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glasswolf 28th September 2010 03:41 AM

KEF Reference 104/2; A restoration story
I purchased a pair of 104/2 SP3138 about ten years ago, and only really needed to replace the surrounds on the woofers.
The other day, I stopped by a local thrift store, and lo and behold, there sat a pair of SP3037 104/2s in Rosewood, marked $100. I asked the man at the counter what he wanted for them, he suggested I make an offer, so I ended up walking out with them for $50 for the pair.
I get home and disasemble them to see what needs to be done, to find the following typical issues:
some veneer peeling
no floor spikes/feet
one grille has two loose pegs, the other needs the bracing re-glued
all 4 woofers are dry rotted @ the surrounds
lots of dust
one of the speaker binding posts is broken/cracked
one of the lower MF drivers (sealed in the block unit) is cracked from dust cap to surround, and the surround is separating.

I order some replacement surrounds, floor spikes, and terminals.
I proceed to polish up and dust the cabinets, gluing the veneer back in place where it's come up at the seems. I loc-tite in some new adjustable floor spikes, and replace the plastic binding posts with gold ones.
I replace the surrounds of the woofers, then glue the cone back together on the MF driver, sealing it with silicone adhesive, and re-gluing the surround in place.
After all is said and done, I've spent about $ 170 total including cost of speakers, and have a lovely new pair of KEFs!

slide show of some pucs below:
KEF 1042 :: KEF Reference 104/2 SP3037 slideshow by Glass_Wolf - Photobucket

I have an Adcom GFA-555 II on the way for them as I type this.

dublin78 28th September 2010 11:47 AM

You are braver than me. Congratulations.

I had a pair of 104/2s once. I really enjoyed them, but the high end was lacking IMO.

Do you have plans to change the tweeter? I seem to remember there were a few options.

David Gatti 28th September 2010 12:47 PM

Great job Glasswolf! Really nice to see an old classic resurrected.
How do they sound?

glasswolf 28th September 2010 01:49 PM

They sound great. The Adcom hadn't arrived et, so I ran them just to test them out on my Onkyo AVR, which is sufficient, but not really having the kahunas to let the KEFs breathe. I played Cas Haley's Survive CD, track 2 (Walking on the moon) and the "in the room" feel was great.

As for the tweeters, I'm leaving them stock, but to be honest I'm not a fan of overly aggressive, bright tweeters, so these soft domes work for me. They're more laid back and smooth, which is the feel I prefer. I've worked for 25 years in car audio, and the system in my car uses DynAudio 3-ways for the front stage, which have a very similar tweeter and timbre to them as the KEFs, since they also use a 6dB Q on the crossovers, with (oddly similar) 1" silk tweeters, 4" midrange (sealed), and 8" midbass drivers. Funny that I never made the comparison before.. haha

Anyway, thank you for the compliments. I appreciate them. I've been in love with the 104/2s since around 1990 when I first heard a pair at an audio store in Virginia while I was in college. I just didn't have $3600 back then to buy them. I was living with a Kenwood matched rack system at the time instead.. haha (shudder to think) It took me ten years to finally get around to buying my first pair, but I'm still happy with them. The only speakers I've even considered getting to replace them have been some ESLs, such as the MartinLogan Vantages. They're the closest thing I've found to giving me the "live, in the studio/room/New Orleans small night club/bar" feel.

mlloyd1 28th September 2010 05:43 PM

i still like them, too. i've had my rosewood 104/2 for quite a while ('80s?). i've replaced the midrange units on both about 10 years ago and had no other problems.

i know it's a matter of personal taste, but you'd have to pry them from my cold, dead hands (unless you offered me some nice Sound Labs electrostatics)


keffan 27th March 2011 06:35 AM

Hi Glasswolf, I bought a used pair of 104.2 a couple of months ago, at which time, the dust caps were intact. After I drove it with Harman Kardon Citation 16, the dust caps of both lower woofers were now broken--I didn't check the upper woofers. The surrounds are made of rubber and they are still intact. Can you share your process how you get to the woofers? Thanks keffan

RRD 11th February 2012 06:19 PM

Kef 104/2
i am considering a pair of 104/2 but the woofer foam surrounds are cracking. It does not appear to affect the sound but I would appreciate any comments or experience before I buy them. Are the repair kits a good idea if they need to be fixed.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Reference1042 25th March 2012 02:49 PM


Originally Posted by RRD (
i am considering a pair of 104/2 but the woofer foam surrounds are cracking. It does not appear to affect the sound but I would appreciate any comments or experience before I buy them. Are the repair kits a good idea if they need to be fixed.

Thank you for your thoughts.

I was looking into these kits myself, but in certain cases it does not make that much difference. They are easy enough to fit if you are a confident diyer. Just make sure if you are intending replacing both inner and outer rings that you buy the proper size, (some kits dont fit properly, measure the dimensions with verniers if unsure) and most importantly get the kit with shims to centre the driver properly. It cant be done accurately by hand. And make sure you follow the guide carefully, and don't rush it.

B200 drivers seem to come in a few variations, the ones i have have rubber outers, and foam inners. This is not such an issue when the foams perish. My friend had a set the same and he hoovered the foam donuts Away completely, with no adverse effect. They seem to just be dust caps, and not integral to the structure of the driver.

There are other versions with foam inners and outers, now these are a different kettle of fish. If the drivers have foam on both then get them done ASAP. As if both are perished and fail, you are in for a world of hurt.

Hope that helps.

You wont regret buying them, ill take the pepsi challenge against most comparable systems. But worth updating the tweets with kef replacements. I got sp1353 tweets from kef (bit pricey at 130 a set), but if they are the original t33 tweets they are ferro fluid tweets, and these deteriorate badly over time.

Im very reluctant to part with my set, unless someone offers me a set of JM Focals. :)

They sound amazing. But there are better speakers if you are willing to part with some serious cash. Or build a set.

RRD 26th March 2012 12:59 PM

Thank you! I found a pair used by a church with no foam issues. They sound fabulous!

Reference1042 26th March 2012 01:37 PM


Originally Posted by RRD (
Thank you! I found a pair used by a church with no foam issues. They sound fabulous!

Indeed they do, i still have to hear a better set of speakers that i can actually afford to buy.

Maybe Consider replacing the tweets with Kef replacements. I heard no issue with my set until i replaced the tweets. Twas like i had removed a set of ear plugs then had my ears cleaned. Night and Day!!

The ferro fluid gradually deteriorates over time. Not really noticeable until you replace them.

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