplifier to match with your KEF Q350, they are highly rated by owners and have rave reviews from various critics. Yamaha signature sound tends to be more neutral which is great for transparency and clarity, thus helping to reveal even more musical details which the Q350 is already doing great in that area. The sound presentation will be closer to what the artists have intended for their listeners without sounding clinical and harsh since the Yamaha A-S801 amps are not bright sounding. It may sound a little flat but the accuracy and transparency are well worth the trade-off.
Rega amplifiers have always matched well with KEF speakers, as for KEF Q350, the Rega Brio will be the top matching amp. Rega Brio brings life and rhythm to every music, the richness in the sound quality is delivered with surgical precision. It is also expressive and punchy which makes it so fun to listen to. It is engaging and never fails to make us feel like dancing. Another amazing feat of Rega Brio will be the power output of just 50 Watts is able to drive KEF Q350 to quite a loud volume level. They may not have the scale and spacious soundstage but it is sure entertaining to listen to them. You should really check them out if you are looking for an expressive and fun-sounding system.
Another amazing amplifier which you can go for and match with KEF Q350 will be the NAD D 3045. They may look small but they are incredibly powerful, because of their IHF Dynamic Power feature. NAD D 3045 can easily drive KEF Q350 to its fullest potential. Another notable feature will be the preamp out which you can use to connect to an active subwoofer, giving you a full-range home audio system that can compete with floorstanding speakers. Not to mention, it further opens up KEF Q350, allowing them to focus more on the highs and mids of the music.
Denon PMA-800NE will be a great amplifier choice if you require more warmth to be added to the overall sound delivery. They have ample power to easily drive KEF Q350 bookshelf speakers and reproduce clean sound quality. The Denon PMA-800NE are neutral and transparent as well, enabling them to match well with Q350 speakers. Is quite a smooth and sweet-sounding combination, which makes you just forget about analyzing the music but simply enjoying them. If this is the type of sound you are looking for, then you should really audition them.
Going for warm-sounding amplifiers to match with KEF Q350 is generally quite safe but there are amps that may be too warm sounding especially the tube amplifiers, so it’s best you listen to them first before buying. I don’t really recommend going for HiFi separates since Q350 is an entry-level speaker but this is entirely up to you. If you really want to go this route, we suggest going for more affordable options such as Crown power amps which are professional grade and value for money.
To Sum it Up
KEF Q350 is an all-rounder and this is also why quite a number of owners use them as speakers for their home theater setup. You might want to get an integrated amplifier with HT bypass so that you can bypass the AVR when playing music from a stereo source. If you are planning to integrate a subwoofer into your home stereo system, then you will need to get amplifiers with a subwoofer output. The amplifiers listed here are some of the best matching amps you can go for and pair with KEF Q350, you should spare some of your time to audition them.