Kef X300a – You must be aware that the way we listen, share and discover music is constantly changing. Some stuck with CDs, some rekindled their love for vintage vinyl – but most of us download our music from the web in one way or another. We buy and download music from iTunes, stream directly from services like Spotify, Wimp or Soundcloud, and share our favorite songs with you on Facebook. In fact, for the youngest, YouTube is the most popular source of music for everyday life.
With the KEF X300A, you just plug it into your computer and hey, right away, you have a stereo! Their voices are also very good…
The problem with listening to music through a computer is the sound quality. Laptop built-in speakers sound terrible, and few PC speakers come close to anything that can be called high-fidelity sound.
X300a Wireless User Manual Gp Electronics (hk)
The need for a pair of real computer speakers with high fidelity quality suddenly became greater. This is also what KEF English has realized. They started their careers 50 years ago by building nearfield monitors for the BBC, and now they’ve put all that experience and knowledge into small digital speakers for a new generation of music and audio lovers.
The KEF X300A is a powered digital speaker. Each speaker has a D/A converter with USB port, an electronic crossover and two amplifiers driving 50 watts and 30 watts of bass/midrange and treble, respectively.
80 watts might not sound like a lot, but in this case it’s like having a double effect directly on a normal passive speaker, because the effect is a direct “shortcut” to the speaker driver, where it’s converted into heat via a copper wire meter.
This is one of the advantages of active speakers, where the manufacturer has complete control over the quality at every stage, ensuring that the amplifier and speaker driver are perfectly matched in terms of power, impedance and frequency response.
Kef X300a Powered Speakers Review
The X300A can be connected to a PC or Mac via a USB cable, and the built-in D/A converter handles music files up to 24-bit/96 kHz resolution. So you can listen to everything from MP3s to high-res master files, which is great news for us crazy sound lovers. For example, Dynaudio’s Xeo 3 wireless speakers can only handle resolutions up to 16-bit (CD quality).
The speakers feature KEF’s signature Uni-Q coaxial drivers, with the tweeter in the middle of the bass driver. The patent enables sound to originate from a single point, providing a highly precise and focused soundstage. The latest version of the Uni-Q driver is also found in similar models of the R-series and in the more expensive Blade speakers.
Installing the X300A is easy There are four cables for connection: a USB cable from the computer to the speaker, a USB cable to the other speaker, and the power cable to both speakers. It’s a couple of ropes to keep track of, but the upside is that everything works smoothly. The included USB cable is about 3 feet from your PC and about 6 feet between the speakers.
Thanks to the USB connection between the speakers, the sound is transmitted at lightning speed and synced in stereo. We didn’t notice any noise or “leakage” during testing, nor did we hear any of the stereo perspective shifts we’ve experienced with some wireless speakers. The X300A automatically turns off and on when you unplug the USB cable, and has rubber feet so they can sit directly on your desk.
Kolumny Aktywne Kef X300a Wireless
With all cables plugged in, the speakers install themselves using the USB interface and automatically appear as external speakers in the PC and Mac sound menus. You simply set the appropriate volume on the amplifier with the volume knob on the back, and then you can use the computer’s volume control to control the sound.
We, who grew up with large floor-standing speakers, thick cables, and a separate amplifier with a CD or record player on top, don’t expect any true high-fidelity sound from two small speakers and a laptop. But these KEF speakers are a great example of how good a computer stereo can sound. Located on either side of a computer screen, the X300A can turn an office into a mini-recording studio!
First impressions are that the speakers will deliver open, focused and highly detailed sound in classic KEF style. They offer some of the same feeling you get when you put a really good pair of headphones on your ears – the sound is thick and immersive, and the instruments can be placed in the soundscape with almost surgical precision.
You’ll soon realize that the X300A is an honest and neutral sounding medium, bringing out the tiny details that are usually lost in the hum and noise of standard PC speakers. That’s not quite comparable to cheap computer speakers like our trusty Logitech model — it’s closer to a couple of really good studio monitors. But while many studio monitors are a bit careful with the tops (to save your ears after a long mix), the small KEF’s treble packs a lot of punch and energy.
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KEF’s Uni-Q coaxial drivers did exactly what I expected, great for nearfield monitoring and delivering great holography even while sitting at a desk. Even at 2-3 feet, the loudspeaker depicts the stage with impressive depth-of-view – and with sharper detail than the usual two-way loudspeaker, with a distance of 4 between the tweeter and midrange for obvious reasons inches or more.
It’s not uncommon to hear interference and noise from the speaker channel when you’re sitting so close to the speakers, but with the X300A, you have to put your ear next to it to hear a shred of noise. The fan in my Macbook Pro sounds louder than the background noise of the X300A. Such low background noise also means you don’t have to play loudly to hear details clearly.
Another thing that stands out is the powerful and rhythmic bass. With incredibly deep and juicy bass, the X300A can reproduce even challenging drums and basses with stoic silence. Many portable speakers are a bit too small and reduce dynamics at the heaviest bass, but the KEF has full control. They don’t go too deep and say stop immediately at ~50 Hz. However, the bass quality is so good that it often gives a deeper impression.
The KEF X300A also doesn’t make a fuss in a larger room in any way. They managed to fill our approximately 270-square-foot test room with loud, clean sound. Having said that though, it’s important to note that this isn’t what we call a “decibel monster” and for high fidelity and home theater needs, we may prefer speakers with sound pressure, power resources, and deep bass. Tonal balance seems designed for life on the tabletop, not in the living room. There’s a switch on the back of the X300A to adjust the sound depending on the desk or standing position, but we didn’t hear any noticeable difference in sound.
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What we need is an output for connecting an active subwoofer. Also, the lack of a normal digital input (optical or coaxial) limits the types of devices you can connect. It’s a shame that more inputs would make the X300A a more attractive candidate for challenging high-fidelity settings.
It looks like KEF wants to distance the X300A from other hi-fi speakers. Maybe it’s strategic, because no doubt this is a very handy and affordable pair of speakers, and if you want to beat them in all areas, you’re going to need a good amp and passive R300 KEFs.
The KEF X300A is in many ways a revolutionary excellent computer speaker. Plug them in via USB and you’ll hear more detail and more life in your music files than you ever imagined! KEF speakers emit loud, clean, rhythmic and rich bass, and provide a very sharp and deep soundstage. They don’t do very well in the living room – connections and inputs limit that. It’s a bit of a fly in the ointment, but on the other hand, the X300A is primarily a pure hi-fi speaker for desktops, and KEF has undoubtedly succeeded in this regard. If you put them on either side of the screen, you’re likely to spend more time in front of the computer…
Dimensions (H x W x D) Without heatsink: 280 x 180 x 215 mm (11.0 x 7.1 x 8.5 in) With heatsink: 280 x 180 x 243 mm (11.0 x 7.1 x 9.6 in)
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