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As audio enthusiasts, I think sometimes we get convinced that in order for something to sound any good it has to look like it was cobbled together in some guy's garage with plywood and Super Glue. Well, at the risk of being an unusual place to start an ad for a pair of speakers, these XQ5s, made in Europe by the way, are DROP... DEAD... GORGEOUS... And I don't know about you guys, but as vinyl has come storming back over the last couple years, I've seen a decided trend in audio systems coming out of the back room and becoming more of a focal point again. Short of maybe arch traditional decor then, it's hard to imagine an environment where these wouldn't fit right in and look amazing. If you're worn out on piano black or oak/cherry/walnut/maple veneer, they're a metallic graphite lacquer automotive-type painted finish and pretty much the absolute opposite of your typical slab-sided box..., raked back, with gentle curves here, there, and everywhere. The XQ5s just sort of radiate an understated sophistication. Even the adjustable feet, grille bezel, and binding posts are all stylized in a way consistent with the retro modern vibe, (not to mention the polished supertweeter)...
Of course all that wouldn't mean a thing if they didn't sound equally captivating. Fortunately the speaker benefits from ~40 years of KEF's commitment to and continuous development of the Uni-Q coincident driver. Along with the addition of the supertweeter, that reaches well into the ultrasonic range, it yields an open, airy, full-range speaker capable of performing a world-class disappearing act. They're a really benign load, with a usefully high 90dB sensitivity, and a balance that's perfectly suited for a great tube amp. In his review for The Absolute Sound, reviewer Jim Hannon commented:
"To get right to the point, the KEF XQ5s have the broadest and deepest soundstaging of any full-range, dynamic speaker I have heard under $3K, approaching the performance of far more expensive speaker systems. While most loudspeakers around this price can produce credible if somewhat shallow soundstages, with lateral imaging that extends between—but not beyond—the speakers, the KEF XQ5s and a few others can produce huge soundstages with excellent depth and width. You can close your eyes and picture the performers arrayed across an almost rectangular stage. Images float nicely in space, which is a lot of fun on all kinds of music. If soundstaging is at the top of your priority list, and you don’t have the scratch for expensive omnidirectionals, these speakers may be just the ticket. Driver coherence is another of the XQ5’s many strengths, an area where they came close to the performance of my reference electrostatics, except for an occasional touch of midbass ripeness. The XQ5s also scored well on several other important sonic criteria such as image focus, transient quickness throughout the entire range, and soaring highs."
System type: Four-way, floor standing
Enclosure type: Reflex
Dimensions (H x W x D): 1055 x 231 x 311mm (41.5 x 9 x 12.2 inches)
Weight: 24.3kg (53.3 lbs)
Nominal impedance: 8 ohms (3.2 min.)
Amplifier requirements: 15-150W
Frequency response: 45Hz to 55kHz +/-3.0dB
Sensitivity: 90dB at 1m for 2.83V
Maximum output: 112dB
Drive Units: 2 x B160 Bass unit (SP1395), B160 Uni-Q (SP1485) [NT19 tweeter (SP1487)], NT19 Hypertweeter (SP1476)
I do not have the original factory cartons, so preference is for a local sale or am willing to meet halfway to deliver within a reasonable radius of Columbus, OH. However, they're not too prohibitively large/heavy and I can robustly double box for safe shipping within the U.S., at buyer's expense (check my seller feedback both here and on Audiogon (user = Markraile). I take immense care and pride in packing VERY thoroughly to prevent problems). Asking $1200 + shipping/PayPal (if applicable). I will also accept a check, with sufficient time to clear...
This ad was originally posted on US Audio Mart.