Hifi disaster, rescued by KEF (part ii)

Just to conclude this, I disassembled the speaker with the failed HF driver unit, disconnected the HF drive unit from the crossover unit, and measured the resistance through the suspect HF drive unit coil, which proved to be open circuit – ie, dead. So I went ahead and ordered a matched pair of replacement HF drive units from KEF, for £78 delivered the next day.

The units dutifully turned up the next day, along with detailed instructions on how to replace them. In total it required about an hour, mostly because it involved some soldering of connections inside the speaker, which although straight-forward, was a bit physically awkward.

And the good news is that the speakers are now sounding as good as new again.

However, when that HF unit initially failed, I had started thinking of replacing my speakers with a 5.1 speaker set. And the thought of moving to a surround sound set-up has stuck with me, to the point where I started investigating how to create a 5.1 system using my KEF Reference 101/2s as my L+R front speakers.

After some good advice from the avforums website, and a chat with the historic speaker experts at KEF, I was advised to try to find another pair of Reference 101/2s for my rear speakers and a Reference 100c, or 90c for the centre (dialogue) speaker.

By sheer fluke, I managed to find a pair of 101/2s up for sale locally (the only ones I’ve seen so far) and managed to get them for £90 – which seemed a good price. I also found a KEF Reference 90c centre speaker on ebay for £65 delivered. I now need to decide on my AV receiver and a HiFi rack (these look nice!), sort out some wall brackets, and ultimately, whether I need a subwoofer or not. If I do, then I hear very good reports about these ones.

So far, between repairs and purchases, the speakers for my fledgling surround system have cost me £235. Admittedly they are not brand-new, or modern “lifestyle” designs, but they are all top quality, full-range speakers that would have cost nearly £1500 when new.

It’s not how I’d originally expected this to work out, but it is proving exceptionally cost-effective!

4 thoughts on “Hifi disaster, rescued by KEF (part ii)

  1. How do you get in touch with the ‘historic speaker experts’ at KEF? I’d really like to find out more about their historic speakers, especially the difference between models (Model 90C, 100C, 60S, 70S) and which models go well together. Their museum pages have big gaps, and I didn’t get a reply from customer care.

    • In my case I called up the normal support number, and just explained that I had a set of their 101/2’s and wanted to understand what I could match them to from their current range to build up a 5.1 surround system – and the lady on the phone said she’d put me through to their historic speaker expert.

      Perhaps she was joking, but the chap I was put through to certainly knew his stuff, and was happy to chat to me about my options, which as you know, didn’t recommend their current speakers for my situation.

      Here’s KEF’s UK contact information:

      GP Acoustics (UK) Ltd.
      Eccleston Road, Tovil,
      Maidstone, Kent, ME15 6QP
      Telephone: +44 1622 672 261

      Hope that helps.

      ps: If it helps, the 90c sounds (to me) almost identical to my 101/2’s – which of course, was what I was looking for.

    • Hi Dan,
      No, not yet – everything got put on hold for a while.
      I’m now getting the equipment in place for the 5.1 setup, which will determine which rack I purchase. The short term plan is a Yamaha 667 receiver with a pair of Audiolab 8000’s providing power amplification. Longer term I’ll swap out the Audiolab’s for a decent multichannel power amplifier.
      And then I have the sources; Squeezebox Classic, Playstation 3 & VHS player now, with Freeview+, SkyHD and YouView just around the corner?
      I still very much like the look of the Blok STAX 400/500, but ultimately that will be SWMBO’ds decision!

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