The KEF R900 is a stunningly elegant pair of floor-standing speakers, which has that presence of authority and quality. These towering speakers also give the impression that they are very capable of delivering powerful sound, and we honestly believe it will. One of the biggest models in the R series, it will be without a doubt that they will have an exceptional sound quality and deserves a matching amplifier to power them.
Getting the right amplifier does take some effort as first we need to know more about the KEF R900 speakers. We need to find out more about their sonic characteristics, and how they sound. What are their strengths and limitations, so once we have all this information, we will then be able to list out the best matching amplifiers that you can go for and pair them with your KEF R900 floor-standing speakers.
Sound Characteristics and Strengths of KEF R900
This is a 3-way bass-reflex speaker design with three rear-firing bass ports located at the back of the cabinet. The KEF R900 really requires a lot of room space, placing them too near to rear walls will reinforce their bass significantly. After the speakers have broken in, you can try moving them away or nearer to the walls so to get the right amount of bass that you prefer. At the front of the cabinet, you will see two 8 inch (200mm) aluminum woofers and in between them, will be the Uni-Q driver that combines a 1 inch (25mm) vented aluminum dome tweeter and a 5 inch (125mm) magnesium/aluminum midrange driver. The Uni-Q driver array looks kind of out of place as the smaller drive unit is sandwiched between two large bass drive units. KEF provided 4 foam port plugs which are very useful for taming the bass output of the KEF R900 speakers.
The frequency response looks very promising with a range between 40Hz-28kHz (±3 dB), it seems like the KEF R900 floorstanders can deliver very deep bass. The speaker sensitivity is 90dB which we expected to be higher due to their cabinet size and driver units. The nominal impedance is 8 Ohms (min. 3.7 Ohms) and the recommended amplifier power is between 25-250 Watts. It is wise to get high-powered amplifiers to drive the R900 speakers since more than likely we won’t be needing a subwoofer to support them. We will be excluding the need for a dedicated subwoofer output and along with these data, it will filter out and shrink down the list of potential amplifiers.
The scale of the soundstage is astonishing, it is very wide and with a convincing depth. The KEF R900 easily fills the room with its musical sound presence and this is where you can feel the weight of the sound. The bass reproduction is very well controlled, it never blew out of proportion or overwhelms the highs and midrange frequencies. Instead, it integrates nicely and reproduces a full-range sound that is natural and powerful. The KEF R900 reproduces subterranean bass with ease and never overemphasis, the overall bass response has slightly amazing timing and agility. It is taut and rich with details.
The stereo imaging is sharp and precise, delivering to you a holographic performance that is very entertaining. The clarity is superb as well, the subtle details can be easily heard and the KEF R900 are revealing speakers. It will provide you with a transparent and faithful music presentation with very little to no colorations. At high volumes, the treble maybe a little too bright and harsh, but not to a point of cringe. The rhythmic timing delivers engaging music listen and the large spacious soundstage that fills the front of the room is lifelike. The accuracy of the R900 is truly class-leading as you are able to pinpoint each instrument on the soundstage.
All in all, the KEF R900 is neutral bright-sounding speakers and we need to be cautious when pairing them with overly bright-sounding amplifiers. The bass reproduction of these floor-standing speakers is exceptional and musical, you don’t really need a subwoofer unless is for movie listening. They will be great as left and right main channel speakers in a home theater setup but you will need to get a matching center channel speaker. As we now know their strengths and sonic characteristics, we can finally start listing out the best amplifiers which you can choose to pair with your KEF R900 floor-standing speakers.
