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Sounds big was my first note. What the Q900 pulled off in my digs was amongst the more generous performances I’ve had through. This was true on two aspects: tonal balance and soundstaging. The bassment was fully built out but veered into emphasis which didn’t seem 100% neutral. From this derived the first practical tip. Don’t cage this beast in too small a room. I’d guesstimate upward of 20m² as a good starting point. Placement too close to the walls isn’t a good idea either. But even when room and location come together happily, you’ll still want to be enamoured with physical bass. Otherwise check out the next model down.
The spikes cleverly adjust from the top
In my about 30m² historical listening room moving air is more than welcome. Here the Kef came into her own. Naturally that’s not about sheer output alone which my room and I handle well. It's also quality. There the Q900 offers something beyond the ordinary. It’s not just edgy control that stops when required (to where bass problems will be a function of speaker/room integration). It’s not just that one might invoke ‘dry’ and ‘articulate’ (granted, semi-sec might be more accurate as I’ve heard better nuance on double bass elsewhere but clearly worse too). No, the special touch is the fleet-footed outright feathery rebound one wins in the bass range to underscore my mantra that ‘a lot helps a lot’ – meaning surface area rules. The eight drivers of a pair of Kef Q900 combine to in excess of two 30cm woofers just for context.
This pressurized easeful nonchalance down low wasn’t as developed as a Naim Ovator, Zu Presence, Hornmanufaktur Allegro or Akusmatic A90 Martin Mertens praised but did pursue the same general direction (for a fraction of the expense by the way). Loud rock? Yes please. It was simply fabulous how the galloping percussion of Live’s “Iris” tune didn’t merely get hammered out but had élan. For the money it was plain super and completely unexpected. On Throwing Copper there are a few cuts that ought to push one back in the seat with a full wall-of-sound assault and the Kefs delivered that with gusto!
Discovering simultaneously and quite fatally the iPad remote from which to navigate my library, I had so much fun that my neighbors had to live through half my Indie rock socialization period all a mere finger swipe away and in front of boxes that acted like giant blow dryers. I was thrilled. As I swiped toward Massive Attack I briefly jotted down how max extension was more than respectable for the money but given the sheer size of the cabs might have still shortchanged expectations just a tad.
But in case it wasn’t crystal yet, the Kef Q900 proved to be a flagrant party animal and rave master.
Another out-of-the-ordinary quality which I hinted at previously was the soundstaging. The virtual stage first of all was sizable and involving. I know many speakers which cast their stage starting at the base line more or less backward and with a straighter or more curved back to look something like this. Let’s call it standard hifi staging.
Kef’s Q900 behaved rather differently in my room. She escaped those confines laterally and in the front whilst in trade not extending as deeply back. This basic geometry was more of an oval sound cloud hovering around the speakers than a bigger but squarish box behind them.