The KEF R300 vs KEF R3: Review and full comparison

Bookshelf speakers are pretty common you would say. These were the first standards of loudspeakers in the market available for consumer usage. Companies like JBL, Bose, Sony have always dominated the market, shadowing other brands. KEF is such a brand that you might not have heard of much, but it is sure to turn some heads when you experience them firsthand.

KEF is a British company that has been making hi-fi speakers since the 60s and is still going at it. With the modern era, KEF has turned its focus on wireless speakers, but that does not mean they stopped producing passive speakers. Ergo, the KEF R300 and R3; two hefty, expensive, yet sleek looking with outstanding audio quality that does not go wrong in any way.

These speakers have been in the game for a while now and they are ridiculously expensive. Starting from $1,799, KEF speakers are what is known in the audio community as luxury speakers. But, luxury is not all that these speakers specialize in. Place them in a room or on stand mounts, put on your favorite music, and experience true bliss.

The speakers in the topic; KEF R300 and KEF R3 are both passive speakers so the requirement of an amplifier is a must. You might be wondering, you are already going to pay a premium for the speakers themselves, and now an amplifier too?

Well, amplifiers can be a hassle to some but even if you are not a true audiophile, you are sure to enjoy the customizations an amplifier allows. It lets you choose how much power your speakers are getting and adjusts the audio accordingly giving clear audio and pristine performance. Not to mention, the speakers themselves are a charm and enhance the audio even more.

Bookshelf speakers have long since been the ideal choice for home theatre setups for their looks which goes beautifully with your furniture, shelves, or desktop. Their performance is unwavering and most importantly, if a unit is damaged, the whole system does not need to be replaced.

KEF, dominating the premium price point in speakers with their state of the art audio transmission technology, not only did they integrate excellent performance but also did not compromise on the looks category as well. With matt finishes, attractive colors, curvy or sharp edges that fit perfectly with any room, the KEF does everything.

When you buy speakers, most of the time you spend looking at it rather than listening to it. And that is an aspect KEF noticed and worked on. So in short, you are getting the quality performance right on the money, tuning capabilities with the passive option of the speaker, and last but not least, sleek, minimalistic design with simple colors that screams premium.

When the KEF R3 and R300 speakers were announced, both were at war for the best speakers position. Both of them possess no tradeoffs in the looks department and they are great performers if you can find the room. There has not been one single user who has left disappointed by these speakers and the looks alone say that.

Comparisons Table: KEF R300 vs. KEF R3

 KEF R300KEF R3
Dimensions
(Height x Width x Depth)
24 x 18 x 18 inches13.59 x 8.39 x 17 inches
Product Weight26.4 lbs29.8 lbs
Driver TypeUni-Q ArrayUni-Q Array
Sensitivity88 dB87 dB
Impedance8 Ohms8 Ohms
Maximum Output 110 dB110 dB
Recommended Amplifier Power25 - 120 Watts15 - 180 Watts
Frequency Response50 Hz - 28 kHz (±3 dB)52 Hz - 28 kHz (±3 dB)
Crossover Frequencies500 Hz, 2.8 kHz400 Hz, 2.9 kHz
Colors/FinishesGloss Black, Gloss WhiteBlack Gloss, White Gloss, Walnut
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

What is the KEF R300? An Overview:

The KEF R300 bookshelf speakers, to describe them in one word, a total badass. This speaker is one of many from the R series of KEF which features other small bookshelf speakers including the R300. They are not the biggest of speakers but definitely not the smallest either.

Even if they are not designed for home theatres or professional use, they seem to do those jobs pretty well. In fact, you might argue, they work better in whatever use you put them into. The KEF R300 is a passive 3-way bookshelf speaker that excels in performance which is noticeable even to the blind eye.

When it comes to the looks department, the KEF R300 is sure to take the cake for the most minimalistic looking design with no gimmicks that might ruin its reputation. It comes in three colors, white, black, and wooden. These colors are also available for many other speakers as well but what makes it special is its matte finish. It is like the Apple of bookshelf speakers.

Aside from the aesthetics, the KEF R300 also specializes in performance and quality. You will be paying a significant amount for these speakers, so you are sure to get some excellent audio out of it. When in action, this speaker produces clean unfiltered audio which sounds close to the unmixed sound you might hear in live concerts. The audio is neither over-amplified nor unenhanced, it is just perfect.

