Considering KEF R3s, QUAD S-5s, Wharfedale Lintons

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steven Henry, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Looking to upgrade the weakest link in my modest yet fairly solid system: speakers. I have a budget of $2k, and here’s the deal:

    Running a Marantz PM6006 with a Pioneer PLX-1000 table, Shiit Mani preamp, and AT 440MLB cart through a pair of Blueroom Minipods + Yamaha sub. Not terrible speakers at all, but time for an upgrade after 18 years. Listening space is about 15x25 with fairly high ceilings, wood paneling, wood floors, area rugs.

    Considering:
    • KEF R3
    • Wharfedale Linton Heritage
    • QUAD S-5
    • Monitor Audio Silver 200

    I’d appreciate a little input from the pros here - particularly anyone having some familiarity with the Quad S-5s. Doesn’t seem to be as much literature out there on those as there is on the R3s, MAs, and Lintons.

    I was able to demo the Lintons and some KEF LS50s running on a Marantz PM6006, (same as mine). Both sounded great, actually had a hard time deciding which I preferred. My impression was that the KEFs had better definition and were perhaps reporting the music more accurately, but the Lintons had a certain... character I could relate to. Of course the LS50s aren’t the R3s, but I imagine KEFs in this price range carry some of the same characteristics.

    Haven’t heard any MA speakers, but I do like their looks (not terribly interested in blah-looking speakers) and they seem well-regarded.

    Finally, the Quad S-5s.
    I’ve read enough about these sexy-looking beasts to pique my interest, but not enough to have any sense of how they stack up against the MAs, Lintons and R3s.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. unclefred

    unclefred Coastie with the Moastie

    Location:
    Oregon Coast
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  3. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, I’ve given this one some consideration as well. Certainly on my longer short list, I wouldn’t rule something from the EVO line out.
    Is this a shot from your own setup? Any personal experience to share?
     
  4. Vibrolux_Reverb

    Vibrolux_Reverb Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    I recently auditioned R3s and found them to be underwhelming. I went with Ascend Sierra 2EX instead and love them.

    Lintons are great speakers as well. I would say they are easy to listen to and relaxing. The Sierra 2 EX are as well, but with a little more detail. The R3 were nice, but just not on the same level and slightly fatiguing.

    If your room is fairly sized I would be tempted to go lintons. If not terribly big maybe the Sierra 2EX. That's just me though, and you'll get many more answers.
     
  5. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    I too found the R3s underwhelming despite being a fan of LS50s. The top end was bright, metallic and sibilant. And I didn't feel the bass was much of an improvement over the LS50s.

    Like most speakers of similar design, the Lintons will require plenty of breathing room for mitigating bass boom and midrange congestion.

    Of the speakers on your list, I'd take a gamble on the Quad S-5s even though I haven't heard them. MAs have nice cabinets but I feel the performance doesn't quite match the finish quality when it comes to the Silver series, though the same can be said for the R3s. I bet the Quads will have the most refinement of those on your list.

    Other speakers I think worth considering are the aforementioned Ascend Acoustics, the $1400 DIY Seas A26 kit from Madisound, the CSS P215, and the Rega RX5s currently on closeout.

    I've demoed the Regas and they're a good buy at their current price. I don't agree with the What Hi-Fi review on these. They were very balanced and musical in my audition, driven by a Rega Elex-R.

    https://www.css-audio.com/online-store/CSS-Model-P215-Fully-Finished-Pair-p106569149

    Seas A26 10" 2-way Kit Pair (based on the classic A25)

    REGA RX5 Floorstanding Speakers (Cherry, Black Ash): NEW-In-Box; Full Warranty; 35% Off | Full-Range | Audiogon
     
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  6. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I'd have to disagree, for what it's worth. I upgraded to the R3s from the LS50s and think they add a whole new level of clarity and quite a lot more bass. Definitely a better speaker, in my view. That said, the LS50s are probably a better VALUE. The R3s are about twice as expensive but not 100% better. Still, I like both speakers very much. I was going to sell the LS50s but ended up using them in a secondary system in the master bedroom. They sound great there, but the R3s are in the main downstairs system. I've noticed that they respond to very careful placement. If anyone is finding the R3s disappointing, try adjusting their positioning. Although KEF seems to not recommend toe-in in the case of the R3s, in my room, a VERY slight toe-in made a very noticeable positive difference.
     
  7. WapatoWolf

    WapatoWolf Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    My brother had Evo T1 towers. Recently bought Lintons (after i did!). He has a decent sized living room & he loves the Lintons, as do i. I’ve read in a review that KEF LS50’s plays “the sounds well, Lintons play the songs well”.

