KEF R500 vs. PSB Imagine T2

To Doug Schneider,

Thanks for your great reviews of the KEF R500 and PSB Imagine T2. My son and I enjoyed reading them very much.

We plan to set up a two-channel sound system that includes the NAD C 275BEE stereo power amp and NAD M51 DAC as the preamp. However, we are not sure which of the two speakers could possibly produce the best sound performance with the said NAD amplifier components.

We seek your expert advice to help us decide between the KEF R500 and PSB T2.

We thank you in advance for your kind advice and assistance.

Best regards,

You're down to two of the best affordable loudspeakers on the market right now, but if you're asking me which one you should buy, you'll likely be disappointed with my response because I really can't say, which I'll explain below. Still, I can give you some guidance.

The R500 is about $900 per pair less than the T2, which makes it the better value, but I think there are some very good reasons to audition both, since the T2 has qualities that some might prefer. One has to do with appearance -- the R500 is finished exceedingly well, but I could see someone preferring the curved cabinet walls that the T2 has versus the R500's flat-walled, rectangular construction. Cosmetics aren't everything, obviously, and they're not important to everyone -- but they are very important to some. Performance-wise, I found that the R500 was every bit as good as the T2 in most areas, and a touch better in a couple of ways, which is why I said that it raised the bar for the kind of performance that consumers could expect at that price. These impressions, though, were in my own listening room (which, at the risk of sounding vain, is quite good), but speakers don't perform equally well in every listening space. The odds are high that the R500 will perform just as well in your listening room, but there's a chance that the T2 might perform better in it -- you really have to try them to find out. Last but not least, the subjective impressions in both reviews reflect my own listening tastes, which is obviously true of every review. Is there a chance that your listening tastes will be different than mine? It's quite possible. So, since both brands are widely available, you and your son should seek out both and listen to them, since it's you two who will have to live with the speakers for the long haul. I hope that helps. . . . Doug Schneider