In terms of technicalities, the KEF R300 is a 3-way passive speaker so it has three speaker drivers within the unit. It includes a 6.5” Aluminium woofer for the low frequencies, a Uni-Q concentric 5” Magnesium Aluminium midrange driver or super tweeter which handles the mid-level frequencies along with a 1” Aluminium Dome Tweeter for the higher frequency ranges.

The technicalities of the speaker show how compact the design is compared to the standard bookshelf speakers. Moreover, there is a term, ‘Uni-Q concentric’ which might peak your interests. This is a technology unique to KEF speakers which have been featured in several of their products.

The Uni-Q is a driver that specializes in stereo imaging. It cuts the gaps in the resonance of the audio producing strong and accurate audio. You might have heard of sounds that let you see. That is the definition of true audio where you can already imagine the scenario or a vision just by hearing the sound and that is the focus of the Uni-Q driver.

Typical audio systems may sound good and can do the job but they do not always get the right tone. As for the KEF R300, this speaker does the job alright and is damn good at it. Additionally, the KEF R300 can also be the ideal choice for those who want to practice their guitar sessions. With pure and perfect treble and no aggressiveness in audio, the KEF R300 is the right for the job.

Most bookshelf speakers struggle with the high range frequencies where most of the vocals, dialogues, or voices exist. The sound might be too low, or when they try to improve it, the audio gets distorted and you will hear a screeching sound coming from the speakers which can be annoying.

When it comes to the KEF R300, the clarity of the voices is pristine, there is nothing extra except for just pure, raw, and loud vocals. You might be hearing Beethoven or Coldplay and all the individual parts of the music will be clearly distinguishable and the audio, almost palpable. This speaker is not the largest but when placed in a room, it does the job right and that is what KEF’s slogan signifies, ‘A concert in your house without the crowd.’

Points for Praise:

  • Premium quality and astounding audio performance.
  • Has strong and quality connectors on the back for amplifier connection.
  • Clear unfiltered audio ideal for music studios or home theatres.
  • 3-way speaker, which means three drivers for three separate levels of frequencies.
  • Compact design which can go anywhere in your house.
  • Elegant design and premium color finishes that do not compromise on aesthetics.

Points for Improvement:

  • A little too expensive for many individuals and certainly not on the standard consumer level.
  • It is a passive speaker so even after you pay a hefty amount on the loudspeakers, you will still have to look for an amplifier.
  • The bass is a little weak and could do a little adjustment.

Why should you buy the KEF R300?

There is no reason for you to not buy the KEF R300. If you look at this product from all the different angles and aspects, it is simply the best bookshelf speaker that does not overdo or compromises in any category. It is just perfect and is ideal for any and all usage, given you have a compatible amplifier to go with them.

Looks, this speaker has got it; performance, phenomenal, and compatibility, any. This speaker has got everything and more. It is the perfect product for any audiophile and the best equipment for your home studio, home theatre, or even music studios as well.

The KEF R300 starts at $1,799.99; a pretty high price point and it is justified when you get to experience it. So these speakers are not for everyone, sure if you can save up the money, they are worth every penny. But, for regular consumers, these speakers are not only overkill, many will not appreciate its beauty and genius.

What is the KEF R3? An Overview:

What is KEF R3 you ask? In the speaker world, some might call this as an overpriced speaker while others see it as an investment. The KEF R3 has been in the speaker game for a while now and stands strong against all the competitions out there. It commands a high price point and yet audiophiles save up and make the financial decision of buying this product. Why? Read on.

First and foremost, the looks. You have to admit when you are looking for a speaker, you see the looks and that is what pulls you to the product. The KEF R3 is one of those speakers that will definitely turn your head and attract some customers. Its boxy look and sleek design that is not too aggressive and promotes elegance which makes it premium.

The minimalistic design of this product is not the only thing that screams luxury for the R3s. Its performance is as great as its price. Aside from the looks, the KEF R3 features crisp and clear audio which when seen graphically, will look like a flat curve. This means that unlike traditional speakers, the R3s transmit unmixed audio which is almost raw and can go with any room.

Moreover, the KEF R3 is a passive 3-way speaker which is not a bookshelf speaker but rather a stand-mount speaker. This means they are not recommended to be placed on bookshelves but rather on a stand-mount for the best experience. The passive ability, of course, calls for an external amplifier which can be a hassle to some.