KEF R900 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 a 5 inch (125mm) magnesium/aluminum midrange driver
- Bass Driver: two 8 inch (200mm) aluminum woofer
- Frequency Response (±3dB): 40Hz-28kHz
- Amplifier Requirements: 25-250 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (min. 3.7 Ohms)
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 90dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 1069mm x 211mm x 345mm | 42.1″ x 8.3″ x 13.6″
- Weight: 29.5kg (65lbs)
Best Amplifiers to match with KEF R900
The Parasound Hint 6 from the Halo series will be one of the top amplifiers to pair with your KEF R900 speakers. It is an integrated amplifier that complements the KEF R900 speakers with its smooth and mellow sounding quality, allowing you to listen to your favorite tunes at high volumes for hours on end without feeling listener fatigue. The vocals sound more beautiful and natural as well. Parasound Hint 6 can be enthusiastic, providing the energy when needed, and confidently ride through the music transients. It is very powerful as well, with 180 Watts into 8 Ohms and 270 Watts into 4 Ohms with both channels driven. You should definitely find a time to audition them along with your KEF R900 speakers.
Parasound preamp and power amplifier combinations are also well suited for KEF R900. For the preamplifier section, you might want to go for the Parasound Halo P 6 as comes with a lot of useful features and connections. The Halo P 6 is exceptional when it comes to price-vs-performance, it is capable of digging out plenty of details and yet never sounding clinical, all thanks to its warm pleasing tonality. For the power amplifier section, you should pair them with Parasound A 21+ stereo power amplifier, capable of 300 Watts into 8 Ohms (both channels driven) which is more than enough to drive your KEF R900 speakers to their full potential. When you are auditioning them, try playing your favorite tunes at high volumes and see if you find the treble is sweet enough for you.
If you love Marantz house sound, then getting the Marantz PM-KI Ruby is an amazing amplifier choice. This integrated amplifier has the personal touch of Marantz sound master Ken Ishiwata and you will be assured that this masterfully tuned amp will be able to deliver a truly enjoyable music listening experience. A revealing amplifier that will unveil the subtlest nuances of your favorite music and deliver it out via your KEF R900 with precision and faithful reproduction. The sweet warmth and musicality of the Marantz PM-KI Ruby will surely please your ears. At this price point, it is definitely worthwhile to hear them out at least once.
Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 integrated amplifier is one of the top choices among the KEF speaker owners and has a powerful feature called Room Perfect, a signal correction system that removes the need for acoustic room treatment. The Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 also allows optional modules to be added into the system such as HDMI inputs/output, USB module, etc. The sound quality is exceptional as well, delivering a spacious soundstage and impressive dynamics. If you need to place your KEF R900 speakers, perhaps the Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 and its Room Perfect technology will be an ideal choice for you.
Kinki Studio EX-M1 is another amplifier you should really check out, it is well suited for KEF R900 and complements them with its timing and finesse. The stereo imaging is top-notch, along with the sonic qualities of the R900, they easily reproduce individual instruments with pinpoint accuracy and not to mention the lifelike performances. The dynamic rhythm makes the whole music presentation more engaging and really fun to listen to. The Kinki Studio EX-M1 has a lot of power to drive your KEF R900 floor-standing speakers. The only qualms we have is that it does lack some features in this price range.
For a more budget option, you can always take a look at the Peachtree Audio Nova series, particularly Nova300. They are sanely priced and you really get a lot of performance from them. If budget is not an issue, then Hegel amplifiers are great choices for your KEF R900 speakers, check out Hegel H390 and when possible, have an audition with them. There are other power amplifiers that you might be interested in and their sonic performance typically exceeds their price points. For Class AB, you might want to take a look at Emotiva and their XPA-2 Gen3 2 Channel Audiophile power amplifier is a good start. For Class D amps, Wyred 4 Sound is an amazing choice and their award-winning mAMP monoblock amp. Planning to get a subwoofer to supplement the subterranean bass? Take a look at the JL Audio Fathom series, these subwoofers are really powerful and emphasize more on deep bass frequency. They are great for both music and movie sources.
To Sum It Up
These are some of the best amplifiers at their price range and definitely worthy enough to match your KEF R900 speakers. You should take the time and effort to audition them, hear them out, and see if you like what you’ve heard. This list of amplifiers can be useful references as well, use them to compare with other amplifier brands or models. Lastly, having a subwoofer to supplement the bass (probably 60Hz and below) is not really necessary but if you want one, we suggest getting high-quality subwoofers from reputable brands such as JL Audio, SVS, Rythmik Audio, etc.