I recently reconfigured my living space which also just so happens to be the space that contains my 5.1 AV system. I use LS50 for the front left/right channels as well as the center channel and my plan was to use LS50s for the rears. The floor plan of our living room is quite open and there were two issues I KEF T301 on floor standneeded to solve before I could get my system set to my (and my significant other’s) liking: The first – cabling to the rears – was solved with a bit of out-of-the-box thinking that we’ll discuss in another piece, but the second issue was far more daunting. As much as I was in love with the idea of having a complete LS50 system for my L/C/R and rears, they just took up too much space. The main issue was the footprint of the stands more than the speakers themselves, and after a few static setups with my existing LS50s it became apparent that my plan was not going to work. The way our living room is set up, there is an open area behind our couch that leads to an outside balcony and another seating area. The stands took up too much room and quite honestly, it spoiled the aesthetic of the second seatingKEF T301 on floor stand area to have the backs of the speakers exposed.

Compromise is the key to good sound system design – more often than not you have to be flexible enough to compromise a little on the sound to avoid giving up too much on the aesthetics. Luckily, there was an elegant, easy to implement solution that also managed to minimize the sonic compromise I had to make. I simply purchased two T301 speakers and stands and set them up in the limited space I had. The speakers themselves have the sleek and modern look we needed to integrate with the rest of our furniture, but the stands are what really sealed the deal. Because the terminals are located on the base of the stand, the rears of the speakers don’t look so utilitarian. They fit into the room about as seamlessly as you can expect rear speakers (that unfortunately in our setup have to be in the middle of the room) can fit. But for me, the best part was the near lack of compromise in sonic capability. The timbre of my rear speakers was now a good match for my L/C/R. Obviously, the T301s are not LS50s, but the difference is a matter of scale, not quality. Although the depth of the T301 cabinet is only 1.4 inches, the speakers are designed and engineered to such a degree that they perform in complete concert with my formidable LS50 L/C/R set up. This is no small task, especially considering that my living room doesn’t look like an audiophile mad-professor’s lair but the system sounds great..

Good system design is the ultimate in the art of compromise and having a product line available that allows the DIY and professional room designer the ability to work around all the obstacles that are sure to rise up on the path to completion is a serious help.

While we’re on the subject of problem solving with excellent sounding speakers that work in really constricted spaces, KEF also offers a T-Series slim-line speaker for custom installation scenarios that would otherwise stop a project dead in its tracks. With just a 1.42” mounting depth in a wall or ceiling, KEF’s T-Series Ci speakers allow you to place speakers without compromising on sound quality where you wanted in spite of project gremlins like HVAC ducts, pipes and narrow-wall construction like that found in modern high-rise buildings. Basically, the Ci160TR and Ci160TS will fit where you need them to fit.

KEF Ci160TR

KEF Ci160TR

So don’t be daunted by the things that typically daunt those of us who really want our systems to sound great while also wanting our rooms and spaces to look great. There are solutions!

Jack Sharkey for KEF