KEF is renowned for pushing speaker design boundaries with some of the most stylish speaker models on the market. The new KHT5005.2 is no exception and the elegant package joins the highly praised KHT (KEF Home Theatre) speaker range.
The tubular speaker design fits neatly into the home without taking over the living room, and the package is available in either matt sliver or high-gloss black finishes. The metal-cast cabinets can be table-top or wall mounted via the supplied bracketing. Optional floorstands are also available.
Several key improvements have been made over the original KHT5000 package, including new driver arrays to the satellites and centre for improved performance. KEF's patented Uni-Q driver technology (originally found in the more costly KHT6000 ACE speaker package) has also been incorporated, offering a more even frequency response and wider dispersion when listening off axis.
The HTB2 subwoofer is one of the most distinctive models we've seen, and furthermore it can be mounted vertically or horizontally, depending on your space considerations and preference. The funky styling incorporates a 10in driver and passive radiator, mounted front and back, respectively, and driven by the built-in 250W amplifier.
Controls are limited (KEF has assumed that integration adjustments will be carried out at the amplifier) and a three-way level, phase and auto power selector switches are all that's provided.
Wire the KEF speakers up to an amplifier and you're rewarded with a rich and involving performance that fills the room. Despite the satellite's metallic housing, there's no hint of any over brashness in the upper frequencies, and treble sounds are smoothly tempered.
Mid frequencies are well conveyed and have a richness that's easy on the ear without adding significant colourations.
Our only criticisms concern a bit of a roll off in the lower mid frequencies where the satellites and subwoofer cross over, which is particularly evident with dialogue and Gael García Bernal's voice lacks body through the centre speaker.
Bass effects are well handled by the subwoofer and the HTB2 sub delivers a bass line that's as tight as a drum during the Mexican wedding celebration sequences.
Making a killing
Musically, the KEFs put in a considerable performance, and the timing on The Killers' track For Reasons Unknown is impressively fast and energetic.
Some may baulk at the high price, but the revamped KEFs are fine example of what a good sub/sat speaker package can deliver. Styling and build quality are outstanding, and this speaker package looks set to be a design classic that impresses visually and sonically.