The KEF R700 is a floor-standing speaker that is smack right in the middle of the series and is highly reviewed by many reputable critics. The R700 may not be the latest model and has been around for a few years but when it comes to sonic performance and quality, they can still rival some of the newer speakers. They will still need a high-quality amplifier to power them and make them sound their absolute best though.
If you are already on the lookout for a matching amplifier to partner with your KEF R700, why not stay a while and read on. This is because we will be listing out the best amplifiers that you can go for and pair them with the R700 loudspeakers. These amplifiers are chosen to complement these speakers and bring out their true potential. Based on the KEF R700 strengths as well as their sonic characteristics which we will be sharing with you now.
Sound Characteristics and Merits of KEF R700
The KEF R700 floorstanders are one of the most beautiful speakers we have ever set our eyes on, small little details like the KEF logo is slightly protruded out from the top, already make the whole speaker cabinet looks so elegant. The drive units on the speaker cabinet are aesthetically pleasing and stylish as well. You will see the famous Uni-Q driver which has a 1 inch (25mm) vented aluminum dome tweeter centered in the middle of a 5 inch magnesium/aluminum midrange driver. Right below the Uni-Q driver unit, you will see two visually striking 6.5 inch (165mm) aluminum woofers. To complete the 3-way bass-reflex speaker design, you will spot finely tuned rear-firing bass ports. We will suggest giving about 30cm distance between the speaker and to the rear walls due to the bass ports.
The frequency response of the KEF R700 is great, it is between 42Hz-28kHz (±3 dB). The speaker sensitivity is a little disappointing as it is only 89dB which is still not bad. The nominal impedance is 8 Ohms but it does drop below 4 Ohms and more (min. 3.2 Ohms). The recommended amplifier power is between 25-200 Watts and since we won’t be looking at pure Class A power amplifiers, it will be ideal to get amplifiers with power outputs that are over 100 Watts per channel. The overall speaker design of the KEF R700 allows it to easily match with most amplifiers on the market, and so in terms of aesthetic matching, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The KEF R700 has that smooth-sounding quality that is easy to listen to and doesn’t tire your ears. The ultra-low distortion provides a clean sound and a very detailed music presentation. The R700 is always composed and never sounding harsh when is driven at loud volumes which is great. Even at low volume listening, the clarity of this speaker is still amazing. The precision of the delivery is superb as well. The overall sound reproduction is kind of lean sounding which is only more apparent when driven at high volumes. The midrange could be a little more full-bodied though.
The soundstage is exceptional, it is wide and deep, the accuracy of the stereo imaging breathes life onto the stage where the instruments play and the vocalists sing. The KEF R700 needs to be driven at high volumes to really shine but never break away from its composure. At higher volume, the stereo image becomes tighter and sharper, the music presentation becomes more alive. The low frequency works seamlessly with the rest of the frequency, even though the R700 floor-standing speaker is unable to produce very deep bass but overall it is a tight and musical-sounding bass. To fix the low-end presence, integrating a subwoofer will be a viable option.
All in all, the KEF R700 delivers an enjoyable music listening experience with its smooth sound quality and exceptional clarity, the stereo imaging is class-leading as well. These floorstanders are capable of delivering powerful sound, all thanks to their weighty and satisfying bass. The KEF R700 speakers are rather power-hungry and will require high-powered amplifiers to unlock their full potentials. A subwoofer is required if you want more low-end oomph and body-pounding bass.
