To Doug Schneider,

I am considering upgrading my Focal Electra 1038 Be speakers to the KEF Blades. I am driving the 1038s with an Esoteric A-02 amp and using Nordost Odin speaker cables. I've read a number of reviews about the Blades and all are very complimentary with the exception of the bass. When I heard them at RMAF this past October and recently at the dealer's showroom, I thought the bass sounded pretty good. But the reviews have me wondering if I missed something. I also read one review about a tweeter problem using an Odin cable and that has me somewhat concerned. Although I feel pretty confident my amp will be fine, I am also concerned about my room size. It is more rectangular than square and, as it is, my speaker fronts are just over 9’ from the listening position and about the same between the speakers. Do you think I am considering too large a speaker system for my space? 

Kindest regards,

I don’t think they’re necessarily too large -- I’ve seen large speakers work well in smaller spaces. But will they work well for you?

I really wish I could tell you something more conclusive about the Blades, but I confess that I can’t say all that much because I haven’t formally reviewed the speakers in my listening room. Admittedly, though, I would’ve loved to because I had heard them several times at shows and they’ve always sounded fabulous. KEF simply didn’t send them to us; however, they did send me the R500, which I reviewed last year, as well as the LS50, which I just finished writing the review on that we will publish on the 15th of this month. So I can give you a little bit of information.

The only problem I can imagine with the tweeter is that unlike some other companies, KEF doesn’t roll their tweeters off -- they tend to be pretty flat past 20kHz. So if someone is used to hearing a sound that is depressed by, say, 3 or 5dB by 20kHz, which isn’t uncommon with some designs, particularly if the tweeter isn’t that well behaved at the top of the band, the KEFs will sound quite a bit livelier, even bright.

Insofar as the bass goes, I remember reading one write-up where the reviewer commented on the bass not being strong enough, and speculated that the positioning of the drivers might have something to do with it (they’re up higher than most woofers, and on both sides of the cabinet). That, though, is only speculation, and I’m not sure the reviewer was right because they sounded great to me at the shows. To really know, you’d have to try them in your room. I hope that helps. . . . Doug Schneider