Important Specs Overview And Comparison Table
|Speaker Type||passive, 2-way, ported||(<--same )||(<--same )|
|Continuous Power Handling||39 W*||45 W||60 W|
|Peak Power Handling||130 W||150 W||200 W|
|Impedance||8 ohms||8 ohms||8 ohms|
|Response Range||58 - 28k Hz||48 - 28k Hz||44 - 28k Hz|
|Max Volume||110 dB||111 dB||113 dB|
|Woofer Size||5.25 in||6.5 in||8 in|
|Unit Dimensions (w x d x h)||7 x 11 x 34.5 in||8 x 12 x 38.5 in||9.5 x 13 x 42 in|
|Unit Weight||32 lb||36.5 lb||45.5 lb|
|Warranty||5 years||(<--same )||(<--same )|
*When nominal/RMS power isn’t specified by manufacturer, we use an approximation of ~30% of the specified peak/dynamic power for comparison purposes.
Review And Discussion
KEF’s Q series is their entry level home theater lineup that was built off their long standing and still very popular Q100 bookshelf speaker. The Q series added a tower speaker to the lineup that comes in three different sizes, the Q550, Q750, and Q950. Each larger speaker has an incremental increase in power and output, but the design is otherwise the same, so we’ve decided to review all three in one article herein.
The tower speakers have the same interesting technology that the popular Q bookshelf speakers have: a single coaxial midrange driver with the tweeter embedded within the woofer, then an additional subwoofer with two same sized passive radiators.
KEF calls their Q towers “two and a half way” speakers and we honestly don’t know what that means – an independent subwoofer driver would seem to have its own crossover, yet KEF only specifies a single crossover threshold at around ~2500 Hz, where the tweeter would take over, which is a fairly standard 2-way design. And this is exactly what they specify on their Q bookshelf speakers that only have this coaxial driver and not the subwoofers. Given all that, as well as the marginally low response floors, these are probably mere 2-way speakers in effect.
The power specs are fairly modest for tower speakers – the larger 950s would probably suffice in a full sized home theater setting but the smaller two maybe not so much. We suspect these are really designed to work in tandem with surround bookshelfs.
The bass will probably be lacking, compared to other 3-way tower speakers at least, without a subwoofer – 2-way speakers will generally underperform in that regard because they’re just not really designed to pump out full bass. The Q series does not contain any subwoofers but KEF does make several of them, any of which would work just fine with pretty much any receiver.
The towers have the same minimalist look as the bookshelfs do. Maybe not quite so empty since the cabinet has to fit 3 additional cones. They definitely have a slick modern look. The stands kind of look like insect appendages but whatever.
Size and weight wise these run pretty middle of the road for towers and shouldn’t be too hard to move and place. KEF offers a 5 year warranty on all it’s passive speakers which is decent and fairly standard for mid to higher end speakers.
Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
We’ll be honest: as nice as these look and may sound, we simply cannot wrap our heads around paying so much for a marginally powered 2-way tower speaker that doesn’t at least have a second crossover dedicated to a built in subwoofer. If you really like the sound and don’t mind paying a premium, KEF does make excellent speakers, but considering how much more you can get from competitors with the same amount of cash, we just can’t currently justify it. To give you an idea, Definitive Technology’s Bipolar towers have powered subwoofers built in, a 2-way mid/high arrangement with multiple radiators, and multiples more power handling all for the same price range.
The Q tower speakers are still relatively new and we expect they’ll become a lot cheaper in the not too distant future, so they might be worth holding out on. You might also try snagging an older legacy version of any of these (The Q500, Q700, or Q900 respectively) at a discount if you can find it.
Our recommendation: take that cash and buy a nice receiver and some solid bookshelfs with a subwoofer, or a pair of 3 way tower speakers. Check out the links below for some such alternative recommendations.