Once configuration is complete you’re in for a treat. We selected ”The Dark Knight’s” electrifying opening bank robbery scene for testing and were spellbound by what this system does with it. The pin-sharp tinkle of glass as the thieves break the window in the opening shot gives you a good idea about the soundbar’s refined high-frequency handling, while gunshots later in the scene are so terse and aggressive they feel like they’re ripping right through you.
There’s a clarity and directness to the midrange and high-frequencies that makes for an invigorating listen (the school bus crashing through the wall is a highlight) and you won’t strain to hear any of the dialogue – voices always cut through the din, even Batman’s gruff, menacing tones.The rears also do their job well, chucking sharp, detailed effects and subtle ambience into an open and atmospheric soundstage.
As for bass performance the Kube-2 is the business. Skip to the scene in which The Joker blows up Gotham City hospital and it bolsters the explosions with sustained bursts of luxuriously deep and powerful bass, which fuses beautifully with the soundbar and sats. But short, sharp low-frequency effects make an equally memorable impression thanks to the sub’s tautness and agility.
Swapping over to our trusty ”Kind of Blue” CD, the KEF really shines with music. The sound is cohesive, detailed and involving, with Bill Evans’ sprightly piano work dancing over the delicate drumming and solid bass, all topped off by pure, well-controlled blasts from Miles’ trumpet. Nice.
So where does the KHT8005 stand in the soundbar pecking order? Well, it can’t quite match the sublime performance and all-round exuberance of the Bowers & Wilkins Panorama – still our favourite soundbar despite its purse-draining price tag – but the sound quality is a touch more powerful and vibrant than both the Teufel Cinebar 50 and Monitor Audio’s Radius HD, while it walks all over cheapie models from the likes of Samsung, Crystal Audio and Sharp.
Yes, the KEF has a bit of an unfair advantage over most of those models due to the inclusion of real rear speakers, but the results are worth the added inconvenience of installing them. So if you already own an AV receiver then the KHT8005 is a fantastic option, but those starting from scratch might be better off going for the ‘all-in-one’ convenience and extra features offered by the Teufel or Samsung HT-BD8200.
Score in detail