I decided to audition the Kef cresta 2 when I started building my first proper hi fi seperates set up. I had read the review in what hifi? which had given then 5 stars and was impressed with the high quality look. Hooked up to my rotel cd player and denon amp I was simply blown away with sound quality. I tried some metallica and an eric bibb cd and the speakers performed superbly from bass heavy thrash metal to beutifully acoustic folk. I was particularly impressed with the quality of the midrange, eric bibbs vocals came across as really immediate, almost as if he were in the room with me.
The speakers are rated at 8 ohms and 100 watts so any decent powerful amplifier will drive them quite happily. They are available in two finishes, the black colour as illustrated above in the picture and the natural wood finish which is the finish I chose. For £150 the speakers look more expensive than they are and mounted onto a classy set of speaker stands look good in the living room as a piece of furniture.
The speakers are biwirable, which means you can use 2 lots of speaker cable for better sound quality. Unfortunately I only had regular speaker cable so used the supplied bindig posts so can not comment if biwirring would have improved the sound quality further.
Overall I was extremely pleased with these speakers. They looked classy, sounded great and were very reasonably priced and they are still going strong to this day!
These speakers cost me £150, but they have since come down in price, and are scarcely available in this country anymore. However, they often come up for sale second hand. They really are excellent speakers, with a great warmth of sound and an excellent range for the price that I paid. I compared them in the shop to a more expensive set by Mission (M71?s) and an even more expensive set of Denon speakers, however, the bass was much more powerful in the KEF models, and the treble seemed sharper than the Denon speakers did, hence my choice. I was rather limited in terms of choice due to my budget at the time (I was 15 with no job) so I did a great deal of research online and found that they came highly recommended. The speakers look awesome, with the 6 heavy bolts on the main 130mm speaker. They make it look like they are holding it back, like a caged animal. The tweeter is woven silk, and gets an amazing star cross pattern on it when the light hits it. The maple colour case looks great, better than the black option and the little gold logos add a look of quality and class to the speakers. The bass relief hole is at the back of the speakers, so as the unwanted sound waves do not interfere with the ones that you want to listen too, which gives a flatter look to the front, as well as an acoustic bonus. The speakers weigh a meager 6kg each. This is due to their chipboard construction, but the laminate coating covers the whole speakers, not just the front so they look great from all angles, not like a lot of cheaper speakers. Even so, the speakers? quality and pride show through, with bi wiring, gold blocking plates and a small Union Jack sticker. The volume that the speakers can reach without distortion is excellent, at least 40w, and even then it is slight. The speakers are suitable for most music applications, such as watching films, listening to music on CD?s and playing games on the computer. I use mine for all three of these, but the ba
ss is sometimes not enough for films, which is why they are best used with an amp with a loudness button or similar controls. Overall, great value speakers that play better than some 2x the price. Isn?t it always true for the homemade stuff? ;)
Well i'm suffering nowadays from something called "audiophilia nervosia" which is a disease that makes me audition a tremendous amount of equipment which I mostly don't need and normally can't afford. My cousins, knowing this, asked my help for the chore in hand: assemble a simple separate system (cd, int. amp, speakers) with a meagre budget that would put them in high part of the lower-fi or even just in at mid-fi. (you see to arrive at true hi-fi point you really have to spend a reaonable amount of cash. Sad but True.) There we went to specialist store to audition some of the lower ranges. That I remember we audition B&W DM302, Infinity Alpha 20, Kef Cresta 2, B&W 601S2 and Tannoy MX1 and MX2. Of these the worst was clearly the infinity, with the sound uneven, bass taking charge. I like bass but she musn't rob the other frequencies. The B&W601S2 had the best treble but also had the higher price and low esthetic appeal. This is a good speaker, give it a go. Unfortunatly it fell out of the range. The DM302 is also a good speaker but is not very even troughout the frequency range, and has an huge apetite for power making it a bad sinergy with a good budget int. amp that would have at maximum 40 watts. It came to a showndown between the Tannoy's (especially the MX2 which had better bass capabilities) and the Crestas. We ended up with the crestas because the MX2 are excelent rock speaker, but they appear to create a larger than life feeling in all of the recordings... The Crestas were, to my and my cousins hears some seductive, intimate and with a more all-round capability. In short they appeared more neutral. Give four because budget speaker are always fundamentaly compromised. It still his my budget speaker of choice.
Don't let the moderate size of the Cresta 2s deceive you. These speakers really do pack punch for their size. Thse amazing speakers one an award in the 2000 What HiFi awards. You can see a better picture of the beautiful cherry coloured casing here http://www.kef.com/kefimages/Cresta2nw.jpg These speakers do look incredibly good. The finish on the casing is excellent and with the leather effect front they do look even better with the grills taken off. Kef have some how managed to create a speaker sounding many times more expensive than the incredibly reasonable £150 being asked at most places. When paired with a nice amplifier and CD player, connected with some quality speaker wire these speakers need to be placed on some solid stands such as the Atacama 2. Then they need to be positioned outwards from walls by about 1metre to prevent over powering bass. Once you have this set up and you play any type of music you are immediately greeted with a warm and involving sound. The bass is clear and refined yet it does give a controlled thump. The mid range gives excellent crystal clear vocals and is great with rock music. Treble is extremely precise. It’s not tinny like you may some times hear on speakers in this price range. It is perfectly pitched. These speakers have the option for bi wiring which is some thing unusual on a speaker at this price. I recommend you go to your local hifi shop and ask to try them out. Take your own music along and have a listen. The Cresta 2 is a great all rounder and offers amazing value for money. ******************************
KEF have really struck gold with these beauts. They've managed to pack quality associated with products £50-100 more expensive in to £150 boxes. They've been built with care and with everything in mind. The contours of the cases are scientifically disgned, the cones have been perfectly matched for all-round balance and the case has no tackiness about it (despite the rather deceptive picture). The Cresta 2s really have the ability to cope with any kind of music and not falter. They can display real pace whilst retaining grace and delicate flair. Positioned correctly, they can also give a great presence that defies spaekers of this price range. Great buy. Ask to try them out now! Harry