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dwordhouse's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jul 15 2007 - 5:49pm
KEF 104/2: Rebuild or Replace?

About 15 years ago I picked up a set of KEF 104/2s in rosewood with the KUBE 100 and had Berry at Bright Star make a nice set of sand filled stands for them. I must say they've been amazing and I've really enjoyed their sound. I've run them with many different rigs with many different amps including NAD 208 (a very "right" combo - very enjoyable and probably my favorite), Hafler 9300 Transnova (great bass but too analytical on top), the first Sunfire amp (just a complete mess with the KEFs), and a Carver Lightstar (very nice combo.) You can probably see the KEFs have been a constant for me even with changing electronics - they've just been that good to my ear.

However, in addition to the speakers getting older, the kids that didn't use to be on the scene lo those many moons ago are really pretty hard on things. The surrounds on the woofers have completely rotted away and the dust caps of the mid range drivers are all pushed in and their glue is letting loose. To top it off a binding post got sheared off when someone made the brilliant move of using them as a step to reach something above.

The local speaker repair shop can "recone" (re-surround) the drivers (KEF isn't much help given the age)for about $50 a driver. If you know these, that's $400. Figure another $200 for re-applying the dust caps and another $200 or so to repair/upgrade the binding posts with something nice from WBT or Cardas or something. So I'm looking around $800 or so to repair them but I'm skeptical they'll ever sound the way they should again - I just don't trust "reconing."

So here's the thrust of the matter: is it worth the money to try to rebuild these, or has speaker technology improved to the point that I'd be happy with something in the $1000-$1500/pair range? I've not auditioned anything in a long, long time, but I've also heard that speakers are better than ever. Is there anything in this entry level range that I should go check out or am I wasting my time and should just repair my KEFs?

Before you ask "music or movies" know that I don't buy into that rot. My system does in fact have to support both but a tonally accurate system will excel at either.

centaurus3200's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 24 2007 - 12:03pm
Re: KEF 104/2: Rebuild or Replace?

i used to have KEF 104/2. nice speakers though i was admittedly never in love with them. i currently have KEF Calinda, Yamaha NS-1000M and JansZen Z-200 that i have more admiration for.

i tried the 104/2 with McIntosh MC60 tube monoblocks, a modded Quad 405-2 and a Quad 909. even with the 909, the bandpass woofers were still a bit boomy. i put them on AVF stands and put microscan anti-resonance devices on back. much better, but i just liked my other speakers more

when i got them, the T33 tweeters had hardened ferro-fluid. i put in Vifa MG-27 4 ohm tweeters that dropped right in (with the flanges removed). they are also 4 ohm with similar sensitivity. melded great with the other drivers. i just never like the loosy-goosy bass with the 104/2 and they didnt go below 50hz.

BUT, everyone hears differently. if you like your 104/2 and don't want to spend the money to refoam them. you could sell them and buy the earlier single binding post ones. they still used rubber surrounds on the woofers ;-)

see ya,

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: KEF 104/2: Rebuild or Replace?

Your pair sounds like a nice speaker that's had a hard life. Personally, I don't think reworking the speaker is worth the money. Go listen to a few possible replacements and I think you'll agree.

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