Though some purists hate to admit it, these days looks play as big a role as sound quality when choosing home cinema kit. A speaker system could sound like heaven itself, but if it doesn’t complement the new sideboard then it won’t be allowed anywhere near the living room.
KEF KHT3005SE Design
KEF is only too aware of the need for products that look and sound great, and for years has been producing some of the best-looking speaker systems on the market. One of these is the KEF KHT3005SE, a stunning compact 5.1 system with unmistakable egg shaped satellites.
KEF has recently made this delectable system available in white for the first time (alongside the existing gloss black), so we thought it was high time we saw what all the fuss is about – and if it’s anything like the KEF KHT1505, we could be in for a treat.
Sure enough the HTS3001SE satellite speakers are stunning. The combination of their ‘dewdrop’ shape and white finish could have quite easily turned out tacky, but KEF’s cosmetic know-how keeps everything effortlessly chic and modern. The glossy finish catches the light beautifully and the curves ooze elegance.
The grilles covering up the front are magnetic, so there are no plug fixings to spoil the clean look when removed. Underneath, the front panel has a rubbery texture, with the silver Uni-Q driver array bang in the centre. Each satellite stands 245mm high, a manageable height that won’t impose on the landscape of your living room.
On top of that, build quality is superb. At 2kg each, the rigid cast aluminium cabinets are heavy and easily worthy of the price tag. Each one is connected to a sturdy oval base by a pivoting ball joint, which makes it easy to point in the desired direction.
On the back, two silver binding posts poke out from the bottom. Make sure you attach the cables to these prior to attaching the base, otherwise it’s rather fiddly to feed wires into the holes.
Also on the back is a port with a sponge bung shoved into it. This should be left there if positioned close to or on the wall, as it stops the sound being too boomy. But under normal circumstances the port bung should be removed.
All of the satellites can be mounted on the wall by hanging the supplied bases on screws fixed into the wall. The speakers then attach securely to the bracket using a bolt and Allen key.
The HTC3001SE centre speaker is slightly longer than the other satellites to house the twin 75mm bass drivers, which sit either side of the Uni-Q array. This is designed to give extra slam and aid dialogue clarity. It comes with a round rubber base for table top mounting.
Completing the line-up is the compact KEF HTP2SE subwoofer, which slings the subwoofer rulebook out the window, opting for an unusual round enclosure. With its white gloss finish and curves, it’s close to a work of art, a sub you’ll want out on show, not tucked away apologetically in a corner. It’s versatile too – one supplied base allows you to stand it upright, while the screw-in feet let you lay it on its side.
All of the controls are located on the bottom. There’s a line input and three switches, one of which controls the Bass Boost settings that increase the bass level at 40Hz by 6dB or 12dB. The other switches control phase and standby modes. Weirdly, there’s no volume or crossover control – that’s all governed by your amp.