KEF R700 Specifications
- Speaker Type: 3-way bass-reflex (rear-firing)
- Drive Units:
- Uni-Q Driver Array: 1 inch (25mm) vented aluminum dome tweeter at the center of 5 inch (125mm) magnesium/aluminum midrange driver
- Bass Driver: two 6.5 inch (165mm) aluminum woofer
- Frequency Response (±3dB): 42Hz-28kHz
- Amplifier Requirements: 25-200 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (min. 3.2 Ohms)
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 89dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 1121mm x 210mm x 368mm (with grille, terminal & plinth) | 44.1″ x 8.3″ x 14.5″
- Weight: 25.9kg (57lbs)
Best Amplifiers to match with KEF R700
The Hegel H190 is probably the best amplifier you can pair with your KEF R700 speakers, as the Hegel amp’s musical sonic characteristics are usually very well suited for KEF speakers. The H190 is a very powerful amplifier with ultra-low distortion that when paired with the clean sounding KEF R700 floor-standing speakers, will give you the quietest of background even when driven at loud volume. The scale of the music delivery becomes bold and more impressive as the volume goes up which complements the smooth sounding KEF R700 speakers with a livelier sonic performance at high volume. Definitely worth your time and effort to hear them out.
Parasound Halo Hint 6 is another amazingly matching amplifier for your KEF R700 speakers, just like the Hegel amps, the Parasound gears have been used in some of the demos/HiFi events together with KEF speakers. The Parasound amps like the Halo Hint 6 are musical and warm sounding. Hint 6 with its powerful high bias class A/AB operation amps can easily drive the R700 speakers at high volumes where these floorstanders sound their absolute best. This integrated amplifier has the capacity to deliver a large spacious soundstage with full dynamic sound. It is another amplifier worthy of your consideration and time to audition them.
If you are planning to select the HiFi separates route, the preamp that you should check out will be the Naim NAC-N 172 XS. This preamplifier has the ability to inject more energy and liveliness into the overall music delivery. Adding more spice into the smooth-sounding KEF R700 speakers, with more engaging dynamics and exceptional clarity. The overall sound characteristics of Naim NAC-N 172 XS are also well matched with the KEF R700. If your budget allows, you should get a matching power amplifier which will be Naim NAP 300 DR but if you find it too pricey or not worth the investment. You can go for Parasound power amps which we will share with you more details in the next paragraph.
Parasound preamp and power amp combo will be some of the best amplifiers to go with the KEF R700. The Parasound P 6 has most of what you need to enjoy both digital and analog sources. There is also a subwoofer output that you can use to connect to an active sub for that extra low-end oomph. The soundstage and stereo imaging of the Parasound P 6 preamp is exceptional, capable of digging out plenty of musical details from your favorite tunes. Coupled with Parasound A 23+ power amplifier, you are all set to go. The A 23+ is a very powerful amplifier and can easily drive your KEF R700 without breaking a sweat.
If you want a livelier sound system without compromising the sound quality, then the Rega Elicit-R is an ideal choice to be partnered with KEF R700. The Elicit-R is an integrated amplifier with an impeccable sense of timing, able to control the music rhythm with excellent agility, delivering such entertaining music presentation without losing any details. It also complements the R700 speakers by providing better-sounding vocals. The Rega Elicit-R forward-sounding sonic characteristics work well with the composed KEF R700 floor-standing speakers. Have a listen and see if you like what you hear.
For preamp and power amp combo, going for mono power amplifiers will provide slightly better sound quality, this is why many audiophiles prefer them if their wallets allow them. One of the best mono power amps that you can match with KEF R700 speakers will be Cyrus X 200. If the budget is tight, you might want to check out Emotiva XPA HC-1, the monoblock amp has plenty of power and current to drive your R700 speakers with ease. Cyrus also makes amazing integrated amplifiers, you might want to check out Cyrus One and probably audition them together with your speakers. If you are planning to get a subwoofer, we suggest JL Audio subs, as they are well-known for very deep bass reproduction which will complement really well with the KEF R700 shortcoming in the bass department.
You should take your time to audition the listed amplifiers one by one as they are some of the best in the current market. More importantly, these amplifiers are well suited to match with KEF R700 floor-standing speakers and that is why they are worthy of your consideration. You can also use them as references when hunting for amplifiers on your own. If you are planning to get a subwoofer to supplement the bass, it is recommended to audition them with the same sound system.