    Wharfedale Linton Heritage loudspeaker Page 2
     
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  8. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    They're certainly an upgrade in clarity but I found the R3 drivers had a metallic overtone that I didn't detect in the LS50s. Admittedly though, it's been a good while since I owned the latter and had different ancillaries at the time. I guess I was just expecting more from the R3s considering how much I enjoyed the LS50s. I must say the R3s are a cool looking speaker and I love the grill design.
     
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  9. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    I listened to the MA Silvers and KEF's and I would second the Sierra 2-EX and you'd have a few hundred left over for music!
     
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  10. maglorine

    maglorine Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fairport,NY
    I have the Lintons. You've got a big room, bigger than mine by a fair bit. They do sound better positioned out into the room as noted. Mine are 48" from the front wall. Soundstaging is better there. Bass is going to be room/gear dependent. I'm not disagreeing with Helom but I don't have any boom, even when I move them closer to the front wall in my room, with my accompanying gear.

    I have no doubt they'd fill a room of that size quite nicely and they are more dynamic than I initially expected.
     
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  11. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    This may be a thing depending on the kind of music one listens to. I listen almost exclusively to classical and I want the recording to sound like the recording. I think the KEF speakers do that very, very well. Maybe the Wharfedales do "songs" better. Can't say. I've never heard a Wharfedale speaker of any kind, but I love the KEFs.
     
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  12. WapatoWolf

    WapatoWolf Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    lol. My brother complete opposite (cave man). I would trust your instincts & go w/KEF. I should have added i have not heard the LS50’s myself but heard great things.
     
  13. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    I've owned both the R3 and the LS50. It took a while for me to realize with the R3 I was listening to the speaker, not the music. Maybe I didn't spend enough time and effort positioning the R3s.
    I'd rather live with the LS50.
     
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  14. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    That may be true (that you didn't spend enough time positioning the R3s). I find that the speakers are nowhere to be found and the music is dancing before my eyes--but the LS50s do that pretty well, too. :)

    BUT--Here's one thing to consider, aside from the music, the KEFs are VASTLY better-looking speakers. So there's that. Forgive me. I'm an artist. But, seriously, I think looks should be at least part of the decision.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
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  15. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    an excellent speaker in this class that continues to sell well without discount are the PSB Imagine T.
    A very high quality speaker with excellent coherence, imaging, build quality and dynamics. Neutral and transparent, they sound great with all types of music. Give em a listen if you can, the sound is what sells them.
     
  16. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    Just like sound preference, looks are subjective. I did not like the look of my R3s (walnut) at all with the grills off. I will say the faux suede grills are awesome.
     
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  17. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I have the piano black ones, not the walnut ones. Actually, I like them without the grills, but I keep the grills on for protection.
     
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  18. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    If you get them on sale the LS50's are an unbeatable deal.
     
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  19. CMT

    CMT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    That's true enough. As I said above, I think, the R3s are (in my opinion) significantly better speakers and worth the money, but the LS50s are a better value. I got mine for $999, but I've seen them for $899 and even open box for $799--worth jumping on.
     
  20. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    The Sierra 2EXs look great; judging from the feedback and reviews I’ve read I’d definitely consider them... if I could find a pair for sale with a decent return policy.
    (Or even just for sale...)

    Update: I see that Ascend sells factory-direct, and they do have a 30-day guarantee. May have to pull the trigger on these, they look/sound awfully tempting.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
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  21. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for this, Helom - really helpful.

    I’ve read mixed reviews about the Regas, interesting to hear your take. I have a music buddy who has a pair (not sure of the exact model) and seems to like them. This makes me want to ask him for a few more details on his experience with them. I do like the unique design of their towers.

    Found a pair of open box Quad S-5s for $1599, which seems like a great deal considering they originally retailed over $3k. New they’ve been reduced to $1999, probably still a good deal if the hype is halfway accurate.

    All of a sudden looking harder at Ascend, thanks for echoing Vibrolux here - a consensus always gets my attention. Will check your other links out as well.
     
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  22. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Yes, that was pretty much my experience when I experienced them side by side at Hawthorne.
     
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  23. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Now you’re talkin’! : )
     
  24. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Great feedback, thanks. Yes, the room is large and part of an even larger open space layout. So there would be plenty of room for Lintons to breathe. Seriously considering them.
     
  25. Steven Henry

    Steven Henry Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Nice. I’ve bumped into PSB speakers here and there but don’t know much about them. Will investigate, thanks.
     

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