Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kef KHT 2005.3 with Onkyo TX SR-608

After wanting surround sound for a long time I finally took the plunge with an Onkyo TX SR-608 AV receiver and a KEF KHT 2005.3 speaker package. I originally wanted the Q Acoustics 2000 gloss black cinema pack with speaker brackets, but after speaking to the good people at Home Cinema Centre Edinburgh I found out there were supply difficulties at Q Acoustics and the KEFs would be at the very least equivalent and probably much better.

I wanted wall mounted speakers so my son could not disturb or knock them onto himself when (later) toddling about.

This blog details my experience of the speakers and the setup so that it can be shared with others in similar situations and also so I remember!

My TV is mounted on a long wall above our fireplace and as it was undesirable to have the centre speaker between the TV and fire surround so I was forced to position it above the TV. I angled it down toward the listening area. The left and right speakers have been mounted at the same centre height as the TV which itself is centred about 2 meters from the ground, but equal distance from the TV about 1m away from the centre. The TV is directly in front of the listening/viewing area. The rear speakers were slightly more tricky as they cannot be positioned equidistant from the listening area, but mounted on the side walls as close to the back wall as possible and at the same height as the front speakers.

Everything was finally wired up on Christmas day and all I can say is Wow! This setup is far better than the Rega Brio/Q Acoustic 1010i setup it replaced and I reckon better than the Rega Brio/Tannoy MX3 combo before that.

I first ran the Audyssey 2EQ speaker calibration with a tripod mounted mic, took about 20 minutes and I had to position the mic in 3 different locations. I opted for left of sofa; right of sofa and then a standing position about a meter in front of the sofa for Xbox purposes. I accepted everything it said and I put Star Trek (Blu Ray) on and jumped to the scene where the star ships jump to warp speed toward Vulcan. A nice test of the Kube 2 subwoofer this kit comes with. I also tested with the Christmas Doctor Who which conveniently has a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack from BBC One HD!

I have neighbours so my number one concern was balance of subwoofer level with volume of vocals from the centre speaker. After a few days I settled on the following options:

  • I turned the subwoofer crossover to maximum on the Kube 2 and set it to 80Hz on the Onkyo setup.
  • I overrode the Audyssey 2EQ determined speaker crossovers to 80Hz (as the KEFs use 80Hz crossovers).
  • I set the subwoofer level to -15dB (from -7dB) on the audio menu and then adjusted the volume dial on the Kube 2 to a level where the bass was there but neighbour friendly.
  • I adjusted the centre speaker level to 0dB (from -1dB).
  • Dynamic EQ: OFF
  • Dynamic Volume: OFF
  • For the moment I'm not using any of the THX settings as I found the voices clearer with unprocessed Dolby Digital (Doctor Who) and DTS (Star Trek) whilst keeping the bass and surround levels at a more reasonable level.
Very nice piece of kit and I am sure to update this blog with more settings as I tweak them. There are an awful lot to dial in...


JD Roberts said...

Great personal perspective in this detailed review. Have you seen any problems with 24 fps video sources? That's the only negative I've ever heard about the great 608 ;-)

JD Roberts
Home Theater Audio

Barry said...


I've played 1080/24p sources through my HTPC with no problems at all and more recently with my blu ray.

I recommend the amp!


Anonymous said...

Hi Barry

Just picked up your Blog following a search on the Kef 2005.3's. I'm just about to take delivery of a set of these and was interesed in your review, Really looking forward to setting them up and that first listen, just need to choose the right film? to give them a real work out! Now you have owned them for a while do you have any further observations on their performance etc. Cheers Ian

Barry said...

Hi Ian,

They are a fantastic set of speakers and I would thoroughly recommend them. They are exceptionally clear for speech and action. The eggs coordinate very well with the subwoofer. I watched the "Social Network" a few weeks back and the soundtrack sounded awesome.

My only complaint is using them for stereo music, they just don't give the right feel. It could be a lack of mid range, where the satellite speakers are too small enough to generate the response and the subwoofer is too meaty for the delicacy required. Though I did have a set of floor standing Tannoys and a Rega Brio for music beforehand which is a hard act to follow!