The R3, being a 3-way speaker means it composes of 3 speaker drivers hidden inside the unit. The drivers include a 6.5” woofer or bass driver for the low frequencies and a 5” mid-range driver or super tweeter for the mid-level frequencies along with a 1” Aluminium dome tweeter with Uni-Q array which is unique to the KEF R-series and produces precise stereo imaging.

The unique feature of this speaker is that when you open up the front panel, you will see the mid-range driver is placed within the tweeter itself. This is done so that both these drives are aligned and that they transmit the audio in the same space. With this feature, the R3s take a step ahead of most speakers and also, deliver clean audio.

Aside from that, these speakers are ideal for home theatre setups as you can place them anywhere in your house and at an elevated position for its stand-mount. Moreover, if you play a guitar or piano or even the music you listen to is classic, the audio from these speakers will be unfiltered so much so that you can hear every note and every sound as clear as day.

With outstanding performance, premium looks, and again, pristine audio quality, along with the integration of the Uni-Q technology, the KEF R3 truly stands atop all the speakers, bookshelf, and stand-mount speakers alike. It does have a huge price tag stapled on top but to a true audiophile, an audio engineer, or a music producer the raw audio is what matters and the price is only a bridge that needs to be crossed.

Points for Praise:

  • Sleek looks and minimalistic design is attractive to many customers.
  • Outstanding performance for money with no distortions in audio quality.
  • The bass is deeper and more impactful.
  • Ideal for musical instrument practices and for any genre of music.
  • 3-way speaker, which means three drivers for three separate levels of frequencies.
  • Raw audio ideal for audio engineers and music producers to work on.

Points for Improvement:

  • The details are a little too low for the sound.
  • The audio quality may be too dull for some.
  • The price is a little too high.
  • Cannot be placed everywhere.

Why should you buy the KEF R3?

The reason you would want to buy the KEF R3 is simple; it will make you happy when plugged in and playing. The R3s have no compromises and that is the best part of these speakers. You can place them in any position in your house and they are sure to put a smile on your face when you put on some music or literally anything that you want to hear.

Starting at $1,999.99; this price point is pretty sure to be rejected by many consumers almost immediately. Most people will only look at it as a showpiece at stores without even trying it and that is fair for regulars. However, if you are an audiophile looking for the right quality that gives you the chills down your spine, the R3s are the right pick for you. Just play the demos and you can see for yourself.

The audio quality, the crisp trebles, and the impactful bass will keep you hooked to the music. The looks of the R3s put the cherry on top. With three different finishes, white, black, and wooden, they are sure to fit right into your house’s aesthetics and also adds to the elegance.

The Difference between the KEF R300 and KEF R3 Bookshelf Loudspeakers:

The difference between the R300 and the R3s should be clear by now. Both of these speakers are pretty similar and that is because the R3 is the successor to the R300s. That means anything the R300 can do, the R3 can do it better and more. Of course, the general difference would be the $200 price difference and that is fulfilled by the features the R3 has.

The R300 lacked in the bass; it was not heavy or significant enough to be noticed despite the large woofer unit. On the contrary, the R3s improved on this significantly by increasing the size of the woofer driver as well as adding more depth to it so you can feel the music on your fingertips.

When looking at the unfiltered audio perspective, the R3s take the cake again with their high end, drivers. Their placement also adds to the quality of the sound and the loudness of the vocals which is important when watching movies or even listening to classical music. On the other hand, the R300s in comparison will disappoint you.

In terms of compatibility, the R300s are best for its size and mobility since they are not stand-mounted, unlike the R3s which comes with a stand-mount. This also affects the looks of the speakers as you cannot place the R3s in any place you want.

Moreover, the R300s are compatible with more amplifiers than the R3s, and since both of these speakers are passive, they need an amplifier to power the audio. Furthermore, the R300s have more dull audio than the R3s and when compared, the difference is prominent even to the untrained ears.

Pleasant Reading: Focal Aria 936 VS 948: Comparative Review

Final Verdict:

Both of these speakers are phenomenal in terms of performance, looks, quality, and build. But, one exceeds the other in generations. The R3s may be advanced than the R300s and also costs $200 more, the ultimate choice relies on what you want to listen to.

Since you are reading about these speakers, money is not an issue for you, and therefore, all that matters to you is performance. The differences are laid down but ultimately, the first-hand performance experience will aid you in your choice. Sure, the technicalities will also give you an idea as to which is better but you can also play a demo and feel the music instead.

Related Articles:

Placement guideline for speakers 

Difference between KEF two model q150 and q350

Categories Speaker