Driving KEF Q350 Speakers with ZP120.

  • 23 December 2021
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I have a ZP120 which I’d like to use with a turntable and wired KEF Q350 speakers.  I believe the ZP120 will put out 55 watts per channel max.  The KEF’s have a sensitivity of 87 dB and “amplifier requirements” listed at 15-120 watts.  However, when discussing this with KEF support, they recommended that I have an amp closer to 80 watts per channel.  I’m just wondering if anybody has either used their ZP120 with the Q350’s or has any input regarding this.  Seems like the ZP120 would be fine, based on the specs of both.  

Thanks


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My unit works fine with the Q100, and I think the Q350 will be fine, but you will have to run the amp at higher than 50% on the volume control, which isn't a problem as long as the 120 is in a well ventilated space.

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The actual sound pressure levels you’ll get from a 55 and 80 watt amp won’t be much different, what the 80 would gain you is more headroom for transients and less chance of distortion from over-driving the amp.

Best bet since you own the ZP-120 is give it a try, if you don’t have the turntable yet feed it from any line level player and see how it sounds to your ears.

 

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Thank you both for the feedback. I’ll give it a try. 

less chance of distortion from over-driving the amp.

 

 

Note here that the 120 is designed to not distort at high levels on the volume slider - it may shut off if it is not in a well ventilated space, but it will not distort as many HiFi amps may.

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So, I’ve set my system up and my initial thoughts are that the audio quality from the Kef’s isn’t as good as I’d expect from them. I know that subjective and difficult for anybody else to comment on. But, if I stream music from this turntable to a newer Sonos Connect which is connected to a Sonance 600W amp driving 12 Martin Logan ceiling speakers, and the sound is better than what I’m getting from the Kef’s.   This is ironic, since the purpose of hard wiring the Kef’s was to provide a better listening experience than the ceiling speaker setup. 
 

contacted Sonos, and was told that there also shouldn’t be a problem with power from the zp120. I guess I should probably start playing around with different sources to listen to from the Kef’s. Seemed, at a first try, that playing a Jack Johnson CD which I’ve ripped in Apple Lossless to my NAS drive, sounded good. The Kef’s are also connected via new GearIT 12 AWG copper speaker wire. A little perplexing and disappointing so far. Didn’t think I’d need to put much effort into this project. :)

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You might be able to answer the power issue by listening at lower than normal volume levels, if it sounds better low than high you may be running low.

Did you go through the ZP and zero out all the music controls so there is nothing left over from an older setup?

 

 if I stream music from this turntable to a newer Sonos Connect which is connected to a Sonance 600W amp driving 12 Martin Logan ceiling speakers, and the sound is better than what I’m getting from the Kef’s.   This is ironic

It isn't ironic, but only to be expected seeing how different the two set ups are, that they are bound to sound very different from each other, and then which one sounds better to you will be a personal preference, largely based on what sound you are accustomed to listening to. Why not just stay with what you think is the better sound?

If you must change, you could try to play around with the Q350 placement - they are biased towards delivering more bass than the more accurate Q100s and pulling them out more into the room may help correct that, as may playing around with the bass slider on the EQ.

Once that is done, keep listening to them and after a couple of months of getting accustomed to how they sound, do another comparison with the ceiling speakers, when your preference may well have changed. This is similar to what is claimed as the burn in effect, when it really is just the brain getting used to the different sound and starting to like it.

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Thanks again to both of you. EQ is set to flat and I have been playing around with speaker placement. I’m happier with the sound. I appreciate all the comments. 

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