KEF is a UK-based audio company that produces high end speaker systems ranging from the very affordable KEF C1 Bookshelf Speaker to the ultra-high end $200,000 KEF Muons. The range includes floor standing speakers, wall mount speakers, and even outdoor speakers.
The fine folks at KEF sent us their compact T205 system for review, which includes a pair of T301s for the front left and right, a T301c for the center channel, and a pair of the smaller T101s for surround. The entire package is capped off with the T-2 subwoofer.
KEF T205 System Overview
Are you still stuck on the $200,000 price tag of the KEF Muons? It’s OK. I am too. The great thing about a company that has ultra performance products like that is ultimately some of that technology trickles down into other products. So it’s nice to know the same engineers are paying attention to a $2,000 set of speakers like the T205s.
KEF T205’s Innovative Mid-Range Drivers
The T205 series was obviously designed for use along side flat panel TVs. But the engineers had a problem. Some of the new LED TVs are less than 1″ thick – which is great for a panel of light, but basically impossible for a moving speaker driver to match.
KEF engineers used Finite Element Analysis computer modeling, borrowed some technology from the Concept Blade prototype, and ultimately created a low profile design that’s just over 1″ thick (30mm). But which manages to pack in all of the sound of a driver with a much deeper chassis. Check out the little KEF marketing video at the 1:15 mark to hear a bit more about how this design works.
The KEF T205’s High Frequency Tweeter
The T-Series uses a 1″ aluminum dome tweeter with waveguides to help widen the dispersion. Many tweeters suffer from sharp off-axis fall off when you aren’t directly in front of them, since high frequencies are generally unidirectional. However the T205 doesn’t suffer from this unwanted characteristic.
KEF hasn’t shared much information about the tweeters used in this cabinet, and although they aren’t as innovative as the mid-range drivers, they are obviously high quality as well as extremely compact.
KEF’s Monstrous T2 Subwoofer
I feel so sorry for people who listen to their music, and especially movies, without a proper subwoofer. As far as I’m concerned this one speaker does 50% of the work, and it makes the difference between a good system and a great system.
Well KEF’s T2 subwoofer, which comes with the T205 system, is definitely keeping up its end of the bargain. The T2 has a single 10″ driver and a built in 250 watt amplifier – meaning it can keep up with whatever receiver you use to power the rest of the system.
They fit the 10″ driver into a cabinet size of only 12.7 liters (less than 1/2 a cubic foot), but it doesn’t seem to feel cramped because this subwoofer will seriously rock the house!
This bad boy also weighs over 28 pounds, telling me that they used hefty components in its construction; most likely an oversized magnet in the driver and big cooling fins on the amplifier. But the most amazing thing about the T2 may well be its appearance. The slim, black cabinet is simply beautiful. And although you could easily hide it somewhere inconspicuous – you won’t want to!
KEF T205 System Video Review
Enough with the technical description, lets move on to the actual video review of the KEF T205 speaker system.
KEF T205 System Conclusion
At the same time I had this T205 system from KEF, I also had the Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESLs. Although there is no doubt that the ESLs sound better, they also cost 2.5 times more and are much, much larger. But what’s amazing is that I set up the T-205s in my home theater beside the ESLs and, for a short while, tricked a room full of people into believing they were listening to the much larger speakers!
It’s not all roses… the 205’s have one drawback. They come with a very easy to use set of wall mounting plates for flush mounting beside a TV. They also come with some small stands which look and work great. But if you have an irregular mounting location where you would need to angle the speakers inward, downward, upward, or any other-ward, you’re out of luck. Maybe you can give the KEF HTF8003 Sound Bar Speaker a try?
I’m willing to overlook the mounting flexibility shortcoming, because they really sound that good. Which means the KEF T205s deserve an Editor’s Choice award. After you set up the T205s and the newness wears off, you forget that you’re listening to a tiny set of wall mounted speakers. And that means just one thing – no regrets.
OH! And while we’re at it… I’m giving that magnificent KEF T-2 Subwoofer an Editor’s Choice award all its own! Because:
- I love it. And I can. 🙂
- Its one of the best sounding compact subwoofers I’ve ever heard.
- Its worthy of adding to any system.
You can pick up the KEF T205 Home Theater System on Amazon for $1,999, or if the budget is a little more restrictive you could opt for its little brother, the KEF T105 Home Theater System for $1,499. It’s the same system, but with smaller front speakers (the same as the rear speakers instead of twice as big). I would still expect it to sound fantastic.
The KEF T2 Subwoofer is also available on Amazon for $699. And worth every penny.